Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mystery in Adventures

Wednesday night is the rotating GM group.  Three of us take turns running adventures in a shared world.  And its worked out fantastic.  What I find interesting with our small group is our trend toward creating mystery adventures. 

We are at the end of the 5th adventure.  +Chris C. has run two, +Ken H is finishing his second adventure and I have run one and working on the next adventure.  Both of Ken's and Chris's adventures have been based around a mystery.

Chris's first adventure was about a disappearance of a girl coupled with the appearance of savage wolves.  The second adventure he ran created a distraction, we were to investigate the catacombs where the priest said the restless spirit of their saint was seen and the rumors of an evil cult moving into the area.  We needed to discover why the saint was restless, but discovered something very different.

Ken's first adventure played off of Chris's where the village was encountering savage wolf attacks, or at least that's what it seemed.  Conflicting religious cults came into play and we needed to follow the clues of these cults to discover what was attacking the villagers.  Ken's current adventure is a heck of a mystery/puzzle.  We are in a village populated by an almost alien race of people who have a 'Stepford Wife' personality.  A fog came in recently and three folks are gone, but none of the villagers react much to the news.  We've discovered hidden things within the village.  Creepy, hidden things.  And now we have to collect various items to solve the mystery.

What I've enjoyed about all these adventures was the sense of discovery.  These small 'aha' moments are built into them.  We investigate what we believe is the problem, make a small discovery that will either confirm we are on the right path or something that we may have to reevaluate our current assumption.  So Chris and Ken have built these small sandbox mysteries where we can solve the situation in more than one way.  And I think that's critical.  Nothing can kill an adventure more quickly than a party missing 'the clue'.  That bottleneck clue that halts the adventure unless it is found and interpreted correctly.  With a sandbox mystery there are several ways to discover the clues, in any order and can solve the mystery in several ways. 

I give props to my fellow gamers who have really upped the bar with their adventures.  It's been a fantastic time and an education.