Triggers

30 10 2007

“I take one one one cause you left me and
Two two two for my family and
3 3 3 for my heartache and
4 4 4 for my headaches and
5 5 5 for my lonely and
6 6 6 for my sorrow and
7 7 for no tomorrow and
8 8 I forget what 8 was for and
9 9 9 for a lost God and
10 10 10 10 for everything
Everything everything everything”

-The Violent Femmes: “Kiss Off”

 

Please note: the mechanics here aren’t completely worked out. Unlike my previous post on point mechanics, there’s a lot here I know I still need to figure out.

 

The main reason that an addict indulges in an Obsession is simple: he is an addict. However, every addict has their own excuses for their behavior, and even when you’re on the road to recovery, there are weak spots– chinks in your armor which  make recidivism look particularly enticing. The situations which cause temptation are called Triggers.

 

Most Triggers are personal, and depend on the type of Obsession your character has, and what the character’s background is. Someone struggling to stay clear of an abusive boyfriend might feel the urge to call him when their song comes on the radio; a bullemic might feel the desire to purge when they pass by someone thin on the street. Decide where your character is weakest; those are your Triggers.

 

There are a few Triggers which are universal to everyone: exhaustion, intense stress, being confronted with someone else who is engaging in your Obsession, being around someone close to you who is engaging in their own Obsession, and trying– but failing– to help someone out of their Obsession and into recovery. And, of course, when a Dependency lets you down– if a Dependency fails, you must keep calling on Dependencies until you succeed or run out of points.

 

While it makes sense to avoid your Triggers, not all of them are avoidable, and you can’t hide from life forever and expect to get well. Eventually there will be some sort of reward for facing your Triggers– possibly facing a Trigger once nullfies or weakens it.

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3 responses

30 10 2007
Scurve

“And, of course, when a Dependency lets you down– if a Dependency fails, you must keep calling on Dependencies until you succeed or run out of points.”

This part I really like, and I’m interested to know how you determine if one fails you. Does the chain-smoking just not give you the fix you need, or maybe going to the park was ruined by the weather? This is part of the gamble mechanic, presumably?

It seems like if there were a set number of points to spend on Dependencies, (here’s just a little rant on how I see things) you’d have some interesting options. Maybe it’s totally open and someone could spend all (let’s say) 12 points on one dependency, or maybe they take twelve 1-point dependencies. If the 12-point dependency fails, the character might have to immediately resort to Resolve points, but the dependency isn’t broken. Whereas, with twelve 1-point dependencies, you’ve got a broad safety net of stuff that you might never be able to come back to.

Or, you know, maybe you just say “Choose 3-6 dependencies”. Just a little mechanical thought, if you were going to give dependencies point values (which I only now realized you might not.) Sorry for the discord, here. Hope it helps!

-JR

30 10 2007
Elizabeth

Yeah! I totally agree with you. I wanted to have a specific number of Dependency Points, but I couldn’t think of what number would balance well with the rest of the game. It is really funny that you use 12 points as your example, because that’s the number that hit me in the shower this morning! It has nice symmetry, and I’m a fan of symmetry.

Mechanically, I’m not entirely sure how Dependency failure works yet. Right now I’m leaning towards a dice mechanic; maybe a d10, where 1-3 is failure, 8-10 is a success, and 4-7 is something in between– you don’t lose your point, but the experience wasn’t enough for you, and so you have to try again. Storywise, it works just as you say– environment or circumstance or individual disappoints, or just isn’t ENOUGH.

31 10 2007
Scurve

What I was thinking was that if you just have point values for your dependencies, and failure diminished those point values, you’d have some really interesting turns of events on either spectrum of point distribution. With just one high-value dependency, it’s a very resilient dependency. Your mom can probably fail you lots of times without you losing your faith in her. However, with multiple one-point dependencies, you’ve got a lot of little things that help you get by. This is interesting, mostly in that it begs the question: what happens when a dependency is expended? This end of the spectrum needs a little more meat to it, and what that meat is depends on what you want dependency-depletion to represent (because it will happen lots more here.) Maybe you try the Dr.-Pepper-and-Oreos diet for a week, it doesn’t work, and you never try it again (and hate the taste of Oreos for the rest of your life, one would wager.) This system, of course, might work best with the same mechanic regardless of distribution; that is, a higher or lower value wouldn’t reflect a higher or lower probability of failure.

Perhaps there should be a narrative mechanic to the dependencies, as well? If I’ve got 12 dependencies over here, that’s going to be more interesting than just calling my mom every time; the narrative lens would have to magnify on those conversations to keep things from growing stale.

Anyway, I hope you don’t mind some pretty presumptuous discourse on my part – I don’t mean to lecture or tell you how to do things.

-JR

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