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Thread: Foreshadowing

  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Foreshadowing

    I'm sorry if this already exists. Please don't put me back in the box.

    Foreshadowing is one of my favorite literary devices to use in role-play. Just last session, I gave a nameless NPC a few lyrics of a song to sing, and later revisited it in a darker context.

    A variation of foreshadowing I like to use is when I notice a way to put something from an earlier session in, I foreshadow retroactively.

    So I'm wondering if the playground has any tales of foreshadowing they would like to share.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Dread Angel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Foreshadowing

    In the campaign I've just finished writing (play begins on Sunday, I'm so fecking stoked), there are all kinds of little foreshadowings, as well as some rather blatant ones.

    The very first quest the PCs receive is to fetch a magic sword from a cavern a little ways outside Drenchport, where they begin (Golarion setting). Simple, right? Cliche, right? Yup. Right up till they get there, fight a few Fetchlings, and get to the main chamber just in time to see the soon-to-be BBEG get his hands on the sword, which is actually an intelligent and very evil item manipulating frigging EVERYONE...and he proceeds to soundly wallop the party, leaving them alive to spread the word of the coming darkness. I mean soundly wallop in that he's ECL 15 and the party is level 1.

    The party ends up travelling all over Golarion recovering MacGuffins, during which they run into reports of a fearsome shadowy warrior who wields eldritch power and his odd, green-flaming sword with equal prowess. And they do find him in the Worldwound leading a band of demons, as well as various other places doing various terrible things. All of which hints that there's something even more sinister at work.

    The BBEG thinks he's going to become a living god by recovering Aroden's power...and the soul in the sword is using him to get the power for itself and turn the Material Plane into its own Abyss.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Foreshadowing

    I am also quite fond of the technique of retroactive forshadowing. Its great to throw out lots of random bits of information early in a game, and then pick one or two of them up later to revist depending on what the players do. I cannot recomend it highly enough as a method for really immersing the players in the game world.
    Time is but a pattern in the currents of causality,
    an ever changing present that determines our reality,
    the past we see as history, the future seed with prophecy,
    and all the time we think on time our time is passing constantly.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Maugan Ra's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Re: Foreshadowing

    Foreshadowing is, in my experience, difficult to pull off in a Roleplaying. Mostly because the players never do exactly what you expect them to do, so adding something significant early with the expectation of a particular situation occurring later is less than entirely guaranteed.

    It's also diffcult to pull of subtly. In literature, the author can rewrite the relevant sections and tweak the overall storyline until he's sure the foreshadowing comes through properly without being massively blatant. In a roleplay, you get one chance, and your payers will notice if you default to an obvious script for the important part.
    "Not trusting me might be the smartest decision you made since getting off of your horse."

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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Dallas, TX

    Default Re: Foreshadowing

    It's easier to pull off foreshadowing using mass media in the modern day.

    Years ago, in a Champions game I was running, I invented a superhero-focused tabloid to give them background color. Mostly it was just background color, but I also used it to help foreshadow my main villains.

    I told the players that they could assume the existence of any super-hero from the comics for their backstory, except the really powerful ones - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Spectre, etc. (This was a subtle way to tell them that the first five on that list didn't exist.)

    It was a Silver Age game, starting in 1959. The introductory notes to the players included the following paragraph.

    Rumors about heroes are extremely common. In fact, there’s a supermarket tabloid that specializes in them. “The Brave and the Bold” is a source for any rumor about any hero you could ever want to read about, from Forbush-Man to the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. They are responsible for the rumor that Captain America didn’t really die at the end of World War II. They are currently writing an “expose” about a putative hero team called Sugar and Spike, (who nobody else thinks exists), and are trying to convince everyone that these are merely new costumes and identities for the Golden-Age Fox and the Crow. Nobody takes them seriously, but everybody seems to know what they’re saying, and they outsell the National Enquirer by millions of issues each week.

    Soon they heard: "There are rumors of a half-man, half-flying-predator creature seen flying around the streets of Gotham at night. Don’t assume that this means the creature can fly, or even that it really exists."

    Eventually, the Brave and the Bold had stories about green glows appearing sometimes near crimes in Coast City, and weird weather condition in Central City, particular micro-cyclones.

    They met a would-be superhero called the Acrobat, who was an ex-circus performer whose parents were murdered. He had circus skills, but no detective skills (**** Grayson who never met Bruce Wayne.)

    A story in B&B, after their second adventure: An unknown clown was found beaten to death on the streets of Gotham city. There was no evidence linking the crime to anybody, and the only unusual aspects of the case are that the coroner was unable to take off his white clown makeup and green hair dye, and that his face was frozen in a hideous grin, like the victims in a couple of earlier crimes also in Gotham. The police suspect that his murderer must also be guilty of the other crimes, but no other clues are available. (Of course, Gotham is believed to be a corruption-riddled city worse than anything seen since Chicago in the 1930s, so who knows?)

    Some high-level generals and senators in Washington reported being lured away by a tall, beautiful brunette, kidnapped, tied up, and forced to reveal state secrets. For reasons they cannot explain, they couldn't stop themselves from speaking the truth when tied up.

    Later, they tried to recover stolen property, and were stopped by a man with a green glow coming from one hand. After that adventure, they were told, "The green glow from the villain’s hand has been traced to several minor crimes, mostly on the west coast. Besides the plane from Ferris Aircraft and the atomic cannon from Stark Industries, there have been no publicized major defense-related heists. But it’s worth remembering that those two hadn’t been advertised, either. In any event, there seem to be no clues about what was in the box you failed to recover."

    Later, between adventures: A man wearing a weird suit with question marks all over it has been found with his head caved in at the scene of a Gotham city bank robbery. He has been identified as Edward Nigma, a puzzle editor on a local paper. Nothing in his background explains his presence at the crime scene or his death. He appears to have been beaten severely. “The Brave and the Bold” claims he has been leading a double life as the little-noticed crime fighter “The Question”. (They’ve been running a series exploring the hidden identity of “The Question” for some time, illustrating him as a man with no face.)

    They also heard about the beginnings of the Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, the Atom, Spider-Man, even Captain Sprocket.

    But the point of all this was to introduce the main super-villains, the Crime Syndicate (villainous versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern).

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