06 June, 2016

Game Chef Thoughts (Part 4)

One of the key ideas in an Australian Freeform is the idea of a relationship network that drives story. I'm going to be overlaying that concept over the NERF war to heighten the intrigue and the tension.

This can be done a couple of ways. One method is to simply give each and every person a customised character booklet (often running to 5-6 pages), where one page describes the setting, a second page describes the public lead-up to the event, a third page is a specific character background written individually for each character, a fourth page describes the public personae of the characters present, while the fifth (and sixth) page give individual relationship details between the character and the significant others they've previously had dealings with. Another method sees simple faction sheets given to players...if you belong to faction W, here's what your people tend to say about factions X, Y and Z. The thing that is important ere is that no character knows every other character (and from a factional perspective no faction is completely aware of every other faction currently in the game), more often than not it takes an intermediary for a character to pass through before they'll reach someone who can help them accomplish their personal goals. This helps to moderate proceedings and prevent storyline from unfolding in the first five minutes of play. Conversations take time, and from the perspective of this game avoiding being shot by a NERF bullet, or shanked by a foam blade may prevent you from reaching out to potential allies who might be on "the other side" at the start of play.

Eventually everyone will have to work together, but participants will typically want to have to upper hand and/or the strategic advantage when it come to that stage of proceedings.

The other advantage of the factional method is that I can write a quick sentences of around 10 words describing one faction from another faction's perspective; if I assume that two common factions are known by everybody (the homelander loyalists and the invader loyalists), but each of the other factions are hidden from certain others, I can probably write up the whole relationship matrix with about 800 words. A player is given their faction's sheet, and the rest of the possible relationships are something to be uncovered through the course of play.

To set this up, I've provided a grid with a basic numbering system to set the tone of the relationship.
+3 = Allies; no reason to distrust them.
+2 = Liked; they have ulterior motives, or strange ways, but they're generally accepted.
+1 = There is a tendency to trust these folks, but at an arm's distance.
0 = Neutral, They know of this group, but aren't sure how best to treat them.
-1 = There is a tendency not to trust these folks.
-2 = Disliked; not to be trusted at all, but may be left alone if there is no reason to kill them. immediately.
-3 = Enemies; will kill on sight, or as soon as the affiliation of the other person is known.
? = This faction doesn't even though that the other faction exists.

Factions


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1. Invader Loyalists
+3
-3
-1
0
?
?
?
?
+2
?
2. Homelander Loyalists
-3
+3
+1
-2
?
?
?
?
?
+2
3. Invaders who sympathise with the Homelanders
+1
+1
+3
-2
+1
+1
?
?
?
-3
4. Homelanders who sympathise with the Invaders
+2
+1
-2
+3
?
?
+1
+1
-3
?
5. Invaders who can manipulate the infected
+2
-3
+2
+2
+3
0
?
?
-3
?
6. Invaders who are in league with the shadows
+2
-3
+2
+2
0
+3
?
+2
-3
?
7. Homelanders who are trying to study the infected
-2
+2
+2
+2
?
?
+3
0
?
-3
8. Homelanders who are in league with the shadows
-2
+2
+2
+2
?
+2
0
+3
?
-3
9. Invader Inquisition
+3
0
+3
0
-3
-3
?
?
+3
+2
10. Homelander Psy Defence
0
+3
0
+3
?
?
-3
-3
+2
+3

So, by this chart, everyone has knowledge of the Invader and Homelander Loyalists. The various types of character who are looking to do things with the infected and the shadows, they will tend to be treated as loyalists (because they'll often hide their true affiliations, and many people won't even be aware that these sub-factions exist, or how prevalent they might be).

If I'm looking at 800-1000 words (I'll err on the side that I might end up being a bit verbose in some factional descriptions), then that leaves about 3000 words to cover the other aspects of the game. 

So let's divide this into booklets, I'll go with the pocketmod concept because they're easy to fold up and convenient to carry. A player gets three booklets, GMs get a different three (but should have a vague knowledge of the text in the various player booklets), and then two for the overall event organiser. 

Player (100+ players, divided into 10 factions, but more than half will start as Invader or Homelander loyalists):
Book 1 - "Invaders Guide to the Game", or "Homelanders Guide to the Game" (2 of these, one per side, 150 words each)
Book 2 - "Factional view of others, and Factional agendas" (10 of these, 1 per faction, 150 words each)
Book 3 - How to Play the Game / General Rules (common to everyone, 200 words) 

(2000 words across them all, a single player would only read the 500 words relevant to them)

GM (10+ GMs, or a ratio of 1 GM per 10 players, half of which will be statically stationed at specific points around the game, while the other half roam...they may swap with each other, between static or roaming, during the course of play):
Book 1 - "Book of Events" (times when certain events occur, or trigger events that set new parts of the game into motion, 400 words)
Book 2 - "Book of Trade" / "Book of Crafts" / "Book of Spirits" (Different designated GMs get different books here, based on their NPC role in the game, 200 words each)
Book 3 - "Book of Transformations" (describing how and when players become infected/shadows, all GMs get these, 400 words)

(1400 words, a single GM would only need to read 1000 words, but it might help if they read a few of the player's booklets or other GM booklets)

Organiser (1 organiser, but they will probably have assistants in larger games who double up as auxilliary GMs, roughly 1 per 50 players):
Book 1 - "A Guide for Observers" (a general booklet that could be given to people who are interested in the game or who see it in progress and want to know more, 300 words)
Book 2 - "Organiser's Guidebook" (a booklet explaining the game at its most meta level, what is needed for play, how to set things up before play, pace things during play, and wrap things up at the end of play, 300 words)

(600 words, The organiser would be expected to read all of this, and also have a good general understanding of the other booklets and how they work together)

There's a lot of pieces for the GMs to be aware of, and even more for the organiser to be aware of, but this is designed to make the process as easy as possible for the players, who should generally find themselves in an experience as immersive as possible.

Now to see if I can pull it all together in time.
Post a Comment