Saturday, December 24, 2005

FLFS: Long vs Short

I have a Google Alert for Full Light, Full Steam that I set up, like, years ago, when there weren't any mentions and I shortly forgot that it even existed. Then it started sending me notifications that my game is being talked about (which is, by the way, really fucking weird), the most recent of which was Qien Es Mas Macho at the 20x20 Room. Generally I don't read 20x20 because (a) it's D&D-centric and I've played exactly one session of D&D in my life, but more puissantly, (b) the discussions are like what I imagine the European Parliament are like -- everybody speaking a slightly different language, and barely communicating with each other. This thread is a prime example, with folks defending at least three different iterations of Forge theory as if they were all the same, and a lot of non-Forgies criticizing what gets put out there as "What the Forge Says".

Anyway, somebody mentioned Full Light, Full Steam pretty tangentially as a short-term game with little replay value. As I really don't want to tangent that discussion any more than it already is, I thought I'd throw up a short post here.

You can totally play Full Light, Full Steam as a short-ass one-shot game, going through one Situation and then playing, I dunno, Mountain Witch on the next Game Nite. The game will work; there are little sidebars that give tips on how to shift a few things around so that the one-shot works better. I hadn't thought of it in such terms, but I suppose this would help out Con games, too.

You can also play FLFS as a medium or long term game, putting your characters through three, ten, twenty different Situations over the course of howeverlong you want to play. Each Situation should play out in a session or two to create rather episodic play, but you can, a la Buffy, play through lots and lots of those situations. The character advancement system is scalable (I stole from Clinton even before I read Shadow of Yesterday, apparently) so your power-creep can be managed. The longer-ranged games are also probably a little more interesting if you enable the Troupe Play rules so that everybody is playing a handful of people, but that's probably my bias showing through.

Now mind, personally I prefer the mid-range in terms of campaign length. I just don't get why you'd want to stick with the same characters and story for years on end. I also have no idea how people are able to arrange such long-standing commitments with their social calendars. I doubt the Next Game will have the same kind of support for long-ass games as FLFS does, because I won't be working off the same "standard assumptions" about how an RPG is supposed to be constituted. For the nonce, however, FLFS should be able to support both.


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