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OutofCharacter / IsThereAPointToThis

Dragonslayer Thoughts - November 17 2008

Is there a point to this?

The past session ended weirdly for me. Mike logged off near the end of the night with a comment of 'if this is all we are going to do'. I was thinking 'Hey! there is lots going on in this adventure! Pay attention!'. But then again I am not sure that people always think about the background stuff of an adventure - both in a campaign world frame of reference and a meta-gaming frame of reference.

I try to create fun adventures that work on several levels. I have what I think is an interesting meta-gaming twist coming up in the Trade Wars story arc that the group will find out shortly. (I'll try to remember to come back here and tie that in when it happens.) But it also sparked a thought that I could talk about that same point with a previous adventure.

Father Knows Best was a cultural issues adventure bundled inside a traditional 'solve the test' sort of adventure. I talk about why I set up my world this way in the Campaign World page for this site. "There are many cultures and time frames represented and part of the fun is the interactions between these sometimes radically different societal norms." In Father Knows Best I had the players confront some of those issues. The group owed a favor to a Norse cultural leader. His daughter had been fostered to a Greek cultural leader and she was now refusing to come home.

The Norse society in my world is one of equality of the sexes if not always the races. The players had to deal with the problem that a woman from that culture of equality was being told what to do by her father. Then the additional twist of the story was that the daughter had become enamored of Greek culture where the women were held in high regard and pampered. Women do not have a leading role in Greek culture in my world, they are the supporting cast just like much of Greek Legend in our own history.

The group had to reconcile the idea that making a woman do what her father wants in an 'equalization' society when her choice seems to be one of being treated differently. Whose opinion should be supported? To top off this cultural clash I was aided by the fact that in the group of players they were evenly split between men and women and the characters were lead by a female character with a male character owing the debt they were paying.

The adventure's conclusion revolved around the party completed a set of tasks in the tradition of the Labors of Hercules. With the female characters in the role of lead hero. Nicely bringing this all around back full circle.

I tried to show some of the planning involved to pull this off in the comment I made over here for a different set of adventures.

This is what I love about running my game. I can create adventures that work on many different levels. I like to think that they are enjoyed by those who do not look for hidden meanings, and just want to play a game. But for those that like to dig deeper I hope I provide a bit of depth that sparks some interest.