Creating Things

Creating Things

What rules enable the personae to create matsuri, or indeed anything else? Creation is a central part of the game, so it should not be resolved by a single roll. That would not give it enough emphasis in play. In addition, if creation were represented by a single roll, it would be difficult for players to use the rules, because they would have to come up with all the details of the things they were creating for themselves. Creativity is hard work, and one of the reasons for including it in a game is to allow personae to be better at it than the players.

If the game required players to fully describe the things that their personae created, it would be impossible for personae to be more creative than their players. It would be possible to have a persona with more technical skill, for example as a sculptor, than the player, but not to have a persona capable to creating a better concept for a sculpture. On the other hand, if the game simply describes the products of creation as “very good”, they do not feel real, and an important part of the setting loses focus.

The compromise is for the quality of the creation to be determined by game mechanics, but for the elements of the creation to be determined by the players. Anyone with any experience of creativity knows that a good enough creator can make something great from the most unpromising set of elements, so there is no reason to be sceptical about a high quality for a creation just because the elements sound odd or unsuited to one another.

The elements of a creation are determined by the type of creation it is. Creating something is an important part of stories in Kannagara, so game material will describe the elements involved in things that can be created. A matsuri, for example, includes mikë, norito, and kagura. There is nothing general to say about this, but I will have a lot to say about more specific cases in later posts.

On the other hand, there are general things to say about the game mechanics. The mechanics should be consistent, and based on the core mechanic. That is, creating something will involve rolling sets of dice, keeping some, and doing something with the total of the dice you have kept. It will not necessarily involve success or failure, because creation is a different mechanic from a single action.

Before the mechanic can be fixed, however, it is important to think about the end product. Creations are a central part of the game, so they should have an effect on game mechanics, as required by my general philosophy. There are three established ways in which they can affect the game. They can provide a bonus or penalty to actions, they can change the meaning of success and failure, and they can create or destroy options.

Each of these three approaches can happen in two contexts. In one, the creation is primarily created to assist with future actions. In that case, bonuses and penalties or creating and destroying options are most often appropriate. In the other, the creation is the point, in which case it is more likely to change the meaning of success or failure. Nevertheless, all the possibilities apply to both kinds of creation. For example, the point of a scenario might be the creation of a good relationship with a character, but that good relationship creates options for future actions.

In the next post, I want to look at how the end product might be measured, and then, after that, go on to think about the actual mechanics of creation.

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