No gaming this week as we just didn’t feel up to it. I think we both prepared some stuff but opted to delay it when our heads were in a better gaming frame of mind. I have decided to try to make Friday a Soft Horizon day, so lets keep with that trend because while the playtesting didn’t happen, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some advancements made on the game itself. Also, that link won’t show the new changes since most of that is happening in another document. I so mean!
Chronologically this post will flow backwards, luckily in Soft Horizon that isn’t nearly as disconcerting as in most realities.
On Sunday I met with Brad and Jack for lunch at a fantastic Japanese izakaya (which means tavern) called Guu. Over squid balls, salmon pasta and Sapporo beer, we stumbled across how to improve characters in the game. Actually, Brad and I bandied about some lower level stuff, and then Jack swooped in with the insight that set our heads spinning and pushed the game in a powerful new direction.
Jack rocks in many ways.
She doesn’t game with us, but she listens and when she speaks up, it is to add pertinent information and perceptions. When she offers up her opinions, the dice stop shaking and smart people listen.
Brad is a smart person.
What Jack noted was something I had been commenting on in an indirect manner. Mostly because my thoughts are a bit scattershot and I throw ideas out like dice in Hollowpoint conflict. Jack heard these and collated them into something that got Brad and I bouncing upon the wooden seats of Guu.
Characters in the game walk a fine line, they can play it safe and remain amongst the best of the best on the known planes, but if they want to make lasting change; improving a Stat of an entire plane then they need to take real risks. Real risks beget consequences.
In the past session I ended up with two consequences, Brad’s PC ended up with one. I struggled with my first consequence and Brad offered up the appropriate but uninspiring “out of ammo”. I declined that, instead adding the awkwardly worded “second guessing his new property on Hothouse”. I took another consequence too, “afraid of the dark”, at the end of the session we agreed one of those consequences becomes a new trait. Pyrol remains afraid of the dark, but the first one became a trait called “Beastiary of Hothouse”. I know there are magical tigers there, what else might lurk in the utopian garden of Sahar?
I have no idea what sort of trait “Out of Ammo” would have become, “Always an Extra Round”? Possible, but I know as a player or a GM, that I can have more fun with a book full of magical beasts and with another box of ammo.
Okay. Good. Suddenly picking consequences requires some creativity because it adds more depth and potential to an already excellent character. Now the Player and the GM will want to attach evocative consequences because if the Player survives the session, they become more powerful.
Pyrol (and Cap’n Finn) both now have six Aspects (or Traits) instead of five, making them a bit more powerful. Considering how quickly those Aspects get used up during a conflict, an extra one will quite likely make a real difference.
Here’s the real sweet spot for me, at the end of each session a PC converts one Consequence into an Aspect; however, if a PC takes three consequences they are Taken Out of the game. With Soft Horizon shaping up to be a one-on-one game, Taken Out means pretty much… make a new Character or role up a new set of planes for a whole new adventure.
Pyrol will start the next session with one consequence (afraid of the dark), which means even if he plays things safe, at the end that will become his seventh Aspect. “At One with the Night” or “The Moon obeys my Command”.
What we’re angling towards now is that those Aspects can be traded in for bonus powers or can be saved up to challenge one of the few entities more powerful than the PCs.
This is exciting.
The PCs can challenge the realms of their reality.
They might be able to lift up a society, cause a culture to collapse or stare unflinching into the Demon-Lord of Mpoti.
Win or lose…
I know that’s a story I want to tell…
A tale I want to hear…
A game I want to play.