Has anyone here used a collaborative approach to the GM preparation steps in "Prepare Thyself." Rather than creating the whole map myself, I'm interested in getting player input involved during our first session in a way similar to how players add places and rumors to the map in Beyond the Wall. Do you think this would or would not work well for TB and why? What information is really vital for the GM to keep secret?
I'm just starting my first forays into digital cartography (mainly trying to make a meaningful and compelling map of an aerial archipelago of earth motes for an RPG in a shattered fantasy world; the variable elevations and semi-random drifting/distribution is very tricky to map out).
I've been thinking players need a few of the following to guide their decisions about where to go and why:
— Clearly different macro-regions with contrasting traits (climate, terrain, political, cultural, etc): "Let's head to northeast because it's warmer and less regulated."
— Hazards or things to avoid: "I guess we should head up to Floodford first, even though it's way out of the way, since we don't want to risk getting stalled going through the Badlands."
— Common routes: "If we follow the established trade road, we're more likely to find someone with an arcanotech bottle opener. Plus we'll make better time."
— Room for rumors and opportunities for excitement: "What's that icon there? Oh a ruin/dungeon/lair? Oh rumors say that's where Blackbeard's treasure galleon was lost, but now it's haunted by his embarrassed soul?"
— Possibly indicators of key supply/demand: "Hey look there, Treetop has huge supply of building materials and just over there it looks like Newtown has a huge demand or them. Let's take a little side trek for quick payoff."
— Possibly evocative names most of the above? "Yeah, why would we want to go to Sulpherfell Grotto when we can resupply at Charming Springs?
What other elements can are maximally provocative but not overwhelming to compel player interest in different geographical areas of a map? What would make players care about a place, either to go there or avoid it? How do you make the contents of map areas mysterious but also seem beneficial to player attention?
How would you represent any or all of the above ideas on a map? Would you use toggle-able layers somehow (and how would that work for players' print use?) i.e. for supply/demand I was thinking adding two boxes next to settlement names would allow me to change the commodities currently in supply/demand (as in Port Royale games) rather than permanently placing a single pair on the map.
Would GMs get a discount?
How do you prime and empower players' creativity (especially new role-players) so they feel equipped to confidently embrace opportunities for narrative authority?
News of the upcoming game XCOM2 has resurrected my perennial interest in a tabletop XCOM experience, this time using Savage Worlds.
Follow-up question: what would induce a powerful beholder to leave behind a lair full of its gallery/vault full of awesome relics?
If you're curious for more context, I play in a now-post-apocalyptic world based loosely on Eberron, but blown up into tons of earthmotes. So this beholder was involved in killing some key Gatekeepers who were fighting against the daelkyr invasion from Xoriat (Far Realm).
1. The "abandoned" Beholder's lair is now occupied by a branch of one of the various Cults of the Dragon Below. The cultist are preserving the relicts and trophies of the beholder to study them and maybe learn more about the beholders and their creators, the daelkyrs.
2. The beholder doesn't need to be dead. It can be trapped, restrained somewhere on the lowest levels of the lair by the last of the gatekeepers that fought it and now the cultist are trying to release it for their own purposes.
3. There could be also other minor aberrations in the dungeon, now controlled by the cultists by means of some artifacts found in the vault/museum of the beholder.
4. Somewhere in the dungeon could be the remains of the last gatekeeper, maybe even the gatekeeper's ghost, who can't rest before the beholder is vanquished definitively. In the dried hand of the gatekeeper's skeleton the players can find an artifact that can help them do just that. The cultists could also search for that artifact, giving you the possibility to add a time limit and more tension to the story.
I really like the Order of Might from Torchbearer/Mouse Guard, which basically constrains what sort of interactions PCs can have with other creatures based on the relative might or epic-ness of the two.
As a loose example, beings far higher than normal humans/elves/dwarves on the scale, like ancient dragons or elder gods can only be interacted with by fleeing. As beings are more comparable in might to the PCs, the PCs can interact with them in additional ways, like driving them off (but not killing), capturing them, eventually killing them, etc.
It's intriguing because it basically is a dynamic invulnerability that forces players to consider alternative approaches than the classic slay-and-loot default to adventurering.
I'm curious if something like this order of might could enhance or inform Blades in the Dark play. Position already informs what is possible based on relative power of both sides of a conflict. You're controlled when manipulating gullible masses, but desperate when manipulating immortal masterminds.
Nevertheless, what if an order of might like in Torchbearer enhanced that further. The cutter can fight a crowd of thugs sure, but can he take down a leviathan in a wrestling match? This could especially help with inhuman or supernatural powers. Can you kill a man-sized automaton, capture one? Maybe irrespective of position, a gang of Quality 1 humans can only drive off an equal number of automatons, spirits, or fiends, but can't even attempt to actually kill them. Maybe that particular fiend can maybe be captured by mortal hands (desperate roll permitted), but not killed (no roll possible)?
Is not even permitting PCs to roll a desperate attempt in a vastly outmatched situation contrary to the spirit of the game? Is this sort of consideration already an assumption in play (due to effect factors that could reduce a "success" to 0 effect)? Could codifying it somewhat with an Order of Might help anything?
I'm a lazy GM. I've run about 12-15 sessions for my players running the cult crew The Society of Horus, but I've been realizing they've had it somewhat easy since I have failed to adequately do downtime actions for other factions.
Of course there's been a bold moves by main enemies and even their closest ally who's leader they drove mad, but I can't help but feel there needs to be more repercussions to all the craziness they're whipping out each session.
How do you manage faction downtime actions for a dynamic-feeling setting without spending too much time on it outside of the game?
This is not necessarily all bad, and it may not be gone for good if the crew acts quickly.
The addition of the consulates also makes me eager for a political crew type, either politicians, activists, or maybe lawyers. :)
If that is the distinction, then you could have electroplasm and ghosts use both; a medium would use Invoke to allow people to communicate with ghosts, but use Attune to repel a ghost with a spirit mask.
Likewise, a sacrificial dagger of an ancient god may need the priest to Attune to it, but use Invoke to channel the God of Starvation's bone-crumbling attrition into a target.
clarifies in a different direction, however, where one is science and the other is occult.
Whichever way it goes, I think clarification could help. It is interesting to raise the question. The main impact is on how non-Whispers would use either; if Attune is like "Use Magic Device" then it allows relatively normal people greater access to magic stuff. Invoke could allow for letting more power seep into prayers to not-entirely-deaf supernatural creatures.
If Attune is more sensitivity and allows for detecting the supernatural and also using supernatural devices, that's a nuanced difference. Invoke could potentially be the ability to focus the energy of other supernatural creatures, or repel/compel them.
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