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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: pells on April 20, 2006, 06:32:19 AM

Title: [Avalanche] - Last two concepts and Q&A about my teaser
Post by: pells on April 20, 2006, 06:32:19 AM
My teaser is finally ready. So, this thread is more of a final thoughts than a first thougths, as I want to present the last two concepts needed to understand what I'm doing. I also consider this thread open for Q&A about my teaser.

Snapshots (or clichés in french)
As you might be aware, there are two main concepts in Avalanche : essence (what defines elements who take part in the plot) and existence (what elements of the essence do). Snapshots are related to essence. While writing Avalanche, I began to design the essence but, as soon as began the existence, I came to some events happening either in a inn or interfering with a secondary character. I wished to provide description for those elements, but not as complete as major ones (i.e. cities, organizations). But where to put them ? In the essence itself ? I thougth this would be a mess. That's where the snapshots concept appeared. A snapshot is a complement for an element of essence. It provides minor information concernig a part of it. So what could it be ? In fact anything. Some examples :
For a city : an inn, an innkeeper, a district, a celebration...
For a character : a weapon, an armor, an habit, his home, secondary characters who travel with him...
For a race : secondary characters, a poem, songs, drinks, tradition...
The main advantage of snapshots is that they can be separated, organized. Thus keeping the modular aspect of my project. Another advantage is that the same snapshot can be use with more than one element. An inn, being used by the thieves' guild can be a snapshot for that organization, but also for the city it is in.
One last important thing : events cannot be followed from a snapshots point of view. And then again, like everything I do, snapshots are a generic concept.
Is this concept clear enough ? Do you see the use I have for it ?

This one is more difficult. Avalanche is the first scenario of a campaign. Each scenario will be set in a specific time and space. They are not continuous, meaning, PCs will travel thru time, but also some major NPCs. Note that those NPCs (and maybe the PCs) are the reincarnation of gods or heroes, exiled in another world. So, I came to ask myself, how do I manage that ? That's where I came with the cycling property. Cycle is a property of an element of essence (mostly characters and objects). It means that those elements will be present in other scenarios. There are, somehow, recurring elements. But what about their essence, since they are, somehow, reincarnation ? I see those elements are pure existence. So, I still provide description of their essence, but no personnal history.
Is this concept clear enough ? Do you see the use I have for it ?

Cycling with your player
Playing Avalanche, you might choose that your PCs cycle. Since they would have no personal history in the given time/space, they would have no knowledge of it. The scenario would begin with you are now conscious of the world. Note that this is only an option. With my group, I do have PCs who cycle, others who don't (thus have a personal history of the world). This works a little like John Rawls' mask of ignorance in his theory of justice. My concept is subject to the same objections (depersonnification). But, bottom line, this have a major impact on play.
From my experience, players tend to find it hard at the beginning (let's say couple of first sessions) to really get a hold of their character, as they lack a personal history. But, I find it has some advantages. For one thing, this justifies the way they will switch from time and space. But also, I think it forces them to be proactive, to explore the world, as when reaching a city for example, they have no previous knowledge of it.It also provides something like a higher plot : PCs ask themselves who they are, where they come from. They might meet a lost temple dedictated to a god whose name is their. I also like the absence of predefined characters. When players tell me my character is courageous, I tell them don't tell me that, be courageous. What defines you is what you do.
Reading TSOY, I came across something like that : what will define your PCs is what he does.
What do you think of the playability of this concept ?

Q&A about my teaser
Feel free to ask any questions, this thread is open for that. I hope this is my last theoric thread concerning my project. Concluding with it, my all design could be find here, at the forge.