The Facets Engine is currently in development and implemented in its first version in Iron Facets, a simple fantasy story game meant to be played, or used as inspiration, by players that prefer to put the focus on the narrative rather than numbers. Iron Facets will in its core version end up with some 35-40 pages but will be hackable and expandable with modular rules to fit your specific taste or goal.
The design goals have been to create a small and fast-played, adaptable system, with descriptive faceted abilities instead of values and scores, and to cut away as much mechanical clutter as possible on the player side, all while staying within the framework games Powered by the Apocalypse have established. It is the lovechild of my old Alfacet System I designed and played, long before I discovered story games, using dice pools and trait descriptors. It evolved over and survived a number of projects, and, since I was introduced to story game design, has been refined with the help of many friends and strangers out there. Now it is my go-to framework when designing a game, as it is very versatile and can easily be modded.
Feel free to use it if you want a framework that has a low learning curve, that is usable off-the-shelf for any narratively driven game design project, in one-shots, as well as in more long-playing games. Here’s a quick comparison to the story games I’ve been influenced by. If you’re familiar with;
Apocalypse World/PbtA, you will recognize;
- Tags as facets but with a more central role to the character, the narration, and the mechanics.
- The simple move ‘Face a Challenge’ with a tight set of variations. Characters have talents that further tweak it.
- The fail/compromise/success outcome structure.
Blades in the Dark/FitD, you will recognize;
- The simple dice pool.
- Harm and trauma in the shape of slots and conditions (facets).
- How equipment is handled.
Fate Core/FAE, you will recognize;
- Aspects as facets.
- Approaches as facets.
- Stress and conditions, as harm and conditions.
Cthulhu Dark, you will recognize;
- How nicely only a few descriptors will do the job.
Sorcerers & Sellswords, you will recognize;
- Character’s competence structure.
- How descriptive advantages can make a great impact.
Feel free to use it if you want a framework that has a low learning curve that is usable off-the-shelf for any narratively driven game design project, in one-shots, as well as in more long-playing games.