Maybe it’s just the people with whom I play, but it’s been a real struggle to get this Cabal game going. It’s been at least a month and a half since we made characters. The cast consists of a half-demon with raven aspects and a burglar bonded with some kind of astral entity from the Vault of Lost Things. Due to various family and work commitments, we haven’t been able to get together since March, at least. It’s been more than a little frustrating, in all honesty.
The good news is it gave me plenty of time to think about the background for this campaign and how I want to blend Cabal with the Madness Dossier mini-setting from GURPS Horror in a campaign framework named Broken Spokes. To that end, I decided to use Uncle Bear’s Ten Foot Wiki as my documentation tool. I’ll get into the details of that in a future post, but for now suffice to say it’s changed how I write and I haven’t yet decided if I like this way better than sitting down with a fresh notebook page or a plain word processor file.
The wiki model certainly makes it easy to leap from topic to topic. Whenever a proper noun comes up, I put it in double brackets, which turns it into a link. That link either leads to a piece of information I’ve already written, or it’s the means by which I create the information. This is great because it supports stream of consciousness creation. The drawback, which I only realized this weekend when I thought about the characters the players created, is it makes it really easy to get away from what’s important.
Background information is well and good, but it never has the same level of importance to players as it does to the person who wrote it. The thing I want to do differently with Broken Spokes, which I pretty spectacularly failed to achieve in the past even when I tried, as in Mage: The Suppressed Transmission and Paragons of Freedom, is actually use the hooks the players give me. It’s an obstacle I have yet to beat. I hope that if I do it right this time, GMing will feel less like inventing a new adventure each week and more like just rolling with what the players want to do, because they’re interested and emotionally invested in something they created themselves, rather than being presented with an obscured, but already full canvas by a self-satisfied GM.
I’ve got some good hooks, too. The half-demon is ripe with potential as a plausibly deniable agent for the infernal hierarchy — just the existence of which gave me a startling number of ideas for how they fit into the cosmology of Cabal. And the cat burglar’s Vault of Lost Things, well, I can’t get into that right now, but it’s a very exciting concept to play with in conjunction with material pulled from Madness Dossier. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.