Building on Thanuir’s ideas here
You’re gonna need two things.
- A fantasy sandbox. Full of rando tables as per usual. The more big it is the better for purps of diluting the custom stuff so that not break the “no paper after seeing rock” principle too much. For the purps of this, I want there to be a chance that something is never ever rolled.
- A list of traits, ideals, bonds, flaws and trinkets.
|Category||Mandatory for players to add||Mandatory for DM to use|
|Personality Trait||0, it’s just good to have some||0, but if you find an actionable one go for it|
|Bonds||3 (two to other players and one normal one)||1 if they provided an normal one, you gotta use it|
|Flaws||0, it’s just good to have one||0, but if you find an actionable one go for it|
|Background specific stuff such as hermit discovery||0, this is optional||∞, DMs, if this is there, this needs to be used|
|XGE class specific stuff||0, this is optional||∞, DMs, if this is there, this needs to be used|
|XGE life path stuff, friends & family rolled up||0, this is optional||∞, DMs, if this is there, this needs to be used|
Trinkets fell away because they never got reincorporated into our play since it’s so blorby.
But here they’re gonna get used again.
Players, you need to hand in an ideal, a trinket, and three bonds. XP is frozen until you comply. Traits & flaws are good for you. One of the bond is your normal background bond, the other two bonds are Hillfolk “unattainable wants” to other PCs.
DM, you’re gonna make a big old list. The “master challenge list”.
To that list you add all the ideals, bonds, trinkets, background-specific stuff, XGE-stuff, and if you find any exceptionally actionable flaws & traits [you’ll gonna know what that means later in this process] add them in too. Make some sorta note which character they came from.
For each item on the “master challenge list” you make sure that there is at least one relevant thing on your other tables that are in use. Could be encounter tables, rando NPC quality tables, treasure drop tables etc. If there isn’t, you add one.
An optional, but good prompt for you when you have your prepping hat on
is “how can I make this go away?” A promise goes away by fulfilling it or breaking it, a key goes away by finding the lock for it or having it stolen, an ideal goes away by being given up on etc. Careful now; a lot of posts on /r/rpghorrorstories are about “The DM took away the thing about my character that was cool”. So IDK.
So a promise to rescue your father can lead to the actual father being locked up somewhere. Idk.
The items in the “master challenge list” cause other things to be added to your normal rando tables. Again, stick to tables that are
in active use in the particular campaign type that you’re running. (Maybe you can add a new category of table and start using it more, such as an “NPC relevancy” table to add onto any other NPC they meet, buuut… an entry such as “This is Alice’s father” might end up feeling super post-hoc and un-blorby and retconny and fake. TODO
solve this problem before implementing the rule.)
When a PC dies, remove their stuff from the “master challenge list” but not
the stuff that was added to the normal rando table. So Alice’s father is still running around out there.
Always keep the master challenge list current and when prepping always make sure that each entry on the master challenge list has at least one representative on the normal rando tables.
You need to absolutely forget why you put the thing on the list. No longer is it’s purpose to “remove the trait” or whatever. It’s just a normal encounter with Alice’s father or a treasure chest that matches Bob’s trinket key or whatever. TODO
this type of compartmentalization between prepping&running hats is difficult, not sure how to fix…?
What’s cool though is that you don’t
need to refer to the master challenge list constantly fretting “is there something relevant?” The items on your lists are doing the work for you, just run the game normally & blorbily. Let the meetings with these entities play out naturally.
IDK this can sometimes come across as really fake
We had this problem in our CoS campaign where there actually was
an old ship’s flag on the rando treasure drop table and our players though this was fakily inserted to match one of the PC’s sailor background. Which, uh, would’ve been kind of a toothless insert not really pulling the weight of undermining the feeling of tangibility that much.
So some kinda transparency of method about this is prob a good idea. IDK. Gonna think some more about this before I try to implement it.