Thursday, October 14, 2010

Omnipresent Inspiration Hypothesis Day...3 is it?

Just got back from NYC. The art got shown and sold and all that. At some point soon I may be able to settle back and resume the regular broadcasting schedule here.

Anyway: still testing the hypothesis.

So I just saw Zach Galifinakis interview Bruce Willis and made me think of this player-skill-test mechanism:

NPC (or magic talking box, or communed with deity or whatever) asks a question. If the PC hesitates, horrible things begin to happen.

Unlike the Python "Name/quest/favorite color" gimmick, it's not just a binary answer-or-get-fucked-over situation, it has to get progressively worse the longer the player fails to answer and the player has to know it.

Also, I wouldn't go with a riddle, I'd just go with something that you have to think about for a minute.

Like the cleric goes "Oh, Mighty Vrogthrot, guide me in my hour of need!"
Vrogthrot: "Then tell me, holyman, what is the finest meal you've eaten since you left the Brass Forests of Klee Ten Krhome?"
Cleric: "Uh..."
DM: "You lose a fingernail"
Cleric: "What?"
DM: "Tik tik tik. You lose another. Off your thumb."

And then if you lie, things of course get much worse.

Alright, there you go.


  1. I don't think I would follow Vrogthrot, if he kept pulling out my fingernails.

  2. You'd follow *because* he kept pulling out your fingernails.

  3. That's why Chad is the best choice in gods.

  4. Trust me, you'd rather follow Vrogthrot than wouldn't like what starts falling off if you don't answer her questions.

    In other news, I think I'm going to walk over to your show today, Zak; I especially want to see "Dyson Disk" up close.

  5. I like the idea of a magic box that asks a random number of random questions and also gives some kind of payout (answers, power, money) for quick answers - possibly the reward stakes and the hesitation penalty stakes might increase.

    If it were an entity, I think there should be power in a cagey player turning the tables on the questioner/stumping the DM momentarily. I'll have to give more thought to the "stakes" for the questioner.

    Have you played much Pendragon? This seems like an especially appropriate fit for the kind of situations a knight might find himself in with an ogre or sorceress or something.

    Good thought provoking post today!

  6. I once read a theory that the Bridge of Death actually rewards confidence rather than correct answers, which explains why Arthur and Lancelot were able to go through, the presence of the off-putting swallow and favourite colour questions, and also why Terry Gilliam gets thrown off the edge in the end (interesting thought of a trap being susceptible to it's own rules). So if the PC's lie or get it wrong, it doesn't matter so long as they're cavalier about it.