log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E We're Gonna Need a Montage!

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
To speed up getting the party back together again in my upcoming session of Summer at the Lake, we've decided to collaborate on a montage to resolve some important events in town over the course of an in-game night, then jump back into the dungeon that next day.

My current plan for handling this is to present four complications that arise and ask each player in turn to describe briefly how a given complication is successfully resolved. (There are four players.) They'll have broad narrative control to say how it turns out with the usual constraints (agreed-upon tone for the campaign, continuity, context, etc.). While I'm fine with just leading the group in some collaborative storytelling, I wonder if there are any game systems out there that have actual structure, rules, or rolls for this sort of thing that are unique and fun.

What sort of structure would you propose for a system for handling montages in D&D 5e?
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Vymair

First Post
Legends of Anglerre (FATE) had a group character concept. You took the two best skill from each character and then had a series of challenges to represent the travel that were resolved in a single roll. Then you narratively described the difficulties and successes but maintained the consequences from the journey into the next adventure,

Doesn't work quite as well with 5e due to the nature of 5e healing but group skill checks might be a starting point for this concept. Describe a set of challenges to be overcome and make group skill checks. If they are failed, your options would be to run a short combat or rule some party resources were expended in the scene.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
13th Age in it's organized play has some advice for montages.

--

Montage!

Sometimes you don’t want to go into details but do want to give a sense of time passing. Overland travel, random dungeon exploration, fortifying an old farmhouse against zombies. All these things can happen in a montage if they are not the focus of the Montage!

Go round the table and ask each player:
● “Describe an obstacle that the party encountered but defeated.”
Then turn to the player to their left:
● “Your character was the one to get the party past that. How did you succeed?”
They don’t need to roll for this they just tell you an awesome thing that their character did that solved the problem.
Repeat this around the table until everybody has had a chance to come up with a deathtrap
or a wandering monster or whatever their imaginations can conjure up and a chance to overcome an obstacle. As each player tells you how their character saved the day narrate back to them what they have said and put a spin on it to highlight their heroism.
● “Yes! The party encountered a minotaur’s ghost and you entertained him with your bagpipes. Not only did that pacify the ghost but several other ghosts appeared to hear you play and in gratitude led you partway through the maze.”
● “Awesome you killed the magically animated pagoda with your mighty axe. Later you came to an underground river and crossed it using your foe’s remains. Good job.”
● “Brilliant. With a flick of your wrist you turn over your last card. The skeletal guards are amazed by your winning streak and untie your companions as agreed. They are so impressed with your pokerface that they tell you how to get to the center of the maze. Congratulations you have a better pokerface than skeletons and they don’t even have faces!”
 
Last edited:

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
[MENTION=20564]Blue[/MENTION] - That's basically what I'm going to do already. I just wondered if I couldn't work in some kind of resource/die mechanic that would be fun to play at the table. I don't really want to base it off of PC stats either (like group skill checks or the like) because the players will have the ability to establish facts about anyone and anything - the world, other PCs, NPCs, etc. It won't just be from their own perspectives.
 

Fralex

Explorer
I once heard of a D&D group that played a game set entirely in a tavern, where different PCs each recounted tales and the players would then act out the flashbacks. Whenever someone died, there'd be an abrupt "Wait, that's not how I remember it..." from one of the present-day PCs, and the story would jump back a little, with some things changed. It sounded really fun, I'm probably not doing it justice. But the point is, you could do something like that where the PCs have somewhat more control over the narrative than usual because these are all stories that they're recounting, with varying degrees of artistic license. Obviously you're gonna want to go into less detail so it actually funtions like a montage, but it could be a fun narrative framing device.

Also, some demonstrations of good montages.
 

not-so-newguy

Explorer
You might want to look at the 4e skill challenge rules. I remember The 4e podcast "critical hit" used them quite well for narrative scenes.

Caveat: I've never used these rules myself.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I'm not sure I can help, but now I can't get this song out of my head.
[video=youtube;JU9Uwhjlog8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU9Uwhjlog8[/video]
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You might want to look at the 4e skill challenge rules. I remember The 4e podcast "critical hit" used them quite well for narrative scenes.

Caveat: I've never used these rules myself.

Google up "iserith" and "skill challenge" and you'll get a ton of results. I'm a big fan of the mechanic for that edition. But I'm not looking for a skills-based thing because it's more of a collaborative story effort between the players outside of the perspective of their individual characters.
 

GSHamster

Adventurer
I like [MENTION=20564]Blue[/MENTION]'s plan, especially because it is primarily player-player interaction, and forms a nice chain. That's better than strict DM-player interaction for this type of stuff.

But because it is player-player interaction, I wouldn't bother with resources or rolling. That might encourage players to game the system. I also wouldn't give out any specific rewards, as well.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I just wondered if I couldn't work in some kind of resource/die mechanic that would be fun to play at the table.

If you include mechanics, you need to figure out the consequences. If there are resources they can spend, what happens if they spend them all and still don't succeed? What happens if the dice roll against them? What happens if they fail?
 

fba827

Adventurer
A non skill based mechanic would probably mean a chart/percentage type thing...
Let players describe the events as you plan and then roll 1d10 (or percentage or whatever) and consult the chart. The chart could be something like
1: your pcs plan / action failed entirely ( some loss of some resource or money resulted)
2-3: your pcs plan / action didn't work entirely as hoped but the party made it through non the less ( maybe if it was combat the enemy leader got away and will remember this....)
4-9: your plan went off as planned
10: you made a new ally or contact in an unexpected way in the process
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If you include mechanics, you need to figure out the consequences. If there are resources they can spend, what happens if they spend them all and still don't succeed? What happens if the dice roll against them? What happens if they fail?

It's probably total success versus success at a cost rather than outright failure.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
A non skill based mechanic would probably mean a chart/percentage type thing...
Let players describe the events as you plan and then roll 1d10 (or percentage or whatever) and consult the chart. The chart could be something like
1: your pcs plan / action failed entirely ( some loss of some resource or money resulted)
2-3: your pcs plan / action didn't work entirely as hoped but the party made it through non the less ( maybe if it was combat the enemy leader got away and will remember this....)
4-9: your plan went off as planned
10: you made a new ally or contact in an unexpected way in the process

I've been noodling something along the lines of this:

1. DM frames the scene and lays out the stakes (success/fail forward).

2. Each player can makes a single offer that moves the montage forward. If they do, they get a "point."

3. Players can then spend a point to make additional offers. Each additional offer made adds +1 to the resolving die roll. Players can opt to hold points for later scenes if they want. (Perhaps they are okay with the fail forward in a given scene and are willing to risk it.)

4. Roll the die with whatever modifier against a DC of some kind. Narrate results accordingly.

Still a very rough draft.
 

chriton227

First Post
I once heard of a D&D group that played a game set entirely in a tavern, where different PCs each recounted tales and the players would then act out the flashbacks. Whenever someone died, there'd be an abrupt "Wait, that's not how I remember it..." from one of the present-day PCs, and the story would jump back a little, with some things changed. It sounded really fun, I'm probably not doing it justice. But the point is, you could do something like that where the PCs have somewhat more control over the narrative than usual because these are all stories that they're recounting, with varying degrees of artistic license. Obviously you're gonna want to go into less detail so it actually funtions like a montage, but it could be a fun narrative framing device.

Also, some demonstrations of good montages.

I recall hearing something similar to this on the Fear the Boot podcast, one of the hosts was planning on running an all bard game at Fear the Con with the game framed as a group of bards recounting the tales of their exploits, and each bard would have a limited ability to change things in the way you describe.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I recall hearing something similar to this on the Fear the Boot podcast, one of the hosts was planning on running an all bard game at Fear the Con with the game framed as a group of bards recounting the tales of their exploits, and each bard would have a limited ability to change things in the way you describe.

Isn't that pretty much the Baron Münchhausen RPG?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I like [MENTION=20564]Blue[/MENTION]'s plan, especially because it is primarily player-player interaction, and forms a nice chain. That's better than strict DM-player interaction for this type of stuff.

But because it is player-player interaction, I wouldn't bother with resources or rolling. That might encourage players to game the system. I also wouldn't give out any specific rewards, as well.

Well, the basic "reward" of a montage is to complete the montage - you've completed the travel, etc. Rewards/penalties within that framework like "you arrive quicker but you spent money on extra remounts" based on the player narrative still work. But as you say, the primary purpose of this is a chance for some player narrative and player-player interactions with a bit of spotlight for each PC for the solution.
 


Psikerlord#

Explorer
What kinds of issues need resolving in the montage? If you want to introduce some randomness, can you make use of something like the chase complication tables?

Eg say one issue is resolving a debt with a landlord. Complication table roll d4: (i) landlord's daughter used to date one of the party and now hates him/her (ii) landlord has passed the debt to a street gang (iii) landlord and family have gone missing or (iv) landlord's competition wants to meet with PC urgently.

Then the player(s) roleplay it from there
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I ended up keeping it pretty simple. You can see how we handled the montage in our last game transcript here.

I still intend to come up with a full-on montage module for others to use, so if you have any additional ideas, post 'em! Thanks.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top