Sunday, October 5, 2014

City of Curses: Crux Session 1 Report

I find myself preferring more and more collaborative RPGs as I get older.  I don't mind finding a happy between for players and all that... I think there is this spectrum I've been trying to derive the ideal balance of.  I always find myself struggling between a very Authoritarian approach to GMing, and a very lazze-faire, let the players control the action kind of GMing.

This is one of the reasons why I do things like dream up very restrictive kinds of ideas for players to be tied into.  The Role System fits this idea- I think of an idea that gives me variable control and restricts the players to a tighter system of restrictions.

On the other hand, I want to create moments of allowing players to guide how I construct my plots and games.  Having more than one head dream up ideas makes those stories far more robust.  Story Games excel because of this fact: four minds are stronger than one mind ever can be.  I love players generating content, because it means I can provide interesting twists to what the players are expecting.

These two ends exist in my style, and often I have trouble standing between the two.  So, that being said, I've run the first session of creating a Fate Core game set in Crux.  Crux, City of Curses was originally intended for Pathfinder... but I prefer to run Fate Core over Pathfinder.  So, here we are.

I got four gamers to become my players and started the process by explaining Crux as a setting to them.  One or two knew very little about Crux as my homebrew, so more time was spent explaining Crux over directly diving into CharGen.  In Fate Core, character generation is a group process, so we didn't get that far.  Instead, our main focus was creating our group and the kinds of story they would have told about them.

Each player provided me with Sparks (half-baked questions or problems that can serve as future and current Issues).  I haven't turned them into Issues yet.  I plan to.  Seriously, they provided very kewl ideas for future plots.  The players also picked their group Icon, the main way they all are connected- the Chancellor of Crux University.

My plan was to have them decide on a Group Icon first because it would help define what kind of group they were.  Each Icon in Crux covers a particular aspect of the setting.  That worked.  Very well, actually.  I also tried to get them to pick a name, with the top two contenders ending up being the Scarlet Spirals and the Keepers.  Both names sound awesome to me.  Scarlet Spirals might hint some deeper mystery, while the Keepers reflects a opposing sort of name to a group of characters I ran years ago called the Finders.

The idea of a group called The Keepers, as protagonists, that intrigues me.

A name will be selected more solidly once the group has more of a solid idea what they are.  But by picking a icon, stating ideas for future plots and defining at least a handful of names, they've already defined a group tied to Crux University.  Its a group that may be interested in doing jobs for the university, as explorers or investigators of some sort.

Here is the list of "sparks" that they gave me to work with into Issues:

  • How do the Ursyklon handle the Chancellor?
  • What does this machine found in this ruin do?
  • Why are Ninjas at the university?  What is it they are after?
  • Why are all the divination students disappearing?
  • Why do the Alchemy labs keep running into mishaps- very seriously wrong mishaps?
  • The publisher incites riots between the Prince and the Demon's Orphans.
  • The Chancellor has to ask the Tinkerer for help in a Crisis.
  • Rocks are falling from the Blacksun.
  • What was the note the Chancellor had found in his office?  Why won't he talk about it?

Thanks for reading!  All comments are welcome, unless they promote bigotry.  Good ideas are welcome, bad ideas ignored and great ideas are stolen outright.  See ya around the bend...