[Everway] What's it like in play?

edited February 2013 in Actual Play
What it says. I got a copy of this game with all the little cards and stuff at a tag sale, and know it's well regarded. What's fun? What's a typical session like? Does it lend itself to one-shots, brief arcs, or long-form play?


  • I'm real curious if anyone's played it.
    I'm sure someone's played it, just not the people I know, or the people those people know.
  • Oh, man, it's been a while since I played Everway. IME, it's well-regarded for a lot of reasons (fortune/drama/karma res, multiethnic art, questions to wonder about on the backs of cards), but it's also a bunch of random things mashed together, so it's not necessarily the most consistent game ever.

    The structure of play in the Planarch Codex is inspired by my experiences with Everway which were like: start in the central hub city, get some mission on another plane, go to this crazy place, interact with crazy stuff there, get the thing or person you were supposed to get, and then try to get out, back to the hub city. Rinse and repeat. However, in Everway you're not really freebooters, at least not when I played. You're more like altruistic heroes who are taking these jobs out of some duty to a higher cause, at least that's how I remember it.

    I remember playing through the example adventure in the book where you go to the weird gothy plane where there's a undead castle or something. Is that right? I'll have to dig out my copy.
  • edited February 2013
    I played it quite a bit. Our games were a lot like what Jonathan describes. We dealt with a lot of the adventure threads generated from the (totally awesome) card-image-based character creation, sprinkled in with problem-of-the-week type stuff on the various spheres.

    We also had the Spherewalker book (by Greg Stolze), which is packed full with lots of great material. The Order of the Silver Nail from that book was the driving force in our game.

    I'd say the game is well suited to long-ish-form play (15+ sessions or so).
  • We played it a lot, both at conventions and in our local group. An adventure was usually about restoring balance. This didn't mean there wasn't fighting (though sometimes there wasn't). But, if the Stereotypical Call of Cthulhu story is "Your relative or a client's relative has vanished. Investigate until you find the cult about to do the Awful Ritual", then the Stereotypical Everway Story is "Something is very badly wrong in this Sphere. Learn what it is, and decide what to do about it."

    Everway also works well for fairy tales and for certain types of fantasy -- think LeGuin and McKillip.
  • Played it too long ago to be of any use, but what I remember is: having a lot of "stuff" given to me, and making my own use for it. Trying to make my own game out of the pieces. Top-quality pieces, mind you, which made the exercise sorta rewarding!
    These days, I'd do the "Something is very badly wrong in this Sphere. Learn what it is, and decide what to do about it", sure, but I'd interpret the "something is very badly wrong" part with some lenience (maybe, something is just slightly wrong), and the "learn what it is" part I'd cut short to "tell them what it is, in a fancy way", so that I can get to the "decide what to do about it" part. The main doubt is, can a party of trollbabes be handled? Because that's what spherewalkers are, sorta. Or should I give them some sort of authority to make them basically into Dogs?
  • edited February 2013
    One idea I had for Everway back in the day was to run a game where the heroes and villains were all modern reincarnations of mythological characters, newly awakened to their past lives. Inspired by Matt Wagner's Mage 2. I'd still like to do that someday.

    How's it play? Chargen is a fun activity in itself, but takes a little too much time for a convention one-shot. For a regular gaming group (or two convention slots), you could easily do one session of chargen, bring the action to a cliff hanger, then finish off the adventure in session 2.

    Like folks said upthread, I bet the game really shines over a short to long campaign, but I've never been lucky enough to have that experience.
  • I ran a one-shot at a con once with pregens I'd made, mapping the relationships among them much like White Wolf does with its splats. It worked really well. By the end of the session, players were freely narrating their characters' actions along with drawbacks, driving the story without having to be pushed or incentivized. I always thought it'd make for a great campaign. I did find the diceless mechanic a bit stale, though. If I were to run Everway again, I might use FATE and keep the other trappings like the Fate Deck, Vision Cards, elemental stats, meta-setting, etc.
  • I’ve played the heck out of it but I’ve also managed to get it fall flat a few times.
    The players thought that weird shit was just getting thrown at them. It was like trying to make your way through a cloud of fairies, with no clear goal or way to interact with the setting. I thought they just breezed through all of the things I had thought would be problematic. They were having a hard time keeping the party together.
    When I play it again I’ll try to emphasize the virtue/fault/fate cards and also, I don’t know… seems like there’s something more missing.
    IMO, Everway was the first hippie game.
  • Jonathan Tweet once referred to Amber as Everway's competition, but I think of Everway more as Amber's bastard child. It's got more system to fall back on than Amber, enough more to make it easier for me to run. Some folks blended the two games -- I remember reading about an AmberWay game or two.
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