Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Psychotronic Gaming: Status Quo is the Enemy

   A key element of Psychotronic Gaming is that change must occur

  There is a tendency for campaign settings to remain static, especially mass-produced settings - the same king is King of Kingdom X; the same Cleric is Theocrat of Y; the same dragon menaces trade along the coast of Z; etc.

  This seems very close to how comic book continuity morphed from a tool to allow better storytelling into a straight-jacket that suffocates innovation. In Marvel Comics the Fantastic Four always got their powers about 17 years ago and in DC Superman made his debut as Superman about 10 years ago - forever.

  If you want your TTRPG campaign to last you CANNOT do this! Change is as critical as keeping strict time records!

  Here is an example from Seaward.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Common Elements of Epic Adventures

   Returning to more frequent blogging after a critical illness, I hope that you remember that I was just starting a series on Epic Adventures before I was taken ill. This is what is often called a 'setup post' - I am discussing what I will be discussing in future articles.

  In reviewing the common elements in the various epic adventures I have played in or run I have identified a few common elements they seem to share. To wit:

1) The player characters are neither new nor high-level. What I mean is it appears that the 'sweet spot' of the most epic adventures involves PCs of 4th to 8th level. Competent but nor overwhelming.

2) Treasure is not a primary motivation. While there is almost always a lot of sweet loot involved after the adventure is over, the motivation for the adventure is never primarily treasure.

3) They involve large numbers of characters and/or NPCs, usually enough combatants to make mass combat a necessary element of play. 

4) The stakes are high. 'Failure = guaranteed TPK' is usually the minimum threshold for an adventure to be epic.

5) The outcome is unpredictable. Even if the PCs do everything they can to stack the deck in their favor no one, including the DM, is sure who will win.

6) They involve NPCs familiar to the players. Not as universal as the others, this seems to make it easier for an adventure to be epic.

  Over the next few weeks I will be blogging nd podcasting about these individual elements.