On Echo design

We had a chat at the first test session about how the game should play out and what characters actually do in the game. The main insight from this conversation was distilled in the Actual play: pilot part 1 followingly:

This is not a mystery game. This is a game about people who solve mysteries. This needs to be clarified. Players are not expected to guess what’s the issue in an Echo, the [play]group is supposed to have fun as we explore how the Echo [and it’s prímary cause] will be resolved [or destroyed].

The design philosophy is simple: as we are playing a storytelling game(1) and any outcome of an Echo scene should add drama. In other words, even if the characters fail – the outcome should push the story forward.

To address these concerns I’ll try to convert some of the material fellow game dev ST made for his superb story-game Murharyhmä (Homicide and Serious Crime Unit).  The key lesson for this game being (2): Each Echo should give the players a solid hint of what the Echo means, and all Echoes should give a solid hint on what the bigger picture is. This update should appear in the PDF, and I’ll try to make another post about it when it’s done.


  1. As opposed to a challenge game such like the games based on OSR or GUMSHOE)
  2. His words, my translation.