#RPGaDay2021 – Day 2: Plan

For today’s prompt I decided on a whim to take advantage of the random option. To celebrate the 8th year of #RPGaDay, I chose a D8 and assigned the prompts evenly as 1 – 2 Map, 3 – 4 Sense, 5 – 6 Plan, and 7 – 8 Voice.

Today’s Random D8 Roll

As I let the die roll from my hand, my thoughts finally came clean about which prompt I wanted to write about (voice) but apparently that sudden and powerful decision had no effect on the material world as the die did not come up showing a 7 or 8.

LISTEN to the Casting Shadows Podcast instead.


Unlike last year where I focused on perspectives, methods, and tips I appreciate while playing through a one-shot for the amazing Ghostbusters RPG, this year I plan to focus on basic examples of things I enjoy in the hobby.

Plans and planning are often a source of RPG humor, especially when a proactive group is operating under a reactive GM. The pleasures and pains of planning are rooted deeply enough into the hobby that entire games have sprung up around planning as the central activity. I tend to like the challenge and opportunities that planning allows, however, and so I have spent a little time organizing my thoughts on it.

Planning, strikes me as coming in two general forms which individual groups will ultimately find elements to shape into a specific form for their play. In my head, I think of these as the Leverage form and the Run form, but it is clearer to explain them as Contingency Improvisation and Contingency Preparation. These days, I imagine more people are familiar with Blades in the Dark than either the Leverage RPG (MWP, Cortex) or the show it was licensed from, so it might resonate more to think of the two forms as Blades and Runs, but let’s get into the meat rather than standing around the butcher’s counter considering the label on the shrink wrap.

Day 2


In this popular style of play, the GM and players run through a fast pitch to establish the framework of the situation they are in, and any planning that occurs is intended to be broad strokes not details. In play, as the dice and the NPCs get a chance to interact with player decisions through their characters, then we get to flashback to the planning and preparation that we are imagining took place. This has an advantage for speed and efficiency of play as only the contingencies that actually matter need to have time devoted to them, and they are developed and rolled for with a specific context that helps the player feel the professionalism of their character. In other media, we can tie this method to the aforementioned Leverage, but also to its predecessor Mission Impossible, and certain episodes in certain seasons of Sherlock.


In this well-established style of play, the GM and players play through the entire planning stage of an operation from gathering information, conducting research, recruiting assistants, procuring gear, and so on. When they are ready, they then play though the operation and the dice, their plans and skills, and the effect of the dice and skill on the opposition all factor into the possibility for success. This has the advantage of serving up a challenge that player skill and character skill can combine to handle with an emphasis on risk and reward. Older gamers might see a hint of old shows like the A-Team in this category of planning where we would be treated to the clever division of labors for the talented crew of operators, we would get a montage of preparation, and then we would see the execution of the plan where skill, superior firepower and/or intellect, and a little luck save the day.

Our Play

Recently, we have drifted through both general categories of planning and we had fun with both. I leave it up to you to identify which was which~

Age of Rebellion!
Broken Compass!

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