Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Zooming

I know that people talk about it sometimes, but I have yet to see a game that allows for seamless zooming from one level of "character" to another. Which I think would be really interesting.

Take a medieval setting, divine right of kinds, all that good stuff. There are the following "levels" of character available: Human Being, Army, Country, God. They are linked thusly: A God bestows it's blessings on a Country, which enforces its interests with an Army, which is composed of Human Beings. The character sheet has a list of attributes down the left side, and the four levels across the top. So, going from left to right, you might have:

Strength|Lightning|Farmlands|Sorcerer Corps|Punching

Which means that the God's Strength is Lightning, the Countries Strength is its Farmlands, the Armies Strength is its Sorcerer Corps, and the Human Being in questions Strength is in Punching. So whenever you get into a situation that you need to resolve with Strength, you get a bonus by using that levels strength in your narration, or whatever.

I can see this being a framework for collaborative group-play centered around the saga of a given Country. You make up the details for each level (Calaberous, the God of Lightning; the Country of Greenswald; the Glorious Army of Greenswald; Karabash the Red, general of the Army), and give each one a number of positive and negative traits, and players bring in the different traits against each other when playing a scene with that level of character.

The Army level could be any gathering of people - a church congregation, a village, a household - anything thats more than a couple people. Also, maybe you could make a number of characters on each level, which relate to each other in interesting ways.

But the essential points are that the resolution system uses the "generic" traits, which get plugged in with the specific traits for whichever level of character you're playing, and thusly you can move seamlessly through the levels throughout play. Maybe with some kind of currency that you spend to access different levels (starting at individual, going up to group, and then country, and then god) for more gamist-y play.

If I ever pull together the Simmy wargame I've been thinking about, I may look into doing this kind of thing as an integrated RPG in the same setting.

Comments:
I thought along similar lines in Sweep of History.

I find it a very interesting thought-project, but I haven't (yet) found a way to make the concept really appeal enough to develop it.
 
I'm doing something sort of similar with Grey Ranks. In GR damage is socially ablative, and you rank the pieces of your life - My Country, My Faith, My Family, My Self, My Freinds, and My First Love. The value equation is up to each player, but things get lost in sequence.
 
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