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MoonHunter Sayeth 20170620

MoonHunter

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Creating a Chronicle The MoonHunter Way

1) Conception and Base Ideas
2) Chronicle Copy.
3) Bits Collection
4) Preliminary Setting and Chronicle Creation
- ) Chronicle Selection (this will occur sometime after step 2, 3, 4)
5) Base Chronicle Packet (Hard or Soft)

6) Casting the Game
7) Second Bit collection / Plot Bit collection
8) Formalizing Story Arc work – story boarding -
9) Finish the Chronicle Packet
10) Prep Work This may be done simultaneous with packet polishing
11) Create your GM Gear (GM pad, etc)
12) Prep the first session or three (one adventure)
12b) Every Sessions/ Adventure Prep (as needed)
-) Maintain the Chronicle: Like Character Creation, Chronicle Creation never ends. There is time advancement, expiration of story arcs, talking to the players to collect new bits, laying down new story arcs-

These next three steps occur in what is best described as a fuzzy order. They can be done as listed, they can be done selection, bits, initial work, they can be done in any order that makes sense to you as long as they get done before you go on to step five. I have listed them in the order I tend to do them.


3) First Bit Collection
Bits are an old writer and gamer term for "bits of inspiration". This is like the pieces you have from a chronicle conception, written or visusal.

You are collecting "Bits" from the players for one of three reasons.
1) You can collect bits that are for gaming in general, helping you create new ones or refine presented Chronicle Copies.
2) You can collect bits for any of the Chronicle Copies that have been presented to the players. This will help a GM/ Chronicle creator prepare the Chronicle.
3) You can collect bits for the Chronicle Copy/ Chronicle that has been selected to help prepare THAT Chronicle

Every pass through, each player should provide 1 to 5 "bits" they want to see. Each Bit is a campaign element that the player wants to see in the game. They should just be short one line notes, but some players are very productive. Bits can be anything, but should be things like - but not limited to:

Major/Minor NPC/Type of NPCs
Types of Story Lines they want to see.
Important Systems (Magic, Tech, Skills)
Important Props (Artifacts, Tools, Weapons, McGuffins)
Important Current Events
Locations (types)
Critters/ Creatures (types)
Groups (types)
Opponents (type)
Genre (category 1 only)
Setting (Category 1 only) or pieces of the setting or a piece of history.
and Red Flags

and Red Flags
Red Flags are "anti-bits". They are things the player does not want to see. (Ask them about how big of a red flag it is for them. Any red flags for a player should be avoided or negotiated. (We can play this to make everyone else happy for a while, but I promise we will do Y next campaign to make you happy...)
From these elements, one can usually tell which Chronicle Copy and which parts of it, they are most interested in. As many bits as possible should be incorporated into the setting. Sometimes they will cause the GM to change the Chronicle Copy (Blurb or Direct copy), other times they are things to be noted in the Chronicle Packet.

Bits help make for a hybrid creation system. The GM still is the primary editor and creator, but the players are involved in selecting elements for their campaign.
Note: The collection of bits could be part of a cycle looping between Chronicle Copy and bits, as the GM refines their Chronicle Copies.

Note II: Some players will give you the same bits every time. Note those, as the player has an unwavering attachment to them.


4a) Preliminary Setting Creation
If I, the GM, like a setting OR it seems a specific chronicle copy has caught the player's interest, I start the setting building process.

There are dozens of ways to build setting. You can do it the MoonHunter Way. You can do it via a checklist. You can compose your ideas as you set up. You can collect elements and game mechanics that will be important. You create and write up the setting so it make sense to you, keeping in mind what you will need for the Chronicle Packet.

Keep in mind those "Bits" you just collected. Players like them, so make sure to include as many of them as possible and logical from each player. The idea is to make a setting that everyone will like. Keep in mind that sometimes compromises and not everyone will like it as much as they could.

Now many people question this "preliminary step".

It can not hurt to have a semi-cooked chronicle or six in your notes.
1) Creating a chronicle takes time and effort, having something started would make it easier to get it done later
2) If your players are "non-committal" to a chronicle, having others closer to "go" might come in handy.
3) If it is another chronicle in an existing setting, every additional bit of work adds to all the chronicles set in that setting.
4) Having a Ready to Go Chronicle Copy and things to support it might be handy the next time a campaign changes.
5) Practice makes perfect. The more you practice and finish a chronicle packet or make a setting, the better you will get at it.

Just do the work that is required. Then if you have time, add other stuff that might be needed or that interests you.

4b) Preliminary Chronicle Creation
There is more to a chronicle than just the setting. If you can do preliminary work, do it. Copy elements from previous Chronicle Packets to speed the process. The section that really needs preliminary work is the Character Creation Section, giving guidelines and lists of skills/ gifts/ flaws that fit the chronicle and the setting.

I have dozens to unfinished settings and chronicles with only 5-25 pages invested in them. They are ready to go when I need them, with cool Chronicle Copy to capture the attention of my next set of players. Of course, most people's preliminary work on a chronicle might be 3-5 pages, so your millage may very.
Just do the work that is required. Then if you have time, add other stuff that might be needed or that interests you.

-) Selecting the Chronicle
The decision day has come. The final votes for each Chronicle Copy come in (or the players talk it out and come to a concensus.) The troupe decides which chronicle they want to play. In theory they should choose just one. It has been my experience they will waffle between two until the very last moment. Once the chronicle has been chosen, every player must give their 1-5 bits if they have not done so already.

Once a Chronicle has been selected, The GM must finish up the preliminary Chronicle Packet asap, so they will be ready for step 6 Casting.

Note: The work you have done on other chronicles not selected is not wasted. The more work you do on creating and maintaining a chronicle, the better you get at it. Chronicles that don't launch are great ways to practice creating settings and trying other things out. You will see what works and what does not. As new Chronicles come up, you the GM will be able to create settings and chronicles, with greater ease and efficiency.


5) Initial Chronicle Packet

As I went into earlier (MoonHunter Sayeth 20170605 and the following entries), a Chronicle Packet will help players understand the setting and know what is expected of them. It should include:

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

The Summary of the Chronicle is based on the Chronicle Copy.
The Summary of the Setting and any details should of been worked on before the players choose the setting, but if not... work hard on it now.
The Character Guidelines are much like the setting, something that should of been worked on earlier and put together.
The Rule sections (4&5) are often cut and pasted from every chronicle that the GM runs.

This Chronicle Packet needs to be 90-95% complete before it is used for the Section 6 - Casting. Why you ask?; because players will need to know material that is in the packet to properly create characters that fit the setting, fit the character framework, fit the main story arc, and can work together.

Given the technology of today, the Initial Chronicle Packet can be soft (electronic) or Hard (print out). Everyone should be e-mailed/ distributed a soft copy of the packet so they can look it over. (They should look it over, but often they don't until character creation. ). Most GM's will print out one to two copies for the group. Most of my players have found them useful when they are being used for the casting party.

Note: Creating a packet is the reason why I start asking about the new chronicle while the old one is still weeks away from finishing. It gives me more lead time to get everything ready.
 
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