Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fantasy Billboards in Game

In previous posts I mentioned using a billboard in my game. I did this to give the players a prop to interact with, to make it feel like the world was alive and moving. It provided places for possible adventure if the current story line hit a lull or if they wanted to do something different. I have downloaded samples of some of the billboard content. The content and fonts are very elaborate and very non-fantasy at times, but I wasn't going for realism just another splash of color for my world. I even created a 'journalistic' personality, Janon, who would report on whaatever event struck his fancy. The players enjoyed the updates and to see if they made the billboard news. It also had another effect, when the players trickled into the game they always went to the billboard to look for the new content. This got them into a game state of mind so there was not that long period of yapping about unrelated topics before hand. They got settled in quicker and I could start the game on time. Only two more miracles to go for my sainthood.

These are samples of personal ads. The players posted their own and were surprised by the response they got. It was a very effective method. The billboard always got a lot of traffic being in the middle of the market square.

This is one of Janon's reports. During one of the adventures they had an encounter in a tavern that Janon was in and the players were disappointed they did not get a chance to talk to him. He became an elusive celebrity in a way.

This final example is of a wanted list after a riot. While the players were going about their daily business they might see someone being shackled and dragged through the crowd. I always tried to have one of the posts on the billboard be apart of that session. It helped the players connect the news with the actually going ons.

If you have never used a billboard in your game give it a shot. It is time consuming, but you don't need to make an entirely new billboard each time. I added two or three new posts along with one of Janon's entries. And to keep the old posts interesting I sometimes had an old post that had been on the billboarrd for three or four sessions become relevant. One player would jerk his head up like a deer who just heard the crack of a twig and bolt for the billboard to find the connection.