View Full Version : ~3.5~ Innundated By Ideas

Deth Muncher
2010-01-04, 09:37 PM
Imagine, if you will.

You have a brand new group of players, and you want to make the gaming experience as good for them as you possibly can. To do this, you ask them what sort of things they'd like out of the campaign. They tell you they'd like some of this, some of that. Super. So you get an idea working in your head.

And then you get another.
And another.
And another still.

All of these are fantastic ideas. They don't really link, but hey, you'll find a way somehow, right?

Then you realize that you don't have a good plot: you have a series of what could be one-or-two shots.

How do YOU, Playgrounders, bring back your ideas to form a coherent plot for the story as opposed to something akin to taking all of the Versus threads in Media Discussions, setting them in a centrifuge and hoping it works?

2010-01-05, 12:45 AM
Either find ways to link them together, or have the players get the missions in a way that doesn't really require them to be linked (say, assignments from someone they're working for, instead of part of a series of events figure out on their own).

2010-01-05, 09:37 AM
You want to take a perfectly good series of adventure ideas and ruin them with an over-arching plot? For shame!

D&D characters are picarros (http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2008/10/picaro-and-story-of-d.html): their whole purpose in life is to crash from one loosely-connected adventure to another with barely a moment to catch their breath (or, more importantly, poke at plot holes). Your job as DM, is to lay the track only a few yards ahead of the wildly veering crazy train that is the emergent story.

Having a plot is just giving up a hostage to the willful perversity of your players. :smallwink:

2010-01-05, 10:20 AM
It can take some finesse to keep it from feeling like a CRPG laundry list, but serving up quests buffet style can help you stay sane in the long run.

The group should have a starting point- they hang out in tavern X, they've done odd jobs for person Y in the past, or Z big thing is occurring around them. There's a lot of possible variety, but that's where, once everything is rolled up, they go for the next series of adventures. It's best to work out some adventure ideas in advance and just do some updating as the group changes, so that you can give some choice to the players without having to improvise the entire session.

The players should feel comfortable that even if they completely misinterpret what was going on or fail horribly, they can disengage at the end of the session, head back to the starting point, and they can choose something different to do. Not saying it should be without consequence- their actions or lack thereof should have some sort of effect- but they aren't stuck going through the motions.

Epic storylines work best, in my experience, when they're allowed to build to a head while the players are going from idea to idea. Once enough dots become connected, the players will usually go charging off on the big old quest. Basically, instead of a railroad, you've got a freeway. There aren't any turns or twists in a freeway, it doesn't branch or get convoluted, but the players like it because it's fast and they're going somewhere important. Just make sure to add metaphorical exit ramps so the players can get off for a while without crashing the game.