Agent
e.g. people, societies, ghosts

Definition

Agents give an Object purpose through application.
  • Much like Objects, Agents are loosely defined archetypes—'templates' that a player can shape to fit their story.
  • They will often have story questions associated with them: asking about their background, their time with the Object, etc.
  • Players will be asked to describe the time the Object spent with the Agent, potentially including a choice of prompts from one or more Tables.

Intention

Lost & Found games are focused on Objects, but that doesn't mean they're uninterested in Agents. In fact, the history of an Object is largely the story of the various Agents that use it throughout its existence. But, crucially, an Object's time together with any one Agent is always only part of the story.
Providing a fixed selection of Agent 'templates' for a player to choose from, as opposed to a more freeform selection, supports a more structured story—especially when they are organised into Acts.

Example

In Artefact, Agents are called Keepers. Each Agent is presented with a few evocative details and two questions:
  • One about the Keeper & their world, and
  • One about a memorable event from the item's (Object) time with the Keeper.
Here's one of the Keepers from the game:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Folk Hero (they are wholesome, helpful and a little naive)
  • Describe the isolated village they work to protect.
  • How did you help them protect their home in a time of crisis?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After answering these two questions, players are instructed to choose one prompt from one of two Tables. If the Keeper and item achieved great things together, the player chooses from Victories & Valour, e.g.:
  • A stronghold of great importance was attacked by a dreadful, monstrous horde. How did you help your Keeper drive off the fearsome assailants?
If the item was misused, they choose from Neglect & Mischief, e.g.:
  • You intentionally deceived or refused to help your Keeper, leading to their demise. What took place and why did you act in that way?

Advice

Agents will bend a player's story in a certain direction—choosing the 'Folk Hero' from above will be very different from the 'Bandit King' or 'Doomsday Cult'. As such, it is important to offer enough variety that players don't feel forced towards a certain tone or outcome. Giving players a choice between four divergent Agents, of which they'll choose two, is a good starting point.
To further expand their options, you could provide a generator to support players who want to create their own Agents. They can then choose or randomly determine options from various lists and combine them into an Agent. However, players might find that Agents produced in this way are less coherent, perhaps making it harder to keep tone and theme consistent in their story. You will also lose the narrative structure provided by Acts (unless you create a generator for each Act!)
Last modified 3mo ago
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