I like to combine something dramatic with a splash of humour. In a game like The Dee Sanction, sometimes it’s difficult to not see the funny side of a situation.
The historical view, on a very basic level, feels like Elizabeth’s Court drowned in charlatans and confidence tricksters for much of her reign. John Dee was on the periphery of this; a startling intelligent and well-read man who aspired to certain goals that might be considered dubious.
Compared to Dee, many others posited the possibility of extracting gold and other precious materials from base matter on an almost daily basis, taking the claims to anyone willing to listen. In a Court weighted with debts seeking an easy out, it perhaps isn’t a surprise that these con artists were given a little too much time and attention.
Context aside, starting an adventure interrogating a deranged gong-scourer or following the compass guidance of an eyelash might seem rightly ridiculous. Running Lost in Transition recently, the events swing from the grave to the amusing, dramatic to comic. Death visits on more than one occasion; at one point, it’s difficult to describe the detail, but another leads to strange dark humour.
I think the historical context colours the atmosphere of The Dee Sanction, otherwise, it could rapidly turn into a total grimfest. That’s not to say that as a table you can’t decide to play it totally straight-faced and serious; it’s just that the game itself walks a tightrope between the two because the source material can seem so ludicrous.
(Yes, I know there’s a post on humour later in the month; I’m certain I’ll find something else to talk about!)
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.