Monday, March 3, 2014

Gaming is a volatile environment for intrigue gaming

I've become pretty good at coming up with various stuff on the fly. Pocket contents, phone contact lists, how people fit into a company, weapon vault contents, I've placed it all without prior planning while at the table.

And boy will that sometimes back you into a corner. Sometimes you will have a character say that somebody is working for a specific company and later that turns out to be wrong or inconvenient. Maybe you slipped up and got the name of his organization switched with another. The goals for an NPC's growth or use could be restricted due to their attachment to the company the players now want to destroy from the ground.

Mistakes happen. It's also really easy to give out more information than intended. You're supposed to give the players enough rope to tie the noose you later hang them with, not reveal the incoming twists.

The volatility of tabletop gaming competes with the need for logical consistency and continuity that an intrigue game demands.

Three suggestions:
  • Keep notes. Update them frequently. Write things down. If running an online campaign, having logs to go back to are extremely useful- for you and players alike. This does weaken Eidetic Memory, so beware.
  • Don't be afraid to retcon things that you screwed up. Players appreciate having current and correct information more than making sure you said the right thing at 3AM in the morning while tired and still GMing because gaming is just that fun.
  • Information should be murky in an intrigue game, and it's important to remember that NPCs are not all-knowing. Having NPCs capable of making mistakes makes the world more real and leads to very interesting plot possibilities- such as Logan not knowing that Egeman Atalar was Mr. X in Agency 17.

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