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System and other advice for a Survivor campaign 
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:06 am
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Location: Mount Prospect, IL
Post Re: System and other advice for a Survivor campaign
Take some of this - ... r-survival

- and maybe graft the Skills system from D&D 3.5E (because it is OGL and readily available) onto it, or something similar. Cut and paste all of the challenges you can snag from a Survivor wiki, then mix them up in creative ways. Get ahold of a map of an exotic location and drop a grid onto it. You'll need to divide the game into "camp life" and "challenges time" and "tribal council." I would skip the early stages of the game, perhaps summing it up as a way to set the stage, and I'd have NPCs that are alongside the PCs competing for challenges. I think I would stipulate that a PC cannot be voted off until all of the NPCs are seated on the jury. The NPCs would have to be devised to react to certain circumstances and situations, with some built in modifiers for their particular personalities, so that their leanings toward certain PCs for jury votes can be swayed. Each should have some trigger, e.g. one NPC loves his mother, so a good story by a PC regarding his mother during camp life or at final tribal council could go a long way toward winning their vote. You might make each NPC just a series of check boxes in columns with each player name at the top to keep track of how much influence the PC has over them all through the game, at various junctures. Beating someone out of a reward challenge might lose some points with an NPC, as would clearly being responsible for voting them off. Just some thoughts.

As always,
Mark Clover
Creative Mountain Games

Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:33 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:32 pm
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Post Re: System and other advice for a Survivor campaign
While I don't watch TV these days, and haven't seen Survivor (or American Idol or any other "reality show") it does seem that they are rather structured (with the voting-off-the-island every week and such). Borrow from that structure to create a session framework.

Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:07 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:02 pm
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Location: Missoula, MT
Post Re: System and other advice for a Survivor campaign
walkerp wrote:
I'm mulling around the idea of running a mini-campaign (maybe 6-8 sessions) taking place in the filming of a season of Survivor. I haven't fleshed out all the parameters yet, but the basic idea is that things go terribly, terribly wrong right from the beginning and the PCs have to try and survive. How things go wrong, I'm not quite sure, but I'm thinking along the lines of a storm coming in and isolating the cast and crew, a serial killer among the cast & crew, angry natives/revolutionaries targetting cast & crew, evil machinations by desperate producer to create a truly shocking show, etc.

You know... One of the things I'd do with first episode is to have your players actually vote someone off the island in secret near the end of the session. Have a box in another room, have them drop slips into the box one at a time and, when they're done, go grab the box and reveal who got booted.

But... Have it already decided. Fix the ballot. Keep votes in your pocket or something and slip them in instead of the actual votes. You can start off with someone obviously tampering with the results (or... not, depending on your players) and then have shit hit the fan. Now, when things start going wrong you have the tension of the person who was "voted off" maybe taking their revenge on the show. With a serial killer type scenario it might work pretty well. Like... the person is voted off, they go to pack their things while the cast and crew start shutting things down for the night and in the morning the boat's pilot is found dead and/or the boat sinking/destroyed. You could pull on all sorts of twists here. Maybe it's the voted off cast member. Maybe it's a crew member with an axe to grind. Maybe the area isn't as remote as they thought.

If you can kind of create a division between your players and clue the others in on it that'll help too. Like two members stumble across some footage of the other two making plans against them or something.

The tension is all in the story-telling. Don't force-feed it with mechanics but put the emphasis on survival. Do they have enough resources to keep everyone safe until help arrives? Do they have enough food and clean water? If a rift forms how will those individuals/groups act when push comes to shove? Like a situation where things are going from bad to worse and the group finds a loaded firearm of some kind. It'd be locked, but what if another player found the key...?

This sort of thing would work with any system. If you're using Savage Worlds I'd start hitting the characters with Fatigue levels to push the severity of the situations they're in. You could use the madness stuff as well but that's all up to whether or not you want a mechanic for pushing people over the edge.

One Year - Where I attempt to cure (or at least curb) my "Corvus Disorder".
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." -- Frederick Douglass

Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:54 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:41 am
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Post Re: System and other advice for a Survivor campaign
I bought the book based BRP when it came out, but rarely their own opinion, there is no real need, even if the overall evaluation of generic systems. Eventually I sold it to the voids. There is one person in my group, which is part of the same.

m3 ds

Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:49 am
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