Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The reason why they fight

I mentioned that my Nagademon 2013 game had a problem in the area of audience empathy. I think I may have solved it. Important to the setting (and therefore the story) is the value that the character's identity is found in the tribe. I hadn't really integrated this as fully as I could into the game but I had expected the players to drive their characters along that path. After a day or two of thinking about it consciously and subconsciously, I found my answer.

In the first iteration of the game I created a phase for the players to define the values of the tribe, and later had a phase in which the players had to play out their attempts to resolved personal tensions between the characters. Although this sounded like a good idea at the time, it didn't really connect the characters into the importance of the tribe itself and as a result didn't support what the game is about. This game is about characters who are willing to kill and die for the sake of the tribe. If I insisted on a phase in the game that concentrated on the interpersonal relationships, I think it would have been a distraction. Instead of that, the phase has been replaced by the opportunity for characters to embody the values of the tribe.

And now I'm going to give a little context for all of that. I hope it'll make more sense this way.

There are several phases of play.
   1. Read the tribal values, establish the setting.
   2. Create characters (includes identifying which values your character has broken)
   3. Make restitution to the tribe.
   4. The tribe is raided; with many men killed, and their children stolen.
   5. The characters prove their worth to join the raiding party.
   6. The tribe sets out to rescue their children.

The problem phase was #3, but I think I've fixed it now. Only another round of dummy testing will tell me if I've avoided the problem I found earlier. If only it all survives an actual play test.

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