In every Saga Machine game we make some changes, adapting the core system to best fit that game's themes and genre. For Age of Ambition, we took a long hard look at improving the base mechanic as well. In this post I want to explore some of the ways that the system has evolved from its previous incarnations. But first, if you're not already familiar with Saga Machine, you can read a bit about the system on its webpage.
If you're not familiar with Age of Ambition, you should know that it's coming to Kickstarter on January 21, 2020 and its blurb is below:
Age of Ambition is a fantasy roleplaying game set on a world rapidly leaving the traditional fantasy milieu behind. It's the game of forward-facing fantasy! Where the heroes help guide the world into a brave new era of promise or peril. So strap on your breastplate and pick up your pistol. There are discoveries to make, wrongs to right, tyrants to overthrow and new social orders to trial.
One of the biggest changes we've made is that we've introduced a system called boons and banes. Conceptually, these are simple. When a flip has a boon, you flip two cards and use the highest of the two to resolve the action. Conversely, when a flip has a bane, you flip two cards and use the lowest of the two.
If you have more than one boon or bane, the effects are additive. So having two boons means you flip two extra cards and take the highest of the three, etc.
This system largely replaces the need to remember various modifiers.
Another change we've made is that we've removed the need to remember which stats correspond to which trump suits. This has been replaced with a mechanic called a Flush.
Essentially, when you have two or more cards in play due to boons, and their suits match, you can choose to pick that suit instead of a single card, adding their values together. So, for example, if you have the 4♠ and the 6♠, you could play them both for a total value of 10.
Age of Ambition doesn't just tweak the base mechanic, it adds a number of supporting subsystems as well. These include social status, bonds, downtime actions and a trading system. Future posts will go into detail regarding these new systems.