I’m very much a seat-of-my-pants GM. I like to have some minimum prep completed, a safety net of information ready for me, and then just go. The narrative that evolves in play has generally proved superior to whatever I’ve planned, so now I don’t bother to meticulously plan with schedules, timelines, events and places. For Nefertiti Overdrive (and now Ocean Earth), I generally have a one-pager like I have used for Sword Noir in the past, and then a page or two of expected or likely encounters.
I create encounters/events/places/NPCs as challenges. That’s how they are presented in Centurion and how I use them in Nefertiti Overdrive. A challenges exists in Nefertiti Overdrive as Difficulty, Threat, Environment, Drive and Complexity. Difficulty, Threat, Environment, and Drive all contribute dice to task resolution while Complexity represents the number of required successes.
Simple enough, and I thought my set-up was nice and clean.
Then I saw what Corey Reid was doing with his new version of Dino-Pirates of Ninja Island, adapted from Old School Hack. I really like how he is presenting encounters. He talks about it in a recent post.
My new encounter notes are kind of a melding of pieces from the one-pager into the challenge format. It includes suggestions for stages in Complexity – how to explain the PCs approaching success.
Here’s an example from a recent Ocean Earth game, as the PCs and crew of the airship Stirling’s Hope dock at the Spire over Sunken London and need to gain entry. Sunken London is shutting down as it expects an attack from the Wraith fleet that makes the British waters so treacherous.
You’ll see plenty more of these (or an evolved version of these) if Nefertiti Overdrive gets backed, as the plan is now to provide two adventures – one for each section (the NEFERTITI and the OVERDRIVE, as it were).
You can find more information on Sword Noir: the Role-Playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery here.
You can find more information on Centurion: Legionaries of Rome here.
You can find more information on Dino-Pirates of Ninja Island here
You can find more information on Old School Hack here.
You can find more information on Nefertiti Overdrive here.
BTW, by far the greatest amount of effort for this post came in finding a non-cheesecake image of a female Egyptian warrior. In the end, I just gave up. Nothing wrong with cheesecake if that’s your thing, but Nefertiti Overdrive is supposed to be about powerful heroes, not necessarily sexy ones.
Event: Entering Sunken London
Description: At first, it seems as though the crew on the Spire is attempting to wave off Stirling’s Hope. There are still many pylons available, so Angus takes it in. On docking, an official says that London has sighted a Wraith fleet, the largest yet seen at over 50 ships. Only citizens are allowed to remain while the city is locked up. Anything docked to the Spire is in danger.
Challenges: If you want in, you’ll need a visitor’s pass from the official. Angus is happy to drop off cargo and head out.
Difficulty: d6, average bureaucrat
Threat: d4, deny entry
Environment: d8, deals with this all the time
Drive: d8, honest but not TOO honest
Complexity: 2 – get him compliant – close the deal
Rewards/Discoveries: Visitor’s pass. A spot in the Lincoln’s Inn shelter at the base of the Spire should attacks come. Angus is willing to wait two days or until the attack comes. He will meet the PCs at the Cheshire Cat at the corner of Drury and Russell (very close to shelter and Spire).