, I would like to pick your brain about your personal experience with KEYs. I'm borrowing that mechanic from my days running the Solar System and using it as the mein source of experience points in my PbtA project #FantasyWorld
How did they play out, in your experience?
Imagining a "Key of the Dwarven Race
" that reads like this:
1 XP = do something expressing a facet of dwarven culture, traditions or perks
3 XP = do something that puts you in danger or trouble because of dwarven culture, traditions or perks
...my absolute ideal result would be to somehow lead the Player to actually say/describe
something glaringly related to the key.
If a dwarven PC is in a tavern, and someone makes fun of his braided beard, and the dwarf gets angry and starts a brawl... if the Player only describes the PC losing his temper, it could be for any reason: maybe he has a bad temper and short fuse, maybe he is particularly sensible about comments on his looks, or maybe it's a dwarven honor thing about beards, or anything else.
But, if the Player would actually describe the PC shouting something like "NEVER make fun of a dwarve's beard!
" that would really hit the KEYs unequivocally.
So far in my experience most of the time Players just do their normal thing, and then later, in retrospect, see if anything fits to trigger the Key.
Which is fine, I guess.
But the result is, using the same example as before:
- the dwarf gets into a tavern brawl
- stuff happens, the story moves one
- at the end of the scene, or even at the end of the session!, the Player would go "Well my dwarven pride got us into trouble, right? I mean, how dare they comment on my egregious beard!?
As I said. It's fine. But it somehow leaves me unsatisfied, as a "viewer".
I'm wondering, is this normal? Is this your experience too?
Maybe it's just what happens at the early stages
of gameplay, when everyone is getting acquainted with the new system?
All my tests so far were performed with people new to the game, and only went on for a few sessions, so I lack real long term / veteran experiences.
Or maybe it's just personal narrative taste! I mean, maybe I like Players to describe things in a certain way, even a bit on the nose. And instead they simply have a different narrative stile. Or prefer just doing their thing without too much thought, be there, and only later think about it.
Or maybe it could be a lack of personal engagement with the Keys?
I mean, in TSoY and SolarSystem one would CREATE their own Keys during char-gen.
But I've seen such a thing take AGES, especially when you don't have a big idea for your PC, and are eager to start and find out who they are in play.
So in #FantasyWorld
I provide 3 default Keys, related to some classic fantasy adventuring themes (new ones can be created later, after active play begins).
The thread is specifically addressed to Eero for obvious reasons, but if anyone else has experience with TSoY or SS or with their KEY mechanic, they are welcome to join in the discussion