Tuesday, February 2, 2010

GM tools: Planning what Random tables need

Its been 2 weeks since my Random Village generator v0.1, which in hindsight needs a lot of improvement. I've been reading all the books again and trying to find out the best way to generate a random village. Mostly this details the steps I need to take, so that I can really visualize the challenges I will be undertaking for this tool.

What I think I will need for a Random Village Generator v1
  1. Select Terrain - Of course the GM will always have a location in mind for the village. Almost everything depends on the location! Location! Location!
  2. Population - Population is next. It is affected by terrain, key modifiers and GM's fiat.
  3. Produce - Since location is a pretty important determinant, several tables for a particular terrain. They will overlap, but a glosary and more trivial tables should follow of how certain details may turn out.
  4. Political Center - This represents how the "organism" which is the community is organized and interact with each other. I've spend most of the week struggling in how to describe it sufficiently for GMs. It sucks when Ideas of politic science can be offensive to some people. I guess I shouldn't try to please everyone.
  5. Wealth - Again this touches on my socio-economic studies that might piss off people. I've gotten often into debates when I assumed that credibly accepted and tested science or hypothesis. Its just weird to be so conditioned to tip toe around such, even in games where there should be not offending anyone who can just click away from the material.
  6. Problems - Everyone has problems, even a community struggles with their day to day, or long term needs. This is what adventures are made off, if there were no problems, no one would leave their comfort zones to do anything. The problems table works with generalized situations applied to the context of the details above. When I say Civil Dispute, I'll provide several examples of the sort (a social arrangement gone sour -like an arranged marriage, typical land dispute, minor feud, petty differences escalating etc...). I'll leave it up to the GM to use the details he randomly rolls-up to tie into the circumstance.
  7. Village Persona generator - this leads to the territory of random PC motives or NPC generation. In my gaming style, I usually grab what ever personality profiles I'm familiar with (which i don't like to do because it makes me predictable and doesn't exercise my improvisation). I'd rather break them down into "schools" of thought using what I learned about game theory and my observation of behaviors: complexity of self interest. The self-interest premise, from my game theory studies can be offensive to the sensibilities of other people. Its a personal philosophy, which will take a lot of source citations and studies to prove and explain. I don't like to make a the typical "archetype" generator all long-time gamers are familiar with from other game systems. I want to apply what I've learned in creating a wide variety of motives that has the ability of making NPCs run deep enough to allow GMs to impov effectively without rehashing familiar and predictable personalities.
I guess I shouldn't worry about offending to many people, anyway its not like I'm forcing my point of views on anyone. Its a blog people can just close the tab or window.

Looking at what's up ahead, It will take me some time to make the village generator. Especially since I'll be work on it, when I wait for each idea to clears up before putting it into words. Probably a 2 weeks or 3.
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