August 21st, 2004


On the Nature of Secrets

I was reading a few of the old Suppressed Transmissions that Ken Hite writes for Pyramid, and they got me thinking on the best way to delineate conspiracy in a roleplaying setting. Fortunately, the articles not only demonstrate a whole slew of ideas that can be wound into a conspiracy/secret history setting, there's enough advice and meta-columns to assist with creating one's own grouping. So, I figured I'd combine some of that advice with some other random shit kicking around in my head and work out once and for all what's going on with the groups and conspiracies in this Deus Ex game.

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On the Nature of Secrets 2

Pentagrams are nice fully-connected networks. That's why they're good for high-level outlines of conspiracies. You have five rough groups and a rough idea of the state of affairs between all of them. When designing a setting during the early days, that's all you need. Too much complexity while the players are finding their feet with the tone of the game risks information overload and frustrating players. And frustrated players turn nasty quickly. Once the game gets started, the pentagram is too simple and it's time to take it down to the next level.

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