Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Unifying goals for a posse

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Unifying goals for a posse

    I'm about to start a new Deadlands group. But I don't want them to be just a random group of people going here and there because someone pays them like mercenaries where they have a new boss every other week. I want them to have common goals, a reason for staying together and an idea of how they finance their travels.

    I want to leave it up to the players to decide what these are (E.g., I don't want to shoehorn them into being Agents, etc,). But I'm looking for ideas to present my players so they have a wider array of options to inspire them and give them ideas that we maybe wouldn't have thought of. I can always make my adventures fit their theme.

    Ideal would be ideas where one of them is not "the leader" and the others only hired help, as very often that is not very satisfying for the majority of players. But ultimately it is up to my players.

    These are things I thought of so far. Some of them answer some of these questions (E.g., why they are staying together but not how they are financing it, etc.)
    • Family: They all are related somehow
    • Traveling circus: They are some kind of show act that travels together
    • Explorer's Society: They are either members of it or a similar organisation, or they are sent by them to investigate weird occurrences
    • Agency: Some or all of them are agents and are sent to investigate weird occurrences
    • Rich posse member: One of them could be rich and have his own reasons for travelling. The others are paid help
    • Journalism: They are journalists looking for stories
    • Prospectors: They are looking for riches and are traveling all over the place to find fundamentals
    • Bounty hunters: They banded together to hunt outlaws
    Of course, not every adventure will be based on their unifying agenda as they will always stumble upon adventures during their travels in places they are not looking for them. But if they are on their way to e.g. Denver, it would be interesting to know WHY they are traveling there without it being "we heard Denver is a nice city, let's go there".

    What ideas do you have?

    This is a group of 5 players (plus me), BTW. They will all start with Novice characters.
    Last edited by Mootaz; 01-11-2019, 08:39 PM.

  • #2
    You're asking and conflating two different questions here: Why does the individual character adventure? and Why do the characters adventure together?
    Keep those questions separate, because they can have different (and conflicting!?) answers.

    Point to two players and make them declare why they travel together: family, love, friendship, rivalry, long-term betrayal, co-workers, duty, etc. Then do that again and again, until everyone has reasons to be traveling with at least two other posse members, and no one has the same two connections. I came across something similar for Fate, and it's been working really well even when the players need some nudging.
    I had a Texas Ranger being transferred to California, where he got assigned to deduce what Lost Angels was up to. Along the way he met a Shaman and an ex-cultist, both of whom needed to be recruited or shot. The Shaman was fighting evil spirits, investigating a prophecy, and searching for her missing husband (separated along the journey West). The ex-cultist was getting as far as possible from the now-dead town where he grew up, and had a personal hate on for evil magic. When the voodoo priest joined up, he saw a chance for great profit and felt a nudge from the loas to aid these fools. The enlightened samurai was already a Ranger bandsmen, brought in as reinforcements.The amnesiac huckster was too dangerous to leave unsupervised and was looking for his own history - and his dead wife. The sharpshooting country girl was a former love interest of the huckster, and his wife's best friend. The kung fu master was displaced from her inheritance by her evil brother (unbeknownst assisted by the villain) and is seeking powerful, and trustworthy, allies to reclaim her honor, birthright, and future. Etc.
    Lots of connections keeping the characters together, even when one of them was killed, and lots of reasons for them to stick to the main plot even when personal goals got completed.

    Every character is going to have their own goals, and the Marshal should be folding those into the overall plot. A missing spouse is being held captive by one of the major villains, the token for the Test of Worth was part of the magic regalia being used by the villain (genre subversion: the token is not the key item, it's just part of the set and was taken with the key item), all the clues to the character's missing memories point towards the villains and their scheme, the rival / evil relative is being helped by the main villain, being an Agent / Ranger means having to investigate and stop the villain, the villain is less of a concern than the dark history the character is running from, and fighting the villain honors the character's gods. (Those were all pulled from PCs when I ran The Flood.)
    Take those motivations, fold them in, and use them to make the villains personal and hated so the players and characters will keep coming even if they complete their personal goals.


    One related problem that needs addressing - The Loner. Every player, at one point or another, wants to play the "brooding loner". When they start to make any character, ask them why their character is adventuring and why is she working with others. Because both of those will happen in the campaign, so the player needs to be ready to answer those questions - in the character's head if nowhere else. If the answer isn't there then the player needs to rethink the character.

    Good luck! I hope that helps.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

    Comment


    • #3
      I know I'm lumping multiple things together but a lot of the possible answers answer more than one or even all of these questions.
      "Sent by the Agency" answers "why are they going somewhere", "why are they staying together" and "how are they financing it" all together. Other possibilities answer maybe only one and have to be combined with others.

      That "connect to to other characters" from Fate is also something we are doing and it is good for giving characters background and connecting them to the other characters, but it doesn't answer all of my above questions. It would be something to be done in addition.

      With your examples, having only a little information to go by, these don't sound like things that answer my question. Many of these I don't consider sound reasons for staying together. They probably made for a fun group but that sounds like too much of "the characters are staying together because we as players want to play together". Especially that "recruited or shot" is problematic in my opinion and for my group.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mootaz View Post
        With your examples, having only a little information to go by, these don't sound like things that answer my question. Many of these I don't consider sound reasons for staying together. They probably made for a fun group but that sounds like too much of "the characters are staying together because we as players want to play together". Especially that "recruited or shot" is problematic in my opinion and for my group.
        Then you seem to be overlooking the setting-based context that comes with it.
        Texas Rangers take a "case by case" approach to the supernatural, one often abbreviated as "shoot it or recruit it". When they encounter dangerous supernatural things, Rangers either turn it into an asset or kill it. By treating the characters as assets, the Ranger had reason to keep them around and working towards his goal, something the player handled quite well.
        The rest of the posse hung out for reasons of assistance, gratitude, romance, duty, or more than one of those. This worked because their personal goals were part of the overall plot, and the other characters had proven themselves both capable and steadfast allies.

        As for financing, they solved that in character. They started up a shipping and transport company to pay for their travels and provide income for incidental expenses. They tracked down capable captains, provided ships they'd either bought or "confiscated" from pirates, and negotiated several trade relationships during their adventures. Also, there was the ghost writer producing dime novels of their wacky adventures.
        Contract with "sent by the Agency." As a government bureau, the Agency has a limited budget, government oversight, and multiple draws on their limited resources. They aren't financing hired troubleshooters; those folks are contract workers, either being blackmailed and bullied into service or paid a flat fee - at best, the Agency might reimburse certain expenses by non-Agents. If the posse is Agents then things are better. They have a salary, probably a limited mission budget, and can apply for reimbursement of necessary expenses.


        I'm getting the impression that you don't want discussion or ideas, that you're actually after more entries for your generic "list of reasons". If this impression is incorrect then please let me know.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ultimately, I'm looking for entries for my "list of reasons", that's right. But discussion also does this. Your post contained some very good input on how they can finance their travels.
          • Being entrepreneurs and letting other people work for them (shipping & transport company, negotiating trade contracts)
          • Writing novels about their travels
          I know how "shoot or recruit" works with the Texas Rangers. It makes sense in Deadlands, I just don't think it makes sense in uniting a group. It's working together based on threat. You're basically implying that the Ranger could never let the other one walk away. "Behave or I have to kill you". For me, this doesn't create a healthy group atmosphere. If all involved players want that and can deal with that, fine, but then this basically is another "group contract" similar to what I posted above. Instead of "rich guy hired us and we stay together because he pays well" it is "Ranger recruited us and we stay together because of his >persuasion<". This can work as a group, but is not something I would only have as a relation between a few characters. It has to be something the whole group buys into.

          Yes, being only "hired help" of the Agency does not really pay the bills all the time. I more thought about being employees of the Agency. But the Agency would not send 5 Agents somewhere, at least not all the time. So it would probably be at most 2 Agents and the rest as hired help.

          And I think we all know that loot always plays a big part in financing a group. My players won't be counting dollars. Their "main ways of getting money" will be used more as a way to see what kind of lifestyle they are living and how people are reacting to them based on that. Loot will be used to determine any upgrades they want in weapons/gear/etc.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mootaz View Post
            I know how "shoot or recruit" works with the Texas Rangers. It makes sense in Deadlands, I just don't think it makes sense in uniting a group. It's working together based on threat.
            Then you don't understand how it works.

            Recruitment has a lot of subtlety and nuance. Effective allies have to actually be recruited - paid, assisted, cared for, and so forth like a Mass Effect squadmate. And some of those supernatural squadies will earn enough trust to be allowed to wander off on their own. Because they might be dangerous supernaturals but they're also good people.
            Insane Hucksters that throw out rapid fireballs are not going to be trusted on their own - if they can't be persuaded to stick around and fight the good fight (not intimidated, threatened, or coerced) then they'll be shot in the skull and quietly buried. Because that character is too dangerous and irresponsible to let walk away - he'd become the villain of a future story arc.

            Originally posted by Mootaz View Post
            "Behave or I have to kill you". For me, this doesn't create a healthy group atmosphere.
            It does not create a healthy atmosphere, which is why successful characters don't do that. But the responsibility and duty behind that attitude is a complication that needs to be incorporated to the party dissolution.
            And it's not like the Agency is less likely to murder characters after they've done a job. The big difference is the Agency will be using more than one guy for it, and is generally more comfortable with collateral damage.
            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

            Comment

            Working...
            X