Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Luster Record-Journal: World-Building and Adventure Hooks

Tomorrow starts the actual play portion of the summer Shivewhen campaign. As stated earlier, I'm going to allow the players to guide where the campaign heads once they arrive in town. Based on their character builds, it's looking like this is going to be an investigation-themed campaign, but I want to allow for other possibilities for the game to develop.

One of the ways I intend to both introduce adventure hooks and to build up the unique setting of Shiverwhen is through the local newspaper. Available for a pittance, the Luster Record-Journal is published weekly and contains all the local news, travel advisories, and just plain gossip pertinent to life in Luster. In game design terms, it also provides the illusion of depth, the idea that the world is not a static place awaiting the PCs to decide what to do next. Some of the entries will be mere "fluff" or red herrings, but others may lead to new adventuring avenues or disclose services or allies available to the krew. Below is the first issue, which will be distributed at the game table tomorrow night.
The Luster Record-Journal 
Est. 4136 S.C.Vol. 47; Number 17 
Sabotage Confirmed in Mine Explosion 
The Luster Record-Journal has learned that the explosion which occurred last week at the Cokefire Combine #7 Mine was an act of sabotage and not the accidental detonation of excavation explosives as first reported. Guild-Captain Mortmer Shargborn confirmed the deliberate act during a public appearance outside of the Cokefire Combine offices in the city of Smoke, late Dransday afternoon. The explosion, which occurred during a shift change at the mine, has closed the site’s primary shaft and resulted in damages estimated at twelve-thousand slokens. No workers were killed in the blast, but seven were treated for minor injuries caused by flying debris.  Although no group has assumed responsibility for the sabotage, Tarkelhouse Agency contract-adjunct Freemor Twist has stated he believes the anti-industrial organization known as “The Tommy-Knockers” is behind the destruction. The Record-Journal will continue to cover the Tarkelhouse Agency’s investigation and bring you news as it develops. 
Luster Prepares for 165th Founders’ Day Celebration 
Preparations continue this week for the upcoming Founders’ Day Celebration. Workmen are refurbishing the town park’s bandstand and performing much-needed repairs along Gage Street. Residents are reminded that businesses and civic offices will be closed on Founders’ Day and that the celebration parade begins promptly at 10 o’clock in front of the Maiorhil’s Hall. Floats still requiring approval by the Founders’ Commission should apply for review no later than Gharday. 
Luster Historical Lodge Re-Opens this Week 
Luster’s long-closed Historical Lodge is schedule to open its doors once again, an event much anticipated by local scholars and history-philes. Bookman Aldor Rastson has confirmed that the final repairs of the Lodge are complete, and the repository will be open to visitors in time for the Founders’ Day Celebration. Local residents will recall that the Lodge suffered great damage from a fire that nearly engulfed the prestigious building last season. Although Bookman Rastson has informed this reporter that many of Luster’s old records were destroyed in the fire, a number of historical documents emerged unscathed from the blaze and, thanks to the generous contributions of benefactors, the Lodge will once again continue its mission of the accumulation and preservation of documents, artifacts, and other ephemera of historical significance to Luster and the Superstition Mountains region. 
Travel Warning: Mossies Sighted Near Highridge Turnpike 
Sharp-eyed travelers spotted at least three Mossies moving amongst the trees and scree-piles close to the Highridge Turnpike yesterday, presumably a fam-clan of the creatures looking for sustenance at lower elevations. Travelers intent on journeying along the turnpike are urged to take caution when crossing roadway bridges near the Glitter Freshet, close to where the giants were sighted. Although rarely dangerous to residents, Mossies are known to inadvertently damage structural supports on bridges and other spans, and attacks on humans by hungry specimens have been documented. 
Breakpile’s Repairs and Junk: Transportation repaired, Faded machines bought, and batteries recharged. Smithy work done on premises. #16 Atonement Street. Hours of Operation: 8 to 6 daily; other hours by appointment. 
Audition for New Season Variety Review: Dancers, singers, musicians, and comedic actors are now being auditioned for the upcoming theatrical season’s presentation of Ambleshod’s Cadre of Enticements. For information, see Jekins Ambleshod, Regency Theatre; G/D/K, 12 to 2. 
Artifacts, Documents, and Familiar Relics Sought: Have an interesting heirloom or family document you wish preserved for posterity AND receive ample recompense for? The Luster Historical Lodge seeks just such objects to rebuild its collection. See Bookman Rastson, 37 Straight Run Rd. Office Hours: 10 to 10. Ring bell.


  1. I wanted to print newspapers in a CoC campaign (that never got off the ground, decades ago) to do the same thing.

    And (along with the fluff, and side-adventures) I wanted a couple of stories to be part of a "slow boil"---seemingly unrelated threads that point deep into the centerpiece mystery, once viewed together and in the right context.

    I'd be excited to hear how well it works in your campaign!

    (shaman-sand guy from Metamorphosis Alpha table at NTRPGCon)

  2. I'd love to do "prop" quality newspapers like Chaosium has done for CoC, but I've got to be realistic as to home much time I've got to work with. I think ultimately every article will have some bearing on the setting if not the campaign, and I can pull from this "developed on the fly" material at a later date to flesh out the setting or serve as new adventure ideas.

    Thanks for chiming in, David. I, of course, remember you from our outstanding MA game down in Texas.

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