Frequently Asked Questions
Many RPGs can seem daunting if you go straight to the player guides. Lotus Dimension tinkers with a few of the more complex RPG game mechanics in order to welcome players of all experience levels.
That said, there are a handful of terms and concepts you’ll need to familiarize yourself with as you start to play -- but it won’t be long before you’re up and running.
If you know someone who’s played RPGs and could play as your Lotus Dimension “Guru Guide” (what in many RPGs is called a “Game Master”) for a quest or two, that’ll get you off to a good start.
There are also plenty of resources online. (For example, here’s a pretty straightforward video explaining common RPG game mechanics: https://youtu.be/KZWcIYRIns0.)
Instructions for playing are outlined in the guides that come with the Lotus Dimension Starter Set.
Check out the next question for a sample of the type of challenge you might encounter in the game.Last updated:
The simple answer is that players’ characters advance through each quest and gain strength by successfully overcoming challenges with nonviolent solutions.
If you’ve played D&D or a similar game before, you probably understand the general mechanics of a tabletop role-playing game.
If you haven’t played an RPG before, that’s okay! Here’s what you need to know: One player plays as the guide, narrating from a provided script to lead the other players through the quest. The other players create and customize characters, who they “play” by immersing them in the story. There are lots of plot twists, and like in a choose-your-own-adventure story, your group of characters must brainstorm ideas and make decisions about how to respond to dangers, solve problems and achieve objectives. Your characters’ outcomes are also affected by periodic dice rolls, but overall, the way that your group responds to a given situation affects what happens next in the story, and it impacts players’ individual skill levels, which are measured in points. Many players choose to play as the same character from quest to quest, so they’re trying to continually build their skill levels and avoid losing points.
Whew. So, in many RPGs, success is often achieved through battles and fighting. In Lotus Dimension, characters are rewarded when you deploy their skills to solve problems with creative, nonviolent, compassionate, sometimes off-the-wall tactics. Your ingenuity and ability for outlier thinking is your best chance for success -- but even the most creative of moves can sometimes be dashed by an unfortunate dice roll, so the element of chance is always there, too.
Each challenge includes a list of general difficulty levels as a reference for dice rolls, but the guru guide is responsible for gauging difficulty levels if a player devises a particularly outlandish solution.Last updated:
Can you give me an example of a situation I might encounter in Lotus Dimension, and how I could respond to it using nonviolent tactics?
Let’s say you encounter a gang of armed bandits who are blocking a road, holding prisoners, and/or starting fires. In other RPGs, this situation might result in a violent confrontation. In Lotus Dimension, players are challenged to think of peaceful ways to deal with the problem.
Depending on the clues written into the scene and the skill sets of the characters on your team, tactics might include: 1) Engage in conversation. 2) Send your monk out to meditate in the road and distract the bandits while you free prisoners, put out fires, and get members of your party beyond the blockade. 3) Use a sleeping spell or a bliss-and-ecstasy spell, if you have one, to render the bandits incapable of harming anyone. 4) Use your mystic’s smoke bomb to obscure your group as you pass. 5) Spot the bandit who is disgruntled and most likely to turn against his comrades. Find a way to win him over and gain his assistance. 6) Send your parkour specialist up the cliffside to survey the scene and spot a weakness behind the blockade. 7) Roll in a barrel of beer. 8) Hack the bandits’ communication devices to lure them elsewhere. 9) Wait for the cover of darkness to sneak by. 10) Build a sculpture that captures their attention-- or that (gently, temporarily) captures the bandits themselves. 11) Disguise a member of your party as a bandit and infiltrate the group. 12) Allow yourselves to be captured and look for a solution from within. 13) Go a different way and come back later-- maybe they’ll be gone. 14) Make inventive use of an object you carry in your inventory or find in the area.15) Ask the archeologist in your group to take a closer look at the bandits to find any symbols they see as bad luck and strategize a ruse to scare them away.
If you’re a gamer accustomed to a paradigm of meeting violent situations with violent solutions, it might be challenging at first. But the more you play and get to know the skill sets of your character and the other characters around you, the more alternative, creative, and often fantastical solutions will start to occur to you.
A diversity of skill sets will help you, and creativity is paramount. That’s not to say that any nonviolent solution you can dream up will work. If your character tries to fly off a cliff without a vehicle, animal, or spell to support her, that character will die. Characters must also regularly replenish their eight life points with rest, medicine, meditation, etc. A character whose life points diminish to zero will also die.Last updated:
I'd like to know more about the specific game mechanics and how conflicts are resolved. Are you rolling a d8 and adding a modifier? Are you rolling a pool of d8s and hoping for a certain number of them to roll above a threshold?
Sure. Let’s take a step back. Many (but not all) of the game mechanics of Lotus Dimension fall into four categories:
Life Points: Your character maxes out at 8 Life Points. When Life Points drop to 0, your character is dead. (There’s a reincarnation component in Lotus Dimension -- of course there is! -- and that is explained in the guides.) Characters gain Life Points through rest, meditation, spells, and more. They lose Life Points when they are attacked, exhausted, imprisoned, etc.
Player Character Levels: Player characters are the characters players choose and customize. There are eight skills characters can develop: view, intention, speech, action, livelihood, energy, mindfulness, and concentration. Your character has a numeric level determined by their lowest skill level. (If you’re playing a hacker with level-8 (out of 8) mindfulness skills, but her intention level is only 4, she’s a Level 4 Hacker.) The game uses three eight-sided dice (D8s), and your character’s level determines how many dice you get to roll during a challenge. (In the case of the Level 4 Hacker, you’d get to roll two D8s.) The outcome is decided by the highest number on one of the dice -- not the sum.) If it’s more than the pre-defined difficulty level of the challenge or opponent, the outcome is positive. If it’s less, well, not so great for you. However, characters can get a modifier (more on modifiers in the game guides, if you’re not familiar) for having higher levels in other skills. (Our Level 4 Hacker has level-8 mindfulness, which might result in a +1 or +2 modifier depending on the situation.) Player characters also have a few other stats (levels) for things like defense, charisma, karma, etc.
Game Character Levels: Game characters are the opponents or other characters written into the quest. Let’s say an aggressive game character (maybe one of those bandits) attacks your player characters. When this happens, your player character defense levels and equipment will be crucial. The Guru Guide rolls on behalf of the game character, and if the game character wins the roll, the player character loses Life Points. Losing life points is not good for your character, obviously, but a dedication to creative, nonviolent solutions will pay off in the end. In most RPGs, passive resistance would weaken a player character; in Lotus Dimension, peaceful strategies strengthen characters, even if they aren’t successful right away.
Situational Difficulty Levels: Each challenge or conflict that players face has a difficulty level. The difficulty level is chosen by the Guru Guide from a set of several stats in the quest. (The previously mentioned gang of bandits might have level-6 strength, level-3 intelligence, and so on, but these specifics are withheld from the rest of the players.) Players decide their strategy or approach to the challenge -- Okay, we’ll send our monk out to meet the bandits! -- then roll the D8 to determine the outcome.
The focus in Lotus Dimension is on these engagements, and while dice rolls are a major part of the action, the big difference between Lotus Dimension and other RPGs is that LD’s shift toward non-violence creates an asymmetry in each challenge or conflict. That is, aggressive game characters want to fight and attack, but player characters are not engaging them from that same perspective. Thus, player strategies go up against difficulty levels, rather than levels related to combat, and when game characters do attack, they go up against the defenses players have built.
Again, more instructions are outlined in the guides that come with the Starter Set.Last updated:
That’s not the intent. Lotus Dimension is definitely inspired by and built around some concepts from Buddhist thought (like karma and the noble eightfold path), as well as basic ideas of compassion and “the golden rule,” which exist in some form across many religions and atheistic or secular ethics.
Practicing Buddhists might find the obvious influence interesting, but of course in real life you can’t put numerical values on your levels of “Right Mindfulness” or karma. In the game, though, that’s how you level up. When you reach the maximum levels on all of your character abilities, your character become a bodhisatva, which is Sanskrit for “an enlightened being who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others” (Free Dictionary). Future quest development will be devoted to content for these advanced players and their interactions with others.
Some of the game mechanics and possible strategies also draw on historically relevant nonviolent actions (e.g. passive resistance). Others are absurd and comical but can be surprisingly effective. All of it is aimed at a balance that makes the game thoughtful, open-ended, and fun to play.Last updated:
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