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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Ever-After: Currency & Advancement  (Read 9607 times)
Piers
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Posts: 72


« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2003, 10:04:16 AM »

Jonathon,
               this looks good.  The play example really catchs the flavour I'd imagined for the game, especially the cooperative aspects of things, where everyone is taking responsibility for different aspects of the story.  I can't actually see anything I'd want to change from what you have here, but here are a couple of questions, and some thoughts about some of the surrounding mechanics that came to me:

i) Okay, I understand where the Theme ratings (the bracketed numbers beside the actual drops in a Theme) came from (the number of drops invested in them from the previous game), but what are they doing mechanically right now?  Do you need them or does just having a theme do everything at the moment?

ii) On that point, one thing I think you might consider moving away from with this game is the idea of individual experience.  So of implicit up to now, though you only mention it from time to time is the idea of players spending drops to acquire, maintain and change themes attached to the player.  This might interfere with the flow of the game because it encourages players to hold back so they can spend for new themes, etc.  The 'troupe-style' aspect of the game is one of the strengths of it in my opinion.  Would it work better to have this be one of the jobs of the intermediary--to spend Drops allocated to his/her Duty during the After-Once as part of a collective decision about what themes to carry with them.

iii) On this topic, if players can carry themes with them, I don't see why they shouldn't carry Masks too--these can become favored or recurring characters who turn up in different stories, or who the troup tells a series of stories about before dropping them.  The Gardener, together with the Intermediary, would be the one who had control over this.  (And the Gardener's Duty Drops should perhaps be used to tear Masks.)

iv)I really like the idea of the troupe having a pool of Drops to play with, and expansion of that pool being the 'advancement' of the group--the ability to tell larger and more complex stories.  I'm really not sure how or when to give more Drops.  Thematically I think it would be really cool if they got more when a Troupe member shed tears over a story, of either laughter or sadness, but that might well be setting the bar far too high.  

v)  In conjunction with that though, one way to control Drops in themes, masks etc would be to say that each Troupe has a set number of Drops between them which are used as a pool in play or to allocate Themes etc between the players.  Thus adding an extra theme or mask to your abilities would reduce the common pool, giving up a theme would increase it.  The intermediary would then, as suggested above, spend drops to change the allocation of Themes.  

vi)  This might be a better way to handle Strikes--when you screw up you have to burn one of your themes or a favorite mask in order to get out of trouble, converting it into a Drop.  This would sting badly enough that players would pay atytention to their duties without having add another system to the game.  

Anyway, enough for now.  I'll leave you to chew that over while I go do some real work.

Piers
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Valamir
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2003, 10:33:21 AM »

Ok, this helped alot.  Let me ask a question before I offer any actual feedback on it.

As I read it every player gets a certain number of Drops as allocated by the Piper.  Before play continues the players must allocate these Drops to either the Duty, Theme(s), or Mask(s) that have been assigned to them.  When drops are spent to perform a duty, incorporate a theme, or have a mask act they must come from those Drops currently invested.  When the drop is spent it is no longer invested (i.e. it doesn't regenerate) it is gone, and may or may not be reallocated after the next Piping.

Ok...if I've got that down right...here's the question.

What is the intention behind the Investment requirement?  What is the forseen benefit from allocating the Drops in advance vs keeping all of the Drops in the players possession to be allocated on the fly during play?
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2003, 01:14:38 PM »

Yea, comments!  I'm going to respond to these in revese order...

First one from a PM from Jack, because it's very relavent to what's been brought up here:

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
You may wish to give more thought to how drops are handled in the game. Scheherazade is right to give Monkey a look for only giving her two drops when he gave himself and Anansi five. Next time she may not nod agreeably.


Quite true.  I was worried that, in some cases, certain characters might need more Drops than others, but, if that happens, the Piper can just keep recycling spend Drops and passing them out, in equal numbers to each player.  There would be a diminishing return for big spenders, since Drops would slowly move to those players who weren't as active, but that's good.  Then, it slowly shifts narrative power to those who aren't participating, bringing them into the action.

Quote from: Valamir
What is the intention behind the Investment requirement? What is the forseen benefit from allocating the Drops in advance vs keeping all of the Drops in the players possession to be allocated on the fly during play?


To add a strategic element to things.  If you take away investment and allow the players to "channel" certain Masks/Themes/Duties by spending Drops, there's no resource-allocation going on.  There's no risk of running out of something (unless you end up spending all your Drops).  Investment means that players will often be making story choices based not just on what they want to happen, but what kind of Drops they have available.

Why limit what players can do?  Ever-After has different goals than Universalis.  Uni is about enabling players to tell the stories they want to tell.  Ever-After is about the process of players learning, through trial-and-error, how to tell the stories they want to tell.  It's about the journey, not the result.  It's about building a suitable social contract and choosing the right Themes and learning the strengths and weaknesses of various players.  And sometimes the story will be more interesting because of the limits placed on it.  You'll find yourself inspired to make choices that you wouldn't have made otherwise.

Does that answer your question?  I thought about it for a while, but that's the only thing I can really come up with.  I considered "channeling" too, orginally, but it didn't feel quite right.  This feels right, whatever that means.  It's strongly Gamist (remember scenes of Magic games, where various cards would have piles of tokens on them?  That's what this would look like) but maybe Ever-After was destined to be a kind of Gamist-Narrativist hybrid.

Quote from: Piers Brown
Okay, I understand where the Theme ratings (the bracketed numbers beside the actual drops in a Theme) came from (the number of drops invested in them from the previous game)


Actually, that's not what those are.  The numbers in parens are the "capacities" of the various Themes.  It tells you how many Drops you can have invested in that Theme.  Duties and Masks don't have a maximum capacity; you can put as many Drops on them as you like, but since Theme Drops effect the larger story, I didn't want those flying around constantly.  That's why the limit is there.

Still, I don't know how effective it is in doing what I want.  If you keep spending Theme Drops and then re-investing in the same Theme, even a Theme of low capacity could be pretty disruptive.  Maybe Themes should suffer "burn-out," where you can only invest a certain number of Drops in them per story, period.  Each time you invest in a Theme, you mark off a box.  When you have no more boxes, you couldn't invest in it until the next story.  Theme capacity would still grow by creating an instance of the Theme using normal Mask manipulation (without spending Theme Drops).  

Does that work better?

As far as point II goes, characters no longer spend Drops to support Themes.  They have to manifest in the story without spending Theme Drops to create it.  Then, in the next story, that Theme would be increased by one.

Having Troupe-wide Themes instead of individual Themes is a neat idea, but it would take a huge amount of time to decide on what your group's Themes were, even with an Intermediary arbitrating.  What do people think?  Maybe if each player got to pick one Theme, but they could all invest in them and spend invested Theme Drops?  I don't know.

Quote from: Piers Brown
On this topic, if players can carry themes with them, I don't see why they shouldn't carry Masks too.


Hmm, damn straight they should.  Maybe any Mask that doesn't get destroyed by the Gardener can be carried into the next story?  Whether they gets used or not is up to the players (the King of Wu might not be appropriate in a space opera), but it would be cool if there was a kind of "story drift" that happened, where elements from the last story would spill over into the next.

At the end of a story-cycle (one session), the Masker would recover all the Masks, which could be redistributed at the beginning of the next session.  However, if each Mask only costs 1 Drop, I could see a Troupe building up an enormous number of Masks very quickly.  Is there a way to make sure only certain Masks get saved?  Maybe the Troupe could also have a seperate Troupe-wide trait (like the number of Drops in their collective pool) that measures the number of Masks they can carry into the After-Once?

Quote from: Piers Brown
I really like the idea of the troupe having a pool of Drops to play with, and expansion of that pool being the 'advancement' of the group--the ability to tell larger and more complex stories.


Damn straight.  Troupe-wide quantification was another thing I wanted to be a part of this game, and it looks like it's sneakng it.  Great!  Troupe-wide advancement is a tricky subject though.  Shreyas' Law is that "experience changes you," instead of making you quantifiably better, but this is a case where numerical advancement might actually work.  It makes sense that an older Troupe would tell more complex stories and have more Masks stuffed in their trunk.

Anybody got a suggestion on how this might work?

On V & VI: the Common Pool

Really like this stuff.  So the Troupe has a common pool of Drops that they use to tell stories.  Say it starts at 5-7 per member and there's some unknown advancement system that we haven't determined yet.

For each point of capacity a Theme has, players have to permanently invest a Drop in it, lowering the total number of Drops.  Likewise, Masks also require a permanent investature.  However, at any time, players can "burn" a Theme or Mask (more Magic terms, I love it!) to retrieve the Drop that has been invested in it.  This fixes the Strikes problem.  If you really need another Drop, burn something.

In order to keep the story going, the Gardener has to spend Drops that don't go back into the pool for recycling.  They get removed from the game until the story is over.  So, the Gardener is slowly removing the currency from the story.  However, the story can continue as normal if the Gardener burns Themes or Masks or the other players give the Gardener things to burn.

Having a larger pool for your Troupe means that you could either tell longer stories or more elaborate stories.  Not both.  Stories that required a great many Masks or Themes would be very short, because you'd be burning things very quickly.  But simple stories could drag on for a long time.
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Valamir
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2003, 01:48:42 PM »

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

To add a strategic element to things.  If you take away investment and allow the players to "channel" certain Masks/Themes/Duties by spending Drops, there's no resource-allocation going on.  There's no risk of running out of something (unless you end up spending all your Drops).  Investment means that players will often be making story choices based not just on what they want to happen, but what kind of Drops they have available.


Ok, got it.  So that means that the perk of being the Piper is that you are essentially immune to resource allocation issues.  As long as you keep 1 drop on your duty you can call for piping whenever you like meaning you never have to run out of anything.  In other words while other players are stymied because they've run out of drops the piper never will be, if there's something he wants to do but has run out of drops for it he just Pipes himself some more.

Further, the piper only needs to keep one drop on his duty because he knows he can reallocate it the instant it is spent.

What prevents the piper from keeping the lion's share of drops for himself?

That brings me to another question set.  How do the duties look during play.  Is Monkey ONLY involved in determining the type of the next story but does nothing during the story?  If so, are drops assigned to the duty spent during the in between time.  Are drops and piping involved at all during the in between time?  What about Muse.  After dumping a ton of drops on Muse to start things off, is there ever a need for the Muse to invest in duty again during that story?  The gardner has a responsibility to tear up a mask every X time limit...does this require he invest in his duty to do it?  If so, what happens if he does not so invest...do masks never get destroyed and the story go on forever?

Currently I'm seeing the Piper as being in the bully chair.  "Do things my way or get no drops", such that defacto they begin running the whole game.  Is the only check and balance the idea that the Gardner will target all of the Pipers masks first in revenge?

If you're going to introduce some competitive elements to the game I think you'll need some more explicit checks and balances.  Does the Grand Comptroller / Conductor have the ability to take duties away and reassign them?  Can he do this at will or does it require group consensus.  Does it require a drop, putting him at the mercy of the Piper also?

Why limit what players can do?  Ever-After has different goals than Universalis.  Uni is about enabling players to tell the stories they want to tell.  Ever-After is about the process of players learning, through trial-and-error, how to tell the stories they want to tell.  It's about the journey, not the result.  It's about building a suitable social contract and choosing the right Themes and learning the strengths and weaknesses of various players.  And sometimes the story will be more interesting because of the limits placed on it.  You'll find yourself inspired to make choices that you wouldn't have made otherwise.

Quote
Quote from: Piers Brown
On this topic, if players can carry themes with them, I don't see why they shouldn't carry Masks too.


Hmm, damn straight they should.  Maybe any Mask that doesn't get destroyed by the Gardener can be carried into the next story?  Whether they gets used or not is up to the players (the King of Wu might not be appropriate in a space opera), but it would be cool if there was a kind of "story drift" that happened, where elements from the last story would spill over into the next.
Quote


Perhaps any mask that still has an investment in it when the story ends...lives till the next story.  But other than an easy source to burn for a drop...what purpose would they serve.  As you say, do you really want the King of Wu wondering around your space ship.  Maybe on occassion for a bit of comedy...but other than that?
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Piers
Member

Posts: 72


« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2003, 02:58:47 PM »

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

Having Troupe-wide Themes instead of individual Themes is a neat idea, but it would take a huge amount of time to decide on what your group's Themes were, even with an Intermediary arbitrating.  What do people think?  Maybe if each player got to pick one Theme, but they could all invest in them and spend invested Theme Drops?  I don't know.


I wasn't actually suggesting common themes, but rather that the choices about what is carried in the next story should be made by the group as a whole, and then those themes allocated to individuals who would be responsible.  So instead of the players individually choosing to 'advance' themselves, the Intermediary having to spend the Duty drops to change things around.  Which is pretty much where you get to below.

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

Quote from: Piers Brown
I really like the idea of the troupe having a pool of Drops to play with, and expansion of that pool being the 'advancement' of the group--the ability to tell larger and more complex stories.


Damn straight.  Troupe-wide quantification was another thing I wanted to be a part of this game, and it looks like it's sneakng it.  Great!  Troupe-wide advancement is a tricky subject though.  Shreyas' Law is that "experience changes you," instead of making you quantifiably better, but this is a case where numerical advancement might actually work.  It makes sense that an older Troupe would tell more complex stories and have more Masks stuffed in their trunk.

Anybody got a suggestion on how this might work?


You know, thinking about it, one Drop a session, maybe two if it went really well, might be about right, seeing as that Drop has to be shared amongst everyone.  Even in long term play the tendency to tie these up in Masks and Themes would stop things getting too out of hand.  

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

On V & VI: the Common Pool

Really like this stuff.  So the Troupe has a common pool of Drops that they use to tell stories.  Say it starts at 5-7 per member and there's some unknown advancement system that we haven't determined yet.

For each point of capacity a Theme has, players have to permanently invest a Drop in it, lowering the total number of Drops.  Likewise, Masks also require a permanent investature.  However, at any time, players can "burn" a Theme or Mask (more Magic terms, I love it!) to retrieve the Drop that has been invested in it.  This fixes the Strikes problem.  If you really need another Drop, burn something.

In order to keep the story going, the Gardener has to spend Drops that don't go back into the pool for recycling.  They get removed from the game until the story is over.  So, the Gardener is slowly removing the currency from the story.  However, the story can continue as normal if the Gardener burns Themes or Masks or the other players give the Gardener things to burn.

Having a larger pool for your Troupe means that you could either tell longer stories or more elaborate stories.  Not both.  Stories that required a great many Masks or Themes would be very short, because you'd be burning things very quickly.  But simple stories could drag on for a long time.


Sounds good to me.  

Final thought.  Starting out, you should probably give each player a theme, maybe two, and a Mask.  Who are Scherazade and Monkey, Quixote and Coyote but Masks.  (Burning this Mask is probably a bad idea unless you have a replacement.)  You wouldn't want them to turn up in every story, they'd be just as incongrous as the King of Wu on a space-ship (though if you put him in a jumpsuit and renamed him Glactic Emperor Wu...), but I love the idea of Scherazade starting a story with "There once was a monkey who was three times immortal..." and Monkey perking up and saying, "Hey! This is a story about me!"

Piers
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2003, 05:35:48 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
Ok, got it.  So that means that the perk of being the Piper is that you are essentially immune to resource allocation issues... What prevents the piper from keeping the lion's share of drops for himself?


Okay a couple points on this issue:

1) Something you might have overlooked in the last post... Thanks to Jack's noticing this earlier, the distribution scheme used in the example (basically, Piper fiat) is scrapped for the original method: Piper goes around the circle giving one Drop to each player until s/he runs out.  So none of this 5/5/2 allocation that Anansi pulled in the example.  It'd be 4/4/4.  However, the Piper does have some leeway, choosing where to start passing out Drops and which direction to go in.

2) The Piper, while definitely having an advantage in this area, is not totally immune.  You'll never have enough Drops to do everything you want.  Piping when there are only 3 Drops in the pool, just because you need to invest in a Mask, is very bad form.  One of the key features of Ever-After is that there are in-game means of dealing with social contract issues (the Intermediary/Conductor), so if the Piper is being abusive, there are people to deal with it.  You don't have to say what the GM should and shouldn't do all the time.  Sometimes, you can trust people to act responsibly.

Quote
Is Monkey ONLY involved in determining the type of the next story but does nothing during the story?  If so, are drops assigned to the duty spent during the in between time.  Are drops and piping involved at all during the in between time?


Okay, as things currently stand, there is no Piping in the After-Once.  Whatever kind of place it is, there's a big "NO PIPING" sign as soon as you get there.  However, there are Duties (especially the Intermediary's) that have to be performed in the After-Once.  This means that, before the story is over, the Intermediary has to make sure to store up some Duty Drops.  Otherwise, when they get to the After-Once, s/he won't be able to do anything.  So Drops can definitely be spent in the After-Once, but they are not recycled.  If people really needed Drops, I suppose you could still burn things, but that would be the only way of regaining them until another story started.

Quote
What about Muse.  After dumping a ton of drops on Muse to start things off, is there ever a need for the Muse to invest in duty again during that story?


Currently, no.  The Muse takes care of all of their responsibilities at the beginning of each story.  If I wanted to suggest an expansion of that, I might make the Muse responsible for any places where the story drags to a halt.  Then, they could regain control and try to get the story moving again.  However, in most of those cases, I figure the group would probably just bail from the story altogether.

However, I'm started to think that the Conductor Duty may be superfluous.  If we ditch it, we can divide up those responsibilities between the Intermediary (out-of-story Troupe Leader) and the Muse (in-story Troupe Leader).

Quote
The gardner has a responsibility to tear up a mask every X time limit...does this require he invest in his duty to do it?  If so, what happens if he does not so invest...do masks never get destroyed and the story go on forever?


Yup.  Burning other people's Masks requires a Gardener Drop (because it's something you can't normally do).  If the Gardener wants to burn their own Masks, they can do it for free.  If the Gardener doesn't burn a Mask at the right time, the story just ends, period.  The Troupe gets immediately kicked back out into the After-Once.

Quote
If you're going to introduce some competitive elements to the game I think you'll need some more explicit checks and balances.


I'm sympathetic, but I want to be careful about doing too much of this.  Part of the fun of Ever-After is resolving social contract issues.  I don't want to give people a broken game and make them fix it, but I also don't want to heavily pad everything to prevent any problems.  Some of the mechanics are intended to cause friction among the group.  I think that's just part of the game.  Remember that the Diplomacy model works and that player-player tension isn't necessarily negative.

Quote
As you say, do you really want the King of Wu wondering around your space ship.  Maybe on occassion for a bit of comedy...but other than that?


Well, also, I think it's totally possible to take the Masks as metaphors or general categories, instead of specific individuals.  Maybe there is a monarchical nation of Chinese spacetravelers in your new story, or maybe the spaceship is actually called the King of Wu :)  As the Monkey King would be sure to tell you, there are 10,000 ways to use the same Mask.

Quote from: Piers Brown
Who are Scherazade and Monkey, Quixote and Coyote but Masks. (Burning this Mask is probably a bad idea unless you have a replacement.)


Hot damn, Piers.  I should be paying you for this.  Where have you been (posting) all my life? :)

Right now, you can invest in everything that would go on a character sheet (Duties, Masks, Themes)... except the Name/Indentity of your Troupe member.  But it only makes sense for Scheherazade to invest a few Drops in herself, in order to become part of the story.  After all, why can't you wear your own Mask?

Of course, if you decide to burn your Mask, you have to immediate choose one of your other Masks to be your new Identity.  Because going without any Mask at all... it's just not done.  Who knows what you might look like?  In fact, perhaps the "you" of the narrative is just that, a Troupe member who doesn't yet have a Mask.  And, at the end of the game narrative, "you" can decide to pick up any Mask they like and start their own Troupe.
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deadpanbob
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« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2003, 06:13:57 PM »

Johnathan,

This looks like it's developing along nicely.  So I hesitate to throw a monkey wrench into the system you've designed so far.

Having said that, you did invite me to post my comments, so here goes.

First, I would say that you should carefully consider how the Troupe as a whole, or individuals within the Troupe should be able to advance.  I would tie it to in game results/actions in some basic mechanical way.  I can't think of one that fits your scheme yet - but if I come up with an idea, I'll let you know.

I would say that the number of permanent Drops that the Troupe has to work with are all invested into Themes permanent ratings.  If you're giving everyone 7 drops to play with at the start of play, each character would get to invest those drops permanently into Themes.

This investment is considered the bank from which all in-game drops will come.  At the start of play, when the Muse is beginning to build the story, each character marks off a number of Drops from one or more Theme, and this pool becomes the initial investment.

The Muse collects this investment, and must spend all of it to create the situation of the story.  As these Drops are spent, they flow into the story through the function of the Masker.  The Masker is required to invest all the drops into Masks for the story.  Each player who invested at least one theme Drop should get at least one mask.  In fact, for each Theme that a player draws from, they should get a mask.

Now, all the invested Drops are invested in the Masks.  On each players turn, they get to do a most one each from the following:

1) Perform a duty
2) Dramatically shift play by invoking a Theme that they own
3) interact with the story via one of their Masks.

At most then, each player will get to take three actions on their turn, one each from the above list.

Any duties that are performed cost one Drop, which must be Faded from a Mask.  This Drop goes into the 'pool', to be recycled by the Piper at their whim, by the rules you set out in your most recent post.

Any Themes that are invoked similarly cost one Drop which must be Faded from a Mask.  Again, this Faded Drop goes into the Pool.

Any interactions with the story via a mask cost a Drop, which is Passed to a mask controled by the Player to the left of the Acting Mask's player.  The Acting Mask's Player gets to choose which Mask.

When the Gardner Tears a Mask, the Drops are Faded into the Pool.

Part of the Advancement Scheme would involve 'Burning' drops into Themes and Masks to make them Permanent for that Character.  Burning a Drop removes that Drop from play.  These Themes and Masks would be a 1 Drop Theme or Mask permanently added to the Character, sort of.  Alternately, the Player could Burn a drop to increase the maximum capacity of a Theme or Permanent Mask they already control.  For added fun, you can Burn Themes or Masks for other Player's characters.  They must explicitly agree with your choice.  When doing so, instead of the Drop being remomved from play, it Fades into the Pool.

Any Theme or Permanent Mask not used during the course of a Story (even for Themes not used to invest in the Story) - and by used we mean a Drop is either Faded, Passed (Mask Play) or Burned from within the context of that Theme or Permanent Mask, loses one level of potency.  If a Theme or Permanent Mask drops to '0', it is removed from that character.

The payback on the initial Investment comes at the end of the Story.  Any Drops in the Pool at the end of the Story are piped by the Piper (a free Pipe that MUST be done - no choice here except where to start).  These Drops go evenly to each player to reinvest in a Theme or Permanent Mask that already exists on their characters.  They can't invest in these ratings above their max, which is determined at character creation and raised by 'Burning' a Drop into an Existing Theme or Permanent Mask.

During play, anytime more than one Mask is in play during a given instance (i.e. when the King and the Advisor are interacting), a net gain of Drops is acheived along the following Formula: for each Mask beyond the first involved in and investing in an instance of play/interaction causes a free Drop to Fade into the Pool.  So the King's Player Passed a Drop to the Player on their left, the Advisor's Player passed a Drop to the Player on their left, and a single Drop Faded in out of nowhere into the Pool.

Those would be along the lines of the changes I would make at this time.  I'd have to give it a lot more thought on how to make this really sing, but thems my ideas for what they are worth.

Cheers,

Jason.
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"Oh, it's you...
deadpanbob"
Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2003, 10:54:57 AM »

Oww! Oww! Terminology burn!
Sorry.  Why do Drops 'burn' and 'fade'?  What hapened to flowing, evaporating, freezing?

On to meatier topics.

I definitely prefer the round-the-circle method of Piping to the fiat method.  It takes a lot of the drippingly delicious abusable power that the Piper had and turns it into useful responsible power.

What is the natures of the After-Once and the activity that occurs there?  If we're to take Piers' idea that the character personae are just Masks they carry around, is there really an After-Once apart from the stories?  Maybe the After-Once is an outlook rather than an environment; the Troupe switches back and forth from story attitude to troupe attitude, and somehow the Troupe's abilities change depending on if they see themselves as the Mask or the Wearer-of-the-Mask.
Of course, this would cause problems with some of your mechanics regarding being 'kicked into the After-Once': they'd become something like 'kicked out of the Mask', which is a lot less interesting unless you get kicked right into something else.  I imagine that this is a lot more like the Storypunk incarnation of the game than it is Ever-After.

Suppose that Identity and Duty are inextricably linked - any Identity Mask has a Duty welded into it, and can use that Duty's powers.  A Troupe could have a small collection of these, and pass around the Masks as they felt the need to switch Duties - and they'd be switching roles in a different way at the same time.

Regarding bob's comments:

Every time you make a rule that says 'you must', you lose an opportunity for the game to do other things.  If Scheherehade has to start the story every time, all by herself, all the stories are going to be that much more her stories than if she was able to let other people help her out.  If the Masker has to make a Mask for every fact that Scheherezade sets, then there'll inevitably be Masks that no one wears.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2003, 11:03:49 AM »

Quote from: Shreyas Sampat
Oww! Oww! Terminology burn!
Sorry.  Why do Drops 'burn' and 'fade'?  What hapened to flowing, evaporating, freezing?


You know what things 'burn' and 'fade'?

Pages.

Mike
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Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2003, 11:21:52 AM »

To clarify my comment about "must" rules:

I would counter your suggestion that, for example, the Muse's Duty be performed to exhaustion before anything else occurs, with one that requires the Duty to be performed in that place in time, but leaves the magnitude of the performance to the Muse's discretion, as Jonathan's original model holds it.  I might also add the requirement that this particular Duty function can only be performed exactly then; once the Muse ends her turn, nothing new can be Mused into the story.  Similarly, the Masker has a single chance to create a Mask for any particular element (maybe immediately after that element's first mention).

As I understand the point of the game, the Troupe are trying to find the balance of Duty work and Mask time that tells the stories that they want to tell.  So the rules are intended to make this seeking-of-balance the point of play, rather than set a single functional balance and make the Troupe work with it.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2003, 11:25:32 AM »

Quote from: Shreyas Sampat
Oww! Oww! Terminology burn!


I was thinking about this earlier today.  Maybe "parch" is a better term.  Without Story Water, stories can't survive.  They simply dry up and die.  That's part of the reason why the Gardener has to keep spending Drops to keep the story alive.

But Mike's right about the pages metaphor.  On of the things I wanted to include in the mythology of Ever-After is the Islamic concept, 'Um Al-Kitab, which is the "Mother Book" that supposedly exists in Heaven.  All other books in existence are merely shadows of this celestial volume.

Quote
What is the natures of the After-Once and the activity that occurs there?


Hmm, perhaps the After-Once is just an empty story that hasn't been Mused.  Nothing has been created, so there's just this empty void where a story should be.  Maybe it should be possible for a Troupe to go straight from one story to the next, without a stop-over in an empty story, but most beginning Troupe need a time out to catch their breath.  I sorta imagine the After-Once like an internet chat room.  The players walk in, put on aliases (Masks), and have conversations.

Here's an interesting concept.  I've been thinking so far about the characters traveling in and out of stories, but maybe that's problematic.  Maybe they exist in a single place.  They create stories there, but the stories eventually crash and burn.  Then they create new stories.  The situation when no story is currently going on is called the After-Once.  That would make it more of a state-of-mind, like Shreyas said.  So the characters aren't traveling through stories; they're bringing stories to them.

Also, I've been thinking about the distinction between Duty/Mask/Theme.  They are all basically tools that you use to effect story.  Duties affect the metagame, Themes affect the metastory, and Masks affect the story directly.  Identity is just a word for the Mask that you personally identify with.  Maybe it should be possible for Troupe members to not have a specified Identity, but keep switching between various Masks.  However, that kind of behavior would be a bit unusual.

One more thing.  I think the Conductor role has bitten the dust.  Here's the new Troupe:

Intermediary -- You
Muse -- Scheherazade
Masker -- Monkey King
Piper -- Anansi
Gardener -- Persephone

Coyote was the former Intermediary, but he discovered that he wasn't really Coyote.  That is, he parched his Identity Mask and vanished into the void of non-self.  So "you" were recuited to replace him.  But I think Coyote might show up at the end and hint about how Identity is just another Mask.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2003, 12:45:30 PM »

Quote from: Shreyas Sampat
As I understand the point of the game, the Troupe are trying to find the balance of Duty work and Mask time that tells the stories that they want to tell.  So the rules are intended to make this seeking-of-balance the point of play, rather than set a single functional balance and make the Troupe work with it.


In a nutshell... yes.

I think this is what I was intending to create all along (a game about how to play the game), but got sidetracked along the way.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  I'll try to have a basic system document with examples done up in the next couple of weeks so we'll have a finalized system to ponder and playtest.  Sending art notes and money off to Ramon Perez this week (Shreyas, he says he can probably send you some preliminary sketches soon after, so you'll have something to work from).

On a related note, I read the first story from One Thousand Nights and a Night yesterday at Story Time (this weekly gathering of college students where we read stories to each other), so I'm in a Scheherazade mood.  Time to get this project moving...
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