thread: 2011-02-07 : Design scales: to the text!

On 2011-02-08, Alex Abate Biral wrote:

All right, let's see if I am getting what you are saying:

I think that the Recurring Nightmares in BtVS serves as a problematic example. I am not sure, as I never played this game, but the text says: "Your character is plagued by terrifying dreams that relive some traumatic experience, or are just frightening and disturbing". So, when creating a character, if I choose this trait, I believe I am saying right now "My character has this important issue that torments her soul. I want it to be an important part of play".

However, the rest of the text has little to do with the nightmares or the issues that cause them. Instead, what I am really saying if I choose this trait is "Sometimes (10% of the time) my character doesn't sleep well." which is minutiae that has little to do with "...the direction of the story...".

On the other hand, BW's instincts seem more connected with the bigger picture.  There is a clear relationship between my character's instincts and her "...list of player-determined priorities".

For example, if I choose the instinct "Never trust someone in power.", I am, right now, saying that my character is an mistrusting rebel. In the long term, this instinct may help me in many situations, like allowing a test just as the scheming noble tries to double cross my character. On the other hand it can also create trouble for the character, for while instincts don't force the player to act on them, they make it advantageous to do so.

So, while I can't say how exactly a certain instinct will change play, I know it will do so according to what I wanted to say about my character, its short term effects are aligned to what I want to say in the long term story.


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