For some weeks I have been writing a new game called “When the Dark is Gone”. It is an ambitious and unconventional approach to gaming (if I do say so myself) but I *am* standing on the shoulders of giants in writing it.
WTDIG is my response to games such as Fiasco, Durance, The Trouble with Rose and others. These are all very good prep-less and GM-less games. They have some huge benefits over a more traditional style of role-playing and the biggest is that in my busy adult life I have less time to prep games. These games offer me the chance to role-play on short notice when I haven’t have time to prep.
I also find the GM-less style both challenging and intriguing. Once you have overcome the shock of shared creation, there are many benefits and the stories that emerge are often more interesting due to the greater creativity resource. I have enjoyed them all a great deal, but in all I have found I am missing something.
What am I missing?…a good cry.
What I mean is that whilst these games have been fun and entertaining stories were told – none of them touched me emotionally. There was little to no character investment and indeed this investment is actively discouraged in most cases.
First I thought that emotional role-playing wasn’t possible in a prep-less setting. Perhaps genuinely touching games, games which can make you cry, can only happen with prep.
Well – I love a challenge 🙂
Goal number one: create a prep-less game which is emotionally charged, with full immersion and where people are completely invested in their characters.
But that wasn’t enough for me. I’d been watching with interest how people were designing ways of determining Out Of Character conflicts or assigning elements of story control to different people at different times. But I was looking for a fully immersive character experience; any pause to make an OOC comment (even discussing the direction of a scene) would break what I was looking for.
So, how do you resolve conflicting views about where the story goes in a game where no-one breaks character?…The secret…you don’t.
Goal number two: design a game where there is no need for a mechanism to resolve conflicts either in or out of character.
Stay tuned for my solution…
[The beta version of the game is released here but I’ll have some more Designer Diaries going up to document my design process in the coming weeks. There will be lots more play testing and refining happening before I release the final version.
If you want to play test it drop me a line here i’d love to hear from you.]