Frameworks in tremulus

This past weekend, I worked on refining frameworks for tremulus. Frameworks enable you, as the Keeper, to build a complete structure for you and your friends to tell your own story. Allow me to explain a bit. Frameworks consist of hazards which are made up of threads which have both a linchpin and a texture. No. I’m not doing alien speak. Hazards are all the elements of the story which are at odds with the characters and/or have their own end goals. Hazards are linked together to form a thread. The number of hazards in a thread can vary wildly. Three or four seem to be more than ideal. A thread has a linchpin (which is the central hazard) and a texture (which defines what kind of story the thread wants to tell). On the simplest level, a framework can have one thread. There can be more than one framework in a session (especially one angled towards a longer/larger story space) and they can even be combined into a cat’s cradle (wherein the frameworks are interlinked and bound together by a shared linchpin).

Hazards are defined by their general category and subtype. This gives a quick and easy tag to telling you what a particular hazard is all about, what drives them, and tells you what kind of moves they make. For example, an elder hazard can be a collector which means “someone who likes to collect things” and can do certain moves common to all elders. You’d notate that as a parenthetical behind the person’s name. Jeff Johnson (collector). This easily tells us a lot about him and takes up little space. Throw together a few more, such as a weird hazard and a landscape hazard and identify them. We’ll say the weird hazard is an old cane (megalomaniac) and the landscape hazard is the local asylum (prison). Next, we choose a linchpin. Let’s say, the old cane is the linchpin. That’s a shorthand way of saying “the old cane is the central hazard of this thread and everything is revolving, ultimately, around it”. Finally, we give the thread a texture. A texture is very important. A texture is pretty much the central theme of the thread and is a powerful component of the framework.

So, we have Jack Johnson (collector), Blackwell Asylum (prison), and the old cane* (megalomaniac) as the thread. (The asterisk, by the by, denotes the linchpin.) If we choose a texture of pursuit, our framework will be far different than if we select one of revenge. Let’s go with a texture of pursuit.

Now, we look at all this through a cracked lens. The old cane is weird, so it has some type of power attached to it. Let’s say it belonged to an old politician from upstate, Franklin Jenkins in 1898, and it belonged to Jack Johnson, until only recently. He lost it in a poker game with Doctor Weathering who oversees Blackwell Asylum. The cane has changed him and the Blackwell Asylum has grown much darker of late as old Jenkin’s spirit, still inhabiting the cane, is exerting his influence over the good doctor. However, as this is about pursuit, (remember the thread’s texture?), the cane does not long stay in anyone’s hands. At least that’s our thoughts.

Woah. We don’t want to tell the story. Remember? We want it to unfold in play.

That’s where we formalize the framework. And we’ll pick up this particular thread when we next discuss tremulus.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!











2 Notes on, Frameworks in tremulus

  1. This actually sounds really cool and I’m diggin the terminology of Hazard, Thread, and Linchpin but the Hazard part is confusing me. Hazard denotes something dangerous but Hazards tend to be stagnant things that don’t move but wait for you to harm you. Quicksand, avalanche, crumbling ledge that must be traversed. Is this the idea because the game is waiting for us to unveil them in the story so they can cause the characters harm? If not I’m curious to the idea’s behind it.

  2. Wow. This is seriously cool! This is a very different take on Cthulhu gaming. It’s traditionally been about solving mysteries (and then dying or going insane) but in an open game, where the players all already know (or discover at the same time) the truth of the mystery…. it’s a whole different experience.

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