In the design I have been noodling around in my head for a while, I like the idea of borrowing the Dramasystem approach of having scenes as the basic unit of play, so players ( or the GM ) will set up scenes and then we play them out.
The basic elements I have for the set up are:
- Where the scene takes place
- When the scene takes place
- Which characters are in the scene
- What the establishing character hopes to get out of it.
This is mostly codifying standard stuff, I think, but unlike Dramasystem this is a game with stats, moves, playbooks and dice ( I’ve been thinking PbtA as I know that fairly well but I’m not married to it ) and I feel like there might be something fun about having an “establish scene” type dice roll at the start of a scene ( why yes, we have been playing Swords Without Master how can you tell? )
The problem is I can’t think of what would be the most interesting way to make it work - the obvious thing to me is that the roll gives a resource that you use in the scene. I have thought of these:
- The roll giving a number of tokens you can spend on full or partial successes through the scene, replacing dice rolls altogether or the total number of dice available to be rolled through the scene.
- The roll giving number of dice rolls you can make before you take penalties during the scene or conferring advantage/disadvantage a couple of times during the scene based on the initial result.
- The roll a number of dice rolls that, if hit during the scene, allows you to mark XP
- The roll affects the position of the scene in a Blades style Controlled/Risky/Desperate kind of way.
- The roll gives a number of dice rolls before the PC loses control of the scene ( perhaps something like the way Ironsworn uses Momentum as a resource )
- The roll defines which XP triggers are available to you ( this is along the SWM tone approach but offers a nudge to the player’s direction, in a game where players have more personal or group driven XP triggers available. )
It needs to be fun and not too complicated, but I feel like it is also an opportunity to give the players the opportunity to feel clever by making good use of it, to help create a degree of tension in scenes and to keep scenes from dragging on. It seems to me that there is something there, but I’m not sure what is the most interesting avenue to take things down and given that this is one of the places where players would most routinely interact with the games systems it also needs to be easy to pick up and play…
Are there any of these ideas that stand out to you, or is there something that you think would work better for this?