View Full Version : The chosen one

2009-07-18, 01:03 AM
In most gamesI've been a part of, all the player are equaly worthless. Worthless as in from a modest home and not nessisarly destined for greatness

But some adventures simply need somebody for there blood, ;ole aragorn in LotR. Others could have fought where he did, but only he can order the undead army.

So as a DM, how do you pick a player to have that special back groung, trait, or bloodline?

2009-07-18, 01:08 AM
Wait, how are the characters worthless? Why does somebody need to be there "for the blood"? Are the players not having fun with what they're doing?

If you're planning on handing out free awesome, you're probably best handing it out to everybody. Nobody Able to Kill the Dragon isn't much different from Watching John Kill the Dragon in most games.

(I'll assume you meant characters, not players. No amount of feats will improve your players. :smalltongue:)

2009-07-18, 01:21 AM
He defined his meaning of worthless as someone from a non-noble background, not as functionally worthless.

Picking someone to be the Chosen One (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSwy412nttI&fmt=18) requires all of your PCs to be fairly mature, or else the Chosen One will go berserk and murder all of the level 0 NPCs or one of the party members will stab him in his sleep. Or worse, just open up with blatant OoC drama.

2009-07-18, 01:22 AM
If you're counting on a player character to fulfill a certain role in the world, you should choose someone who you know would enjoy that role and you should discuss most aspects of it with them beforehand. And you should probably give almost everyone similar, if less grand, roles.

If someone is going to become the King and hero, be sure to let someone else be the wise otherworldly Wizard who knows the secrets of the land, let the honorable character undo the shame of his ancestors, give the weaker characters chances to bring in powerful allies, and give the final triumph to someone else, like the weak little halfling. Now, there will be some who are either capable enough to take the limelight on their own or who only want to run around looking cool, you don't need to worry about them in this regard. But don't focus all of your energy on one player at the expense of the others.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-07-18, 01:32 AM
So as a DM, how do you pick a player to have that special back groung, trait, or bloodline?

Very carefully. If you give one player a monopoly on the attention, bad things happen. That being said, if used wisely, special story-awards to certain characters can make a campaign very memorable.

When thinking of doing such things, I tend to look at the backstories that the PCs have provided me. If, after reading a backstory, it seems that my plan will work with that character, I roll with it. If not, I try to apply my plan to another character with a more compliant story or modifiy my plan.

Again, be very careful not to give one character the spotlight at the expense of the others. I suggest giving the characters who don't get the sweet story bonuses other things to keep them from feeling left out -- things like talking swords and romantic side-quests.

2009-07-18, 02:37 AM
Well a better example of what I mean is in a campain Im working on. The short of it is this, bad guy going to bridge planes, unleah evil. The party needs to repersent kindon X, ralley the other kingdoms to the cause. So one party member needs/should be a royal to truely speak for the kingdom.

2009-07-18, 04:11 AM
Tell your players that you need someone to step forward to be royal.
if they all volenteer the na party of diplomats isn't unusual.

Lot of people want to be the commoner who suceewsed

If you really only need one, and everyone want it:
Make him take his first lvl in the aristocrate class.
deny him unnoble classes, eg wizard, pure sourcerour (maybe allow a couple of lvls, it's in the blood). druid. pure cleric.
Restic his race to human (or what ever the main race of the land is)

While throwing open the books. for everyone els

Twilight Jack
2009-07-18, 04:39 AM
I had great fun subverting this particular trope in a game I once ran.

I took my time with each player before the game began and made sure they were comfortable with the idea that one of them was going to have a specific prophesied Destiny to save the world from Eternal Darkness and that the rest of them would ultimately be playing the wacky pals. I worked with all of them on their characters to determine how best to build characters that could support and protect the Chosen Hero in various ways. The players were luckily on board for the idea and created characters that could complement the hero's abilities and support and protect him.

Then I brutally killed the Chosen Hero in an horrible and ignoble fashion in the fourth session.

See, I had worked it out with the player of the Chosen Hero long before the game got underway. We created the "Perfect Hero" archetype so that we could wipe him out and leave the sidekicks to try to save the world in a scenario where only the Chosen One was supposed to have a chance.

It was one of the more fun campaigns I've ever run.

Blacky the Blackball
2009-07-18, 05:09 AM
The first half of my current 4e campaign had one of the characters as the "Chosen One", although this status was assigned during the campaign rather than present from the start.

In one of their early adventures, the party explored a long abandoned Tiefling temple. During that adventure they discovered a gem attached to magical devices.

Being PCs, of course, they removed it... and freed the Angel of Vengeance that had been trapped in there for over a thousand years.

The angel ranted a bit and flew off, thanking them for releasing it. And the players thought that was the end of the matter, and carried on adventuring.

What they didn't know was that the angel had been driven insane by its long imprisonment. The PC who did the actual releasing was "Chosen" by the angel as its saviour, and from then on it "kept watch" over him, taking "venegeance" on anyone or anything that he even expressed mild disappointment in - everything from the vampire whose minion killed his friend to the shopkeeper who short-changed him to another party member who he had a falling out with. I made sure that while it was sometimes to the party's advantage it was far more often not.

It took the party a while to notice that fire and desctruction seemed to be following them around, and longer to realise that it was actually hitting everyone they had become upset with.

Eventually, the party worked out that it was the insane angel and that it wasn't just hitting things the party was upset with but hitting things that one particular party member was upset with.

In the end the party discussed how to get rid of the angel - and in its madness the angel (having scryed on the conversation) interpreted this as an attempt to get rid of its chosen one's protection; so it kidnapped the character and took him away to "keep him safe".

The party finally dealt with the situation by cutting a deal with one of the angel's more sane minions which was worried about its master's state of mind. With the help of the minion, the angel - which by this point had "fallen" and become a demon - was led into a trap and killed by the party who were by now high enough level to be able to do so.

2009-07-18, 05:40 AM
I choose the most mature player there, and enlist his aid. I make sure he stays Low-key about his chosen status, and in return, he assists me with story progression.

Captain Alien
2009-07-18, 06:02 AM
It does not matter if the background story of a character shows him as a special person in the world, or born announced by a prophecy: The NPCs will be the ones who will give him importance.

If every NPC recognizes that character, but not the others in the party, you are giving more importance to that player. So you have to be careful.

I usually use this as a reward. For example, in my campaign, two of the characters are heroes because they have weird tatoos since they were born. One of them is tied to find a magical artifact for his people. The other player did this just to make his character cooler. Because the first one is way more humble than the other, I give his character more importance in my campaign. A lot of people knows something about that mighty artifact in the world. But when the other player says: "Hey, my character should be known, because there was a prophecy and blah blah blah", I answer him: "No, he is a barbarian. Almost nobody in the civilized world knows there even exist barbarians. Your character might be recognized in his country. Not here."

He hates when I do this, but he works so hard to be the center of the session that I cannot allow him this. I will give him his moments of glory related to his background story, I guess, if he does not get killed by some annoyed NPC.

2009-07-18, 06:04 AM
Usually, I tell the party upfront that someone is gonna be special. Then they either choose randomly or vote.

Irreverent Fool
2009-07-18, 01:25 PM
Characters in games I run generally gain recognition and importance through deeds done and levels gained.

Thus, the 7th-level bard who has survived since level 1 and regularly spends a great deal of his wealth on living comfortably when not adventuring and telling stories of his fallen companions' deeds (and downplays his own importance in the stories) is recognized in the cities and towns he frequents. He is slowly approaching the status of a legendary storyteller.

And I just *had* to use the 'savages in the jungle you've never met have a big golden statue of you' trope when they encountered the halfling cannibals.

Meanwhile, the latest batch of the other characters are more-or-less nobodies. Nobodies who may have done some great deeds, but word hasn't managed to spread yet.


2009-07-18, 01:50 PM
One of the PCs in my campaign has been chosen by his patron deity to be the destined savior of his Nation (and maybe the world).

He knows he's the chosen one because he's a cleric. With a Magic Warharmmer.

It's a really low-magic setting. :D

2009-07-18, 02:15 PM
I guess for me there are three big obstacles to running 'chosen one' stories or plot lines, aside from the tiny detail that I really hate them. The biggest one for me is characters die. They die to enforce a sense of danger to the game, of risk. They might not die a *lot*, but death or incapacitation form an part of practically every game with a damage mechanic. Philip Marlowe rolls 1s when it suits, but the players don't have the luxury of timing bad luck. The Chosen One may well die. Or be knocked on his ass right at the start of that Epic Final Showdown.

So what do we do? Well, one option is a 'Game Over' condition (character dies, down for more than 5 rounds, just keep it fair and well known mechanically). This works best in a very short GM vs Players game, or if the chosen one is a 'flag' - a weaker party member, with perhaps a powerful and (very specific ability), that the party must excort to some chosen location or person. Jessie Custer from Preacher has a *very* powerful contol ability and is a sound combatant, but he's rolling with a Vampire and Tulip O'Hare. Sometimes his voice doesn't work. He's a flag. If he'd been nailed in Chapter 1 things might not have worked as a story. In a very competitive game, players may well be 'minding their own instrests' by setting up 'solutions' in the background, and now your problem is their problem. This is difficult but decent.

He Just Gets Up irritates me. This is because I am a player. I came here for a game, not to play dice based minigames while the GM dictates a novel. If there is going to be the ability for the hero to get up, this should be explained mechanically early on. There should also be agreed limits. Fate Points are nice for this. In D&D a 1/day thing might be doable. A CMW that can be used as a free action whenever maybe. The last fight, the big finale, I feel shouldn't be particularly special for this. Though to quell moany people like me, bribery works well. 'Okay guys, since this is the big one, you know Herogon's CMW ability? You all get a use of it. Herogon, you get the usual and a Heal you can use as you wish.)

The Backup Plan is obviously a good option. If the maguffin is transferable, 'aggressive destiny' may be possible. This should never be chose by the players, and certainly shouldn't be hinted at as more than a one off. It should be an incredible event, scripted in case of emergency. The replacement killer is doable too, but oh dear is it painfully desperate looking. It needs a bit of forethought and planning, maybe even a different player taking the rein. It also really needs to be interesting - maybe the sibling is young, selfish or unwilling.

If the *Players* think something up, it's a godsend. The players love thinking they've 'outfoxed' the DM at their own setting, and may well have done so. They lob the Tech-Priests head off and put it into a cryojar. They fool the magic ring with another item you gave them or a sibling or something. It doesn't have to be paticularly good, but players will generally be more satisfied with a solution they came up with, and it will feel more natural.

Chosen ones in a party game are hard.

2009-07-18, 05:50 PM
I kind of like how the game Bards Tale did it. The 'Hero' is a sarcastic self-serving scoundrel who starts out with the ability to summon a rat with magic... and he uses that ability to have it infest bars and then bravely fight it of to get a discount on drinks.

He's then found by a Mysterious Old Man and told that he's the Chosen One (tm) to save a princess from being held captive... but during his quest he keeps running into others who were told that they were the Chosen One (tm), he usually finds them mere seconds before they are killed horribly by some trap or monster.

And all the while some snarky imps are more than happy to show up and explain just what being the Chosen One (tm) counts for (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHF5uoonR-c&feature=PlayList&p=A9385FB1511822ED&index=0).

The important thing for all Chosen Ones (tm) is to find out exactly who is doing the choosing.