Wednesday, May 29, 2013

[Valanas] The power of Duality and Growth.

If there is one thing that people really enjoy to experience in a very story driven game, is that there is always some level of conflict that grabs their attention. In the most recent months, I have been sharing some of my insight on this very fact through the collaborative story telling found within Valanas.

Thanks to this, the Valanas play-testers have really began to realize that the nation they called home was built not on honorable foundations, but instead on a tragedy to which their glorious leader had hoped to make amends for.


Even in the light, there is great conflict.
Even in great conflict, there is light.
(Image courtesy of http://tattootabatha.com)

Ever since I established Valanas to target the world of Manga and Anime, I have been able to hone in on many of the tropes that are typically found in such worlds. One such element is that of that there is always two sides to a story. Even more so, many of those who claimed themselves to be Legends were in fact slackers, manipulators, and people who could care less about the world, but made a difference in the world despite their shortcomings.

As I develop the rich history of the world, I have found that adding even the slightest hint of corruption in everything has allowed the players to really question the motivations of their declared heroes and what history brought them to their current perceived glories.

Legends are forged through growth, maturity,
and the willingness to press forward despite all odds.
(Image courtesy of http://tattootabatha.com)

These small hints at things have helped to really bring home the Mysterious aspect of the world, and provide our players the opportunity to really shine by taking the opportunities to change the world into their own image while trying to make up for past injustices. In the eyes of both a Game Master and the Player, this allows all involved the opportunity to really feel like they are making a change in the world, and that the world itself is in fact alive.

Even in situations where players are having to face the indigenous species of the planet, the entire conflict found within the world is alive with various personalities and histories that the players can investigation, explore, defend, and change in ways that one simply can not do in many of the "Theme Park" games typically found in Massively Multiplayer Online games, and can not be seen in books or comics alike.

The idea behind Valanas isn't simply to build a world, but a place where people can collaboratively take a very rich and enjoyable history and produce a story of their own that reflects the very aspects of the world that both the game master and players enjoy, while still making changes in the world that make those involved feel like it is that of their own.

Now I ask of my readers: What have you done in your games to make the players feel involved and invested in your worldly creations, or if you have played in such settings what were some of your favorite elements that kept you hooked and wanting more?