Evokers' Pact v0.5 Ramblings
I don't know how to do devlogs. Sorry?
So Evokers' Pact was a thing I was tinkering with primarily for March of the Wizards 2K19, but I was always aware of the fact that this was probably not for that space, and came with a little bit of baggage - the assumed judgment and spite of a world that doesn't understand you - that I felt was not what I wanted to put there necessarily. I was actually trying to do something much lighter, cuter, and centred around language, but that still escapes me. Perhaps soon.
But I wanted to ramble a bit about group Moves in the context of Belonging Outside Belonging games like Dream Askew, which this is modeled after. It's a play shift I tinkered with in Lovers In Freefall, trying to simulate the idea that while each member of a community is still a person unto themselves, their ability not only to relate to each other but make communal decisions also has dramatic weight. I wanted to simulate not only how it affects smaller groups of people within a community to disagree, fall out with each other, and work at cross purposes, but what it means for them to come back together, find peace through their collective affection, and make communal decisions for the benefit of their whole. Character moves are about what you want for yourself. When what both of you want are collectively either bad or good for the whole, you enter group-move space, where you get this additional opportunity to consider the group as a whole and how characters clash and mesh.
I like that idea a lot, which is why it made the Pact Moves that are attached to the primary setting of the game. When two or more players disagree, are both cold or hurtful to each other, or refuse to work together, those involved in that disagreement each get a token. They can still use them for solo moves as if they were any other token, but hopefully it also encourages interesting kinds of play that is predicated on the dual performances of players. Maybe you play an evoker who just loves being selfish and bitter to their others, constantly taking advantage of strife only to strike out on your own and do badass things, developing a story where other characters' relationships to you are always tense. Perhaps you want to play a generally more emotional story of people who struggle to maintain peace in this overwhelming and hostile world, lash out against those closest to you as you all try to achieve your goals, and then come together at a pivotal moment in a heartwarming scene of openness, trust, and collective ass-kicking. Maybe you want to toy with both. Trust yourself and those at your table, communicate your intentions as succinctly as possible, and make decisions that are in line with both the flow of the story and the safety and interest of your fellow players.
One thing, though: I hope I don't communicate the idea that Evokers' Pact's pact moves and Lovers in Freefall's Lovers' moves are somehow a superior innovation of games of Belonging Outside Belonging. Avery Alder's Dream Askew is fucking solid as it is. I was merely considering what one idea may do to inspire a certain kind of play, and I don't even think I have enough data to really tell if I've pulled it off. But I love the idea a whole damn lot, and I hope that it does so encourage another layer of complicated emotional play between individuals in their scenes.
Please let me know what you think of this mechanic, especially in Evokers' Pact, how it may have impacted play, and what emotional value it added to either your characters or your actual players.
Love and Light,
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