2010-02-18 : Currency - Spanning Divide and Range
Before we get to reliable vs unreliable currency, there are a couple of key things to note. Both of them happened to appear in the gun-guy thread so I’ll just pull them out.
The first is here, tucked into these 2 example currency rules:
- When an attacker lands a hit on your character, mark off wound boxes according to the attacker’s weapon’s damage.
- When you go up from warrior level 2 to warrior level 3, you get 2d6 HP and +1 to your Brawn, and if your character serves a king, the king will grant you land.
Your game’s currency rules can refer, perfectly ably and equally, to both fiction and real-world. Your character, the attacker and the hit she lands, the king your character serves, the land he grants - those are all fictional things. Wound boxes, the damage listing for your character’s attacker’s weapon, the class, level, HP and Brawn listings on your character sheet - those are all things in our real world (“cues,” in Emily Care Boss’s terms).
So the idea of currency spans the fiction-cues divide.
The second is here, explicit in my answer to Matthijs:
If I draw a distinction between systemic and mechanical, you get what I mean, right? System is what the players are actually doing to play the game, which may or may not be written down, and may or may not include mechanics, but it still exists, right? So freeform games have systemic currency, not mechanical currency - I have no qualms about that whatsoever.
...Characters take effective actions that (a) deplete, restore, build, or otherwise change their resources, and (b) change their circumstances, sometimes only immediately, sometimes profoundly. Characters’ resources (a) provide breadth and depth to their ranges of effective actions, and (b) can also change their circumstances, immediately and/or profoundly. Characters’ circumstances, of course, (a) constrain and provoke their effective actions, and (b) can change their resources.
A warrior kills his enemies, gaining experience and looting their wealth, but suffering exhaustion and wounds. For a while he’s able to stay ahead of the curve - his experience does him more benefit than his wounds hamper him - but that time comes to an end. He uses his accumulated wealth to buy a wife and a home, and he turns his battle-cultivated experience to politics, to good effect. Now he’s mayor.
Cycles of effectiveness, resource, and positioning, all trading off one into the next. That’s currency. (So however it happens in play, that’s your game’s systemic currency, whether you have character sheets or dice or whatever or none.)
So currency spans the whole range of formality and informality too. It can be mechanized into hard, concrete rules, it can be implicit in the interactions of the players, or any combination. This makes sense - currency is just part of system, after all.
Everybody good? Questions please!
1. On 2010-02-18, Ben Lehman said:
2. On 2010-02-18, Vincent said:
3. On 2010-02-18, Josh W said:
4. On 2010-02-19, Ben Lehman said:
5. On 2010-02-19, Roger said:
6. On 2010-02-19, way said:
7. On 2010-02-19, Vincent said:
8. On 2010-02-19, Vincent said:
9. On 2010-02-19, Roger said:
10. On 2010-02-22, Josh W said:
11. On 2010-02-22, Marshall Burns said: