Tuesday, 24. August 2010
Synapse is now live in it’s Beta form. If you haven’t taken a look at it, you owe it to yourself to download a copy and look it over. Greg Christopher’s work is very dynamic and one of the most novel twists in defining character mechanics I’ve seen to this date. The system is universally applicable to any setting, and has a good number of templates to quickly make characters and societies. I’ll cover what I consider some of the more unique features of the game. I’m sure Greg will argue with me there is much much more but in my opinion this is what makes the game really stand out.
To begin; rather than planning standard character statistics you actually patter your characters brain. The brain patterning determines how you behave, your strengths and weaknesses as well as the applicable skills your character can learn. Going forward there is a convenient step by step process that builds skills and further tweaks your mentality as you proceed. For instance growing up in the wilderness will naturally skew your skills towards the applicable, but will also tilt your mindset to be self reliant. Everything proceeds in a logical, simple fashion that’s produces an well polished, excellent overall result without being completely overwhelming.
The other particularly unique feature is that the brain characteristics determine the choices your character can make, and how easy they are to make. They also can change based off of your decisions, particularly if you are attempting something that is very contrary to your characters nature.
Along with tracking mental characteristics, this game also tracks stress. Too much, and your character breaks down into a quivering, useless catatonic state. It’s really a good incentive to avoid hazardous situations or if you can’t, catch some relaxation afterwords to avoid snapping like a dry twig. As you might imagine this ties in beautifully with horror games, and you can see your characters getting slowly worn down in a Lovecraftian fashion.
The game is really leaning towards social interaction and role playing rather than just being a combat game with role playing thrown in on the side. I am cutting this short of the sake of brevity, but you really need to check out Synapse if you haven’t already.