In this post:
- I lay out some important questions to address for conflict resolution systems.
- I start answering them, lean a little on Polaris, then start differentiating the idea from Polaris.
- I ponder some possible changes to this, like making every roll opposed.
Haha, I let this post go way too late.
Here's what I worked out last week: I think that conflict resolution with a dice pool that you can grow by invoking relationships sounds interesting. There are a number of questions that need to be answered to make sure I'm using it in a way that makes sense:
- What contexts is conflict resolution likely to come up in?
- What are the consequences of success?
- What are the consequences of failure?
- What decides whether a player can use a relationship to improve their chances?
- Are there any caps on bonuses?
- Can anything impose a penalty?
- Are there degrees of success?
I think that bonds should be temporarily used up when they grant a bonus, and refreshed by some ritual phrase.
The bonus concept represents the character motivating themselves to greater heights, so it's almost like conflict resolution should come into play when the character's strength of ... character ... is in question. Like the opposing force to the player is a questioning of their commitment/determination/whatever. Like they're testing the player character, instead of strictly trying to defeat them. I like the idea of Polaris's four player roles, but I wonder if they could be shifted around. Like, the current player and the Adversary, and the equivalent of the Moons somehow jointly control the Demiurge.
Confidence versus self-doubt, with the background detail of the Demiurge influencing the struggle.
I have this idea that the Demiurge somehow sets the scenario to start with, by proposing a surface-level mission for the club. Based on this, the player characters then have some true mission they're trying to accomplish at the same time. This can be to sabotage the surface mission, to ensure it goes easily, to slow it down, to cover up something that it would uncover, to mitigate the inevitable fallout...
If we have the assumption that success is inevitable, and what's in question is whether it's dignified or embarrassing, then the player and the adversary can represent those two forms of resolution.
In Polaris, the Moons represent all background characters not directly part of the conflict (and their player's protagonist), dividing up the characters by relationship to the Heart's character, and then by gender. Now, if the Confidence and Doubt are two opposed forces within a character, can the other players be opposed forces within the Demiurge? Interest in supernatural vs belief in rationality? Holding out hope for miracles in the face of mundanity, vs clinging to an ordered world in the face of absurdity.
Anyway, these ideas cast the outcome of conflicts as a particular force predominating, so the answer of what the success/failure means is, that the narrative will go towards that as a result.
I wonder if the division of roles means that the Doubt can level up neuroses or something. There are a couple directions to go in, if that's under consideration.
I think I don't want degrees of success. One player or the other gets what they want, and that's the outcome.
I think at this point, I've got some interesting ideas, but I don't know how well they fit the overall diraction I want to take things.
Next week, I attempt to do some example play, and extrapolate rules from the transcript.