Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fate Core: Magi pt 4

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told
                  ~Nursery Rhyme
In Magi, magic can change the world permanent level. this is problematic because in Fate there is not an easy way to accomplish this same feat. I have been having quite the discussion on the Google+ discussion group about how to do long term effects in my game. There appear to be three basic schools of thought on this matter.

The first method people suggest is that a certain number of extra successes would allow for long term, or permanent effects. the level of success required and when that excess is known became something of a debate, but the basic idea is that you need to go above succeeding with style by X amount(where X is the pet number that is being used in that particular argument). I like this idea because it allows for three things I think are important: it is attainable incrementally(in some arguments), multiple people can build on it, and it allows for spectacular success to really help out.

The second Idea is really just a derivation of the first. Make a stress track for the the thing you are trying to change. when you fill its stress track, you get to write a new aspect or change an existent one. this is very similar to the first idea except it is linked into an existing mechanic in the game and so I like it a bit more.

The third answer I got was that Fate did not need a new mechanic, that the GM could just use his judgement on an aspect, and it exists until it no longer makes sense for it to exist any more. I have a couple of issues with this argument in specific,and this type of argument in general. First aspects in this type of system become very much the domain of the GM's idea of how they should work. when I first played Mage, I had an ST that decided I could not do what I wanted to do, even though the rules supported my claim. In those days the Mage rules had all kind advice to the STs about ignoring the rules. That is one of the things I am attempting to avoid in my game. I wish for the rules to be the rules no mater who is using them. If that makes sense.

My gripe about this type of advice in general(and I am not calling out anyone who has given it, this is my issue) is that it is basically useless advice. When I ask a question about the rules I am aware that using the rules as is is an option. I usually am asking how to alter a rule because I have found that the existing rules either don't work in a given circumstance, or are nonexistent in the circumstance. so telling me to use the rules as is does not work. Generally because I have found the rules to be lacking. Sorry if I got a little ranty there, I have a tendency to do that. It is just an issue I have had for a while.

So I have decided to use the stress track method of changing the world. Now I just need to work out a few more details on how exactly that will work. I am working on it right now. I am a bit flummoxed by a few issues, but I have hope that it will work out in the end.

So...on to Nodes then. as they will be key to the whole world thingy, I need to really nail down what they are and how they work. A Node is a focus for the world. A lynchpin for reality, if you will. they form a web. A web of Nodes all connected to a central Super Node. A Node is the sum of the laws of the world around it. It represents them and reinforces them. It is influenced by the Nodes connected to it, most dramatically by its Super Node. A Super Node represents and reinforces the nodes it is connected to. When you do magic that corresponds to laws of the node you are in, it is far easier than normal. When you work magic that is the antithesis of the Node's laws it becomes much harder to do.

I need a mechanic to represent this interconnectedness of nodes and how they influence each other. I also need some kind of mechanic or metric that represents the laws of the Node and how that changes the use of magic within its sphere of influence.

Here are a couple of ideas that have been put forward, not sure what direction I will be going in with this yet.

Treat each Node like a character. it would have a series of skills and aspects and a stress track (harmony). How I see it working is like this. When your style matches the Node's style aspect(or is close) it can't use its aspects to defend itself against your magic. when your style is opposed(or close to opposed) to the Node's style aspect then it can use its aspects against your magic...I don't know, something like that.

the other idea that has been put forward(this one by me) is a series of sliders, from -4 to +4. When you change a node it moves the sliders toward one end of the slider or the other. when your style meshes with the locations on the slider you get a bonus, or something. Honestly, I was very much in favor of this idea. I am, however, very much blocked on this. I will continue to work on it though.

I also thought I would mention a few more pieces of source material I am using for this game. SyFy's Alice was a large influence, mostly in how the world changed around them as needed. other movies/shows that had a good visual set for how I see the game running, What Dreams May Come, The Cell(the dream sequences in it specifically), The Matrix(just a bit), Neverwhere(just a bit), Dark City(a lot),Simon R Green's Nightside series,  and Inception. Check 'em out if you want some good visuals and ideas for the Magi.