View Full Version : DM Help Racing events in an otherwise normal campaign

2015-11-23, 10:42 PM
So, I'm about to start a sci-fi campaign (using Alternity rules, though it shouldn't matter) and one of the players, the group's pilot, has expressed an interest in being a race driver. I can easily have him race using the normal vehicle combat rules, somewhat abstracted and condensed, but I'm stumped on how to keep the other players engaged while he throws dice. I've come up with three ideas, none of them without problems:

1) Have them involved with the non-racing aspects. Shouting instructions over the radio, helping with the pits, betting, match fixing, etc. Problem with that is that it'd get repetitive pretty fast, and the others have expressed no interest in getting involved with any of that stuff.
2) Have races in the setting be team affairs, probably using spaceships. Weapons, navigation, sensors, repairs, would all be needed. More interesting, probably, but with mostly the same problems as above.
3) Have him race separate from the others, in one-on-one sessions. Kinda unfair to the others who won't have such an opportunity, would probably become boring with no possibility of the others getting involved.

Any ideas? I'd like to accomodate him if at all possible.

2015-11-24, 04:25 AM
Does it have to be race? Can't it be chase scene in adventure? You know, usual fruit-cart-knocking and such? I mean, yes, he is a race driver, and because he's a race driver he can use his expertise in adventure rather than official races.

2015-11-24, 05:14 AM
What sort of sci fi setting? maybe take the route of a space race/endurance rally or something similar where a full crew are needed rather than a single pilot.
Said entering craft would need all the usual ship staff, navigators for course charting, engineers are needed for potential damage from course hazards (loop around the sigma black hole, get close at your own risk but a major short cut if you do) along with possible special non lethal weaponry designed to disable other craft (engineers required to fix this also) if one or more people are pure combat build.
Probably could string the race out to a couple of sessions thinking about it with such a set up making it truly memorable for everyone.

2015-11-24, 09:30 AM
Make the players have a vested interest in him becoming racing champion. The champion gets a private audience with the king/senator/dictator/whatever (as well as 10000 gold or something). Maybe they need a favor from him, or maybe the dictator is corrupt and they want a chance to get close to him so they can assassinate him.

Meanwhile, while the racer is about to start, have the other players uncover that there is a plot to screw over the upstart hotshot (your racer PC) and possibly blow up his car and him along with it. Some shady underlings of the current champ are setting explosives around the track, and its up to the rest of the party to stop and/or disarm them to avoid calamity for your racer (or maybe the bomb is actually on his car and the have to beat up the enemy to take away the detonator and save him).

As for the races leading up to the championship race, I suppose you'd have to build up to that climax. You cant have enemies plotting to blow him up for every race (at least, not by cheating like the current champ above. If it's battle racing, then you could still have opposing racers try to knock him off the track which would be part of the rules). You'd have to come up with stuff the other PCs could do while he's racing in those qualifying rounds. For instance, they notice that one of the judges has left the table. They could shadow him and find out that there is some race fixing going on behind the scenes, or intimidate him while he's alone into putting your champ into a better seed giving him a better chance to reach the finals... If your PCs aren't averse to participating in their own shady tactics, you could allow them to sabotage the other racers and/or incapacitate their pit crew so they won't have any guidance. Since they're already beating up and possibly killing the other pit crews, they might as well steal their best parts for your own car as well :smalltongue:

The point I'm trying to make is, the races (or sports in general) don't exist in a bubble. There's a whole support team and ecosystem around it (gamblers, pit crews, politicians, referees, even down to the hustlers outside trying to sell you tickets like at a baseball game). You should have your other players participate in one or more of those in some capacity to aid or profit from your racers, and meanwhile give them a decent plot hook which would give them the motivation to see your racer become champion.

2015-11-24, 11:10 AM
Darths & Droids had a race early on in the comic... could be a source of inspiration?

2015-11-24, 01:05 PM
Does he need to race on screen to be a race driver? The game doesn't cover every moment of the PCs lives with on camera action. Let the fact that he's a race driver become important without needing to take time for those scenes, unless they do become relevant to the whole party. Have fans recognize him, rivals slight or sabotage him, sponsors approach him, or warn him not to screw up in public while he does whatever the party is doing.

I've been playing a railroad baron in a weird west game, and I've never done any business on screen, never bought or run a train, built track, supervised employees, but I'm still a railroad baron.

2015-11-30, 06:28 PM
How about making the other players control the opposing racers? That's what I've started doing in 1-player sidequests. Gives everybody something to do, keeps the action flowing, and allows you to focus on narration and roleplaying rather than book keeping.