|Game outline: Rasa
||[Jan. 11th, 2006|11:37 am]
Labcats, the RPG Blog
This was inspired by Vincent's post I suspect but can't prove.
Let's call the game Rasa.
In Rasa, as befits the name, you start with nothing. No characters, no world-background, no character-players, no GM, no premise. Instead, players start with a certain amount of power over the game, but no established facts to get in the way. For the moment, I'm envisioning this as currency -- perhaps 10 coins per player. What's currency good for? I don't know, but I've got a few ideas -- read on. The currency should be differentiated, so we can tell who spent what for what -- it might make it easier to corect any long-term power imbalances.
Naturally, the game starts out with players discussing what they want—and eventually, making declarative statements. If nobody challenges a declaration, it's part of the game text—if you say that the year is 1592, and nobody objects, well, that's where the game is set. If someone does, the declarer can withdraw -- if they chose not to, go to Conflict Resolution.
Conflict Resolution: Whenever someone challenges a declaration (defined as anything in-game -- statements about gameworld facts, roleplaying in character, action resolution, whatever), enter an auction -- the if the Pro side wins, the action goes through, if the Con side, it does not. Each player gets one free vote. Beyond that, players can bid tokens for extra votes -- but the number of votes a side is bidding must always be an even multiple of the number of players on the other side. The winning side gets the result they were bidding on; the losing side recieves the bid tokens, evenly divided among the players on that side. (Alt: maybe spent bids should go aside, to be recovered at the end of the session? This avoids players being semi-permenantly put at a disadvantage, but does mean there's a game exhaustion effect that may not be ideal)
Ok, now here's where I get into fuzzy-land, since I'm not sure exactly what mechanic to use for this. To a limited degree, ownership is a useful concept. PC ownership allows players to identify with their characters and develop a continuous theme for their character. NPC ownership allows more or less the same effect for important NPCs. Plot ownership allows secrets to develop and be set up. And all ownership allows a player to protect the work they've done on a character, entity, or plotline, making it more worthwhile for them to do extra work, since with some protection against another player or players hijacking it, they're more likely to be able to use any advance preparation. So Rasa needs two kinds of ownership: short term and long term. Short term ownership exists to protect a player's investment for a session or two--a player has decided they are "playing" a specific character this session and wants to represent this, or has done advance work on a short term plotline and wants to make sure they retain enough control to be able to use their work. Long term ownership acts the same way—but here, the player is simply claiming a character, plotline, or other entity as "his" in the indefinite long term, representing the way the player has invested substantial effort in the game to improving that aspect.
One can also divide ownership into external and internal—external ownership involves control over the thing's effectiveness and effects. Internal ownership involves control over the thing's personality, decisions, and attributes. Simply establishing a character as "yours" doesn't necessarily mean that you control how effective they are, after all.
Either way, "ownership" has more or less the same effect -- points of ownership count as free votes in challenges regarding the character.
One big lacuna is that I'm not sure how to price ownership -- it's clearly (because it's reusable) far more effective than bare chips. But it is (or can be) quite narrow. Also, since ownership represents investment over time, it's arguable that it should take time to establish. Clearly, however, an ownership claim should be veto-able—some ownership claims are probably abusable. Perhaps ownership must be awarded by other players? Develop a character and the other players are encouraged to give you "ownership" of that character, etc?