Heroquest Update 1)
h2. Or; How Random Creativity Becomes Gamed.
Here is how players and GM interact in each session of our game:
Colour > Fictional Position > Resolution > Long and Short Term Changes to the Setting
The first two parts of the process can occur in different orders. I might create a fictional position (terrible winds are coming to the plains) and you might respond with colour (describe your character huddling in an ancestral cave). You followed my Fictional Positioning (activating a pre-existing part of the setting) with a piece of pure color scene with you in extreme closeup, no conflict with other named characters. You might even bring in a bit of mechanics to finish the Colour Scene (use an ability to try for a bonus on a possible future action like "survive poison gasses of the storm). But creative responses to the setting — a.k.a. Colour — are were EVERYTHING in this game begins. Colour is the necessary precursor to all other activities in this game.
A festival of the exiles was attacked by Dog Demons in the service of the Lunar occupation. The heroes were able to resist the attack on their clan’s magic. One fought off an attack on a brood of alynx kittens. Another summoned alynxes and other cats from around the city. One simply swatted wildly but managed by luck or fate to smack a few. One threw daggers into demons he alone could see. Two were caught flat footed: one was guarded by a faithful hyena. The other, given his cowardly cringing nature, was lucky enough to be hidden when a dog attacked him unawares.
How it Happened:
a) Determining the Scale of the Threat
Peter’s Connecting Scene: He spoke to his brother Davydd about the coming threat to the clan’s festival. In the course of that scene the GM had the alynx provide some information about how many demons were there: 21. No roll revealed that. The discussion provided some ideas about how to confront the threat.
My thinking: a MOB of LEADERS (characters who are more competent than the Player Characters) was coming to cause trouble.
b) Determinig the Scale of Resistance
Lita managed to coral a bunch of bravos from the Sun Dome to come to the festival and compete in the feats of strength. The roll did not win full participation from their boss, but the fiction was established: 16 tough teens would be there. This, in addition to a general attendance from the Garhound clan.
My thinking: a MOB of MUNDANES (the Sun Domers) was joining a CLAN of MUNDANES (the Golden Arrows plus a load of Garhounds), under the leadership of SEVERAL EXPERTS (the PCs). That is enough for your side to have a reasonable chance of beating the agenda of your opposition. Individually, you would not be facing penalties. Preceding role-played decisions allowed this to come about.
c) Saving the Kittens:
Mike stepped in, and Kate and Kole backed him. Which means that they weren’t confronting the opposition directly. Their assistance allowed Mike to save the brood. (A fictional group that only came into being when Iniskiss was contributing to the clan meeting).
My thinking he was taking a plausible action so the only resistance he was up against was what was indicated by the pass/fail rhythm.
d) Fighting the Demons:
Mike was taking direct action against the threat. So was Davydd, once the throwing daggers came out. Peter summoned forces capable of dealing with the overall threat. James managed to smack a few around. But Kole contributed his action to assisting another. Nice move, but it meant he was exposed.
My thinking: It was a STRETCH to assume that a character occupied helping another could be concentrating on protecting his rear end. That meant a STRETCH: -6 to the Target Number, and a maximum result of Marginal Victory (this is a rule, but I flubbed it). He rolled allright, suffered no personal losses, but didn’t really contribute to the clan’s overall result. Kate’s pet Hyena did have her back.
- individually you all escaped unscathed. Collectively you creamed the opposition (even if Kole and Kate were busy keeping their characters alive)
- The color scenes and your interaction with NPCs and each other in what we will now call Connection Scenes set up both the fictional and mechanical conditions for victory in the large-scale conflict, which is to be the culminating point of every session. Make those scenes count when you frame them. Also, if you listen to what is being said by characters in those scenes, you can pick up on it and work it into your own scenes.