Because of this, I am searching my hard drive, and finding unfinished products everywhere. One that impresses me is Fleur du Mal, an adaptation of Clinton R. Nixon's brilliant (and mostly free) RPG The Shadow of Yesterday. One of the best parts of TSoY is the way you gain experience. All characters have "keys" that describe for what kind of stuff that character gets experience. All keys also have a way you can buy them off, and buying them off gives you even more experience, which you will then generally use to (among other things) buy a new key. This way, the player decides what is important for her character, and also has a reason to strive for character transformation.
For instance, take the Key of the Pacifist:
- Gain 1 XP for every adventure in which your character does not commit any violence.
- Gain 2 XP every time your character does not commit violence even though it causes her minor harm or inconvenience.
- Gain 5 XP every time your character does not commit violence even though it causes her great harm.
- Buyoff: Purposefully harm another sentient creature.
Anyway, I wrote a supplement (which I then forgot about and never tested) called Fleurs du Mal.
A decadent ruling class has dominated the people for centuries with their malevolent magics, while they chased after mental and physical gratification, played deadly games of intrigue and betrayal, and tried to forget their desperate, secret craving for love. But now society is in turmoil, for many among the commoners have suddenly developed a resistance to the manipulatory powers that made them into obedient slaves. Revolution sweeps the city and angry hordes bent on revenge have surrounded the Emperor's vast castle where high and low nobility alike have taken refuge.Here are some of the keys.
Outside, men and women are struggling with their new-found sense of self-worth, while opportunists of all sorts attempt to divert the revolutionary energies into channels of their own devising. [...] Inside, fettered by habits too ingrained to set aside, the nobles still hatch their deadly plots and indulge their perverse cravings. The claustrophobic social setting, the abrupt loss of power and the constant threat of the vengeful hordes just below the windows only seem to increase the intensity of their activities: the plots become deadlier, the lusts more demanding, the pain of others less and less a concern.
Key of the Aloof Protector: There is an adolescent or adult person whom you would protect at all costs, because you believe he cannot fend for himself. Gain 1 XP every time you act to protect that person. Gain 2 XP every time you ensure that the person thinks of himself as weak, helpless and dependent. Gain 5XP every time you make sure the person remains dependent on you because "it is best for him". Buy-off: treat the other as an equal.
Key of the Masochist: You love to escape the responsibility of choice by submitting to the will of your master or mistress. Gain 1XP every time you are hurt or degraded by your master and accept it in good grace. Gain 2XP every time you have a difficult decision to make and your master makes it for you. Gain 5XP every time you follow a command by your master even though it obviously dangerous or detrimental to yourself to do so. Buy-off: Disregard a command and make your own choice.
Key of Morbid Fascination: You are obsessed by the idea of death, and wish to experience it as closely as possible without actually dying. Gain 1 XP every time your watch someone die. Gain 2XP whenever you kill someone or have someone killed in order to experience their final moments. Gain 5XP whenever you arrange for yourself to have a near death experience, losing all points in all your pools and being unable to refresh them for twelve hours. Buy-off: see someone you love die.
Key of Grief: You still grieve for a terrible loss you have suffered, either of someone's life or of someone's love. Gain 1XP every time your grief makes you act more humane. Gain 2XP every time your grief makes you act less humane. Gain 5XP whenever your attachment to your grief makes you forego a possibility of overcoming it. Buy-off: learn to cope with your sorrow.
You know--I want to play this stuff! But here is the problem: I'm hardly playing RPGs anymore. I did a few sessions of D&D the last year, but that is hardly an RPG of the kind I'm talking about--more a board game, in many ways.
The difference between RPGs and IF is that you can play IF on your own, so whenever you have some spare time, you can play. But RPGs need the commitment of a group of people, and it's hard to get a bunch of people all together repeatedly without too much time between the meetings. At least I find it hard.
But I need to find a solution.