Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Pentasystem progress

I've been working a bit lately on version 0.6 of the Pentasystem, my roleplaying game system for creating novel-like or movie-like stories in which the heroes change and their lives get complicated as they involve themselves in fighting for what they care about.

It's actually coming together pretty well at last. I've solved a couple of significant issues with the system recently, and it should be in shape to playtest soonish, or at least soonesque.

Hopefully by the time it is, Matt Machell and I will have our browser-based online tabletop emulator up and running and I'll be able to find some people to do a playtest with, despite living in a story-games desert.

Some high points of the system:

  • The Coolmap. This is a diagram on which you put what you think will be cool to have in your game. Introducing things that people thought would be cool is rewarded in the game by giving you more resources.
  • Characters and situation are meshed together at the beginning, so not only are you driven to conflict by what you care about, what you care about is linked to what the other characters care about.
  • How many dice you roll is based on how important the attribute you're using is to your character's self-definition.
  • You're encouraged to play against type.
  • Pain now is rewarded later. Good luck now gets paid for later.
  • You can sometimes win in a hopeless situation by sacrificing part of who you are or putting something you care about at risk.
  • Your attributes can work against you as well as for you.
  • You can set up "paths", sequences of events which, when worked through, result in both a reward and a new challenge.
  • Changing your character is something you narrate, it's not just adjusting the numbers on a sheet.
  • Everyone can play all the time, because supporting characters and sets are run by whoever's standing around.
  • Locations are a bit like characters, and get more attributes if they link to more of the themes that everyone said were cool.
  • You can tinker with the system yourself using Special Effects, which are rule exceptions that you buy with player points and apply to characters or sets.
  • Modelling reality is not important, but modelling fictionality is.
Further bulletins as events warrant.

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