Elements of Conflict

August 14, 2009

So when working on the Faery’s Tale game we all started cooking ideas like Gordon Ramsey on acid, but I thought we might be focusing too tightly on things that were bad in the human world and were too cool in the Faery point of view.

To try to make sure we were covering all the bases, I brought up the elements of conflict that Joshua A.C. Newman brought up on Story Games when we were talking about writing Oracles for In A Wicked Age. This was something said off-hand I think, but it’s really stuck with me.

A situation needs:

1. People in need.

2. Objects of desire.

3. Events that add pressure.

I like to add

4. People with power

But it’s actually weaker than the others when i’ve tried it. It’s better when people with power are misusing it, so something like “people misusing power” might be a good revision.

Anyway, add enough of the 4 elements, and you’ll naturally find ways to weave them together. That creates a glorious, tangled knot that I think is the best ammo for a story game.

I really want to integrate this idea with the idea of the major 4 connections between characters (Blood, Violence, Sex, and Money), but I haven’t figured out how to make them an elegant union.


2 Responses to “Elements of Conflict”

  1. Johnny Oneiric Says:

    Ryan, thanks for jumping in with that! My prompt: “what conflicts exist at the start of our story?” was a bit too open-ended. Having a framework on which to hang (initially) unrelated elements like people-in-need, objects-of-desire, etc. did a great job of stimulating everyone’s imaginations, and gave me lots to work with for cooking up some very juicy conflicts!

    Next session: planning ends, play begins! Can’t wait!

    (But before that: another Settlers night, and the inaugural session of the TAG’s Folly campaign! More gaming is more better 🙂 ).

  2. […] developed so far, but my prompt was too open-ended.  Ryan jumped in and got things going with his Elements of Conflict theory (which he explains well on his blog).  I’ll summarize it here: conflict will arise when you […]

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