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Author Topic: [Sudden Light] Good Thing/Bad Thing  (Read 1770 times)
Paul S
Member

Posts: 25


« on: June 22, 2006, 01:31:06 PM »

Improv. class today covered in several exercises concerning narrative structure.  Perhaps the most fruitful exercise for our troupe was called "Good Thing, Bad Thing" (we discovered later that the professor wrote the night before).  In this exercise, the writer sketched a scene from a story she was working on and allowed the actors to improvise the action of the scene.  The scene began as normal, but during the course of the scene, the writer would call out "bad thing" or "good thing."  On a call of "good thing," the actors had to make something good happen, and the reverse with a call of "bad thing."  The goal of this exercise was to practice complicating a scene within story.

Much like yesterday's exercise , the actors involved seemed to react to calls of "good thing" or "bad thing" as a creative challenge.  While there was far less "bending" of the imposed narrative constraints as compared to yesterday's exercise because the parameters as to what constituted good or bad things was so vague, as a actor, I felt the desire to "win" against the random challenges issued by the writer and a friendly competition with my fellow actor to produce more creative ways to meet the conditions of "good thing" or "bad thing."  Like most of our class activities, I my mind interpreted the call of good or bad thing as a game.  Although specific and explicit conditions for winning against complications were missing, I evaluated each of my own actions as winning or losing; "Damn...I blocked him out...that was a bad response...I dropped the ball on that one"; or, "Nice build on that offer.  One point for me!"  An improv. exercise that gives itself so easily to a gaming mentality cries out for some sort of mechanics.

As my game, Sudden Light, now stands, each GM (there are two, called the Sublime and Mundane Guides) have primary control of a scene they frame and takes a typical GM stance for that scene, while another player takes on the role of a singular character: the Protagonist.  The Sublime and Mundane Guides are locked in competition over the Protagonist (think of the metaphor of the angel on one shoulder and the  devil on the shoulder).  I've been trying to develop mechanics that would help the Passive Guide (the GM not responsible for framing a particular scene) to become more involved in the development of the scene, while making it more difficult for the Active Guide to achieve his or her objectives in the scene.

I named yesterday's mechanic "Complications."  It seems as though the following mechanics better fit the term.  I'll call yesterday's mechanic "Conditions" and today's "Complications."

Mechanics:
At any during a scene, a Passive Guide may call for a Complication.  The Active GM and the Protagonist player must then immediately narrate a difficulty involving the Protagonist and any one Aspect of the Active Guide's currently In Play in the scene.  Note that Aspect ratings are not lowered because of a Complication; the Protagonist does not necessarily stop caring for something just because of a spot of trouble—indeed, the Protagonist might even care more for a particular Aspect if it is threatened.  However, depending on how the Complication is handled, the Guide who called for a Complication may introduce an Aspect based on the Complication for one Influence Token.  Any subsequent raise of the rating of this Aspect for one half the normal cost (round down).  However, an Aspect introduced as a result of a Complication can never have a higher rating than the other Guide's originally Complicated Aspect.

Calling for a Complication costs 2 Influence Tokens and may never be Challenged.

Clever Active Guides will quickly note that Complications must only involve one Aspect currently In Play in the scene and that putting as many Aspects In Play can help guard against threats against higher rated Aspects.  "Screening" higher Aspects with  lower rated Aspects is possible, but putting multiple Aspects in play in every available scene can be a costly drain on your Influence Pool. 
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