Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Experimental Adventure Creation Method

You can sew, dance, and blind fight? Just what we needed.

Here's how I made my last TMNT/Mutant Future adventure: I looked at the character attributes in the game (strength,intelligence, etc.) and flipped randomly through the skill list and tried to think of a situation where each attribute and/or skill would be useful. About 15 minutes of thinking got me about a session's worth of material.

You could probably brainstorm a whole megalocale or campaign pretty quick if you just tried to get at least one situation for everything on a game's skill list. Call of Cthulhu seems particularly ripe for this treatment.

Not that the PCs would have to do all that stuff to get through the game--it just seems to spur the imagination to try to think of how a gameworld where both artist: stage magic and pilot: hovercraft could both be useful in short order.


  1. Neither here nor there, but I've been thinking about the stripped down DnD experience, & your houserules are really right on. Rolling under attributes, rolling twice for skills-- solid gold. I'm thinking-- adding level for your "class"? Making those sorts of rolls-- "fighting" rolls or "magic using" rolls-- roll high? & magic numbers; small tweaks that can describe depth. Hm. I'm just musing on the skeleton of DnD, the barest of bones.

  2. @mordicai
    i don't really understand what this means:

    ". I'm thinking-- adding level for your "class"? Making those sorts of rolls-- "fighting" rolls or "magic using" rolls-- roll high? & magic numbers; small tweaks that can describe depth. Hm"

  3. I haven't played the Palladium family of games in about 20 years, but I think you are spot on with that idea. It's certainly not important to always use every esoteric skill each character has, but those fringe skills are perfect for making the PC the star of the particular evening.

    A friend of mine gave me some really good advice back in my LARP days "Everyone who comes here wants to sack the quarterback." (He was a Collegiate Defensive End) And it really colored how I wrote for games afterward.

    Every character can't be the hero every time, but if you occasionally tweak the plot to get everyone else a moment of glory, it really helps the game in the long run.

    Your method is a great way to do this.

  4. @higg

    that's not at all the motive here--people in my game end up getting screentime whether or not they can use their skills.

    it;s more just a way of making a varied and complex environment.

  5. Well-- looking at "to hit, for example. You use it as "roll high" in your game, right? I don't know if you use Thac0 or a chart or or 3e style AC exactly, but you roll high, right? & I'm just thinking about that-- & how to model a character class while not getting too bogged down with details & complexity. Adding your level-- or half your level-- to the roll seems like an okay basic mechanic.

  6. @mordicai

    i see. yeah. we use the 3.5 bonuses and roll high.

  7. I ran a game where "that's a health code violation!!!" was shouted, with great relevance, during a critical final encounter. (Which happened to occur at the annual Coney island hot dog eating contest.) Hooray for seemingly pointless skills.

  8. "Smith. Zak Smith." ;)

    "Any idea with unintentional additional cool side effects is proportionally additionally cool." *grins*

  9. I think you could have a lot of fun designing a society by picking a couple of skills and deciding to base the society off them. Add a regularish skill and a couple of more esoteric and it'd work quite well.

    Plus it would quickly and easily give various countries (and the people from them) a fair bit of identity.

    Have a country that's got sewing, dancing and blind fighting and you might get a culture of rich brocade and fine culture who have an understanding of sin and violence where things are only sinful if witnessed, so that duels or murders are committed blindfolded, in order to save the souls of their doers