Monday, November 28, 2005

[Mortal Coil] Additional Thoughts on Old Gods

As Ron Edwards describes over on the Forge, a good Narrativist game is defined by premise. Having run a session of Mortal Coil, a game with a very Narrativist goal, the premise has presented itself in a way that, as the game designer, I find very satisfactory. The world-creation process of Mortal Coil, expressed in the theme document, combined with character creation, exemplified by the character's Passion stats, creates premise through a collaborative process, with all of the players having input, including the GM (in this case, me).

We started with the basic theme; old gods of dead religions gathering in a bar in Philly. This has a melancholy feel from the get-go, and from this starting point, the players and I built up the game world, including a rule that rewards reminiscing in play mechanically. When the players moved on to character generation, they chose some very telling Passions. Examples: Loki's fear that he will be the last loser left in the bar when everyone else moves on (which manifests itself as Loki trying to keep everyone else there, even if it means foiling their plans to get out); Pluto's hatred of gods more successful than himself, paired with a duty to see to it that things remain in their proper order; and, our volcano goddess' hatred of active volcanos.

All this adds up to one thing in the premise: envy. That is the true theme of the game, resentment and fear of failure. All of this built up by the players when we started the game.

I am really eager to run another session of this game and put in some serious bangs that relate to this theme.


At 3:03 PM, Blogger Alexander said...

Dang. This makes me want to playtest even more! I'm positively green thinking about this missed opportunity. :)

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Brennan Taylor said...

I'm sorry you couldn't be there, isk! I will definitely be running it at Recess, and Dreamation, too, so try to make it then.

Also, playtest it on your own. I'm curious to see what other people come up with.


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