|Predictions, Erf Mechanics and Game Genres [speculation]
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|Author:||No one in particular [ Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:21 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Predictions, Erf Mechanics and Game Genres [speculation]|
I've had the notion that Erfworld isn't a pure, single-style gameworld for years (see? proof!), but I don't recall that I've expounded on how I think Predictions mesh with the "Fate as GM" concept.
Let us begin by assuming that Erfworld has a narrative and Fate is there to actively enforce it, thus putting them in the role of Dungeon Master, Game Master, Storyteller... whatever term you prefer. Without a narrative, the role would be more akin to a referee - a non-participant who only makes sure that the established rules are followed. Without agency, Fate is a non-entity - a mute observer, and not worth discussing.
For most units, they play Erfworld on the level of the game as presented. They declare an action, check their numbers and get their results - Fate may fudge things with hidden penalties or bonuses, but they don't know. For them, Fate plays the old-school DM; setting up a scenario and more or less just letting them run through it while hiding behind their screen.
Predictamancers, however, have meta-gaming specials. Erfworld as they play it is more like a collaborative story-telling than a dungeon-crawler; when they make Predictions, they're talking to the Storyteller in one of two ways.
For big, long-term Predictions, it's like they are being allowed to ask the Storyteller a couple of relevant questions. In the game Monster of the Week, a couple of character classes get to start every session by asking the Keeper a few questions about the coming mystery, for example. These are the things Fate wants, that it will find Easy and Hard Ways to get.
For immediate, short-range predictions, it's more like they're asking the Storyteller to let them control the narration for a moment. By burning juice (proportional to the difficulty of the desired Prediction), a Predictamancer gets to declare that "THIS is what's going to happen". In combat, this would be declaring "I hit them and they fail to block" and "when they swing, I dodge" and "it would take HOW much juice to hit them? nevermind then", while it manifests as "being able to see things happen a second or two ahead, so that she could aim where the enemy would be, and to move where the enemy's return blows and arrows would not land [and] know whether or not a shot or blow she was about to initiate would be a hit. If it wouldn't, then she simply did not take the shot."
Out of combat, the cost of declaring a scene may be more than just juice - Fate may be allowed to hold penalties against the caster to be deployed whenever it wants (although this may be too close to how Luck works), or it may arrange that the set-up or consequences of establishing the scene are detrimental to the caster. As an example, a caster may Predict "that warlord is going to spill their coffee" and Fate may have the warlord stumble and spill their coffee... all over the caster.
For examples from games, the "set the scene, but the GM can mess with you later" mechanic can be found in Spirit of the Century, where it actually works both ways. A player can spend Fate points to declare aspects of a scene which gives the GM points to mess with them specifically, but they're also allowed to bank Fate points by tempting Fate according to their character flaws and quirks. So if the character is a gambler, you can have them be distracted by a casino and arrive late to the stake-out, but that gives you the points to declare that there's a window nearby when you need to escape the burning warehouse.
"Declaring the start or the finish, but not both" is from the more cooperative (sort of) game Fiasco. Every player takes a turn controlling the scene, but only the beginning or the outcome of it - the other players get to decide the rest. So a player can either declare something specific occurs while giving up control of what happens next, or they can let the rest of the group decide how the scene starts while retaining control of their Fate at the end. So for example, you could start a scene by spilling coffee on someone in a diner, and the group argues about whether this leads to a brawl or making out in the bathroom, or you know you want to end the scene driving away from town in an unmarked car at 110 mph, and just have to figure out how to get there from wherever the group decides to start you.
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