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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: Paul S on July 03, 2006, 01:42:43 PM



Title: [Sudden Light] Putting Aspects In Play
Post by: Paul S on July 03, 2006, 01:42:43 PM
I've been doing quite a bit more thinking about how to integrate Aspects into individual scenes.  Certainly, Aspects could be added simply through narration alone, but since Aspects are so central to individual scenes, it would seem pertinent to add some sort of narrative mechanic attached to Sudden Light's bidding mechanic that underlines that certain Aspects are important enough for a Guide to spend Influence Tokens on.  After all, the goal of the game is for one of the Guides to push towards Epiphany; the only way to do that is to raise Aspects and the only way to raise Aspects is to bring them into conflict with the opposing Guide's.

Thus, it seems as though I need to divide simply framing a scene and mentioning that certain Aspects are present to providing a way for Guides to highlight that certain Aspects are important for the Protagonist at that moment.

One of the latest exercises used in my improv. class dealt with place and a character's perspective.  Writers described specific locations and gave background of a character's relationship with a place to the actors.  The actors were encouraged to speak about what he or she saw there and how the character felt about the place so as to get a sense as to the character's perspective.  I'd like to broaden out this exercise a bit.  In Sudden Light, place can be quite influential to the Protagonist's life.  But, then again, so can memories, people, emotions, etc.  This exercise really underlined to me the importance of slowing down the action in order to establish a character's connection to the forces surrounding him or her.  I propose the following mechanics in order to prompt this sort of reflexive pause at the juncture of Protagonist and scene during game play.

Mechanics
   
The Sublime and Mundane Guides alternate framing scenes.  The Guide who framed the current scene is known as the Active Guide, while the other Guide is referred to as the Passive Guide. 

To frame a scene, the Active Guide should describe the general setting of scene, the Protagonist's involvement in the scene, other characters involved, and the general activity commencing at the beginning of a scene.  Generally, to infuse scene with a feeling of energy, Guides will find it useful to start the scene in the middle of action, involving the Protagonist in situations and with characters that must be responded to immediately.  Scenes end when after a Conflict has been resolved, and conclusions to scenes are narrated by the Guide who won the conflict of the scene.

The Active Guide may put In Play any of his Aspects into the scene at the cost of the Aspect's current rating. The Passive Guide may put In Play any of their Aspects in the scene for a cost of 1 Influence Token per Aspect introduced.  For example, an Active Guide introducing a 3 point Aspect into a scene would cost 3 Influence Tokens, while a Passive Guide placing a 3 point Aspect In Play would cast 1 Influence Tokens.

Energizing Aspects to be In Play consists of more than simply spending Influence Tokens.  Many Aspects, by dint of their profound connection with the Protagonist, are most certainly physically or psychically present in many or most scenes.  However, simply because an Aspect is presently in a scene does not mean that the Aspect in question is a primary element currently shaping the Protagonist's thoughts or actions.  By spending Influence Tokens, a Guide alters the trajectory of the narrative so that the Protagonist cares about an Aspect to a much greater degree.   When a Guide announces that she is putting one of her Aspects In Play, in addition to spending the required Influence Tokens, also must narrate a plausible reason why the Aspect in question is suddenly a quite influential factor over the Protagonist's life and actions.  To do so, the Guide must recount the inner thoughts or bodily responses of the Protagonist and how the Aspect being introduced as In Play has force over the Protagonist's thoughts or behaviors.

After this narration, the Protagonist player should attempt to follow the narrative trajectory initiated by the Guide.  If the Mundane Guide put In Play the Aspect "Alcoholism" and narrated that the stress of the scene has caused the Protagonist to begin fantasizing over having a beer, the Protagonist player should role-play out actions and dialogue consistent with this development, such as the Protagonist having shaking hands or staring off into space when addressed by others.

Questions for Consideration:  I'm not quite sure about the costs associated with bringing Aspects In Play.  As it stands now, it is more difficult for the Active Guide to introduce Aspects and cheaper for Passive Guides to do so.  I've structured it this way so as to encourage Passive Guides to regularly bring opposing Aspects into play, leading to challenges, and thusly conflict.  Does this mechanic as I've outlined it fulfill my goal?  Might there be benefits to allowing the Active Guide cheaper access to putting Aspects In Play?  Are their any questions of game balance that I'm missing here (should it cost the same for both Guides to put Aspects In Play?)