Thursday, October 20, 2005

Full Light, Full Steam in Tony's Power 19

Yeah, you saw the short form before, but now here's Full Light, Full Steam as expressed in Tony's extended "Power 19". Pizzow!

1.) What is the game about?
Full Light, Full Steam is about strong characters in a fantastic setting, and how their strident character elements are challenged by and leave imprints on the setting.

2.) What do the characters do?
Characters are naval officers and sailors in the Royal Astronomical Navy, typically the crew running an ethership or port in Her Majesty's service. They fight pirates, quell native uprisings, investigate mysteries both technical and obscure, practice gunboat diplomacy, and try to earn enough money to marry well.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?
First and foremost, the players collaboratively determine the scope and parameters of the game in the First Session. Thereafter, the players narrate the events of the story, interrupting each other with dice checks in attempts to take over direction. Players use the relatively static and predictable Attribute-and-Skill die mechanic to do this, voluntarily hampering their chances to 'charge' their character's thematic batteries, and thereafter claiming advantage by 'discharging' their batteries. NPCs, ships, and ports also have thematic batteries which the players may tap for their advantage.
There is a central GM player to whom direction defaults when the pace idles, and who is responsible for presenting the other players with fodder with which to exercise and express their character. The GM is expressly allowed and encouraged to delegate both narration and game prep to the other players, but she remains the central responsible party for these elements being provided.

4.) How do the various parts your system reinforce what your game is about?
Character is reinforced primarily through the Thematic Battery. Disadvantaging your own character in accordance with your Thematic Battery allows you to advantage (increase game effectiveness) of your character at a later date. Additionally, referencing other players' characters' Thematic Batteries earns you XP (Spoils, but whatever). Winning die checks grants the player narration rights, which allows them to add or elaborate on the fantastic setting with a more or less carte blanche range.

5.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
The setting is all broad and heavy strokes with highly archetypal character instilled in not just people but also nationalities, their colonies, navies, and the like. The fantastic is a normal thing; the people of the FLFS world commonly have tea at the base of gigantic alien shrines... because there's a nice bit of shade there. Conflicts with character are front-loaded; lady officers are discriminated against, the noble ideals of justice are inequally distributed, and imperialism's touch is ubiquitous.

6.) How does the Chargen of your game reinforce what your game is about?
The first thing that you pick out is your Thematic Batteries; your Atts and Skills (which provide a sort of baseline to modify with the batteries) flow from there. Furthermore, the Thematic Batteries and character histories are explicitly tapped to generate the conflicts prepared by the GM for roleplay.

7.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
The game rewards collaboration, mutually reinforcing eachother's characters, and disadvantaging your own character (in in-character ways). It rewards with narration rights because this is seen as an end in itself.

8.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
XP for reinforcing or challenging others' characters; game-effectiveness for disadvantaging your own. Narration rights for success, which is more common when increasing game-effectiveness in this way.

9.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
The GM is responsible for details beyond the player characters, but can delegate these details to the other players at will. Narration begins with the GM or her delegate, and then is directed to the winner of die checks. Said winner can direct narration rights to any other player afterwards, until another die check is called for. As any player may call for a die check at any time, any player may make a bid for gaining those rights at any time.

10.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
The spoils scrip is passed hand-to-hand, which gives a nice, tangible punctuation to the intraparty character references. Similarly, the narration and direction rules are built to drag in any player who is left out.

11.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
Choose an appropriate Atribute and Skill, both ranged 1-4. Roll four dice and put them in ascending order. Take the dice corresponding to the ranks in your Attribute and Skill and add them together (Intellect-1 and Ether-3 means you count the first and third die). Modify with Thematic Battery, either demoting or promoting your ranks in Atts and Skills. Compare to a difficulty factor or opposed roll.

12.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
The basic die check is relatively deterministic; there are few surprises and players will have a good idea of character effectiveness (strong character control). Additionally, players may modify that character effectiveness in accordance with Thematic Batteries. Success allows players to narrate more of the fantastic setting (and failures can just as easily be delegated back to the player, as well).

13.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
Characters advance by spending Spoils (XP) earned by their player making references and addresses to other players' characters.

14.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
You advance your character by characterizing other players.

15.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
Players should feel free to collaborate and feel rewarded for doing so, able to express character in a reliable fashion while exploring some fantastic territory.

16.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color?� Why?
The alien world of Victorian naval culture (partly to address realism, partly to provide for the fantastic nature), the addition of women in the armed services (I feel strongly about good strong female character opportunities), general nation character (to provide the players with guidelines for NPCs), and lots of fantastic setting content (to inspire player narration and options).

17.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
I have to pick one part? I... can't single any of it out. I tossed all the parts I didn't care for.

18.) Where does your game take the players that other games can�t, don�t, or won�t?
The game should lead players to embed their characters in a developing storyline in fundamental ways; it is very difficult for the characters to be unimportant to the course of events.

19.) What are your publishing goals for your game? Who is your target audience?
Print publishing, distribution at cons and through web sales. Target audience is mature players, both experienced gamers and people who have never roleplayed before, with some inkling of history and an interest in active, collaborative creation.

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