Vessels - Design Goals

What do I want out of this game? While this isn’t an AW/DW game, that design vocabulary is useful and I am using it here.

  • The game should be built around emotional resolutions for a series of specific crises.
  • Rules should tell you what’s on your character sheet, or how moves work. All other rules should be moves.
  • Whenever possible, character sheets and moves should be self-documenting.


  • Something must be at stake for both players and PCs.
  • Removal from play must be a viable stake for player characters.
  • There is no failure, only disappointment.
  • There is no success, only hopes fulfilled.
  • The MC starts the story, the players end it.


  • Characters must be differentiated in both function and style.
  • Characters need not be equally powerful, only equally compelling.
  • Most mechanics should confer both advantage and drawback.


  • Moves are about feelings and secrets, not physical actions.
  • Revelation of identity and assumption of power should be a key mechanic.
  • There are no playbooks, only allegiances.
  • Moves should illuminate a typical PC’s motives and/or the world they live in.
  • The system should welcome moves authored at the table.

More specifics coming soon.