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Author Topic: spontaneous HQ  (Read 4262 times)
Der_Renegat
Member

Posts: 124

everything is religion


« on: January 10, 2005, 08:10:07 AM »

I have an idea i would like to introduce to you:

- i hate spending a lot of time writing adventures
- i dislike that you cant really play roleplaying games without preparation

One of the really revolutionary aspects of HQ for me is that you can create a character while playing.
I was wondering if this could be extended for playing HQ without preparation from the narrator side, especially for solo adventures (one player and a narrator).
So Im looking for a way to improvise roleplayingscenarios.

I think a lot of interesting gaming situations can be categorized.
I was wondering if adventures could be improvised with the use of some kind of „standards“.
These standard(situations) would be a bit like chess problems.

If you think of „Aliens“ as an example you have several situations/problems:

-Ripley wants to find Newt
-evade/kill attacking aliens
-destroy alien eggs
-escape the alienqueen
-race against time (as the reactor is overheating)
-etc.

So this is quite a classical scenario: a maingoal with several problems attached to it:
invade an enemies base
find a certain thing/person
kill/escape the (boss) monster
a timelimit

It doesnt even matter what genre you play, this gamesituation could be fantasy, cyberpunk, science fiction...whatever.

You can make up opponents and problems as easy as creating characters.

So all you need is a catalogue with universal gameproblems for the player to solve from which to draw. Everything else can be improvised.

This form of roleplaying maybe lacks interaction and complex plots, but could provide fun for an afternoon or might become the basis for a campaign. (Or might give a character some background. I think its good for players to explore their characters a bit on their own before they act in a group).
Maybe its more like jump and run adventures you play on gamestations.

So i was wondering about this catalogue.
Basically you have one main goal and more subproblems which function like keywords.

Goals:
find person/thing

Subproblems:
timelimit
enemies
boss monster

Setting:
dark cave
crumbling temple
crowded enemy base
trapcrammed grave
secure mainquarter

I think this works quite intuitive as your keyword provides you with more situations than can be used to challenge the player.

So either you have to make up a catalogue of situations and problems from which you can create scenarios on the fly or you write a few basic scenarios. Just ideas consisting of problems that you can vary.

I would like to hear opinions on that.

all the best

Christian
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Christian
Different Games
Member

Posts: 11


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2005, 08:45:51 AM »

Something along this line had occurred to me for otherworld quests. All sorts of of things may randomly show up on an otherwise understood quest, and may be "mini-adventures" all by themselves.

Along the lines of my "share your in game rituals" thread on this forum, it would be great to see some contributions from others of their adventure vignettes. For example, here's one from another quest. It stands by itself and has little to do directly with the quest it appears on--it is really a side line or dead end that the questors succeed at by avoiding.

Though written for a specific place (Yizkoz mountain in the Eiritha Hills) it is easily placed anywhere in the Land of the Dead or anywhere in the Hero World.

Yizkoz the City of Crying Dust
The City of Crying Dust predates Eiritha's hiding, and suffered greatly when Tada hid her in the city's lands. But that suffering was well deserved. When word of the Devil's March toward Genert's Garden came to the Giants, he sent a call to all his peoples. But the arrogant people of Yizkoz were sure of their walls and their protections, so they stayed home. Splendid Yamsur saw this disobedience from his place in the sky, and cursed them with darkness. When Tada hid Eiritha, he used the darkness to hide what he was doing so the devil would have even more trouble finding the Mother of Herds. When he dug his hole Yizkoz fell into it, and Eiritha lay down atop and around the city. Then Tada covered up everything, killing most of those who were not great.

But the walls and buildings of Yizkoz were great, if their people were not. So the people survive in their city, though they are in the dark, dust, and dead lands. Now the people of Yizkoz are dark, they are dust, and they are dead. But they survive. They grieve for their mistakes, they yearn for a time when their city was atop a mountain, not in a hole. Dead, they cannot cry by themselves. Arrogant even in defeat, they have found a way to cry, to ritually work through the guilt that has put themselves and their city in the land of the dead.

The Dust People of Yizkoz capture any of the living who pass by their city, and extract all the tears from those people. Then they drink the tears, and shed them anew, for their own grief. Everyone clamours for these tears, which give them substance and recollections of life. As they drink tears, they grow more solid from the outside in. When one of the Dust People has purged himself of woe and remorse, when his very heart turns to stone, then his outer shell breaks away to show his true inner self--one of the Flint Leopards of the City of Dust.

Skirting the City, or Capture
Whether the Heroes avoid capture by the Flint Leopards or are captured by them, the quest may continue. The Leopards only attempt to capture the Heroes and their followers, not kill them. They may even capture some, while others get away.

If some but not all Heroes are captured, the free ones must decide whether to go on withouth them or to attempt a rescue. If the free Heroes go on, the captured heroes are out of the quest and probably dead. It might be possible for the free heroes to quest again to the City of Dust, but of course not on the same quest in the same roles.

If Raven accompanies the Heroes, he knows some things about the City of Dust and can advise rescuers and even offer guidance to the captives. But the Heroes must face either the Master of Leopards or the Master of Walls, or both in order to free their companions.

•   Shavareel, The Master of Flint
Obsessed with digging his city free of the mountain of dirt that covers most of it, Shavareel has an uneasy truce with Baramal, the master of Leopards.

•   Baramal, the Master of Leopards
Leader of the attempt to cleanse the city of all guilt by purging it of tears.

Flint Leopards of the City of Dust
The Flint Leopards are magical creatures, created by the ritual magical tranformation of Dust People from the City of Dust. They are entirely made of flint, and entirely remorseless with no understanding of guilt. While naturally quadrupeds, they may go about on two legs and have opposable thumbs. Flint Leopards obey the leaders of the Dust People, who purposely hold back from transforming themselves into Flint Leopards for the benefit of the less fortunate residents of Yizkoz.

Flint Leopard facing a follower of Waha or Tada without surprise from Hunt
Bite 10W3 + 4 Fangs + Tough Skin +4 + Remorseless +4 -4 Fear Waha/Tada = 18W3 78 AP

With Surprise from Hunt or Transform from Rubble: 2W4 82 AP

when surprising someone not a Waha/Tada follower: 6W4 86 AP
•   Bite and Carry 10W3 (Huge Flint Fangs +4)
•   Transform Self from Rubble to Whole 20W
•   Tough Skin 18W
•   Hunt 18W
•   Lazy 20
•   Hate Dogs 5W
•   Fear Waha and Tada 16W
•   Cannot Swim 20W2
•   Remorseless 10W2
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Mike Dawson
"To even think of such a thing would take a type of person who was perhaps untrained, or impious, or liberal-minded, or practical, or perverted, or experimental. Someone like, say, a player character!" -- Greg Stafford
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2005, 09:20:24 AM »

Hi Christian,

I definitely think that HQ is beautiful in that it doesn't take very much in order to improvise anything at all during play.  The chart of resistances in the back of the book is the GM's best friend, as it allows you to just scan, and guess any difficulty for anything, anytime.

The most important issue as far as keeping play moving is that there be a good situation(conflict) for the character(s) to deal with.  A major part of that is that players' need to have commitment to that situation, so its probably a good idea to get some input based on that.

The only other issue to keep in mind is that HQ is that relationships make up a big chunk of augments in HQ, and depending on your knack for coming up with personal drama and conflicts, you might want to put a little more effort into prepping for all the groups for and against each other.  

My personal method is to write two characters' names on a sheet who are in conflict, and draw a line between the two.  The key to growing the conflict web is to always add some character who is allied or against one of the others and add them as you go.  Before you know it, you have a nasty web of drama and sub-conflict that works well for improvising any detail in play of the who did what to who and why.

Chris
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MikeSands
Member

Posts: 124


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2005, 01:25:18 PM »

I've been running HeroQuest successfully with very little or no preparation.

My tactic is to focus on one of the player characters each session for the main story/conflict. The others either get involved in that plotline or do their own things tangential to it.

My players are happy to take a hand in setting things up, too. I often get them to suggest things to happen, people they meet, and so forth. This helps immensely and is a useful way for them to emphasize the kind of things they want to do in the game.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2005, 03:16:39 PM »

Quote from: Der_Renegat
- i dislike that you cant really play roleplaying games without preparation
But

there's a game...

Nevermind.

As Chris is implying, and Mike is showing by example, the key to making HQ really, really easy to prep for, is in getting away from "adventures." Just . don't . do . them.

That is, don't come up with a "plot." Instead, come up with some NPCs and give them some motives that involve the characters. This can be hella-sketchy, like.

* Ragnar is a barbarian who wants to fight the PC to show that he's the best.
* Aynalla is a girl who has her eye on both Ragnar and the PC.
* Septode is a shaman who has forseen needing the PC in a quest that he's going to go on. Today. Right about when Ragnar shows up.

Then stop prepping (abilities? make em up as you need them), and just play introducing the NPCs to the heroes, and having them interact. Involve NPCs from the heroes character sheet - everybody has them. If it says, "Loyal to Family" have the character's little brother show up ready to fight Ragnar in his brother's stead. If it says, "Blacksheep of Village" then somebody from the village shows up and heckles the hero. If it says, "Ambitious in Temple" then a Priest happens by to ask for the heroes help and wonders why he's messing around with the Shaman.

Look at any two abilities, including keywords, on the PCs sheet. Imagine two NPCs that would want things that would put these things at odds. Have said NPCs appear. Warrior, and Devotee of Destor? Then one guy wants the character to say he'll commit to manning the wall, and another wants him to go off on an adventure.

Oops, did I say adventure? Yes, adventure happens here. All sorts of it. It's just not preplanned adventures. And they're all the better for it.

I do believe that, having practiced this a bit, I can now approach any HQ game with no prep at all and be successful. I still do a little, thinking about new NPCs, and new motives, etc, before play, but it takes so little time now, that there's almost no point to it. And I'm not really especially good at this stuff - I've just done it a few times. That is, anyone can pick this method up in short order.

And it's so easy that you'll never give it up. I won't anyhow. Going from two hours of prep to ten minutes max? And play is better? Why would you change?

Mike
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simon_hibbs
Member

Posts: 678


« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2005, 09:27:56 AM »

When I was running Heroquest last I certainly did put in preperation time, and generated quite a bit of documentation, but it was all character writeups, plot notes and handouts and only sketchy game stats, which are very easy to generate as needed.  In other words, i could focus my time and energy on the interesting stuff. You can do that in other games too, but HQ certainly does make it very easy to work this way.


Simon hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
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