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Scrap Princess

Favourite quotes that you would like to see beside a janky pseudo-elephant ?
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although I'm ambivalent with declaring things OSR this is quintessential OSR
Also +James Young have you seen Godzilla: Final War ? The plot of it is also humans trying to daisy chain apocalyptic threats to save the world and it's ludicrously good
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This is your new alignment system:
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The opposite classes are rotters, hush people, escapists, and the riddler. The opposite races are orcs, giants, speed demons, and stupid angels.
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An interesting breakdown of d.m prep in responds to Veins of the Earth.
Like he's not explicitly using its methods but his shaping of his material is interesting
Ran a cave crawl last night

Tried a different kind of prep, inspired by Veins of the Earth. (Thanks +Patrick Stuart and +Scrap Princess)

My effort was a hybrid of predrawing a map with some points of interest located and generating the additional details of the map on the fly during play from notes and diced procedures. Veins' procedures for the details didn't work for my kind of cave so I made my own, but the idea was basically the same. And I very much liked the idea of drawing a big scale framework of the cave using routes and points of interest. Again I used a different kind of map to fit my own needs, but the concept is what lead me in the right direction.

A big section of my adventure was negotiating 4 km of a braid of wet and dry tunnels around an underground stream flowing out of a mountain citadel's undercity. The PCs were sneaking into the citadel on this route to rob its temple and then sneak out without facing the giant and hordes of monkeys that they pissed off in the last session. Because they got a little lost in the caves, we didn't get to the undercity last night.

To prepare I drew a framework map showing the route of the stream and access points and points of interest, and a few caverns off in space that I was not sure how exactly they would connect to the stream. I then created some procedures for generating the additional details like other tunnels off the main path. And lastly I brainstormed a list of many cool things, encounters and so on that I did not locate specifically on the map but new would happen in different regions of it.

This worked well in play. The party could wander off the map and find cool stuff, and could try to find their way back to the main route. I generated them with the procedures and then recorded them on the map as the PCs moved through them.

This works for me because it fits how I think about an adventure.

I first get a big picture idea. This forms a framework or an environment or narrative or both. Often this is just impressions. But it is not hard to put it down on the map in broadstrokes. The map defines the edges of the location, important access points, and a few important things inside with connecting routes to entries and exits etc.... Distance and scale can also recorded here if that matters, but that takes some additional attention and thought. I have been working harder on doing that too.

Then I get ideas about what can happen inside the place or events in the narrative arc or whatever, but am not certain where exactly they'll show up in the bigger scheme. I just got rough ideas, and don't want to spend the time tediously locating them all on a map. It becomes a bunch of notes jotted at random on sheets of paper, and then if I am being disciplined, I rewrite them on a single sheet as a list of labels and a short description or game crunch like monster and treasure or difficulty of a magical device and what powers and catastrophes might happen on success or failure etc...

Sometimes I have rough ideas of where it will be but don't want to draw specific routes to it. I just record characteristics of the trails that lead to it. So I put that idea on the map in open space, and have notes about what might be found at certain distances like trails to it or other clues for the PCs to locate it or even know it is there.

So I kinda stumbled on to doing my prep this way this time after getting frustrated with the tedium of trying to map out a 4km long cave system.

The general process
* brainstorm big picture idea
* record it a framework map on a single sheet of paper, leaving plenty of room to add details during play.
* locate main points of interest on the framework map
* step away and generate a list of all the cool things that you'd want the pcs to maybe find and mess around with or encounter
* maybe take the next step to divide this list into multiple lists each associated with a particular region of your map, or timed and/or random encounters or events.
* then take the third step to brainstorm what the PCs goals will probably be in this space, and think about how these might lead across the undefined portion of your map
* create procedures and rules for generating the off map details and for how or when to pull the cool stuff off your cool stuff lists. (this is important in VSGP because I use LUCK or another stat for rolling on the table depending on what the character is doing to navigate thus intention of the player and this relates to the intention of the PC prior. Unlucky rolls are counter to PC intentions etc....)
* go back to the framework map again for the last time, and reconsider if any of your cool ideas should be located on it in relation to the other stuff.

Some VSGP procedures that worked well with this adventure:

SPEED is a PC Stat. It is an abstract number representing number of spaces moved each turn if playing on a hex map. I adapted this to be distance in a tunnel, and sectioned tunnels into "spaces".

Since the environemnt was difficult to travel in, different kinds of "terrain" cost more than 1 SPEED for the "space". Crawling was 4 points of SPEED per "space". Squeezing through a really narrow tunnel simply used up the rest of the turn but I later changed this to a cost of 8 when they had practically used up the hour already.

Different actions like searching an area for alternate routes, and so on each had a speed cost as well. Usually starting at 1 but increasing for more time intensive actions.

As soon as one character's SPEED was all used up the "turn" was done and an hour passed.

This was very board gamey in terms of how I tracked it as a referee, but it was also effortless and fast. And the passage of time in relation to movement and actions was clearly connected for the players. They weren't moving pieces on a board or counting points of SPEED but they could have been if they wanted. And it didn't distract from the narrative or exploring a cave and making choices.

It also made it easy to draw the nodes and links on my framework map. Each node was spaced 500 meters from the other. And the players advanced between decisions to be made in steps like this on my map. In a tighter map the scale would change. We were using turns of an hour and spaces of 500m. For a built environment which is more dense we could have used 1 minute turns with 5m spaces or 10 minute turns and 50m spaces. Each of these has different connotations in terms of what an "action" is, but superficail searches (scanning what is there and asking one question about one thing) cost a point of speed because time and scale can be thought of as linear (even if they aren't). And this keeps a clear trade off between moving and investigating and how much time it all eats up.

Using LUCK for a variety of things in relation to the intention of an action or the goal of a search was useful as well. Instead of just rolling at random on a table of random things during a search I rolled randomly but added the LUCK modifier to the roll and the table is arranged from unfavorable as a low roll to favorable. I also use 2d10 which weights results toward the center and allows for things to be common and uncommon depending on how close to the center or the ends they are. This was all far more interesting to me than the old wandering monster/event tables and find the things on the body tables. Having one really unlucky PC can screw things up for the entire party since their LUCK is the one used in group situations. This didn't come up in the session, but I look forward to when it will.

I really like the LUCK stat now.
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I boiled some leather gloves in wax today , tell you how it works out
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Better name than "encylospire" for an ever building machine tower that also represent the ideals of law?
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Is it me or are content aggregator sites just increasingly eclipsing any other search result?
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