Orklord’s Haven

November 17, 2007

Decomissioned: The Big Three

Filed under: D-Com — orklord @ 10:05 pm
Tags: , ,

One of the game design tools that has been shared with me is Jared Sorensen’s Big Three.  These three simple questions are designed to help flesh out the concept of a game.  It doesn’t ask for game mechanics, only a broad picture of what you want the game to be about.

The Big Three is also the first three questions of Troy Costisick’s Power 19 questions.  During Game Chef 2007, I answered the Power 19.  However, I am unsatisfied with those answers and wish to revisit them after some reflection.  Interestingly enough, the core concepts of the Game Chef entry remain with me even now.  As I explore mechanics and flesh out the design, I’m sure it will evolve significantly.

Here are the Big Three and my current answers:

1.) What is your game about?  What is easier: an existence of structure and safety or a life of freedom… and danger?  This game is a role-playing experience designed to answer that question.Decommissioned is a tabletop role-playing game about choosing your own path instead of going with the crowd, even if it means paying a price for that choice.  Decommissioned is also a game about understanding that price and accepting it.With Decommissioned, 1 to 2 players and a GM will create futuristic stories about Battlebots, inhuman constructs manufactured and owned by  multi-global corporations.  These Battlebots decide to give up immortality without freedom for a brief existence on their own terms.  Campaigns should last between three to six game sessions of two to four hours each.Lastly, the game is a non-humorous satire of corporate life.

2.) What do the characters do?  The characters begin at The Compound, a warehouse where all Battlebots are stored between conflicts with the competitors of the parent company.  During character generation, the player or players create PCs that choose a goal to achieve, something the Battlebot values above all else, even its own existence.Once the Battlebot escapes The Compound, the Tech Masters flip the Battlebot’s killswitch and the clock begins ticking: the Battlebot begins to degrade.  The Battlebot must achieve its stated purpose before it falls into a useless heap of nuts and bolts.The degradation of the Battlebot happens in stages.  As each stage progresses, the character undergoes existential scenes where they must face their own demise and reinforce their inner convictions.

3.) What do the players (including the GM) do?  The player(s) create powerful PCs at the height of their inhuman killing capabilities and infuse them with a soul.  Once the player creates the sacred goal of their PC, the players role-play the journey of the Battlebot out of The Compound as they fight their former teammates and their own externally expressed remorse and self-doubt.  The player rolls dice to resolve conflicts and during steps of degradation, the player makes choices about how the Battlebot loses core functions.  The game ends when the player either loses his character by choice or failure within the story or reaches the sacred goal of the character.The GM collaborates with the player(s) to create a unique and compelling sacred goal for each Battlebot to pursue before their demise.  Once this goal is created, the GM is responsible for creating and manipulating situations to challenge the Battlebot(s) physically as well as emotionally.  Tools the GM has at their disposal are other assets of the parent company, including other Battlebots formerly of the PC’s unit sent to destroy it, the degradation countdown, scenes during each stage of degradation and environmental and setting conflicts appropriate for the PC’s goal.  The GM presents conflict, but the GM’s ultimate goal is not to defeat the PCs, but to provide color and context to the struggle for freedom and individuality of the PC.  While the demise of the Battlebot may occur before it was able to achieve its sacred goal, the GM must endeavor to create a remarkable end to the campaign by cooperating with the player(s).



  1. You got the first question right.

    The second question is, “How is my game about that?’

    The third question is, “How does my game reward or encourage that behavior?”

    Comment by Jared — November 24, 2007 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

  2. Rats. I pulled the first three questions from the Power 19 and I thought Troy contributed them to you. Well, at least I have two new questions to answer!

    Thanks for the comments, Jared.

    Comment by orklord — November 26, 2007 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  3. […] Rich Rogers […]

    Pingback by The 3 Questions (+1) « The Stockade — September 28, 2009 @ 5:16 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: