So after reading +Rafael Chandler 's "No Salvation For Witches" I'm struck by thoughts I often have after reading a well written LotFP adventure (I've read a few of them and most of them are very good, including this one).

First I'm struck by the absolute disregard for... well... anything.  From a LotFP adventure I expect a sadistic disregard for PCs but what I also see here and in other adventures is a surprising disregard for the setting. Several of these adventures have world-wide consequences.  At the risk of mild spoilers NSFW could trigger at least a continental ice age and a world-wide economic collapse.  This is not particular to this adventure.  Raggi's own The Monolith has similar kinds of effects.

This is surprising because it shows such disregard for tone as a cornerstone of play.  I've set out to run a weird fantasy in 17th Century England and as the result of a single adventure I'm suddenly running an ice-age game after an enconomic apocalypse.  It's like me saying I'm going to paint this painting with Violet, Crimson, Black and Caribbean Blue and then the adventure jizzes Hot Pink and Mustard Yellow all over my palette.

Obviously as a GM I can remove those effects from the adventure If want but what I'm surprised by is that there AT ALL.  It's one of those wait, wait but I thought TONE was something ALL GMs value.  I know that as soon as a game starts wandering away from the tonal color palette that got me excited about it in the first place, I disengage.  If I wanted to run an ice-age post-apocalyptic game I would have SET IT UP THAT WAY.


This leads into a very strange contradiction that always amazes me.  On the one hand these adventures feature consequences that the PCs might not notice for months or years while at the same time being highly deadly.  Why create long term effects if the odds of your PCs ever seeing them is so low (especially the ones that are more personal)?

Which quite honestly echoes something I feel about a LOT of well written D&D-style adventures (not just LotFP ones): They tend to be crafted as series of might-happen, might-not moments.  Very specific moments.  Concrete consequences with concrete triggers.  No trigger, no consequence.  So it's very easy as a reader to get very excited about seeing something happen in play and be very disappointed when it doesn't.

Which seems an awful waste of creative energy.  As an author or publisher it makes sense because you've got 100s or 1000s of these things out the wild.  Which means over all those plays the majority of it is going to get used.  But as a single user or if I was writing one of these things for myself?  That's a lot of effort with no guarantee of a payoff.

It would take me a good two to four hours to craft each of the areas outlined in NSFW.  With that much effort and energy I'd become resentful of "clever" or "good" players who circumnavigated my work.  That doesn't exactly seem like a healthy relationship.

Which is why in the end I guess my preference is for NPC heavy games like Burning Wheel and Sorcerer.  It takes minutes to craft an NPC and his motives.  And there's no waste.  I don't know how, why, or to what depth this NPC will be featured but there's no way he will be rendered completely irrelevant.  And if he is it's not like I spent hours and hours dreaming up every little twist and consequence of this carefully crafted event.

But seriously, No Salvation For Witches is a very, very good adventure.  It just has all those mind-boggling features of a good adventure I never really understand.
Shared publiclyView activity