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7

There's basically 3 streams of thought that went into modern SRDs in tabletop RPGs. D20/Evergreen Core Product Push WOTC's SRD and open sourcing push was a neat idea, poorly executed. Their research before launching D20/3rd edition D&D indicated that most of their game sales profits (as opposed to novels...) was coming from the core D&D books, ...


22

They're for what they say on the tin: they're built as a general reference document for the game. What goes into them exactly depends on what the authors decided to put in there to build that reference — there's no set standard. Some SRDs are enormously comprehensive libraries of just about everything or even the full text of the game, some are far ...


2

In real life, if you see someone commit some horrible crime, you call the police and the police arrest that person. We have a whole criminal justice system dedicated to making sure that criminals get kept out of society. In a D&D context you can't usually do that. Let's say a band of twenty orcs attacks the village and kills thirty villagers, and ...


1

Prior to my use of in medias res as a campaign start, I took time to develop the characters with the players. We discussed back stories and even picked equipment. The players were familiar with their characters. The game began with, "You have all been slaves of the hobgoblin king for many years. Your only possession is your loincloth. A mighty swordsman ...


1

There are already several great answers. I will only add some highlights from my experience that demonstrate successful use of in medias res. In medias res is a tool I have used many times at gaming conventions. You normally have a four hour slot, so you don't have the luxury of slowly building a story arc amidst an organically growing group of ...


-3

What do you mean you can't run a silly Chthulhu plot? Please consult IOU (Illuminati "You are not cleared to know what the O stands for" University), also from Gurps. An ancient tome of evil that speaks with the voice of Dr. Ruth and advises the players to do unspeakable things to improve their sex lives? An object that warps the very fabric of reality by ...


2

Plan a single, coherent session that has the tone you want. Treat this a trial run session and be ready to either forge ahead with your horror plot, or let this fall by the wayside. After the session is over, talk with your players and ask how they felt about the session. Did they enjoy it? Would they be happy if the chronicle as a whole moved in that ...


3

Just Start It Start introducing the new stuff - slowly - and see how the players react. This is similar to Erik's suggestion, but the main difference is that rather than dropping just hints about the new tone, you instead simply start to move the game in that direction, complete with appropriate plot elements, characters, and narration style. Narration ...


11

Hint it and measure enthousiasm The general approach I take when I'm not sure what my players like, or whether they'd enjoy a specific thing, is to hint to it during the session and see if they bite. This works best in an open world or if you've already taught your players that they can say "no" and the story will go on, but even if they're used to being ...


1

What I'd suggest is, omitting actual details, discuss with your players whether they'd be open to a tone change to a "more serious, horror-oriented story arc." That would leave things open for you to revert to your existing semi-silly tone afterward, depending on reaction, but be sure they're on board for the kind of change you're considering -- and not ...


1

I think the two rules are: You (GM) must not punish the players or characters for decisions taken in player ignorance of character knowledge that you withheld for the purpose of drama (where that knowledge would have allowed them to make a better decision). You must not leave the players unable to make a decision because they feel that it depends on ...


7

Roleplaying is a situation where the players are both the creators and audience improvising at the same time. Other forms of media the creators know what the reasons are,or, effectively have time to develop/discover it, and craft and edit that long before the audience gets to seeing the results. Because of this, you end up with three choices when you want ...


3

A system like Roll for Shoes, where your character develops from their actions, might work well with in medias res. More generally, building a character creation system around in medias res might work. Each player's actions in the game have mechanical impact on the character they are creating. Asking about detail, or narrating that detail, might get you ...


6

Preface: I love the in medias res technique in literature and I am fascinated by its potential uses in gaming. I even named one of my campaigns In Medias Res because that's how it started. Despite that, I am skeptical that it is a general purpose, out-of-the-box tool for everyday use. There are both player management issues and narrative design issues ...


8

I've used the in media res start several times, and I've found it works best when player characters have a succinct, easily-described goal in the midst of action that can also be easily delineated. The goal keeps players focused and gives them enough that they're not too frustrated by the relative lack of surrounding information. As the action unfolds, that ...


10

It's important to note that while in literature the two are often synonymous, in media res does not mean "without information" but rather "in the middle of the action". In my experience, this is actually a fairly typical way to start off Action or Mystery games. The key is not to provide a high action situation with no information, but rather to provide ...


5

In general, I would say that starting in media res can work well, and is a useful perspective to consider when starting any game, at least as a contrast to the way you otherwise had in mind to start. That's because, in my experience, one of the greatest obstacles to player involvement in an RPG background, is lack of familiarity and density and remoteness of ...


-2

One solution is take the in media res scenario one step further and tell your players they are suffering from a form of amnesia. Therefore there's no need for long exposition by the GM. In fact the players themselves have to discover who and where they are while reacting to a dangerous situation at the same time. Quoting from the 2000 film Memento, where ...


18

The narrative technique can work so well in literature, film and video That is because none of those who make decisions are put into the situation abruptly. Those three are passive arts. It's a technique for passive observers of the action. It's only "in medias res" for those who do not need to make any decision. To capture that feeling you need to ...


17

Let the players make up all that stuff! How about letting the players fill the rest of the exposition? So following from your quote: Wilma: (shouts) "I'll cover you. GO!" I turn dive behind the garbage cans in teh alley, drawing my gun. That first goon is going to have a nasty shock. The rest will get suppression fire. Craig: (over comms) "Debbie, ...


0

I think of downtime as a great way to help players develop their characters and for me as GM to flesh out the larger world and help the story along. Character and Party Development Characters will all have something that provokes reactions, negative or positive, to downtime situations. For example, a town on the border between Dwarven and Orcish territory ...


1

Others suggested adventuring or intensive RP in downtime. This has one important feature: it basically turn downtime into another adventure. This is not a bug, just a feature: you roleplay all the time a similar way. As long as you are fine with playing small encounters and de-emphasizing the "big adventures", it's OK. However, this is harder to do properly, ...


4

I've been in a few groups where the GM role was regularly passed on, but the main characters and setting remained. My advice would be: Focus on fixing the problem your group is experiencing. If GMs are running 5-10 sessions before running out of steam, then focus on that and don't "oversteer" to swapping GMs each session. One session stories can be nice, ...


1

Here is what I used to use (a long time ago when DMing AD&D!): When it feels like it's taking too long, start a countdown from 5. At the end they have to do something or miss their turn. I usually only start counting when they have their default idea already ('just hit em with a sword') and are weighing up alternatives, so in practice it's never a ...



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