[Imp] The Conflict Matrix
Posted by Nathan P. on December 13, 2006
So here’s what I’m thinking about how conflict-y kind of stuff gets resolved in Imp of the Perverse.
At the start of the game, the GM shuffles a standard deck of cards (no jokers) and lays out a 3×3 grid in the middle of the table. The proportion of red to black cards represents which aspect has default precedence, Human Nature (red) or the forces of the Perverse (black). In any situation where someone doesn’t want someone else to get what they want, if no-one does anything about it, the default wins.
Say black is dominant. This means that for any given character, if the GM or the player of that characters Imp doesn’t want them to do something that they’re doing, they won’t be able to do it unless they use the stuff on their character sheet.
Now, you have a number of trait-like things on your sheet (Essential, Important and Interesting Traits; Discipline, Nerve and Malocchios; and the stuff of Grim and Horrible Tales). Each of these things is linked to a card suit. Spades is reason and logic, clubs is physical action or violence, hearts is emotion and irrational passion, and diamonds is mental fortitude, quickness of the mind and strength of will. Your Traits have boxes.
When you want to change the matrix to be more favorable to you, you check off a Trait that is the same suit as one or more of the cards in the matrix. You then do something that I haven’t really decided on yet, as I still need to work out all the implications of the various options. Basically, you use the stuff on your sheet to change the composition of the matrix, and then people who don’t like it can spend their Traits to try and change it back, and so on. Doing stuff with face cards requires Malocchios (magical powers, essentially) or Lusus Naturae (creating monsters). The Grim and Horrible Tales stuff is resources that get awarded to you by other players, that you use to refresh or reinforce what you can do with your other stats.
The idea is that everything happens the the matrix. You never have a hand of cards, or anything like that, and you don’t need to track the matrix from one session to another. You just deal out a new one at the start of each session.
So, thats what I’m trying to do some work on right now.