davidberg (davidberg) wrote,

Delve scenario-generator walk-through

Last night I got to bust out the "wheel" scenario sheet that Allison and I came up with last March. Sam and Joey acted as co-authors of the scenario, with me mainly introducing procedures, not offering much guidance. Here's what we did:

1) Create a Problem.

Pick two cards, look for how they connect in a bad way.

Wretch (16) plus Departing Kid (1) = someone left and now the fallen plague us. The imperials stopped killing zombies and now the zombies are multiplying!

My notes say that the next step is to pick two more cards and create an Evil Plot, but I forgot.  Whether that would have made the Steps of Doom easier or just added another step without adding value, I don't know.

2) Define the six Steps of Doom.

1. small recurrence: sparse roving zombie packs
2. large recurrence: zombies take a new piece of land
3. evolution: zombies communicate & organize ("more zombies" was first suggested, but then they saw Step 4, decided to save it, and had to think on this one for a sec)
4. gains strength/scope: sudden population increase -- ignorant visitors (circus?) zombified
5. scenario nears ruin: town quarantined and on fire (This is where the guys started to run out of steam; after Step 4, Sam said, "Not sure how much we can keep making this worse.")
6. slim hope remains: try to escape with a few refugees (They asked "Slim hope for who? The player characters?" I clarified that it was for the mission to save the village. So, basically, slim hope for the village. They then ran with this as, "Village is mostly destroyed, but is it completely destroyed?" Kinda cool, I think.)

I wonder if starting off smaller would have made the later steps less taxing?  Perhaps I should emphasize that (1) can be really no big deal, just any sign of something amiss.  "People see zombies!" would have qualified.  Then packs for (2), taking land for (3), and less to invent for 4-6.

3) Randomly pick Obstacles.

I explained that the first box would be linked to 3 of the other 8 boxes as freebies, but that we'd defined the 8 Obstacle boxes first.  The guys were eager to call it a night, so rather than coach them through inventing more stuff, I just pulled out my Town Crawler cards, spread them face down, and asked Sam to pick at random.

Each card is a type, and for each type, you roll a d6 to get a specific.  For NPCs, type = NPC description, and specific = Need. So these both went in the Obstacle box.  For the "monster" card, type = "monster", and specific = which monster, so only the latter went into the Obstacle box.

We wound up with Giant, Farmer who needs money, and Mercenary who needs to swindle the town.

Sam noticed the notes on +/- for talking/violence/magic.  That was for Town Crawler, not Delve, but I should ponder if there's some utility there.  I could replace those with F T Meters...

4) Characterize Connections between Obstacles.

After we wrote down 3 Obstacles, I pointed to the lines on the sheet, and said, "Now we need to establish relationships between these Obstacles.  Randomly pick cards and refer to this little chart at the right."

For the line between Giant and Farmer we got "commands", and for the line between Farmer and Merc we got "reveals".

5) Choose the direction of Connections.

I explained: "We draw arrows.  Each Obstacle needs at least one arrow pointing out, so you know as GM where beating that obstacle will point the players to."  I drew arrows going clockwise, from Giant to Mercenary to Farmer.  But then Joey said, "Wait, the Giant's not gonna be commanding the farmer, that arrow should go the other way."  Which is perfect!  Great sign that the random content can cohere to mean something.

6) Define solutions.

Back to the two-card combos, as with creating the Problem.  "How could these connect to solve the problem?"  Sam and Joey were very quick with these and seemed to enjoy them.  Inspired by The Drunk (10), and the Departing Kid (1) who they'd already equated with absent soldiers, they came up with "give zombies some potion" and "get the guards to return from their strike".  I can't remember whether the second card in each draw was incorporated, ignored, or whether we just do one card for speed's sake.

After adding these Solutions to the scenario sheet, Joey observed that it would be good to get Solutions down first, as they provide context for how overcoming any of the Obstacles might make progress in the mission.

Finally, I asked the guys if this seemed like a good way to churn out an adventure they could actually run.  Without knowing anything about Delve's resolution system, they gave a vague "yes".
Tags: delve chat

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