Landscapes as threats

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Landscapes as threats
« on: March 23, 2011, 12:47:13 AM »
Meg said elsewhere:
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I find the key to landscape moves is to really think of the landscape as an NPC - what does it want? If it's following it's parts around, what does it do?

Can anyone give me some examples of this in practice? I think this is exactly what I need to make the landscape active, rather than just harsh (which seems sort of randomly punitive: There's a sandstorm, what do you do? ... Argh, quicksand! What do you do?) But I'm having trouble making the idea concrete. What /does/ a desert want, anyway? And what parts does it follow?

Thanks!

-bh

*

Chroma

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Re: Landscapes as threats
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 10:03:12 AM »
One of the landscapes in my current game is "The Sunset", a bar in a holding, it's a Landscape - Maze, threat.

It welcomes people in, it's "exciting and full of life", but acts as a distraction from things that need to be done, particularly with idle folk.  So, it occasionally "hides" NPCs that the PCs want to talk to in a haze of booze or drugs, sometimes the really tough bouncer presents as a guardian, or the bartender reveals a secret to someone.

The *great* thing is, none of the players even consider the place a threat, but it still sits there, festering and waiting and sapping their and the holding's strength.

And now a powerful new drug has appeared on the scene...
"If you get shot enough times, your body will actually build up immunity to bullets. The real trick lies in surviving the first dozen or so..."
-- Pope Nag, RPG.net - UNKNOWN ARMIES

Re: Landscapes as threats
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 10:31:20 AM »
If I had a desert as a Landscape threat, here's what I'd do. Desert has as parts: sand that acts as hands to hide or reveal, or as a belly to consume. Heat mirages that act as eyes and want to show or bar the way, or to offer a guide. An oasis that's a heart, which wants to fiercely protect something or someone, and presents a guardian. Heck the whole list of Landscape moves are great for Deserts. And that's not even getting into the related threats of weird animals and sinkholes (shift, move, rearrange). In your example, with the sandstorm and the quicksand, the sandstorm might want to hide something, bar the way, provide (force) another way. The sandstorm has as parts hands to grab and spin, maybe lustful rough little tongues of wind to tear at clothes and flesh, and a voice of wind to terrify and confuse. The quicksand is a mouth and wants to take something away (consume), or maybe it's dancing feet that shift and rearrange beneath you, teasing. Can the mouth also vomit? Then disgorge/reveal is also an option.

How do I handle landscape threats in my game? Well, there are two major landscapes I'm dealing with. One is the cliffside, which is a greedy lustful bastard and wants things to fall down it and bleed. Alive things are better than dead things, but it's not too picky. It has as parts: roots that are grasping hands, rocks that are gnashing teeth, and a crumbling edge that looks so innocent that would best be correlated to semi-aroused genitals, ready to react at the slightest touch. It acts to shift/move/rearrange whenever it gets a chance. Trips folks, misleads folks walking near the edge, occasionally displays something, if it thinks it can nudge you closer to the edge. Obviously, it's in cahoots with Old One-Eye, who lives down below, and is not a landscape at all.

The trail is currently in play, with bar the way and shift/move/rearrange as it's big moves. It's parts are the flow of the trail, which is a bloodstream, and wants to go forward unceasingly (s/m/r as needed to get around things in it's path); the markers on the path, which are like painted fingernails flashing in the sun, and act to distract or provide another way. Right now, it's torn up, wounded and unhappy. I expect it's going to have to make a move off that.

Another landscape threat I've used was the trees, that were all about hiding stuff. Don't look at us, we're just trees. Move along. Nothing to see here. Certainly not that crazy guy you're looking for who's trying to sabotage things.

Another could be the mines, but that's a little obvious ; disgorge stuff, loose stuff, bar the way.

So yeah, personify, personify, personify. It's the Apocalypse, the maelstrom is mad, and who's to say that cliffside isn't sentient now?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 10:58:53 AM by Margolotte »