User Tools

Site Tools


A Funny Hat

A friend asked me: “So, is this game just Memento Mundi in a funny hat?”

This is actually a really good question.

It goes without saying that Matt and I love Memento Mundi. We go every weekend that we can. I've GMed a half-dozen games and Matt must have run over a good few dozen by now. I've written Memento Mundi fanfic. Anyone who's read this wiki and the MM wiki will see that influences from that game are all over this one. We owe MM a lot.

That said, there are a bunch of things that we think could be really improved about MM.

We frequently find ourselves having difficulty remembering how many hits we have, or how many armor vs hits, encounter-specific calls and dodges, and in my case, basically every per encounter +1 I've ever been given.

We think there's way too much stunlocking that happens in MM. REND is a ridiculously common call, and it's no fun as either a player or monster to be locked out of the game for ages. Same goes for BACKSTAB. Stunlocking is a really good strategy to win battles, but it produces boring battles.

By the same token, there are calls that can really be unfun. SHATTER is one of these for me: sad times indeed when I go out as a monster, lose my only weapon and die without a hope, even if it makes the player feel cool. STRIKEDOWN into a grimy shotover puddle is a dilemma: I either grunge myself beyond repair, or I have to take the call as a REND and risk being stunlocked again. REND is just not fun generally.

Whilst I think Acryn feels great to be in sometimes, I think it desperately lacks a consistent tone, and it frustrates me that I don't feel like I have a sense of presence in the city. I'd like to know where all the important stuff is: Founder's Square, The Noble Houses, the Council; the College of the Stars.

Both as player and GM, it's frustrating that I don't know who or where the major NPCs in Acryn are. Who's on the Council? Who is the Heirarch of the Builder Church? There's a problem in that there's simultaneously a huge proliferation of below-abstraction NPCs and not enough NPCs I feel PCs are actively invested in. (Contrast this with how invested people get in NPCs in a society game, and I think the problem becomes obvious.)

There are a a number of rules of systems which are vague or which are knowledge that are carried almost like an oral tradition amongst its players. For example: how do you leave an encounter?

There are some problems with healing and dying. Healing classes are both really powerful and really necessary. It's no fun dying because there was no Tender Priest or Journeyman about, or because the only one was bleeding out somewhere else. Generally, it's no fun being down on the floor for most of an encounter, even if you survive. And, in higher level parties, the amount of healing output (from potions or abilities) can lead to some really grindy or degenerate situations.

But, to actually answer the question.

Are we trying to design a radically new style of linear system? No.

What we're trying to do is to iterate on Mememento Mundi as much as possible, to take all the things that made it fun and great, and to try and sand down all the things (like the stuff above) that irked us, and hopefully demolish all of the barriers to entry for wannabe new players of the system.

Whether we can achieve this - well. We'll let you be the judge.

But yeah. It's more accurate to say that we're not pitching you MM in a funny hat. We're trying to create the best funny hat possible.

(In this analogy, linear systems are hats).


design/a_funny_hat.txt · Last modified: 2017/10/01 11:24 by gm_seb