I started working with the Astray/Harhapolku ruleset age’s ago with the vision of trying to make a system that has enough crunch to be still a role playing game and lightness to enable focus on narrative and story.
The idea sprang from a late night discussion with Ropecon guest of honour Justin Achilli. Was it plausible to think that old Storyteller rules were so awful and broken, just to push players and storytellers away from rule-playing and towards role-playing.
To make a long story short, I started to experiment with the ideas of losing rolls, rules and traits in my story oriented games. Losing rolls was a dead end, as the options were quite simply doing bad freeform or doing worse freeform instead of going fully Jeep. Losing traits turned to work out well and losing most of the rules even better.
Out of these trials I constructed the original Harhapolku system which worked like a charm for the games I held. Especially in the first iteration we played with TK, MP and IK. However, the system turned out to be too far out and obscure to use without me facilitating the engine design intents.
The system that we use here is a derivate of the original beast. With much more concise and focused approach. To make it’s polishing these things easier – I made a list of where we are going.
The system should offer a way to
- define characters in a concise and understandable manner
- add feeling of uncertainty and danger and to pivotal points of the story
- create a history and progression path for the characters as the protagonists
- not interfere with the mystery game aspect
With these goals and working base – the actual system design should be a breeze. Or not.