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Michael Hopcroft

Head Games in OQ

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One of the things I noticed when writing my current module (which will be on "coming soon" status once I finish playtesting and art direction, on which I am open to input), is that I found that I was dealing with an adversary that loved wounding and punishing people mentally rather than just killing them. Almost everyone who approaches it has their mental applecarts upset. This isn't so much due to "loss of Sanity" per se, although many have their minds broken dealing with it and can't face reality anymore. Rather, it tends to expose everyone's moral weaknesses that they wish to hide from themselves, with destructive intent.

Now I don't want to add a mechanic. That isn't at all worth doing in a 12-page module. And I don't want to make such a mechanic anyway -- because this is the sort of thing that doesn't really need a mechanic. A mechanic would never know quite what weaknesses to exploit, and I want to avoid mind control or any excessive restrictions on player agency.

So if an evil force is playing with your brain, how do you handle it in your own games? I find that the players will mainly enjoy it if they are into the roleplaying experience. The sort of thing you literally could not fit into a module or ruleset.

Or can you? 

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16 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

So if an evil force is playing with your brain, how do you handle it in your own games? I find that the players will mainly enjoy it if they are into the roleplaying experience. The sort of thing you literally could not fit into a module or ruleset.

Or can you? 

I don't have any idea what sort of scenario you are creating, but this thing looks difficult to roleplay right on the spot. I mean, the players will need to think about a moral weakness first, right then when their characters suffer the attack. And that might interrupt the flow of play.

So before even the start of the scenario, I would ask the players to note down on their character sheets this moral weakness their characters don't even know about. Or you could write it down in their sheets yourself if you are creating pregenerated characters for the scenario.

Additionally, I would also tell every player to note down how their characters would react if that moral weakness were to be exposed. Give them 5-10 minutes to think about it and write it down, without showing it to the other players. (This would work best if they manage to do it per email or Whattsapp). Then, you start running the scenario. Hopefully the players forget about that weird thing you made them do. And when later on the bad guy attacks, the players can at least react quickly and according to character.

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I was hoping the GM would use it for a well-established campaign where players have a history of actions, of which the GM has noted. The sort of campaign where characters may well enjoy that type of challenge.

Still, it's obviously not for everyone, and pregens if you are running it as convention game would be needed.

 

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