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
- 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
- It takes a long time to Grow Up (when you are immortal)