[DangerQuest] GM-ful procedure

edited March 2013 in Story Games
I'm a big fan of Mike Wight's hacks of John Harper's Pocket Danger Patrol, especially the fantasy-themed DangerQuest.

I tried facilitating a GM-less / GM-ful version of it at Gamestorm last weekend and it seemed to work pretty well, so I thought I'd share!


Threat & Scenario Generation

. Each player rolls up two Styles from the Tome of Threats, writing each in big block letters on a post-it note and placing them in easy reach on the left side of the table

. Likewise, two Roles each on the right side of the table

. Everyone brainstorms possible combinations and unanimously removes a few of the least interesting Styles and Roles

. Everyone collaborates on pairing up Styles and Roles in the most interesting ways to generate the most entertaining Threats, for a total of (# of players + 1)

. Everyone takes turns (high roll goes first and last) claiming ownership of the resulting Threats, writing them up on index cards and adding unique names or titles as well as any brief descriptors that come to mind

. Each player chooses an appropriate Strength and Weakness for their Threat(s), writing the Strength on the front of the card and the Weakness on the back

. Everyone clears the table of remaining post-it notes and places the Threat cards in the middle

. Someone writes up the following Threat Abilities on post-it notes and everyone unanimously attaches them to the appropriate Threats: "Countdown 00", "Guarded by ___" (x2), "Horde" (x2), "Epic-Level"

. Everyone collaborates and decides on the nature and scope of the story, determining what exactly is being threatened and creating an appropriate countdown card ("Morale" or "Mission" or "City" or "World" or whatever)

. Everyone shares their initial thoughts about their Threats, brainstorms connections between them and establishes the actual facts and locations involved in the current situation

. For a one-shot, encourage everyone to think of this session as the final scene of a novel / movie / mini-series, and brainstorm some of the previous events and adventures that led up to this ultimate culmination

Character Generation

. Everyone creates characters with strong connections to the current situation and strong motivations to end these Threats

. Everyone creates Special Abilities appropriate to the scope of the story ("Magic Missile" for street-level, "The Tome of All Magic" for epic)


. Before starting the game, everyone takes turns collaborating with the player to their left to narrate a brief flashback scene in which they rescued that hero from some previous Threat

. Give descriptive names to any Critical Dice (d12s) earned, in this case referring to the events of the heroic rescue


. The acting player and their chosen Threat's owner ("Danger Master") collaborate on framing the scene and roleplaying the characters

. The DM's description of the Threat must include hints indicating its Weakness

. After the player declares their action, the DM reveals whether they've targeted the Threat's Weakness, then declares which Hazards are relevant and why

. The player rolls and narrates the results according to which dice hit and what they represent (e.g. if all d10s hit and all d8s missed, the player describes their hero's exemplary skillfulness, and also explains why those Special Abilities failed to help in any way)

. The player and DM collaborate on the hits and misses of the Threat Dice (d6s), determining which of the stated risks were averted and which came true

. The player and DM collaborate on the nature of any Danger Dice (d4s) received and name them appropriately

End of Heroes' Turn

. Everyone takes turns rolling a d6 for each of their Threats and explaining how / why the Threat did or did not advance


  • Next time, I think I’ll try these changes and additions:


    Number of Threats: add one or two more to make the game last a little longer

    Toughness of Threats: randomize the number of hits required to defeat each Threat and write it on the back of the card, maybe d4+4 hits, or maybe dealing out uniquely numbered cards to maintain an even spread

    Countdown Threats: make sure they’re Guarded by another Threat or two

    Flashback Scenes: ask everyone to refrain from making their rescuees look too foolish or incompetent

    Abilities: use the original Pocket Danger Patrol method of combining two lower-powered Abilities to take an action instead of a single high-powered one

    Actions: disallow using the same pair of Abilities twice in a row

    Helping: instead of offering a Bonus Die, choose a single Ability, roll d10s equal to its level and explain how that Ability is being used to help - the acting hero gets an extra d8 to their upcoming roll for each hit, while the helping hero gets a d4 for each miss

    Threat Dice: players should be allowed to refuse them when offered

    Critical / Danger Dice: name them, write the name on a post-it note stuck to the character sheet and leave the dice on it, it’s too easy to forget their origins otherwise

    Rewards: swipe them from Gamma Patrol and add them to the backs of Threat cards
  • Did hordes come up enough? Did they work well?
  • edited March 2013
    We stuck the Horde labels on the Undead Curse and the Shadow War Band, but Tayler immediately destroyed the Curse with his first roll, so that was that.

    (The rule is that if you roll against a Horde Threat and another Horde Threat is nearby, it counts as a Hazard, which means an automatic +1 Danger.)

    In my experience, they don't come up enough. I suspect that adding more would probably result in fewer established locations and a consequently smaller scope to the story. Which is an interesting effect, come to think of it.
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