So, I’m working on this Rumor system for randomly generating stuff for players to do — arbitrarily determining challenge and difficulty to help take the load off the GM for making these kinds of calls. Bonus points for using a system derived from standard character creation — Rumors have “ability scores” just like PCs do.

A Subplot is a type of Rumor “rolled up” by the players whenever they decide to “split the party.” When there’s a failure to come to a consensus among players about what to do next, the inactive players take up roles in a Subplot.

A Rumor’s scores are as follows:
– Challenge
– Difficulty
– Urgency
– Complexity
– Relevance
– Veracity

The scores are the same for a Subplot — the system is designed to both keep “inactive” players occupied, but give players an outlet for any frustration they might have about some players refusing to compromise for the group.

It’s intended as an alternative to outright PvP.

The dissenting players are allowed their opportunity to dissent by giving the rest of the group a “fair shot” at eliminating the dissenting PCs. A more mature group might use the same system to deliberately challenge themselves, but I’m going to just assume the worst and aim for that instead.

So while the active players set their own objective and whatnot, the inactive players roll up the Subplot’s scores and choose its equivalents to race/class and determining its encounters and plot twists. I’m going to explore possible designs geared toward resolving Rumors/Subplots within a single game session.

If a Subplot could be resolved as easily as a single combat encounter, so much the better. Then you can have a scenario in which two-thirds of the party decides to rest or travel, while one or two players decide to rob an NPC or stay behind.

The “majority” rolls up a Subplot that involves whatever shenanigans the dissenting players want to get up to, including a special “escalation” mechanic to catch them up to the resting or traveling party. The Majority players resolve encounters for the dissenting PCs — it’s in their interest to do so quickly.

But if the Majority is feeling sore with the dissenting PCs for whatever reason, it’s also their option to rake them over the coals.

The important counterpoint to this is that the Minority players stand to gain a lot if they succeed — whatever their objective is, primarily — plus whatever rewards are in store for them should the Majority decide to escalate encounters.