The Consequence List

Happy New Year everyone!  New year, new blog post.   

Updates

I got some great gaming stuff from my family this year for Christmas, which is pretty much a first.  Among the gaming goodies were the premiere edition reprints of the 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons books, and the 13th Age Bestiary.  My review of the bestiary pdf will be forthcoming.

The Birth of Plague novel is going very well.  Part One has been through the first round of content edits, and is now up to 88 pages in Word.  It has started through the first round of grammar edits.  I am planning on putting the prologue up for your enjoyment after the grammar polishing has taken place.  I love my editor for the blog, as I have stated before he makes sure my reviews are readable.  He has volunteered to be one of my three grammar editors.  It is a big jump from 4 page reviews to 88 pages of  fiction, but I know he is up to the challenge.

Gaming Updates:  The Outlands game started last night.  My group burned characters and we got 90% through the process.  We have a lot of fighter types, and most of the group is either allied with the Free Cities or the Blade of the Shining Intellect.  No inquisitors yet, but I have one person who was unable to show.  The plan is to start the next session with Belief and Instinct creation and then start the game off with the prelude to the siege of the Free Cities. 

Numenera’s first session will be this Tuesday and I am really looking forward to getting back into this game.  First of all, two of my gamers are coming back after a ‘new baby’ leave.  They are two of my favorite gamers and I am very excited about this.  The game ends before the holiday break with the group outside of the vault of a great Nano.  The vault was located in the Seedship beneath the city of Drusai.  The group has been searching for this vault for about four sessions, in hopes that it will give them insight into the insidious menace of the Dancers which threatens the Ninth World.  Who are the Dancers?  A race of dimensional invaders who occupy the frozen space between the instants of time.  I am planning on writing up a bestiary entry for them.  When I do, I will post it here!

My online games are switching formats.  I am going to one post a week for Arcanis and Ta’nar.  Ta’nar is getting new players and losing some old ones, and switching from Hero to Risus.  S. John tells me they are basically the same system, so I should be ok.  I think he is being facetious.  (*cough* new edition of Risus can be downloaded at http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/downloads.htm#Risus . It is the 20th anniversary edition, and 33% smaller than the last edition.  Check it out). 

The Consequence List

I have a reputation among my gamers.  It is probably well deserved, as it is one of the core parts of my GMing style.  It is joked about with new players to our group.  It has been whined about by some of my players.  And in the case of some of my players, this reputation is a source of contention and have caused them to leave my table.  So fair warning, this GMing technique is not for everyone.

This reputation amounts to: in my games your choices come back to haunt you.  There are consequences for your actions.  Smart off to the wrong person, it will come back to bite you.  Double cross an employer?  That is a timebomb waiting to blow up.  Have secrets that if they come to light could be detrimental to your character?  The list goes on and on.   This may seem like a small thing, but in my experience it is not something that happens at every table.  I have found this has far reaching effects on gameplay. 

I manage this technique during the game with the consequence list.  Every night after gaming, or the next day, I set some time aside to do a session wrap up.  Part of my post session wrap up is to look at what happened during the session and I write down a list outcomes to the night’s choices and decisions.  This list then sits on in my One Note and gets look at during my planning session.  As the game develops, this list provides a rich source of NPC’s and plot ideas that are pulled from the background of my games.

I should point out a couple of things.  All stories aside, this is not only negative outcomes.  This list also holds the new contacts the player have created, people and organizations that they have helped, favors they are owed, etc.  Also, the point of this list is NOT to bludgeon your players with horrible outcomes to game choices.  It is about verisimilitude.  Your plot reactions to the consequence list should be grounded in the rules for the world, and in the logical reactions of your NPC’s.  This technique lets your player’s decisions have long lasting consequences on the world around them.  Their choices help drive world building and plot development. 

As I have said, this technique is not for everyone.  At my table, it is one of the ways I like to engage my players.