Nothing Wasted explores ideas to help utilize different aspects of gaming to their fullest or promote new ways to use existing tools.
Contacts: People a character knows that can be called on for help. Until the character needs their contact they exist in a void waiting for their buddy to call them up for some needed info or a line on some new gear. At least this is how Contacts seem to get used. A good number of characters have no contacts, no one to call on. However, if we did a bit deeper you can see that virtually everyone we know has at least one or two game worthy contacts.
Taking a step back for a minute a contact is someone a character has formed a relationship with. They may not be best friends but they are close enough that the contact is willing to share privileged information with the character. This might be a former coworker in the security field or a schoolyard buddy that now works at a hospital, while they might not be close these are people in the character’s life they can turn to for help at times. By the same token a contact might be a family member or close friend that just is just far enough removed from the character to avoid getting pulled into their misadventures. (Although, there’s a Boon for that too, it’s called Ally.)
By establishing even a basic relationship with a contact the Player and GM help flesh out not just the NPC but the character as well. Asking questions like what type of relationship the pair have, are they friends, or does the character have some kind of leverage over a sleazeball he uses to extort leads from? How did they first hook up? What types of interactions have they had in the past? Adding these details gives everyone a better sense of the Contact, the character and game world as a whole.
This type of information is not just for the Players. Contacts make excellent tools for building stories and the more details provided the richer and more engrossing they become. Contacts become links to the world around them and can help draw the character in. That doesn’t mean every story revolves around saving your old war buddy but it might mean one night you get a call because food cooperative he’s been supplementing his less than impressive VA benefits with is getting static from some company men.
Laila has to contacts: Soloman and Rach both have a Value of 2. Her notes include some details on both of them:
Solomon a Grave Lucid living in Tiergarten, although he prefers the wastes to the city. A scavenger by nature he is more than adept at locating rumors and news stories that fall between the cracks. Laila and Solomon aren’t the closest of allies, she never could stomach the things that always seem to hover near him.
Rach, an antiquities dealer who had fallen in with a Slumbering Lucid named Dallen. When they found them they were on the run and just off the boat from the Sates. The couple stayed with them for about two years and Rach helped a lot dealing with Nico that first year. After Dallen died, she didn’t have a reason to stay in Tiergarten. Living in London now, Rach has begun the process of rebuilding her life from before meeting Dallen. Laila and Rach are not on the best of terms but more than once she’s been able to help out, for old time’s sake.
Both descriptions give a brief description of the contacts and what their relationships are like. Laila isn’t particularly close to either of them, Although that may have been different in the past, especially Rach. We know that from the description that Solomon is a Grave Lucid and possibly a zombie summoner or plague bearer. Rach on the other hand is a mundane, but she’s been involved in Lucid affairs for some time.
Both of their descriptions lay out ideas for when Laila might want to call on them. However, there is also enough there for the GM to build from. Solomon is a scavenger and is good a digging up buried stories. These things get buried for a reason and Solomon may find himself over his head and calling on old coven mates for aid. Rach has a classic Contact roll, antiquities, any number of stories could come from her, high adventure, theft and intrigue, or anything in between the finding of lost things can require a lot of work. Rach also has a position that facilitates travel for Laila and the other Coven members if a story would send them around the world.
The next time you go to create a character ask yourself, who do they know? That old mate or ex-girlfriend may be a Gateway to more cinematic gaming.