Thursday, December 15, 2005

Political Issues

A brainstorm on the required elements for a setting that supports true political struggle.

Core Thoughts:

There have to be a variety of interests (personal, social, ethical, whatever) that are opposed to each other.

These interests not only need to be important enough to strive for, but acheiving these interests also needs to be within the realm of possibility. Part of this should be that the fallout for not acheiving these interests needs to be sufficiently negative to drive characters towards acheiving them.

No one party can be powerful enough to get their interest without a struggle.

All parties can't be close enough in power that they deadlock.

There needs to be more than two umbrellas of interests, so as to avoid all parties clumping into two opposed groups.

Acheiving an interest cannot set that party up as an untouchable power (unless thats the end of the game, or something). Ideally, once an interest is acheive, it re-distributes power rather than focuses it.

Supplementary Thoughts:

Outside events should have impact on the distribution of power.

For more personal tension, each party should have opposed interests that fulfill the requirements above (essentially extended bangs).

Perceptions of power and its realitys must be two different things.

I especially like Ideally, once an interest is acheive, it re-distributes power rather than focuses it. That's a good one.

How essential do you think the outside, external-to-situation facts would be in political play? Is the tax rate cross-referenced with the average household income something that should impact the player's meaningful decisions?
I would think that that depends on the interests in question. I mean, if the characters political capital is built on their influence on the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that that could be a big deal.

My other thought is that external events, like a natural disaster or exploding third-world conflict, would provide focus points for the redistribution of power - all of a sudden its the people who concentrate on disaster releif that (should) have the influence, etc.
I'm talking about the 'boring' but absolutely vital details that have historically fouled up my political roleplay. Stuff like taxes or the wording of immigration laws, the things that are absolutely essential to how the world operates. These things are both relatively mundane and also multitudinous -- how do we reflect the complexities of the real world in a game without bogging the game down in real life?

Natural disasters are exciting. A special provision for rent assistance to veterans reaching sunset age is... not.
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