Game Design and Intent 2 – Your Story
One of the key mechanics in Alba will be the process of earning and using story tokens – we haven’t pinned down yet what they will be called, so that’s a placeholder name. The concept of these is that they provide an opportunity for a player to change the narrative in their favour – to invoke a legendary or magical event to change the course of their destiny and build their personal legend.
These tokens are the true currency of Alba; the means whereby myths are made and legends carved out. And while it’s possible the gods and spirits may occasionally grant one, the main source of them will be from the players themselves.
One of the roles of the Druid is to tell the tales of the heroes of their people – to recount in front of the Keepers the stories of their deeds. If the Keepers are sufficiently impressed – with the story, and with the telling of it – they will use their unique understanding of the written word to record the legend for posterity. This act grants some of those involved in that story tokens to represent their increased status and mythical force
Players can choose to spend those tokens at key moments – to reverse the effects of a game-changing event on themselves. To shrug off a fatal injury, to return alive from a massacre, to cure a terrible curse, or to do something that should not be possible.
The tokens will have other uses too – but the primary use is to give players the chance to seize the narrative for themselves, to say “no, today, this story takes a different path”.
What are the limits of a story token?
In the first instance, a token can be “played” to do one of two things – to change the outcome of a significant event that has happened, or to empower a character to do a single thing which they normally could not. A token could be played to reverse a fatal injury, or to allow a character to shrug off the negative effects of embodying the Pike too many times.
The intent of the tokens is to speculate to accumulate; gaining your first token should be difficult, but then you spend them to create more heroic stories, which your druid tells to the Keeper, which earns you more tokens…
There will not be hard and fast rules around how a token can be used. A lot of it will be situational.
Can I keep them? How common will they be?
There will be a limit to the number of tokens that can be in play at one time, otherwise they become cheapened. They will be somewhere between uncommon and rare; the arrival of one in a group should be a cause for celebration.
How many can I have?
There will be a hard limit for how many a single character can carry. That limit will be in low single digits. It is unlikely that all of them will carry from event to event.