Comments on 2011-05-05 Tools for a Sandbox Referee

From my replies on Google Buzz: Interesting ideas. Reminds me of Apocalypse World and its “fronts”: You assign everything in the game world that does not belong to the players to a set of fronts, each on one front sheet. Each front has theme (like “hunger”, “revenge”, “disease”) and a separate internal dynamic with projected next events. Each time the group interacts with a part of a front the GM improvises a reaction based on the stuff written on the front sheet and the front’s theme. A front my be an abstract thing only for helping the GM or it may be a concrete game entity like a faction or an arch-enemy.

I should add that in Apocalypse World a front also has a discreet locality and that the themes are tuned to produce emotional involvement. But in another type of play those aspects may be handled differently.

Comparison: A front in AW: A nearby desert may be a front themed “thirst” and contain a rival gang of semi-zombies thirsting for blood and also an underground bunker with nuclear-powered water pumps that drain away the group’s water source. A front in Regular Fantasy Campaign: A nearby swamp is a “decay” themed front with a flesh-decaying disease emanating from a temple-ruin and a tribe of local troglodytes that, under the influence of the disease, turn aggressive and raid surrounding villages.

There is more to fronts mechanically, but I’d have to read that chapter again to say more.

– lior 2011-05-05 12:50 UTC

I just bought AW yesterday because people told me about the “counters”, implicit timers that are forwarded by certain events or “non-events”. It’s simultaneously a timeline and a pacing device. I have to look into those, they seem to be useful.

– Harald 2011-05-06 07:49 UTC

Something similar to counters that I use in my own campaign is a variant of this:

It’s a simple way to make the world alive, to have each faction progress in a natural way...

– Jonas 2011-05-09 10:07 UTC

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