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Is Pugmire a "funny" game?

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  • Is Pugmire a "funny" game?

    What I mean is, does it take itself seriously? This is not the same as asking if it's a good game. Street Fighter the RPG took itself very seriously, while HOL (Human Occupied Landfill), though arguably a better game, was basically a satire. In my opinion, a "serious" roleplaying game needs three things: romance, death and politics, in that order. Does Pugmire address these issues, or is it more like Bugs Bunny with talking dogs? This post is not a joke, nor is it meant to offend any Pugmire fans. Thanks.


    Colleen Alma


    My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

  • #2
    I think the best words here are 'light-hearted' and 'family-friendly'... and noting what happens in family-friendly movies (cf. Disney and Dreamworks), serious subject matter is not off the table.

    Politics? Yep. Want to rule Pugmire? Found a kingdom of your own? Climb the social ladder? All brought up in the Early Access doc.

    Death? Characters can die.

    Romance isn't covered in Early Access, but that doesn't mean it can't be put in.


    Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your help. Maybe you could help clarify some of the background of Pugmire for me. My understanding is that it's a post-apocalyptic world in which talking dogs are the dominant species. I am uncertain if there are any other talking animals or if any humans survived the apocalypse. Have I got the gist of it? I am considering including Pugmire in my unified history of the Onyx Path universe, but I am not sure what to say about it other than that it is one possible alternate future. Thanks!


      Colleen


      My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

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      • #4
        The interesting thing we've found through doing playtests and demos is that almost every group starts out with the funny stuff. Puns about dogs and saying hello by sniffing butts, that sort of stuff. Then, as the group starts to play, the players all start to get their heads around the setting and the pathos of this culture built by dogs. Be A Good Dog becomes a focal point for a lot of different emotions, and the more they get into the Dog mindset, the more the depth starts to come through, almost organically.

        So, I'd say that Pugmire is easy to play as a light-hearted adventure game with plenty of room for humor, but there are some pretty deep human themes built into the dog stories, and players so inclined almost always gravitate towards exploring them.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JulianMoon View Post
          Thanks for your help. Maybe you could help clarify some of the background of Pugmire for me. My understanding is that it's a post-apocalyptic world in which talking dogs are the dominant species. I am uncertain if there are any other talking animals or if any humans survived the apocalypse. Have I got the gist of it? I am considering including Pugmire in my unified history of the Onyx Path universe, but I am not sure what to say about it other than that it is one possible alternate future. Thanks!
          There're plenty of other talking animals - aside from the dogs, the dominant races include cats, badgers (and otters, polecats, wolverines, ferrets and weasels), lizards, fish and birds. The cats say they're in conflict with a race of rats. And there may be yet other uplifted species out there.

          What happened to humanity is a mystery of the setting - did they die? Leave the planet? Transcend? Nobody knows; all they have is what they left behind.

          Possibly relevant for the timeline is the existence of the Unseen, ancient enemies of the dogs invisible to the eye, mysterious entities that leave betrayal, destruction and murder in their wake.


          Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.

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          • #6
            1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis ends in nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, possibly brought on by the machinations of a mysterious race of invisible beings known as the Unseen. The war ends with the total annihilation of humanity and the creation of a number of species of talking anthropomorphic animals. The Pugmire alternate timeline is created.


            Just a rough draft. What do you guys think?


            Colleen
            Last edited by JulianMoon; 12-21-2016, 02:52 PM. Reason: Edit: Got rid of the part about gamma radiation creating the talking animals, left it mysterious.


            My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JulianMoon View Post
              What I mean is, does it take itself seriously?
              I wrote a lengthy blog post about this very topic right before the Kickstarter! Here's the text:
              One question I get regularly is whether Pugmire is a joke. Given that I’ve been responsible for some pranks in the past when I worked with White Wolf, it’s somewhat of a fair question. The short answer is obviously “it isn’t,” but there are nuances to the question that are more complex beyond the obvious “this is a real game that is being made.”

              For example, it isn’t a typical Onyx Path game on the surface. It’s not using pools of d10s, it isn’t gritty and dark, and it’s not geared to an adult audience. Over the past nine years I’ve gotten pretty good at working on those kinds of games, and I’m happy to keep doing so, but part of the reason for developing Pugmire is that I wanted to try something different. (That’s one of the great points of working with Onyx Path over White Wolf for me — Rich is able and willing to try new ideas that wouldn’t fit in the original company’s structure or business plan, and I have ownership over this thing I created to boot.) Given that this game doesn’t fit that established mold, I can see why some folks would assume it’s a joke.

              Similarly, the game does have humor in it, but I maintain that it isn’t a funny game. We as players laugh at the idea that there’s a religious tenet of “Be A Good Dog,” but the characters in the world take it very seriously. Again, if some folks see funny bits, it’s easy to mistake that the game is a joke.

              One of the trickiest parts as I work on the game is allowing humor without making the game “funny.” So far I’ve used the term “light-hearted” to explain the nuance, but it’s something that you really only get once you dive in. Some of the playtest groups were nice enough to post quotes or anecdotes on social media so I can read them, and most of those posts are gags. I take that as encouraging — people are excited and having fun with the game, even at this early stage. When I’ve run the game myself the level of humor changes depending on the group, but there’s always at least some laughs.

              The reason it isn’t a joke, and why I’m adamant on that point, is because a “funny game” can really only be funny. A light-hearted game, however, can include more depth and options. One of the images I keep in my mind is something Rich mentioned during one of our many chats about the game: the dog who mourns the passing of their owner by lying down outside their room or their bed. That’s the overall tone of how dogs feel about the loss of Man. In fact, the very first version of the game was much darker. It was closer to the so-called “normal Onyx Path game” in ethos, and that elegiac tone was a central focus (as an example, the original title was “The Fall of Pugmire”). In one of my first playtests, some of the players at the end remarked at how the game can be “dark as shit.” So, paradoxically, I feel it’s very important to keep that so-called “Onyx Path flavor,” even though the surface of the game obscures it. But if I wrote Pugmire to be nothing but gags and jokes, it would be hard to get to that spectrum of emotion.

              Is it a “serious” game? Hell no: it’s a game where you play dogs wielding magic and swords to rescue iPads from ancient ruins. I not only accept that, but I want to make that a feature. I don’t know about other people’s gaming groups, but mine generally tend to joke around during the session anyhow, so it’s nice to write a game that leans into that. But it’s also a game that addresses dealing with loss, ethics and religious dogma, casual racism, and nationalism. None of that is necessary to play and enjoy the game, but it’s there if you want to dig into it.

              Is Pugmire a joke? No. Because it can be so much more.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JulianMoon View Post
                Thanks for your help. Maybe you could help clarify some of the background of Pugmire for me. My understanding is that it's a post-apocalyptic world in which talking dogs are the dominant species. I am uncertain if there are any other talking animals or if any humans survived the apocalypse. Have I got the gist of it? I am considering including Pugmire in my unified history of the Onyx Path universe, but I am not sure what to say about it other than that it is one possible alternate future. Thanks!
                As a note, Pugmire is absolutely not connected to any White Wolf or Onyx Path game. It's a property completely owned by me. Onyx Path is nice enough to partner with me to bring the RPG to life, but it's not intended to connect to any other property (although I joke sometimes that Pugmire and Cavaliers of Mars are connected).

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                • #9
                  On the Cuban Missile Crisis thing:

                  It's not that the idea can't work, it's just... irrelevant to the game. The "magic radiation" is also fairly meh as a trope and very lacking for a Pugmire campaign to end on finding out.

                  Why humanity has disappeared is a mystery. Whether you want to have a definite reason in your head-cannon for it or not, the creatures of Pugmire will probably never know because that's part of the conceit of the setting.

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                  • #10
                    Heavy Arms: I am keeping the Cuban Missile Crisis as the reason for the annihilation of humanity until a canon sourcebook contradicts it, but I agree with you that gamma radiation is overused. Do you have any ideas about what could have created all these talking anthropomorphic animals? Thanks.


                    My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eddyfate View Post

                      As a note, Pugmire is absolutely not connected to any White Wolf or Onyx Path game. It's a property completely owned by me. Onyx Path is nice enough to partner with me to bring the RPG to life, but it's not intended to connect to any other property (although I joke sometimes that Pugmire and Cavaliers of Mars are connected).
                      This is a JulianMoon thing. They are trying to create a unified multiverse connecting all of the IPs Onyx Path has worked on, whether or not they were written to be connected.


                      Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                      My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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                      • #12
                        I have no idea why you want to use the Cuban Missile Crisis thing. It has not inherently connection to the game. I don't get it.

                        Anyway, it is directly contradicted in the material we have so far, because the humanity of the ancient past of Pugmire was more technologically advanced than we were back then. Pugmire's version of wizards are dogs that have learned to use human technology that's so advanced they consider it on par with the actual magical powers they have.

                        And the most obvious idea on how the animals of Pugmire got the way they are is simple: we did it.

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                        • #13
                          Never mind (pout). Obviously Pugmire is too far removed from the rest of the Onyx Path universe to be even tangentially connected. Guess I'll just have to wait for Cavaliers of Mars.


                          My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

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                          • #14
                            I'm sorry I stormed off. I'm a perfectionist, and I don't like it when things don't fit into my plan. Pugmire sounds like a cool game, and I'm still going to buy Monarchies of Mau. Take care, y'all.


                            Colleen Alma


                            My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I mean, you weren't wrong. Trying to fit Pugmire into a multiverse with WoD and CofD is very much a square peg round hole situation. And it only gets more Ill-fitting as you try to fit Scion, Exalted, Scarred Lands, Trinity, and Cavaliers of Mars in there too. It's bound to get frustrating trying to fit so many settings together that were never meant to have anything to do with each other.
                              Last edited by Charlaquin; 12-22-2016, 10:05 PM.


                              Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                              My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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