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sketched mechanic: choice of words = Influencing Force

Started by anonymouse, April 25, 2004, 08:33:08 PM

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It would basically work like this:

* Write up a list of the forces that are in work in your game.
* Assign a few words, concepts, phrases, et cetera to attribute to each force.
* Whenever one of the key triggers is said by a player (including "in character" dialogue), add a tick mark to any corresponding forces.
* Whichever force has the most ticks at any one time (minimum 5) is considered "dominant".
* If you don't mark a tick within about 10 seconds of a trigger being said, ignore it; the force wasn't paying attention (or something was blocking its influence. forgetful bastards.)


Poseidon: "wave", water, horses, trident, spear
Zeus: storm, lightning, king/lord
Hades: fire, lava, caves, death

Abe, describing the attack of a horde of orcs, says, "They come on you wave(P1) after wave(P1)." That's two ticks for Poseidon.

Another player says, "I spear him in the gut!" Another tick for Poseidon. Plus one for Hades, since the orc just died.

There's a lull in the fighting, and the GM describes it as a "lull in the storm", so there's a tick for Zeus.

Was playing Age of Mythology this morning, and there was a bit of cutscene dialogue about "which gods support you". Which suddenly lept off the track onto analogies, synonyms, et cetera, and, well, here 'tis.

Obviously a bit of bookkeeping, and open to a bit of exploitation (depending on the rest of the system), but I think it's pretty neat.
You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.


The bookkeeping might be more easily distributed (and more aggresively pursued) if each player were responsible for tracking a specific force.  Especially if there were a pile of something tangible (poker chips, dice) that they could just discreetly reach out and pull from when their key words came up.

Just a thought, hope it helps.
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Callan S.

Is part of the design goal to be very intuitive? Sorry, I don't have anything to add, I'm just curious. :)
Philosopher Gamer


No design goal whatsoever at the moment. When I come up with odd little bits like this I just post them and see what others can do with it. ;)
You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.

C. Edwards

Excellent, mouse.

I was thinking about doing something similar regarding keeping track (for an as of yet undefined purpose) of social forces at work in different genres/settings.

Examples: Barbarism/Civilization/Decadence

or even: Biology/Technology/Social


Shreyas Sampat

Interesting. An inversion of this exists, too:

* Write up a list of forces that are at work in your game.
* Assign things to attribute to that force.
* Whenever someone uses one of the triggers, he draws some power from the force instead of contributing power to it.
* The "pay attention" rule.

This turns out to be the Torch system in Torchbearer. Thanks for pointing this out, 'mouse. I think that systems like this are amazing ways of generating Color, and it looks like your version of it could also do other powerful things - it might be an interesting gimmick to build a "warring priesthoods" kind of game around. Just some thoughts.