I'm tired, like freaking super tired. But at least, session 13 is over and I don't have to run D&D until the next week.
Croix Janossus is in ruins and Croix Xanamon is born anew in its ashes. The Scions have thrown off the heavy yoke of Sempetoran annexation and replaced it with the burden of freedom and self-government.
They did a good job, I think. I was prepared for the PCs to support either Hadra or the Resistance. But I'm glad that they chose to support the "good guys" even if most of them are rather mercenary in disposition. Naturally, no good deed goes unpunished - so there will definitely be a screwing of someone in the works.
It's thirsty work to GM nowadays. But it's fun to see surprise, fear, doubt, joy and sorrow in my players' faces - and it makes me feel good to let them have fun. Also: my machiavellian personality and my control issues are let loose to run free alongside my creativity and my theatric ability. It's a fun combination.
This game had more moral ambiguity and intrigue than the last and I hope to put out more games like that. 4E is especially combat oriented, which I find fun as heck, but I think that its simple skill structure lends easily enough to intrigue and subterfuge - although without the tactical mechanics to complicate it and convolute it.
For me, the prime system for that would be L5R, which has classes that excel in intrigue, conversation and investigation alongside magical and martial classes. Where it up to me, I would usually play a mage-type character (shugenja) for its versatility over a courtier character... although warrior-types are always near and dear to my heart-spaces. Mage characters in many games allow for great abilities in all areas of expertise, combat, conversation, investigation, etc - although sometimes at some cost.
In Shadowrun, a cyberpunk-style game (sort of like a magical Ghost in the Shell but with criminals), this is especially true. I love mages in Shadowrun. If I were playing that game again, I would totally play another mage - maybe not a dwarf this time (although being a dwarf-mage was cool as hell, stat and look-wise).
But yeah, definitely an interesting look at a genre that I've yet to extensively explore (I've done a lot of heroic/tragic/gothic fantasy). The problem with intrigue games is that they're a lot of prep-work. But if you're cynical enough and you're inspired enough - you'll have a story that'll have heads scratching, players cheering and gnashing their teeth at the same time. I really like Joe Abercrombie's (The First Law) noir-like approach to fantasy and Jacqueline Carey's use of characters that are more clever than strong (. Very different to what I grew up with but in good keeping with my current bleak moods.
I dunno. The next time I start a game, I'd like it to be in a structured social environment (Maybe Elixi), which is the one kind of setting that intrigue games thrive in. However, while most regular player would be overwhelmed by options or lack of obvious ones, I would mitigate this problem by using basic goals to direct and inspire players to take their own steps and eventually create their own goals in the game. The result, I feel, would be a great story - but not one that is easy to predict. One other pitfall I want to avoid is the trap of leading the PCs with powerful NPCs. The PCs gotta make their own choices and they gotta take center-stage almost all the time, even when they're just spectators.
Oh wells. That's enough thinking for now. Time to fall asleep and make my brains explode. Kablooie!
Current Music: Space Olympics - Incredibad