August 20th, 2018

Fleeing rabbit

RPG-a-day: day 20: Which game mechanic inspires your play the most?

Day 20: Which game mechanic inspires your play the most?
To me, the ‘success at cost’-mechanic that’s in the Apocalypse World Engine and in Forged in the Dark games was a real eye-opener. Prior to that, success in my games (and in the games I played in) was binary: either you succeeded and got what you wanted, or you failed and (potentially) bad things happened. But this third value added a whole new dynamic to it: you get what you want, but there is a complication that you (or a party member) have to deal with (immediately, or in the future).

For instance, suppose in a game of Dungeon World, a goblin is charging towards the Fighter. The MC asks: “What do you do?” and the Fighter answers they want to use their shield to prevent the goblin from reaching them. They Defy Danger with their Constitution and roll an 8. That’s a partial success: they get what they want, but there is a complication. The MC rules that the Goblin jumps onto their shield (that’s the success) and then is deflected towards the Wizard, who is just preparing a spell. Smiling, the MC asks of the Wizard: “What do you do…?”
There are still all kinds of possibilities on how to deal with this situation, but the MC has complicated the characters’ lives and added action and adventure. That allows the characters to show off their cool moves, and doesn’t every player want to their character to pull off cool stunts?

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Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.