D is for Drama
You just can’t keep a good playtest down.
I’m working on a complete text re-write of Microscope (version 4) but that’s a ways-away. In the meantime I’ve incorporated all the playtest updates into a new, improved version of the current draft (version 3, which is now version 3d). Playing from the marked-up old text is just too cruel.
Version 3d also has a few new tweaks. A simple one is that I’ve renamed Tone Debt to Drama. Tone Debt was technically accurate but it always felt like a mouthful. Drama is a little more intuitive and evocative. Wanna take control of the Queen and have her murder her husband? Time for Drama!
A bigger change is that Scenes now always start with Drama available. If there isn’t any Drama on the Period when you are creating a Scene, you add one Drama of the same Tone as the Period (so a Dark Period starts with a Dark Drama if there is no other Drama already there). The goal is to give players a little more leverage to crack weak or limp Scenes, and avoid timid negotiation for control. If you want the Scene to move along, you have a way to make it happen. Of course you might not like the Tone you have to work with… It also makes Period Tone a little more weighty, since it’s enforceable more often.
If you’re a playtester, be on the lookout for the email with the download link.