I’ve made the decision to do a bit more work on Kiss My Axe: Thirteen Warriors and an Angel of Death, and in doing so, I have opened up a can of . . . I can’t tell if it’s worms or ass-whoppin’ yet.
It’s about Pivots. Now, those of you who have perused Sword Noir: A Role-playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery or the free Sword’s Edge System will know Pivots as a character’s goal, code, or other defining feature that when hit provides an Advancement, with which the player can improve the character. I’m finding Pivots to be my least favourite part of my own game design.
Pivots are intended to be hit every other session or so, which creates a couple of problems. If a character has only one pivot (characters are allowed up to three), it becomes repetitive pretty quick. Most players in the playtests and in games I know of only create one pivot. I think this is because the Pivot is the hardest part of the system, as it is supposed to be both important to the character but also difficult to achieve. In the games I’ve run, Pivots seem to be the most counter-intuitive and difficult part of character creation and game play.
So do I want to keep them in Kiss My Axe? I’m leaning toward yes, but in an altered form. What I’m thinking of doing is changing Pivots so that they are not so hard to hit and provide a Fortune Point rather than an Advancement. Advancements would then be provided through Critical Failures and GM fiat—as in at a rate decided by the GM, hopefully in consultation with the players.
What do you think? I don’t want to get rid of Pivots totally, as I think they are excellent signposts to GMs as to what kind of challenges the players would like to face. Also, I tend to honestly forget to give out Fortune Points throughout the game as I am usually too excited about the game itself (I really need to work on that).
You can find Sword Noir: A Role-playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery here.
You can find the free Sword’s Edge System here.
If you would like to discuss this post, I’m starting a thread here.
You can buy more of my stuff here.