06 June 2011

Emergent Elements -- Part 2

Obviously, it's not tomorrow.  I am going to have to try very hard to meet my goal of posts this month.  But onward!

Last post, I mentioned there were two interesting setting elements that emerged from seemingly random, around-the-table play elements.  The first was the Confectioner's Box, coming from a player's use of an Awesome Point to make cupcakes appear.  The second is still in formation, but it involves a new religion.

Last session, we had a new person around the table, the "date" (I only put that in quotes because I am not sure if it's entirely accurate) of a regular player.  She had never played an RPG before, but proved to be a quick study and a remarkably good sport, diving in with enthusiasm.  One of the other players had made her a character beforehand, with the "4d6" in order method we use resulting in a high wisdom and, thus, a cleric.  The experienced player did not give the cleric a name.  The new player never really came up with one that she liked, so the new party member was called "Nameless" and "Nameless Cleric" a lot.

After the game, the idea came to be that the lack of a name could be part of some sort of religious vows.  What if you gave up your given name when you joined the order?  You earned or found your "true" name, the one given to you by the god.  This order lacked even a name for their own god, believing simple mortal words were insufficient in the face of infinite divinity.  Maybe the entire order was based on the power of names; learning the divine or true names for things being one of the order's principle secrets, revealed only to those who have demonstrated sufficient piety or experience, and the source (somehow) of the cleric's power.

None of the above is really fleshed out yet, but I am working on it.  I love how this sort of thing (forging in-game pieces from random elements) is encourgaged by old-school play.

The other mechanical bit I mentioned last time is actually tied to the funny part I also mentioned.  The party had run afoul of some traps in the dungeon, after the thief (shockingly!) did not make his F/RT roll (of 14%).  This really made me rethink the thief, either doing away with the class altogether or stealing some sort of alternate skills system for him.  As a result of the theif's failure and the party's new-found fear of traps, they returned to the scene of an earlier battle, gathered up two zombie-corpses, stuck them on the end of spears, and made the zombies "point men" as they continued.  They avoided at least one trap this way, as the corpses triggered a pit.  Maybe you don't need a theif after all!

We play again this Wednesday, but at least two folks won't be there.


  1. That's an interesting idea. Catholic nuns often give up their old names in order to take on more biblical ones (which is why you come across so many sister Mary's).
    The same is true for many other religious orders and groups -although I can't think of any other specific examples at the moment.
    But combining that with the whole "True Names have Power" concept is just brilliant.

    As to your second concept, my rule is that anyone can find traps through roleplay. If they specifically say they are looking for needle holes, trip-wires, loose rocks, rope, bits of strong, pressure plates and so on then I automatically let ANY character find these things if they are.

    The theif only brings out his percentage dice when the characters are SURE theres a trap there but they can't find it through roleplay (because the theif character might know something the players don't).

    However, I DO NOT allow them to simply say: "we do out standard search thing". The have to tell me exactly what they are looking for each time -because they just might forget to check for something in particular each time. Thus anyone can find some of the easier traps to spot, but the theif character still remains viable by being the only one able to spot the really difficult traps.

  2. @ Brian -- A minor example is simply taking another name at Baptism. As an adult Catholic convert, I found that very interesting (and difficult). I've never really worked out an interesting game mechanic side of the true names and power idea. I'll give it more thought.

    Good idea about the thief!

  3. hehehe, you said F/RT! FART FART FART!

    (/ inane juvenile humor)

  4. Ooo, I like the idea of giving up your name as a vow.

  5. @RM Makes the whole "name level" thing a bit more meaningful, eh?