I have a big problem with Storyteller’s design right now…
There are just too many rules.
The first stories are simple and most people have no problem going through them, but as more and more characters are introduced, it becomes harder to predict what is going to happen when you place the lover next to the angry villain that just secretly killed his wife out of jealousy.
Examples of Rules
I fall in love with the closest character if:
- I am compatible (nobles like rich people, heterosexuals need opposite sex, etc.)
- I don’t feel remorse about something I did to him (lovers don’t care)
- I don’t hate or dislike her (lovers don’t care)
- I am not already in love and as far as I know my partner didn’t die (lovers don’t care)
- I am not envious of this person (lovers don’t care)
I spent the past two months rewriting, debugging and adjusting the rules that govern character behavior, hoping that it would fix the problem, but I got stuck going back and forth without making significant progress. Some designer friends suggested I should proceed to make the whole game with the current mechanics, hoping the process of producing the actual game would reveal the proper mechanics to use.
The build I am preparing for PAX has 25 stories in it and I started noticing a structure underlying the whole mess of character-defining rules. When placing characters in frames, you are trying to create scenes (i.e. theft, murder, crush, abandonment, etc.) that satisfy what the story is asking of you. Could I implement a higher-level mechanic that deals with whole frames instead of individual characters?
I will consider this when I come back from Seattle.
Interesting changes I made to the game:
- Each character only has one nature, making things simpler than the old version
- Max three characters are allowed per frame, this is easier both for players and the code
- Some things can only happen in quiet frames: you used to be able to fall in love during a bloody murder. Not anymore.
- Introduced the Gift and Mina the Vampire