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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 85 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [Ever-After] Gets a Facelift  (Read 3522 times)
Jonathan Walton
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« on: September 30, 2003, 01:45:58 PM »

It was after reading through Michael S. Millar's new game, "Discernment," which shares many similarities with Ever-After, that I brought the game off the back-burner and began to stir it again.  New things bubbled up.  Try these on for size:

• First, looking down, imagine yourself to be the blank surface of the table.  Featureless, a blank slate, and definitely not anthropomorphic.  You're a nothing.  A canvas begging to be splattered.

•  Next, take out an index card and write something on it: "The King of Spain" or "Fire" or "How Long, Oh God, How Long?"  Place it on the table.  Look how it defines you.  It doesn't even begin to cover all of your blankness, but it doesn't matter.  All your attention is instictively focused upon it.  You could try to continue staring at the blankness, but it's almost impossible with that fragment of identity there in the corner of your eye.

• The card is a Mask.  It hides your painful blankness behind it and therefore is your Identity.  You are the Mask, for, without it, what are you?  Blankness.  Nothing.

•  Take another card.  Write something else on it.  Say you write "a Monkey."  Now, you place the Mask of a Monkey so that it partially covers your Mask of the King of Spain.  Who are you now?  Well, you're the King of Spain, of course.  But sometimes you pretend to be a Monkey and wear that Mask on top of your Primary Mask, the King of Spain.

• How do you know you're not a Monkey pretending to be the King of Spain?  Well, the Mask of the King of Spain is the lowest Mask in your stack, making it Primary.  If you take off all the other Masks, one by one, you'll be left as the King of Spain.  You'd have to stop being the King, become nothing for a bit, and then put on the Mask of a Monkey if you wanted your Primary Mask to be the Monkey.

•  You can have any number of Masks, arranged in a venn-diagram of cards, all of which together forms your Identity and covers your blankness.  You cannot, however, have cards that do not cover up any other cards and are just floating out by themselves.  You can't equally be two things at once.  You are always your Primary Mask first, and the other Masks to a degree based on how far they are up in the stack.

•  This isn't to say that you can't have multiple Masks that all "branch" out from your Primary Mask, or any other Mask.  Say you add a third Mask, "Beauty," which forms a triangle in your Identity, with one corner covering a bit of the Mask of a Monkey and one corner on top of the Mask of the King of Spain.

•  Who are you now?  Well, you're still the King of Spain, who sometimes pretends to be a Monkey and sometimes pretends to be Beauty.  And, sometimes, you pretend to be a Monkey who pretends to be Beauty.

Does that all make sense?

SOME TERMS

Face - the blank table in front of you; this is your Face: the blank, featureless thing you hide behind Masks.

Mask - a component of your Identity, an index card with something written on it.

Identity - all of your Masks, taken together as a collective whole; a sum of everything resting on your Face.

Primary Mask - the Mask at the bottom of your Identity stack; the first Mask you wore to cover your Face.

---

Those are just the new Identity rules I'm playing with.  I'll post more mechanics soon if people don't have any major issues with these, but I wanted some feedback first.  It makes sense to me, but I don't know how well it comes across.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2003, 03:09:58 AM »

Great idea, Jonathan. Glad I could serve as a bit of a catalyst. I think it comes across well and your examples are clear. I'm actually wondering: What shape are the Masks? I mean, if you end up with a lot of these, it seems geometry is going to be very important. Perhaps the Primary Mask must be round, and others are other shapes? For a seriously arts-n-crafts feel to it, perhaps everyone starts with an 11x17 piece of paper, and must cut out their various Masks from that. When they're out of paper, they're out of new identities. Just a thought.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2003, 06:30:23 AM »

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
What shape are the Masks? I mean, if you end up with a lot of these, it seems geometry is going to be very important. Perhaps the Primary Mask must be round, and others are other shapes?


Good question, and one that I was pondering myself.  Originally, I was thinking of just using 3x5" index cards, and have all Masks be the same.  After all, the Primary Mask is only different by virtue of it being on the bottom of the stack.  It's not fundamentally different than any other Mask, and making them all the same would allow players to feel more comfortable about changing the Primary Mask.

However, it would also be important for you to tell at a glance which Mask was Primary and pick it out of your stack (which could be rather complicated).  Also, changing your Primary Mask should be a big deal, since you have to become nothing for a while in order to do it, and being nothing isn't much fun.  So ultimately, having the Primary Mask be different might help reinforce that idea.

I actually like some of your arts-and-crafts suggestion.  I think it would be great if players went to the trouble of actually creating their Primary Mask and some of the other Masks that became a permanent part of their Identity (as opposed to Masks you'd only wear for a Story or two).  Maybe that would be the incentive to keep your Primary Mask, that you have to fashion a new one before you can switch :)
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2003, 07:48:31 AM »

OK, so I've got this mask, or masks, or mask made of fractional masks.

Now what? Is this all intended to work with the previous edition?

Mike
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Simon W
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2003, 08:11:02 AM »

I don't get it.

Simon
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2003, 01:22:28 PM »

Yeah, Mike.  I think all the pieces have finally come together.  I needed a way to deal with the layering of Masks, and I think this is that method.  Give me a couple days to finish my Argonauts article for Daedalus #1, and I'll be back with a basic summery of the whole system.  It's already outlined on my desktop, itching to be written out.

Hopefully, it'll also resolve your confusion, Simon.
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