Saturday, September 5, 2015

Games within Games

Previously, I’ve talked about using 4x video games (like Sid Meiers Civilization IV or Civilization V) as the world map. Currently, I’ve been doing some research for my next PDF which touches on this topic, and it got me thinking about interfacing Dungeons and Dragons with other game systems. As part of my research I played The Quiet Year. It was fantastic.

You and the other players essentially take turns building a world. When it’s your turn, you’re the Dungeon Master. You draw a card, do what it says, and then get to change the world a little. When it’s not your turn, you represent the members of a community trying to survive. The community is drawn on a map, and bit by bit as the turns go by the story gets more and more awesome. Someone comes up with an idea, and if you don’t like you’ll have a chance to sabotage it on your turn. But who knows, you just might like what they’re doing…

One of the players, whose in my Pirates of the Aegean campaign, said it’d be fun to use this game as a sort of session 0 for the start of a campaign. It’s a great idea. Let’s take it one step further. What if you’re starting a campaign (in Fall from Heaven, of course) at the end of the Age of Ice? The god of winter has been slain, and the ice on the surface begins to thaw. Your party is going to lead its people to recolonize Erebus and start an Age of Rebirth. What if session 0 was the last year underground, and the community was trying to survive long enough until the thaw?

When I got home after playing The Quiet Year, I thought about how it’d be great to use the game just for this purpose, and then have a nicely detailed dungeon with tons of quest hooks and a minimum of work, since the players are doing most of it. I checked out the website of the company who made the game, Buried Without Ceremony, and ended up on the site of their map mapmaker, Tony Dowler. He’s got something really cool which I just bought called How to Host a Dungeon. I’m hoping to gain not only some insight from that, but see how compatible it might be with Quiet Year and see if there’s some sort of fusion to be made out of it. The possibility of playing a game like Quiet Year with my players and getting a fleshed out dungeon at the end (maybe even a mega-dungeon?) is exciting. Just think of how much fun your players would have looting a dungeon they created, plus they get to see how much might have changed since they left (mwahaha).


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