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Fill In The Gap

The Trial

by Matt Turnbull
Mar 23,2005

 

Introduction

Welcome to Fill in The Gap, a column devoted to individual, "one-off" scenarios, that any GM can run for his/her group.

This month is going to be a bit different. This month's column still details an individual scenario, but instead of ready-made characters and events, it's something you can work into your game, with your characters!

If you need to know more about the FITG(Fill in The Gap) system/column, please check out the first (and second) of these monthly columns. Without further ado, I bring you today's scenario:

The Trial

The Trial is a scenario for your players, however many of them you've got!

The Premise

Sometimes, a player's character dies. It happens, and it's sad, but it doesn't have to be the end. Where does he go? What kind of cosmology is set up in the world of your game? Are there Gods? Is there a heaven, or a hell? Where the does the character go when he dies?

The Trial is a scenario where all of the characters in your game find themselves in a setting-appropriate courtroom, participating in a trial of the dead character. This trial is to determine how worthwhile a life they led, how true to their ideals they were, what they've accomplished, and most importantly, where they go from here. The reason to do this is to allow the player whose character died to get one last moment to shine, and to allow the player to gain some sense of closure. Run this scenario with that in mind.

This one-off is meant to be run directly after a player's character dies, and isn't coming back. All of the characters are spirited away to a courtroom, in which some deity-like figure (whoever makes sense for your game) is presiding over a judgement of that character's life.

The players play their characters as always. One of them (the dead one) is on trial, the rest will be called as witnesses for either the prosecution or the defense.

The Characters

You know who your characters are. The player whose character is on trial has the option of defending himself, or having a court appointed defender (NPC). Everyone else will be called as witnesses.

The Theme

The theme of this one depends on what kind of life the dead character lived. If he went out in a blaze of glory, saving those he loved, than the trial might be a formality for looking at his exploits. If the character betrayed his ideals, and died whimpering, then an entirely different trial may come about. Theme as appropriate.

The Setting

Tailor the courtroom to your setting. If it's a fantasy game, with a pantheon of Gods, then set it up like a council in judgement. If it's a modern horror game with a Judeo-Christian basis, make the judge an angel, and set the trial amongst the clouds.

The Events - Or here's how it happened

Unlike the other one-offs in these columns, the events of this scenario are largely up to you. Here's some suggestions of what to do:

Surprise witness! Call old NPCs (even dead ones) to the trial. Villains, allies, the character's loved ones, anybody and everyone you can think of.

Make the prosecution mean. Have them lie, lead witnesses, and do every other dirty lawyer trick you know to damn the player character. This type of adversity should lead to the party unifying to defend them.

Do the other characters remember the trial? That's something that could lead to some changes in your game if they did.

I know this one was a bit shorter this month. Let me know what you thought of this scenario anyway, by E-mailing me at Msturnbull@comcast.net

See you next month!

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