View Full Version : Looking for a roleplay heavy concept to kick off a campaign

2013-09-09, 06:46 PM
Hi all. I'd like to run a campaign that is 90% role-play and 10% combat, rather than the absolute reverse, which is almost always the case with tabletop games. To do so, I have switched from the complex rules of D&D to fabletop.com which is so rules-light that battles take anywhere from 1/8th to 1/2 the time. You'd think that by speeding up battles people would roleplay more, but more often GM's (including myself) use the extra time to add.... more battles!

So I'm turning it over to the community to help me come up with a roleplaying heavy concept.

This forum comes in two questions.
1: What are some tips/techniques for making roleplay central to the fates/decisions of the characters.
2: Is there a good concept you could suggest for the first adventure in the serires that is roleplay heavy?

I'll try to respond to each of your comments.


Honest Tiefling
2013-09-09, 07:18 PM
1) Make the first adventure something dangerous, but where time is not always an issue. (Such as exploring some ruins that no one else knows about). I find that being able to have some downtime helps with opportunities to RP, as well as making for a better introduction to your friendly team of ragtag adventurers then 'Aaaaiieeee, world is going to end, gogogo'. Those sorts of adventures should be included, but maybe not at first. It is hard to feel bad about that orc-guy with the sword who threw that other guy who sacrificed himself if you never had a good chat.

2) Get back stories, use back stories. I tend to find that RPers tend to find it mildly discouraging when the DM asks for back stories and then they never matter at all.

3) Consider asking the PCs to create some NPCs, such as rivals, mentors, contacts, etc. or something. Keep chucking NPC helpers/minions/etc. at the party to see if they get attached to any. Develop the ones they do (It'll never be the one you suspect). And whatever you do, do not automatically kill or kidnap people they get attached to.

4) Try to encourage people to talk IC, and to refer to the characters by name, not 'Elf' or 'Wizard' or 'Meatshield'. (Unless that is IC).

5) Describe the loot. 50 GP sure is nice, but so is an elven crafted statue of the goddess of spring. They may still end up selling it rather then keeping it, but then work in skill checks to try to get a higher price for it.

2013-09-09, 07:22 PM
The setting: An offworld space station/pocket dimension of luxury(depending on setting of choice)

The players role: Each is a diplomat for their race.

The mission: Assure peace and prosperity for all. Also, try to make sure your guys come out on top.

The complications: Every race has a big ol' list of stuff they want, and stuff they hate. Also, there's a covert arms dealer up here with you. Assassinations are possible. Frame jobs are possible. Endless, really.

2013-09-10, 12:43 AM
Something that always helps encourage roleplay is addressing characters not players and encouraging (I actually mean demanding, but in a nice way) that the other players do so as well.

If you can get one player to start roleplaying some you can get the others to as well by something like, "Sir Greene, you see Tiberius attempting to negotiate with the shopkeeper, it isn't going well." "Ugh, fine, I'll step over there and tell the shop keeper we need the X or else blah blah blah" and then just let it pile on. Eventually more and more of your players will initiate roleplay and more and more of them will respond.

In the same vein, do a lot of roleplaying yourself. Act out your NPCs, give them memorable personality quirks and voices if you can. Always address the PCs in character when they're dealing with them.

Something I think helps is introductions among NPCs to PCs. When the PC already has to get into character just to say, "I'm Sir Greene" they're more likely to stay in character I think. Similarly, when they're famous have NPCs recognize them in character, "You're Tiberius! And Sir Greene! I heard you killed the dragon in the mountains!"

Make roleplaying pay off with recurring NPCs (that the characters like and hate, not the non-memorable ones) as Honest Tiefling said. They can help the PCs or keep taunting them (IC) every time they turn up.

The biggest one is making sure your players are comfortable so make sure they're aware no one's judging them for acting in character, easy to do when you're doing silly voices and whatnot as DM, even easier once more players start RPing.