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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Eerie Gaming II: Using InSpectres

In my previous Eerie Gaming post, I talked about how great JAGS Wonderland is, but mentioned I wouldn't run it with JAGS. These days, I prefer games that I can make quick rulings on without consulting rulebooks. So what would I use? I have a couple ideas. Here's one I've suggested before: InSpectres. I originally posted my ideas for running Wonderland in InSpectres on Story Games, but I can't find a link to my post and I think you'd need to log in to read it, anyways; this post will cover the basics of how I'd do it.

Characters: either build 'em with 9 dice as in standard Inspectres or with just one skill as in the UnSpeakable variant for a grittier feel. There are two additional skills, Sanity and Unsanity. Split 10 points between them; if Sanity is 10, the character is uninfected. Cool is renamed to Mastery.

Franchises: standard rules, but keep the starting dice small; instead of representing the franchise's total resources, the dice represent how much the characters can get from that franchise without giving anything in return. Also, it's possible to have multiple franchises or join new franchises during play; these can be support groups, rebel networks, investigative groups, or government agencies.

Plot Points: you do not earn mission dice, you earn plot points; one point on a skill roll of 5, two points on a 6. You can spend plot points to renew Cool/Mastery, invest in a franchise, or make a Wonderland advantage permanent ("bring something back", get a beneficial mutation, etc.)

Stress: if you accrue more stress than your Sanity score, you have an Episode. If your stress drops below your Unsanity, the Episode "thins out" and will end soon, the next time you roll a 5 or 6 while performing an ordinary action. In addition to the common forms of stress, make stress rolls for triggering events as well:
  • watching or reading surreal or fantastic media, daydreaming: 1 die
  • witnessing or interacting with someone having an Episode: 2 dice
  • letting curiosity about the unexplained draw you in: 3 dice
  • major mind-altering effects, like taking drugs: 4 dice
  • witnessing the impossible: 5 dice

Episodes: if Stress is more than Unsanity, a character can only end an Episode by spending Cool/Mastery to roll dice (5 or 6 ends the Episode, 4 reduces Stress by one level.) A character can also force an Episode by spending Mastery to roll dice.

Dissociation: your reflection is another character with no dice to roll. To affect dissociation, use the aiding/teamwork rules to lend a die result to your reflection. If you are only rolling 1 die, you can opt to describe what you are trying to do in Wonderland, roll the die, and then take the automatic 1 in Wonderland, using the die result instead to describe what your reflection does in the real world. If you have more than one die to roll, you can use one result for your Wonderland action and one for your reflection's action. The standard InSpectres die results correlate to the Wonderland Dissociation levels:
  • 1-2: Total GM control = Complete Dissociation. The GM describes what the reflection does.
  • 3: Partial GM control = Major Dissociation. The GM describes what the reflection does, but the player can suggest a minor effect of the Wonderland events on the real world.
  • 4: Partial player control = Moderate Dissociation. The player can describe a limited effect of Wonderland on the real world.
  • 5: Player control = Minor Dissociation. The player's action succeeds in the real world, too, but without any impossible effects.
  • 6: Total player control = Complete Association. The impossible happens.
There will be more on this later, as well as ideas for adapting JAGS Wonderland in other ways.

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