After much fussing about with schedules, we managed to get everyone in the same room for several hours last Friday night and do the city-building for our new DFRPG game.
I’ve talked before about how much help doing the collaborative city-building is, and how it gives the players and characters a real emotional connection with the setting, but I don’t know if I’ve stressed enough what a great job it does just getting people excited to play. The way the possibilities start stacking up, the ideas flowing, the hints at stories, the outright conflicts – by the end of the evening, everyone is absolutely pumped to play in the city you’ve built.
At least, that’s been my experience whenever I’ve run the city-building.
So, on Friday, we trekked ((Through the first snowfall of the season, no less.)) out to the wilds of semi-rural ((I come from a much less populous section of the province, so the ruralness doesn’t quite reach the standards I am used to.)) Manitoba. We got into the actual process of city-building around 8:00, and finished up shortly after midnight, so we had a solid four hours of brainstorming and idea bashing.
In that time, we came up with ((There are a larger number of the various things we came up with than are probably necessary – or recommended. But it is a larger group, with six players, and everyone was very excited to be doing this, so I ran with it. We’ll see what things hold interest and generate story once play begins, and what things fall by the wayside, or become background colour.)):
- Four Themes
- Four Threats
- Sixteen main power blocs
- Eighteen Locations
- Twenty-eight Faces
- Fifty-five Aspects
We also wound up with a very cool version of Dublin, one where the Summer and Winter Courts are using the city ((And all of Ireland, really.)) as a gameboard in their eternal struggle for dominance, where the initial financial boom is starting to fade, where greedy human land developers have control of the politicians, while organized crime has infiltrated the police. Normal folks are still normal folks, trying to get by, but the echoes of the Trouble still rear their heads from time to time, and a new wave of invaders – Eastern Bloc gangs and supernatural creatures, led by Baba Yaga ((They came up with this one. They can’t blame me for how much I hurt them with it.)) – is pushing its way in.
I made sure that everyone had a chance for input, and that everyone got something they wanted in the city. I also made sure that everything that went in had approval from the whole group. As a GM running the city-building, I find that I slip more and more into the role of facilitator, guiding the process and helping to keep the group focused. Also, making sure we have consensus on the big decisions. It’s kind of a weird situation, where I feel myself almost outside of the main process, so much so that I’m apologetic when I make a suggestion or float one of my own ideas ((Which is silly; I’m as much a part of the group as anyone, and my ideas are as valid, even if I am the GM.)).
Now, I’m working on compiling the notes from the session into a setting bible, much as I did with the Fearful Symmetries campaign. One nice thing about setting the game in a modern city is that there are loads of pictures of the various locations up on the Internet that I can use to illustrate the bible ((And a nice thing about the group having picked Dublin is that I was doing research on the city anyway, preparatory to a trip there next fall. Gave me an excuse to buy a couple more travel books.)). So far, we’re looking at 23 pages with just the headings and the location pictures; figure 40-50 pages once the actual text copy goes in. That’s my project for this weekend, hoping to have it out to my group early next week.
I will also probably post it up on the campaign forum when finished.
Oh. The last thing we did that night as far as setting creation goes is pick a name for the campaign. The group decided on Feints & Gambits.
Now, we are working to schedule the character creation session. That’s the last session that I require full attendance for; after that, we move to a quorum style of play: I schedule the games, and we run as long as at least three players show for it.
Things are starting to come together for the game, and I am very pleased.