The Role of Stances
on Jan. 18, 2013, 2:15 p.m.
The first generation of Saga Machine games have a system of stances in the core combat module rules. The stance system is basically a stance that a character can take in combat that modifies her actions and other mechanical elements in some way.
This is all mechanically interesting and tactical, but it suffers from problem: It is very difficult to make a stance both genre-agnostic and with interesting fluff. Really, stances are kind of a bad fit for the core of a generic game, as they really fit much better with certain genres. And in genres where they don't fit they become sort of distracting mechanical bits divorced from the game world.
In some ways the role stances play--as a mechanical representation to the approach the character is taking in combat--has already seen an alternative. The Fighting Style system introduced in the Saga Machine Companion is another way of representing basically this. And stances, when they appear again, might take a similar approach to Fighting Styles.
Don't get me wrong, I like stances. But in the second generation of Saga Machine games they're not going to appear in the core. Rather, they are likely to appear in specific settings where they match the genre. And when they show their faces again, they're not likely to be presented in a way they have before.
Previously stances have been given names like "Force Stance" or "Mobility Stance." And these names serve their purpose as simple descriptions that can be themed to fit different genres (with some work). But that same strength also makes them kind of flavorless without some effort. When stances appear again they're likely going to be tied much more closely to the setting and genre.