BTTD #29: Using Prophecy in Your Game Plus Some Recommendations

Prophecies and Your Game

Prophecies can drive a story forward whether you are writing fiction or running a game. They make this spooky prediction and sometimes awkward one (i.e. Oedipus Rex) about your life or the lives of people you love.

Now in Greek fashion, those prophecies are a lock. You can’t get around them. But the problem with that is it takes the free will away from your characters and they are simply stuck.

If the prophecy is too vague—you will meet a man with a green hat. Then there is no fear attached, no foreboding. Frankly, who cares? It doesn’t move the story forward and frankly, I’m putting the book in the donation pile or just rolling my eyes at the table. (I know—harsh.)

But the setting of Ebberon handles this well. (And I’m giving away the book! See above!)

They have prophecies that are just specific enough and spooky enough but can still be avoided. They have to be interpreted and they most have a cause and effect. For example, I might use: When the one-handed peasant is made king, then the Plague of Nights will start. So you have to stop a one-handed peasant from being king. King of what? I don’t know—it’s your story. But maybe the Plague of Nights is a good thing? Shrug emoji?

You can bombard a player with a bunch of prophecies just to keep them watching or give them one main one that they must thwart.

But do not lean too heavily on these and use them all the time—the players could feel their free will could be taken away and then, well, that isn’t good for anyone.

The Kickstarter Journey continues.

I’m always looking for that spooky, scary, totally strange RPG.

Oh, we are all furniture in a furniture store trying to get bought? Well, i’d like to be a coffee table, thank you!

I occasionally go hunting for a nice RPG and lo and behold I found this winner: TrophyThey have a free PDF Starter just for seeing the page. How about them apples?

Simply put, you and your fellow treasure hunters are going into a forest. And you really shouldn’t because the forest is alive and not really pleased you are poking around looking to steal something.

The forest fights back—psychologically. And eventually, it’s going to go bad.

(I don’t have a dog in this fight. I just like to show off stuff that I think I’ll dig!)

Beware to Compare

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of Twitch streams, memes, channels, podcasts and the like about gaming.

I’ve tried to dip my toe into it and see what they are all about. It’s strange to watch someone play D&D. Remember, I used to play back in the 80’s and make sure my religious friends didn’t know about it.

But I also thought, “Man, I wish I could run a game like that.” Fancy background, huge maps, dungeons made out of ceramic, etc.

It’s great and all, but it isn’t core to the experience of the game.

The core of gaming is a social contract: we agree to play and delve into this world. Regardless if it’s a tabletop, RPG or video game. That’s what sparks the joy, creating and exploring a story—together.

Don’t compare. Sure people stream, but ¯\_(ツ)_ /¯ .

To have a successful game, you just need to completely show up.

Don’t worry about the bells and whistles.

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