Keep the Train Moving November 30, 2016 08:50
Between the election and the holiday season, this month has been an emotional rollercoaster. In many ways, it feels like some campaigns I’ve played. Good stories often feature drastic twists to keep things fresh. Here, I will give a few tips and tricks you can use to keep your game moving forward in interesting directions.
Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal!
A great catalyst for a story is a gut wrenching betrayal orchestrated by a beloved character, especially when said character has been a huge (and pleasant) part of the story so far. As a narrator, betrayal is best served using a character the adventuring party has come to know, love, and trust. This setup will create intrigue as well as a healthy amount of doubt about whether the betrayal is real or even possible. As a player, you can also take the story in an interesting direction by acting out a betrayal, whether genuine or false. It’s best to collaborate with your narrator to work out how your actions can spur the adventure along (otherwise, you could derail the game and frustrate your fellow adventurers).
Examples include: The murder of a beloved character, a trusted ally switching sides to join the enemy, or a character in good standing suddenly kidnapping a noble’s child or valuables for ransom.
Let’s Get Ready to Crumble!
Another catalyst for reinvigorating your game is to destroy something impressive. Anything from an airship to a city will do, so long as there’s enough collateral damage to get the adventuring party’s attention. As a narrator, you have many tools at your disposal to wreck havoc, from dangerous NPC factions to mother nature’s finest horrors. For players, dealing with the aftereffects of a major disaster could be something you propose as a side-mission to blow off some steam. In either case, the way the world responds to massive destruction can help create new story arcs in your ongoing saga and add a dose of chaos to a simmering plot.
Examples include: An airship full of nobles crashes into Castle Hazard after a Bomb Rat attack, or a massive storm sweeps in from the horizon and devastates the ports in Evangless.
The Circus is in Town!
If you don’t want to destroy buildings or relationships, you can always put on a grand show. The idea here is to take some time to figure out what kinds of entertainment interest your adventurers and incorporate them into a grand performance. As a narrator, you have a wide array of options. Say your gaming group is really into combat competitions. Nothing delivers quite like a gauntlet challenge or a gladiatorial arena. The best part is that you can always throw a wrench in the gears by having something go wrong that sweeps the adventuring party into a new side-arch. For players, grand performances can present an enjoyable opportunity for collaborative roleplaying and staging amusing scenes.
Examples include: Gladiator combat, gauntlet arena, or traveling minstrels in a suspicious town.
I often use the above tips and tricks when I need a breath of fresh air in my sagas, and I hope they’ll inspire you to create some amusing adventures of your own. Thank you all for reading. If you’d like to share your favorite techniques you can comment below or start a post on the Tephra subreddit here.
Until next time, Cheers and Gears!