After getting some great feedback on the current version of Keep It Weird, Beach City, my Steven Universe story game, it’s going through another round of development. The big change here is the addition of “trigger cards” for the characters.
The feedback I got on the current version was that while the cards did a good job of capturing the personalities and behaviors of each character, the single “take a gem” trigger meant that they would be rather one dimensional. The Crystal Gems are multifaceted (heh, gem pun), and character cards that reflected this would be nice to see. I thought for a while about how to do that, and eventually came up with “trigger cards”.
The idea here is that each character has three (or possibly more) cards representing major parts of their personality. Each card is double sided, with a trigger instructing the player to take a gem when a certain condition is met on each side. One side has a neutral or perhaps a positive trigger; something that won’t cause too many problems. The reverse side has a more extreme or a negative trigger; something that will cause issues or make things more difficult.
Trigger cards start the game neutral side up. When a player narrates their character meeting a condition on one of their cards, they take a gem and flip that card over to the reverse side, usually the “negative” side. If all three of a player’s trigger cards are negative side up, they all flip back to the neutral side.
This does a number of things. It gives the characters more personality facets, rounding them out. That increases the replay value of the game. A player can keep things “light”, only triggering the neutral conditions on their cards, as they’ll all flip back to the neutral side. Or if they keep triggering the same card, they’ll have to escalate the situation a but by narrating something that causes problems.
For example, Garnet might have the cards Direct, Intense, and Independent. Pearl would have Cautious, Clever, and Dramatic. Amethyst would have Impulsive, Irresponsible, and Fun-loving.
The trick now is to come up with neutral and extreme triggers for each of those cards.