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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 64 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [JDaTE] Grief framework  (Read 314 times)
GDorn
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« on: March 29, 2010, 01:20:57 PM »

Background: I did a bunch of prepwork for a Kill Puppies For Satan game set in the John Dies at the End 'universe' for a con over the weekend but didn't end up running it due to scheduling issues.  In retrospect, it occurs to me that while KPFS has a very similar mood to JDaTE and similar antiheroes, KPFS is fairly minimal and doesn't quite reinforce the kind of gameplay JDaTE should have.

JDaTE is basically Cthulhupunk, with emphasis on the 'punk'.  One reason it fits with the KPFS theme is that the 'investigators' only their survive initial exposures to great horrors because they're already fucked up.  Another similarity is that the 'investigators' never really win.  Even when they win, they lose in some way, which is a lot like how KPFS PCs earn grief constantly.

I'd rather have a system that fleshes out this miserable desperation, though, and KPFS mostly leaves this undefined.

After playing Rock of Tahamat, I think its main resolution system might have something.  The mechanic of building the narrative with additive rolls means there are several stages to inflict specific flavors of grief on the PCs;  fail the first ('craven') roll and the PC suffers some grief related to misplacing their cajones or having them stolen.  Fail the second and some obstacle inflicts grief, like the demon-possessed cheerleader cockpunches you before you get a chance to finish the exorcism (there's a lot of cockpunching).  Fail the last roll, and, well, what's the worst thing that can happen?  That happens.

Are there other systems I'm not thinking of that are focused on failure in this way?  Many systems have degrees of success, but not as many degrees of failure and even fewer suggest types of failure, which I think is key.

(Incidentally, this is also going to be my first attempt at designing an indie game.)
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