Saturday, December 12, 2009

Power Seeks Power

In Berserk 30, we start off with a little intra-party conflict that doesn't result in anyone's death, but does showcase some more of the inner personalities of the characters. For example, Isidro, a youth who strives to become a swordsman, doesn't think that Guts and Serpico are fighitng 'for real' but when it turns out they are, he takes a moment of self reflection, perhaps pondering if this is what he really wants.
This is behavior that has been touched on in previous volumes where he has no problem fighting against monsters and stealing from people, but did have a problem with a 'killer instinct' against humans.
We see Serpico worried that Guts and his berserk armor will get his own ward killed.
And we see Guts who perhaps could have killed Serpico instead use the flat of his blade to knock him down.
In several role playing games, one often has the option to do subdual damage to knock an enemy out as opposed to killing them. When players wage war against one another, try and subtly remind them of this option. While there are no laws against players killing one another, it can lead to hurt feelings among the members engaged in the fight and if the group isn't mature about it, then the group has to worry about the new character coming in being out for revenge even though the new character had nothing to do with the old one.
When the group catches up with Farnese, they are surrounded by nobility. In this meeting of nobles, the nobles come under attack and are saved only by Guts and his comrades. When possible, the party members will always try to take the brain out. The enemy should be no different. If power is gathering in one spot, power will be sent to deal with it.
Guts and his crew manage to fight through numerous obstacles and we see new characters come to light. The Holy See is lead by a pontiff, referred to as his holiness. Like many before him, he too had the dream of the hawk of light. And Griffith has sent along Sonia and her duck protector in order to show the holy pontiff the light. This further sets up the stage of the world as a larger and larger place while at the same time, being a power play that doesn't come into the light until later.
As time allows, continue to expand the world the players occupy by expanding the people they know and the people who know the people they know. If a player is a cleric of Tempus, who does he report to in church? Who does that church report to? Is there an overall grand marshal? Are there divine angels who serve the sword of Tempus that the players may one day run into while travelling the planes? Religion often plays a small role in the games despite it playing such a huge role in the era many of these games are based around. While one doesn't necessarily have to 'keep it real' by burning witches and having faiths splinter into numerous cults and sub cults, having more details, titles, rankings, and other mundane information on what memebers of the church actually do can only be helpful if the players ever want that information.
When the players have their gatherings and are of a power in and unto themselves, don't have them forget that bringing together the lord of thieves, the master of blades, the holy hand of the three blind gods, and the last caster of Albion makes them a tempting target for anyone who'd like to proceed with their own plans.