Troikan Bumble-Logic

When running interplanar games reduce time and space to an abstract narrative tool. While the party stays in close spatial and temporal proximity to something, such as a town or an NPC, they will not change. However if the party hasn't seen a memorable NPC (etc.) for suitably long time then change them slightly, add something or take it away, alter their memory of the party (this has the side effect of aiding the forgetful GM by allowing them to claim their misremembering is canon).

Consider: Recurring NPC Shoutpurple, a prominent homeless person keyed in to the local goings on through his close ties with other homeless people. Has endeering delusions of grandeur and always invites the players in for formal tea in his upturned barrel he lives in.

Time has passed, players have either travelled a long way and or forgot about him. When they get back Shoutpurple is in charge of the secret police and heading a furious witch hunt. He still has delusions of grandeur and is incredibly polite to the players. One thing has changed and recontextualizes the others. This is not a transition in his or anyone else's eyes, he always was this.

We're putting on a fake mustache.

When re-shuffling people it's most satisfying to keep it small. Change their name slightly (Shoutpurple is Shoutyellow), or give them a job, have them forget the players, or re-use their image as someone completely different.

With places, push them forwards or back through the timeline, change the name, replace the inhabitants with flump-people.

Keep enough sense to move the game along and not confuse everyone terribly. Build up a catalogue of unique symbolic devices that will help place the players.

Consider: You use pigs as a device on Shoutpurple's secret police badges, they are nicknamed pigs. Pigs can recur as objects of oppression and violence. A person owning a pig could turn out to be the killer all along. Pig-in-boots is a notorious sapient-consumer and diabolist. Undermine the pattern occasionally like we do with the Christian symbolism we use so reflexively.

Have events play themselves out again and again. Consider all the Christian patterns used: death and rebirth, brother killing brother, and other things a more competent writer could tell you. Figure these events out by picking up on something the players respond well to. Maybe they throw Shoutyellow off a roof to end his reign of terror. Have that become a standard way to dispose of tyrants, have them go to a town where that is the standard method of executing shoplifters and so on.

We don't need a plan in mind when placing these narrative devices, just use them. They will either snowball and gather up meaning and weight or they will wither naturally. Using them too deliberately will make the game predictable and possibly eye-rolling. Imagine you put a Jesus analogue in every campaign you run. Yea, like that, don't do it.


This should be easy. Easier than tracking time and places and names would be. When the players decide to return to some interesting place they visited a year ago you don't need to know the exact details of what happened and what happened in the interim, you just need to reacquaint yourself with the feel of it and build something new. If they look up old friends maybe they are exactly as they left them, maybe they are gone, maybe they have changed beyond recognition. And change isn't permanent, they can go back.

Your world is plastic.

Finally, consider the meta-textual possibilities of building your own bank of devices. You end one campaign completely, you and your players start another. You introduce pigs, the players all laugh about that time with the pig where you threw it off the roof. You then either reinforce that or you undermine it and have them reassess it. If you've done well you have a pocket full of these things you can throw out that will communicate in a secret language you and your players have built up. The sense and logic of the world is a step removed from the surface; we are not looking for mundane links between places and things but symbolic. You and your players are magicians.



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