It took us some time to get back to this (well, actually about two months) but finally returned to colonial America. Since I’m already writing a campaign debrief on this forum I decided that we do not really need another one. Thus this post is mostly about stealing stuff from other games to improve your own.
(We are still using the Eldritch Sigils systems that is heavily modified version of Apocalypse World. If you want to check out the latest draft of the set you can get it from Eldritch Sigils Facebook page.)
One of the things I loved in Archipelago and Fall of Magic was the feeling of building a story as a group. While we had a big success with my Rome hack for Archipelago I noticed it is not entirely what we could run as a campaign.
Since we have streamlined the AWengine to be used as a more “basic” rpg (with skills and what not) I needed to come up with a new tool to enhance the feeling of telling a story. The basic engine of encourages the players to play out the characters in certain way by giving prices. Since this has worked before used the same method and came up with an “event checklist”.
This list works in similar fashion to locations in Fall of Magic and Archipelago. At the start of a session one player picks up an interesting event and we as a group try to guide the story in a way that sees the event taking place.
As noticed on our second session it is not always that easy to include the chosen event. To work around this I gave up two different prices. If the characters witness the event they gain experience and if not they gain an in-game benefit as a gaming chip.
It might sound like railroading the story but it actually is quite the opposite. As the golden rule (for me at least) of AWengine is to “play out to see what happens” you cannot ever be sure when or how the event kicks in.
At the first time I used it as soon as possible but during the second session I was waiting to see if my players had the courage to narrate the story towards the event. It didn’t happen and I didn’t get a clear chance to incorporate it even as “off-screen”. During the third session I knew how I was going to use the chosen event, let the players to have some opportunities to bring it up by themselves but finally chose to narrate it myself.
After each session we discussed a bit about what worked and what did not and they all said that the “events checklist” was a good tool. It has more options that we can use in this campaign so it is not limiting them. It simply gives us a new tool to use.
From a game developers point of view I think it as a successful addition. While this is the first campaign where we have used it I have a feeling it might turn out to be as memorable mechanic as the Good and Bad Legacies we have been using right from the beginning.
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