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Learning from TV

roguerouge

First Post
I've been researching how Buffy the Vampire got written, and one of the writers said this: "Notice that the episode ideas *begin* with “what is she going through” and never with “what would be a cool Slaying challenge?”.

Do you construct your plot based on theme and desired change in the character or begin wtih the slaying challenge?
 

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Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
Doug McCrae said:
The slaying challenge. I don't have any desired change in the characters. This is D&D, there's no morals and nobody learns.
Heh. Not in my game; I dig character development, so I try to create adventures where the world and the PCs have a chance to change.
 

rkwoodard

First Post
more like lucy

I think mine tends to go more like the Lucy and Ricky show. What mess can we put them into this week. They never learn, never grow, never develop, but the ratings stay high.

Fighter: Mage, you have a lot of Xplain' to do
Mage: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


or maybe not.
 

Ben Robbins

First Post
roguerouge said:
I've been researching how Buffy the Vampire got written, and one of the writers said this: "Notice that the episode ideas *begin* with “what is she going through” and never with “what would be a cool Slaying challenge?”.

Do you construct your plot based on theme and desired change in the character or begin wtih the slaying challenge?
That's a good crux question of adventure design. Intimate vs external challenges.

Also check out It's Not A Movie. It's a post I wrote a few days ago about how "passive" media (movies, books) relates to gaming.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
I start with "What are try trying to accomplish?" Then I move to "Why are they trying to accomplish it?" And that brings me to "How are they most likely to go about accomplishing it?" I start very broad, not really thinking about either challenges or motivations, but goals. Then I move to motivations. Then I move to plotting. Challenges come after that.

I have learned a lot from the Joss plotting in how I run my games. I keep them a lot less static than I used to, keep NPCs moving in and out and back in again. I try to keep small surprises coming often, while saving the big ones for the really important stuff. This seems like another useful idea to be used.

I guess the main issue is that you don't know what they'll be going through internally when you're designing an adventure. PC actions can change so much in the game that it puts a much larger emphasis on improvisation to keep things moving in an interesting direction character-wise. So change isn't really the DM's purview but at the same time the world is, which drives the direction that the PCs will take.
 

shilsen

First Post
I reach in my ass of holding, pull out some crap and throw it around. And the PCs get to roll around in whatever bit of it they want.

What?
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
shilsen said:
I reach in my ass of holding, pull out some crap and throw it around. And the PCs get to roll around in whatever bit of it they want.

What?
I hereby name you... Dungeon Monkey!

- - -

My sessions start with... "Anyone remember enough to do a recap?" And then, a recap, by me or someone else, with all others filling in missing stuff.

Cheers, -- N
 

Ilium

First Post
I don't try to plan character development, because they're not my characters. I will pull in stuff from character background to give the players a chance to do that character development stuff, but really it's not my job. :)

I actually do a little development with recurring NPCS (like one PC's cousin who went from a notorious lady's man to domestic father-to-be) but it's mostly in the background to give the world a little verisimilitude.
 

Ravilah

Explorer
I start with externals (monsters, kidnappings, dungeons. etc) and let the characters begin to establish goals, desires, pet-peeves, and a moral compass. Then I start to purposely include people and events that will hinder their goals, tempt their desires, aggravate their pet peeves, and challenge their moral compass.

For instance, once while clearing out a temple of Vecna, I had the players pass by a pool that revealed to each of them a disturbing secret about their past or their family. One player discovered that his long lost father was actually a rapist. Another found out that a prophecy had been spoken over his cradle that a friend would betray him to his death. Another found out that the money he had pickpocketed from a man in a pub was supposed to pay the ransom for a little girl. The girl died because the money didn't make it to the drop. These revelations (though not actually "an encounter") had a huge effect on the direction of the campaign.

I came up with these secrets based on what the players had established during dungeon crawls, then created more intimate challenges.
 

Thornir Alekeg

Albatross!
roguerouge said:
Do you construct your plot based on theme and desired change in the character or begin wtih the slaying challenge?
Yes.

I did both. If every adventure is framed by the development/backstory of one of the PCs it eventually loses some of its impact.
 

Thornir Alekeg

Albatross!
Ravilah said:
For instance, once while clearing out a temple of Vecna, I had the players pass by a pool that revealed to each of them a disturbing secret about their past or their family. One player discovered that his long lost father was actually a rapist. Another found out that a prophecy had been spoken over his cradle that a friend would betray him to his death. Another found out that the money he had pickpocketed from a man in a pub was supposed to pay the ransom for a little girl. The girl died because the money didn't make it to the drop. These revelations (though not actually "an encounter") had a huge effect on the direction of the campaign.

I came up with these secrets based on what the players had established during dungeon crawls, then created more intimate challenges.
I really like this idea. I'll have to keep it in mind for the future.
 

krissbeth

First Post
Ravilah said:
I start with externals (monsters, kidnappings, dungeons. etc) and let the characters begin to establish goals, desires, pet-peeves, and a moral compass. Then I start to purposely include people and events that will hinder their goals, tempt their desires, aggravate their pet peeves, and challenge their moral compass.

For instance, once while clearing out a temple of Vecna, I had the players pass by a pool that revealed to each of them a disturbing secret about their past or their family. One player discovered that his long lost father was actually a rapist. Another found out that a prophecy had been spoken over his cradle that a friend would betray him to his death. Another found out that the money he had pickpocketed from a man in a pub was supposed to pay the ransom for a little girl. The girl died because the money didn't make it to the drop. These revelations (though not actually "an encounter") had a huge effect on the direction of the campaign.

I came up with these secrets based on what the players had established during dungeon crawls, then created more intimate challenges.

Love it!

(Two of those would utterly devastate one of my characters. Wow!)
 

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