Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Shelving Know Thyself for now

So, I have come to realize that I need to put Know Thyself down for a couple months. I haven’t received feedback from the ashcan, and the issues I have are, from my point of view, unique enough that I don’t yet know how to solve them.

The latest issues that I haven’t been able to solve: my game has no motivation in the “dream” scenes. I set up the scene and initial actors, but not direction whatsoever. This presents two problems: (a) the Chorus tend to look at different directions and step on each others’ toes, or (b) the Chorus and Amnesiac have no idea what direction to go because the scene is devoid of context. I have a couple ideas of how to deal with this, namely by turning the Memory Token areas on the card into a different element involving verbs, and using that to create a potential initial action.

That said, that doesn’t solve all my problems, because even with an initial action, the scenes are devoid of context. I spoke with Paul last week, and we talked a bit about improv. I’m looking forward to my copy of Impro arriving, and I may jump back into KT after reading that, but all in all the lack of feedback from the ashcans has honestly produced a current lack of interest in my continuing development.

I’m going to work on a design challenge my friend threw down involving dominoes, and then perhaps I’ll come back with some notes on Damned Anonymous, if I’m not ready to re-tackle Know Thyself by then. I’ll probably post up notes on my blog about my domino-based war story game, since this isn’t a forum for design challenges.

I’ll still be around to comment and the like.

October 29, 2007 - Posted by | Know Thyself


  1. Ryan,

    I’m sad to hear it’s not working out for you right now, especially after the effort you put into making and marketing your Ashcan.

    Comment by iamclyde | October 31, 2007 | Reply

  2. Clyde,

    I’ll get back to at at some point. When it comes to these projects — both mine and others’ — I am fond of saying “It will be done at the precise moment it needs to be, and not a moment sooner.” (Or some variation thereof.)

    At does seems like my head won’t let me completely shelve KT, because after reading and commenting on your post about “Sucking and Paul Czege”, I started to realize some of the problems in one of my proposed solutions: in a game where narration trumps character ability, such as mine, it feels all-or-nothing. Either you save the princess or you fall into lava. In KT, there is no specific goal in the scene, and that allows players to do whatever, but sometimes that whatever is so devoid of structure as to be incoherent.

    In one solution I was tinkering with, where each scene had a goal of some sort, I find myself having trouble with how to make it so the scene stretches out longer than the single success. Since character ability is 100% narration, it’s dead easy to say “I wave my hand dismissively and everyone turns into stone.”

    So, either they win with that success, or someone else happens to mitigate the success. If I have the Chorus do it, it feels like blocking & taking away the success — saying “And the stone characters come to life.” mitigates the success to keep the scene going, but at the cost of turning that success the Amnesiac had into a meaningless action. And that, in my opinion, sucks.

    And furthermore, if I say “Hey, Amnesiac, for those first couple successes, don’t go hog wild,” then I’m putting the Amnesiac is the position of having him play both himself and him adversity, since he has to come up with why he doesn’t just win.

    So, I need to chew on this subconsciously, I think, while reading other materials. I’m also going to try to tackle this issue with the war story game I’m making, except without the “dream/psychological space” and “amnesia” elements. I’m hoping a fresh start on the problem from another angle may help me understand it more.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | October 31, 2007 | Reply

  3. I have found that sometimes working on B can help you relieve pressure on A.

    Comment by robertbohl | November 1, 2007 | Reply

  4. I think Robert’s got the right of it. I know that when I allow myself to relax and not feel so pressured about an idea, the thoughts flow.

    Comment by commondialog | November 1, 2007 | Reply

  5. You both are right, to a degree, but too much B with the excuse that you’re just trying to relieve pressure on A tends to — at least with me — turn into more excuses on why I’m not working on my older project and instead focusing on the new, shiny one in front of me. I’m trying to curb that with KT.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | November 1, 2007 | Reply

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