I’m trying something new. As a GM, I like it when players come up with small contributions to the game. Players like bennies. So I’ve designed and printed out a handful of 3×5 index cards that players can fill out to get bennies. Each one has a template for a new NPC, location, monster or mystery. When a player needs a benny or wants to stockpile one, they can grab a card and add a bit of content to the game that I can make use of immediately or later. When the cards that I put out at the beginning of the session are all gone, so are the free bennies.
I may tweak these as the thrown-together or stolen and mangled templates prove insufficient (in fact I am hoping for some feedback), but for now you can download a PDF of them here.
This feels like an interesting idea, but can you explain what bennies are and how you use them? I’m highly in favorite of player contributions to games, but this sounds very freeform?
Bennies is a generic term for a class of game specific mechanics where players spend points, tokens etc… to either exert narrative control or fudge die rolls a bit.
Okay, I’m familiar with the concept just not the name. But here’s why I was kind of confused: usually I would think of a player creating an NPC or location as something that you’d pay a drama point (or whatever) to do, not get a drama point for doing, which is what I think you’re implying here?
I mean, I usually play in settings where at least half the players in the game are top notch GMs. I know if you offered *me* the opportunity to get myself drama points for generating material for my GM, it would be very tempting to just generate a stream of ideas for the game and build a huge stockpile of drama points.
Especially when generating content for a game is a great way to give yourself advantages, even if it’s just shaping the game to go the way you want it to. Getting awarded a drama point for that would just be the icing on the cake…
Well, I’d say it depends on your group and application. I did suggest a limit on use to avoid it, but I don’t anticipate the kind of abuse you’re worried about from my group. I’m actually not sure it’ll get any use at all. You obviously know your group best though.
Dang it , read the original article several times and somehow missed the line “When the cards that I put out at the beginning of the session are all gone, so are the free bennies” every time. That’s actually kind of brilliant, a limit which encourages everyone who might be interested in contributing to do so.
That actually pushes the idea to something I’m definitely pondering trying. For N players, put out maybe N-1 cards at the beginning… encourage the prospect that everyone else might get one but not you if you don’t jump on it?
Bennies are similar to the Plot Points of Cortex, or Hero Points in Pathfinder, in that they let you exert a more (limited) direct control over the story in places rather than be completely at the mercy of the dice.
I like this idea, and find it intriguing, though I would perhaps be more specific on the type of hook for each card type at times?
For example, for the NPC card I’d suggest specifying major or minor NPC, so you can get the types of NPC you’re looking for, and can avoid winding up with a huge collection of major NPC’s that don’t really “fit” into your campaign. Or for the rumors card, asking for specific rumors concerning a specific event that players recently heard about (or were involved in) would help make the provided rumors more relevant to the campaign and easier to work in without needing to invest a huge level of improv.
I’m glad people clarified that. I was worried that you were handing out amphetamines to your players…
I’m glad people clarified the whole “Bennies” thing. I was worried that you were handing out amphetamines to your players…
Well, I suppose that would probably get them to do a whole lot of prep for me, but I can’t endorse it… officially.
Very cool idea.
For my group, some players would be all over this, and others would never touch the cards.
To get around this, I might add a “sketch a character or scene” card for my artist who doesn’t connect with words well and a “tell a joke that is going around our current setting” card for my jokester.
Any in-game sketch would be a fine thing to take as a contribution, that’s a great addition!
IMO it’s okay to have players who aren’t interested in doing this. I think making it even sort of vaguely mandatory would greatly dampen my enthusiasm for it.
I pretty munch all games I run I offer a bennies for world development system. Any time a character writes background, journals for their character, draws pictures, writes a song based on the game (it has happened three time) , or helps build the world I reward them.