Monday, 2 April 2012

Campaign undercurrents

At the last sly-fi post I suggested a table for dark plots in old school gaming. On the same subject, here's a simple proposal for improvising shadowy dynamics through play. It's propluristemic, i.e. for various systems, and maybe for fiction generally.

Campaign undercurrents

Roll one die after each event, i.e. each encounter or session in roleplaying, or turn, combat or game in wargaming; the lower the number of faces, the stronger the currents.

If the maximum result is rolled, the event hints at the currents. The DM/GM / players decide which aspect of the event was most unusual or clear and add this to a list; each aspect could be given a proximity to the eye of the storm with the 'well met' idea.

At regular intervals the list is reviewed and links made, and these are fed into the choice or design of future events. As the list grows, the details emerge more fully.

For example, if the aspects on the list are a) a powerful blow struck by a weak member of a group, b) a defeated warband fleeing parallel to a river and c) a die chipping a terrain piece, these could be taken to mean the weak member is protected, a dark power lurks beneath a mountain lake and the physical world is decaying; as the campaign goes on, rains and erosion could intensify, highlanders could be driven from the valleys by raiding amphibians, and the weaker member could develop a strange ability or draw followers.

I'd guess a lot of us use a system like this already, more or less formally and with more or less complexity, but it seems worth putting out there for experimentation or tweaking.

No comments: