Serial Sessions in DayTrippers
 


The DayTrippers RPG is designed for episodic, surreal science fiction play.  The GM's job over the course of a session involves tracking time and modulating tension in order to produce "short stories" or "TV episodes" with their own internally-satisfying narrative arcs: beginnings, middles, and ends.  And usually this is exactly what you get: a free-wheeling "monster of the week" campaign (except it's more like "alien planet or otherworldly dimension of the week"), consisting of fairly self-contained adventure episodes.

But not always.

Players who focus more on "serial" play than "episodic" play may sometimes pursue plotlines on Home Earth which drastically limit the opportunities for free-wheeling gonzo worldbuilding.  This is a signal that you need to switch gears and run a different sort of campaign for a while.  Don't freak out: this is actually a great opportunity.

While the general intention and "flavor" of DayTrippers is loose and episodic, sometimes these things happen: a mission leaves behind a nagging question, and that nagging question becomes the throughline of one or more additional sessions, all Earth-bound, and often investigative (e.g., who exactly was the money guy who funded the exploitation of the planet Zigzosh?", or "Who are those dudes in black suits who keep following us?")

Granted, these sessions may lack the other-worldliness of SlipSpace travel, but on the other hand, due to the limited weirdness in the setting itself (aside from the coolness of 22nd-century technology*), these "serial sessions" give you a chance to focus on the inner worlds of the PCs themselves; their home lives, their satellite NPCs, their histories, and their life in general.  In other words, this is a great opportunity for slow-paced, high-bleed, roleplay; a close view of the contents of their heads, and you can find a ton of great stuff in there.

Probing into the PCs' lives on Earth provides opportunities for depth and character development, and these sessions can become the sources of whole new LifeShapers.  But in addition it often pays off bigtime later on, when you have a chance to incorporate it back into the fiction as a recurring theme or a dilemma in the character's life.  When that happens, the surreal weirdness suddenly takes on a personal dimension; we know exactly why this character is in this story, and the effect can be chilling.

So in summation, sometimes you'll be looking at a fairly linear shot at a narrow objective and low opportunities for surreal weirdness, and there's really no other way around it.  But these sessions can be vital and memorable for different reasons.  There's no reason to maintain the same pace the whole time.  Break it up by introducing scenes of different types.  Bond with NPCs, explore settings, roll some random encounters, do some ad-hoc worldbuilding, prompt players for flashbacks or chardev scenes, and examine emotional issues in the fiction that will produce Psychic Content and enhance Bleed.

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* The answer to that question - "What does the world of DayTrippers look like?" - was the original impetus behind the "UbiquiCity" project.  Since then, UbiquiCity has grown legs of its own and has become a more "serious" setting with one anthology released as of Feb 2018; but anyway, followers of the UbiquiCity project are well-equipped to ad-lib the technology and factions of the world of 2117.
https://patreon.com/UbiquiCity 


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