Methods of Escalation

Blog post by Raph D’Amico about different methods of escalation in story games, especially in relation to his in-development, ‘Annihilation’-inspired gmless Archipelago hack. Discuss!


  • edited October 2018
    "Jenga" can be extended to "mini-game of skill" (a shooting mini-game for conflict resolution creates tension)

    I have toyed with something similar this week, with another perspective. This came from the idea of sabotaging the brakes and direction of any storygame, so I think it is in the spirit of the thread. Except I include lore and lore spouting in it, which I think is compelling for some players and appropriately infuriating for others. The end result is mini-games or techniques to cater to various types of players (or give written crutches in case these player are absent). Some are picked from Push vol.1 I associate the various techniques to the typology of players from the WotC RPG survey. Here's a link

    They are written with a "each and every player" focus which is not compulsory, just fair. I don't see how making it an individual move vs collective would change their nature. Maybe just to signal that the quorum/veto ratio may be higher for this kind of moves than for the rest of the game.
  • The link was an interesting read overall, but the idea of a character sheet that turns inside out to reveal a transformed player role is brilliant.
  • edited October 2018
    The link was an interesting read overall, but the idea of a character sheet that turns inside out to reveal a transformed player role is brilliant.
  • After reading this, I feel compelled to write a GMless Dread / Archipelago mashup game. Each setting element you own also would come with specific dangers to introduce into the fiction that force people to make pulls.
  • @DeReel I had a little trouble following your comment - is this for a specific game you’re designing, or more of a tool that could be applied to lots of different games? Mini games can be very fun in the right context, so I’m curious how your ideas play out at the table. Tell us more!

    @moconnor agreed, loved that idea as well and having played the game referenced, am confident it would play out well in-game.

    @NickWedig I think that could definitely work! Keep us posted if you follow through on this inspiration!
  • edited October 2018
    Yes, I was thinking outloud.
    The file synthesizes various ideas for me : selecting techniques for my game ; advising the right techniques for each job. This is escalation for me because the game is very open and when the players accept to engage in some of the mini-games, they suddenly get a hard constraint (facts, maps, mood, etc.) in addition to the problems they already have to solve (creativity and strategy).

    These techniques are generally valid so I thought they could be of use to anyone. For this game and others, I have brought into play Actor, Thinker and Storyteller techniques already, without difficulty. I never dared to use the "Take that !" questions, but the tickling is there from the start : as the facilitator, I just can't be the first to shoot. Now it's written in the rules, we'll see.
    I have a hard time finding numerical resource management compatible with my game. Only @2097 luggage game fits the bill. The "script" and "declare" mood techniques are still very theoretical for me, as I don't aim at an "improv workshop" feel. The patina of time will make these slide into place hopefully.
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