And now about the episode itself:
I’m beginning to think that the 2d20 system might synthesize the majority of rpg innovations and styles currently out there in the rpg jungle.
In Conan, the GM has a meta-resource called Doom. The GM uses this Doom to raise the tension and generally make things difficult for the PCs.
I know what Brett is thinking, and he is not wrong. You can raise the tension in any game, without a meta-currency. Some, even, may call this overall best GM practice.
But Doom in Conan is in a dynamic relationship with the players. Instead of using the PC resources of Momentum and Fortune—or when they no longer are available to them—players can “pay” the GM Doom for an immediate, though temporary, benefit, knowing full well that this assistance now is going to raise itself as a complication or obstacle later.
It’s gorgeous. Another reason why Doom is awesome is because it’s part of the game! Its use in D&D might appear arbitrary, petty, or adversarial in a bad way. Here it’s used to emulate the crises, twists and setbacks of pulp fiction.