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Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:51 pm
by Rob Lang
I'm currently hammering out the GM section of Version 4 (it's going really well). As Icar is really a sandbox game, I am putting together details of the tools I use to run a game. One of the difficulties of the sandbox game is that it is difficult for the players to dream up goals for themselves. If a player has a feel for the setting, then goals come easily. However, I thought it might be fun to have a series of prompts. Here is the section from the GM chapter:

Group glue and Personal Goals
In a sandbox game it is vital that each of the characters has a personal goal and the group have a motivation for being together. This should really be inspired by the setting and rest of the group but if a player is having trouble thinking up a goal then ask them to choose from each of these steps. Go through twice. This is intentionally not a random roll system because each item has to be chosen to fit with a certain theme.

Personal Goal Builder
Pick Motivation Against someone else
  • Revenge / Broken Heart / Family Betrayal
  • Compensation
  • Answer to a question
  • Stolen object
  • Clash of belief
  • Irrational hatred
Pick desired outcome (numbers match with list above)
  • Target dies
  • Target maimed
  • Target becomes augmented or bionic
  • Target driven insane
  • Target impoverished
  • Target exiled from home
  • Target pays money
  • Target answers question
  • Target returns object
  • Target admits mistake
Pick philosophical leaning of target
  • Humanist
  • Technologist
  • Neutral
Pick gender of target
  • Male
  • Female
Pick role of target
  • Imperial - Colony Council, Imperial Council, Star Enforcer, Star Civilisation (or ridiculously difficult: Star Fleet or Star Sci).
  • Syndicate Roles - Pick a Syndicate and then say whether they are a Boss, Lieutenant or a lowly Operative.
  • Space Craft Crew Member - Captain/Pilot/Gunner/Engineer, give name of Space Craft and its type.
  • General Public - Lawyer, Miner, Builder, Health worker, Engineer etc.
Pick method of offense
  • Target unknowingly offended character
  • Target accidentally offended character and is scared of confrontation
  • Target accidentally offended character and does not care about confrontation
  • Target knowingly offended character and is scared of confrontation
  • Target knowingly offended character and does not care about confrontation
Pick a twist (for GM - do not tell the player!)
  • Target is the wrong person
  • Target is close family member (player should know this)
  • Target is suicidal maniac
  • Target is undercover Imperial Council operative
  • Target has become an Akarakian Missionary
  • Target has crossed the Light Jump Net into Droid Space
Group Glue Examples
  • Characters are long term friends (but their lives have been unremarkable up to this point).
  • Characters are family members
  • Characters are employed by same person (Scavenger Setting)
  • Characters have just been made redundant from same employer
  • Characters refugees from same world, invaded by the Droids


If you have any bright ideas for these sections, please do list them below!

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:13 am
by misterecho
Ohhh, I can see a table "Roll for Tradgedy", has become a classic phrase in our game!

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:07 am
by Rob Lang
"Roll for Tragedy", in this case would that be an additional terrible thing that happened to the character that lead to the goal?

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:09 pm
by misterecho
In a cyberpunk game we played you had to roll for every year after 16. odds was good year even bad. Then you rolled on the good or bad table. On the bad table it went from something like you were in a minor accident and now have a visible scar at the top of the table to awful stuff at the bottom! i.e. A sibling or parent dies. Then we filled in gaps to create personal enemies, asperations or detailed character history.

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:04 am
by Kinslayer
This is a bit different, more elegant perhaps, than the Midian DFRPG method. There's a whole chapter of backgrounds (mix of random and choice) that can offer hooks for characters. Players discussing their characters sometimes find commonality in their backgrounds, perhaps indicating a shared experience. In one of the current games, all of the pc's (save one, and he's the most sociopathic) have an as yet undescribed event in their pasts. The running joke is that the thing that brought them all together is 'that terrible thing you did'.

Belonging to the same organisation can bring the pc's together. This is rather a default assumption in Midian, that all of the group will belong to the same guild. An organisation differs from an employer, as there is a reason you are all there besides getting paid. The organisation could be as close and personal as belonging to the same church, or as loose-knit as trolling the same forum.

Another idea, to borrow from the pilot of Caprica, is that all of the pc's are witnesses to the same tragedy. A variation on this is that they are all survivors instead: they were rescued from the rubble, relatives were killed, etc.

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:11 am
by Rob Lang
Love these ideas, gents! I will add 'guild' or 'syndicate' into the mix too. They could also be together because of a shared belief system. Also, I like the idea of being witness to the same tragedy - more generic than the 'refugees' idea.

MrE - as much as I like random rolling (Icar is mostly random rolls), I think background is too important to the GM for plot traction to take by chance. When sandbox gaming, the background needs to be deliberate.

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:28 am
by misterecho
I was going off on a tangent, I beg your forgiveness sir.

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:43 pm
by randolph
and then there are some of the existing psychotheatrics like criminal/enforcer parents or criminal conections
or explaing some of the results like say the bionic rejection (borged by an amature) or unknown past!

Re: Group Glue and Personal Goals - from the GM Section

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:21 am
by Rob Lang
Another good tip, randolph - duly noted!