With some unplanned open time gracing me, I've given some more thought about my plight: that of having no time, but still wanting get some gaming in. The Nine Questions system has been a wonderful tool, but still tends to take me a long time to get through. I think I've been able to complete only one entire adventure once in a single three-hour session. Mostly, it's been piecemeal.
I've tinkered with some of the essentials of John's 9Q's several times. The structure it produces is very satisfying. I also like some of the unpredictability of Mythic GME as well. Where the 9Q's often feels like a complete film or play, Mythic can wander it's way and feel more like a novel.
Today I picked up a very free-form GM-less system I've tossed around and tweaked it, and gave it a playtest. I call it the "Chapter System", a very loose and simple set of guidelines to create a novel-like play experience generating something like a chapter...which needn't be fully conclusive, and over time, can lead to some arcs.
This is a simple scene framing plot constructor that creates and connects simple chapter-like arcs.
- Introduce an element. Use some cubes, draw a card, look at a picture. This is either benign, hostile, or completely neutral (but may pop up again later). Create a scene setup and run it.
- Introduce a hostile element or obstacle unrelated to point #1. Create a scene setup and run it, or, if it makes more sense, attach it to the previous scene.
- Introduce a twist of the elements above (substitute elements generated from previous chapters if fitting better). As always, this is a new scene, or attached to the previous one.
- Conclude the chapter when the protagonist either resolves the threat or reaches a critical impasse (unable to proceed until aid or escalation intervenes). As always, this can be a new scene, or attached to the events of those established before. If it ends in an impasse, it forms a cliffhanger.
Anyway, that's it. I tried a quick run through and it took about an hour to write out. While it can eventually lead to a good-length "novel", it is broken into fairly manageable bits. I'll post results later.