Friday, April 11, 2008

Spirit of the Century / In a Wicked Age hybrid abomination?

I am seriously intrigued by the general gameplay model of Vincent Baker's In a Wicked Age. The basic idea is that, each session, you play a self-contained story (which is decided upon right there at the table, based on some randomly-chosen elements) with a set of characters that are mostly non-recurring. That is, you get together, draw a bunch of playing cards and look at a table to see what kind of story elements they stand for (or just use an online generator), and then you all make simple characters to fill the rolls indicated or implied by the story elements. The characters are given reasons to oppose each other, and then set loose. Next session, you do it all again (with the possibility of maybe carrying a character over from an eariler session).

I think this sounds really cool. The story generating "oracles" out there are full of cool-as-hell adventure seeds, and I'd really love to collaborate with my crew to make sense and story out of them. Also, Ryan Stoughton's awesome ideas about big, themed, color-coded sets of oracle cards. Damn, that sounds like fun.

On the other hand, I don't actually have In a Wicked Age, and I'm kind of lukewarm on the mechanics. What's more, I am basically the Spirit of the Century's bitch right now. I've never been more excited about a set of game mechanics. So, naturally, I now want to combine IaWA's general play format with SotC's delicious Fate system.

The most obvious stumbling block here would be the fact that SotC's characters ain't nearly as quick and simple to build as IaWA's. I think I'd mitigate this by dropping the default power level down to "Good" rating, which would mean that each character would only get six aspects and six skills. Also, I'd use the stuntless rules hack to eliminate the time-consuming process of choosing stunts (frankly, ditching stunts and empowering aspects just sounds like a beautiful idea, anyway).

I'd also like to try removing the GM role from the equation. IaWA, somewhat oddly, actually does use a GM (at least by default; I kind of think that's just the training wheels setting), but Halfjack's zero sum Fate ideas could theoretically eliminate the need for a GM in my hack. I don't know how it'd actually run, though. It'd depend really strongly on how my group took to the whole collaborative play idea.

Anyway, this isn't the time to start dreaming up hybrid game systems. What I oughta be worrying about is designing a custom SotC character sheet for Lost Worlds and Secret Histories. Hope I can find time for that this weekend...

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