MoonHunter Sayeth 20170605


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Core Things to know

1) Cue Cards
2) Riffing
3) Magic Boards
4) Chronicle Packet (aka world pack/ packet, aka Campaign Packet, aka Setting Book)
5) GM Journal (aka GM Pad, GM Notebook, etc)

Chronicle Packet aka World pack/ packet, aka Campaign Packet, aka Campaign Bible, aka Series Bible, aka Campaign Encyclopedia. Aka Game Packet, aka Setting Book, aka Game Bible, aka Player’s Campaign Guide, aka Player Packet, aka Player Papers, aka….
You can call it what you like, as there are only a couple of dozen names for it. These are packets of information about the game for the players. Every GM’s idea of what to include is different. I have been putting together this packets since 1980. I am going to list what seems to have worked best for my players.

1) Summary of the chronicle - so they know what they are getting into.
2) Summary of the setting (or more).
2b) any details that might be visceral, interesting or important.
3) Guidelines for Character Creation for the campaign (which are the best archetypes, which flaws are good idea, which are bad...)
4) Any Rule changes
5) Play Rules and Player expectation – useful for new players or new campaigns, often cut and pasted between events
6) Updates as the campaign continues. New things will be important. New places and organizations will be explored and added. Certain details that should have been in the first packet should be includes.
A quick summary of the campaign is nice. I tend to update this once every “notable story arc” or so. I take information from the EP section of the GM’s Journal

Most chronicle packets run about four to ten pages. If you are really into it, they can be thirty two to sixty four pages in length. If you have alternate magic spell lists or a revised gift/ flaw section, they can be many more.

The Chronicle Packet eliminates a number of problems that happen in so many games. They provide information right there in front of everyone about the chronicle, how it is to run, what the characters are like, and other things.

One of the problems with creating a unique game environment, especially a more exotic world, is that you can leave your players “out of the loop” because they do not know the culture and the world. You think the game is whizzing along while the players begin to look at you blankly because they don’t know why things are happening. Many standard fantasy worlds (stamped out of the Tolkein/ Western European mold) have elements that go far beyond the generic tropes; complex political situations, religious or mystical issues, or history that is detailed and applicable to the current story line. Sometimes GMs get too wrapped up in the creation of the world and campaign that they forget that they have to communicate their world to others. Players need to know that is going on. If you don’t the results… for your campaign can be disastrous, as players will flounder and be frustrated, as the GM will be confused and not understand why the game is not going anywhere, as players will wonder what the heck the GM is talking about.
Summary of The Chronicle
In order

Blurb for the chronicle, the kind of thing that you would see on the back of the book or a movie commercial.

Campaign name, Timing and Duration:
How long is the game expected to last? (Number of sessions, time in months, or open-ended)
Game scheduling - where, when, frequency (e.g. Every other Friday at <address> kicking off 6pm, finishing 10pm
If there are other GMs taking duty on rotation.

Chronicle’s Setting
This is a high view version of the summary, summing it up for the players so they know what they will be getting into. Make is a brief as you can, as there is an entire section devoted to this.

Chronicles Genre and Themes and Tones
This assists the players in getting into the mood of the game by knowing what they are in for. It also helps them choose appropriate characters.
Genres and themes are simple descriptions. However, you might want to give examples so everything is thinking the same thing. Using examples of media (novels, series, movies, comic book runs, etc) such that it is like, X.

Tones take a little explanation. While this started in Hero system, it has expanded to other things. It gives the players key ideas about how things are going to go in the chronicle.

Heroism ranging from 1 to 5, from Simplistic cartoons to one step from the villains
Morality ranging from 1 to 5, from black and white to everything is a shade of grey.
Outlook ranging from 1 to 5, from Very Optimistic to almost nothing ever works out.
Realism ranging from 1 to 5, from Very Romantic/ Cinematic to extremely realistics
Seriousness ranging from 1 to 5, from Play it for laughs to almost entirely serious
Continuity ranging from 1 to 5 from isolated episodic to entirely serial – everything in the storyline
Mortality ranging from 1 to 5, from nobody dies ever to expect death to be a constant companions (and what is your next character concept anyways)

If you want to list Modes, here is the place to put it.

Chronicle’s Framework
Where the characters are starting (roughly)?
What kind of characters are expected?
What sort of challenges do you expect for the characters.

If your game has a Chronicle Ground Rule Sheet, this would be a good place to put it.
If your game has a Character Creation Ground Rule Sheet, you can put it here or in the front of the Character Creation Section.

To be continued....
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