The Ties that Bind

I’m pressed for time here, but I’m dedicated to keep this thing going on the daily basis I agreed to (for at least a month, let’s not be crazy. Okay? Who knows though?)

My mind has been tickled with exposure to other systems of late. Since we move forward with influences, I have to say I’ve been seriously impressed with two systems beyond those I’m developing for–FATE and FIASCO. They both change the paradigms I’m accostomed to and cause neurons to fire in all kinda directions. Just looking at FIASCO from the outside, it has the potential to be a wonderful trainwreck or a horrible, horrible trainwreck staining your memory with the burning carcasses of bad roleplay. Fortunately, I’ve had both experiences and survived and have seen what the game is capable of at both ends of the spectrum.

FATE, by my definition, is a story forward game. It is fun-centric. The tidal flow of the FATE point economy is very organic and it is a liberating game in which to both play and run. I love compels. I love aspects. I love the way the story can organically turn and, gee, this is turning into a love letter. Again, it’s one of those games hard for some folks to grok. It’s like a lizard sliding off of a piece of plexi-glass even though its suckered feet stick to just about everything else. I’ve seen it too. It wasn’t pretty watching smoke curling out of someone’s ears when the paradigm shifted beneath his feet. (Still, it wasn’t as bad as the “BAD FIASCO” game, I experienced.) Ultimately, I had more than one ahah! moment over the course of trying out numerous incarnations of FATE, including turns with Iron Dynasty, Agents of Oblivion, and Space Game X (a one-shot I through together entirely on the fly). I get the appeal. I have The Dresden Files in the stack of games by my desk at the moment. Do you have yours?

Now, what commonality do these two games share which could possibly informed my current work? If you guessed Social Stuff, give yourself a cookie, grab a white die, a FATE point, and a Benny. Remember: if you’re lying, you’re only hurting yourself.

The amazing dynamic of relationships unfolding before your eyes when you roll the dice for FIASCO? Amazing. It’s like playing a crazy Mad-Lib. The one Social Combat is handled in FATE? Sweet. Diaspora has some interesting takes on Social Maneuvering, but I’ve not seen it in play yet, so reserve judgement. Many things look good on paper. I hear good things about it. My mind is wondering what lessons I can take away from these things—wherein lies the epiphany, the lesson learned–applicable to Echo of Dead Leaves. I believe there’s something in there somewhere. At least a spark to either illuminate the way or set off some gunpowder in my head so ideas explode out like a newborn god. (There is your literary allusion for the day.) I’m still mulling it all over, taking it all in. Since a lot of play in Echo of Dead Leaves is city-centric, I want relationships to build among the characters with the (NPC) world around them. There is something there, but I don’t know if I need to address it with mechanics or provide a loose framework. I know a handwave won’t work for this.

Now, I must get things printed out for the testing of Plot Point 1 tonight, or it won’t actually look like I prepped as much as I have.

Until tomorrow, I bid you adieu!

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