Monday, June 8, 2009

Power 19 for the new version of Mask ("The Hellenes")

Finally, a Power 19 that doesn't stump me! I know what I want to do with this design, and some new ideas and applications of ideas sprang directly from doing this exercise. Boo-yah!

Power 19 for The Hellenes

  1. What is your game about?**

    Ancient Greek-style heroes adventuring in the Aegean

    2.) What do the characters do?**
    Go on adventures, have family dramas, and cross paths with the gods.
    3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**
    Each controls a single character permanently and, temporarily, any characters acting as proxy in a conflict for the protagonist generally under that player's control. The GM (the Chorus) controls everybody else – antagonists, allies, bystanders, and neutral parties
    4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
    It's a great, big, familiar landscape to run around in and make huge choices about family, the gods, and fame
    5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?
    Arete choices determine what kinds of things you do to make an impact. Virtue choices determine what kind of person you are (or are perceived to be).
    6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
    Recklessness, non-strategic/emotional decisions and egotism (on the part of the characters) are rewarded. Players who refuse to take chances with their characters have a much harder time against real adversity. If you're willing to lose, you have a better chance of showing up your opponent, even if it means your own humiliation or death.
    7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
    More dice are your reward, through Glory and Virtues. If you're overwhelmed or just don't want to let him get away with it, you can give your opponent more dice, knowing he'll get his once he's finished trouncing you. Heroes who refuse to give in to their massive egos lose Glory; other characters who refuse to take chances or be foolish once in a while will be outstripped by their reckless companions
    8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
    In addition to #3, everyone is entitled to introduce set details and props into the narration, but only the Chorus can introduce characters other than the protagonists. Meta-game chatter, especially suggestions, ideas, and questions, can come from anybody, and should be seriously considered as material by the Chorus. A good Chorus should listen to his players, maximizing the effects of their decisions (in good faith) and introducing plot elements to accommodate the players' clearly stated desires.
    9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
    You can always reach out and touch divinity for a little assistance. Hubris and Virtues give power, and both carry effects that change the situation in clear ways: Virtues make your name shine, while Hubris could very well be the death of you (or all you care for). Additionally, just as players are encouraged to be bold and reckless, the Chorus should have a “yes, and...” attitude whenever possible.
    10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
    Players roll dice pools; losing a round of dice knocks one die out of your pool, unless you're in a To the Death challenge. These dice are lost against that opponent until the situation improves, in some way, at which point the PC rallies and can try again.

    Players can escalate the situation in a number of ways: Blood Challenges allow you to knock dice out of the opponent's pool semi-permanently (until healed, even if ), while To the Death challenges up the ante to the margin of success, instead of losing just one die at a time.

    Hubris, Glory, Virtues, and Oaths all provide ways to gain more dice to use against your opponent;
    11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
    Once a situation starts to get away from a character, things are likely to stay that way – escalating the stakes to injury or death can help you trounce an opponent before he can get a lead on you, and calling on more dice can help you stay ahead or dig yourself out of a hole. These tactics always “fall forward” - whether you win or lose from using them, they carry effects with them that, well, “echo in eternity”, tying you back into the importance of your decisions and your situation.
    12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
    Virtues can be improved with use; spending Glory earned by using them will grant more Virtue dice. Arete can be improved the same way – if a skill contributes greatly towards saving the day or completing an important goal, you can earn Glory from the deed, which in turn can be spent to increase the rating of that form of Arete.
    13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
    Advancement relates to what it is that your character is praised for – either skill or strength of character.
    14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
    I want to really ramp up the ability to win, but at an ever-increasing future cost. I want people to feel like big damn heroes – powerful, wild, and a danger to themselves and others.
    15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
    Hubris gets around – blasphemy, swearing oaths, and committing shameful deeds all force a connection between the character and his world, for good or ill. That's the core of this game.
    16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
    Oaths sound like a blast – you aren't allowed to fail, and you have to deal with the consequences for accepting so much help from Heaven!

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