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Author Topic: [Mortal Coil] Subbing out the conflict resolution  (Read 9844 times)
Ice Cream Emperor

Posts: 46

« on: June 29, 2007, 10:50:28 PM »

So it seems plausible that over the next month or so we'll be starting a longish-form game using Mortal Coil, and consequently I decided to give the rules another read-through. And one of the things that struck me is that while I get all excited about the Theme document and the magic system, and I get all excited about Passions, when it comes to the conflict resolution mechanic I either end up confused or just kind of shrugging. When I compare it to a dice-based resolution system like that of Don't Rest Your Head or even Sorceror, it seems like the MC mechanic offers less in terms of adding interesting bits to the outcomes of conflict, even if it does a good job of resolving the conflict itself.

And so, without even having played the game, I am already considering swapping it out for another system -- current front-runner being the Solar System (aka TSOY.) But even as I consider the consequences of the decision, I have to wonder if maybe I'm just selling the MC conflict mechanic short -- given how much trouble I had grasping some of the basic elements of how the game uses stakes, when actions do or do not resolve a conflict, etc., maybe I'm also missing some cool stuff. Or maybe I'm missing some crucial interplay between the Passions/Magic/etc. systems and the conflict mechanic, that will make substituting in another resolution mechanic a major mistake.

That's where (I hope) you guys come in -- you guys who have actually played the game. My hope is that you can offer opinions on any of the following:

1. What is cool about the conflict resolution mechanic in MC, in your experience? What kind of narrative does it produce, what kind of unexpected stuff does it introduce, and how does it do that? Are there strategic elements to the mechanic that you've found interesting/rewarding?

2. How much interaction has their been between the resolution mechanic and the Magic/Power/Passion mechanics, in your experience? Has that interaction been cool or interesting? Is there anything about how these systems interact that may not be obvious without trying them out?

3. If you're familiar with TSOY, how straightforward would it be to simply import that conflict resolution system (including bringing down the pain)? Do you see any potential snags, or things that might accidentally fall by the wayside?

To clarify, when I talk about Mortal Coil's conflict resolution system I mean the blind-action-token-bidding, adding the other stats, comparing values, the 'wound' track, etc. I don't mean spending magic tokens to activate abilities. Things like activating Passions definitely interact with the conflict resolution system.

~ Daniel
Filip Luszczyk

Posts: 746


« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2007, 11:51:51 AM »

Unfortunately, I haven't played Mortal Coil yet, although I'm considering trying it out soon. However, I'm kind of ambivalent about the conflict resolution system as well. When I read the rules, things seem rather needlesly complicated, mechanics- and handling-wise, and it all reminds me of some projects of mine that I dropped or completely reworked for similar reasons.

The idea of porting MC to TSoY sounds pretty cool, anyway. I've been tinkering with some DitV-based hybrids lately, mostly for fun, and this includes considering possible DitV/MC, DitV/TSoY, and DitV/PTA mashups. No matter what purists could say, I believe a lot of fun stuff can be done by combining the best parts of different systems.

I suppose it would be easy to port Theme and Magic rules without much trouble at all - it doesn't look like these are tied to the rest of the mechanics in a way that would hinder separating them. Power and Passions might be more difficult, as TSoY already has its own mechanics that take the same system niches (i.e. Keys, Gift Dice, Pools). I think you could allow purchasing new Magic tokens with experience, and substituting them with some number Pool points - but I'm not sure if there is an easy way to deal with Passions without them and Keys interfering.

Brennan Taylor
Posts: 499

« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2007, 01:49:09 AM »

I don't think you will have any trouble porting the theme and magic portions of MC to another system, that should work fine.

I would say the only thing you need to really think about carefully is how the Passions would work in another system. The Passion economy is a pretty tight and contained part of the mechanics, and what you need to ensure is that using a Passion in your new resolution system gives the player the right amount of juice. A 1-point passion should be a pretty modest bump, but a 5-point passion should be pretty huge.


Posts: 54

« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2007, 09:00:45 AM »

When it comes to dice-less systems, I really like PTA and Dust Devil's way of everyone bidding for the outcome of the scene/conflict (and having the player with highest card narrate). It keeps things less cluttered (especially in PTA) and it is easy to run conflicts. But you know, I think it would be more appropriate to use Tarot cards for a game like Mortal Coil. Do you think PTA's resolutions system would work for Mortal Coil and how would you incorporate tarot cards (I think there is an idie game that uses them) instead of playing cards?

Posts: 54

« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 12:47:28 PM »

In theory, could you not take the resolution system from MC and use it for "scene resolution," like the way they do it in PTA or Dust Devils?

Posts: 24

« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2007, 03:09:57 AM »

Ok I'm not Brennan but i read this thread and got an Idea.
I need to work on this one a bit... need to research the meaning of tarot cards and so on... but maybe you find this interesting... inspirational thoughts maybe

Well, playing Mortal Coil with Tarot cards? If you would create a mixture of PTA and Mortal Coil you sure could play with Tarot cards.

You would have the four different cards Pentacles, Cups, Swords and Wands, Passions would give you extra cards (similiar to fan mail but by yourself)

If you draw a card of the major Arcana, the card itself does not count toward winning your stakes but the Player who narrates the scene has to involve the meaning of the card somehow.

I would write a small txt-file for everyone with short paragraphs about every card and a sentence about how to incorparate the card.

Death for example has alot of meanings, it stands not only for dying and so on but also for a new beginning. You can find these explainations everywhere in the internet.

Oh, another Idea... you could also change the needed Cards (in PTA you need Hearts if I remember correctly) depending on the conflict or the Kind of passion or faculty.

Love or duty = Pentacles = Wits/Will
Hatred/Fear = Swords = Force/Will
Duty = Wands = Will / Force
Fear/Love = Pentacles = Grace / Wits

well... now I want to play this... I have to work this one out Smiley

Michael K.

- - - Michael - - -
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