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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Story Arcs in Capes: An Experimental Design  (Read 2346 times)
Zamiel
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« on: March 14, 2006, 03:07:42 AM »

I've been tinkering about with the idea of porting the Story Arc concept from With Great Power to Capes, which is complicated by the fact that the two systems have entirely different ideas about what character empowerment and resource management is like. but I think I've assembled a fairly straightforward prototype.

It's currently held captive on my blog at http://zamiel.livejournal.com/1008605.html because there's a bit too much formatting to put easily in a post here on the Forum.

Tony, I'd be particularly interested in your thoughts, but feedback from all Capes enthusiasts is certainly welcome. (I'm particularly fond of my post-hoc creation of the issues involved in an Arc, but I'm a sucker for inverted litcrit.)
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2006, 07:06:03 AM »

Looks very cool in principle.

When you write things like "No significant twists can be introduced in Scenes within this Arc until it moves to the next stage," I sort of wonder how you're going to make that concrete.  If a story Arc is about the relationship between Norman and Harry Osborne, does Normal slapping his son constitute a twist?  What if one player thinks that's just the natural evolution of things, while another player finds it a shocking and radical development?

But you're at the experimental stage now.  I wouldn't (by any means) expect you to have that sort of concrete stuff right now.  As a design goal I think what you've got is very spiffy.

My only question on the high level is:  What's the reward when players finish an arc?  From the pure resource-management point of view, what makes it worth it (to the players) to pour all those inspirations into the arc?
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Zamiel
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2006, 12:03:06 PM »

When you write things like "No significant twists can be introduced in Scenes within this Arc until it moves to the next stage," I sort of wonder how you're going to make that concrete.  If a story Arc is about the relationship between Norman and Harry Osborne, does Normal slapping his son constitute a twist?  What if one player thinks that's just the natural evolution of things, while another player finds it a shocking and radical development?

But you're at the experimental stage now.  I wouldn't (by any means) expect you to have that sort of concrete stuff right now.  As a design goal I think what you've got is very spiffy.

Well, that's where things have to bow to the power of "Pornography and Twists, I know them when I see them." I'm not sure there's any real way to say up front what a twist is and what isn't; literary criticism has been doing that for years. What we do know is that, be design and definition, Inspirations committed to the Arc to go from Exploration to Complication aren't "the" twist, ergo, if someone thinks its a twisty, unexpected moment, that's not invalidated, it just means its not the hinge twist on which the story shifts. Since the story is really being built retroactively and backwards, after events have occurred and entered the experience of the Players, you can say things like that and its just instantly so.

So, yes, perversely, I have given that sort of thing some thought. I really need a less active brain.

My only question on the high level is:  What's the reward when players finish an arc?  From the pure resource-management point of view, what makes it worth it (to the players) to pour all those inspirations into the arc?

Two things, really:

  • They get group access to all the Inspirations that've been put into the pool. Which means folks are more likely to get drawn into Conflicts and there's more likelihood of turning things into more Inspirations and Story Tokens; its a savings account for story!
  • They get the benefit of more "structure" in upcoming Scenes and some back-up inspiration for creating them. It's one step to help clear away Blank Page Syndrome. You don't have to build a Scene to further an Arc, but if you want to get to one of the explosive Resolutions and all its crunchy potential profit, you do.

Story Arcs in this sense key on the undertone of meta-competition between the Players to drive some of it. Plus, bragging rights for tying disparate Inspiration-created issues together interestingly.
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Blogger, game analyst, autonomous agent architecture engineer.
Capes: This Present Darkness, Dragonstaff
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