Friday, January 06, 2006

Let's Take A Stab... what Vincent's been on about.

Let's start with something bog-standard, for ease - fantasy dungeon crawl, kill things and take their stuff in order to kill things better and take more stuff. GM and players, with character creation that emphasizes niche protection.

Except that the (small-p) premise is that the characters start out going into the dungeon, with no mention of how they got together or why they're doing it. Part of the game is establishing those background things through play. But you're characters all start out with stats'n'shtuff thats angled towards either killing things, taking their stuff, or doing either with flair.

Now, there's another section of the character sheet, that has entries for all kinds of cool background things - like, social status, family connections, wealth, inherited weapons and armor, kewl powerz, etc. There's currency to purchase those things - which trigger little "flashback scenes" about where those things came from.

How do you get that currency? You point at someone else's character, and say something like "Hey, Killer the Red, why aren't you using your Axe of Killing Stuff? Remember when we...." and then you narrate a flashback scene. Boom, Killer the Red has an Axe of KIlling Stuff, and you have currency to raise (no purchasing! only raising/adding bonuses to/etc) your background stuff that others establish).

But you get more currency if you give him something baaad - like, a cursed Axe that always misses the deathblow, or something. And the GM gets adversity currency for giving the PCs stuff as well, again more for bad than for good.

Bad and good are totally a dial thats up to the group in question, of course. And one would tend to think that, theres good bad and bad bad, in that sometimes you'll give someone something that he goes "holy shit, thats awesome, my dude is sooooooooo screwed!", and sometimes he'll be like "dude, why are you such a prick." No backsies!

Now, that would hilight dysfunction, I think....

Anyway. I wonder if thats anywhere close to what Vincent's talking about.

I think that's a very light version of what Vincent's on about, which isn't to say it's not any good. I think it'd be a very interesting mechanic to play with, but then I'm nuts about creation-in-roleplay stuff in general.

I think what you'd need to do next (assuming you wanted to develop this) is find a genre or situation where those flashbacks would be a perfect fit. The Dungeon Crawl is a good start to explain the system, but it doesn't require the flashbacks and collaborative creation in the same way that, say, Dogs requires the players to make moral statements.

So -- where's this fit?
I have some notes somewhere around here for a game based on the "supernatural investigation/action" genre - I was thinking primarily of the anime series Witch Hunter Robin, but also of movies like the Blade series. In these sources, you start of the series/movie with a collection of characters, and don't really learn anything about them as people until the middle-ish, and don't learn the important stuff until the climax of the plot.

My system notes were centered around a reward system that gave increased character effectiveness for revealing background secrets for another character, as well as currency for doing something that wouldn't seem to be in the bounds of the character, and explaining it away with newly created background info.

So, there's one genre that I think it would fit.
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