Friday, October 28, 2005

Thoughts on the Beloved

So despite admonitions not to cross union rules by having two games in development with celestial orbs in the title, I'm still working on city of the moon and Shooting the Moon.

I think Brand has a set of nipponophile friends who might playtest city of the moon (though I've realized that you have to have each person choose one Rival or Nemesis relationship for their main character, and then allow anyone to choose a non-Rival/Nemesis character to have a Companion scene with.) But I've been feeling stuck with respect to Shooting the Moon for a while.

Back after Ben & I played in the playtest I linked to here, he asked me, "So why should I want to play this game? What makes it interesting & different?" Or some such, and I've been cogitating on it since. I've been feeling un-inspired & not sure of what direction to take it in.

Then, while I was thinking about the character sheet & musing on the name I've used for the object of desire since day one and--a lightbulb went off in my head. The Beloved, of course! The search for truth in the light of the beloved. So from that start I got this:

Love is a journey toward the illuminating light of the Beloved.

Each of us has a desire, an emptiness that yearns to be filled by someone--something that brings us meaning.

We see in our Beloveds those parts of ourselves that would make us whole. We see in our loved ones what we seek to attain in ourselves.

Like the light of the Sun reflected in the Moon’s face, the Beloved is a mirror for our Soul. The quest for the love we seek is truly a journey that brings us closer to the truth of our own Self.

Take a few steps upon this journey in Shooting the Moon…

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Breaking the Ice in Out of the Box

Word has come out from Ken Hite about small press games he read & liked at GenCon in his latest Out of the Box column. The Mountain Witch and Polaris get excellent coverage, as do City of Brass, Jihad and Bacchanal, along with Thirty, the Farm, Dread and Discordia.

And, also, Breaking the Ice!

From the column:

Ken wrote:
Emily Care Boss' Breaking the Ice (38-page digest-sized softcover, black and white, $14) is likewise a game in which the narrative direction is predetermined, although there is far more room for player initiative, and the dice (sort of) resolve things. It resembles a romance version of My Life With Master, with a set time limit and story arc.

He's spot on the money in noting this influence. I am definitely exploring the new territory that Paul broke ground on in with MLwM. What he did was to structure the role playing game as a story type that then gets populated by the specific details the players bring to the game. This gives you the advantage of a clearly determined dramatic arc, while avoiding the single-use problem that modules & prepared adventures have. Instead of getting "used up" after you run it once, every time you play it's completely different. Can't thank Paul enough for his work on this principle.

This game, like many narrativist games, doesn't merely presuppose interested, cooperative players, it actively requires them; otherwise, there's far too much room for apathy or spite to wreck things. (This is also very much true of The Mountain Witch, Polaris, and Bacchanal.)

It's true. Especially since it's a two player game, both parties need to be engaged. Though it is sad that this may be seen as something unusual--don't we play these games because we enjoy them? But we all come to games with different experiences and expectations. Not everyone will be as willing or able to come up with things, or to get involved.

But, here, what the game has going for it is something that puts the wind in the sails of Primetime Adventures: player input. In PtA, the pitch session is where you get to/have to combine the best elements of all the players' ideas, and so you actually get the opportunity to, from the get go, make the role playing experience be about something that everyone likes and has the opportunity to have a stake in. Creating characters in Breaking the Ice opens that same door, and the way dice are awarded keeps it current throughout play. Every moment you are checking in, "is this interesting to you?", "does this make a connection, creatively, between us?"

Or so I do surely hope. : )