The first is an NPC Generator based on principles which Chris McDowall discusses on his blog, and which I will be sharing on my blog within the next week or so and also include as an additional file to the game itself on itch.io.
The NPCs use features such as a descriptive animal (e.g. snake-like, fox-like, etc.), an archetype (e.g. “thief with a heart of gold”, “out of control celebrity”), a voice (e.g. deep, squeeky, nasally), and some unique physical feature (e.g. holding a cane, wearing scruffy clothing, a distinguishing scar).
Here are two examples:
Out of control celebrity
Wearing scruffy clothes
With a squeaky voice
Local community activist
With a distinguishing scar
With a nasally voice
Since Maximum Recursion Depth is nominally set in the real world, this generator is basically compatible with any real world setting, but theoretically could be abstracted to other genres fairly easily.
The subsequent generators are more specific to MRD, and relate to generating Poltergeist Investigations. My hope is that this will both help as a tool for GMs trying to run the game (including myself), but also make it more immediately clear what this setting is about.
The investigation generator has the following features: The poltergeist has some relationship with the client (family member, coworker, partner, etc.), the conflict (e.g. poltergeist is haunting a place or person, lost in the Numberless Courts of Hell, etc.), and the client’s feelings around it (e.g. sees this as tragic, sees this as embarrassing). Here are two examples:
The poltergeist they want investigated is a parent
The poltergeist is going to be reincarnated into something awful
The client feels (reasonably) responsible
The poltergeist they want investigated is a younger sibling who was a recurser, but it is uncertain if they performed their reincarnation ritual in time
The poltergeist is believed to have been reincarnated within the Numberless Courts of Hell (and is now trapped there)
The client sees this as an embarrassment
So here it is in total:
- Generate an NPC using the NPC generator. This is the client.
- The next generator builds the investigation.
- Numberless Court Generator
- Poltergeist Generator
Where I’m hung up on is 3 and 4. I’ve got some decent names for Numberless Courts, such as “The Court of Those Who Succumb Prematurely to Crippling Expectations” or “The Court of the Question Which Must be Unasked”. The problem for me is that these Courts are supposed to be highly thematic. So how do I create a generator with features which can be fully randomized, but don’t undermine the intended theme of the Court? They need to be things which are interesting, but relatively superficial. Then there’s the matter of how to keep that coherent with the poltergeist generator itself, which I haven’t even started yet because it probably doesn’t make sense to do so until after I’ve figured out this problem.
I’m aiming to run my next game in the campaign (formerly one-shot!) tomorrow evening, and I’d like to use these generators to run it.