Bill White's roleplaying game design blog, with emphasis on narrativist or story-heavy games.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rune Saga: The Heart of the Wild Wood

Let's stipulate that if you continue a story after some interval (as in a "campaign," e.g.), you throw in your hand and deal out new cards when you get back together to play. So imagine Joe and I are going to continue the story of the Wild Wood after having to deal with the real world for a while. We each get three cards.
My hand: Lady of Stars, Tree of Coins, Mount of Staves.
Joe's hand: Man of Stars, Tree of Staves, Child of Stars.
On my turn, Joe is DM. He flips the top card of the deck; it's Sun of Stars (ghot luemas), which can be read as an artifact of blood.
The whisperings of the Heartshard lead Andaman to his quarry; the ancient heart of the forest can sense that which is alien to it. He comes upon Melina, lost alone and afraid, in the dark of night.

I see what he's doing; does Daemien come to Melina's rescue? Does she even need rescuing? Hrmm. I want to use my Stars, since it produces the best glyph (Increase) but I probably won't get control. But I'll play Lady of Stars to establish as a character the she-wolf that befriended Daemien.
There is a growling in the darkness as Andaman nears the firelight of Melina's rude campsite, and he pauses in shadows. Glittering green eyes stare out from the trees. A great grey she-wolf, larger than a mastiff, pads forward with tongue lolling out of her grinning jaws. Around her neck is a silver chain that Melina recognizes as one that she'd given her prince Daemien.

I roll a 3; Joe gets control. But the glyph is pretty positive for me: ghot bes (Increase) He gains advantage by his action, and his fortunes increase.
"Who are you?" says Melina to the she-wolf. "Do you know my Daemien? Will you take me to him?" The wolf makes a noise like a sneeze, and Melina laughs. She follows her away from the firelight and deeper into the woods. "Isn't this lucky?" she says to the wolf, though she expects no response. "Both of us who love him are coming to him." Andaman smiles mirthlessly as he follows.

Now it's Joe's turn; I'm the DM. I think it should be a rule that if you start your turn "on the scene" as it were, you can play a card to immediately continue the action, reading the glyph that intervenes as well as the rune you play. So Joe plays Tree of Staves to create the glyph "Ambition" (Andaman's). His Virtue is 3 and he rolls a 2, so gets to read it; he describes Andaman's desire to fulfill his oath to Melina's father. I make him say that he hurries after the wolf and the girl; he isn't careful, and he doesn't pay attention to the quiet rustlings around him. This is to include the meaning of overreaching that ambition contains. Andaman bursts into the cave where Melina is kneeling beside Daemien; he recognizes the prince.
Now there are two primary characters in the same scene. Do we need special rules? Or are the special powers afforded the DM enough?
Have to think about this.

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A communication Ph.D., I teach public speaking and media-related courses in the middle of PA. I do research on scholarly/scientific communication, and I write & play roleplaying games.