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Author Topic: [Ever-After/Facedance] a PDF of the basics  (Read 4085 times)
Jonathan Walton
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« on: October 09, 2003, 11:04:00 AM »

Ever-After finally has a full system description.  Possibly a new name as well, since I'm trying out "Facedance" as a more accurate description of the current version.

For those unfamiliar with early incarnations of this game, Ever-After/Facedance is an alternate method of achieving some of Universalis' design goals, one that reinstates personal identity and immersion in what I hope is an interesting and innovative way.

Two versions below.  The Word DOC has a little graphic that helps explain the stacking of masks better, but that's the only real difference.  I still suggest it over the PDF for clarity's sake.  It's mainly included for people who loathe Microsoft.

http://www.godmachine.org/facedance.doc
http://www.godmachine.org/facedance.pdf

Give me feedback!

P.S. Special thanks to Matt Snyder for letting me turn in my Argonauts promo for Daedalus a bit late.  This was burning in my brain and needed to be written down.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2003, 12:56:54 PM »

Over in this thread, Abzu wrote:

Quote
I was reading over Jon Walton's Facedancer RPG and frankly I was inspired.

There are so many of these ultra-light RPGs being produced out there, and none of them have a home.


Just wanted to address the idea that Ever-After/Facedance is "an ultra-light game without a home."  Not true.  This project is my baby.  It's been developing slowly over the last year-and-a-half, but is finally nearing completion, at least as far as the design stage goes.  I've already payed Ramon Perez a nice chuck of money to illustrate it, and have long planned to write the game up in a narrative style, where readers are taught how to play by following character actions in the narrative.

So... this is a major project that I plan to see through, all the way to print.  That's why feedback is so important (hint, hint).
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2003, 07:08:48 AM »

I have a few questions:
1. Spending and Piping. I think that I sense an ingenious mechanic here, but it seems hidden. Is the idea that in order to get drops back that you have to give them to all the other players first before yourself? Meaning that, if you spent all your drops and then piped, that you'd basically be spreading all your Drops out evenly amongst all the players? That's cool, if that's it - it just has to be divined from the rules by thinking through the outcome of their use.

2. The gardening is a bit confusing. It says that the group must pay in one drop per minute. Then it says that players on their turn may pay or do something else including pass. What if no player pays? Or does a player have to pay if the turn comes to them and the minute has been exceeded? I'm not seeing how this works precisely.

3. What happens if you think that somebody is violating one or more of the three storytelling limits? Just social control? How is the Troupe Truth established?

4. Are you going to include some examples for what makes an appropriate Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary mask?

5. Some limits seem to have been ommited. How many drops do you start with, or how is it determined? How are they distributed to the players? Can a player have as many secondary masks as they like? You say "usually" 1-5, but that's not a limit. The "stacking limit" is not a limit. I can show you a way that I can get 100 secondary masks on the primary one. Unless you mean that secondary masks cannot overlap. In that case, the practical limit becomes based on the size and shape of the masks. Which also is not indicated. I envisioned notecards until the example of the circular masks. Seems like it would be cool to have some other effect of overlaps besides just being a limiter.

6. Have you playtested the Void Wind rule? How long do you do it? Until it looks like the tertiaries that are going away have all gone? If you play a story until you run out of drops, doesn't that mean that you'll lose all of your secondary masks as well? Meaning a long wait to get any back, if you ever do? Doesn't this give an incentive to end the story before the drops run out? Is that intended? It seems that the masks with the most investment are the ones you most want to keep, but in doing so, doesn't that also mean that their also ones that you don't want to use? That is, it seems that you can have your cake or eat it, but not both. Which seems odd. You're less likely to be able to protect the masks you like to use most, and more likely to be able to protect a mask that you don't actually intend to use. Is there some significance to the paradox?

Mike
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2003, 08:40:58 AM »

Yea, questions!

Quote from: Mike Holmes
1. Spending and Piping. I think that I sense an ingenious mechanic here, but it seems hidden. Is the idea that in order to get drops back that you have to give them to all the other players first before yourself?


Yup.  I guess I need to make that more explicit.  I think I might also make Piping one of the actions you can attempt instead of taking a "turn."  This'll prevent the same player from Piping all the time and feeding Drops to their best friend.

Quote
2. The gardening is a bit confusing. It says that the group must pay in one drop per minute. Then it says that players on their turn may pay or do something else including pass. What if no player pays? Or does a player have to pay if the turn comes to them and the minute has been exceeded?


Should have made this clearer too.

I. Player 1 feeds the first Drop.  The story has a time limit of one minute, and the clock starts ticking.  Play begins, with turns moving around the circle.  

II. Player 2 spends a Drop from their Mask, Jack the Giant Killer, and says "Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack."  The story now is 50 seconds away from its demise.

III. Player 3 feeds another Drop to the story, taking 5 seconds to do so.  Now, the story has 1:45 left in its life.

Basically, you can choose to extend the story's life at any time.  Waiting until the lifespan of the story has almost run out is fine, but that means you might have to skip your turn at a critical point in the narrative, when you really want to do something.  So it's often better to make a preemptive strike and give the story a good amount of life (5-7 minutes) near the beginning, and then extend that as needed if it looks like it won't end in that short amount of time.

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3. What happens if you think that somebody is violating one or more of the three storytelling limits? Just social control? How is the Troupe Truth established?


That's the part I haven't written yet, because it's not hard rules but social contract stuff.  Imagine it sort of like Imperator or Chancel creation in Nobilis, where the whole group gets together to decide play guidelines (which, I think, is one of the understated genius-level ideas in Nobilis).  Or you could see it like the pre-game part of Universalis.

In EA/FD, this happens between each story.  Players re-examine their social contract and try to fix any issues that arose in the last story.  If you think one of the players is abusing one of the Truths, you bring it up and the group decides how they want to deal with it.  I'm going to give a bunch of options, but ultimately it's going to vary depending on situation and Troupe.

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4. Are you going to include some examples for what makes an appropriate Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary mask?


Yup.  Lots.  But again, it's also kinda about how you use it.  Consider in Nobilis the difference between the Power of Fire (who governs the fires of the heart & mind, the "fires" of the sun's nuclear fusion, the fires of creation, etc) and the Power of Fire with a literal interpretation (who only governs actual flame).

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5. Some limits seem to have been ommited. How many drops do you start with, or how is it determined? How are they distributed to the players?


This hasn't been playtested yet, which is why I haven't really given numbers.

Quote
Can a player have as many secondary masks as they like? You say "usually" 1-5, but that's not a limit. The "stacking limit" is not a limit.


Yeah it is.  Remember that the rules involve placing Drops on top of your Masks.  If you cover up most of a Mask with other Masks, where are you going to put the Drops, huh? :)  I did forget to mention that pennies or Drops invested in Masks are placed flat, side by side.  So surface area is important and leaving space open for Drops is critical.

Also, overlapping is important for surviving the Void Wind.  If you stack a bunch of Drops on top of the overlapping parts of Masks, you may be able to protect several Masks with a few Drops.

Quote
6. Have you playtested the Void Wind rule? How long do you do it? Until it looks like the tertiaries that are going away have all gone?


I've playtested it by myself, but not with a group.  As long as the Masks are fairly flat, with no upturned edges, even a single Drop will often keep them from blowing away, no matter how hard you wave the book.  But there could be a time limit like 15 seconds.  Or, better yet, maybe I could come up with something for the group to recite together while the Void Wind happened... :)

Quote
If you play a story until you run out of drops, doesn't that mean that you'll lose all of your secondary masks as well? Meaning a long wait to get any back, if you ever do? Doesn't this give an incentive to end the story before the drops run out? Is that intended?


Yes to all of these.  The game is about short stories, at least until the group gains enough Drops to tell longer ones.  You have to master the format before you can wander off into long, extended narratives.  This makes sure there's plenty of between-story times for you to work out your social contract before getting in too deep.

Quote
You're less likely to be able to protect the masks you like to use most, and more likely to be able to protect a mask that you don't actually intend to use. Is there some significance to the paradox?


This is the only tendency about the currency system that is less than 99% satisfactory, in my opinion.  However, with Piping, you should be able to quickly reinvest in Masks that you are using a bunch.  Masks that aren't consistently invested in are Masks that you aren't using (in this mental model) and the Masks that should get blown away by the Void Wind.  You are right, however, that you could invest in a Mask at the beginning of the game, never use it, and it would survive just fine.

However, when you think about it, this problem is also mitigated by having to spend invested Drops to extend the story's life.  Which Drops are you going to spend?  Certainly not the ones invested in the protagonist, but the ones on Masks you probably aren't likely to need.

Is that enough to solve the slight problem there?  I hope so, but it hasn't really been playtested yet.
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