All these game ideas that are falling out of my head

Here are some ideas that I keep thinking about, some I’m already doing, some I want to do more. Here are more things I want to be doing. Some of these are contradictory, that’s okay.

1. Players framing their own scenes
2. Backstory
3. Players controlling NPCs
4. Characters defined by their “issue”, whatever troubles them.
5. Experience Keys (Shadows of Yesterday)
6. Principal of Narrative Truth (Wushu)
7. Setting stakes for a conflict
8. Related to seven, assume any conflict that would appear to potentially stop the story (i.e. do I pick the lock to the door I need to get into) is not about success or failure, but about complications (i.e. I will pick the lock, but do I do it before the guards arrive).
9. Kickers (Sorcerer)
10. Bangs (Sorcerer)
11. Conflict resolution the DotV way. What will you give to win?
12. Plot is defined by character’s attachments. Threaten, challenge beliefs, but also support them and help them flourish.
13. Bring conflicts to Dice rolls, especially in the case of players disagreeing
14. Use pacing mechanics. Depleting pools, consequences, timers, etc. to increase urgency.
15. Wilderness of Mirrors style planning.
16. Mash up systems
17. Cowbell
18. Consider Setting vs. Situation
19. Storycrafting vs. Immersive play styles
20. Aspects
21. Props that triggers different senses (tactile, audible, etc).
22. Play a game to it’s strengths.
23. Duel of Wits
24. Consider Yes
25. Define what the game will be about before starting
26. Related, have a pitch session (PTA style)
27. Create games in games (Justin’s mini-games, 1001 Nights)
28. Sins and Virtues cards for NPCs
29. Give players a currency to author the world (Mortal Coil)
30. Related, make the players contribute to world building (Dresden RPG)
31. Thematic Batteries (Full Light, Full Steam)
32. Frame Scenes with each person having a part (Location, Action, People, Mood, Mystic) (Panty Explosion, Mage)
33. Frame Scenes letting players define aspects they want to see, interact with
34. Read character sheets as flags. This is what the player wants to see.
35. Provide simulation for the players who want to explore the GM’s world
35. Recognized exploration and discovery vs. Experiential play. Different players want different things.
36. Use oracles, aspects, whist codes or roach cards to drive the story (In a Wicket Age, Fate, Sons of Liberty, Shab-al-Hiri Roach)
37. The Jenga tower (Dread)
38. Port familiar Settings to other systems (Jedi in the Vineyard, 1001 Parsecs, My Life with Palpatine)
39. Web of Clues (Gumshoe)
40. Progressive degrades of sanity as aspects (like complications, mild, moderate, severe, etc) for horror.

Those are the 40 that I can think of off the top of my head. Now the trick is to employ them. I know I can’t do all of it at once, and several of these things I already do, but this is a means for me to keep all these ideas in one list so I don’t forget them. Please feel free to add suggestions to the list.

12 thoughts on “All these game ideas that are falling out of my head”

    1. Cowbell is this thing that Paul Tevis and Ryan Macklin are working on. Basically bringing the awesome to con games. Hard to sum up right now, I’ll try to put better words to it later.

  1. 41. Write actual play reports (responses to what happened at the table between players)
    42. Have players recap the last session
    43. Use “Next on” or previews of the next game.
    44. Have players create montage scenes for “opening credits”
    45. Use theme music.

    1. 42 is great for a couple of things, hence why I use it.

      1) it sparks interactive recapping, players bouncing off each other.
      2) it helps to show what players are interested in and what they aren’t
      3) its nice to have a couple of minutes to get yourself back into the game setting.

      43/44 are hard. Especially the opening credits concept. After a while, it starts to feel a bit like gm/player masturbation, and I like to avoid that when I can.

      1. I found repeating the same opening scenes each show to be less thrilling than say, the actual montage that rolls in on TV show, however in the case of #44 in particular I am thinking about convention games. J.D. Wikert ran a great Angel game that employed this and it allowed the players to introduce their characters to the rest of the group through the montage.

        Re, #43, we might be thinking about different things. Your use of previews was GM driven to be a teaser for the plot. What I’m thinking about (which will come out in a couple weeks on NC) is the players creating previews that are intentionally vague, but give you an idea of what kind of action they want to see in the next game. To steal Justin’s example “Swords locking in battle at the edge of a cliff” tells the GM the player wants a dangerous fight, but doesn’t constrain things so much that the GM has to re-write the story to fit it in. Who knows who’s holding the other sword?

  2. Working on number 40 right now. Trying to create 7 separate and uniquely themed ‘sanity decks’:

    Murder of Crows
    Time Out
    Closed Doors
    Bad Medicine
    Just a Dream
    Between the Lines
    Sound Mind

    I have the aspects worked out and the progression. Just need to lay them out on some printable cards…and play test them.

  3. Stuff I’m working on, not sure if you are interested, but here’s some from me anyway (hey, ask and ye shall receive and all that. 😉 )

    1. Streamlining games so that conflict doesn’t bog down
    2. Outside of game tools: groups. Effective management options.
    3. Outside of game tools: Collective rules calls. Not recapping what the GM did, but discussion for the future.
    4. Outside of game tools: One on one sessions, how to do them, how to keep everyone in the loop of what happened.
    5. Dark setting/fun characters and keeping horror alive without the game become too unpleasant. (ie: it’s fun to go to a horror show once in awhile, not as fun to be a character in a horror movie for 4 hours every week, maybe)
    6. Minimalist scene building. Giving enough to get curiosity going, but only describing what folks are interested in based off questions.

    1. I’m not sure I’m sold on 6 yet, but it’s definately worth trying out. 1-5 however are going on the list for sure. All good stuff. Thanks for adding those.

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