Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Not So Random Encounters (Flow Charts)

Generally, when I GM a session I like to use a flow chart of events that will occur no matter what the players' actions are. Now they could affect the events before they happen, but it is unlikely, but if they do they are easy to alter. I think this style is suited more to the sandbox philosophy, but it could be incorporated into other game styles as well.

Simple version of a flow chart would be:
- The King declares that all mercenaries are banned from the city. No explanation why, but it becomes a popular topic in the taverns. So the players will hear about it a lot.
- There are rumors that the reason the king has banned all mercenaries was one of the Duke's was captures by a company of mercenaries.
- The players see all the guard patrols are double the number.
- A man runs frantically through the street with a book clutched in his arms. No one seems to be chasing him, but he looks terrified. (The man is the bookkeeper of the mercenary guild and has taken the member rooster out of the guild to hide it. The king wants it to make sure every mercenary is out.)
- At nightfall a large group of troops ride through the streets and out the main gate.

Now the players can be involved as they want or avoid the entire situation, but it will affect them. Adventurers might be declared mercenaries and be kick from the town. Either way this kind of background action gives a world depth and color. Even though it's important to make adventures oriented around players, the world needs to have a life of its own to make it memorable.

I use flow charts to do this to enhance my world events and to possibly get players interested in adventures or not. I always leave it up to them which path they choose. But there are times when events happen that can't be ignored. And if you play these background events enough they will appreciate the time when they become the focal point of the event.

1 comment:

  1. I do the same thing sometimes.
    --Nice to see another like mind. :)