December 14, 2010: Check Out The Hook While Pyramid Evolves It
We've gotten some kind words lately about the near-daily "#hook" feature of our Twitter feed. Thanks for the feedback!
For those of you who don't know about them, each #hook is a short adventure idea, plot complication, or twist for an RPG gaming session -- in other words, a plot hook! They're usually systemless (how much system can you cram into 140 characters?), and often tongue-in-cheek. Some #hooks from the past month or so include:
- The heroes acquire a pouch of capsules labeled "instant monsters." Shortly thereafter, it rains.
- Beyond the lands mapped by man, the heroes find the ground and seas marked with a giant recurring hexagonal grid.
- The monsters don't stay dead unless the heroes take photos of the fallen foes. Pics or it didn't happen . . . literally!
For those who like this style of concise hooks, you might want to check out issues from the third volume of Pyramid magazine. Each issue contains "marginalia," with structure similar to the #hook posts, only usually bigger. (And I should know, because I write most of the #hooks and marginalia!) Some examples from recent issues:
- Pyramid #3/20: Infinite Worlds -- As an unusual campaign idea: What if every alternate Earth contains a ". . . with zombies" duplicate? Reich-5 – with zombies. Nottingham – with zombies. United States of Lizardia – with zombies. Homeline . . . with zombies?!
- Pyramid #3/19: Tools of the Trade - Clerics -- Perhaps a deity has told a cleric that he has one or more auras of power, but the god won't tell which one(s)! This can lead to a fair bit of experimentation ("Okay; maybe I can protect you all in battle. Let's attack!") and may lead the heroes to prevail through their own gumption.
- Pyramid #3/18: Space Exloration -- Adventure idea: Enemies of the adventurers accuse them of genocide. Apparently a comet the PCs used or destroyed in a previous adventure was actually occupied! Are the charges true, or is this an elaborate ruse to discredit or imprison the heroes?
- Pyramid #3/17: Modern Exploration -- When adapting items from other sources to use as artifacts, it can be good to obfuscate their purpose, so players can't use their personal knowledge as easily. Sure, the PCs might recognize the purpose of a gun-shaped item, but what about a tapered wand-like stick? Is it a weapon? A scanning device? An antenna?
Of course, Pyramid contains lots of other goodies for gamers, too. Each issue combines meaty articles with quickie insights or ready-to-use bits. If you aren't already a subscriber or haven't picked up individual issues, why not check us out?
-- Steven Marsh