If you’ve been following my Tweets, you know that last week I sent out invites to my game group for a new Dresden Files RPG campaign. I sent invitations to 11 folks, telling them all that the limit for the game was 6 people. I had all the slots filled within 36 hours.
Now, one of the reasons I sent the invite out to so many people is that I wanted to fill the slots fast; I’m terribly excited about starting a new DFRPG campaign. And I wanted to make sure that all the players who helped with the playtest – plus a couple of others – got invited.
It’s a weird experience for me, inviting players into a campaign at this stage. Usually, I have a pretty solid idea of the world and the big themes before I send an invitation to people, and I usually have an information packet ranging from 2 to 10 pages outlining things. I still sent an information package, but it was more about what I expected in the way of pregame, setting-building participation. It said this:
Okay, folks, you knew this was coming. This is your official invitation to join my Dresden Files RPG campaign. Now, before you get all excited, Iâ€™m setting some ground rules and expectations, so read this whole document first before you jump in with a commitment.
- I want to run this game quorum-style, so that we play as long as a minimum number of players can make it.
- I donâ€™t want players to have to double-up on characters, so if you canâ€™t make it to a session, your character will not participate.
- To help facilitate this, Iâ€™m going to be doing my best to keep things to bite-sized chunks, so that we donâ€™t end a session in a circumstance where your character needs to be there for the next game, nor one where it is unlikely that a character could join the next session.
- That said, I donâ€™t want to have things quite as episodic as the Hunter game. I would like more of an opportunity to build in longer storylines that span multiple sessions.
These are the things I want to do to establish the game. I would like every player to participate. This will pretty much happen in the order listed.
- Establish Power Level. There are four different power levels, and I want the group as a whole to choose which one weâ€™re going to use. They are:
- Feet in the Water: 6 refresh, 20 skill points, skill cap at Great. Enhanced mortal level. You can do stuff even the best of humanity cannot, but only barely.
- Up to Your Waist: 7 refresh, 25 skill points, skill cap at Great. Low-level supernatural level. You may be a magical being, but youâ€™re not big fish. This is where you can start playing a Sorcerer.
- Chest Deep: 8 refresh, 30 skill points, skill cap at Superb. Minor-league powers, but at least youâ€™re in the league. This is where you can start playing a Wizard.
- Submerged: 10 refresh, 35 skill points, skill cap at Superb. Welcome to the show. This is the level we playtested, and is about the level of Harry Dresden at the beginning of Storm Front.
- Pick a Setting. Where do we want to set the game? Winnipeg? Chicago? Baltimore? Another city? A rural setting? Road game? The Nevernever? I want the group to decide this. Everything is on the table: modern, historical, futuristic, sci-fi, whatever.
- Build the Setting. I want to go through the city-building method in the book to develop the setting to a playable level. Even if we choose to play in Magical Winnipeg, I still want to go through the new method, even if we use a lot of the same material. For that, I need all the players to do a little prep work.
- First, read the City Creation chapter in Your Story.
- Second, do a little thinking about the setting weâ€™ve picked. Make some notes, if you like.
- Third, come to the city creation session, and weâ€™ll put together the setting following the guidelines in the rules.
- Build Characters. Character creation will take place in a group session, complete with all phases and the novels being done.
- Make sure you have a solid character concept in mind, and have looked at the kinds of stunts and powers you will need to make it work. Of course, Iâ€™ll be more than happy to answer any questions before and during the session.
- I am also going to be building two characters as NPCs, so that they have some tie to the PCs.
- I would like to encourage anyone who is interested to build a second character during this session as an NPC. These characters will belong to me, and become canon in the game world.
- Finish Up. Once the character creation session is done, weâ€™ll likely need one more group session to finish off the setting creation and allow for any last-minute character adjustments.
Why all this blather?
I want to make sure that you realize, before committing to the game, that I want a fair bit of up-front work from the players to help establish the game. Iâ€™m looking at a minimum of an e-mail discussion to set the power level and the basic setting, one group session to build the setting, one group session for character creation, and one follow-up group session to finalize everything.
This is more group involvement than I usually ask for at the start of a campaign, but the way DFRPG is set up, this kind of thing will pay off in a much richer, more tailored campaign, with plenty of things tying the PCs to the world and the NPCs. It will also, I hope, create a greater emotional investment for the players, which will make the game more involving for all of you.
This prep work is taking the place of The Bribeâ„¢ for this campaign.
Read what Iâ€™ve written here and, if you want in and are willing to make the commitment Iâ€™m asking for, let me know. First six positive responses get in, but Iâ€™ll run with as few as three. Deadline for responses is October 1 â€“ if I havenâ€™t heard from you by then, I will consider that a no.
The last page of the invitation was a list of links to articles on this blog and on the DFRPG site about the game that I thought would be useful information.
We’re starting with a discussion about the power level and setting for the game, and brainstorming some character ideas. To facilitate this, I’ve set up a forum. Now, if you’re curious to watch the sausage of the game getting made, you’re welcome to visit the forum as a guest and read the posts; however, I’m only going to be activating accounts for the players and maybe one or two special outsiders, just to keep the conversations uncluttered. Don’t be offended if you try to register for the board and I turn you down.
Still interested in seeing what we’re doing? Okay. Here’s the link.
I’m really looking forward to the game. I can’t wait to see where it’s set and what it’s about.