Saturday, 30 April 2011

Look! There it is again...

I don't think I've followed up a Jeff Rients post before, but he is an inspiration. He posted a couple of days ago on the scope in graveyards, the undead and possibly even being undead.

That last especially got me thinking - why not being simulated too? Could be advanced tech, could be magic, could be imagination.

This month's A to Z does something similar with the narrator, and I have cards for the like in the fundamental laws of a fictional universe series.

But more simply than an extra layer to a system, how about just having players notice glitches or imperfections in the simulation? Looped dialogues maybe, or streets that end abruptly, uncoloured spaces, sudden rearrangements. Just like in those movies.

Of course, players might argue they get this already when the GM has to shuffle paper looking for a certain table or a stat, or the screen falls over. Maybe every time the GM fluffs, the players get a re-roll? Or in wargaming, when one player has to check a rule or number? Or maybe just ban checking and have improvisation a feature of the game.

There could already be a re-roll when a die rolls off the table. Why not instantaneous movement to a more suitable location when a model falls off a piece of terrain? In early 40K, the Ork battlewagon could carry any number of models if they could be physically balanced on the vehicle, but if they fell off in our reality they fell off in the game too.

Even better with 'counts as' - maybe those dreadknights really are Transformers?

Worlds could collide.


kelvingreen said...

I am pretty sure that I remember a rule in some game somewhere in which if the die rolls off the table, it's an automatic fumble in the game too.

I love these kind of meta-mechanics. I've discussed a couple of them in a post about quirky mechanics over at Grognardia; Feng Shui is a game with a number of mechanical problems, but it had lots of these fun little meta-game twists.

christian said...

In Changeling: The Lost, the PCs gradually lose their grip on reality. Sometimes in play, when the name of an NPC is forgotten or a detail is missed or remembered incorrectly, we add the declining state of mental clarity to the explanation.

"But I thought that NPC's name was Marla. I even wrote it down on my character sheet."

"That's what you think, lambchop. Her name's Gina and you must have been nutty as a fruitcake when you wrote Marla, because I'm telling you it's Gina."

Porky said...

@ kelvingreen - That's a great discussion, with so much to think about. One approach that struck me especially is the idea that naming an NPC makes him or her comparable to a PC. Doesn't get much bigger than that. I like the idea of the auto fumble too. It asks the players to up their game, gives a sense of the high standards being expected of their characters week in, week out.

@ christian - I see potential there! If everyone goes in knowing this kind of trick can be played, it could be a lot of fun. Shawn Gately at Blue Table Painting has a short vid talking about D&D where he mentions messing around with paranoia; it starts at 4:15.