Author Topic: The Abyss  (Read 2542 times)

mcdaldno

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The Abyss
« on: August 15, 2010, 09:11:30 PM »
Here's what I'm thinking about saying, re: the abyss:

There's this thing called the abyss. You know where to find it. It knows where to find you.

It's the shit that's too awful to wholly exist. It's where kids get their nightmares, and schizophrenics get their delusions. It's where monsters get their power.

The abyss can make offers, and demands. It can cast visions and prophecies. But without you, the abyss is weak. It needs a partner with which to tango.

Your relationship to the abyss is your own. Like a terrible mirror, everyone sees something different.

Fae see a portal beyond the veil. Infernals see their dread benefactors. Mortals see that which mortals shouldn't see. Everyone sees something different.

And that's all I'm currently planning to include. Thoughts?

I don't imagine The Abyss as something that is as pervasive as the psychic maelstrom - it's just that hell/otherworld/darkness/self-reflection that you know all too well. Sometimes you find it, and sometimes it finds you.

Bret

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Re: The Abyss
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2010, 06:37:58 PM »
Oh damn, this is great. I love the idea of the Abyss being Playbook-specific.
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mcdaldno

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Re: The Abyss
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 07:14:13 PM »
Glad you're likin' it, Bret.

In my current brain, the playbook-specificity of the Abyss isn't hardcoded, but rather hinted at in the extended Skin descriptions. Most Skins will have optional moves that add new things to the Abyss options.

Thoughts on that?

Would you yearn for something more hardcoded, like Darkest Selves and Sex Moves are?

Bret

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Re: The Abyss
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2010, 07:17:04 PM »
Hardcoded Abyss seems really cool to me, though I think I'd probably be just as happy with a paragraph of color letting the MC know what the Abyss means to that particular Skin.
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Daniel Wood

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Re: The Abyss
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2010, 09:11:12 PM »

I drastically prefer the idea that, much like in vanilla AW, the abyss is ultimately character-specific. The first time they look into the abyss, the MC asks: what is it like? And the player tells them.

I think having the brief sort of playbook-specific-advice above is cool; some general guidance helps remind players of the obvious version for their playbook. But I see no reason to make this cut and dry, unless the ideas you have for each playbook are super-strong in their specificity.

And, really, that comes down to whether you think it is necessary to lock it down as well -- do you need it, to make this game emulate the genre/play the way you want it to? Or are you just excited about some of the possibilities you came up with, and you're in danger of forcing those on players instead of letting them come up with their own cool versions of the same?

mcdaldno

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Re: The Abyss
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2010, 09:23:51 PM »

I drastically prefer the idea that, much like in vanilla AW, the abyss is ultimately character-specific. The first time they look into the abyss, the MC asks: what is it like? And the player tells them.

I think having the brief sort of playbook-specific-advice above is cool; some general guidance helps remind players of the obvious version for their playbook. But I see no reason to make this cut and dry, unless the ideas you have for each playbook are super-strong in their specificity.

And, really, that comes down to whether you think it is necessary to lock it down as well -- do you need it, to make this game emulate the genre/play the way you want it to? Or are you just excited about some of the possibilities you came up with, and you're in danger of forcing those on players instead of letting them come up with their own cool versions of the same?

Good questions, Daniel.

One of the Fae's custom moves expands the abyss.
The Infernal's sex move is: when someone sleeps with you, they gaze into the abyss.
The Witch is going to have a custom move that expands the abyss.

So, I have several Skins that affect the abyss differently, mechanically. I really like this direction, and want to pursue it further.

I also want the abyss to be very character specific. I want the abyss to develop unhealthy relationships with characters. Unlike the psychic maelstrom, I want the mystery of the abyss to be a non-factor - the abyss is, and that's that, and it's the dynamics and relationships that make it interesting.

So, I want your Skin to add new dimensions to the abyss, and your character to define its own relationship with it. Yeah?

mcdaldno

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Re: The Abyss
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 12:45:53 AM »
To put money where my mouth is:

The Abyss, Your Skin, Your Soul

Each Skin has a different sort of relationship with the abyss. Some of this is hard-coded into the options for each Skin, but a lot of it is left open to interpretation. Ask about it. Ask, "So, how do your kind deal with abyss? Is it responsible for the way you are?" Ask leading questions, and let the answers imply a sprawling mythology about the world.

But don't get stuck there, on that surface level. Ask questions that personalize one's relationship with the abyss. Ask, "What about your relationship with the abyss sets you apart from other ghouls?" Ask, "Why does the abyss want to help you so much?" Make them feel special, because teenagers feeling like they're special in the eyes of some great unfeeling entity is fertile ground for drama.

If you do it right, you'll create two dysfunctional patterns. First, you'll put the Skins at odds with one another, based on differences in worldview and perspective. Second, you'll have lucy treating the abyss like a second boyfriend, and jack-o treating it like a limitless credit card, and you'll create messy dependencies. And the whole situation will just be a tower of mis-communications and presuppositions, waiting to collapse.