In The Dee Sanction, a clear victory should be rare. Nevertheless, I didn’t want success itself to be rare.
When you’re dealing with the supernatural and dabbling in the occult, you’re already dealing with a grey agenda, murky with heresy. The Agents have their own livelihood and service preservation to consider, facing forces that cannot hope to fully understand, whether commonplace — like the forces and agents of nations — or supernatural — like the Fae, demons, and other creatures born of strange forces.
However, I didn’t want to have the game devolve into an uphill struggle nor did I want to have failure become a barrier to advancement toward some kind of conclusion. Yes, that conclusion might be some pyrrhic outcome, but it’s an achievement nevertheless.
Therefore, we have success or failing forward when you meet a Challenge.
We also have enemies that don’t solely go out of their way to slaughter their opponents, seeking instead to disable them. If the Agents fail to stop an adversary, they survive to face the music and, perhaps, the opportunity to make amends.
The death of characters might not be rare, but pointless losses should be. Every Agent has the opportunity to leave their mark or become part of the ongoing story. The game encourages that one or more players keep a Journal; it might just be their character sheets and adventure notes, or they might consider something more in-depth.
The GM and the table as a whole benefit from the investment in something more making pointless encounters and meaningless conversations with non-player characters rare — there’s the potential for anything to come back later and reveal some hidden depth or return value.
I’m not looking to reinvent wheels or upset the tabletop paradigm (those things are rare), but I hope that The Dee Sanction makes use of a few more interesting ideas and common practices at the tabletop that will make sessions memorable.
Every day during August, I’ll be writing something new on The Dee Sanction and aim to connect the word prompt of the day with the development of the game. Check out the concept, the list and the graphics over at AUTOCRATIK.