Success with a Cost

Another week, another session. We finished the first story arc. None of us really know if the problem was solved or not, but as it seems, we won't tackle laughing books anymore. They came back in time and defeated the villains before the problems really begun, winning the "fight" against them before most of the books left the library. So it is a win.
But you know, winning wasn't the goal in the first place. I mean, maybe some of them wanted to succeed, but I'm not even sure of that. Looking at their favorite scenes' list from the arc, most of them are major plot points, or catalysts for major plot points. No challenge that they've overcame found its way to the list.
So what did we look for? My money is on story possibilities. And because of that, it is no surprise that the "success with a twist" idea is so powerful. The idea is quite simple- when the players roll a failure, they can sometimes still succeed, but it will not be a complete success, because something bad is gonna happen alongside the success.
It's not a new invention by me, but I must say that again and again I'm surprised by the possibilities it presents for me. And most of the times, they are the ones who describe/create the bad happening. They are the ones who bring their doom to join hands with their successes. And I think that this is the reason that this idea is so powerful: because they bring to themselves the bad events that hurt they're the most. And this crates the drama that we're all looking for.
When a group isn't looking to win, but to enjoy creating together a nice little (or not so little) story, it is only fitting that they will look to increase the drama level in the game. And if they can do it through successes also, it is only better. Especially if it lets them escape complete failures when it doesn't fit dramatically, I suppose.

So yeah, this is one of the tools that I use to increase the drama. How about you? What do you use?

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