Monday, October 11, 2004

A Potential Game

posted by Doc Blue

Anyone out there remember Aria by Last Unicorn Games?

Over the weekend, I think I came up with an intriguing variant to the Aria concept. Based on the statement "As you change the stories, you change the culture", the idea is that the players play the characters in (cultural) stories. They tell these stories with the Storyteller over and over, with changes (intentional or otherwise) creeping in over time. After each telling, the play group takes time to interpret how that latest telling impacted the culture overall. Advance time a generation and tell the stories all over again in the next session.

Now - telling the same story each session sounds pretty boring, so I imagine some complications. First, (based largely on the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde) the characters in the stories are *aware* that they are characters in the stories and have lives within the context of the story outside of those depicted in the story. Thus, in additon to the conflict inherent to the stories, there can be other conflicts affecting the character lives in the 'story world'.

Second, to inspire change, the characters can change importance in the story based on their performance in the latest iteration. I imagine a system where every player has a number of 'chits' based on thier importance that they can use to influence the story. At the end of the story, they use their chits (used and unused) to reward the characters for a job well done. I imagine a system where you (as a player) can give no more chits to yourself than A) you give to other player characters, B) you have left 'unspent' at the end of a story, or C) both.

Third, if the characters are aware - then there is the potential for chacters from other stories to invade. Also consider 'narrative' monsters and natural disasters that the 'real world' is never aware of. Monsters that attack the form and function of language. Word storms, metaphysically looking like whirlwinds or tornadoes, that jumble words and stories.

Obviously, this needs a lot of fleshing out - but the concept itself is intriguing - at least to me.

And now - I've got to run!