Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What next?

Dresden's going to be out the door soon, and I've been chewing on what to do next.

I've committed to finding some time to do my reading for Faith & Credit, a hypothetical game set in America under the Articles of Confederation, where the creation of the Constitution is the 'conspiracy' of the setting. It's American Swashbuckling (as distinct from leatherstocking), and a challenge to myself to see how to do straight history. There are already some great games dealing with the American Revolutionary War, with a twist. As a lover of history, I am most inrigued by how well the things that make history compelling can make for a compelling game.

However, Faith & Credit's been on the back burner for years, so it runs the risk of getting overshadowed by other ideas. Most notably, I am tempted to take my own device and do something wrong. Maybe straight fantasy, maybe something more specific like a Dune or Amber pastiche. God knows I have no shortage of mechanical ideas I'd love to build into something and take for a spin, but for the moment, that's just a vague interest.

There is also the spectre of a GMing book. I've got years of ideas back on Livejournal before I started writing on this blog, and some of them aren't half bad. Finding, polishing and expanding on the greatest hits might make for an interesting read (or at least an interesting project).

I dunno. It's possible Origins will leave me inspired (hopefully inspired to do something other than Podcast - cons always make me wan tot Podcast, then I get home and realize I definitely lack the time or focus for it), but for now I'm flipping through options like so many three by five cards.

Any ideas? What's out there that needs doing?


  1. What about a GMing book, with alternating chapters on ways to mechanically hack things into games to get the effect you want. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

  2. I agree with forlorn or one of design theory maybe? Since hearing about it a couple of month back, I have wondered why you went with the fudge dice rather that the dice pool that you mentioned was the alternative for FATE if it had not gone OGL. (Selfishly, I am writing a game based on FATE that uses dice pools so take that with a grain of salt).

    I am a huge Dune fan, so I would have to back any choice involving that. Unfortunately, Dune is like Mage in that it is many things to many people. For instance, I loved the religious implications and plight of being trapped within self fulfilling prophecy

  3. Any ideas? What's out there that needs doing?

    FATE v3 core book.

    Get to work!

  4. Something to work on? How about a gaming convention! Something for us DC/MD folks. Might be good for Evil Hat business too. :)

  5. Maybe straight fantasy, maybe something more specific like a Dune or Amber pastiche.

    Yes, please!

  6. I love the idea of a GMing book or even something with your thoughts on gaming. I've completely enjoyed your blog once Fred tipped me off to it on his Facebook posts. :)

  7. Watch a shit-ton of anime, then make an anime game, whatever that means. Or a specific sub-genre game.

    Need more anime inspired games.

  8. I think that the question you are really asking is why have you been putting off doing Faith & Credit? Why has it been on the back-burner for years? What is stopping you from working on it and communicating your love of this history thing? Or is it because of your love of this history thing and you don't feel you can do it credit?

    Just some rhetorical questions for you to ponder. <grin>

    That aside, a FATE corebook might be an interesting side project since you can combine it with GM and design advice. Rather than being a rule book in and of itself, it would be a guide to customising FATE for the games you want to run.

    Or to clear the mind and spirit after the Dresden Files, something small and quick to clean the palate, perhaps based around one of those mechanics ideas. Something for a PDF release, where the world is built around the mechanic.

  9. @rev the dirty reality with F&C is that it's a lot of work. When I started doing research on it, I discovered that it's a dead zone. Lots of books cover the revolutionary war, lots cover the constitution, but the Articles of Confederation are kind of handwaved as "Bad idea, we got past that". Putting together a library of suitable material took a while, but when I got enough together, life interfered. I now find myself looking at how much reading I have to do to really do the idea justice and comparing that to my available time, then curling up in a ball and whimpering.

    That sad, the idea for a one-off was definitely with my eyes on some manner of palette cleanser. Odds are that will at least be the start, even if it's just to crank out a nice fantasy heartbreaker.

  10. Hmm...to clean the palate of Urban Fantasy, one might lean toward Space Opera, or near-future Next-Giant-Leap-Into-Space, where humans are learning to live and work in space and competing for dominance there. (Or cutting the apron strings from Mother Terra.) You could incorporate elements of mechanics you've been discussing here, like rich dice and Force, Finesse and Fate.

  11. ...er, "Force, Finesse and Fortune", I meant. I'd like to see a game a hair more complex than a beer-and-pretzels game using these ideas, but, if I recall, that post came from a brainstorm you got when Dragon Age RPG came out. Is there a line beyond which the folks who put out DA can protest: "Hey! You're biting our dice mechanic!" (I ask from utter ignorance of licensing/copyright/trademark law.)

  12. Suspected as much. <grin>

    [I have absolutely no knowledge of this area of history, beyond some of the obvious militaria, so I have no idea of the subtleties and complexities involved on the political side.]

    My suggestion is to select a mechanic that you feel that you want to play with and then see what that suggests to you in the way of a game that could use that mechanic effectively.

    Which is kind of backwards, but that's the point of a palate cleanser. Do something that is different from what you've been doing in order to shake those brain cells out of their rut.

  13. I would love to see the GM book. I think there is a lack of solid gm books out there.

  14. Huh. I suppose in should talk with you at Origins about the GM book I've been quietly (and slowly) working on with some other folks.

    - Ryan

  15. I vote for Faith and Credit, because every single time you discuss it, I perk up. It's selfish of me, I know.

    If you want to cleanse the palate first, go ahead - but I point out that you have lots of research to do and the odds of you doing *nothing* but research and *never* putting out smaller bits in the meantime is ... slim.

    Take Faith and Credit reading with you. Take copious notes. Start down that path because that's a little less path to walk each time.

    And in the meantime, I ask you this: I know what my awesome in Faith and Credit is. What's yours? What kind of system could capture that and make it enjoyable and supported for other people? How would you GM that kind of setting?

  16. Okay... when I read your F&C concept my initial impression was "not fun"... but then I got to thinking.

    From what you've just said it's a conspiracy game that's not going for alternate history but is more about exploring what's behind the history, and that jives very closely with a game concept I've had for a long while that's based in a more contemporary setting. I even wrote an outline for a conspiracy scenario centered around the World Trade center. I think if you could offer your Faith and Credit scenario as a module to a much larger setting you'd have something really fantastic.

    Consider: A Real-World conspiracy game that transcends time and eras. Modules would be detailing historical artifacts as they moved through the ages. So an Egyptian Artifact could have a module that depicts it's purpose and significance at the time of it's creation complete with NPC's that are competing for it... then we move on to where it's hidden, then re-discovered and used by a historic society or placed in a museum with openings for a pulp-era adventure game, and then finish off in the modern day where you have a powerful artifact with a rich history that you can inject into all sorts of games.

    Just my thoughts.


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