Thursday, September 2, 2010

Systems

So, I've been thinking about curse the darkness a lot lately. One of the things I've been thinking about is using cards as the random element, rather than dice. I know gamers like their dice, but I also know that you can grab probability from a deck just as easily as a dice bag, and I have some ideas about using suit and number that make cards more ideal for what I want.

The other thing I've been considering is that I'd like two types of conflict resolution. For the moment, call them "non-lethal" and "lethal."

A non-lethal conflict is pass/fail. You know the fact or you don't. You find the clue or you don't (and with all due respect to Robin Laws and the awesome GUMSHOE system, if the game goes off the rails because a player missed an investigation roll, the problem is with the GM, not the game). The stakes in this kind of conflict are non-lethal and, for the most part, binary. Yes/no, pass/fail.

A lethal conflict, though, has four possible outcomes: You escape and succeed, you escape but fail, you die but succeed, you die but fail.

That is, you've got a 50/50 shot of living through this, and a 50/50 shot of failing. This kind of conflict gets used for life-and-death conflicts, or, more specifically, conflicts with Them.

I want conflicts with Them to be a bad idea on the face of it. Unavoidable, sure, but if you're fighting Them directly, you're going to die sooner or later. That's why He was able to conquer the world so quickly - He controls Them. You can still "win" in the sense that you can achieve the goal of a given conflict, but odds are even that you won't live through it. And I want high mortality, here, which I know is going to turn some people off.

But see, here's the thing. One of the things I like about Chill is the lethality. Most creatures of the Unknown aren't vulnerable to bullets, and a lot of them can kill you easily. For people who are risking their lives because it's the right thing to do, that kind of lethality is appropriate. In a lot of games, it's not, because the protagonists are the PCs and so on. But in curse the darkness, I want character creation to be fast and life to be short.

I also want some kind of trait that lets people draw on your character memory after s/he's gone.

Anyway, just my thoughts for now. More coming.