Zhilin Campaign Journal #7: The Power of Ambiguity

We had another game session this week! Huzzah! Adulting and scheduling was a royal pain, but we eventually made it work– or so we thought. And yet, one of our players had to back out a few days before the session due to a work-related event. Sigh.

Such is life as an adult gamer, which is essentially what I told him. (We’ve since drawn another line in the sand for a June game session, so we’ll see how that goes.) But as I was planning the session, I came across some ambiguity I wanted to toy with. So the conflict between a concrete detail like the session date vs. an ambiguous detail like a figure yet to appear to the PCs in-game, was intriguing.

Let me explain. (And I will do a session summary next week across a post or three to explain how this came into play.)

In my last post, you saw how I used one of the Insta-NPCs products to come up with one of the Goon members they would meet. This guard is watching the sewer entrance the PCs would use to enter the world below the East Quarter of Zhilin as they search for the missing girl. And it will be the first time the party has encountered one of these gang members directly, so it would set the stage for everything to come.

When I rolled this NPC up, I rolled “Gender: Undetermined” — and though the dice table said “undetermined” I was still leaning towards male at the time. Turned out I went female when they actually encountered her. đŸ™‚

That one little undetermined fact provided some entertaining interplay between players and GM as one of them assumed she was male and she took offense. She never gave her name, in fact. And though she never really stood in the PC’s way — after all, they are representing the Zhilin City Guard by wearing the uniform — she only answered the questions she was given and chose not to elaborate.

Later on, when the party met with the head of the Goon gang, they discovered an interesting fact. The gate guard in the world above was, in fact, his daughter.

BOOM! That little bit of ambiguity and play during the session led to some connections that may come into play later.

Just like Hannibal from the A-TEAM, I love it when a plan comes together.

More to come!

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