Mister E Missive #5: Interludes
Greetings and salutations, agents. I thought today I’d discuss just how cool Interludes are and how to use them in your Agents of Oblivion game. The new Savage Worlds Deluxe edition provides rules for running interludes for player characters between missions or adventures. The rewards for a complete tale include a Benny or an Adventure Card. But there is so much more to it.
Interludes provide a way for players to truly develop their characters backgrounds, contacts, and important events that helped shape the character’s life. It also gives players some control of the character’s past by providing great NPC ideas for the Director.
In my home games I always run Interludes and make sure to jot down lots of notes on the story told by the player. I file it all for future use. If I need an NPC from the hero’s past to forward a plot line, now I have one that the character already has a history with.
I can hear you now, “But Ed, Oblivion agents are Zeros, they have given up everything and everyone in their past life.” True, but that doesn’t mean an old flame doesn’t happen to spot the agent on the streets of New York one day, or an old enemy learns where the Zero is now and plans a course of revenge.
I went to college and had a friend who graduated a year before I did. I did not know where she went or what she was doing. Three years later I moved 1200 miles to Albuquerque, New Mexico and walked in one day to get a paycheck. There she was sitting behind the desk and handed me the check. These things do happen and make great plot devices.
Here is a sample of one such interlude from my home game. Gabriel, a novice agent had played his first mission (You can play the same mission when the first Zero Sum Report becomes available). Mark, one of my players, pulled a card and it showed that he had to tell a story about a tragedy or misfortune in his past. Here is Gabriel’s story:
“ When I was nine, both my parents were killed. They were missionaries to the jungles of India. My father was a devoted minister and was willing to go anywhere and do anything for his faith. My mother was a wonderful wife and loving mother to me and my little brother, Thomas, who was seven at the time.
I remember we were working on building irrigation for a village when something happened. There was a bad storm, I remember a flash flood, lighting, lots of thunder, the trees being pushed and pulled by the high winds. I remember my mother commenting that something “wasn’t right.” I had tried to sleep in my small room in the wooden home we lived in. There was screaming, and I remember people running. My mother grabbed me and told me to take my brother into the woods and to “not look back.” We ran. Something crashed in the thicket behind us. I fell and slide down a 70 foot drop, and was saved from falling another 1000 feet by a small tree that struck with my belly. I never saw my brother or parents again.
I wandered for days. I don’t remember much after that until Master Taizhing found me and took me to the monastery.”
This was great! I learned how Gabriel became a mystical martial artist, that something had attacked the village and killed lots of people, and that he had a lost brother named Thomas. As a Director, these are all elements I can include in future adventures or as a way to give a twist to a mission that is much more personal and meaningful to the character. It also gives the player a way to control a little about the character and give him some control of NPCs and backstory to be added to the campaign. I awarded an extra Bennie and then gave the other player a chance at an interlude.
Interludes are one of the best of the new innovations to be found in Savage Worlds Deluxe. Try ‘em, you might love ‘em like I do.
Looking to hear from ya’ll. Send me some interludes from your home games to share with other Savage Agents.