MoonHunter Sayeth 20170621

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
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, or 4)
5) Base Chronicle Packet (Hard or Soft)
6) Casting the Chronicle
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.


6) Casting the Chronicle
A story is really nothing more than following people who want things around. So characters are really important to make a great game story.

After years of playing various games and setting up various chronicles, games do end up working better when the troupe gets together and creates their characters together.

To start the session, The GM gives a verbal summary of the Chronicle and its setting (This will look and sound a lot like the Summary of the Chronicle in the Chronicle Packet). The GM should highlight the key part of the character creation information in the Chronicle Packet to create characters. This will put everything fresh into the players’ minds.

Nobody goes home (or gets to watch movies, or play video games) until all the characters are done. (It is never this drastic). Just the group knows that they are supposed to be working together.. The actual work comes from two processes.

1) Players and GMs should work on each character. This is where the GM makes sure that the character has motivation, 3 or more potential plot bits, a place in the chronicle, and supports the group and chronicle. The GM will rotate around to spending time with each player refining the character (and conception).

2) Players work together on each character. They tend to work on the troupe and game elements such as game mechanics, basic histories, relationships, and conceptions. Often they brainstorm on character add new and cool ideas. If you thought one player was imaginative, put a few of them working together and some pretty impressive things

When a character is done with all the various inputs, the GM needs to sign off on the character (approving anything added or deleted by the players working together). Now is the time to confirm valid mechanics and totals, the known potential plot bitsand work on any “secrets” the character have after rolling through the process.

Add snacks, drinks, and some time to socialize, and this “session” can be a lot of fun. It helps build better game troupes as it is more cooperative, more social, and more creative than most game session.

One thing that will happen is that players who are done (or nearly done) is that they will begin to roleplay with each other. It is a little prelude as the players work out their relationships (or future relationships). They will play out those scenes that form their histories or the few days before the campaign starts.

Now a GM might want a little prelude play to ease the characters towards the core story arc. This will be something else you will do in step 12.

By the time this session is finished, the troupe will be ready to play with a group of characters that are well woven together by a collection of history and relationships, with enough game mechanics and story bits to keep the campaign going for as long as the chronicle is going to go… and beyond.

7) Second Bit collection / Plot Bit collection
This part of the process is done during step 6. The GM’s times with the player will be used to approve the characters and collect gaming goodness. There are two primary things you will collecting.

As a game master, take notes during this session. There will be more ideas, comments, and other things that will come up in the “free discussions” that occur during the session. They may be bits or plot bits, but sometimes they can be other things. These ideas will often be a gold mine of potential gaming goodness. So the best advice I can give is to pay attention to what people are talking about as much as you can.

7a) Second Bit collection
When a character is “done” and ready to go, ask each player for 1-5 things they want to see in the game for their characters. They will give you bits that will be tailored to their character. They will give you, home forests, personal villains, true loves, mentors, places for epic fight scenes, organizations they want to be part of (or against), and other goodness. These bits are there to help GMs to create scenes and story arcs.

7b) Plot Bit collection
Plot bits are the ideas behind various story arcs. Usually are the titles of the story arc. It is the GM’s job to convert plot bits into a story arc for each character (each major villain, and each location). Every character should have no less than three plot bits. (see this article for more info.)

8) Formalizing Story Arc work – story boarding
This is where plot bits and ideas are converted into planned story arcs. Now I am going to go over this at length (in the someday to be classic, Creating a Story Arc the MoonHunter way), but now I just want to highlight a few things:

1) Every chronicle has one CORE story arc (at a time). This is the main plot that impacts everything to some degree. This is The Quest to destroy the Ring, The Dominion War, Deposing the Bad King and putting his hidden brother on the throne, to break the curse, to stop The Prince from starting a War, and so on. The scenes in this story arc are when needs to happen so the core story arc can be resolved (ring destroyed, war ended, king deposed, brother enthroned without the iron mask, etc, etc.)

1b) Remember Story Arcs for games are not straight lines, but flow charts with many branches that will lead away, but eventually back, to the main arc and the conclusion/ finale

2) Every character should have one plotline that parallels and intertwines the core story line, which is scenes that show how it impacts them and why they are acting to “complete the core storyline”. “You are here to rescue your true love (by stopping the Prince from causing a war), but I am here to kill Count Rugen. But, I need your help to get into the castle” .

3) Even Villains (lieutenants, and important minion) have story arcs that parallel the main plot if they are not “the main one”. (The only non-loyal minion – “I am only here to pay the bills. There is not a lot of money in revenge.”)

4) Every character should have some additional story arcs (some they know and some that are suprises) to give them opportunities to develop/ roleplay, meet other goals, and show off their skills. (“So you need a master thief. Well it just so happens I am one.”)

5) You will need to have some spare small story arcs or scenes related to certain places or conditions so you can have filler. (“Have fun stormin' da castle.” “Think it'll work?.”)

6) As you are laying out all the Story Arcs, see where things can intersect or overlap. Find a way to tie your characters and the world together. (Why yes, my Uncle’s name is Rugen and he does have six fingers.) Or Alex needs a location for an epic showdown. Brett needs a romantic scene to be broken up. Edger needs to have an event at The Snow Faire. Okay. Edgar is having an illegal race with his wind powered ice boat to settle his debt. Alex will be confronted by The Hood on the bridge over the frozen river (and eventually on the ice).. possibly hit by the ice boats.. and Brett will be on the balcony of a chalet near the bridge and the river… and have to go save his friends. Okay. Different plot point scenes just got tangled together into one major scene… and it gets more complicated.

7) Once you have all the arcs all laid out, follow them along. See where there are logical gaps. See if there are additional things that should happen. See if you can cut out story arcs that are redundant. Also see if it makes sense to add additional story arcs.

8) See what locations and scenes you will need. Make a list of things you might need to build. Once you start listing it all, you will see how much (or how little) you really need to make for the chronicle. By combining scenes and locations, you have to make fewer things for the chronicle. (See about a GM Journal’s

9) Develop Back Up plans - extra places and things to plug in should new story arcs be needed.

10) Think of your chronicle as a Movie, a Book (or trilogy), or a season of a television show. Your core story follows the characters the entire time. This gives that satisfying beginning, middle, and end.
10a) Always think Sequel rather than Continuation, when you can.

To keep it all organized, every notable character (PC and NPC) gets a letter (or two). Every one of its story arcs gets a number. Every scene gets a two digit number. So A1-12 would stand for Alex’s number one plotline (tied to the core story arc) and the 12th scene box in that story arc. (Ideally scene numbers start from the beginning and number down, but there are side twists and additions, the numbering is the order in which they were made… So A1-85 could be encountered before A1-12. The Playbill should have the NPCs or Location’s letter with it. (Amar is AA, Antoich is AB, The Planes are AC)
 

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Because this article includes Casting the Chronicle, there are some character advice I love to have people keep in mind.

Interest Rule: What is interesting or unique about the character? Just like everything needs to add drama to the game, everything should be interesting (and possibly unique). What sets this apart from just another set of mechanics in the game?

Maximum Game Fun: The character should be developed to provide as much fun as possible for the player and the rest of the troupe in the game. It should make things interesting without making them impossible or frustrating.

Best Dramatic Effect: The action should results in as much drama in the game as possible, adding to the tension or resolving existing tension dramatically. Players should choose the best dramatic effect and GM’s should have their actions result in.

MacBeth Rule: Perfect characters in an RPG or story can become boring. They can have goals and such, but very little gets in their way. For characters, it is best to bring your own drama and complications with you.
First, you know what will happen, so you can prepare for it.
Secondly, it is easier on the GM and he/ she will not feel compelled to be their most devious all the time.

“It is a game rule”: Just because a character is interesting, does not mean it will be fun to play. When making a character’s conception remember to ask yourself, “what does your character do in the game?” and “what does it add to the game?” If your character does NOT have a large enough or interesting enough role, rethink your character conception.

Teamsport rule: Every player needs to remember that they need to work with the other players so everyone can have fun. This may means they might have to cut back their fun some, but everyone will have more.
 
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