Impractical Applications (News Travels)

This week, I talked about news and how it travels. It’s been interesting in my gaming career, watching how these sorts of processes work.

My primary game, for instance, has a peculiar sort of duality. The group is, after all, functionally based in the Celestial City, from which they can visit just about anywhere, and from which they can get news on just about anywhere. Large city, yes, but news travels fast and can be acquired easily by those who sense a context but aren’t sure what that context is; unless information is explicitly hidden, I tend to treat most of my NPCs as up on whatever has just happened, and mainly worry about whom the PCs have been sharing information about what with. On the other hand, nowadays they’re visiting all sorts of bizarre corners of the world, in which they rarely run into people who have all the information—which means that as often as not, they’re the news source. (This can be useful—but it does lead to a lot of conversations that begin as or at some point include recaps, and remembering whom the PCs have told what is a bit of a challenge.) Every now and then, they’ll run into someone who is more aware; such people tend to stand out. Here, mostly I use word of mouth, with a little bit of yes/no messaging (or more accurately, solicitation of yes/no messages) and a tiny bit of direct person-to-person messaging. It’s an entire world; it wouldn’t make sense if it didn’t do a little of everything.

News was also an important element of the game in which I originally played Tuyet—though in her case, it was because she considered the spread of news to be one of her favorite tools. She was siccing mobs on her rivals with either rumors or insinuations before we’d even reached the seventh session, and utilizing her family’s firm grip on the rumor mill by the time the game reached the double digits. Then things got crazy, and next thing we knew she wasn’t necessarily being facetious when she explained to someone that she could definitively die one day and be seen halfway across the country the next. Needless to say, she depended on word of mouth, with occasional direct messages to people through their contacts when she needed the word of mouth to be in another city entirely. Though this was also the game in which she had one person she sent messages to by the arrangement of knick-knacks on one of her shelves, by the time we got through the big time-skip; since he could at any time ascertain what this arrangement was no matter where he was, it made an excellent way of leaving a message like “Please come here asap, we need to talk.”

Isn’t communication fascinating?

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