Well, it's amazing how much having a real, face-to-face conversation can do for a design. Despite my lack of discernible activity here on the bloog, the gears they are a-churnin, I'm doing thinking and reading and what not that are all informing where I'm going.
But! To keep this from being a totally content free "don't go away!" sort of post, here's a sneak preview of what I'm thinking about right now. I really like the three resources and their interactions. I really like grudges and their interaction with loyalty points. I really like how teamwork focused the conflict resolution is. On the other hand, I do *not* currently really like the conflict resolution rules themselves. I think they need a massive overhaul of some sort. For one thing, they were written when I was all high on In a Wicked Age and Dogs in the Vineyard, without realizing a) exactly why and how they worked the way they did, b) Vincent Baker has since said he's not totally happy with In a Wicked Age's mechanics, and c) that these games are no longer the "state of the art" in RPG design. So, I'm fitting these influences into a wider context, and also re-examining the rules with a better and deeper understanding of what I want them to do.
The main issue, as I see it, is one discussed by Vincent Baker in a recent interview and also on his blog (over there in the sidebar, "anyway."). That issue is when the rules and the fiction fail to interlock properly. Now, roleplayers have a long history of compensating for imperfect reinforcement of rules by fiction and vice versa, but I've become convinced that a well designed game will make those elements necessarily interact, not just so that they can interact. I took some steps to do this in my first draft of the conflict resolution rules, but I think I'll be able to do it better now. I'm not sure how, yet, so suggestions are welcome, but that's what I'm working on in my brain and notebooks.