I think I’ll start off this post with what inspired it. Then I’ll work from there.
Last year, in April, I was laid off from my job. I was an assistant manager at a DVD retail store. I HATED my job and I HATED the company that I was working for. I was miserable all the time and lamented everyday I had to go to that place and see all the simpletons squirming through the mall and into my store to bother me with stupid questions (wow, I’m really bitter)… I couldn’t quit because I have to make a certain wage to pay all my bills and cost of living and all that shit.
Well in April the company decided to close my store, and I was given the option to stay on and be transferred to a busier store with more responsibility and more hours but no increase in pay (lovely), or I could be laid off and accept a severance of 2 ½ weeks pay. I told them I would take the severance.
In all honesty I was frightened because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I knew that I would get unemployment and that I would get the severance, but what if it ran out?! What if I couldn’t find a new job?! What if the new job I got was worse (although I don’t see how that could be entirely possible) than the one I just left?!
Long story short, I ended up being unemployed for 8 months. I was completely broke that entire time, borrowing over $2000.00 from my parents to keep my head afloat. My girlfriend really was awesome and took up the mantle of buying many of the groceries for the house and being really supportive of me and not letting me settle for another shitty job! So.. I would be a total dick if I didn’t get mushy and tell her again how wonderful she is and just how much I appreciate everything she has done or will do for me!
Eventually, in mid-December I was accepted for at a Hospice company as a receptionist/secretary. I was immediately amazed at how great the place and people were there.
I’m still working for the Hospice and still really enjoying what I do. The job keeps me busy, but I work with great people and I am able to also work on role-playing stuff, homework, and do general Mike stuff while away from home.. No not that kind o’ Mike stuff.. perverts..
So some of you may be asking what the point of all this is…
My lay off was a blessing and a curse.. Or you could say a blessing in disguise.
How does it apply to role-playing?
It applies as the possibility for a great story mechanic. It takes some thought on your part and being able to adapt and reroute your premise based on your players actions and reactions to your game and setting.
Put your player’s characters in a situation where you take something away from them or push them to their limits, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Make it seem as though the gods have singled them out and are cursing them, then show it for what it is.. A blessing in disguise.
This may be a bit cliché, but here’s an example off the top of my head:
The group has been conscripted by a King to do his bidding. At first this was great because the group had a stable income, a base of operations, and access to all sorts of things needed for adventuring.
As time goes on though, the group may be required to do things they find questionable, outright challenging their moral code, etc.. they want out.. yet they are trapped because they need the money, they need the support, whatever. Things become more and more miserable for the group.
Eventually something happens that causes the King to snap and the players and him have a falling out. Suddenly the players are on the other side of the fence. They are cut off, on the run, and have no means of support that they were used to.
They may be chased by the Kings hunters, have a bounty placed on their heads, etc. You push them till the players are weary, having fun, but they are, in some way, feeling the pain of their characters.
Then you give them a boon. They find themselves with an underground group wanting to overthrow the corrupt king, and now they have people who know how the king operates and have a working knowledge of castle and staff. Or maybe they enter another kingdom and prove to be valuable to a new more benevolent king/queen.
What do you think?
On a final note:
This morning I was yaking with Chatty and he mentioned he did a similar post years ago. I read through it, pretty good stuff! Take a gander!