Page 248 - Narrative Autopsy

19th Feb 2013, 6:00 AM
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Narrative Autopsy
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 19th Feb 2013, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
A lot of this stretch of comics is inspired by my own experiences on the DM side of the table. There's really no substitute for learning by doing, and persevering even when you feel like an idiot.

65 Comments:

Blyndir 19th Feb 2013, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
For Story time, what was your most difficult "Get right back on the horse" event?
Zuche 19th Feb 2013, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
That was foal play, Blyndir.
More of a TaunTaun 19th Feb 2013, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Well there was this one time on Hoth...
Raxon 19th Feb 2013, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
You'll get saddled with unnecessary baggage if you rush into things with unbridled passion.
CJT 19th Feb 2013, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
As a player, making a replacement character after mine got killed (the group uncovered a golem we weren't supposed to find for a few more levels, and my character took his duties as meat shield seriously).

The first version of the replacement character was rather dark. A few weeks later, I revised it, and that's where Sir Corin came from (initial pitch for v2 was "played like a cross between Inigo Montoya and Don Carnage").

It turns out that I have a "mourning period" after any given character death that interferes with the generation of new characters in the interim.

As a DM, both of the abortive campaigns in my "Rune" homebrew D&D setting were learning experiences. In the first, I was reminded that engineering a TPK is a bad idea no matter how much I disliked my brother's character. I think I turned two people off of gaming by doing that, which I regret. In the second, I learned that the "simulationist" approach (make a world or an adventure map and hope the PCs wander to interesting spots) doesn't work very well, and I should instead focus on a flowchart of possible encounters, adapting terrain or cueing NPC encounters to ensure that the party always ends up doing something interesting.

I'm still a terrible DM, but at least I now have a better handle on game priorities (interacting with interesting and memorable characters, going interesting places, doing interesting things, and working towards PC goals) (obligatory "...and kill them" joke goes here).
Digo 19th Feb 2013, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
I think anything that crosses with Montoya or Carnage can be a winning ticket.
HSDclover 19th Feb 2013, 1:31 PM edit delete reply
I've run a couple campaigns which just encourage the players to go do what they want. It always seems to turn out well, but what you need are players (at least one really) who have an idea, and the story seems to form itself.

For example, the most successful one I ran had a largely aquatic world (think ~ 80% water on the surface, and the largest continent was the size of Europe, nations existed on archipelagos instead) where one of the players decided to get a ship and hire the others (and some NPCs) as his crew. What might be obvious is that having a ship in this world is a license to go where you please, so they made a living getting passengers, transporting goods, totally not smuggling, and doing quests when they showed up. One of the most interesting and entirely unplanned story arcs started when they were bringing a group of passengers and supplies to a group of islands. The night before they arrived in port, assassins snuck onto to boat to kill a passenger (a random encounter, nothing more) for apparently offending a crime ring in the islands. Instead of blowing it off as a random encounter, the captain of the group took great offense to this and spent the next several sessions quickly and quietly hunting down every member of the crime ring with the help of one of the assassins and the guy who was the target.

My point is, the best way to have an open ended player driven campaign is not to make a world and hope that they stumble on interesting points, but to make the entire world interesting, so that no mater where they go, an organic story can grow. Also, like I had said earlier, it helps to have at least one player who is good enough to let his character's motivations drive the story (be it revenge for attacking his passengers, personal greed, lust for power, or other goals o