thread: 2009-06-09 : Adequacy, Cause and Effect

On 2009-06-10, Christian Griffen wrote:

So... you've got making fictional details into fictional causes. And then there's doing away with mechanical causes. There's also this third way that I'm exploring, and I'm still kind of working my way through how to explain it. The third way, which not surprisingly is also borne from my freeform experience, is to have the mechanics emphasize fictional actions, but not having any direct effect whatsoever.

I'm currently trying to make this into a workable game that's tentatively called Within Our Eyes. The idea is that, when you have a fictional action that affects another character—say, you call his honor into question, or you brush your lips over his ear—you place a card at the appropriate venue (passion, intrigue, violence, ritual).  Put it face down, unless your action raises the intensity level between the characters (i.e., escalates), in which case it's face up. You don't actually talk about the cards during the scene, you don't openly discuss the intensity, you just use them as silent cues while staying entirely in character.

So while you play the scene, that's all it is.  There's no mechanical resolution during the scene, no determining of who hits whom, no conflict or task resolution. The cards simply let you emphasize what you're doing and keep track of how intense it's gotten between the characters.  When the scene is over, you get to figure out if the characters had a lasting effect on each other, using the amassed cards to change traits, gain advantages, inflict handicaps, etc.  But all of those are related to the cards again, so they're really more suggestions than enforced mechanical consequences (unless you get to the point of imperiling or dooming another character, but you can only get there when both players voluntarily take the intensity to a certain level).

If anyone knows a game that deals with this kind of third approach already, I'd love to hear more about that! :)


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