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Everway – Albuquerque Sundays

Back when Everway first came out I ran a game for about a year. What I remember was that it feel flat. I was using a mix a reading the text and assuming I knew how every RPG worked because I played D&D. 
 
So just over three years ago I picked the game back up. We have a local group that is pretty ad-hoc. Players drop in and drop out. We even have folks that are passing through ABQ who play for a single night. Sometimes there is no character nor Realm monogamy. 
 
The text supports roughly two modes of play. One is on the fly no-prep or rather prep as play with everyone around the table playing in. The other is more facilitator lonely fun. 
 
One vision card from each player became a Realm in jeopardy. We had to choose one that was most important to the group. The other two were left to their Fate. 
 
Shown is the Realm of Broken Sky. 
 
Everway - Character and Realm Creation
 
1. Pre-made characters.
Handout the pre-made characters from the Everway box. Flipped them over to the back and ask the players to pick one that inspires them. Ask the players to read the whole back. Here I mention these are not yours but people you might encounter or aspire to be like. 
 
2. Vision cards.
I divide the Vision cards into piles equal to the number of players. The number of players is capped at four. Select five vision cards from the piles. Switch piles as you want to. These five cards are for the background of your character. Look at the images and questions then start to take notes on who this character is. 
 
3. Identity stage.
Draw a card from the Fortune deck this is your character’s Virtue. It’s a special strength, gift, or random luck.  Then draw a card for your Fault – weakness, vice, or failing. Record the card names and meanings. Finally draw your Fate. It’s sideways so you will write in both sides of the card. This adds some random elements to the character. 
 
4. Elements stage.
You have 20 points to divide among the Elements, Powers, and Magic. To start with set 5 points aside and distribute 15 among the Element score. You can always add in your 5 points later. 
 
5. Powers and Magic.
You can buy powers and magic. Unspent points can be dumped back into the Elements. 
 
6. Names
Pick a name. Ask for help if you need it. 
 
7. Introduce your Character.
I ask for a few sentences about who they are. Other players can ask clarifying questions and things to expand on. Once we go through a round of this we move on to Playing In.
 
8. The Realms that matter.
I point to a Vision card from each player and ask “Why does this matter? And is this a Realm or part of a Realm”? Take notes on why this matters. I write down the name of the Realm on a card. Once all the players have committed a Vision card – we lean into them. Each Realm gets a Virtue, Flaw, and Fate. I give everyone a few mixtures to think about the Realms. I then ask “Of all the infinite Realms we care about these three right now matter. Why? And which one do we save? The remaining are left to their fate.”
 
9. Playing into the Realm
Here we start attaching Vision cards and notecards detailing people and places that matter in the Realm. We don’t always know how they matter. Gives you a hot mess of relationships and open questions. 
 
10. Motive
Now we assign Motives to each character once the Playing In is wrapped up. 
 
11. Resolution
I give a breakdown of how we resolve things in the game. Drama, Karma, or Fortune.
Drama – we just talk going back and forth like a conversation.
Karma - kicks in when you take a meaningful action.
Fortune - kicks in when you take a meaningful action and we don’t know what the outcome is or we want a non-binary outcome. 
 
12. How do the characters know each other.
I set a brief stage in the Realm we care about and then ask how did the characters come together. We add to the cards in the center of the table as needed.

 

Department: 
Actual Play
Games: 
Everway

Comments

1. As the facilitator – start describing how the currently Realm is failing or transitioning. Keep in mind the Realm’s Virtue, Flaw, and Fate. Here you show don’t word vomit. I remind everyone else about the Realm’s Virtue, Flaw, Fate, and Vision cards. We have a brief discussion of what themes are cropping up and which ones conflict with the players. 
 
2. Most of the the time you are using Drama – what’s best for the dialogue (story, ficiton, whatever) that is happening right now. 
 
3. I usually ask where are you in the Realm and who is there. Show me Vision cards with these things on it if you need/want to. These cards then get added into the mess in the center of the table. 
 
4. After some scenes where we are pushing* towards the Realm's Fate, I’ll point to another player’s Vision card and ask how does that fit in with this Realm. 
 
* The other players push with all the tools on their character sheet. At any point in time the action slows ask players what are their Motives, Fate, Flaws, and Virtues as they relate to the current situation. The currency in the game relies on the MFFV cycle to earn Boons, Magic, Items, or Realm connections. Boons are the shorter term cycle. I typically offer Boons up for acting on a MFFV in a way that changes the narrative. This is keeping with what’s on pg. 20 of the GM guide. 
 
Boons do a few things - purely fictionally (Grandmother's Words), a one time bump to a stat (Ash necklace +1 Earth), draw a new Fortune card, or invert a Fortune card.  
 
The big idea is to keep pulling in Vision cards and pointing back to the character sheets. And encourage the players with Boons to play hard on their MFFV.
Ron Edwards's picture

I'd love to know about the characters and situation in detail. Everway really shines best for me at that point, at inspiration. Whether its procedures continue strongly from there is another question, but I know I'm not alone in really enjoying how everyone at the table holds up five Vision cards and describes their new/connected content, e.g., "And this is when that happened," with a very strong sense of who this person is.

I appreciate the photo you've included ... how did it turn into playable situation, what was the Realm like, what was happening? In the short-form play you're talking about, the focus is more on the Realm's Fate than a player-character's. It looks like the card is Sowing Stones - am I reading the table right, that this is the Realm's Fate card?

If so, that's incredibly helpful: fruitless labor vs. ceasing fruitless labor. I especially like that fruit-ful labor doesn't have to be included necessarily or formally.

I’ll answer the easy one first. 
 
It looks like the card is Sowing Stones - am I reading the table right, that this is the Realm's Fate card?
 
For the Realm we drew the following Fortune cards using the three card method in the GM book. 
 
Virtue - True Prudence
Flaw - Deceit
Fate - Rebirth - Destruction
 
However that card was to help establish what the initial situtation was. 
 
In the short-form play you're talking about, the focus is more on the Realm's Fate than a player-character's.
 
Mostly we focus on the Realm’s Fate. However in the Everway books you are supposed to use the other players Virtue, Flaw, and Fate cards if they show up in a draw. So we play that pretty hard. 
 
how did it turn into playable situation, what was the Realm like, what was happening?  
 
The card with the priest in front of the red windows is the Realm card. It’s also where we start the fiction at using the questions on the back and looking to the Realm’s Virtue, Flaw, and Fate. As group we ask questions until we settle on what’s wrong. To get an initial read on what is out of balance with the Realm we flip a fate card. In this case it’s Sowing Stones. We went with the picture interpretation (barren land). So Broken Sky’s once pastoral farming land is turning to ash, dust, and stone. 
 
At this point I pointed to another player’s vision cards (the desert one with the skeleton). The player describe some weird stuff happening there and how he wanted to explore the sands. I asked why is this part of your Realm intruding on the realm of Broken Sky. He pushed forward another card (the Red Queen) and said she is waging an unbalanced war so the realms are starting to collide. 
 
This gave us an initial situation of Broken Sky falling apart and the Phoenix was missing (priest). The Red Queen’s war in her Realm was tearing other realms apart. 
 
It basically boils down to playing Drama scenes, using the Vision cards, the themes set by the Fortune deck, and asking lots of questions until we reach a point the characters can’t ignore something. Oh and linking in other folk's Vision cards.
Ron Edwards's picture

I need to clarify what I’m asking. I already know how to play Everway, so the procedural explanation isn’t really my focus here. In the sentence of mine you quoted, let’s de-emphasize the “how” and emphasize the two “whats.” I’d like to know more about what happened fictionally for the group, based on the cards we’re seeing.

You’ve said a couple things about that and I’d like to know more about them, for example:

Who was the priest in the Realm card? What did he or she do or need regarding the problem with the realm, and how did he or she interact with the player-characters?

What were the characters’ names, and if possible, could you mention a primary Vision card for each that depicted him or her?

This gave us an initial situation of Broken Sky falling apart and the Phoenix was missing (priest). The Red Queen’s war in her Realm was tearing other realms apart. 

The way you described interacting with the player about the initial reads more like a discussion workshop than characters being played in-fiction, encountering things and dealing with people. That could be an artifact of how you wrote it and how I read it, but if not, what events occurred in play due to “regular role-playing,” i.e., a player says “I do this, I say that,” and you say, “then this happens, and this guy does this,” and so on.

Did any Fortune draws happen? What did one of them resolve?

OK, the Fate card was Rebirth/Destruction. Did the Broken Sky realm meet its Fate during play? If so, which way did the card go?

... you are supposed to use the other players Virtue, Flaw, and Fate cards if they show up in a draw. So we play that pretty hard. 

That’s great! Can you give me an example that happened in play? Expanding for a moment to the scope of all your time playing Everway, have any player-characters met their Fates, such that the card turns to vertical (one way or the other)?

Ron Edwards's picture

This is from the Adept forum, which ran from 2012 to 2015 - the transition from the Forge to here.It's all still there for perusal ...

Anyway, Alexander posted about designing a game inspired by Everway, and we had a pretty good discussion about it: [Kosmos] Patching up Everway. I lay out the point of view which led to my questions here.

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