Xavid (kihou) wrote,

[Dreamspace] Chipmunks and Declarations

Eric places the green-eyed chipmunk figurine on a large rock and begins hitting it with the blunt end of his axe, lightly at first, then gradually harder. All at once, the stone figure crumbles. Out of the dust appears a small creature. About a foot high, it resembles a brown-furred chipmunk, but with a row of spines down its back, a prehensile monkey tail, white tufts on its ears, and unsettling green eyes. It looks around curiously. Phia instantly digs in her pack for some food, and the creatures attention focuses on her.

This scene was made possible by one of my favorite Fate rules. In many tabletop campaigns, knowledge skills are lightly used, maybe to find out weaknesses of monsters or to give hints in puzzles, but rarely very exciting to use. Knowledge skills in Fate can be used that way, but they can also be used to make declarations: you declare that your character thinks something is true, and you roll to see whether she's right or not.* Obviously, this requires a GM with some ability to think on his feet, but it can really contribute to the collaborative storytelling aspect of tabletopping. In this case, I had no intention of the idols being breakable or something interesting happening when they were broken, but Phia came up with the idea of there being a tradition around breaking the idols, and we worked together to figure out what the legend was that her character had heard. This mechanic works particularly well in Dreamspace, both with dream sequences in general and the mutable nature of the Dreamspace universe, but it can work well in any setting where the GM is open to the setting evolving and not being the sole source of canon.

Of course, the fact that I got another character that interacts with the party via pantomime is an added bonus.

*: The GM can reject totally dumb ideas, but is generally encouraged to add additional details or unknown drawbacks to overpowered or plot-breaking declarations and to use players' ideas to create a more interesting and elaborate story.
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