29 August, 2012

Walkabout Mood/Scene Generator

I recently posted the idea of using Fudge dice to develop room moods devised by Fred Hicks

A great and simple system for developing a wide variety of social settings using four dice capable of producing results of positive (+), neutral (O) or negative (-).

I've been trying to develop something similar for walkabout that can be used to develop random scenes on the fly.

This would use the basic mechanisms found throughout the rest of the game, in a new and innovative way.

With this in mind, the basic system is to draw three tokens and allocate them to three categories. One category describing the basic upside of the situation, one describing the basic down side of the situation, and one providing story input to the situation.

The second side of the basic system lies in the colours of the tokens; Black tokens [+] being good, White tokens [-] bad, Red tokens [R] destructive, Green constructive [G] and Blue transformative [B].

The basic idea of defining a scene on the fly would incorporate the three tokens together and the way the tokens are distributed between the three categories.

The three tokens together have 125 possible options:
[+][+][+]: Everything is good.
[+][+][R]: Everything generally seems good. There is a feeling that something will be lost by someone by the end of the scene.
[+][+][G]: Everything generally seems good. There is a feeling that something will be gained by someone by the end of the scene.
[+][+][B]: Everything generally seems good. There is a feeling that something will be changed by the end of the scene.
[+][R][R]: Everything vaguely positive. There is a strong chance that things will go downhill very quickly for someone in the scene.
[+][R][G]: Everything vaguely positive. There is a feeling that someone will lose something and someone else will gain something due to the events of the scene.
[+][R][B]: Everything vaguely positive. There is a feeling that someone will lose something in the scene and someone else will find things changed as a result of this.
etc.

...but I don't really like the idea of referencing tables too much during play. Especially not for this game where the focus is meant to be on free flowing story in a world where the rules have broken down and a new order is resolving itself through the characters.

The simpler option is just applying the effects of the distributed tokens, since this is the system we're already using in the rest of the game.

Upside (Success):
[+]: If this scene goes well, the protagonists will get closer to the final goal in a direct way.
[R]: If this scene goes well, an antagonist will suffer greatly (in the short term or long term).
[G]: If this scene goes well, the protagonists will gain a benefit (which may help them now or later).
[B]: If this scene goes well, the situation will change in such a way that things become easier for the protagonists.
[-]: The best the protagonists can hope from this scene is not getting into more trouble.
Downside (Sacrifice):
[+]: The worst the protagonists might get from this scene is not getting into more trouble. 
[R]: If this scene goes badly, the protagonists will suffer greatly (in the short term or long term).
[G]: If this scene goes badly, the antagonists will gain a benefit (which may help them now or later).
[B]: If this scene goes well, the situation will change in such a way that things become easier for the antagonists.
[-]: If this scene goes badly, the protagonists will end up facing a new complication, a new adversary or will simply find that the path to their true goal gets even more confusing.
Situation (Story):

[+]: The scene seems to play to the protagonist's strengths or the antagonist's weaknesses.
[R]: The scene will probably get violent, it seems set to cause devastation and damage to those involved.
[G]: The scene will probably reveal something new, it seems set to create advantages to those involved.
[B]: The scene will probably get political, changing the way relationships link between those involved.
[-]: The scene seems to play to the protagonist's weaknesses or the antagonist's strengths.

Once everything has been allocated, the GM might get the opportunity to draw one more token. This throws a twist into the scene that might be revealed once a few actions have been resolved (for the positive or negative. Then we can also apply some special scene effects if this token matches on of the other tokens allocated (a double), two of the other tokens allocated (a triple), or all three (a quad).

Singles. Things certainly didn't look this way earlier but...

[+]: A twist moves in the protagonists favour.
[R]: Something raises the potential for violence in the situation.
[G]: Something reveals a possible advantage that could be gained in the situation
[B]: Something subtle has twisted the tables and revealed new depths to the events underway.
[-]: A twist either moves in the antagonists favour, or causes major problems for the protagonists.


Doubles. Regardless of how things looked at first...

[+]: The protagonists now gain the edge.
[R]: Someone else in the situation now find themselves in danger.
[G]: Someone in the situation finds themselves with an unexpected benefit.
[B]: Someone in the scene switches sides.
[-]: The protagonists now find themselves on the back foot.

Triples. Events were heading in a certain direction, and now they...

[+]: Accelerate toward the protagonists favour.
[R]: Become volatile and dangerous for everyone.
[G]: Provide benefits for everyone in the scene.
[B]: Create changes that dramatically alter the politics of the situation. 
[-]:  Accelerate against the protagonists. 


Quads. Things probably looked this way at first anyway, but now...
[+]: A final twist in the scene clinches things for the protagonists.
[R]: Violence definitely breaks out.
[G]: A plan comes to fruition.
[B]: A shock event turns the tables.
[-]: A final twist in the scene clinches things for the antagonists.

It's still probably a bit complicated, but these could be added to a "GM Screen".
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