I think one of the earliest iterations of the most recently released adventures — The Gong Scourer’s Baby — happened at Conception in 2014 or 2015. By the time I ran it at Concrete Cow in March 2015, I had run it “at least four times” before and changed the name to ‘The Gongfermor Deception‘—I’m not sure why.
I have absolutely no recollection of what spark led to the development of this adventure, other than some pretty ordinary tropes associated with witchcraft. The adventure has a timeline in the background, which the bad guys aspire to keep—that’s always been true. The player characters have the opportunity to interfere with this timeline if they can. The timeline may be the only bit that has existed from start to finish, though minor changes happened in the last cycle.
As a concept, for me, a timeline works well as the basis for running a game, especially when you plan to improvise up from simple details. That’s always been a handy approach for me. I like to have a set of events, personalities and locations, along with endgame outcomes and goals that should never resolve if the PCs have anything to do with it.
In a much earlier article, I referenced the possibility of using a countdown mechanic. However, I think it could be simpler to use a calendar and clarify that if you travel around London looking for vague clues, you can expect to spend a morning or afternoon doing just that.
It compares well with my current GMing of the Delta Green campaign Impossible Landscapes; to acquire some clues, you must invest a swathe of game time in the search. The outcome will be one piece of information. In that time, you will have sorted through ninety-nine pieces of dross to find that one thing. If you want a clue, your agents will need to work for it—what do you want to do?
That research approach also needs clarity on the who and the where, when, and why. For example, do you assign more than one Agent to a search of the docks? Is there any particular street or establishment that you include—or, indeed, anywhere that you exclude? Does the search occur at night when the neighbourhood clientele will be notably different to early morning or mid-afternoon?
I’m enjoying the process of making the focus and approach of each adventure for The Dee Sanction a little different.
While Ex Libris has a linear path and a map, Window of the Soul had a map with events and no clear direction. Gong Scourer has a hidden course (the timeline) with a web of potential information sources that might be accessible depending on the who, where and when of activity. And, of course, Lost in Translation (in the Core Book) was a mystery site/escape room.
This has also always been true. We’ll see whether I translate other old playtest adventures into new published mysteries and investigations.
This third stretch goal adventure, The Gong Scourer’s Baby, has been released to Kickstarter backers of The Dee Sanction.
It will release to Dweller and higher tier Patreon supporters in a week.
It will release to the public in a couple of weeks through the DriveThruRPG website.
Once all five stretch goal adventures have been gathered together, we’ll see release as a single volume (PDF) on All Rolled Up.