Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Triffles (15) - An abandoned space

The last Triffle picked up a 'Say again?' response in the status bar at base of the post so it seems worth clarifying what's going on. The idea with the series is to present simple ideas for wargaming, roleplaying and writing. It's for anyone wanting familiar, comfortable concepts in a practical form, or a reminder of what's tired enough to need improving on.

This one builds on the announcement in the last, assuming it did mean danger.

                                           items discarded /
                                          activities unfinished


an abandoned space

/             \

a straggler /                        a roving / active 
resident                                    threat      

In general lots of questions. What's the location? Is it large or small, open or restricted, indoors or out? What happened, and how long ago? If recently, where is everyone? If in the deeper past, how has the space changed over time? Think dust, collapse, fungus.

With the possible items discarded / activities unfinished, this seems to lend itself to a characterful terrain piece, and it might be possible to include it on a geomorph, especially if the items remaining are large, like stores, vehicles or strange devices.

In terms of game rules, a roving / active threat is easily managed, and many systems allow for this. In creating a narrative we might want to know whether or not this is related directly to the abandonment, as a cause or a consequence, and what brings it into play.

The greatest challenge for all is likely to come with a straggler / resident.

Here in wargaming there's that usual issue of the rules being a blunt tool, and limited scope for interacting except through combat. A potentially traumatised survivor or isolated inhabitant may not trust armed new arrivals. In purely practical terms, the meeting could lead to a die roll - based inversely on the strength, size or armament to represent the need for tenderness - which if successful reveals traps or deployments.

In roleplaying a DM / GM can manage this kind of situation at a far finer level of detail and with more sensitivity, running a dialogue and better considering the responses. In writing of course we have greatest freedom to explore events, thoughts and feelings.


The Angry Lurker said...

This is perfect for sci-fi gaming with movies like Aliens, Pandorum or Doom as eye candy or ideas for the scenario with the grunts/search team looking for the cause or survivors but the survivor could be the problem and leads the team into traps.

You've got to think space stations not responding to radio checks or underground tunnels being searched after communication is cut in the secret research facility,should be doing a game like this in the near future.

Paul´s Bods said...

The abandonment/discarded item in wargaming could also be to do with booby traps - Buildings or mines- open areas/vehicles.
The straggler or resident could be the mine /boobytrap setter or a suicide type.
Roving threat...radio controlled Mine /boobytrap operator.

Cronickain said...

Weapons stockpile like the episode in BSG with the cylon.

Porky said...

@ The Angry Lurker - Well, you've got me thinking it, that's for sure. Your games..! You'll have to give us a run-down of how that one goes.

@ Paul's Bods - Could be. It's easy to imagine a last stand-style scenario if the straggler is fearful or out for revenge, or the resident worries about losing the home. Diplomacy would be the way to go of course; if there are no rules, time for us to write them. I've got thoughts on the subject coalescing.

@ ArmChairGeneral - I don't know that one, but a stockpile has attractions, possibly more so if the weapons turn out to be unusuable, or unstable. Rules for stray shots would do nicely.