Thursday, August 31, 2006

Design Journal: Getting Going on The Fifth World

It's been a while since I've touched this project. Last year, I decided to finish Mortal Coil, the game closest to completion at the time. I did finish it, and now it's out and ready for sale. Ever since I got it off to the printer back in June, I've been meaning to pick up on The Fifth World again, my project for next year. All summer long, that hasn't happened.

Yesterday, I took a long look at the project and tried to see what was hanging me up. I had decided to use Clinton Nixon's The Shadow of Yesterday as the core rules for the game, and elaborate from there. Some of my issues stemmed from attempting to repurpose those rules, because copying and altering the existing rules turned out to be pretty boring for me.

I was looking at the introductory paragraph of The Fifth World when inspiration hit. The opening paragraph is a brief sketch of a story about how the First People came into the Fifth World. It struck me that since the inspiration for the game was Native American folklore, that is the form the final version of the game should take. I had just read The Dictionary of Mu by Judd Karlman, and his setting takes the form of encyclopedia-style entries that gradually flesh out a fantasy world. I decided to present The Fifth World as a series of stories, told around the fire in a kiva, that gradually introduce the setting elements and various other aspects of the game. The rules would be in the form of asides in the margins, and appendices in the back of the book.

This is probably going to be a difficult way to present the material, but the goal is to make the rules clear while at the same time evoking setting in the strongest possible way. To do this, I am going to need to pare down the rules considerably, and the final result may not resemble The Shadow of Yesterday hardly at all. Part of my problem was me limiting myself to the TSoY rules, so this is freeing my creative juices a lot. I think it will end up being "inspired by" TSoY, rather than a full TSoY mod.

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At 7:06 PM, Blogger The Institute of Experimental Gaming said...

Hey Brennan,

I just wrote a post on Deity for this week's Update from the Workshop, if you're still interested in the details. The Known World is credited as its inspiration in the post ^_^.



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