IMC :: Do you Theme?

RPGnet: The Inside Scoop on Gaming
In order to incorporate themes into your RPGs, try dividing your ideas for themes into three categories: Meta-themes, arc-themes, and episode themes.

I’m not sure I do. I think it is a darn good idea, but I’d be hard pressed in this second to say what Theme I’m presenting in Eternal City. Furthermore, the Players and I have never talked about this, except at game start, where I promised an Amber game that would NOT be about betrayal, backstabbing, and psychopaths.
Except as I think about it, we certainly have had those things as big plot drivers… the game just isn’t about those things.
There is WISH 82 which might be kernel themes. I can only conclude that in wanting to present a good unfolding tale, I present those Themes that define my own bias and enjoyment in stories.
The list might be:

  • Good versus evil
  • Power magnifies your mistakes
  • Love
  • Moral ambivalence
  • Friendship is power, isolation is weakness
  • Presumption, Assumption, and Perspective
  • Destiny vs. free-choice
  • Corruption, Greed, and Complacency are Cowardly and Self-Destructive
  • High technology and High sorcery are Highly Dangerous
  • Pain Shared is Halved, Joy Shared is Doubled
  • Vengeance does not make the Pain go away
  • Every small Destruction is part of the Larger Destruction
  • Sex is the second best medicine
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • Reality is an Onion
  • Heroism just might be the third best medicine
  • The needs of the many vs the needs of the few
  • With great power comes great accountability
  • Exploration
  • It takes a long time to Grow Up (when you are immortal)


  1. OK. The ‘follow-up’ click on the main page always shows the trackback URL, even if there is no trackback as yet. I’ve added it to each individual archive page as well.

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