Noodle Incidents

Hobbes: What about the noodle incident?
Calvin: No one can prove I did that!
—"Calvin and Hobbes"

I'm GMing a campaign in my Lords of Being setting, which we very specifically started in the present day—we started playing in the spring of 2009 and that's when the game is set. It was a lot of fun, relating news of the day to events in the game. But as time marched on, the game didn't progress as fast as the calendar. In the game, it was only November 2009. I wanted to get back the connection to current events, so I planned a "fast-forward."

But there are at least two issues with a fast-forward. One is that, clearly, something must have happened in the intervening time (two years, in this case); it feels unreal to ignore it. The other is that, considering what's happened to the characters in the last six months of game-time, it's unreasonable that they should be unchanged in two years.

What I came up with was Noodle Incidents. As TVtropes says, "The Noodle Incident is something from the past that is sometimes referred to but never explained, with the implication that it's just too ludicrous for word, and the reality that any explanation would fall short of audience expectations." The most famous Noodle Incident in the world is probably Sherlock Holmes' case of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, "for which the world is not yet ready," and I thought of calling these things "Giant Rats of Sumatra" or something. Anyway—

I have made up a list of Noodle Incidents, with only vague ideas as to what happened in them. They all happened in the time jumped over by the fast-forward. Each player can use each Incident at any time, in the course of play, to specify a possession, or piece of information, or social contact (debtor, ally, etc.), or 10% in an old or new trait, resulting from the incident, subject to GM approval.

E.g.: "Okay, I need an expert in faking financial records. Let's say I know someone from 'Idols of the Marketplace' who can do that." So that player has used up that Noodle Incident, if the GM okays it.

Here, just for fun, is my example list of Noodle Incidents, together with all I have made up about them:


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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2012