How to Make the Messiah Autonomous?

This, to me, is one of the three keys to make Messiah pop.  (The other two being how to model the world and how to give players meaningful actions and by extension inter-actions.)

My original idea was something like this.  Messiah is a round-robin style game with players taking their turn doing something interesting, typically influencing the Messiah, gaining/breaking alliances, snipe other Faction’s key personnel, etc.  (Well that’s hope anyway…)  Ultimately though, whowever won the conflict in a scene won narration of what the Messiah was going to do.

So the workflow sort of looked like this:

  1. It’s my turn.  I decide to improve my relationship with the Commerce Guild, annother faction.
  2. I state my intention and start my role play.
  3. Anyone who wants to help/hurt this action can buy into the scene.
  4. There’s conflict.
  5. I win.
  6. I then say well because of this, the Messiah decides to so X and rolls for the Messiah to attempt some grand miracle.

I can actually hear you yawning.

Plus, I wanted to give the Messiah a go so every time around, the Messiah got to do some action.  I was actually to the point where I was going to package a CD-ROM with the game that had a program that would take the Messiah’s four stats and generate an action.  This solution made me reasonably unhappy, but I was unsure how to tackle a four dimensional matrix to create an optimum solution otherise.

So I was talking to Clint Krause about this problem and he struck upon the answer: a deck of cards.  Make the Messiah draw from a deck on its turn and have each card relate to an action.

That was pretty good…then I decided to take it one step further.  At the start of EVERY faction’s turn, they draw a card.  That represents what the Messiah is going to unless the Factions stop or help the Messiah.

This gives a feeling that the Factions aren’t really in control.  The Messiah is going to do what it can, all the factions can do is damage control.

So far, this feels pretty satisfying.


~ by Chris Perrin on June 21, 2008.

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