[i]All winter, our heroes had been hunting down the smuggler Karthos, the villain who had been supplying the goblins underneath the city of Katarren with stolen weapons and armor. At long last he was found, holed up in a goblin warren two days north of the city. The criminal was slain, justice dealt.
In a search of Karthos’ quarters, they came upon his journal. They discovered that he had been supplying the goblins for a planned goblin uprising sometime in the future. Also that he had a mysterious benefactor who had been helping him.
GM: I’m going to give you an interesting option here, guys. If you want – it is only an option – you can make a Read test to declare one other thing you discovered in Karthos’ journal. Make a declaration, just as if you had tested a Wise. If you succeed, whatever your intent was is exactly what you read. If you fail, you discover something else of my choosing.
Of course the players took the bait.
They declared their intent: Written in the smuggler’s journal is a date and place for an upcoming planned meeting between Karthos and his benefactor.
I declared my consequence of failure: The date of the planned goblin uprising in Katarren is TODAY.
I set the Ob at 3. It’s not all that hard to read a book, after all.
They mustered 7 dice. They rolled ALL ONES. Katarren burned.[/i]
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This is how I’ve been using the Read skill in my campaign. The above scenario played out earlier this spring. It radically changed the campaign setting, and helped spring the story off in an entirely new direction. It was great. The Read skill has come up a couple more times since, and the results are always fun, no matter who wins the test.
I’ve been thinking on this lately. This may or may not be an officially recognized implementation of the Read skill (might even be a Spark, actually). But it is a good way to use Read. In play, it works out better than Wises, actually. It gives the players free reign to declare anything that might make sense to be written in a book. Likewise for the GM. It is an ultimate plot-moverer.
I’ve been saving it primarily for journals found after “boss battles”, at the end of or nearing the climax of a large campaign arc. It’s kind of cheesy, but it makes for a great way to keep the narrative flowing, providing great jumping-off points for new stories or interesting ways to wrap up existing ones. Sometimes both.
Has anybody else ever used the Read skill in this manner? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!