Sunday, January 8, 2012

Emergent Backstory

So we're back in business after the unannounced, overlong christmas hiatus. I've been doing some serious game development during this down-time, however. Though I don't like to publish anything until it's final, so I don't have to grimace as I look at my previous posts.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand. I've been thinking of a new mechanic for creating backstory during the gameplay itself. Basically, every time your character fails a sanity roll (or equivalent) and thus gains a point of insanity the player must narrate a small detail/vignette/flashback of backstory that explains why the event affects him specifically. Maybe he's seen the alien diagram before, in his father's basement or the dead taxi driver reminds him of the murders he investigated in Paris twenty years ago or something.

Now, the main problem here is that in some games, sanity loss is much, much more common than in my design. Also, it could prove problematic if the player's narration doesn't fit the GM's plans. Though you could argue that a specific type of horror/weird gameplay doesn't need to have a coherent plot or timeline.

Also, it seems my use of the label system is woefully inadequate and really weird so I might rethink it.