All the best cons require a team. I mean, just look at Leverage. No one of the characters could have pulled off the heists they did without help from the others. Same with Ocean’s 11 and its sequels, and Ocean’s 8 (which needs a sequel yesterday please and thank you).
Right now I’m running a D&D campaign that’s designed to be a heist game as they sail the stars in their magical boat. (Think Spelljammer, but with more imperialistic zebrafolk empires and silly corporation names.) It’s a fun way to think about structuring a campaign, and I think it’s going to be useful, especially given that our play time is pretty darn short for a 5E D&D game at 2 hours every other week.
The trick, though, is going to be keeping coming up with interesting heists. That’s where I’m going to bring my own team in. By which I mean the players. To design heists, instead of trying to do it completely on my own, I’m going to have the players help me out by coming up with prompts. This also gives me an indication of what they would like to see, and makes sure I don’t just run the same heist in slightly different clothing over and over again.
However, I also don’t want to give my players too much work. After all, if I do that, how will I crush myself under the weight of my own self-expectations? Ha. Haha… Anyway. So the plan right now is to send each of them a single question related to the structure or goals of the heist, with multiple choice answers (and an “other” answer if they’re feeling creative or passionate about something in particular that round). By sending them each a single question, I’m hoping I won’t create expectations for the heist as a whole. And by keeping it primarily multiple-choice, I want to allow for players who are busy or who have trouble doing improvised writing to contribute just as much as the players who would send me a twenty-page backstory at the slightest provocation.
Here’s the questions (without their answers, in case my players are reading) I’m sending out this first time around:
- Who is the team targeting this time? (faction)
- What are we trying to score this heist? (primary reward)
- Why did we take this job? (what’s our motivation?)
- What sort of hazards are we likely to face on this job? (fun dangers!)
- What sort of location are we hitting? (location type)
I’m looking forward to getting their answers! I hope this works out well for everyone. I think it has the potential to be a lot of fun, and is a nice way to democratize some of the scenario building and plot without giving away the whole thing. Plus, it lets us do the “planning” section of a heist at least partially between sessions, which seems like a good idea given our short run time.
What do you think? Do you ever do anything like this in your games?