Saturday, 31 May 2014

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 in game terms

... And as this relates to gaming...

It shows the wide remit of the setup and also how to narrow things down when moving towards a finale. Buffy would often follow that pattern, getting more focused as the Big Bad and the plan become apparent, and games often do this naturally, when the players figure out a major threat and stop jumping on all available adventure hooks.

Planting MacGuffins in advance in what appear to be standalone MOTW adventures is a time-honoured tradition, and this does it with some left over for next year.

And getting a bit spoilery:

It’s also a good example of building an escalating threat, from the hints of the Clairvoyant and the apparently unconnected Centipede and eye controller to Hydra and Deathlok and super-Garrett.

Deathlok is also a great example of adapting from source material and putting a spin on things to surprise the players. A new character who appears to already have one power set and origin is turned into a fairly close adaptation of an existing character in such a way as to catch the viewers off guard and keep their sympathies with him.

Ward’s heel turn reveal makes him a tricky character in a team-based game after the fact, better suited to a character-conflict type of game like Cortex+ Drama than the rest of the show. He effectively turned NPC, although there was still some doubt which way he’d turn in the finale... having the player of a now-villainous PC around makes it less of a foregone conclusion.

Now, how do you run a game where one of the central PCs is director of an international agency? Tricky, but doable. (Cutting the agency back to bare bones helps, of course.) It depends on a player who can take that role on well.

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