Some late night musing about “move mechanics”
Originally shared by T. Franzke
I start to think of mechanics for moves in PBTA games like card game designers think about card mechanics. I don’t know if that is a good thing.
Like let’s say I have this idea about a DW class that get’s a specific kind of ressource, let’s call it Moxy or Rage that they can spend after they rolled a move to increase it’s effect in some way.
That is a cool mechanical tool you can use right? It makes a move more complex but might give you an interesting decision after you rolled.
Anyway; let’s say i put this mechanic into a class and create the whole class (like i ever would finish a Dungeon World class…) and then i call it the Hellhound. It’s about a guy that escaped hell and now fights demons. Because that is what i came up with at the time.
That is a terrible use of the mechanic! That is also a terrible class!
Because you shouldn’t make a class that is only about this one thing. But we know this.
My problem however is this: I just “made” this cool mechanic that creates interesting gameplay. Unless you want to create a demonhunter from hell, you are screwed. You don’t get to play with that mechanic at all.
When you create a “mechanic” with a lot of designspace, don’t put it on something highly specific because it wouldn’t see play and you did all the work with nothing to show for it.
Then, when you put the mechanic on another class you have repeated yourself and that looks bad right? Also, most of your best ideas are probably in the hellhound and now you need to stretch to find new ways to use the mechanic!
Vincent Baker pushed the envelope when he redefined how the different result levels play out in AWDA. But there is really little talk about that, what that means and what it does to a game.
You can also go and link different classes thematically together by using the same(ish) special move mechanic on them. For the Dungeon World Psionic classes i did; they all got to hold psi and had moves that only worked while they hold psi. But psi could also be spend for effects. So you have a little bit of tension if you want to spend all your psi or still have access to some of your moves.
See, this is me thinking like a card designer…
Is it worth to think about different ways to make moves work like that?
Because there is more room to make neat things with moves and hold. With choose 3/1. With asking questions probably.
But we shouldn’t hoard them too! Give people access to that shit if you come up with something but can’t make anything with it.
Unless you are really determined to do something with these ideas, talk about them! I would like that.