Sunday, 20 February 2011

Triffles (12) - A wrong turn

The delay since the last Triffle can be worked in here: what if a tail didn't arrive on time, or one party to the exchange failed to appear? It could be as simple as a wrong turn.

     panic, leading to haste            an inhospitable landscape /
       and basic oversights            dangerous fauna and/or flora

\             /

a wrong turn


                                                  a shocking discovery

The essential point to note is that fear can stimulate a flight response even in cases of individuals becoming lost. Basic survival errors might also then be made, and I've read a claim that people sometimes even fail to check their own rucksack for supplies.

In wargaming the possibility that part of a force becomes separated in this way could be represented by a reduction in the stats of a unit or individual, marking disorientation, fatigue, hunger and thirst, and also by a delayed and random entry. For a simpler option each side could lose
one randomly determined element at the start of the game.

In roleplaying the key issue could be the possible divergence of player and character response. While players themselves might stay calm and collected, the DM/GM could force tests for the characters to keep their heads, even before the most basic of actions.

Re the idea of a surprise discovery, in terrainmaking each set of themed pieces could include one element which is unexpected or out of place, completely alien even.

Writing could make use of the wrong turn concept with little or no adaptation at all, and it's clearly an excellent plot driver. Perhaps the best-known case of this is Bilbo's time alone under the Misty Mountains, in The Hobbit of course. This is a book full of inspiration, as Risus Monkey is demonstrating with his re-read; the last chapter completed also prefigures this triffle, and maybe through derivative works led to it?

Having a choice of paths, taking a wrong turn and becoming lost are metaphors which would seem easily used in music. There is a Florence and the Machine video which uses a similar idea, "Dog Days Are Over", and the lyrics, and arguably the music too, play up the idea of running. For lyrics openly suggestive of a hidden secret, try "Temple of Everlasting Light" by Kula Shaker, and those to
"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin are also full of related ideas, and possibly even inspired in part by Tolkien's work.


The Angry Lurker said...

In wargaming I see the rearguard of an army left behind to allow the main body to escape, the sacrifice required to buy time for others but maybe not yourself, enough time for a bridge to be crossed and a certain amount of time to be bought. You give the rearguard a certain amount of turns to reach the bridge themselves or become trapped and have to escape another way without supplies or any idea where they are.

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Note about the re-read: Some of the early chapters are on other blogs.

Porky said...

@ The Angry Lurker - I love how you bring something different to it every time. That's a very natural way of weaving it in. You've inspired me to think about a related subject, how the various types of wargaming action fit together and how it might be possible to set up mechanisms for generating action which are not purely tabletop-based, but also not purely off-table campaign elements.

@ C'nor (Outermost_Toe) - Thanks for pointing that out - an oversight of my own, with none of the panic in the triffle as an excuse..!

For everyone, Professor Pope started the re-reading off here, with the first two chapters, then Risus Monkey took over, with a return to the Prof for Riddles in the Dark. Risus Monkey is now up to the eighth, and all of his contributions seem to be under the Middle-Earth tag.