A game scenario which a bunch of generally independent variables. I say generally independent because they are each measured separately, but at the end we seem how many variables flip one way, and how many flip the other way, then apply a final outcomre bariable to the result.
The premise is supernatural investigators, the game is basically a one-shot for these characters, it may tell a part of an ongoing narrative in the vein of Cthulhu stories where one investigation is linked to the next, all focusing on a single cult or supernatural entity. The entity itself is vastly superior to the investigators, and even it's minions could kill them with little effort...the minions of the minions might be a more even fight, but even then the outcome is probably against the investigators.
I'm basically thinking of using a Cthulhu Dark framework for this.
The independent variables are basically linked to the potential outcome.
There is an 80% chance the investigators will end up physically afflicted by the events of the story, whether they suffer hideous injuries, cancerous mutations, or some other problem that prevents them from continuing as a productive member of society.
There is an 80% chance the investigators will end up with their mind shattered by insanity, perhaps suffering debilitating phobias related to the story's events, neuroses, possibly even a full psychotic break.
There is an 80% chance that their reputations will be in tatters at the end of the scenario, possibly needing to call on massive favours that will never be able to be repaid, maybe needing to leave and assume a false identity, or ending imprisoned by thhe authorities.
With these three variables at play, there is a 64% chance that a character will end up with more than one of these problems at the end of the game... a 51.2% chance that all three apply.
Where they all come together, is the idea that if a character walks away from the session with only one of these problems, they DIE!!! If they end the session with none of these problems, they completely vanish into oblivion WITHOUT A TRACE!!! Dead characters might provide clues to future in estigators of the issue through journals, necromantic spells that temporarily raise them from the dead, or eldritch rituals of brain devouring. Characters who vanish without a trace offer nothing further to the story.
On the positive side, each issue suffered generates a point to address the threat. Where each point might offer one of the following based on the story's development.
- The threat does not grow in this location
- The threat does not spread to a new location
- A weakness is discovered regarding the threat (the first point may not be spent here).
(For every point less than 2 generated to address the threat, increase the Threat value by 1)
If a weakness is discovered in one session, then in a later session, a new positive may be applied.
- The threat is weakened (-1 to threat level)
The threat probably starts with 2-3 points, more if you want a darker storyline. Once the threat value is reduced to zero, the ongoing investigation is concluded. The threat is eliminated for now.
This whole concept is designed to churn through characters, it's the ongoing story that's important, not the individuals in it.