Monday, 26 May 2014

This room contains..

My group has kind of moved into theatre of the mind play over the last 6 months, mainly as a logistical thing to help with changing playing areas. Its had a nice effect on how we play, for me its easier to create stuff - i've changed the way i structure my thinking a little and its had subtle knock on effects in other areas.

We've also very recently taken our first stab at Fate Accelerated. We enjoyed it a lot, although its not replacing 13A as our regular fantasy engine. It has got some really cool mechanical stuff in it - i've been thinking about using them as a sort of creative brainstorming exercise. I also read a real interesting post by someone talking about how stringing the incongruous random elements of OSR encounter design together is the fun part so how do those two ideas collide?

It goes like this :

This room contains Adversary with Roleplay Opportunity doing Activity

So Adversary could be rolled of a random table, maybe i'll create one for each creature group - undead, greenskins etc. None should definitely be option here. Sample Table : 
  1. No Creatures
  2. Signs of recent Habitation, Roll again to determine what.
  3. 2 Wights
  4. 6 Zombie Peasants 
  5. Vampire Spawn Assassin
  6. 4 of the Necromancers Henchmen and 2 Mercenaries.
Roleplay Opportunitys' are things like Interesting Loot (Indecipherable scrolls, Ancient artefacts etc) NPC's (Slaves, Emissaries from rival factions) Dungeon Events (Cave-in, Extreme Temperatures) Interesting Features (Pools of Ooze, Altars etc)
  1. Carved wooden horse.
  2. Emissary from rival faction.
  3. Ancient Scroll written with gold leaf.
  4. Partial Collapse.
  5. Dark Altar to a forgotten god.
  6. Argumentative brain in jar.
And finally Activity is a reason for being in room, you could create a table for loads of broad groups should you need creatures with different motives eg, Military Actions, Leisure Activities, Acquiring Knowledge and Resource gathering.
  1. Fighting over food.
  2. Relaxing with mind bending intoxicants.
  3. Asking lots of obscure questions.
  4. Digging up the floor.
  5. Enacting corporal punishment.
  6. Concocting a noxious fumed broth.
So random rolls 4, 1, 6. My room has Zombie Peasants and a Carved wooden horse concocting a noxious broth. Hmm. So the Zombies are in the Wooden horse - having been suffocated by a foul alchemical fire lit in the horses mouth. 

6, 3, 2. A group of the Necromancers henchmen sit in a circle all taking turns to hold an ancient scroll written in goldleaf, after reading the scroll for a time they become euphoric and fall into an intoxicated haze for a period. 

Its obviously the last cog in this machine that will provide the real creative stretch, so this is where you'll be able to easily adjust tone of the encounters, the more offbeat and weird you go with these the greater the jump will be to connect the dots. If you roll No creatures you might ask whats the point rolling on the activity? I think its a way of looking out the box. No creatures? Why? Where did they go and why is that related to the Roleplay Opportunity.

The other last thing if your going to adopt this technique, write all of these independently of each other. Wait a couple of days between writing some of pick greatly different overtones and swap them around. I'll post up some of mine i've written for my upcoming game after we play - don't want my players coming across spoilers.