james day’s post on DW one-shots below got me thinking: What would be some good concepts for a procedural/episodic…

james day’s post on DW one-shots below got me thinking: What would be some good concepts for a procedural/episodic…

james day’s post on DW one-shots below got me thinking: What would be some good concepts for a procedural/episodic DW game?

I’m envisioning a game in which:

– every scenario could be wrapped up quickly (1-2 sessions)

– every PC can be assumed to be part of “the team” from the get go

– you don’t have to establish motive or why the PCs would be involved; that’s assumed by the nature of the concept

– PCs can swap in and out easily, without having to explain away why they aren’t here for this “episode.”

Like the better serials, certain “episodes” could and should reveal a larger overarching plot and events from one episode should have impact on subsequent ones (even if the same PCs aren’t there).


24 thoughts on “james day’s post on DW one-shots below got me thinking: What would be some good concepts for a procedural/episodic…”

  1. Example: 

    Silver Shields: PCs are part of an ancient order of badasses who go from steading to steading ensuring the safety of civilization and keeping the forces of Chaos at bay. Their position and authority is generally acknowledged by nobility and commoner, but they have no real power other than what they bring to bear themselves. 

    Episodes involve rolling into a new steading, finding out what insidious forces of Chaos are threatening the town (from within or without), and dealing with it.  The problems might be subtle (a corrupt noble abusing his power and driving the people to rebel) or obvious (a meteor strike is mutating folks out at the old well, and turning them into literal Agents of Chaos). 

    How do you deal with these situations? What is better for civilization: a petty tyrant or an unruly mob?  Will you kill an innocent to save a town?  Will you sacrifice a town to save a civilization?

    (Yes, this is a high fantasy version of Dogs in the Vineyard.)

  2. I’m thinking about creating a campaign of pre-modern Ghostbusters. Basically going around capturing/destroying ghosts and undead, but using observation and investigation to know exactly what kind of monsters they’re dealing with.

  3. How about a medieval post-apocalypse? The known world has been wiped out by a massive flood, and the last remnants of humanity/elfkind/dwarfkind have set sail from their sinking continent. They land upon a wholly unknown land, and make a new settlement. The PCs are explorers and troubleshooters against the great unknown that stretches before them.

    You can also have other factions landing on the new continent elsewhere, if you’d like a known foe to go along with the unknown.

  4. M.Y.T.H. Inc. (credit to Robert Aspirin) 

    Stands for Mystical Young Troubleshooting Heroes. No job too dirty, for the right price. The team is set up in an interplanar bazaar and known amongst the rough-and-tumble of the multiverse as “heroes” for hire. Each week some new patron has a job for them, whether it’s a demonic mobster wants an escort for his human girlfriend to the material plane, or a wizard’s apprentice seeking revenge on his former master by stealing his staff of power. Fairly easy to let people drop in and out Superfriends style – whoever happens to be at the Hall of Justice that week takes the job. Most of the adventures start media res; assume Ms. Moneypenny handles negotiations and accounting and they just do the wet work. Maybe they have a “Q” that gives them mission specific gear, like a one-shot flame retardant cloak or what have you. Lighthearted and purposefully lampoons tropes a la Pratchett, Aspirin, and Gaiman.

  5. Fantasy X Files / Warehouse 13 / SCP Foundation. The heroes are members of a secret society whose purpose is to track down dangerous forbidden objects, creatures and concepts and lock them away for the safety of the world. PCs can swap in and out because the society has enough missions and members to have more than one retrieval going on at once. Metaplots abound about how these discrete events tie together, who or what’s manipulating and creating the objects in the first place, and have you noticed that objects are going missing from the archives…

  6. Adventures In Spacetime: For some reason The players are unstuck in time and whenever they stop something bad seems to be happening. Now this could be two ways, either those people just materilise or they actually get transported into different people’s bodies. Could mean that you have a more fantastical/sci-fi villains.

  7. The core concepts of the idea are very similar with what I’m attempting with Luncheon World (part of Pirate World, draft out soon!): 30 minute adventures that you begin, play and wrap up while stuffing a sandwich in your mouth. The core stuff I’ve found to be important:

    * cut setup to two mins, max. via:

    1. DW Playbooks are already excellent for a quick setup, but shortened versions (i.e. one move, pre-gen stats) are even quicker. 

    2. Don’t create a world. That can come later. Instead, starting questions focus on creating a single location. Basically, where are we, what’s it like and why are we here, then begin!

    3. All characters know each other via a core group. No nonsense, but allow for development later.

    4. GM more focused! Don’t “show signs of an approaching threat”: instead threats are already here, in the characters’ faces and (preferably) throwing them into walls. What do they do? Choices, losses, danger should all be immediate.

    5. When you your sandwich, do end of session. Even (especially) if it’s a cliffhanger! 

    There’s more to it (e.g. in the PBP stuff the GM really has to think much more dangerously), but that’s the core that helps keep play quick!

    All the party ideas above are really pretty cool 🙂

  8. Gypsy clans.  There’s always a relative who’s in trouble, or who knows of a good opportunity.

    This might free you up to run different kinds of scenarios depending on which PCs show up, tailoring it to the current party.  Yeah, maybe this week we’re hunting down a monster plaguing the camp of Papa Lel, but next week Cousin Kalo found us a sweet little job in Big City ‘recovering’ the Gnometese Falcon from a wealthy merchant.  Last week we helped Aunt Leondra on an escort job through a goblin-infested swamp, where Alafair found that map.  You know the next time Alafair is available, we’re following that map.

  9. In the Stacks (based on the Scott Lynch short story):  PCs are librarians in the Great Library.  The Great Library is an enormous structure, repository for every grimoire and spellbook collected from a dozen worlds, the greatest repository of arcane knowledge in the multiverse. Students and scholars at the great University rely heavily on this singular resource. 

    But it turns out you can’t put that much magical knowledge in the same place without side effects.  The interior of the library has become warped, dangerous, arguably sentient. Strange magical creatures and living spell effects have taken up residence. The stacks shift and turn in on themselves.  It’s never the same place twice.

    PCs are librarians, the elect few who brave the stacks to retrieve specific volumes at the request of students and professors, and who then return the books to their rightful place.  Homing spells lead them to where they need to go, but do little to warn them of the dangers waiting for them.

    Typical adventures consistent of excursions into the stacks to pick up and return books, but might also include:

     – “Field trips” where they must escort students in and out (so as to give them an appreciation of the work done by librarians for their benefit)

     – Search and rescue missions, to find other librarians who’ve gone missing

     – Purges, to cleanse the stacks of a danger that’s grown too powerful

     – Collections, going out into the wider world to acquire a new book for the collection (or to get back a volume that’s gone missing)

     – Hunting parties:  occasionally something gets out into the wider world that should have stayed in the library (knowledge, a creature, a book) and the librarians have to hunt it down.

    Overarching themes could include growing powers in the stacks, dangerously ambitious students or professors, University politics, interdimensional/interworld culture clashes, etc.

    Dammit. Now I want to write up a mini-hack for this.

  10. !!!

    Omigosh, Google tells me that is totally based on The Librarian movie series! That is easily the second best thing I’ve been made aware of today! 😀

  11. Plumbers.

    Central plumbing has made it to the great fantasy city.

    But there’s nasties down in the sewers. So it takes an intrepid band of plumbers to go clear that drain, build that drainage bypass, install the duke’s privy, etc etc.

  12. Journey on a perilous and mysterious journey through monsters and traps to defeat a terrifying and overwhelming foe, up to you what it is, with the promise of a great reward with the vanquished foe

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