Tuesday, 11 August 2009

questing kanban and character development

Blame Justin Achilli and Capuchin Captions at Dice Monkey for linking in my mind kanban and player handout cards. Everyone does quests to achieve items or benefits. Unless the DM has told you exactly what you need, you may not get where you need to go. And how do players learn of prestige/paragon classes/paths/epic destinies or that specific feats or rituals exist?

Unless a DM is kind and prepared enough to give NPCs with relevant abilities and opportunities to meet/share their knowledge, your character has a hard time knowing of such things. Doing so adds to prep time and may lead to conflicting agendas between players. Unless you're willing to collude with players, it's inevitable somebody will lose out.

Some games may not need (or want) that focus/preparation so it's handwaved you learn about such things in downtime or by dice rolls. Nice if you know the books (prestige classes in 3.xE are found in the DMG or other sourcebooks) but some players don't have/want to read them. There may also be a matter of timing - the campaign may have secrets dependent on those classes.

Kanban is a Japanese method of boosting efficiency. You say what you need and it's supplied - the default method uses signs or cards (kanban) that convey what's needed often using graphical notation for example 4E power icons or a picture representing a particular attribute. Even if you don't have killer artwork or a perfect representation, you can just use words.

Godeckyourself earns its recession-proof gaming tag. I've mentioned other card creators - this one doesn't require you to download software and provides ready-made PDFs of your deck and shares others people have made. There are even ready-made quest cards you can adapt for your own game. A tangible reminder can keep your players focussed.

Put them together and you get cards to convey what's needed and how you might get it. The DM controls what cards are handed out and players can choose from those options what's available. Smart players may see routes to their objectives that can spark off adventures and the element of choice is still preserved. And you get to re-use the cards for future games.

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