Basic Bang Card idea -- for creatively challenged players --

edited November 2008 in Story Games
Goal: To target play for players who don't feel very creative, or the pressure to bring something creative into the game stresses them out. (ie, I had a player who I tried the Mountain Witch "you see a grave, it makes you sad, why?" and you should have seen the deer in headlights look I got back). At any rate, my nugget of an idea is to focus on this gaming audience. They like to role up characters, but without flags or keys; avoid anything that would pressure them creatively.

I'm guessing only three types of Bangs gets these types of players involved, happy and comfortable:
Ninja's attack, Mystery! and Thar be Gold off Yonder.

They are basic, apply across most character types.

Can you think of any others? Maybe, Injustice-- though I think Injustice would work better as a backstory mechanic rather than bang.

Now, I could spend hours in a d20 type setting working out back story and all that, but its just so boring.

So, I'm thinking of a set of Decks, cards.

At some point people can pull from the deck and then it could be a form of the above Bang types.

Then another deck would have motivations, NPC's or World elements. Injustice would fit in these other decks or deck. And then in some magical, Oracley sort of way (haven't quite figured it out yet) the GM ties it all together (whips up the backstory, sets the scene and play begins). Prepping 4e combat is easy and fast, so I don't see a reason for that to slow it down.

I was thinking of cross referencing the card played with Symbols, so the decks sort of interact with each other (sort of like Arkham Asylum board game--monsters and movement). Instant variability, even with a low number of cards.

The GM would make Campaign specific decks of cards. Players would have the option to be creative, but no pressure.
Cards could get introduced to the deck as game progresses. Players would have option to introduce cards, but again, no pressure.



  • sounds to me like an excellent place for Oblique Strategies and relationship mapping.
  • Those oblique Strat cards are pretty cool looking.

    Not sure relationship mapping helps for this particular audience. And maybe these forums are not even the best place to fish ideas for this particular challenge.

    I think this particular thread. GM techniques got gummed up when it tried to apply core story game techniques to this particular gaming audience. Fairly spot on observations that ended that thread for example.

    "This game has been a bit of a struggle at times because for the 'react to the characters' model to work, the players have to create characters that cause action. For some player's that's not what they want/expect, they're used to having action thrust upon them."


    "It is very hard to run a story game based around these kinds of characters. What most story games thrive on is characters with strong, sometimes conflicting interests in the current situation. I think the first step to an effective story game "adventure" is characters who are fit for a story to be told about."

    That's the audience I think needs a bit more of an entry-drug story game. Dogs does a fairly good job, since it preloads flags to the characters.

    But if you go without you really have: danger, money and mystery (maybe injustice) as your main prods.
  • How about this for pre-loaded flags or bangs or kickers.
    Assign some to a standard deck of cards. You'll need 13-15 (if you use the Jokers) if you don't use the suits and 52-54 if you do. You can make them story appropriate for whatever scenario or situation you are gaming at that session. Make them provocative enough to draw the players in.
    Say you are running a Cold City game. You could assign nationalities to the cards. You could also assign Draws or Hidden Agendas to the cards. These would give the players a starting point which they could develop.
    Ben is playing Col. Adam Armstrong, an American sniper.
    On his turn Ben draws - 4 of hearts, queen of clubs.
    4 of hearts = your character was a Nazi POW. He saw his best friend changed into some sort of thing by the their experiments.
    queen of clubs = your character's Hidden Agenda: he is secretly a military intelligence operative. There is a mole/double agent in his section of the RPA. He must find them.
    These give both the players and the GM hooks/flags to run with.
    Hope this helps.
  • Those kind of help cards would be cool for 3:16's weaknesses and strengths.
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