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Any suggestions on genre support mechanics?

Started by Cameron, August 21, 2001, 09:37:00 PM

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On 2001-08-23 10:50, Ron Edwards wrote:

One thing that seems to get missed by a lot of people is that the little conversations in Pulp Fiction are not fluff. They all deal with the central ethical issue of the movie: "how much of yourself will you lose in the name of loyalty?" Yes, even the foot massage conversation, and MOST especially the chat about eating pork.

Just brainstorming here. How about the player gets three topics at the beginning of the game. The first two are suface topics, like Food, Travel, etc. The third one is the theme of the game, as described by the gamemaster. The players must try to infuse the third topic into the conversations using the first two or they don't count (or don't count as much depending on how you want to play it).

For instance. I, as Sid the Squid, draw Current Events, Pets and "recognizing the inevitable march of entropy in all things." Maybe I'll mention how the soviet bloc is in sorry shape, which seems so funny because they were this infallible super-baddie only a decade ago. Maybe I'll mention that I woke up this morning to find that my goldfish had died, which made me wonder how many other goldfish I would have in my lifetime. Whatever the case, what I'm really talking about is recognizing the inevitable march of entropy in all things.

Even better, when multiple players are involved, they have their own "true themes" that they can tie to your topics, or introduce their own. Everyone has something directly related to the story at hand to contribute. If it doesn't get brought up, it's business as usual. But if it does get brought up, it becomes poignant.


  This, IMHO, is starting to trail off onto something entirely different. It sounds to me like the making of a card based sub-mechanic for generally adding in color conversation to any roleplaying game. Get your "deck of many topics" pull out your "half page rule-sheet" and adjust the experience/bonus modifiers to the game your are currently running.

If your group is down for this sort of thing (as I'm sure alot of people would be interested) then I say you've probably hit the nail on the head with your latest post. My group would take my GM screen away and not allow me any pizza if I tried to bring something like that up. I'm not sure if there is any way to "enforce" meaningful in character dialogue, but again, IMHO it seems like you are adding a meta-game to your campaigns, as opposed to using a simplified mechanic to "encourage" meaningful dialogue. I'm not sure precisely what a simplified mechanic for such purpose would be, the best I could come up with is a reserve points pool to carry over for later use, but if you are simply wanting to integrate a system seamlessly into play, the cards won't do it. If you are trying to liven up your game by adding a conversation 'meta-game' your idea will certainly accomplish that.

Hope this is helpful! :smile:


Ron Edwards


I'm kind of iffy about the proposed mechanic, although I do think it's ABOUT the right thing (that is, the desired goal of the thread). My problem with it is the GM's central role. But that's also my problem with the tag-lines in The Dying Earth, as presented anyway, without their muttered option about letting the players do it themselves.

It's definitely a solution. I'd prefer the retroactive version I suggested, personally.