How Does My Game Do What It Does – RPGaDay 2022

The question is: Why does your character do what they do?

As mentioned in Monday’s post, I don’t have a current character. So, I intend to repurpose this week’s questions to be about a game project I have in playtest, Divided Horizons.

So, the adjusted question is: How Does Your Game Do What It Does?

The game is about resources, as much as anything, and the driving need to find a way to save the universe – or, at least, the element that Earth sits in – before those resources run out.

The colony ship has physical resources intended for use in creating a colony, but the key part that the players need to consider is the colonists themselves. At the start of the “campaign”, the table – both GM and players – need to agree on the running length of the linked adventures. Based on the campaign length, the GM can then set the challenge level in terms of the hazards and enemies faced, but also the number of colonists held in stasis.

In Divided Horizons, player characters will die in pursuit of their goals. Sometimes, the crew will also die as non-player characters. In the last playtest session I ran, the players activated crew members on the ship in their absence and some of those NPCs died. That comes out of the resource pool.

You start with a colony ship and X crew in stasis. Your search for insight, science, new tech, help, etc. may lead to a discovery that points to a way home, but in the meantime, you will lose precious crew, make enemies, and probably make a horrible nuisance of yourselves.

So, the campaign has a definite end and that end is key – will it be a good end or a bad one? Only the players can drive the needle one way or another on that gauge and they do that not solely through roleplaying and exploration but through resource management, trading, diplomacy, piracy and a whole bunch of other approaches.

The playtest is only in its infancy. I expect things to change. But, at heart, that is how the game does what it does.

RPGaDay is a prompt-driven experience in tabletop roleplaying, initiated by Dave Chapman of Autocratik, and powered by me and you.

The prompts for this year are as follows — and you can find out more on Dave’s website.


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