Giant Boy and I are heading up to the Dallas/Fort Worth area near the end of July for Texicon 2012. I’m running Metro Gnomes, a post-apocalyptic survival horror adventure using Dyson Logos’s inspired Geodesic Gnomes RPG.
When planning a 4-hour convention event, one of my big concerns is fully using that 4-hour block of time. Most people attending a convention have shelled out money, and part of what they’ve paid for is being entertained by me, each other, and the game for 4 hours. Also, I love experimenting with new ideas at conventions. I get plenty of Pathfinder with my regular gaming group. Conventions are a great place to try new things.
So, I’m trying two new things with Metro Gnomes. (New to me at least, that is.) First is the game itself. I’ve never played Geodesic Gnomes. I’ve never run a game of it for anyone. Tackling a new system, even one as rules light as Geodesic Gnomes, presents the sort of challenge that lets me make use of my teacher skills. I’m not only having to learn new material; I’m having to do so while preparing to present that material to others. Creating the pre-generated characters, player hand-outs, et cetera, is almost like working on a lesson plan.
Who says teachers get the summer off?
Also, I want to use a circular narrative structure for Metro Gnomes. Check out the diagram to the right. A prologue, four acts, and an epilogue comprise the adventure. The players will be able to play through all four acts in whatever order they want within the 4-hour event. My major design goal for Metro Gnomes is that it be pretty much the exact opposite of the typical, linear adventure.
In that sort of adventure, Metro Gnomes would flow from prologue to acts one through four (in that order) and end with the epilogue. With a circular plot structure, Metro Gnomes starts with the prologue and ends with the epilogue, but the order in which each act occurs is entirely up to the players.
The challenge with the circular structure is to ensure not only that the players have freedom of movement within the plot, but also that they players understand their choices. The pre-gen PCs, the prologue, and each of the four acts must all contain carrots and sticks to motivate the players to move from act to act.
I’ve still got a bit of work to do on Metro Gnomes, but I think I’ve got a solid handle on the basic structure. I can hardly wait to see the end result!