The Sentinels of Justice: Drafting The Now

Hello folks,

This is the next in my series detailing the steps involved in launching a Champions Now game. This one is dedicated to drafting The Now that will serve as the basis for our first session.

I hope the description of my process is of use to somebody. Next time – the play report for Session 1.

All the best,

AJR

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3 responses to “The Sentinels of Justice: Drafting The Now”

  1. Aldo, I quite enjoyed listening to your discussion of preparing the Now for Sentinels of Justice, and I’ll be curious to hear how your thoughts have evolved after using it over multiple sessions.

    Your point about each GM needing to find their own approach to the Now resonated with my recent experiences GMing. In a successful but challenging run on Runequest earlier this year (https://adeptplay.com/2023/05/20/good-bye-glorantha/), I very intentionally modeled my GM prep on Champions Now. I rooted my creative decisions in prep as deeply as I could in locality and visual inspiration. I began with an alphabetized list of NPCs, and the list sprouted stats, details, and momentum as play went on, particularly as I re-typed it and stapled each new version atop the old ones.

    On reflection, I stumbled during the practice of re-working the sheet. Instead of a functional logbook honoring the dynamic situational landscape, I sometimes drifted toward creating a tiny encyclopedia. Even though I was ‘writing my own sourcebook,’ there were several instances where the way I fashioned the Now inhibited rather than facilitated inspiration. In the next game where I’m the GM-player and I decide the game would benefit from a Now or Now-like procedure, I plan to write my prep by hand and try to develop a style better focused on functionality in play.

    Quick question (apologies if this is answered in a video I haven’t watched yet): Does anyone at the table have deep knowledge of the era and/or area of play? Over the last couple of years, I’ve found it rewarding to see how players bring their passions and interests to each game, and how a participant with some kind of specialized knowledge can take on an informal ‘consultant’ role for other players, even (or especially) in the absence of authorities toward the fictional elements in question. For example, one player gets a big Knockback result and asks another player, who knows the area well, if there’s a streetlight they can punch the opponent into.

    • Hi Noah! Thanks for watching and for sharing about your use of The Now. I’m particularly interested in your RuneQuest experience for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been musing on how to approach Now-like prep in other games and idioms. Second, I’ve got RuneQuest 2nd Edition on my bookshelf calling out to me to give it a try. I don’t know when I’ll get to run the game, but I’ll definitely check out your Glorantha-related posts sometime soon.

      As far as having a deep knowledge of 1930s NYC – I can’t say that any of us do. I’m the most familiar with the city, and my wife Lauren and I have a good historical grounding in the era because we’re both historians who teach U.S. history, but none of us are experts in either the place or the time. I knew that setting a Champions Now game sometime other than today and in a city that none of us are intimately familiar with would deprive us of some of what the game has to offer, but it’s what I was called to do, given the reasons I mentioned in my first video.

      However, I did get to experience some of what you’re talking about when I ran a couple of sessions of “Nope” (a Champions game set in present-day Miami, FL) for Ron last year. Seeing Cuban-exile Nope fight Cold War-era mercenaries alongside her Cuban-superagent father, Relampago, in front of Miami’s iconic Freedom Tower was actually pretty powerful (for me, at least) on a number of levels, and using a hexed-up Google Earth image to stage said fight made it even cooler.

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