Performance Anxiety

Performance Anxiety

A while back I went through the list of skills from first-generation Saga Machine games and put some thought into what skills are more useful or less useful than the others. Out of this search the Performance skill jumped out as one that seems lacking.

The simple fact is that the Performance skill is narrower in scope than, say, Academics or Athletics. It's also a lot less obvious where it's used in play in the course of "normal adventuring" for most genres (short of having a specific trait or two that makes use of the skill).

In revising the skill list for Against the Dark Yogi I was faced with the question of what to do with the performance skill. Certainly performance is an important aspect of several Vedic myths, but should it be wrapped into another skill? Or is there something else that can be done about it.

The direction I ended up taking with Performance is rather than eliminate it, try to give it some mechanical "teeth." I didn't want to lose the Performance skill due to its prominence in some myths, but perhaps I could give players more incentive to take it. The upcoming open beta should hopefully show if this direction is a good one or not.

Partially as a consequence, Against the Dark Yogi has a performance system where skilled performers can impose consequences on their audience. This is in line with a number of Vedic myths where dancers or other performers are used to distract or seduce their audience.

If this approach checks out, it also possibly opens the way for paths and traits that make use of the Performance system in shorter durations--such as combat--to manipulate the thoughts and feelings or enemies. While a path of this archetype won't appear in the first round of the beta, it may appear in a later round, as it's something currently being considered.

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