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D&D General How Do You Fix a Campaign? (Rime of the Frostmaiden spoilers)

Larnievc

Explorer
Asking in part because this is a very D&D-centric community. A lot of indie gamers seem to have moved toward super-short campaigns (too short for my trad tastes!) but the way 5e is presented I can’t tell if things are tilting more toward sweeping Critical Role-style narratives, where any character death is monumental, or largely sticking to more traditional die-and-replace play, which necessarily makes it harder to wind up with big character-centric stories.
What I think big predetermined plots do is steal energy from player goals and character stories.
I think it depends on the group. My group hate having to come up with personal motivations. They want to be swept up in an ongoing drama.
 

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Reynard

Legend
I agree in the abstract, but are you saying an RPG shouldn’t have big bads that last more than one set of encounters?
I don't think anyone is advocating a series of unconnected encounters as a mode of play -- although I imagine someone does it and likes it.

No Saurons, in other words, or larger narrative framings? And no settings with a larger trajectory or endpoint, like a doomsday situation?
However, I am saying that a game doesn't need a Sauron or Doomsday at all to be compelling.

I’m just trying to figure out how fully sandbox you’re going/advocating, and whether you think that’s sort of inherently the most satisfying approach to running, because otherwise people aren’t embracing what makes TTRPGs unique.
What makes RPGs unique (IMO obvs) is twofold: a) player agency is the most important element of play, and b) the "story" unfolds in unexpected ways for everyone involved, including the GM. Take away either of these and you are better off with a good board game, computer game or choose-you-own-adventure book.
but also, gotta be honest—some of those notional story beats sound hella boring to me! Somebody made a 10th level spell? I would fall asleep at the table if that was the big epic conclusion of someone’s character arc. I’m maybe unfairly harping on one example, but if that accomplishment didn’t somehow tie into Bob’s estate recovery or other big goals, then to me it’s really just characters sort of pursuing things in parallel, and hanging out together for purely transactional reasons.
To each their own, but remember that motivation will inform everything the player does. Every time a choice is made between going on this quest or that quest, brenda is going to be trying to figure out what brings her closer to completely inventing a whole new tier of magic. It might drive her to ally with dangerous beings, betray her friends and loved ones, turn her back on other needs, etc...
 

Grendel_Khan

Adventurer
I think it depends on the group. My group hate having to come up with personal motivations. They want to be swept up in an ongoing drama.

I GM much more than I run, but even as pretentious and narrative-focused as I often am, I've definitely made some characters who come fully-equipped with some driving, plot-seeding motivation, and then others that are mostly self-contained and waiting to bounce off the setting/adventures as we go.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
I GM much more than I run, but even as pretentious and narrative-focused as I often am, I've definitely made some characters who come fully-equipped with some driving, plot-seeding motivation, and then others that are mostly self-contained and waiting to bounce off the setting/adventures as we go.
I’d love my group to say they want to do x, y and z off their own backs but it never happens.
 

I GM much more than I run, but even as pretentious and narrative-focused as I often am, I've definitely made some characters who come fully-equipped with some driving, plot-seeding motivation, and then others that are mostly self-contained and waiting to bounce off the setting/adventures as we go.
One related issue - my players sometimes ask me (DM) to provide them with plot seeds that connect their character to the world/plot so they can feel more personally involved.
 


Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
A lot of folks spending a lot of time and energy ensuring the "narrative makes sense."

Real question, no snark: is that really that important to you, as a player or as a GM?
The description of the problem and how to deal with it must make enough sense that the players can wrap their heads around it and the characters can do something about it.
The narrative then comes from their actions and the die rolls which implement (or oops) their efforts.
 

Nebulous

Legend
We just started Rime. The DM said it is HARD and we need to have two PCs. Some of the players made very elaborate backstories, but I thought that might not be good to get too invested yet. My guy had a one-sentence hook. The DM told us at one point there are three CR 11 enemies to fight at once. At 7th level. That does not sound winnable by any stretch of the imagination.
 



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