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[Pursuit] Power 19
Topic: [Pursuit] Power 19 (Read 836 times)
[Pursuit] Power 19
May 07, 2008, 02:44:39 PM »
HI. I'm just starting out down the design path. I've decided to try to put down on paper a game idea thats I've been knocking around with my gaming group for a while now. Its something several of them have expressed an interest in playing but doesn't seem to quite exist on the market. The initial idea came up whilst several of us were watching the short lived TV series 'Drive'. The conversation about how it was a great series, but probably wouldn't work as a game lead to discussions about what made it great, and what would be neccessary to make a great game with a similar concept. I am now going to try to turn those concepts into a functional game.
Anyway, I've tried to put together a Power 19 for the game. It's been interesting since its forced me to think about what I'm actually working on, and work outr some of the basic mechanics. In fact just working on the Power 19 forced me to work out character creation, wager mechanics and dice mechanics to the point where the game is probably close to playable, even if its not yet balanced or tested.
1.) What is your game about?
Pursuit is a game about people in a race
]The backdrop is an illegal cross-country road race, but actually winning the race whilst the objective of the characters isn't the aim of the game. Its a game about exploring the way characters with very strong drives interact when there purposes run contrary to one another. It investigates how low they will sink to meet their goals and what really is important to them.
Ideally the system should work just as well for a boat race, or a spaceship race. Any race in mutiple legs could serve as a melting pot in which to explore a group of characters.
2.) What do the characters do?
The characters are the contestents in the road race. Initially the characters are all driven by a need to win the race, but this is often a short term goal towards some form of longer goal. As the game progresses this may change as other pathes to the long term goal are revealled.
3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?
The game is played with a GM. Could I run it GMless? Well I'd like to aspire to GMless, but I think it might be a lot easier to design with a GM in mind. If I can find a way to do away with the GM altogether later on, all the better, but for the moment I'll keep the GM in.
The GM creates the details of the race, and frames the start. In addition the GM will Frame regular scenes at the end of each leg, in order to summarise what has transpired so far and to set expectations for the next leg (foreshadowing events). The GM has the final say on how conflicts plays out, however with a good group he hopefully wont have to use this power. It is his job to referee the game.
The other players each control an individual character. These player characters are considered immortal (the cannot be killed) in all legs except the final leg, and even then can only be killed with the express permission of the controlling player. In addition each players is given the option to frame a single scenes during each leg of the race.
The players' goal is to resolve - or atleast come to some closure on the obsessions which drove their characters to take part in the race in the first place.
4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
The default setting is a modern day illegal road race in the USA. This is a fairly generic setting with which most players will have familiarity, if not from visiting the US, then from watching the huge range of TV programs set in modern day America. I have considered alternative settings (such as the 1970 or 80s, or near futuristic, but these settings tend to pull the spotlight away from the characters and onto the backdrop.
The race setting forces a group of characters with significant drives together into a melting pot where the all have a single mutually incompatible goal (to win the race). As such it immediately creates tention and is a recipe for conflict.
If I get time I will discus the possibilities of boat races, historic car races, ancient chariot races or Scifi spaceship races as alternative settings, but I'm keeping the default setting close to home.
5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?
Each character needs to have his own reason for being in the race (his Reason), and a driving force in his life (his Obsession). These need be tied in some way. Together they should tell a story. This is the very first thing I want on the sheet because I want it to be the thing everything else is built around. In fact the Obsession should go on the character sheet before the player has even thought of a name or a description for the character.
The game is about exploring the characters 'obsessions' and what it really means to him. Hopefully exploring what he will/will not do in the name of this obsession. I want to see how these characters interact under pressure, and the true goal of the game is coming to some sort of closure with regards each character's obsession.
Beyond the obsession and reason I want to limit how much more information is placed on the character. The character will be defined in terms of 2 or three lesser traits (which might be personality traits, or contacts or events from their passed) and five stats. Nothing on the character sheet will pertain the characters ability to drive a car. All characters willl be considered competent drivers - and conflicts will be decided based on the most applicable stat. Again I feel that having a drive skill will pull attention away from the actual character to the race.
6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
Players frame scenes. The game will very specifically reward framing scenes which involve another player's character's obsession or traits in a conflict. There is an even greater reward for framing scenes which place multiple player characters in dirrect conflict with each other.
7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
Each leg of the race players are give Race Points which represent their position in the field. At the end of each leg the player with the most Race Points is considered to come in first. As per the genre doing well during the day has little to do with driving well. A character who does something impressive and rewarding gains the personal drive to gain position in the field. As such Race Points are wagered in any scene the player is in, with players being rewarded more for scenes the have personal stakes in (ie which tie in to their obsession or their traits.)
In addition the framing player is rewarded for framing scenes which involve another player's character's obsession or traits in a conflict (as listed above).
8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?<
9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
Because of the way the Race Point Pot works within scenes every player involved (including the Framing Player who's character isn't present) stand to gain from each and every scene.
In addition since their is a mechanical benefit to framing scenes specifically tailored to the characters involved each player should find scenes to interest them.
Further more, any player who wants to get involved can buy his way into any scene, even if the original framing of the scene didn't mention his character.
10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
Players invest Race Points in scenes based on the characters level of involvement. Once a conflict is defined players decide which side of the conflict their characters fall. Each side rolls d6 based on combined player stats - looking for matches. The side with the wider matches wins and are given the ability to define how the confliuct was resolved within two limits: a) Players maintain authorial autonomy over his or her character and b) Players characters are involetile and cannot be killed. NPCs are fair game.
11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
When players become involved in conflicts involving things important to their characters they have to wager more Race Points - meaning they stand to gain more, and to loose more.
12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
They change. I'm not sure if advance is the right term. Players obsessions and raits can change over time.
Each time a players obsession is triggered in play they get to tick it. When they get sufficient ticks on the obsession they may change it. Possible changes include minor re-wordings, or even downgrading their obsession to a trait.
Its worth noting that downgrading an obsession to a trait whilst good for the character would actually inhibbit their ability to do well in the race, but from a story point of view might well represent coming to terms with some aspect of the obsession.
13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
The game is about how the player deals with his obsession and traits. How they dictate his life and what he will do to meet their needs. As such these are the only things which actually change - either as a result of him successfully advancing himself towards these goals/drives or as a result of knockbacks and failures to advance these goals
14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
I want to get the players to genuinely care about their character's vested interests. If a players obsession is his love for his wife, I want the player to genuinely car about that NPC, and concerned about her wellbeing.
Alternatively if his obsession is paying off his gambling debts I want the player genuinely concerned about the complications those debts are causing him.
15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
Mechanically I have to give the Race Point System a really strong field test to find any flaws in it. This is because a large chunk of the mechanics depend on it, so I have to know it work.
Feel wise though I want to work on the character genertion to make sure it has the right feel. This is what I feel is the heart of the game.
Finally the race and chase mini game rules need to be tested because after all this is a race game so they will probably come up a lot - although its actually part of the rules that currently I'm least excited about. In fact they are just a specialised application of the general resolution rules.
16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
The Race Point system, the Race Point Pot for each scene and the framing rewards.
I'm excited about this because it provides a single economy which rewards the framing the correct sort of scene (but only actually rewards based on results - so no conflict occurs equals no reward), emphasises the importance of player traits and obsessions, serves as a reward system and ties directly into the game fiction.
I'm aiming for a game which centres of conflict between the members of the group, but also allows some outside conflict. Having looked on the market Primetime Adventures, Shab al-hiri Roach and Best Friends all offer similar game play, but didn't quite offer precisely what I wanted.
Pursuit builds on concepts in these games to introduce incentives to frame scenes which directly impact the other players, and then ties this reward system directly into the background. In addition I feel that Pursuit needs a new mechanism to allow the characters to change as a direct result of the events they undergo.
18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?
I would like a professionally printed book for my own book shelf. I'd quite like another couple for my parents and for my father-in-law. If I can get these three copies Printed PoD and run off another six A5 booklets - one for each of my gaming group, then I'll be happy. I've no plans to sell (at least as yet) but I do want something tangible that I can say 'I did this' about.
19.) Who is your target audience?
Me, my players and my parents so I can show them what this roleplaying thing is....
Trying to describing my players - I'm aiming to produce a game for mature story orientated players more interested in exploring a tight little story than in a tactical simulation.
My ideal player will be happy to improvise, will be more interested in characters personality over attributes and/or skills. They will also be interested in small stories involving personal goals and tragedies rather than world shattering adventure. Finally I'm targetting players who like to have direct input into more aspects of the story than just their characters. (In other words it should be suited to my little gaming group since they are my target audience)
Thanks for looking over this. Any comments would be much appreciated.
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