Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Appendix N: The Game

I’m too exhausted to play many games since I started this project. I blame Lewis Pulsipher for that. He’s the one that made the case that if you wanted to do anything productive that you can’t just fritter away your time playing around. Agh! Yeah, an Appendix N survey precludes a significant investment in game design at the moment… but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. Maybe next year I’ll go to a con somewhere and run some B/X games. These are the adventure elements I’d be on the lookout to incorporate into my sessions:

  1. The Dying Earth — Every magic user at war with every other magic-user. Arbitrary quests doled out by NPC wizards in their towers. Spells can only be acquired as treasure.
  2. Three Hearts and Three Lions — The three point alignment system impacts the geography and informs the nature of the conflict. Adventures impact the balance between law and chaos and have consequences that impact the status quo.
  3. The High Crusade — Feudalism doles out both rewards and responsibilities. Lords low on cash will hand out titles. Retainers and men-at-arms are a big deal. Clerics are liable to kill aliens with a battleaxe.
  4. The Eyes of the Overworld — Utilize some really awe inspiring artifacts. Let something awesome happen when a spell goes wrong. Every town could have it’s own twisted origin story due to out of control magic.
  5. A Princess of Mars — Be prepared to shift between many different scales of combats. Do not neglect the domain game!
  6. Jack of Shadows — Consider adopting shadow power explanations to differentiate thief abilities from more mundane skill checks. Alternately, introduce shadow powers via a magic cloak… and a wand of bats that creates minions.
  7. At the Earth’s Core — Put something spectacular on the bottom level of the megadungeon. Break every limitation of the rule set with it. Make the odds against the players so terrible that they are forced to form alliances and play some kind of 4X game with the monsters.
  8. Pirates of Venus — Incorporate a space princess into the plot… and incorporate the ramifications of her presence in the game to the domain play.

This doesn’t represent even a quarter of the Appendix N book list. Just going with what we have so far… I have to wonder how the players would even begin to wrap their heads around what’s going on. Sandboxing and player autonomy would be the key…. I could lay it all out there, throw out the rumors, and then turn the loose to pursue the threads that interest them most. I wonder what this will do to my gamemastering, really. My trope reservoir was mostly made up of action movie stuff before. This is an entirely different thing, though…!

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