Random encounters?

So I read somewhere on the forum that random encounters doesn’t work well in BW and I agree. Since you try to challenge belief and that combat can be super deadly random encounter becomes counerintuitive since it has to MEAN something to the players. In my previous post I mentioned that the campaign im currently running with a friend reached a high political level therefore not a lot of combat/physical action. Not that I dislike either of them but i’m wandering about how to bring back combat without the random encounter. I have a couple idea like using bloody versus or simple martial conflict and balancing them out but I’d like to know if you guys encountered the same issue where the PC are so involved into politics that physical action is lacking…if you’ve encounter that before what strategies did you use to make it meaningful?

I think the answer is “draw it from the situation”. If a situation is charged enough (including Beliefs), there should be plenty of potential physical dangers that you can make happen.

Violence and the threat of violence are common political tools. One of the most amazing things about modern 20th century/21st century first-world democracies is that we can reliably change governments without the fear of violence (in most cases). Even today, it’s not a sure thing.

Take a look at a novel like The Three Musketeers. It’s a political story through and through – a contest between Cardinal Richilieu and the Duke of Buckingham – but violence is frequently the method used to achieve political aims.

In Republican Rome, nearly every reformer of the Populares, from the Gracchi brothers on, was assassinated by the Senate for threatening the basis of their wealth. Julius Caesar was the last in a long line of such reformers. It didn’t take long after the Gracchi brothers were murdered for new reformers like Saturninus to start wielding the power of the mob as a club – though it didn’t save him in the end. When Sulla made himself dictator (with the support of the conservative Senators because Sulla was their hammer against the Senators of the Populares), it led to years of bloodletting as he killed anyone that was an enemy of the conservatives. He came within a hair of having the young Julius Caesar killed just for his family connections (Caesar would, of course, become the greatest champion – or manipulator, take your pick – of the Populares cause.

You can find similar stories in most civilizations if you look.

I can see how delegation becomes the name of the game, but sometimes guardsmen can do nothing to protect their lords from harm. If you and the players are itching for a fight, assassination attempts are always fun. Death is—more often than not—a cardinal threat to achieving one’s political aspirations, and therefore one’s beliefs if they are geared as such.

In our games, physical action trumps social action in all but very, very few cases. You can’t convince the irascible senator to lay down his dagger as he’s plunging toward you with the point of it at your gut.

Another thing. Perhaps you can make it suddenly unpopular for a ruler to lack prowess in combat. The people won’t follow a lounge-chair commander. They need someone who can wield a sword as good as any. It is called a coat of arms for a reason.

All these ideas are great thanks guys. I agree that political skeeming can lead to action per say. I guess I’d already answered my question…:wink:

As for random encounters, yeah, that doesn’t work so well in BW. But complications as a result of failed dice rolls that lead to violent encounters are perfectly appropriate. Use failed rolls to introduce chaos.

Oh! Thats awesome! Thats exactly what i was looking for the missing piece of the puzzle! Thanks Thor.

No sweat! Enjoy. :slight_smile:

Failed Circles tests are so much more fun than random encounters anyway. :slight_smile:

If you’re playing a heavily political game sometimes violence simply isn’t appropriate. The highest pitch of drama maybe words, not swords. That’s why Duel of Wits is as detailed and important as Fight. Not every game is a combat game. Forcing fights where they don’t belong doesn’t improve anything.

But, as others have said, it’s easy to make fights that feel like natural fits. And nothing ratchets up political paranoia, finger-pointing, and fear-mongering like assassins in the night, thuggish ambushes in broad daylight, and bodyguards bribed to walk away at just the wrong moment.