Games Design - [E&E]Scenes

Posted by: Matt On: Feb 24th 2011

Following on somewhat belatedly on my work on the systemy parts of Enlightenment & Entropy...

Currently the system has a lot of moving pieces. One of these is in the scenes. I'm going to write about it largely in the abstract to get it straight outside the text of the rules and show where the resources flow from them.

Players in the group take turns to start scenes. The Director always going last (this means the first round of play allows for character introduction).

Player Scenes

Player scenes are created from drives being acted on. So, if you pick one of your character's three drives and take the next logical course of action.

Drives are "because I owe", "because I fear" and "because I desire".

They're a big departure from older versions of the rules, largely as I wanted a greater feeling of why characters were acting and tying them to other characters and factions in an immediately useful way.

A scene may lead to conflict, or not. Conflict is usually character vs faction.

During conflicts character and faction resources end up temporarily spent. If you win you can either evolve a piece of the setting, or modify a character or faction. If a character loses they can align with a faction giving access to its resources. If a faction loses the Director can move resources between factions.

If no conflict occurs the director can increase a faction's influence and the player can begin a new fragment of setting to be involved in. That is, if nothing happens, the situation gets more extreme, but presents more opportunities...

Director Scenes

Director scenes are cut scenes or turnarounds in circumstances. They introduce new threats, antagonism or elements to the ongoing narrative. They also allow the Director to increase a faction's traits or introduce an entirely new faction.

All these elements feed into two types of endgame, character drive success/failure and faction ascendancy/defeat.

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Feb 25th 2011

Hi Matt

That sounds very solid and I like the elegance of it. I also think it's a good starting point for driving for the type of play you want.

So, a few questions.

When I start a scene as a player I pick a drive and choose a logical (to me) course of action following from it. Who says who can enter the scene after I open it up? Is there bidding? My say-so as the player who opened the scene? A requirement for the GM to be allowed to introduce a character/Faction they deem relevant? Or the GM's call? Or anyone that wants in?

And I like the option for the absence of conflict and the factors it brings in. Who says when there's conflict? A table decision? The player, GM, involved parties? Anyone can object and call conflict or can they be over-ruled?

(I've enjoyed not having to ret-con, or hammer, a conflict into a scene when playing Remember Tomorrow, since the option stated for a scene concluding without conflict is that this is fine, and there need not be a conflict. Everyone just grabs their single Outcome and moves on. And furthermore, circumstances may have changed in the fiction to such an extent that the whole group agrees someone outside the scene gets an Outcome too.)

Posted by: Matt On: Feb 25th 2011

Ah, good questions.

Currently the model is in player Scenes the player frames the drive to the scene, the director brings in relevant antagonism and allows other players into scenes. Since director scenes always work via "meanwhile..." or "and then...", they get full control of those.

Conflict is always a player decision, as they have scene ending authority for their own scenes, but will result from a "not unless you roll" call on on the director's part. The director's role is to basically be a bastard with the faction's antagonism towards the PCs and push towards the choice to go to conflict.

Oh, also, given the pc-centric nature of scenes, one of my concerns is how to avoid an issue with Covenant, that is uninvolved players being sidelined. I'm currently leaning towards something similar to Shock minutiae but for usage of city district traits, to allow that kind of maintaining involvement.

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Feb 26th 2011

Sounds good. Malcolm and I were talking about this in the pub last night over some ales. I'll hold off posting any more questions until I've let Malcolm have a chance to make some comments to the thread.

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Mar 10th 2011

Ah, Malcolm hasn't got back to you on this yet.

I was going to add that I'm not sure that minutiae in shock: do maintain involvement. They give you something mechanical that you can do when the dice hit the table but I'm unconvinced that giving that mechanical lever to the audience gets any buy in to what is going on. I don't know if we want to go into that a little, or not?

Posted by: Matt On: Mar 10th 2011 edited

Well, yeah, I'd be interested with your experience of them not maintaining interest.

Actually, maybe interest is the wrong term, they maintain attention is possibly more true. They give an opportunity to stick your oar in. Maybe not right for this game so much.

I'm wondering on an elegant way to plant seeds for your character during other scenes you're not involved in.

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Mar 11th 2011

I'm away for the weekend to Ireland and I'd like to get back to this next week.

Daniel Klein liked Pooka's "chains" in The Hammer Falls (which is on hold at the moment). I think they were a bit like Claims in Annalise, where you have influence over scene elements no matter who's scene they appear in. That might work. The thing to watch out for is people deliberately avoiding elements because someone has control over them, and the opposite where people want their elements shoe-horned in when they don't fit naturally.

I think attention of the audience is best served by the social contract: I'm *here*, *now*, to play *this game* with *these other people*.

Posted by: Matt On: Mar 29th 2011

Yeah, been thinking some more and the law of conservation of mechanics seems to work here, players already have fragments which they control, seems only reasonable that they have the ability to influence those in other's scenes.

I think social contract for this stuff is a good baseline, but ultimately people like having an extra draw for why they should care; ownership bias means you always care more about your 'stuff'.

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Mar 31st 2011

Yes, I'm in agreement with that. Do you have an idea on who would veto an "unreasonable" claim? That's my one question for GMless games. In GMed games that normally falls on the GM. In Remember Tomorrow I put that on the Controller (in terms of scene content) and the group in terms of Bullshit/Respecting The Fiction (with the caveat that it had to be someone else who said "oh, that, is totally a bonus for you").

Posted by: Matt On: Mar 31st 2011

Despite it being a GMed game, I think veto will rest with the scene instigator in this case. With caveats about respecting the fiction.

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