A random gaming idea from News of the World

While watching “News of the World” starring Tom Hanks (fine film, recommended, spoilers ahead), I was struck by the relationship between the older man and a girl who had been stolen from her German immigrant family when very young and raised by Kiowa Native Americans. For the start of the film, they have no way of speaking to each other while he has to try to protect her in several situations. He has to prove herself to her by his deeds. How does he protect her, provide for her? How does he treat other people? Does he have friends or only enemies in the harsh world of 1870 western United States?

Consider introducing this situation into your campaign. Introduce an NPC who needs to be helped, protected but with whom the players can’t communicate verbally. Children trigger others to protect them and look out for them. A lack of common language or perhaps a deaf child would create the barrier for game play. Then you need to create situations or interpret planned situations to see how the PCs navigate it with the child. What accommodations do they make to keep her safe? Do they give her freedom or lock her up (for her own safety)? Do they change their course to get her to a safer situation? Do they try to learn her language or build communications? Do they realize that she can help them once she judges them to be honorable, not a threat to her?

In the film, Hanks determines that there is no place for the girl safer than with him so they end up together. That would be an interesting outcome for an adventuring party, to gain a ward of sorts.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

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