Spankers, Spankees, and Switches,
Haven’t been super productive this month, real life has been keeping me busy. But I’ve been chipping away at the next episode when I’ve got the time. Blubb2 over at AnimeOTK has been kindly helping me with some editing and feedback. Their suggestions have been very good, and very helpful, thanks Blubb2!
I’ve also been starting to give some thought to what comes after Scarlet Moon. I’ve been tight lipped about my longterm plans, mostly because they tend to change and I don’t want to set up false expectations. My current plan is to complete the first big myth arc (the “mysterious evil person”) in episode 10. So we’re getting pretty close. While I’ve been laying the foundation for some additional arcs, I think once I complete this arc I’ll slap a “Done!” sticker on it and call Scarlet Moon complete.
The question will be what comes after. Most likely, I’ll start up a Scarlet Moon 2. I still have plenty of story ideas, and I’m having lots of fun writing these characters. The advantage of starting a new game is that will give me the freedom to futz with things a little. In particular, I’m thinking that for a second game, I’ll move away from the current Wizardry-style RPG combat and to something more narrative. So “combat” will just be a sequence of narrative then skill check then more narrative then skill check. The player passes enough skill checks, they win. They fail enough checks, they lose.
This is mostly a time saving thing. As I get older, I have fewer large blocks of time. I can write prose a little bit here, and a little bit there. But writing and debugging code…for that I need a big chunk of time where I can’t be interrupted. So if I want to keep developing games (and I do!) I need to find a mechanically satisfying way of having less coding.
Fortunately, I think I have an idea! My inspiration is the Fate Roleplaying System. I think this is a *great* system for a spanking game for one very simple reason: It rewards the player for letting their character get in trouble! Basically, the only resource you have are “Fate Points” and you use fate points to help you pass skill checks. You get more fate points by taking “compels” which are basically “If you let this bad thing happen to your PC, you’ll get a Fate point that lets you be awesome later.”
This is actually really great, because I’ve struggled really hard to figure out how to incorporate PC spankings into the mechanics of a spanking game. The obvious thing to do is make the PC get spanked for failure, or doing something dumb, since spankings are punishments. This is more or less what happens in Pierce’s books (though you also get spanked for just existing). The problem is that this introduces clashing incentives: the player wants to do well at the game, but many also want to role play a brat whose constantly getting her ass smacked. That’s not satisfying. My approach for Scarlet Moon was to punt. Spankings have no mechanical impact, so you don’t have to play poorly to get your character spanked. However, that’s not satisfying either.
But if the player gets *rewarded* for letting the *PC* get punished…Hmm. Now your incentives align. You want to do well at the game, you’re gonna need Fate points. You want to get Fate points, gotta let your PC fail (or do something stupid) and get their ass smacked.
Furthermore, your character would also have “Aspects” that represent facets of your character, for example “Absent Minded Genius.” You need Aspects, because you can’t just spend and gain Fate points willy-nilly. There needs be an Aspect that justifies spending (or receiving) the Fate point. So for example, if you’re taking a test, you could spend a Fate point to “invoke” “Absent Minded Genius” to get a bonus on your roll to pass the test. If on the other hand, you’re in class, you can gain a Fate point by being “compelled” on “Absent Minded Genius” so that you’re not paying attention. These are really nice, because I’ve found that these aspects really get my creative juices flowing. If a possible aspect the player can have is “Absent Minded Genius” I find myself constantly asking the question “What kinds of challenges might the player encounter that an ‘Absent Minded Genius’ would excel at? What kind of situations would get such a person in trouble?”
To play around with the idea a bit, I started a side game that does what I have in mind. It’s nowhere near completion, but it should do a good job of giving people a taste: Samantha Stone. This is just a straight HTML file, so you’d have to track the state yourself. Obviously, for a Scarlet Moon sequel, I’d tweak the engine a bit (which won’t be hard) to track your Spankens and what not for you.
What are people’s thoughts? Does this seem like a fun idea? Any problems with it?
I know some people really like the combat, but my hope is that this system will allow me to give people a game that is both mechanically satisfying, and doesn’t require a ton of constant coding work on my end.