RPGaDay: Favourite revolutionary game mechanic

On August 25th, the topic of the day is my favourite revolutionary game mechanic. Game designers have thought up many new fascinating game mechanics over the decades. My favourite one is the leading questions which were first pointed out to me in Dread by  Epidiah Ravachol and Nathaniel Barmore.

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You ask a leading question in various different ways. In Dread, you will ask those questions during character creation. They help establish a skeleton of the scenario and permits players to fill in the details. I find it powerful as you easily get buy-in from the players as their answers contribute to the world or scenario you are playing.

I’ve seen leading questions used in the campaign of Night Witches by Jason Morningstar. In each duty station, the group gets a list of leading questions which helps form their current environment. I found it useful to bring familiarity of the region to the group. Instead of having exposition, you get the group think up ideas to fit in a certain situation. A player gets attached to their ideas and thus seeing in play forms a link.

In Microscope by Ben Robbins, you use leading questions to frame scenes in your history. You’ve already shaped the situation and now the group plays through a scene with the goal is the answer to the leading question. Instead of having a sentence as a goal, you have a question. Many of us are curious and dislike an unanswered question and thus the answer to the leading question is a great goal to strive for.

While playing Headspace by Mark Richardson, you get to ask a leading question while exploring a flashback scene. I managed to alter our mission by asking one question. Our widowed pilot had lost his wedding ring in a previous scene. His flashback was about his wife. When I got to ask a question, I asked “What is more important, getting your wedding ring back or finishing our mission?” His answer shaped the rest of the session.

In Dungeon World by Sage LaTorra & Adam Koebel., I see leading questions done differently through bonds. You see regular leading questions too. With bonds, you have a sentence with blank spots which the player fills with another PC’s name. I see this develop a discussion between both players on how the band formed.

As you see, I find leading question very versatile in games. They are easy to adapt and inspire cooperation within the group. I find the strongest leading question are open over closed. An open question had lots of details to game over just a simple yes or no. 

What is your favourite revolutionary game mechanic? How is it applied in your games?

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