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33

Option One: Start Closer To The End It's not actually cheating to start at a higher level, and that's a weird expectation that games don't bear out. The inclination to "make those bastards work for it" is not a helpful GM attribute. I really enjoyed playing Feng Shui for the first time when it came out because by specifically allowing the players to be ...


31

A decade or so ago, I had this exact problem playing with new/young players. I came up with a few solutions that worked depending on the group/players. It's admittedly a hard situation because they would assume anything the GM explicitly mentions is usually important. There's one thing I want to ask, but let me answer your questions, first: Explicitly ...


28

Story issues I think the transformation of your character could well work out the way you described it, but I think for such a basic and deep change to your characters morality and basic alignment you also need a very strong motivator/cause. For Anakin that was fear of the loss of the ones he loves, catalyzed by the death of his mother, a vision of his ...


15

I get conflicted intentions here. You want to start "low-level" (which can mean many things) and you want to see the heroes reach this epic ending. So you want both the epic journey and the super cool finale but you're impatient. Forget the "low-level = beginning" paradigm of video games (and usual games) In Star Wars, no major character on screen is level ...


14

I get the sense that you have a very specific story you want to tell. I do hate giving this advice, but if you have a beginning, middle, and end in mind, perhaps you should write a novel instead of running a game. It will be more artistically satisfying for you, in those cases. However, if you really want to run a game that meets a particular end, some ...


14

My best villains are based off the what the players care about. I'll talk about methods and some recent (in the last 3-4 years) examples. You may want to check out my 7 Types of Antagonists as well. What the players care about - Flags So first off, I tend to play games with explicit mechanics for the players to tell me what kinds of conflicts they're ...


14

Don't bother trying to prevent your PCs from over-investigating. You want them to go and investigate those false clues, unreliable rumors, and cryptic hints so that they experience the logical consequences of doing so and thus learn from experience that some clues are useful and some are not. When you're a kid simply being told not to touch a hot stove ...


11

The villain is villainous because they do bad stuff™, but the villain is hated for other reasons. The villain does not have to be exceptionally evil/villainous (i.e. does not have to be trying to destroy The Kingdom/The World/The Multiverse), but give the players lots of petty reasons to dislike the villain. Some examples: Let the villain make a habit ...


11

Here's a little tidbit that Microscope taught me: every scene has a particular question (or questions) associated with it. When that question is answered, the scene is over. You want to skip over scenes with questions that are uninteresting, and jump to the ones which are interesting, and that's exactly what you did. This is why nobody runs games with ...


10

Lead With the Cool Stuff You don't have a system tag and you're posing a question that spans genres, so I assume you have freedom to choose a system. So choose a system that empowers your choices and start with awesome. Systems like Fate Core and GUMSHOE assume competent PCs from the get-go. Some systems let you scale your PCs to the plans you have, like ...


9

I don't think it's as much a problem of empathy, as it is of suspension of disbelieve. The problem isn't probably you aren't capable of relate to people, but you aren't forgetting you are playing a game. What makes a book or a movie exciting is when you forget you are reading or looking at a screen and you start "living" the piece, as it was true. Do you ...


9

You know what solves a lot of misunderstandings? Just telling the players, as players, so they can focus on the part of the game you intend on. "So, I'm going to paint a full world here - characters will talk about farway places, and events going on. I'm not putting it out there as everything you need to pursue and hunt down - it's not a videogame ...


9

I like the above answers (and comments) but would like to add, for your consideration, the possibility of making this not just about your character's development, but also the other player's character. The other player isn't a sidekick in your character's story -- he's the protagonist of his. Once you've taken into to consideration whether this will work ...


8

The following is from an article by Justin Alexander, found here. I won't re-post the entire thing, but this excerpt is the core of the article's thoughts. The main article goes on to refer to examples in media where the hero and villain dynamic is developed well (or not) and why, as well as giving some game table examples. It's part of the "Don't Prep ...


8

I don't believe that there are some hard and fast rules about this. It's too much dependent on the situation, the context and the state of the players. But there are some ways that you can use in order to be better at spotting those "dead-meat" scenes. Know the genre you're working with No matter what game you are playing, it will fall to a certain genre. ...


8

So you want the other sword, and you're thinking about your character killing the other PC who has it, though your character is Good(tm) and likes the other PC. Why? Why do you even want it, if you already have one? Why would you start with thinking to kill your friend to get it? Are you an evil player with a Good character? Are you used to games where ...


6

Your problem is that you have a certain end in sight, but don't have control over all the agencies that need to come together to reach that end. The exact same situation exists in much smaller scales, for example if you have an encounter where the players need to get past two guards. You plan out a whole back story, where they go and talk to the guard's ...


6

Some stories are not suited to some systems. An antagonistic magical item will be modeled with the intelligent item rules. These rules, as a relic of 3.5, are... pretty horrible. Let us call our artefact "The one ring." It's a Lawful evil (or chaotic, or... whatever), ring which can cast a 4th level spell at will. That's more powerful than normal, but ...


5

Anchor Characters to People If characters you encounter in an RPG (NPCs, and your fellow players' PCs) are feeling too abstract when they are just words online, try assigning pictures to them. For each character, use a tool like Google Images to find some pictures of real humans that you think can match the character's description. Look at the picture(s) ...


5

I think the key question that needs to be addressed is do you want your players to hate the villain or your characters? If the players themselves find the villain depraved, they'll end up finding reasons why their characters should go after them. For example, I have a player that absolutely loves animals. Regardless of the character they play, if you ...


5

In case you're still looking for it, I found it on Google. It originated on 4chan, but has ended up on both reddit and imgur. You can find it below.


4

First, we need to understand what a fractal is. Then we can see how that applies to a story generating system, for this I'll use Microscope as an example since I'm familiar with that game already. Wikipedia: A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. If the replication is ...


4

As long as your players/characters are suitable to gel as a team, and the non-plot-linked characters have abilities that allow them to contribute something special, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Characters end up being important because of what they actually do, not because of the reason they show up in the first place. So provided that all characters ...


4

The road to hell is paved with good intentions Imagine how much good you can do when you become half-dragon! You can change the world, and people will sing about you as a hero! All you have to do is do this itsy-bitsy one evil step... But then, there will be thousands of good deeds that will pay it back! Right? Right?... Imagine your character repeating ...


3

In DW failure means consequences, even DEATH When a character rolls 6- you make a hard move. That means a move that has immediate and irrevocable consequences. In my opinion (I'm unsure on the exact rules) a hard move always comes after a soft move, and the soft moves shapes the hard move. Soft moves cause danger and prompts players to act and therefore ...


3

On SAS (Storytelling Adventure System) format of World of Darkness (and other games) adventures scenes are structured with the following fields: Challenge Overview Description Storyteller goals Player goals Actions Consequences Storyteller goals are what the Storyteller (or adventure writer) intend to achieve with the scene. Can be the presentation of a ...


3

Well, the two players in question wanted to develop their characters during play, right? Sounds like a good thing to do would be to take them aside, between sessions and see if they could see ways to tie their characters into anything existing, or adding a minimal amount of additional things to bring into the game. I'd have them look at things like the ...


3

How to hint at events outside the scope of the current quest? I have used three tools in the past. In some cases, I stole my ideas from published authors in seeing how they built the background to a story. 1. Rumors & News of War and Disaster. "We have always been at war with Eastasia." "We have always been at war with Eurasia." George Orwell ...


2

It could be ok if they players with the basic backgrounds were ok having basic backgrounds. Since they are now feeling disconnected from the plot, it seems like probably everyone would be happier if you worked in some connections. You might want to make sure all of the players are ok with how you do this, but some options could include: If the players who ...


2

One simple question: What is the conflict in this scene and why do I want to highlight it. If there is no conflict, just say it's done and move on. if you don't want to highlight the conflict, roll dice and move on. Should you find the scene both interesting and filled with conflict, go to town.



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