Creating a game history through PrPs

  • My D&D group is getting super flaky lately, so I'm in the starting stages of figuring out a West Marches style game to work with crazy schedule nightmares, and I wanted some input on an idea I had.

    The idea is basically, not really having a setting background, or at least very bare bones background, and having important events being done collaboratively through player driven one off sidequests/PrPs, with the caveat that they write out what the history books have written down for that event so that others can know important bullet points.

    Has anyone done this with their game? If so, did it work well, or did it turn into a Bill & Ted nightmare with players trying to seed magic items in caves just outside of town that they'd find with their main character?

  • Admin

    As a strong PrP believer I can still point to these potential issues:

    • Access to ST varies between groups. Do you want only specific people shaping the game?

    • Timezones are the bane of PrPs. Would you be excluding part of the playerbase from shaping the game?

    • Coordination between STs can be a logistical task on its own. Getting/keeping everyone on the same page isn't a trivial challenge.

    That's just from the top of my head.

  • @SG I tinkered some with an idea like this for a game, so clearly it's an idea I like!

    I would set certain boundaries with it to handle things like the 'hiding magic items away' thing. That, or if people start doing that? Oh, hey, the adversary trapped in that cave found it first and now they have to battle the orc that now has that +2 broadsword they left behind, OOPSIE! (This happening once will prevent it from happening again, pretty much guaranteed.)

  • Pitcrew

    The original West Marches was designed with layers of history built in in order to explain the ruins and such of the area, so history is a key component of you're doing West Marches point for point.

    The guy who did West Marches, Are Ludi, created a game system for coming up with world histories - Microscope:

  • @Ominous Yeah, broadstrokes for sure, but I feel like gaining buy in from players would be easier if they could work on a few big events lost to history for some of the ruins they encounter.

    Also, Kruggsmash has something going on that I might start milking for a west marches history

  • Pitcrew

    Mildly offtopic, but I had a thought once that you could do a game based in three simultaneously played time periods. One where the characters were in some sort of 'war college', one where they were in a terrible battle against an alien threat, and one after they'd lost the war and were eking out some sort of existence in a post-apoc setting. Some technology had been invented to allow people to influence the past and the metaplot would revolve around the older people trying to change the past so the war never happened or was won which also explains why the older characters might suddenly remember being friends with someone in their youth when they weren't yesterday.

    I guess my constructive suggestion out of this would be maybe consider putting some weird timey-wimey stuff into the setting to help explain why the newly written past doesn't always go exactly how previously expected?

  • Pitcrew

    I have not done this for a whole game, but I have done it very small scale when creating the history/background between PCs or the formation of a group, ect.

    I think it would be an interesting experiment to try to decouple that from the players' personal PCs to create history/legends.

    However I think that how well that would work would depend on the players and their interest in taking on a role other than their current PC and being willing to not tie it back totally to their PC (as you mention, hiding a stockpile of magic weapons, ect). It would be a neat way to give players investment in the background of a world other than JUST what their PC can do in it now.

    You could always give it a shot, see how it works, if it becomes problematic you can just amend. I think it is worth a try.

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