I’m back from a weekend away. We went camping at Knoebels’ for a letterboxing “gathering” with Kat’s friend Daina. There were a number of rollercoasters–both physical and emotional. My role was basically to be the facilitator–he who makes sure that everyone else has fun. I’m usually pretty good at that, and this time I was able to facilitate everyone else’s fun and squeeze in a bit of time for me, a notebook, and a few gaming thoughts.
Kat reminded me that she loves With Great Power… more than I do. But that’s okay, ’cause I really love it. She wants it to have a Sorcerer/Burning Wheel level of success. I’m pretty happy where it’s at. I’ve often said that I want 10% of what Luke’s got. That includes 10% of the workload. Right now, I’m o-target for acheiving that goal
Kat and I talked more about her problems with Stakes. Part of the way I think about this is best summed up in a picture.
The red line represents what we’re talking and thinking about. The part circled in blue is too easy to skip and just go from setting Stakes to resolving Stakes to setting a new scene. It’s really part of Fortune-in-the-Middle. Once the fortune is resolved, a lot of the scene’s tension bleeds away. Skipping this part leads from anticlimactic scene to anticlimatic scene.
Plus, pulling into character, then out of character, then into character again creates its own distancing problems. It puts a wedge between player and character. That wedge can lower the emotional impact of the play and weaken the SIS.
A few solutions that pop into my head are:
1) Lessen the impact of the “rules discussion” by making it very simple and perhaps even nonverbal. Something like hand signals for resolution or sliding chips forward could accomplish this. So could With Great Power…‘s card comparison, so long as everyone at the table was reasonably familiar with the rules. I had this kind of silent resolution in mind while writing the examples.
2) Another way would be to set up a reward system that specifically targeted the blue-circled section. It would work like PTA’s Fan Mail, but focus strictly on play after the resolution. After all, in the blue circle, you’re essentially like an actor in a stage play. You know what’s going to happen. You’ve just got to play it out as if you’re experiencing what happens.
3) Possibly reviving Fortune-at-the-End for social-type encounters while keeping FitM for physical stuff to avoid the Whiff Factor.