Ravings of a Textual Deviant � Lunchtime Poll #20: Bait & Switch
You�ve got your character rolled up, a backstory with lots of plot hooks created, and you are perfectly equipped to survive in your environment. Only�you aren�t in your environment. Your GM has dropped you through a wormhole/dimension door/time warp/Stargate, and you are completely unprepared for so much as asking directions to the nearest bathroom-equivalent. From either a player or a GM perspective, discuss the pros and cons of a surprise setting switch.
I love to throw curveballs at players, and as a player, a well thrown curveball gets kudos from me.
Changing the setting completely, though, is a dangerous sort of pitch, to continue the baseball metaphors. In a con setting, where players have expectations and signed up for your con game based on your blurb, it can be actively deadly.
I’ve seen effective use of the revealed setting switch, not at the beginning, but later on in the scenario, or in its denouement. In fact, a couple of the first games I ever played at a convention used this to great effect.
I’ve used this myself in Gwyddbwyll, where the players were not sure just what the rules of the “game” or the entity behind it.
If I am going to drop the players into an unexpected location in a con game, then, perhaps without details as to what the shift will be, I will include that in the description. This way, player expectations are not trashed, and the people who want such a scenario will seek it out.
Thus, Remnant Population. my third Regency game at ACUS this year, WILL take place in Arden. No sudden and unexepected drops into Chaos and a game of politics instead of a snark hunt.