Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thoughts on Troupe-Style play for D&D and Fading Suns

In the dim corners of memory, I remember first encountering the mention of Troupe Style play reading posts on message boards about using it in the game Over The Edge.

There were references to the RPG were the term was first (?) mentioned -- Ars Magica -- which I did not have access to.

Now, I'm returning to the concept because a small band of Fading Suns players and GMs are trying to set up a regular weekly gaming session without having to be solely dependent on a single GM (or even, it must be admitted, any required PCs), and troupe style play seems to be the answer.

Fortunately, many game blogs in the blogosphere seem to have written about it, and many of the metagame philosophies that have been (re)introduced by the OSR -- sandbox play, emergent storylines, PC-independent adventures, Player empowerment, the constantcon flailsnails charter, etc. -- have added more ideas to the pot.

First, though, it's good to outline what the goals of the Fading Suns group charter would be:
  1. For the participating GMs, a broadstrokes base of that should not be violated, with guidelines on how to allow for inconsistencies that will inevitably pop up between games of different GMs.
  2. For the players and PCs, guidelines on character creation, how characters can transition between different adventures (and what happens if the character is currently on another adventure), experience and growth, and keeping of certain artifacts.
  3. For the entire troupe, a sort of guiding philosophy on the ownership of any "plotlines" tied to certain planets, factions, or even characters (PC or NPC). Just so that other GMs can mess a little with the ideas of a given GM without necessarily violating that GM's secret canon for his adventures and NPCs.

Fading Suns as a setting is a little different from standard D&D sandbox play in that societal institutions have greater influence over the lives of PCs. And yet, local variances and tolerances for norms and behavior may vary from location to location -- like the classic Traveller RPG set-up, travel distances and communication barriers between planets make each planet the equivalent of a fief/city-state/nation. This means we can still take (I think) majority of the approaches espoused by OSR troupe style play.

Some Links of Interest:

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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