I am absolutely fascinated by the unique perspectives each designer has regarding the game design process. For example, I have a nearly kinetic understanding of my games and can 'feel' the mechanisms during the design process. I intuit that a particular mechanic is out of place, overly complicated, or missing some kind of vital attachment to another mechanic. When things start to come together, I fell the metaphorical engine begin to run smoothly. How do you experience your design work?

@genesisoflegend I usually think in a "this mechanic rewards this behavior" way. I try to deal with problematic situations with this system.
It's kind of like: my players murderhobo every npc or don't care about them, let's make the relationships they have with npcs make them more powerful.
I always try to give rewards instead of punishing, but I suppose you can do both.

@norea Right, incentive-first design is a potent tool. I have found that punishing certain behaviors is like a hot spices, best used sparingly and with great care.

@norea @genesisoflegend I usually find it totally sufficient to simply not support the behaviors I don’t want. Show the players all the shiny levers and make sure they work.

To wit: in The BLOODY-HANDED NAME of BRONZE, there are four things you can do that let you roll dice and take a shot at controlling the outcome. Anything else, and other people just tell you what happens.

@JoshuaACNewman @norea I look to games such as Dog Eat Dog, where sub-optimal behaviours are put on the table to demonstrate power imbalance. The fact that the Occupier can overrule a dice-roll that they lost is both cruel and perfectly on point for the core message of the game.

@genesisoflegend @norea Good example! In Bronze, the idea is that fate is big, and you — however well-descended from gods and giants — are still subject to its whims.

And then sometimes your human will and weirdness wins out! It takes place at the very dawn of humanism, so there are these places where you get to say no, /I/ am making this choice.

@norea @AnarchoDom @genesisoflegend I particularly love it when someone throws their big fist of dice and roll shit. Or they have a couple dice, and roll a pile of strikes. You can’t deny fate!

@JoshuaACNewman @genesisoflegend @norea Got a student this semester that had great pools, but rolled poorly, so he spent a fuckton of Destiny only to roll... zilch!

His Fated Hero died, as a result, with no Destiny left, so he perished as a nobody.

@genesisoflegend @norea @AnarchoDom Almost makes you want to live in a Humanist world where people support each other through mutual aid instead of relying on the whim of coercive supernatural beings, doesn’t it?

@JoshuaACNewman @genesisoflegend @norea

This is something I want to showcase in Memetically-Haunted Shell of Chrome.

Self-emancipation is only possible through forming bonds with people that will reciprocate. Anything else is likely to enslave or alienate you.

@genesisoflegend @norea @AnarchoDom How I’d cast it is this: the actions you can take make you more vulnerable to others. You can help people who are vulnerable to you.

See: mutual aid va. surveillance-capitalist state.

If I’m vulnerable to you, it’s easy to hurt me and all you get out of helping me is that things went better for me.

Then you have powers of state and capital to which I’m vulnerable. They might help me if they have a reason to, but probably won’t bother.

@genesisoflegend @norea @AnarchoDom This Is related to my Cyberpunk idea many years ago, where your cyber gear either works great or it doesn’t sell you out; it fills your senses with propaganda that’s easy to obey, or you have to run kernel updates and redesign the elbow because the 3D printed one was originally designed to be machined.

Your strength comes from your krewe because they know how to make shit work, but if one of them rolls over you’re fucked.

@JoshuaACNewman @genesisoflegend @norea

Cool! That's an interesting take. I do want my Chrome Champion (remixed Fated Hero) to pursue emancipation from their sponsor/overlord by doing some Robin Hood-like stuff.

Helping the little guy pro bono will earn you relationships that can give you self dice (black) and is also conducive to earning points of Agency (remixed Destiny) in the choice of consequence.

You learn about yourself and grow through these relationships.

@norea @genesisoflegend @AnarchoDom Consider carefully if you want that hero’s benefits to be a direct result that straightforwardly builds trust, or if it simply states that they are worthy of trust.

That is, are they an authority whose exercise gives them the benefits they deserve; or, by acting in a way that builds a vulnerable community, do they become legitimate authority?

@JoshuaACNewman @norea @AnarchoDom I hate to intrude, but I might also interrogate if the PC's are legitimate authorities, or whether they are in trustworthy accomplices. How much hierarchy do you want for the little guy?

@AnarchoDom @genesisoflegend @norea I’m using “legitimate authority” subversively; as in, someone who the community trusts because of their intentions and ability to affect change. That’s a trusted accomplice who gets shit done.

@JoshuaACNewman @AnarchoDom @norea Right. My mind was instead going to put the uncertainty on their efficacy instead of their loyalty. We know they are on your side, but they need to constantly affirm that they will get shit done that helps their community in a concrete way.

@norea @AnarchoDom @genesisoflegend Ah, yeah, that might be their defining tension: that they’re trying to do good and their main resource is a bunch of people who trust them.

@JoshuaACNewman @norea @genesisoflegend Their other resource is a suite of cyber-augmentations provided by their sponsors, that will rat on them through internet-of-things.

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@genesisoflegend @JoshuaACNewman @norea

This whole conversation is really helpful!

I think I should start a whole thread about Memetically-Haunted Shell of Chrome, at this point. That will help make things clearer.

I will see if I can find the time tonight.

@JoshuaACNewman @norea @genesisoflegend

More the latter: by taking risks for others and displaying their own vulnerability, they earn trust that will help them form communities.

Such communities would always remain vulnerable because the setting makes it so: it's very difficult to escape the reach of these overlords.

@JoshuaACNewman @norea @genesisoflegend Some Musky/Bezosy kinda hyperegoists that are now living in space ziggurats in Earth’s orbit.

@norea @AnarchoDom @genesisoflegend Ah! I see! So the question is if they will have enough of an effect to undo the effect they wanted to have.

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@genesisoflegend Your description is very relatable to me -- it is highly intuitive, and I know when it _feels_ right, especially when designing the frame for my design (my first step).
When detailing, I design around what can produce interesting results and surprising developments at the table, then step back and check the behavior-adjusting implications of the piece, and how it would modify the frame, redesigning if it seems to point in difficult directions. But it's still almost all intuition

@genesisoflegend My RPG texts are trying to bottle the imaginative process. That’s why I write and draw (and play) as part of design: I figure out the kinds of things I want to have happen (again) and how I want it to look and feel.

My intuition tends to be right on a critical level, but not design level. The critical level tells me how something should be, but figuring out the tensions in play is a matter of a set of diagrams in my head, a web of strings pulled taught by different interests.

@JoshuaACNewman I agree with that view entirely. I find my intuition is good at telling me that a particular major system works or fails, but it doesn't help me choose between alternative functioning systems. If I have three kinds of social interaction procedures, my intuition is useless in making that choice.

@genesisoflegend Yeah, I’ll design something that’s a good algorithm and it’s totally dull to play.

@genesisoflegend Often it feels a bit like exploration and a bit like finding the logical implications of a rule. This rule implies this sort of dynamic, or it would fit best with another mechanic in a different part of the game. Sometimes you're deciding things, but each decision has consequences and the design process is partly feeling out what those are.

@nickwedig Right! If the game design is a central point in a metaphorical landscape, this is akin to exploring in a particular direction to see what this path would lead to.

@genesisoflegend To answer your original topic: I tend to have one or a few philosophical themes or principles that I then try to translate into rules and mechanics.

I can't claim much in terms of published games, but I noticed that expressing my own philosophical concepts is the main driver in my few designs so far.

@genesisoflegend I work in reverse of what I think a lot of people do. When a mechanic occurs to me, I'll try to feel out what kind of potential it has by toying with it, then see if I can build a game or subsystem around that. I've got no shortage of ideas for fiction, but functional game mechanics are harder. If I can't find a use for it, I'll put it on a shelf for later use. I tend to build loosely coupled games, so I don't carefully tune mechanics to work with each other.

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