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[IaWA] Play Aid for Best Interests

Started by Alan, February 27, 2008, 06:31:30 AM

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I came up with an idea for mapping Best Interests to help focus play preparation. Here's the sheet I came up with and a tutorial for using it. It places all Best Interests in one place and identifies the items of contention between them. I thought it might help a GM get a quick visual on possible central conflicts.

I may get to use it this weekend, but I would be very interested in how it works for others in play.
- Alan

A Writer's Blog:


Very cool.

Though, have you found people struggling with best interests and conflict?  Only had one game so far but people found it pretty well (3 players, 2 had easy time, one struggled a bit because he took longer to move from "seeing a complete situation and hooking into it" rather than "creating the situation in process").

(1) Is it necessary to declare what's the object of conflict when first declaring the best interest?  A best interest might be seen as being about more than one thing and which of them become the object(s) of conflict may await others' declarations.  The declarer of best interest defining also the object of conflict ~ if you assume obligation on others to then zero in on that, has "put more pressure" on the choice available than if only defining their best interest, no? 

E.G., "homunculus freedom" assumes specific motivations, whereas it may only want to find a way to permanently end its seemingly endless artificial life and find eternal rest and Player prefers not to consider this "freedom".  Wizard wants servant back; servant wants final rest are conflicting but more "past each other" than "at each other".  Similarly the homunculus might want to kill the wizard's wife (being a jealous sort) and that the reason it's out and about.  It wouldn't mind going back to wizard afterwards.  It's only temporary freedom sought and subordinate to another purpose.

(2) Do you think this same structure could also be used with a "cooperating rather than conflicting" requirement to build alliances and connections between PC's in a conventional "team of PC's" game.


Hi Rob,

I GMed IaWA for the first time at ConQuest with players who had played several times before (that same day!). During the starting process, players declared Best Interests rapidly and haphazardly and sometimes without reference to each other. I had trouble finding a moment to analyze the web so I could help weave the knots tighter. And ultimately, I was disappointed that one player was left with less to do than the others.

This is a tool to help me with this. While I realize there's some learning curve for the GM, I think there's also an opportunity for a tool to help the group develop great webs of Best Interests.

You make a good point about items of contention emerging during the process. It's what I had in mind, but I see that the tutorial example declares them immediately, probably because I drew the example from an existing actual play report where these points were already identified.

I hope the sheet will be used as brainstorming tool, to record best interests, items of contention, and connections as they occur to players, not just in a specific order.

Developing a good web of Best Interests should drive the emergence of natural alliances in play, so I think there's no need to point out alliances.

When I've got feedback and heard and seen how the sheet works in play, I'll revise the tutorial.
- Alan

A Writer's Blog:


I used this for my first session with IAWA.  This is an excellent tool.


Forgot to say: One tiny thing to make it more helpful would be listing oracle elements before the beginning of the tutorial.  If they're there then I totally missed them.


This was essential for my first session to go smoothly, too. It should be part of the game proper.


We found that tossing the aid around the fourth session was a good idea - once the players were comfortable with how to make Best Interests we found that it was good to focus on the other characters themselves (basically the 'now we put down the book when we play' thing).


First time I am seeing this. I'm very impressed by this tutorial. Awesome job!

David Artman

Wow, first I've seen it, too! GREAT tool! Have you snet it to Vincent, to post on DO SO!!!
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