The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age

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Bret

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The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« on: August 16, 2010, 10:19:27 AM »
Vincent, I've heard you (and Joshua Newman too) say elsewhere that there are problems with In a Wicked Age. I was wondering if you'd say what they are, because I love that game and think it's brilliant and haven't had any problems with it.
Tupacalypse World

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lumpley

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Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2010, 01:08:28 PM »
I think that this is as close as I've come to really articulating it:
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...What you get are games where pushing someone down has the same range of possible consequences as setting fire to a planet's atmosphere, and where "my mother is the moon and my father is the evening wind" is mechanically equivalent to "I have a motorcycle."

In a Wicked Age suffers from this, even though I provide good seed content, because I stuffed too much possible content into too few game procedures. I wrote rules that treat the endeavors of a village midwife and the endeavors of an ancient god of vengeance and war the same way - which meant I wrote rules that are abstract, mannered, flatly interpersonal and over-explicit. I referred way too much back to the social level.

Constricting the range of possible content would let me treat it concretely in the game's mechanics, but so would expanding the mechanics. If I redesign the game, I'll do the latter.

I'm delighted that you haven't had problems with it, though.

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Bret

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Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 01:42:55 PM »
Interesting! That's one of the reasons I appreciate the game so much. The first game I can think of where I experienced this sort of thing was Capes. A conflict is a conflict, regardless of the scope. So, a conflict where Peter Parker is getting bullied is just as mechanically significant as a conflict where Galactus is trying to eat the Earth. Given the source material, this totally made sense to me and was one of the draws.

In this case, given the source material (though I'm admittedly unfamiliar with most of it) it seems totally reasonable that a god seeking to raze a kingdom would be as significant mechanically as a midwife giving birth to a child. It gives these things equal weight in the narrative and prevents one from overshadowing the other where they have to share space. In games I've run, we've had spirits of winter and ice sharing the screen with scummy cutthroats and the mechanics have given the latter something akin to narrative breathing room.

Though it sounds like you're dissatisfied that it leaves so much of this up to the group to adjudicate? And it sounds like you've thought this through pretty thoroughly and made up your mind, though, so my thoughts on it might be redundant at this point.
Tupacalypse World

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lumpley

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Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2010, 04:23:44 PM »
What I want is for everything to be mechanically significant - same as you - without being mechanically interchangeable. I'm pretty sure that I can keep what's valuable about the game, but be rid of some of its mannered indifference. A more visceral version of the same.

But I don't know how yet!


Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 06:56:44 PM »
Has AW given you any ideas on that front (joke not intended), or are the playstyles too different?

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Suna

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Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2010, 02:57:04 PM »
Vincent, in order to solve those issues, how far are you willing to go into changing the game's mechanics?
Because it's my second favorite rpg after shock:, and if I can do something to avoid have it slumber in the limbo of perfectionable-but-unfinished games, I will.
"The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ, /Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit /Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, /Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

--Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat

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Ry

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Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 11:17:30 AM »
why not take In A Wicked Age, restrict its subject matter (I'm guessing to all-human characters and no 'far reaching' Particular Strengths), and then add the other elements back in?

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Suna

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Re: The Problem(s) with In a Wicked Age
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 10:18:04 AM »
Would the game be as much fun if you restricted the interaction with the supernatural?
No, I was thinking more about working on particular strenghts, giving some that are for npcs only in order to diferentiate them.
Also making the less important ones easier to dispatch (like, reduce to 0 one form only and they're dead).
I'm sure Vincent's already considered these variants, though.
"The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ, /Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit /Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, /Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

--Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat