A few weeks ago I decided to strip out the alliance feature on the grounds that it raised too many complexities. This would allow me to concentrate on getting the basic storyworld operational. In particular, I needed to get the gossip system working.
After working hard on the gossip system, it suddenly occurred to me to ask what the role of gossip was in the game. That’s when I realized that gossip served only to help players make reasonable decisions about the alliances that they should enter into.
Without alliances, gossip suddenly appears to be useless. After all, why would A care what B thinks about C?
What an idiot I am!
So, what the hell is this game about? How should actors interact in dramatically interesting ways? The fundamental goal is to learn about the aura counts of other actors so that they can make good decisions about dream combat. Gossip does not affect this process. Ergo, it should be stripped out.
But if I do strip it out, the vocabulary list for the game becomes uncomfortably small. It includes only deal-making and threat-making. Conversation is limited to mentions of betrayals, which should be rare.
The “Gossip” Solution
While fretting over all this, an idea occurred to me: why not use the verb set used in my game Gossip? Those verbs still use p3values, but they are more constrained in their application. They take two forms:
Subject tells DirObject that Subject feels about 4Actor 5ActorTrait to degree 6Quantifier.
Subject tells DirObject that 4Actor feels about DirObject 5ActorTrait to degree 6Quantifier.
This is more focused. But of what use is it, really? The first statement provides two benefits to DirObject: a) he gets a (probably) better assessment of 4Actor’s character; and b) he acquires grist that he can use with 4Actor or others.
The second statement tells DirObject what 4Actor (supposedly) feels about DirObject; this can be useful in a number of ways.
Should I expand these two verbs to six, one for each of the relationships? No, I think not. I’ll try it without.
So here’s the latest spaghetti diagram for the conversation cluster: