Platonic Mastery

So the #threeforged voting is over, congratulations to Joshua, Shreyas and Grant for Field Work (details at http://halfmeme.com/threeforged_winner_and_everything.html). Now that the veil of anonymity is lifted I can take some time to talk about the games I worked on, the first of which has to be Platonic Mastery. Not only was it my stage one game but it’s also the one that needs the most discussion.

Download here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/16294442/%23Threeforged%202015/15107s3.rtf

Firstly, @lumpleygames, I totally knew you were one of the collaborators for this. Your voice is so loud in the text, it’s ridiculous.

Secondly, I was absolutely blown away with the third round product of this little thing. When I started threeforged I dredged through my mind for vague recollections of abandoned RPG ideas and recalled a fancy I’d had about doing an ATLA themed game using the elements to dice mapping from the Timaeus Dialogue. If I were following the advice going around a bit more I would have been a bit looser than what I ended up throwing together but after days of agonizing over the dice mechanics I ended up with a playable round one game. We playtested it and the dice mechanic worked. I submitted it and put it out of my mind as I continued work on the other games.

When all the stage 3 games were released for voting I opened up Platonic Mastery and I think I cried a little while reading it. I was so unsure about the original piece I had submitted and to see it all grown up, transformed in ways that were totally beyond what I could have imagined and so evocatively written, I was blown away. So I definitely need to say, thankyou so much to Vincent and Mark for giving me that.

Thirdly, My only disappointment was that one line got removed from my original text and had nothing to replace it. This rule is super awkwardly worded but losing it makes the dice mechanic fall apart and it’s one of the first things we’ll need to address if we put further work into the game:

You‭ ‬may‭ ‬roll‭ ‬as‭ ‬many‭ ‬of‭ ‬your‭ ‬live‭ ‬dice‭ ‬as‭ ‬you‭ ‬wish‭ ‬but‭ ‬you‭ ‬may‭ ‬never‭ ‬use‭ ‬all‭ ‬of‭ ‬your‭ ‬live‭ ‬dice‭ ‬of‭ ‬any‭ ‬single‭ ‬kind‭ ‬on‭ ‬a‭ ‬roll‭ ‬unless‭ ‬they‭ ‬are‭ ‬of‭ ‬the‭ ‬same‭ ‬element‭ ‬as‭ ‬the‭ ‬action‭ ‬being‭ ‬performed.

It’s a pity because there were a couple of reviews that pointed out the flaws in the mechanic raised by not having this limitation.

Fourthly, It wasn’t until some of the voting period reviews raised the issue that I really noticed the social justice implications of the current state of the game. The problems were obviously not intentional on the parts of any of the creators but I think privilege gives you blind spots. Reading the text I was just impressed that the player characters were addressing social justice at all. As a transwoman seeing trans characters not being an outright joke or villain is the bar that media has to meet for me at the moment. I think getting the tone right here is going to be the trickiest part of fixing this game and it might actually be the hill too steep to climb but I desperately want to see a game that both retains the amazing evocative world we see in the republic and still allows for empowerment of the oppressed within it. I think it will probably need a lot of community discussion to get that right. I’m so fucking glad that the anonymity period is over now and I can talk about this stuff directly because hiding my thoughts in a review and not being able to join in other comment threads was a seriously hard time for me.

I’m really looking forward to working on this further because it’s already so far along and so engaging.

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