Posted by Nathan P. on March 3, 2008
So, something I think I try in almost all of my designs is to have competition be a thing. Like, there are rewards there for you to mess with other peoples characters, even though you all are also cooperating with each other to make fun.
And it’s something that I always toss out after playtesting, because it always feels weird and forced to me, and I don’t actually like playing with that dynamic!
So, in Annalise, the downward pressure is now purely mechanical, I think. Even getting a lot of what you want out of a given moment will drain your resources (heh, drain, vampires, get it?!), and I think you will always have to be measuring your replenishing resource against whats happening in the fiction. I hope. Play will tell.
Anyway, I’m working on finishing the current draft for JiffyCon, and I think a last piece that I really like just fell into place. See, in the first (well, technically second) part of play, it is certainly possible that you will hit 0 in at least one of your core stats. What that means in the fiction is that the Vampire gains some kind of hold over you (be it mystical, emotional, mind control, whatever). This can potentially happen multiple times, though I don’t see it happening much more than twice unless you want it to happen to your character.
The last (well, technically second-to-last) part of play is about confronting the Vampire. And I was all “so, how should that thing about the Vampires hold over you matter once you actually confront the bastard?”. And I came up with this little slightly baroque thing where you have a consequence (any moment has both consequences and achievements) that is automatically added to any moment during your confrontation with the Vampire. This consequence says “You give in to the Vampire.” Mechanically, if you have no holds on you, it’s present but it is guaranteed not to happen unless someone else at the table rerolls it on purpose, and it becomes more mechanically likely the more holds the Vampire has over you.
It’s a little pure system thing that I think (and hope) will really push the core arc of the game without having to force the people at the table to compete with each other. You can all get along great and really wanna help each other out, and it’s still a possible threat to everyone, all the time.
I hope it works! We’ll see soon!