30 March 2012

Vote For Adventure: Series 3 Retrospective

That's right, I'm back again with another Vote For Adventure retrospective. I've done them twice before, go take a look.

The Setting

This time around I mandated a generic fantasy setting. I needed something easily digestible after the difficulties with the last one (survival horror). That isn't to say that the voters weren't given input, they were. What I did was allow every voter to submit a word. This word could be whatever they wanted, although I warned against profanity. The idea was that I would compile all of the words and incorporate them into the game in some way. I wasn't able to use all of the words, but some of the themes and motifs of the game came straight out of these words. One of the most important, the color red, was because so many people submitted words that were related to that color.

Character Creation

In S2 we used a % skill system that, while working, turned out to be difficult to use. Players couldn't remember what their odds were and many didn't feel particularly attached to the character. For S3 I switched things up again. This time around I simply introduced the adventure and created the character based on the choices they made in the very first poll. In this case they entered the dungeon by solving a puzzle and were plagued by recurring dreams. I combined those choices with some of the words from the setting to create the character. I also asked some follow up questions as about the character as we progressed through the Series (Male/Female, for example).

The character we ended up with was Kamala, a Vivid/Vibrant human female. A Vivid/Vibrant is a type of spellcaster that uses drains color from the world in order to power their magic. Kamala drains the color red and this element of the world and story was strongly influenced by the word choices from earlier. We also learned a little bit about Kamala from the actions and votes throughout the series. She is a treasure hunter, and acquires of artifacts. She travels far and wide and frequently manipulates emotions with her magic. Kamala is curious and has a bad habit of getting into trouble by poking metaphorical bee's nests.

The character's name, incidentally, was also voted on and supplied by the voters.

I would say that Character Creation was a resounding success for S3. It worked smoothly and everyone became attached to the character. I got a great level of "buy in" and a sense of ownership from the voters. So much so that when it came time to vote on what S4 would be the voters chose to build on to Kamala's story.


This time around I tried GM fiat as the method of resolution. I responded based on the actions chosen by the voters and what I thought made sense. This turned out to be surprisingly popular and was voted in again for S4.

I did feel that I wasn't as cruel as I should have been with my responses as I was worried about truly hurting the character without a dice roll or something to buffer the blame. This is something I intend to improve on for S4. I need to be more impartial about what happens.


I think S3 did really well. Traffic-wise it was probably a little less than S2, but it had a much more regular voter base without the massive swings. I think Kamala attracted a bit of a core following. I also had a lot of fun with this one, even if it started as a rather formulaic dungeon crawl. It grew into so much more than that.

You can read from the beginning of Series 3 right here.


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