Monday, January 30, 2017

Five or So Questions with Pete Petrusha on Dreamchaser

Today's interview is with Pete Petrusha from Imagining Games about the new game Dreamchaser, which is currently on Kickstarter! To learn more about the game outside of this interview you can check out the press release, and also follow news updates on the Facebook page. Until you click, check out the interview below!

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Tell me about Dreamchaser. What excites you about it?

Dreamchaser is a game of destiny! It empowers the players. What do they want to achieve? What do they want to experience in a roleplaying game? We build a story around the that goal—that mutual experience. Once we know what the story is, each player can create a role and a personal experience for that role, in their story. The collective of these character experiences is placed in a sequence to create a road map to our dream, the Dream map. 

That Dream Map is a framework handed over from the players to the Game Master. It is a goal for their game and the experiences they want to have along the way. Not all the experiences! The ones they want to be rewarded for and critical to the story. This eliminates guesswork on the GM's part. Guesswork that can lead to burnout. Guesswork that can keep you up at night planning. The Dream Map also creates investment! Players work together to imagine the experience they want their game to be and ask the GM to run it. 

Each game is refreshing for the GM. You go on a bit of a journey yourself. We all know where we are headed but the story is in how we get there. Kind of like watching a movie trailer. You get just the right amount of what it is about before you watch the movie. Hopefully, this excites or compels you to check it out. 

I could go all day, so the last thing I'll leave you with, is this. Dreamchaser is about imagining goals and visualizing success. Whether you want to play out a story to slay a dragon, create a blockbuster movie, or win over your true love, Dreamchaser can help you. Explore your own personal passions or aspirations. Maybe you wanted to be a New York Times Bestseller...maybe you want to cure cancer....maybe you just want to take a stab at being your own boss. The options are endless and Dreamchaser adapts to you. 

Obviously, I have a lot of excitement about it! ;D


Can you tell me about the mechanical or procedural aspects you've designed for Dreamchaser? 

Certainly! Dreamchaser is designed to provide immersive experiences.

How do we do that? The players work together to imagine the game they want to play. They do this by creating a goal for their game. They imagine the most important—the most fun roles to play in that story. They imagine an experience they want to have with that role, in that story. Then, we make those characters. The whole process is collaborative and creative! Like a creative brainstorm session where there are no bad ideas. No limits beyond the other players at the table. This creates player investment, fuels player agency, and ignites player enthusiasm. The process helps players imagine what they want and equips GMs to better illustrate it!

Dreamchaser is not only about imagining stories, it is about visualizing success. Every roll a player makes in the game, represents the visualization of the character. How will that character respond? What are her strategies for success? How does she view the world. This is performed with the use of Soul Skills.

Dreamchaser has a Mind, Body, and Spirit rating that represents the mental, physical, and social/morale aspects of each character but these ratings are really just health scores. The real stats or attributes in the game, are the Soul Skills. There are two, Imagine and Reason. Every roll you make is filtered through the lens of imagining or reasoning an outcome. You roll 2d10. 1d10 represents a Soul Skill and 1d10 represents the Skill or Ability you are pulling from. You roll both, hoping each rolls under their respective 1-10 rating to succeed. This creates 3 outcomes. You achieve everything you imagined, you succeed but there's a catch, or things did not work as you planned and a new problem arises. I'm a firm believer in fail forward with this game. Each outcome moves the story forward with a solid outcome. Roll doubles and you get a critical version of your outcome. 

Task resolution is rounded out by the use of tags. Each character has at least three descriptive words or phrases that detail who the character is. When characters fail to succeed or think they can do better, they can revise their visualization by redescribing their action with a tag. This allows them to reroll failed dice by roleplaying more true to their character. The exact uses of tags are limited by a governing stat, Belief. 

Besides getting character upgrades for achieving Milestones(those player created experiences), characters also gain or lose Belief. Belief is another rating on a 1-10 scale. 1 is the worst and 10 is the best. It acts as a representation of how the character is growing in the story. If you continue to succeed in Milestones, it will grow. If you continue to fail in challenges along the way, it will wither. What Belief does, is grant progressively better uses of tags and gives players a way to take back creative control when they demand it. Spend your Belief to get what you want when your story demands it or save it and Neo your way through your character's most important moments. Belief is the confidence your character has in herself and in how she views the world. When you believe, the universe will conspire to help you achieve it! 

I have so much more I could say...you'll just have to buy the book! The game is designed to be ready on the fly but also provides GMs with a framework to prepare sessions better than any other roleplaying game. No more time consuming NPCs, monster, or trap prep work! Create them on the fly in relation to the situation and characters at hand. Introduce new players to the game without them ever having to open a book. Talk about welcoming new players to the hobby! Character creation is a fun collaborative creative experience. The game works on a 1-10 scale. Roll under to succeed. No difficulty numbers or math for each roll. Simple and elegant! 



What are some of your inspirations for Dreamchaser and it's structure?

Fate opened the door for Dreamchaser. Lady Blackbird made Dreamchaser feasible. Apocalypse World inspired the fail forward mechanics. Burning Wheel inspired some of the goal setting and belief concepts. Fluxborn and Monsters & Other Childish Things helped me find simple and elegant. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho inspired the vision. The motivation to gamify life skills like goal setting and visualization are a part of who I am. I love talking to people about their passions. What they want want to do with their life. I think most of us struggle with the big questions and the worst thing we can do is hesitate. Maybe, we just need to chop them big questions into bite sized goals(Milestones) and make daily progress(Belief) toward our passion projects(Dream). Even if you head in the wrong direction, you'll eventually get where you're going. If you don't move, you aren't 
going anywhere but here.


Can you describe how a session of Dreamchaser might begin and setup for play?

Pulling from our earlier conversation: 

The players work together to imagine the game they want to play. They do this by creating a goal for their game. They imagine the most important—the most fun roles to play in that story. They imagine an experience they want to have with that role, in that story. Then, we make those characters. The whole process is collaborative and creative! Like a creative brainstorm session where there are no bad ideas. No limits beyond the other players at the table. This creates player investment, fuels player agency, and ignites player enthusiasm. The process helps players imagine what they want and equips GMs to better illustrate it!
Beyond that, the character sheet has step by step information on how to build a character, kind of like White Wolf/Onyx Path games. So, with a GM to guide you, it's child's play. Vision rolls are a mechanic to gather more information from the players prior to each Milestone. Milestones become like session or mid session goals for our players. Vision rolls give GM's more fuel for the story, an idea of how each player thinks their character might act, and a little insight into their expectations. 



What are some stories you have seen played in Dreamchaser that you think really give a good idea of how the game plays?

The possibilities are endless! It is a story building game. I'll give you three, in a one Milestone per Character sequence, that leads to a Dream. Just like you would get from players in an actual game. Take a look and observe how your mind begins to connect the dots when you give it a sequence of goals or experiences. Imagine how they work if you move them around. Different stories, right? 


Example Dream #1: Liberate the Moon, Save the Earth
  1. Get the Lead Cheerleader to go to Prom with Me
  2. Zero Gravity Sword Fight
  3. Save my Creator
  4. Liberate the Moon, Save the Earth
Example Dream #2: Thanked by a Stranger for being an Inspiration
  1. Ah Ha Idea Moment
  2. Start "Color Wars" Movie Production
  3. It's a Wrap!
  4. Record "Joyous Revelation" Single
  5. Thanked by a Stranger for being an Inspiration
Example Dream #3: Find a Hidden Civilization
  1. Find the Source of the Mysterious Light
  2. Find a Secret Map
  3. Survive the Labyrinth
  4. Find a Hidden Civilization
Thanks Brie! Sorry for writing you a book here! ;P



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Thanks to Pete for the interview! If you readers like the sound of Dreamchaser and want to check it out, remember to go to the Kickstarter to see what's new and back the project, and keep an eye on the news on the Facebook page! Thanks again!



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