So, busy and stuff.
I've been working on the idea of character flaws in a play setting, as a method of limiting the out-of-control power spiral that often happens in certain open-ended games. I think this is an elegant way to build "release valves" into characters that may otherwise just continue on the treadmill to demigod-hood. Instead of just becoming more and more powerful, until it is no longer fun to play them, play with them, or create a world challenging enough for them to play in, characters may have explicitly defined "fatal flaws" that may be discovered and exploited by other players in a competitive setting, or by the players' enemies in a "scripted" setting. These must be interesting enough to be accepted as an essential part of story and character development, so the player won't feel cheated, while still being inevitable enough, one way or another, to eventually knock the character's standing down in some way another, so they no longer present an insurmountable opponent to those playing against them.
The exact implementation of this in the game I'm currently working on is still undetermined, in the process of being mulled over and figured on, but I've been playing with some really stripped-down mechanics to test different theories. One of the results of this fiddling is a card game, Tragedy, which captures some of the feeling of probing and exploiting, but in a much more drastic way, more suited to a quick game than an ongoing play session. I've run a handful of tests, trying different things (giving an attacker half of your cards when they hit the right "flaw" card rank, eliminating the high/low hints, different hand building strategies, etc.), but I think this one is a good first shot at balancing the screwage with relatively fair game play. It's still a little random for my liking - I'd like it to be a bit more stategy-oriented than luck-driven, and it's a lot less fun with just two players - but for now, it'll do.(January 12, 2004 01:45 AM)