With great population comes great responsibility

dooley's picture
Remember this guy?

It's been interesting, spending the last few nights writing on my phone; notating ideas and directions for the upcoming Monday.

I have a plot and closure for the current 'thing' that will include whatever new people arrive. That's all in the can, but what comes after?

I have an idea of what I'm doing with the introductory splash of magic, but how far do I want to take that?

I have an idea of how I can make that an episodic piece, although I could argue that I've already failed to address my need to conduct episodic sessions.

So long as I plan ahead, I can have bases covered but planning ahead is something I haven't had to do in some time.

When you're dealing with a published adventure, it's about reading ahead. It's about seeking ahead to study what is to come and being ready to fill in gaps where players might peek.

The players are sight seeing, when considering a published adventure. It's up to the dungeon master to populate what isn't in the book, and sometimes that can be to the detriment of the adventure.

In this case, I'm writing a story that revolves around characters again. My aim is to keep things light and easy to digest like a sitcom. I want there to be an overarching story with characters and relations but I do not want that to take over the game.

The challenge for me in this new 'campaign' is to treat it as not a campaign but several linked stories. If that doesn't make sense, in effect I don't want to have one giant ass story arch over the course of the game leading up to the BBEG.

I think I have the honest opportunity to let folks grow characters in a generally good world with some rotted elements the players can help stamp out.

My bbeg for the bend in magic, space and time? Let's say we deal with that by fourth level? A young black dragon? An iron golem? A pair of stone giants? A nalfeshnee? What could it be?

These are all ideas I'm throwing around. My root influence is solid, having led to the initial spark of it all, and perhaps one could say that that is an overarching element of the story, but I do not wish it to be the story.

So what makes a good story? One that involves everyone to the degree that they're comfortable with.

The upcoming Monday, if attendance is to be as it seems, will mean introducing a number of characters at once, and ensuring that they all have a common direction. If you don't preplan this sort of thing ahead of time, it leads to a lot of stalled gameplay as you struggle to come up with reasons why everyone is involved with one another.

This is one reason why I keep things loose in the initial stages of an adventure. I also feel it's important to provide players the opportunity to explore their characters motivations within the framework you're presenting. A player develops their character with an mode of game in mind. They approach the game or want to approach the game in a certain fashion, hence the decisions they make when rolling a new character up.

When you place that character in your world, it is important to provide a player the introduction and opportunity to welcome their own character into the world. This isn't just explaining to the players why they're there, but asking them questions so that they're entrenching themselves within what you've described.

Something I feel I fail at is emotionally involving every character, and this is partially an instinctual thing on my part. I feel I have a sense for how much involvement or the level of involvement a players wants to have or can deliver. This can be boiled down to: some players are role players, some are not, don't dissuade and don't pressure. This leads us back to 'yes and' as a philosophy of role play and this should be the number one priority when performing. I still feel it's a failure on my part, in that I have not successfully included that character, however the saving grace herein is that some players just aren't looking for that. Like the old saying goes, it can be the ripest, juiciest peach on the tree, but if you don't like peaches, it don't matter.

Tonight (Friday, June 7th, 2019) I'll be leaving Curse of Strahd to the side while I continue the last leg of the mission the players were carrying out last session. Invading the defunct fish nexus.