I'm fairly new around here, but still excited about this whole "story games" idea. I've been working for a while now on a game called the Fifth World, and a lot of the things I hear about story games sound a lot like things I'd like to see in the Fifth World.
Anyway, v. 0.2 came out last year, and it got a review on RPG.net
that was ... well, deserved, I would say. v. 0.2 isn't something we're too proud of, so there's a reason it doesn't start with 1. So, we're working hard on v. 0.3, which I'm hoping to make much more story game oriented. It's going to be an open source setting and an open source system, all running off a wiki (thefifthworld.com
), but we figure, we need to have the basics of a working game going before we'll really be ready to open it up to the whole world, or who would care?
Which brings me to the basic mechanic. v. 0.2 used a roll & keep system like Legend of the Five Rings, which I suppose is fine, but it doesn't do much to add to the story. The Fifth World takes from the Emergence mythology of Native American cosmology and the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, to posit what I've called a "post-apocalyptic, pseudo-utopian" world. Global warming's changed the planet completely, civilization's collapsed, and humanity's better off for it. It shares a lot in common with some ecotopian fiction. The emphasis on the game is on relationships: human relationships that form your tribe or band, as well as relationships with other-than-human persons in an animistic world. Characters aren't defined in terms of skills and attributes, but in terms of their relationships: groups they belong to, inititiations they've undergone, spirits that guide them, and so on. The focus of the Fifth World is very local: specific places, with their own genius loci
that lives through all the inhabitants there (in that, we do have a GM right now, more or less: the guy that plays the land. The land's a character like anyone else. I'm also thinking of rules that would pass that around a little more--intergenerational campaigns where players play clans instead of individuals, for instance. I'm open to being talked out of having a GM of any kind, though, if someone can convince me it's worth it.)
Which brings us back to the basic mechanic. I love games like Deadlands or Dogs in the Vineyard, where the system helps tell the story. I want to come up with something like that for the Fifth World. But at the moment, I'm lacking for ideas. What kind of basic mechanic would emphasize ecological relationship or small group/personal/local mythology?