ViO#9rlKQ|^ T>tF=U\w0% $I!F<ۛ)蚹^1E!P*5Ӕl%qL7D2'THl.>UA]!Ɍ >^B~J:i-ο +tWOa0{ˋ Xh!c۳MǦ9+"+c7z̍JIY#oKWT$~ p++nSp )(̛*Yu@FSo!'w&>qFx u+ 3QB=Č,ŧQJ=3S: |8!,lc}&.5ҩcV^ڵF"³:< ur+_0 C FYF& OZS `ƸFꖵ,9Ybh4eBMkѴ2_cmB[N-$LM>7SNcXB69T^2%i¨jYpgK\2.JҪei b z·,p̡zyZK}L$;1h^NKAz]; RL!8ChV|>&@C 9RwEBoCF K5)нbʲPȉ65N9urH?dy@N*!OVݩ¬Xd3QtMKg^(@}9>/1F^\7Tql5Yπ{6LZQ[3cm2nVrl`ʦ4XZC" QZ!q˥>:9+j4뒵oy?p\xbD!Ż>1e{^&eiWIo]VzYze1jާؑiQkUtSpC*Mb:sh6(8Krz1>ܤkY';E/cSQ&;;DL{ ?L6x98v@Q_rw IO=|v8a݆*^z\WsU|-ʈE^Ͱ{XZyLvX&mȦZ^Shpe)n3{\4T?)];}\gWl+hP

The Deeper Well

Two Fun Ways To Build A Plot

by James Bierly
Aug 17,2005

 

Two Fun Ways To Build A Plot

The main difference between the 'middle' part of the story created by a roleplaying game and the story created by an author is that (unless you are playing Paranoia or some other game wherein the GM has near-complete control of the storyline) the entire story can easily consist of random incidents that do little to build a cohesive story.

This is the way that many RPG campaigns are run. The heroes travel around having adventures, or fulfilling missions. The campaign ends with a particularly difficult or fulfilling challenge.

However, if you want to structure your build-up to the end of the campaign to have more dramatic punch, here are a couple suggestions.

Stories in other mediums build on a series of major plot points with minor events, dialogue and exposition filling in the blanks. Each plot point should be more dramatic and suspenseful than the last, building up to the conclusion of the story. In an RPG campaign, let major plot points create themselves. If the heroes happen to achieve a fantastically stunning victory in one adventure, then that victory can become Major Plot Point 1. The villain they defeated will want to come back for revenge.

Later in the campaign, one of the main characters has their entire family killed. This is more dramatic than Major Plot Point 1, and the GM decides it is worthy to be noted as Major Plot Point Two.

Later, the heroes accidentally destroy a town. This is the most dramatic thing in the campaign yet, and becomes Major Plot Point Three. When the GM and players feel it is time to end the campaign, the GM looks in his notes and sees these three events marked as Major Plot Points. She ties them together to make the ending of the campaign feel as if it is the logical conclusion to an ongoing story. She decides that it was the villain from Plot Point 1 that killed the hero's family. Now, he has organized the citizens who are angry about the destruction of the town into a lynch mob with which to destroy the heroes. All three Major Plot Points have been tied together, and the campaign feels as if it were 'going somewhere' all along.

Do you remember when we talked about themes in my first column? These can be useful for building toward a climax as well. The way to do this is to begin by exploring the theme in a very simple way, and then introduce plots with deeper and deeper explorations of this theme until the conclusion of the campaign, at which time the PCs will have to make crucial decisions about the ideas and dillemas inherent in the theme. For instance, let's say that the theme is the price of power. In the first adventure, the heroes must decide if they are willing to pay a lot of money for a new gadget. Later, they must decide if they are willing to cheat someone in order to gain more influence. Later, they must decide if they are willing to kill for a piece of exceptionally useful blackmail. Finally, they are faced with the decision of whether or not to sacrifice one of their own friends in order to achieve control over a powerful company. This approach has the advantage of providing many opportunities for developing and roleplaying one's character.

Have a great game this week,

James Bierly

TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

Go to forum!\n"; $file = "http://www.rpg.net/$subdir/list2.php?f=$num"; if (readfile($file) == 0) { echo "(0 messages so far)
"; } ?>

Previous columns

Other columns at RPGnet

TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg