I’m looking for some input on, or rather fishing for good examples of, an idea that I’m fairly sure isn’t that novel.
Through the years I’ve mostly played the kinds of RPGs and settings where the GM has all the knowledge and the gamers learn of the world through play. This is all fair and dandy, but recently I’ve played Apocalypse World and Dungeon World and have found that player input in world building increases player investment by a crazy amount. Which incidentally equals more fun at the table for everyone. The downside is that you have to discuss a lot and mediate so that nobody highjacks the show or the extroverts decide everything, which takes time.
When the players get to join in the creation the game manages to press some of the buttons of everyone involved, making them want to play. Otherwise you might have to go hunting for players that get excited over the setting, as if finding players in the first place weren’t hard enough. The plus side for this is that everybody around the table get a level idea of where they are and what goes.
But now I’m looking into making a one-off scenario and am trying to find a balance. A set world takes time off of starting up and gets the players into the game quicker. Also, for a one-off a set scenario isn’t that strange. But I want to retain player investment.
The idea I have is to somehow combine these in the following way (or something like it):
a) The plot is fixed: The players take on the role of warriors of good/evil/grey that are sent on a mission to retrieve a relic of power from the forces of evil/good/beige i.e. players must buy-in to the fact that it’s a fantasy epic - the story of an epic trek across dangerous lands.
b) The GM has a clear time frame for the game. The Swedish standard for one-offs is four hours. Meaning I something like: Character creation and story creation 45 min / Setting off on the journey 45 min / First dangerous land 45 min / 15 min break / Second dangerous land 30 min / Third dangerous land 30 min /Apocalyptic final 30 min (-ish).
c) Players make their characters from lists à la Apocalypse World (makes for quick character creation + the lists help shape the fiction).
d) Dependent on some factor of the character creation this yields an initiative order for deciding exactly what dangerous lands the warriors will cross. Again chosen from lists, AW/Fiasco-style (Homeland, 3 dangerous lands and place of final showdown).
Basically, a crossbreed of free player creation and a done and dusted setting and plot. It seems to me that this might have been done before so that’s where I’m asking for help to find good examples or maybe cautionary words.
For example I recall a game where there was this awesome map that you rolled out as the story progressed but I can’t for my life remember what it was called, but I don’t know how much player creation was involved.
Any input is appreciated.