On TheRPGHeaven, In the Emergent Complexity
thread I lured myself into some Bloodlust
nostalgia (with a little assistance from Benoist, Ian and Brand). I've been thinking about this and got my hand on the pdf. Aside from the question of keeping the rule-system (at least the core of it) or not, which is a heavy can of worms in itself, I've been examining what to do about the game mechanism about the interaction between weapon bearers(WB) and the god-weapons(GW). To me it's one of the weak point of the original game.
A few explanations. Bloodlust offered different game modes:
- players play the role of WBs, GM plays every GWs. Easy on beginner players (except GMs) but quite frustrating too considering how lethal combat is supposed to be. Hence story continuity is related to GWs more than WBs. Hence players aren't very engaged or commited to their PC... Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It doesn't work on the long run.
- players play the role of GWs. Should be quite nice but WBs, as important as they are don't interact that much with the fictional world. I assume it would be boring at some point. And just like previous mode it's a lot f#%&ing work thrown on the GM's shoulders.
- players play both a WB and his/her GW. Good solution for GM workload but it means that nothing is conducive to inter-players interaction. Mental dialogs between WBs and GWs are almost impossible to role play while it's one of the major interests of the game.
- players play the role of one GW and the WB for another GW. Probably a little difficult but could be assisted by players using a hat to make obvious when they play WB or GW. As intensive as it is on the players, I believe this is the way to go. The role of WB should be exciting especially if the player in charge of the divine inner voice is doing his job of promoting his own agenda.
So now back to the premises of the game :
- most humans are looking forward to becoming WBs. It means power, quick social ascension and fulfilling wild fantasies.
- WG are looking for the proper WB and some form of symbiosis. They want to get control of their WBs and the way to achieve that is to stimulate their common pulsions/desires. GWs should be able to force the fulfilment of unshared desires sometimes too.
- Desires are : Prestige (gaining respect, power over people, becoming a legend...), Violence, Sex, Reputation (winning as many duels as possible, defeating WBs, inspiring fear...) and Wealth.
The original system used a number between 1 and 10 for each desire of a WB. GW have a modifier which could get between -3 and +3 but the creation rules make this range of values very different for each desire. Once combined the resulting modified desire would be uncontrolable if negative or superior to 10. This is something I'm not really happy with. I'd like WBs to have even a remote chance to resist their strong drives. Also there isn't anything to reward WBs to give in to their desires.
I'd like to figure out some mechanisms that would :
- help materialize the risk of a desire leading to the GW taking control. Something very visual, in the middle of the table.
- involve the GM too. After all he's the one who is going to target players with stuff like "you notice a gorgeous woman at the bar", "the villagers are looking for a hero, someone to help them defeat the monster" etc... He's the one bringing most of the stimuli in the fictional world. He's got to be bale to stir shit up.
- become some kind of economy. Probably some sort of circle like : GM declares a stimulus and gives a token to GW A. GW A realizes that he/she's got enough tokens to trigger some frenzy or negotiate with WB B to fulfill the desire. GW A gives tokens to WB B and takes control for the rest of the scene or sth like that. At the end of the session WB B exchange his tokens for some sort of reward, for being pushed around by his divine alter ego. I would like to make Elric type of situations ("you made me kill my wife !") quite frequent, though in a lighthearted way rather than emo.
It's kind of taking shape in my head but I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Any suggestions and references to relevant game systems will be greatly appreciated (especially if it doesn't cost me a penny).