thread: 2015-04-27 : Followup Questions from Owen

On 2015-04-29, Vincent wrote:

Caitie: Straight to the point!

Every game I've designed and finished since Apocalypse World has had winning and losing. I think there's a whole lot of game design that winning and losing opens up, just like turn-taking does, that is outside the entrenched form that my games always used to take.

Say that you want to make a rpg in the horror subgenre of murderous ghost stories, for instance. The entrenched mode among us old Forgies is to systematize the story - protagonist(s), conflict across moral lines, escalation, resolution - and furthermore, to systematically democratize it at the table. The result of this kind of design is that everyone at the table participates in creating a "satisfying story about murderous ghosts," right? This was my ideal game for 10 years.

But now I've come to think that it's not the best way to make a game in the horror subgenre of murderous ghost stories. This particular genre is as well-served, or better, maybe far better, by a game in which the driving impulse is not let's make a story but I really don't want to get murdered by ghosts.

With The Sundered Land, I tried it out on adventure fiction, and I found that it worked great there too. Freebooting Venus is a further development, an expansion, of this.

With Midsummer Wood, a fairy tale. Is it more true to fairy tales to say "let's create a fairy tale," or to say "I'm going to try to rob you fairies, and you're going to try to catch me"? Maybe the latter. Maybe the latter!

Why is it a big deal?

It's probably not a big deal at all. So a prevailing mode right now is to systematize democratically-created satisfying stories? That's actually good, not bad. Why should I fight against it? I shouldn't. It's just that it's not my ideal anymore, and I find working outside of it more inspiring.


This makes JC go "It's totally a big deal."

This makes VB go "It is?"
Tell me why!

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