Epic Amazing Thing (D&D 5e / City of Brass)

At Dreamation this past weekend, I ran three sessions of my social sandbox, City of Brass. This is a game I've run a dozen or two sessions of before the convention, and the sessions are usually low-fantasy, with few exceptions.

The second session at Dreamation "went to eleven" in an epic, amazing way.

Setup

I have index cards with unsolved problems on them. I dropped six or so of those on the table. I also had players roll 2d12 twice on my problem chart, and added those two problems.

Here are some of the problems that were on the table:

A new gang in town, the Queens of Chaos. In my mind, all I knew about them was that they were an all-female gang and that they were a 5th level adventuring party with anarchist (chaotic) tendencies.

A low-level gang of racist thugs, the Brass Clubs, who have been bothering the PCs in my games for about ten sessions now. Infamously, they're also responsible for a total party kill.

Bite marks on four members of the commune (NPCs). The players were able to determine that they were indeed from a vampire, presumably way too powerful for them to deal with directly.

A racist blacksmith has been getting increasingly nastier to many of the nonhuman members of the commune. His shop is near the entrance to the commune, too.

Preface

Usually in these games, players attack one problem at a time--not because I enforce that as a rule, but because that seems to be their own strategy. This time, much because William Nichols and Misha B. were at the table and they're more used to story games like Dungeon World and whatnot, they seemed to have fewer mental blocks to making crazy stuff happen in the fiction.

I'm not saying that another group might not have done this. One huge factor was the introduction of these Queens of Chaos into the fiction. But certainly, the creativity of the players set off a powder keg of awesomeness.

What happened

The players basically tried to point a bunch of problems at each other and solve them that way. The goal was to get the Queens of Chaos to fight the Brass Clubs, and get one of those groups to go deal with the vampire.

But then they met the Queens of Chaos and something else happened.

Comments

  • Gang-on-gang violence

    The Queens of Chaos are amazing. They're the cool kids that every budding adventurer wants to be someday. They're a group of 10 or so women, all around 5th or 6th level, all adventurer types. Most are chaotic good, but two were chaotic neutral. Because I had this racism plot going, I added in the fact that all of them are nonhuman. They're competent and weird and confident and sexy and fun. They're like a crazy punk band, drinking and carousing their way through life, until something pisses them off, then they go ballistic on it. They've taken an interest in the City of Brass and are being the revolutionists that no PC can be with such limited resources.

    I have no idea why I introduced them. I follow my instincts a lot. When I added "Queens of Chaos" to my 2d12 random problem chart, I thought to myself, "revolutionaries, 5th level adventuring party, chaotic, women," and that was that. No thought to what this would do to my setting, no thought to ultimate consequences. Frankly, if I'd thought it through, I suspect I would have believed that they'd have had zero interest in a bunch of level-1 homeless folks.

    But I don't decide what will happen.

    William's character Kelaro is a liar and a bit of a wildcard. He was a pregen that I created in about 10 minutes last week. He has a high Deception skill and his background traits are all about how he is infamously known by everyone for setting ablaze the pirate ship he was working on. He comes off as a bit of a sociopath, as played by William, but he's not; William specifically talked about how Kelaro was running a disinformation campaign.

    Kelaro ingratiated himself with the second-in-command of the Queens of Chaos, convinced them that the Brass Clubs were talking racist shit about them, and convinced them to go pay them a violent visit. This was done through a combination of die rolls and skill checks. Probably other PCs were involved in aiding the rolls, but I can't remember.

    Basically, the outcome of that was that the Queens showed up at the HQ of the Brass Clubs and beat them up and wrecked their stuff. All non-lethal, but a "put you in your place" kind of thing. The Brass Clubs' leader is 3rd level and her underlings are much weaker. I described it as a dungeon crawl where the Queens were the tough adventurers and the Brass Clubs were the goblins getting slaughtered (non-lethally).

  • Henchmen

    I can't remember how it happened, but it became a sex thing.

    Misha's bard had secured a performance gig at the bar where the Queens drank once a week. She did that expressly to have an "in" with them. Her tips were 5x higher when the Queens showed up.

    I was describing the Queens as powerful and sexy, the way male adventurer types often want to be seen by NPCs in other murder hobo games. Misha was playing the only female character (one other woman player in the group played a male character). Someone was getting flirty with a Queen, and it turned into a party atmosphere with booze and everyone hooking up (in private rooms later). I was totally treating this like the Queens roll into a bar and pick up locals to entertain themselves with.

  • Fluffy and the blacksmith

    The kobold PC hooked up with the Queens' necromancer. The player had been casting the kobold as really, really weird; he'd been crafting "presents" to leave on the racist blacksmith's doorstep. In character, he meant them with love; out of character, they were intended to bother, perplex, and frighten the NPC. Meeting a necromancer triggered the kobold to "craft" an art present out of animal parts: I think it was sewn together from snakes, rats, and a frog head. As a joke, I said the necromancer animated the thing, which the kobold named "Fluffy." Fluffy had a venomous bite. He and a few of the others hatched a plan to break into the blacksmith's apartment and leave Fluffy in his bed.

    They were also casing his apartment, since Kelaro was a greedy rogue.

    Meanwhile, George's paladin actually managed to get the blacksmith to cry and tell him that his family had been brutally murdered by gnome and halfling thieves, causing him to turn his hatred unfairly towards nonhumans. The paladin got him to see the error of his ways. This deterred the burglar types not one bit.

    Kelaro went on a pilgrimage to the Fire Temple with the blacksmith while the kobold and a couple others cracked the blacksmith's safe, finding more wealth than they could imagine in platinum trade bars. They decided that they couldn't even safely spend one of those bars, so they left a note in the safe saying that, since he'd changed his racist ways, that they didn't steal his life savings. (Also, there was a protective ward on his daughter's teddy bear on the safe, and they had detected that and didn't quite know how to counteract it.)

  • edited February 2017
    The big job

    Treating the PCs like the henchmen of the Queens of Chaos, I had the Queens "hire" the PCs for a menial job, gathering schedule information and comings-and-goings for a giant elevator (lift) that connects the lower half of the city with the upper. It was obvious that the Queens intended to "hit" it somehow.

    The PCs did their own research to understand how much damage this would do. They learned that the creators of the lift magically bound spirits, air elementals, and fire elementals to make the magic work. If the Queens broke the seals on the bindings, they'd all escape. Mostly, the spirits and air elements would cause property damage, but the fire elementals were likely to kill people. The group decided they didn't like this, so they raised the issues with the Queens.

    The Queens were actually unaware of the potential for this danger, so they hatched a plan to release all the spirits and a few air elementals, but not any of the fire elementals. The new plan required the paladin in the party to steal a magical torchmace from a statue of his goddess, Torchbearer*, in the Great Fire Temple.

    I ran a "party montage" where I told them that they would succeed, and asked everyone to give me a quick blurb about what they did to help. William was struggling to get some of the non-storygamers to understand that they got to go BIG with the narration here.

    But the paladin stole the torchmace, then helped the Queens use it to bring down the wards (but trapping the fire elementals) and the entire city was then engulfed in a huge sandstorm (angry air elementals).

    The players left on a very high note, thinking they were Rocking Bad-asses. This is not the usual way things go in City of Brass, even in the two or three times the session angled toward adventure rather than social stuff.




    * I've been using the name "Torchbearer" for this goddess for at least ten years. I did not steal it from Luke Crane.
  • edited February 2017
    Questions?

    @Paul_T
  • Adam,

    What a fantastic writeup! Thanks!

    I'll be back with comments later - I haven't finished reading it yet.
  • Adam,

    I'm curious to hear about your prep on this. It sounds like you came to the table with relatively little set in stone, but you DID have a group of pregens, and a table of problems/situations. (My guess is that you had also come up with/prepped/daydreamed a bit about the "Queens of Chaos", although that could have been the inspiration of the moment, as well.)

    Do you have other materials to draw on? Perhaps common elements from other sessions with other groups? A map, or a relationship map, which situates all these things in "the City"? Or do you start from scratch, Apocalypse World-style?

    Do the pregens have anything to them which interacts with the game/prep, or are they just stats and equipment, open to player interpretation, a la old school D&D? Or do they have personalities, traits, hooks which relate to the situation/each other?

    Once you have established the "unsolved problems", how do you go about presenting them to the group? Is there a lot of GM establishing here (for instance, how do the PCs know about these problems), or is just treated as something people know?

    Once play begins, are you running this in "reactive" GM mode, or do you take a more active role (e.g. framing scenes, portraying NPC actions, etc)?

    If you were to draw some lessons from the behaviour of the players here, what might they be? How could you recreate this vibe with a different set of players, if that were possible?

    Sounds like a really fun game!

  • Sounds like fun!

    D&D 5E?
  • Yes, D&D 5e. But most of the play revolves around skill checks, a spell or two, and only the occasional combat.

    Pregens

    My 13 pregens were set up to be interesting for the game, but they weren't fleshed out as personalities, just stats and backgrounds. I created them in about two hours in Hero Lab.

    I picked some race/class combinations that showcase my setting, since my races are tweaked a bit.

    All the characters get 6 gp of equipment, which is a painfully paltry amount that means no armor and probably no more than a club or dagger. They're poor.

    Most of 5e's backgrounds are "high adventure" things, so I have to pick them carefully. These characters are homeless, poor, and without other options, so I try to angle their backgrounds in that direction.

    Prep

    I come to the table with little set in stone except:
    • The setting material I've published.
    • The "Problems" table I've discussed, and a mental procedure around how to use it.
    • A scant amount of daydreaming about what those problems are.
    • The history of resolved and unresolved problems, kind of noted on index cards.
    • 35 years of D&D experience
    Starting Procedure

    I start every City of Brass convention game in the same way:

    1. Player introductions.
    2. High level setting introduction (5 minutes tops), often while people pick characters.
    3. X-Card discussion.
    4. Switching to play, a "commune meeting."
    5. Problems.

    Recall that in City of Brass, all the characters are homeless and have ended up squatting in a set of crumbling, abandoned buildings everyone calls the The Commune.

    The commune meeting is where the 40-50 members of the commune gather in the central courtyard, welcome new members, and discuss their most pressing problems.

    I ask each player to introduce their character, including a few extra points:
    • Why are you homeless?
    • What keeps you from just going adventuring? Why are you stuck here?
    • What non-adventuring skill (unrelated to your class) do you have that you might fall back on? (I essentially give them a free proficiency in a trade skill like basket weaving or cooking.)
    Problems

    I have a table of 20+ problems. We roll 2d12 and add the highest level in the party (usually 1, sometimes 2). I consult the table and turn that entry into a problem, and note the problem at a high level on an index card.

    We do that twice at the beginning of a session. Two new problems, plus all unresolved problems.

    If we roll a problem that is already on a card, that problem gets a lot worse. I usually also think about the existing, unresolved problems and how much time has passed, and if they will escalate (and how).

    This information is imparted largely out-of-character to the players, but with a veneer of "the people of the commune are telling you this and they need help."

    I give the players just enough backstory to understand the impact of each of the problems, and then answer their questions. Like a 15-20 seconds per card, tops, before they start inquiring. Right now, I think there are 5-6 unresolved cards.

    Then I explain the following:

    1. You don't have to address these problems at all! It's a sandbox. Do what you want.
    2. You get to level 2 by earning 5 XP. You earn 1-2 XP for partially or wholly resolving a problem. You can also earn XP by drastically improving the living conditions of The Commune, usually by cleaning things up and improving rooms.
    3. You need to spend 1 sp a day for basic sustenance. It's a cup of gruel and a bit of bread. You're still hungry. Failure to eat that much inflicts Fatigue and eventually death.

    Play

    Some groups dive into problems with military precision. Other groups bicker or deliberate about what problems to do first and accomplish very little. Sometimes players go off on their own agendas, to get jobs or try to improve their own lives.

    Whenever there is a lull in play, I pick a card and show how it is affecting The Commune. I advance in-game time about an hour every 5-10 minutes of play if nothing interesting is happening. I'll say, "Okay, it's noon now. The masons have set up their surveying equipment around the north side of the building and have two guards on each of the cordons." Or after a lot of dithering, "Hey, it's about mid-afternoon now. You're pretty hungry. Do you have plans to find food, or did you want to just spend a silver piece for a cup of gruel?"

    Then play usually solidifies into something with a direction.

    I GM in reactive mode whenever I can. I want the players to drive the direction of play. When they seem to need or want direction, I use the problems as prompts, picking one and pushing its clock forward. I usually have an idea what the next phase of the problem looks like, but I can also generate this on the fly subconsciously. I try to push stuff forward one step. That is, the problem needs to look substantially different in its new state, but don't push it too far. I do this by instinct.

    The rest of play is me letting my subconscious and decades of experience go wild and interact with the actions of the players, informed by a lot of technique from "indie" games, too. Say yes. Let it ride. Ask the player. Play to see what happens. Barf forth poverty. ;)
  • edited February 2017
    City of Brass makes me feel the cognitive dissonance of one who doesn't really like D&D, but who'd love to play/run a game like CoB.

    (I mean this as praise.)

    In the CoB Wiki you mention making morale checks to see whether characters behave badly and drag down the Commune with their behavior.

    Can you give some examples of how that works? How is that taken by the players?
  • @Lord_Minx,

    William Nichols feels the same way. He has been following my setting posts and was intrigued, but had never played 5th edition, but has played earlier editions and didn't like D&D much (I believe he said it turned him off gaming for years), but he eventually found a love for story games more like Apocalypse World.

    After the game, he told me that the session helped him verify exactly what he thought: He hates D&D but loved my setting. And he returned to play another session the next day.

    Frankly, City of Brass is designed as a sort of foil for D&D players. The cognitive dissonance is design. I know what I'm doing in that regard. (It's not an accident.) I am purposefully playing against D&D tropes here to, um, "fight fascism" or something.

    Morale checks

    Yeah! I forgot to talk about this. In my two-hour games at the bar that I designed this open table setting for, it has more impact.

    Once per game, I ask the players to roll a morale check, which is a simple (DC 10) Insight skill check. Clerics and Paladins can use their religion stuff to aid another person's check. If a character fails the check, she is not coping well with her lot in life. This bleeds out into the commune.

    Before I lost the electronic version of it, I had a "Five S's" table which was loosely based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Each of the five things had a small numeric rating. A player whose character fails a morale check picks and lowers one of those scores by 1 point.

    So if you pick "Safety 2" and lower it to "Safety 1," that implies that the overall safety of the commune and its members is deteriorating. The player then explains how his character's mood or behavior is bleeding out into the commune to reduce its safety.

    I tend to use those ratings as a very loose metric to inform how I add new items into my Problem Table. If Sustenance is getting really low, then maybe I double the price of food to 2 sp/day to represent a famine.

    The ratings can theoretically go back up with fictional cause. For example, the party worked to empty all the scrap and junk out of one of the rooms, making more sleeping space. That would improve the Shelter rating by a point or two.
  • Oh, how do the players take failed morale checks? They love them. It's fair (I don't push it more than once a game, and everyone is making the same simple DC 10 check) and players love to see how their characters have an impact on the greater community, even if it's dragging us down, man.

    There's usually lots of groaning and laughter when someone fails.
  • @Adam_Dray

    Fascinating, thanks. The game idea is obviously and explicitly leftist (which is another reason why it appeals to me), but I'd love to hear if that made an explicit appearence at your tables. Like, besides tackling concrete problems, did characters or players get into political discussions or formulate larger goals beyond not starving, etc?

    I ask because I've spent a bit of time in radical leftist (mainly anarchist) and squatter circles and it always fascinated me how there, everyday issues like "Who is cooking" or "who can fix this broken door" are so strongly entwined with/explicit manifestations of larger political ideas like "Who does repro work?", "How is knowledge transfered?", "How are decisions reached" and so on.

    (Now, I believe they also are like that everyday else, but most more centrist or conservative crowds aren't all that into "The private is politial".)

    Have players commented on this explicitly political backbone of the game?
  • (I don't have a great deal to add just yet, but let me say: that's an amazing write-up, Adam! I wish more people could describe their gaming that way. What you have described here is a clear procedure for this kind of play, and sounds like a lot of fun! Awesome.)

    (Lord_Minx, you are not alone! I also find the D&D frame here very jarring, and I've heard the same from others. I can see the appeal in being *deliberately* jarring, however!)
  • I have explicitly avoided introducing an NPC "government" into the commune. The commune seems to come together organically for commune meetings when a bunch of new people arrive, but that's the only organization built-in.

    Even sleeping space, etc. is decided without any kind of norms, right now. Tough people might say, "Hey, that's my spot."

    So far, no PCs have stepped up to really ossify any kind of governance. The closest thing that happened is that, when Hengritte (a commune NPC) started prostituting herself for addictive spirit potions, they intervened as much as they could, and when some NPC dude started pimping her out of the commune and that brought shade on the whole community, they confronted the pimp and eventually killed him when he returned with muscle of his own. It was more personal, vigilante justice than any kind of "Hey, commune, what should we do about this asshole?" government thing, though.

    The structure of the game as an open table sandbox lends itself to having a totally different set of players every session, so there's very little continuity (except for the Problem history). Lack of multi-session context might be a factor in not forming civic structure.

    I introduced the Queens of Chaos to be the anarchists (Marxists?) that the group could aspire to be. They explicitly were fucking shit up in the city. They raided city hall and caused mayhem, and then they recruited the PCs as henchmen to help demolish the giant elevator which connects the poor, lower city with the rich, upper city (there's a huge plateau and cliff). The PCs haven't done any of that on their own. Really, they are underfunded and underpowered and more concerned with their next meal (which is a lesson in itself).

    I run the game in Baltimore City. A lot of the players are youngish white dudes, but the rest are folks recruited from the nearby art school (MICA): lots of young women and a few young men of color. Maryland is the second most liberal state in the union. Baltimore is probably a concentration of liberal folks.

    I ran City of Brass the Wednesday after Election Day. The mood in the bar was really, really bad. We talked politics then, in that guarded way you do with strangers whose politics you do not yet know. I didn't meet a single conservative.

    We don't talk real-world politics much during D&D games, though. The threat of it turning into a screaming match is too high.

    Sure, some players have talked to me about the political backbone of the game. William Nichols is working on a PbtA rpg with similar goals. Joshua Miller and Sarah Shugars and Daniel Levine (who are organizing the Civics Games Contest) are friends of mine and we had long discussions at Dreamation and we touched on City of Brass.

  • (Lord_Minx, you are not alone! I also find the D&D frame here very jarring, and I've heard the same from others. I can see the appeal in being *deliberately* jarring, however!)
    Actually, it's not the D&D frame itself I found jarring, rather the experience of finding a frame for D&D which would attract me to it, despite its obvious D&D-ness. (And more "surprising" than jarring, really.)

    After thinking about it, though, I can see a couple of reasons for it:

    1. The campaign frame is actually *pretty* D&D-agnostic. I mean, sure, it's clearly written with it in mind, but I could take it and use TSOY or ORE or some PbtA variante and have a similar enough experience, as long as some basic aspects of low-level D&D play are kept. (Low-ish skills, weak-ish characters, etc.)

    2. It reframes D&D from encounter-focused (Which has basically never been how my gaming brain worked, so D&D always seems SO WEIRD to me.) to a sandboxy problem-solving game, which works much better for me, because I prefer my games player-driven and GM-reactive. (I'm a lazy GM who hates to make up "plot" beforehand.)

  • edited February 2017

    1. The campaign frame is actually *pretty* D&D-agnostic. I mean, sure, it's clearly written with it in mind, but I could take it and use TSOY or ORE or some PbtA variante and have a similar enough experience, as long as some basic aspects of low-level D&D play are kept. (Low-ish skills, weak-ish characters, etc.)
    This is harder than you are making it sound. Those games give all kinds of narrative authority to players that will help them "write their way out" (to borrow some Hamilton lyrics).

    Part of it is taking the usual power structure of D&D (1st level characters are tremendously powerful, compared to an average citizen) and making them feel weak. Limiting them to 6 gp only makes a player feel weak. The character also has spells and fighting power that a low-level shopkeeper cannot stand up against. However, I'm also using the power structure of the city as a foil against that (people will show up and beat the PCs down if they try that shit).

    2. It reframes D&D from encounter-focused (Which has basically never been how my gaming brain worked, so D&D always seems SO WEIRD to me.) to a sandboxy problem-solving game, which works much better for me, because I prefer my games player-driven and GM-reactive. (I'm a lazy GM who hates to make up "plot" beforehand.)
    I think a lot of D&D sandboxes work this way, though.

    What City of Brass focuses on is consequences. You can't just murder a shopkeep in Kickstone (the local neighborhood), because he pays "protection" money to the Black Guard every month, and Mixia the Black Guard lieutenant is a CR 3 bad-ass who will find you and make you suffer.

    Cities have a huge hierarchy of protection and favor that serve as the ecosystem for the players to explore. When the PCs pitted one NPC group against another NPC group, that was a nice "cheat" to get out of a lot of the consequences of the violence that occurred. However, William's character Kelaro was the one who showed the Queens of Chaos where the Brass Clubs' leader had her HQ, and he was "seen" there the night the violence went down and the party had to deal with the repercussions of that, too.
  • Indeed; the "reframe" you're talking about just sounds like good old-school D&D to me (although, admittedly, more modern versions of D&D don't work like that at all).
  • As if I needed another reason to regret missing Dreamation.

    Sounds like fun.
  • Indeed; the "reframe" you're talking about just sounds like good old-school D&D to me (although, admittedly, more modern versions of D&D don't work like that at all).
    Well, definitely, this is different than any D&D campaign I've ever run, including my old 1980's Basic and Advanced D&D (1e/2e) games.

    I did, in fact, have a short run of a couple adventures where PCs were poor and homeless and starving on the street, but they robbed their way out of that quickly and were back in the dungeon in no time.

    The focus on city life, homeless/squatter life, and the ripple of social consequences and avoidance of most things "adventure" or "combat" is a huge divergence from all of my usual D&D play.
  • Would you be cool with sharing your Problems creation table?
  • edited February 2017
    Sure. It's on the wiki!

    Let me know if that link doesn't work.

    ETA: I need to update it after running CoB five or six times. <=)
  • Some of the problems don't seem that pressing. I'm even more curious to see them in action.
  • The “rumours table” as driving force for sandbox play is very classic D&D but this is a particularly thoughtful and rigorous use of it. I've been using a somewhat generative table (that results in the invention of new factions or nations as well as power shifts outside of the players' sphere of influence) for a while now for one particular “plot” in my game and now that the players have decided to directly involve themselves in it I'm definitely going to borrow some of these techniques!
  • Some of the problems don't seem that pressing. I'm even more curious to see them in action.
    I don't disagree, but which ones?

    If problems don't produce fun, I cycle them out and replace them with new things, a task I need to finish before my next game.

  • adamwb,

    I'm curious to hear which techniques you're interested in borrowing!
  • Hi, the previous mentioned William Nichols here. I played Kelaro, who was a blast.

    Kelaro started with zero equipment and several gold. This was a veritable fortune, as he had living expense for a month. By the second session, I was promising NPCs and PCs wealth if they'd just do what I wanted. "Oh, you don't have any silver? Here, take some. No, just take it. Um... could you spend a couple hours today cleaning up the place? Thanks, I owe you one."

    If that worked out, Kelaro would be setup as the de facto leader. He's got the wealth, can put together plots that help out everyone, has vision and charisma. He'd be running the place shortly.

    I've grown accustomed to having visible levers to pull in the fiction, such as apocalypse world style moves. There was a lot less of this in D&D, and I was originally frozen. I got over that as some story gamer reflexes clicked on.

    Speaking of --
    I've been working on a pbta game about fantasy adventurers for months. I've got a lot of shared world building material, but what I didn't have was a reason they should continue to push forward. City of Brass gave me what I needed, and I had some ideas on MC-facing levers regarding poverty and privilege.

    When I play tested last night, complete with problems facing then PCs home community, the players immediately decided to push one against another. That's about what I expected from my crew, as why solve one problem when you can make two worse?

    Within another week or so, I expect to have a fairly playable version. Things are coming together, and I'm planning to submit it to the Civic Games Contest. Which Adam is judging, so I don't want to say too much.
  • I just love reading about City of Brass. It's really something to aspire to as a GM, on so many levels.

    I think you've mentioned elsewhere that the idea could pretty easily be ported to other systems like Dungeon World, although I appreciate that the "dissonance" of low-level D&D characters is at the heart of what you're doing. I think vanilla Dungeon World would be a bit weird, for example, since level 1 DW characters are presumed to be pretty powerful already (although you could use the financial precarity aspect to hammer the point home). I wonder if it would work well with level 0 villager/peasant/funnel DW characters, though, since they're vulnerable by design... just thinking out loud.

  • I love how the low starting gold makes your "initial purse" so important.

    (That's also a great example of D&D thing which rarely comes up in other games.)
  • William,

    Would you like to discuss your game somewhere (else)? I'm sure we could do so, and lots of people might be interested in contributing some feedback. Just tell Adam not to go there, so he can judge the eventual submission without preconceptions (which I am sure he would honour, being a reasonable fellow).
  • Thanks for the compliments, Felan. That means so much to me.

    I've always believed that City of Brass would be a lousy port to Dungeon World or other games. It would probably work with OSR games and other very-much-like-D&D games, but I have no confidence that it would function as expected with other games.

    Does DW have "level 0" characters? Is there a Commoner playbook or something? You'd also need to add in the idea of tracking money.
  • Paul_T,

    I've discussed a lot of it here:
    https://plus.google.com/collection/4q76PB

    That's my RPG collection on G+. Its public, and Adam (mostly) knows not to go there.
  • I love how the low starting gold makes your "initial purse" so important.
    Technically, everything on a player's equipment list is something they could sell for about half price. So far, no one has ever sold anything.

    Since every character starts with 6 gp, a character decked out with the full 6 gp of equipment could sell that stuff for about 3 gp (let's assume they keep their 1 sp of basic clothing) and that's 3 gp, or 30 days of food.
  • edited February 2017
    adamwb,

    I'm curious to hear which techniques you're interested in borrowing!
    My players are on the way to a Papal Conclave which has come about because of a sort of similar generative rumours chart (what happened this week in the south). The game was set up with a very strong town/wild divide to make drop-in play work smoothly, so we've only just dipped into urban adventures properly, so I'm looking to redo that chart as a more close-up version, one that will be more directly affected by the players presence & actions—perhaps quite a lot like Adam Dray's, to manage factions that exist and may spontaneously enter play over the next few weeks.
  • Thanks for the compliments, Felan. That means so much to me.

    I've always believed that City of Brass would be a lousy port to Dungeon World or other games. It would probably work with OSR games and other very-much-like-D&D games, but I have no confidence that it would function as expected with other games.

    Does DW have "level 0" characters? Is there a Commoner playbook or something? You'd also need to add in the idea of tracking money.
    There's been a few attempts to do level 0 type characters in DW, the one I was thinking of is Funnel World. I think you're probably right that it wouldn't work as intended, but having very weak and "ordinary" starting characters would at least help set the tone.
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