Nothing Wasted explores ideas to help utilize different aspects of gaming to their fullest or promote new ways to use existing tools.
The core of every role playing game is character interaction. How the players interact with the world around them and the people in it. While it can be fun to go head long into the fray of battle this is only part of the story. Both GMs and players should consider how and why things are happening and the impact the players actions have on the world and story as a whole.
What does this mean? Here are a game play example.
During the course of a story a Coven of Lucid’s meet with a contact in a bar while investigating a string a murders. Shortly after leaving they are attacked by some street punks. Dealing with the gang members they return home and begin shifting through the data their contact was able to turn up on murders in the area. One might chalk the gang fight up to a “random encounter” and simply move on.
This serves as a way to bring action into the a session that might have otherwise been fully devoted to social interaction and research. However, it may also leave players wondering hat was the point or thinking that the game is overall combat driven. Lets take a different look at this same scene
During the course of a story a Coven of Lucid’s meet with James Dove, a contact, at the GoLoHi, a remix bar known for trafficking designer drugs. They are investigating a string of murders and the bodies all seem to have black on black eyes like an Ice junkie. Traffic out of the GoLoHi is run by the Kamden Enforcers, a smaller gang but they have good chemists. Seeing what looks like a deal going don on their turf they decide to get in on the action and send a message. Outside the GoLoHi the Coven is confronted by the Kamden Enforcers looking for money. The players escalate this to a full on fight, knowing they can easily handle a few gang members.
They might not know why the Kamden Enforcers came around looking to give them a hard time, but there are enough background elements that, assuming the Coven was creative or had the right skills, they could put things together if they wanted to investigate. These details give the world an added depth turning a random encounter into part of the greater urban ecosystem.
Now, lets now look at the player’s actual actions. In our example the Kamden Enforcers came looking for money and what they got was a fight. A common enough outcome in any role playing game. How did the fight turn out though? Did the Kamden Enforcers live, or did the supernaturally charged Lucids kill them outright?
In an urban area, with night clubs, any fight is going to attract attention. Use of strange abilites even more so, even at 2 AM. Escaping without the police escalating matters further is one direct complication. Video equipment is cheap and little brother is almost always watching even if it doesn’t make the news. Somewhere on the net there is likely going to be footage and when the Kamden Enforcers sent to deal with the Coven don’t show up again someone is inevitably going to be very interested, or even if they do, the footage serves as proof something’s going on with the player characters.
Where do we go with this? There’s any number of possibilities. Gang payback is an obvious choice, possibly even kidnapping Dove to get to the Coven. Maybe the gang leaders take a more pointed interest in the characters if they used supernatural abilities. This might mean trying to steal their powers somehow, or even brokering a deal with them.
“I saw how you moved, slipping through shadows, don’t tell me it was a trick, I’ve got uses for someone like you.”
There are also larger scale repercussions, what if a Keeper analyst comes across the footage. The Coven may soon find themselves under surveillance from a much more powerful organization than any street gang.
While the above example is centered around an action scene GMs and player should always consider the possible consequences of their actions. The positive being just as important as the negative if not more so. A chance encounter where the character showed kindness to a girl they thought homeless may turn up some time later as a way into a bolt hole off the grid or an in with an underground commune. These types of interactions build the world around the characters and lets them know their actions matter.