Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Inter-Party Conflict: Nothing Tastes So Sweet!


Roleplaying games are about exploring new depths and emotions, as we have covered on several occasions now; what hasn’t yet been addressed however, is the notion of exploring different moralities. The easiest way to enforce this exploration, is with a box.

A “box”? I hear you ask.

Please, let me explain. In my own ongoing campaign (which meets every Tuesday night to game, and met last night, and thus was the reason I did not post) is set in the 41st Millennium, in the Warhammer 40k setting. For those of you in the know, this is Dark Heresy. In this, my players take the role of Inquisitorial Throne Agents who are tasked with, at the moment, expunging a Feral Ork Weird Boy infestation of the planet Ganf Magna before it attracts an Ork Waaagh into the sector. To do this, they must enlist the forces of the local Planetary Defence Force (PDF), who are currently bogged down in a civil war with a Sanguinary Death Cult lead by a fanatic called Garviel Tharn.

So the party decides to attack the Death Cult to stop the civil war to enlist the aid of the PDF, but inside they are welcomed as heroes of the God Emperor (one of their number is an Adepta Sororitas) and Garviel shows them the source of his power, a reliquary holding a skull fragment from the “Red Angel”. After some thought on this matter, it is exposed that this is actually a highly heretical artifact holding remains of the World Eaters Traitor Legion Primarch, Angron. However, the fanatic leader believes he is doing the work of the God Emperor and causing this civil war to remove a corrupt planetary governor who is a monster to his people.

Enter the party conflict. Naturally the Adepta wants to burn everything to the ground, and half the party sides with her, and (surprisingly) the Psyker wants to settle the situation diplomatically, and attempt to settle a cease fire and then remove the artifact from the planet into Inquisitorial hands.

You would think this would be settled quickly. You would be wrong.

The Joys of Inter-Party Conflict
Inter-Party Conflict enables a GM to literally sit back and plan mid game. This makes it the perfect tool for when you are short of prep-time. Think up a reason why the party might disagree, and then throw it at them, then, whilst they argue, you can plan the next few steps based on what they seem to be leaning towards.

Further, this conflict gives the players a true sense that they affect the world. The outcome of their debate could literally spell doom for thousands (if not millions).

I hope to talk to you again soon,

Ben Scerri