Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh, Hai There!

I've been kind of quiet lately. I was a little burned out, a lot of it having to do with my old job that was sucking a lot of motivation out of me. So I got a new, better paying, database engineer position. But the end result is that I'm not blogging from work - a habit I don't wish to get back into, since I actually want to work at work. And I've been making some changes at home to include some healthier behaviors (not physically, per se, just trying to eliminate some bad habits). I only blog when I really feel it, and the short version is that lately I haven't felt like it.

Now that I'm feeling a little more energized, I've started to tackle some concepts for  My Tribe 8 Fate Core game. I finally launched on Roll20 week before last, and while we're off to a slow start it's giving me time to think about the bigger picture.

Tribe 8 has both a strongly defined setting and an established metaplot. The strongly defined setting part isn't too hard to integrate into Fate Core (make the game about the characters and their personal struggles) but a tightly bound metaplot is hard to reconcile. There's just not as much room for players to drive the game in the direction they want if one is intent on following a metaplot, and that player direction is something that Fate Core thrives on. The obvious answer is to leave the metaplot bloody in a ditch somewhere, but that's not what I want to do. It's a pretty big part of the game for me, and how tightly DP9 bound the setting to the metaplot was one of the stand-out elements of the game. What it didn't have was for a way to engage the players in the same manner that one can using Fate Core. In light of this, I'd like to find a happy medium between the two.

There was a great thread on Story-Games about Tribe 8, and in it +Brand Robins suggests Doom/Salvation tracks. In order for the players to improve the world and move it toward salvation, they need to sacrifice things that are important to their PCs. This may mean they get nothing (in the end) in return, and their sacrifice may be in vain. Or, they can tempt the impending doom to try to get a "win" (such as taking the fight to the Fatimas or trying to exterminate the Z'bri). In the end, it may benefit the PCs or their side, but it moves the setting toward it's inexorable doom. In addition to some great thoughts about community vs. individualism, there's a lot to chew on in that thread.

Next, comes two posts from the Fate Core crew. Invoking at a cost, which +Fred Hicks suggested here, dovetails extremely well with the Doom/Salvation concept. It completely plays to both the question, "What are you willing to pay to succeed?" and the idea that "winning" often means tempting things that are beyond your control. Next, this post by +Rob Donoghue discusses a novel way of handling secrets in the campaign. The Tribe 8 world is full about secrets. And now knowing which of those secrets is true, and either trying to use that information to advance your agenda or trying to use it to try to bring about salvation could lead down a path of failure, death, or even worse.

Finally, to wrap things up are +Josh Roby and co's Destiny Deck, which I would kill to actually become a thing (even if it was just a virtual thing). I have a really strong feeling that the deck is a way to tie these elements together - secrets, doom vs. salvation, costs of success - in a thematic and cool way. So much so that I want to try to cobble together some images to use as cards, and figure out a system for doling them out.

So, that's what my brain is churning over as the gaming sectors come revving back to life. Oh, I also am going to have some Dark Phoenix Publishing fun soon.