Monday, January 23, 2006

Dreamation Renewal.

At the Dreamation Con this past week. There was a very useful panel discussion of game concepts on Sunday morning, and I brought out Contract Work for review. Most of the loyal Forge members were on hand, both past and present including Luke Crane, Clinton Nixon, Ben Lehman, Josh Newman, Jared Sorenson, and others.

When I presented the concepts of the game, Luke began to question the motivation. Why are these people killing? Don't most criminals in this line of work want to get out one day? Should that be a focal interest for the game? And that hit a spark off about the debt one owes being the motivation behind actions. While I still expect to maintain the structure and mechanics, I have something that was lacking before:

I'm excited about writing this game again. And THAT'S what I needed. It wasn't the mechanics I couldn't get my head around. It was the interest, the excitement. That's why the game dug it's heels in, it didn't want to be a bad game. Or something less metaphysical if you prefer.

If someone is a character worth playing in Contract Work, they are already beyond questions of good and evil. I can get a players interest by asking them to answer the big question through play. And it's even weightier now that it's not just "Why would you kill?" but "Why would you take up a Life of Killing?"

Answering this question decides the value of the character by telling us how much the player wants to spend on their character at creation and it provides the endgame. You've got to pay that last debt.