02 June 2011

Emergent Elements -- Part 1

At my last gaming session (last Wednesday) a number of interesting things happened which I think are worth sharing. Two provided interesting setting elements.  Two are making me rethink some mechanical issues.  The last was simply funny.

I'll talk about one of the mechanical issues first, as it directly led to some of the other things.  In an effort to capitalize on the general zaniness of the group, I tried out the Awesome Points mechanic from Old School Hack.  I hoped this group would buy into the idea immediately and wholeheartedly, but it actually took awhile for us all to get the hang of them.  The point of Awesome Points is to encourage players to do dramatic, awesome stuff.  They get rewarded for it (via more points) and they get a cushion against poor die rolls if (okay, when) things go awry.  The players were actually a little cautious about using them and, when they were used, it was usually to avoid something that could have been dangerous (and therefore, awesome).  They are designed to give the players a bit more control over the narrative, but the players are supposed to buy into the idea that they should use that control to complicate the narrative rather than avoiding complications (at least sometimes).  I certainly will continue to use them, but next time I think I will provide everyone of examples of how they can be used, modifying the examples slightly from the ones given in Old School Hack.

I'd also like to adapt the OSH model of using awesome points for character advancement, but that begins to get pretty far away from the Labryinth Lord ruleset.  At some point down that road, we should just play Old School Hack.  But I am not sure the players would be willing to convert to another system.

One use of an Awesome Point did lead to the Confectioner's Box and Random Cupcake Table.  At the end of the adventure, when the PC's were opening the Big Chest o' Treasure, Pithia's player tosses in an AP and says "It would be awesome if there were some cupcakes in that chest."  I replied that it would, indeed, be awesome if there were cupcakes in the chest.  Instead of a bunch of cupcakes, though, I thought it would be cooler if there were a magic item that made cupcakes!  Like all magic, though, it had its limitations -- hence the idea of a magic box that produces one randomly flavored cupcake per day.  The party was a little bummed they all didn't get cupcakes, but Pithia was pretty happy she now has a magical cupcake dispenser.  None of them know the item's background, so finding that out could produce some fun adventure possibilities.

So that's one setting element (the confectioner's box and it's background) and one mechanical element (Awesome Points in Labryinth Lord).  I'll tackle the rest of the stuff tomorrow.


  1. Don't forget, by putting awesome points into the pot, you get to be extra vicious or cruel to your players.

  2. I always hate that. You get started with ne game, but another has a mechanic that just appeals so much.

  3. @GSV -- Totally! I used it to sic a rat swarm on them!

    @Trey -- Many in the group are semi-novice gamers, which makes me extra wary of switching systems.

  4. I knew Awesome Points would be a hit. :)