<<Another option is to have multiple jars. In a two-jar setup, one jar could contain problems (eg, “an alien invasion,” “a sweeping illness,” “an unwanted in-law”) while the other contains solutions (eg, “careful diplomacy,” “patient research,” “a transphasic particle beam”). You could even add a third jar containing character names to determine who must find or implement the solution.>>

Setting: You stand in a mountainous region replete with diverse rocks. You can see the foggy sea in the distance and a fort, a few miles away. The landscape is green, the temperature mild. Sheep dot the mountainside behind you. A road, no more than a cart’s width, runs along the ridge where you stand. It seems like it hasn’t been used much or recently, as grass has grown up in it in places and rocks have migrated to the tracks. It’s mid-morning, and the sun is attempting to burn through the clouds and fog over the sea. A slight breeze blows from the south (where the fort is), bringing the scent of sheep dung, gorse bush flowers, and the faint sound of something or someone pounding, like a blacksmith working on an anvil. Looking toward the fort, you notice faint black smoke rising from inside or behind the walls. The fog has also lifted enough, so that you see the shape of a ship floating just off the coast from the fort.

Questions: Why is the road not used? Is there a shepherd nearby? What’s the pounding? Is the fort on fire? Is the fort under attack? Whose ship is that?

Assuming the fort is under attack, it could be caused by:

Blood-thirsty invaders from the sea

Wild outlaws from the mountains

Rival political forces

The fort symbolizes safety. Ownership/residency of the fort signifies status and responsibility.


· You are on the run from one of the above, but not a resident. You could be a renegade soldier from the rival political forces, a wanted person by the rival political forces because you know or did something, an innocent bystander running toward safety at the fort only to find it not safe. (stranger)

· You are traveling to the fort on business or for pleasure. You could be a merchant, an envoy, a messenger. You could be there by accident (dr. who/magic) (stranger)

· You are one of the above. You could be a scout, or part of the flanking maneuver, or an observer, or a betrayer. (stranger, or evil resident)

· You are a resident of the fort. You could be the shepherd, a guard, a fisherman, a farmer, or any have any other reason for being out of the fort in the morning. (resident)

So, who do you want to be? Stranger or Resident?