Issues with the Old System
After the experiences of the first Dreaming Awake campaign, it was decided that the game system suffered from some irreperable problems. Because the list of character skills was left up to the players to define, and because of players' preconceived ideas of how mutable the gameworld is, there was a lot of confusion regarding what kind of things the characters could actually do. Combined with a combat system which slowed the game down more than expected and seemed to discourage stunting, this caused the game to play out slowly and shakily at the expense of player enjoyment.
Changes in the New System
The new Dreaming Awake system is no longer one written completely from scratch, but instead is based heavily off White Wolf's New World of Darkness system. A number of others were considered:
- Old World of Darkness was a close competitor, but the newer version was chosen to speed up combat as much as possible.
- 7th Sea appealed as I think the roll-and-keep system would work well, but a lot of the flavour of 7th Sea characters comes from the setting (swordsman schools, magic). I found it hard to make a 7th Sea character look good on paper while retaining the free nature of combat/magic abilities of Dreaming Awake.
- Exalted is set up for the kind of power level that Dreaming Awake characters will attain and eventually surpass, but it's heavily reliant on Charms to give the kind of free experience I wanted for Dreaming Awake.
- Fudge (and its kin) give the flexibility I wanted (and then some), but seem better suited for short-term games rather than the epic character-progression in Dreaming Awake.