Game As Writing Aid

I purchased an advance order of In A Wicked Age, the new indie game from D. Vincent Baker (designer of Dogs in the Vineyard). I got a PDF of the game, and will have the printed version sent to me when it’s released.

It’s a fantasy story-telling game, owing more to the great Once Upon A Time card game than any RPG. The players and GM deal out cards from an “Oracle” (a specifically-created random adventure element generator with 52 options), and list the characters explicitly stated or implied in the elements drawn. Each player picks one of those characters to play, with the GM playing everyone else. There’s a system for what characters continue into the next chapter, with other players choosing new characters from the new chapter’s Oracle, etc.

Very nifty stuff, all in all.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get a chance to play it….and in fact, I’m not even sure if I need to. The main draw for me was the Oracle concept, which is a BRILLIANT imagination-sparker for writers. A full four-suit Oracle comes with the game, and there are a bunch more online, in various genres, created by fans of the game.

Readers of my game products will know that I’m a sucker for random generators, and these particular generators are not only useful for gaming, but for a writing aid as well.

For example, using the “God Kings of War” Oracle from the original rules:

A demon of rage and avarice, secret power behind a great tyrant’s rule.

A youth or maiden, the reincarnation of a great hero, whose soul remembers glory.

The mutiny and revolt of a prestigious cavalry company.

The arrival of a hundred fearsome warships on an unprepared, prosperous, peaceful coast.

My head starts filling with ideas and connections between those ideas…..

6 Replies to “Game As Writing Aid”

  1. A friend and I were just talking about that possibility in musing about how single player story games would basically be like writing aids after telling him about In A Wicked Age.

    You can also make your own oracles if you’re the type who brainstorms a list of stuff and then has trouble picking and chosing which elements to focus on and which to exclude.

    But it plays great too. You have a bunch of people coming up with characters and connections, it’s really dynamic and fun in the way that RPGs usually are, but really concentrated in that initial phase of setup.

  2. As a game Aide

    I can see using the cards as an aide to adventure creation.

    Hero: So we’re going to save the maiden from the demon.

    Cavalry Captain: The maiden is the demon.

    Hero: I’m starting to hate my life.

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