Friday, May 18, 2012

Campaign Traits: Guile, Confrontation, and Intellect

Okay, so I've recently cancelled my old Demon: the Fallen game and am trying to figure out where to go next. The last game became really difficult to run because no matter which direction I tried to take it, one PC would dig their heels in, another would over-think it, a third would love it, a fourth would rush into it, and a fifth would be bored. While this does occur in every campaign, this ended up being a big thing in the game and coupled with an unusually brutally realistic consequential game (what would REALLY happen if you did that?), it ended up having a lot of frowny faces around the table.

The players reassure me that they loved it but I ended up finding it too difficult to run.

So! To help us all be on the same page next time, I'm throwing a team / character development session next weekend. We'll also be going over a few campaign ideas and I'll be allowing the players to choose between them and have some customisation amongst it, too, which kinda throws the onus back on them. More on that for later.

For now, let's talk about the four campaigns. Three are Pathfinder, one is World of Darkness. I'll probably create a fifth World of Darkness zombie version, just because I'd love that. Yep, each campaign is based around something I'd love to run. So sue me.

Anywho, I'm also giving the players an idea of what each campaign would be like and what it's demands would be beyond the fluff and the atmospheric pictures. At the end, I give a list of six main points and then split 100% between three categories: Guile, Confrontation, and Intellect.

Guile is cunning, trickery, stealth, and thinking on your feet. It involves going with the flow. In crude skills terms, it's your Dexterity, your Wits, your Manipulation, your Stealth, Athletics, Persuasion, Subterfuge, and Computers. It favors a more conniving style of play.

Confrontation is your aggression, forcefulness, and stubborness. It involves halting or re-directing the flow. In crude skill terms, its your Presence, your Resolve, and your Strength, as well as your Brawl, Firearms, Weaponry, Intimidation, Drive (when ramming other cars) and that sort of thing. It favors a more macho style of play.

Intellect is reasoning, patience, consideration, study, and research. It involves understanding the flow and putting it into the bigger picture. It's self-directing (you choose where to take things). In crude skill terms, its your Intelligence and Wits, as well as your Academics, Occult, Science, and Empathy. It favors a more considered and thoughtful style of play - good note taking is a definite plus.

My pirate's campaign would be 40% Guile, 50% Confrontation, and 10% Intellect, for example. Cunning and cleverness certainly helps (especially to get the most rewards) but they can more often than not rely on simple Beat-Face-Economics. While there's space for researching and note-taking, it's not something they really need to worry about all that much.

So yeah, we'll see how things go. Hopefully that can help the players pull together a team that works within those sliders or, negotiate where those sliders should be.

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