Framing scenes with the deck

Though the tested procedure (the one explained in the previous post) is functional, I’m trying to make a procedure that helps build more complex scenes and situations. So far I’ve got this one:

1) We determine the Place drawing 2 cards for descriptors and one for element. That could get us for example: empty, inaccesible, nature. So I went up for “The trail ends in a deep part of the jungle, where trees and bushes grow too thick for us to keep going. We may need to find some other way to cross this part of the jungle.” – Notice that I’m not stating any inmediate danger or challenge yet, not because of the “empty” card, but to prepare the scene better.

2) Then all players take a round stating “observations” This means they select one skill from their characters, roll Fudge dice, and add one element to the scene according to the roll and skill selected. A “+” means their character spots something that could be useful, related with the skill they choosed. A “-” means they just found out one clue of something dangerous in the place, again, only related to the chosen skill. Still, since they spot it they can actually avoid it. And for each empty face they get to add1 to the CR of the next challenge, but what’s the challenge about is defined in the next step.

3) Draw 3 more cards. The red letters on the first one indicate what’s the danger here: a monster, an object (either there or brought by the PCs) an NPC or the place itself. The other two help to describe it. You can instead use the same descriptors you got on the first set of cards, to keep the challenge on the same theme with the place created.

4) If the challenge is an NPC (or a group of them) one more card is drawn to set an emotion for these characters, if needed. Of course, there are more emotions than angry or hate among the deck, so the problem isn’t always a fight; the group might find a tribe mourning one of their own so now the challenge may become a social one.

5) Players can always add elements of their own background into the scene when they add their observations: their nemesis could be involved in this situation, one of their relatives could be in danger, etc, etc.

This procedure helps players get a bit more in character. A fighter sees things as a fighter, hence he will notice things based on his experience, like which things in the place he can use to his advantage when fighting. A rogue will notice good places to hide or possible traps. A wizard could notice if the place is cursed, etc. You can also rely on a roll to spot and make a table to list what kind of things players can incorporate to the fiction according to the roll.

Of course, it’s usually the work of the GM to come up with these things, but isn’t it better to have more that one head adding details to the fiction in an organized way? The philosophy behind this is that also the GM plays to find out what happens. The players get nothing but good things into the scene? Let them rest there and prepare for the next scene. Or just drop the next challenge on them! They got nothing but bad omens? Surprise them by letting the night pass peacefully… and drop the challenge on them the next morning! Even with this procedures there’s nothing the players can give for granted.

Got better ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them up, when I have a good bunch of them I’ll compile them on another PDF. Best luck with your games!