Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

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Spideydave
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Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Spideydave » Tue May 07, 2013 12:13 pm

Hey Guys,

So I was listening to Happy Jacks RPG Podcast, don`t get jealous I listen to 20+ rpg podcasts ;) . Anyhoo the last listener email by a guy named Brad tells of a very cool San mechanic he used for his Trail of Cthulhu game. He borrowed the Jenga tower mechanic from the horror rpg Dread. In Dread the players don`t roll dice the main mechanic of thegame is to make block pulls from a Jenga tower. So Brad talks about how he made his players make Jenga block pulls when they would normally make a San roll. Brad didn`t go into it but I imagine much like Dread when the tower fell because of a pull bad stuff happened.

I think this idea is great, what say you CoC and ToC keepers?

Dave McBride aka Spideydave

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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by TAK » Tue May 07, 2013 12:24 pm

I've always been interested in alternative mechanics for almost everything and the one for Dread is interesting. Unfortunately it's fully impossible to use on Skype games, which reduces it to a curiosity for me.

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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Keeper Dan » Tue May 07, 2013 1:36 pm

I love the idea of the Jenga mechanic for RPGs, but the time spent rebuilding the tower after a fall appears rather immersion-breaking in my estimation.
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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Dr. Gerard » Tue May 07, 2013 2:39 pm

Keeper Dan wrote:I love the idea of the Jenga mechanic for RPGs, but the time spent rebuilding the tower after a fall appears rather immersion-breaking in my estimation.
Just played this for the first time at 1d4Con, and it was amazing. The buildup of tension as the tower gets more tippy is a perfect fit for horror. In our 4-hour game, it only tipped over twice, and takes about two minutes to set back up again using the jenga box case. Since the narrative result of a tipping is hugely dramatic, the brief pause in the action seemed like a welcome release, and a good time to get the nervous giggles out. For the GM, I think it's a welcome moment to figure out how to proceed from the character death/abduction/possession.
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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Keeper Dan » Tue May 07, 2013 3:41 pm

Ah. That's good to hear that it works well in play. I may be able to participate in a game like that someday.
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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Dr. Gerard » Tue May 07, 2013 6:03 pm

Keeper Dan wrote:Ah. That's good to hear that it works well in play. I may be able to participate in a game like that someday.
Using it for sanity is an interesting idea. I'd like to see it tried.

In Dread, the pulls are required when you have to do something difficult or dangerous. But you always have the choice to just allow whatever is happening to happen. A saboteur swings a wrench at you. You want to dodge and pin the guy to the ground. But as you try to wiggle one of the sticks out of the stack, you realize it's going to collapse, so you can just abandon the attempt. Ok, the guy hits me with a wrench. Now what?

You might wake up gagged and bound in a dark room, or whatever.

With Sanity, I guess you could say -- pull a stick (or two, or three) if you want a low sanity loss, and take the high loss if you choose not to pull. (Like 1/1d4 or 0/1) If it topples, you suffer temporary insanity.

You could keep the indefinite insanity counter going (20% in an hour) on top of that.
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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Spideydave » Tue May 07, 2013 6:24 pm

As well you would have the teeter totter stress of who is going to go temproarily insane next?...

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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by Dr. Gerard » Tue May 07, 2013 6:49 pm

Spideydave wrote:As well you would have the teeter totter stress of who is going to go temproarily insane next?...

Dave
Yeah, it could work out really well. You would have to increase the amount of times you call for a San check, because a whole bunch of the sticks can get pulled before it's ready to topple. And since you can't carry a tower configuration over from session to session, there has to be a pretty high density of pulls during the game.

Even in a dark one-shot I don't usually see more than four or five checks for sanity in a session.

Maybe you can make mundane checks (like seeing a body) be just one pull, but Mythos stuff would be three or more.
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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by creatureslagoon » Sun May 12, 2013 4:33 am

I have never played Jenga but maybe you could pull one for each of sanity point lost? Plus, I could see someone maybe doing some special paint on the Jenga and maybe carving some symbols on them a little?
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Re: Cool San mechanic borrowed from Dread

Post by TAK » Sun May 12, 2013 11:16 am

creatureslagoon wrote:I have never played Jenga but maybe you could pull one for each of sanity point lost? Plus, I could see someone maybe doing some special paint on the Jenga and maybe carving some symbols on them a little?
Carve a symbol on one side of the block. When blocks fall, some symbols are visible. Based on said symbols you have an instant temporary insanity determined. Worth investigating the possibilities.

Of to the toy store Batman!

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