Friday, February 13, 2009

"Adventurers"

most RPGs are all about the "Adventurers," but what is that?

your typical D&D-style adventurer is an explorer or mercenary, somewhere on the frontier. that frontier is the important part. in fantasy games, there's always the open ocean, or the barbarian north, or a generic "shattered lands." in western-style games, the frontier is Indian country. in sci-fi, you have the edge of "known space" or other new planets within easy reach. in modern games the frontier is the unknown, or sometimes being the unknown. you're a wizard in a technological world, or a werewolf, or vampire, or whatever.

people who stay home, or who are boring and normal in a modern game, aren't PCs. they don't "adventure."

the trick, then, to running a universe in which adventurers have something to do is to define the frontiers that it offers.

starting with a genre helps, fantasy, sci-fi, supers, western... but what if you want to make up something new...

but then... why do you have to?

clich├ęs, i mean, tropes, are there for a reason. even the most original adventures or stories in the world can be broken down into tropes, either realized or subverted.

perhaps it is enough to decide which genres you're going to use, and therefore which frontiers will be available. then the players can choose which frontiers are most appealing, or you can hook them to where you want to go. if there are enough frontiers, you can always switch between them when you get bored or come up with a better idea.

i've obtained a pile of "adventure seeds" booklets, and i think the trick will be less finding seeds (tropes with backstory) that fit the pre-concieved notions i have about my campaign world, and more about figuring out which frontiers i want to exist, and working backstory into them, changing the world to make it more adventure-able.

or something... 8-)