The King is Dead

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I am an Idiot -- But My Players Are Awesome

Why do I keep creating work for myself?

A couple of my players are RPG novices but the last couple of months have gotten them hooked on gaming.  As regular readers know, we've been playing Pirates of the Spanish Main -- which is one of the very few settings published by Pinnacle that does not include a Plot Point Campaign.  There are several fun One-Sheets for the setting, but (like an idiot) I gave up on those after a few adventures (but, to be fair, most of them feel like first adventures for different crews) in favor of winging it.

I'm good at winging it.  Really.  It's just that I sometimes paint myself into a corner.

The corner I have painted myself into is putting together a list of buried treasures and fantastic locations for an atlas called the Codex Brendanni.  (I don't know if the Latin is right or not; I don't really care.)  I've got most of the run of "Buccaneers and Bokors" and several other pirate settings, so I've got plenty of material to steal -- but I've still got to familiarize myself with it enough to grab a location and start winging it.  I don't want to waste anyone's time reading location descriptions in the middle of game sessions or remove player agency by declaring "This week you've all decided to go visit Candy Apple Island."  That's just not cool.

Speaking of cool, my game-hungry players have decided they want more than one campaign at the same time.  Nobody wants to abandon the characters they've been developing for the past few months, but everyone has the itch to try something different.  We started tossing ideas around on Facebook, and a majority responded very warmly to the idea of a '70s heist setting.

My idea for a '70s heist setting.

My idea for a homebrew setting.   Homebrew, as in "make it up myself."

I am an idiot.

One of the great things about classic, Shane Lacy Hensley-style Savage Worlds is that it is written for guys in their middle years who have jobs and don't have time to make up settings and campaigns.  Hence, the Plot Point Campaign -- a world tour of a campaign world that gives the GM a ready-made structure for the story while also allowing greater player agency than a D&D-style structured adventure series.  Plot Points are one of the elements I most admire about Savage Worlds.  Why did I not just suggest a list of Plot Points and have everyone vote?

But then it occurred to me: criminals plan a heist because they want what a target has.  The criminals choose the target.  I don't have to write up a half-dozen potential targets and plant them as plot seeds in the setting; I can just ask my players what they want to rob!

We're weeks away from the character creation session, let alone actual play, but the players have been giddy with enthusiasm.  Most everyone's already sketched out character backgrounds and they're working on assembling soundtrack albums.  Ideas are flying back and forth about potential targets, and they even inspired me to pitch a completely over-the-top scenario that would have Tarantino rolling on the floor with laughter.

My players are awesome.

Oh, and Wellstone City was totally worth the $1.25 for the bestiary of gangsters and crooks.  Thanks, Silver Gryphon dudes!

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