Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Using Relationship Dice to shape your Campaign

Something I've wanted to talk about for a while is the way I use Relationship Dice and Icons in my ongoing campaign, Ive spoken to people on G+ about how its used, and now the rules have been out for a long while I think our group has finally had time to properly road test - and modify things to the way we like to play.

The 13A core book suggest rolling relationship dice at the start and during the game to generate drama and action, this is great - it works really well for one off's or for games that run only a handful of times. However I know my regular players in my campaigns felt the mechanic too forced, the action of rolling a dice broke the immersion - prescribed action they called it, things weren't just happening in the world, we are having to make a special roll to see what was happening.

I really like the Icons, they're a big focus of the rule system so I felt it would be a real shame to cut them, I turned to the core book for advice and wasn't surprised that the excellent conversational and options based approach to game design came up trumps, I opted to start rolling the Dice at the end of the session. This is great if your group isn't good at or doesn't care for improv, and in our case didn't like the intrusive/prescriptive nature of the rolls at the start/during the game.

So every week at the end of the session (or midweek over a Facebook chat window) my players roll their d6's - crossing their fingers and hoping for a 6. All the Icons are represented by their agents in the world, so no matter what's rolled - there's an NPC or organisation somewhere waiting to act.

I'll have these Organisation and NPC's worked out with a Campaign goal, What they want to achieve over the life of the campaign and a number of steps they must take in order to achieve that goal. Then no matter who is chosen the act i've got an idea of what they want to do and based on where the story's join i can decide (often loosely) what they'll do to make it happen.

Sometimes more relationship dice rolls crop up than there is feasible time/focus to deal with. I'll often resolve with the Icon or his agents making discreet actions designed not to draw any attention, yet hopefully render consequences later down the road.

The campaign has been running since August '13, and we've been using this method for the majority and so far my players feel as engaged and present in the ongoing story as they have for a very long while - which is great.

If you want more advice on bending the Relationship dice and Icons to your story needs I highly recommend dealing Blood & Lightning (the adventure from the core book) and Tales of the 13th Age (hit up +ASH LAW on G+) I also recommend the Dungeon World core book for advice on organising your NPC's and Organisations.