Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gaming The News

The news is a never ending fountain of information that can be distilled to gaming in many ways.

For example, currently the news about Rio being the home of the 2016 Olympics is making all of the rounds. In your campaign, is there anything similiar to it? Are there games where the players can particiapte? Are there politics that the players can work at to negotiate where the sporting event is to be held?

In Raymond Feist's series, one around the time of the Talon of the Silver Hawk or so, one of the main characters is trained to be a part of society and in his training, he undergoes swordfighting with the best of them and wins the award. Such an award carries with it not only fame, but a target on the character's head. Now all of the young pups who want to prove how skilled they are will seek out the character either for trianing or to test their mettle against.

Also in the news are various horror stories on natural events like mudslides, earthquakes, flooding, and the world's reaction to those events. I've mentioned before that natural events can be massive in scope and effects can be far ranging but what happens if the players themselves aren't in any of these areas when it happens? What if instead they hear about it? What do they then do?

In a modern campaign, especially one where the players are in a super hero campaign, they may wish to lend their aid immediately but then have to deal with red tape. For example, what if the game master uses a cave in on a mine in China with trapper miners? Do the players have the authority to go to China and pit their powers to work or do they have to go through red tape and wait as people die?

Such an event can also be a good time to introduce new characters to a campaign. For example, say the plaeyrs are going to help but when they get there, they discover that one of the reasons China didn't want their help wasn't because it wouldn't have been useful, but rather because they have their own super heroes and no longer need wait on others to do the job for them.

In several cases, such characters are often carbon copies and are granted their power through something like power armor such as the Red Rockets from DC comics that originally appeared in the good old Green Lantern series when the Russians were 'bad'.

But what about personal problems? Take late night talk show host David Letterman. What if an event like this happens with one of the rulers in a campaign setting? What if the king all of the players have served for so long and so loyaly, has habits that some of the players aren't fond of? What happens if the game is a little darker and while the players may not care about the lusts of their ruler, this ruler, instead of making a public announcement, takes the players aside and informs them that someone is trying to hold the king's past indiscrecions against him and he would like the players to take care of the problem?

What of kidnap victims? In a fantasy game that includes the fey, there are many options that don't necessarily have to include the horrifics of an actual kidnapping. Perhaps when the eladrin kidnapped some lass, they did it because they were protecting her but now those hunting her have discovered the eladrin's home and while they would love to fight for her, they are not strong enough so hey, can you player characters take over this guardianship duty and by the way, her royal family is probably enormously pissed that she was kidnapped in the first place and is probably coming for you even now.

The news is vast and broad enough to provide thousands of campaign seeds if the game master is willing to tailor the news to his own campaign.