I am continuing my posts about borrowing rules and ideas from the burning games. I recently noticed, that I am not the only one to do so, and I therefore wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. Part of the inspiration comes from here, where the author suggests using various rules from Mouse Guard in his Pathfinder-game – among these are using “Conditions”, which I find particularly interesting and I will sooner or later attempt to use myself.
Another adaption was the Goal-mechanic. This time taken directly from Mouse Guard rather than Burning Empires. It went through a few changes before it ended up in the current form. The reason for the changes is that at first the rule was intended for only one session, but we liked it and we kept it.
In Mouse Guard the patrol receives a mission. Save kidnapped mice from the owl for example, and then each player chooses a personal goal for his character, for example Prove my worth or Defend the honor of the patrol etc.
Two goals for each character
We decided that each player chooses two goals for each episode or session – our format is somewhat episodic (The Wedding on Ice or Trapped a 100 Year Long Night in the Musicians Tower) and often we can play out an episode in one session, at other times we can’t.
One of the goals is ‘a step towards longterm goal that can be accomplished in one session. If the longterm goal is ‘Avenge my family’ or ‘Become a member of secret society’, then the goal could be ‘have Aswaludiel reveal the barons part in my family’s death’ or ‘Threaten Lord Urbaal with blackmail, so he will sponsor the membership’.
These are tactical goals. They give our game direction and they give each player an obvious agenda. They help add focus to our games.
Then there is the other goal. In the campaign we are playing teenage wizards attending The Great School of Magic. We therefore decided, that the other goal would deal with things of importance to teenagers. This is a source of great fun, scheming and intrigues. Goals in this category are things such as “Show off my girlfriend at the countess’ ball”, “Get in a Fight with my Girlfriend”, or “Free the ferrets from the schools lab” (the society the campaign takes place in is not, what many from our world would consider a very ethical society, but at least the characters attempt to make a difference).
In other words:
At the beginning of each session, each player chooses a ‘tactical goal’ and a ‘teenage goal’. We do this together, discussing the goals openly (there are no secrets here), and often help each other with new ideas. Both goals are awarded equally, so both are worth striving for. One pushes the great plots and the other reveals the character’s personality.
As a GM I incorporate the goals in to the events of the session, and sometimes the whole session is focused on these goals – sometimes I get a heads up on a coming goal, most often the goal is quite obvious from the last sessions.
As in Mouse Guard, there is a reward for accomplishing the goal and for trying to accomplish the goal. More about this in the next post.