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MoonHunter Sayeth 20180319


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Techniques: To think about - HUB
This is a list of useful GM techniques that GMs should think about using in their chronicle; and some things I may explore in the future.

Cut Scenes - PC - They might require mechanics. So we will do stage A then do Stage B and back and forth. Now I can use different stages running simultaneously, but the size of the group or anticipated use of mechanics might make that problematic. So we cut back and forth between the players on the various stages.

Cut Scene - NPC - Your players are not the only characters that are important to the chronicle. You can see the villains plotting. You can see important people directing their groups. You can explain bits about setting (and put a face on things) . These things expand a player's understanding of things and can lightly guide their in character choices. Note: Blatant use of things the player knows that the character does not is "bad form". However, careful and subtle choices made with that knowledge can be good game play.

Flashback - PC- Things that occurred in the past are applicable to the present. This allows the player to "play out" parts of the past. These scenes are usually played out with a specific goal/ end point in mind, often without critical die rolls (but inconsequential die rolls are rolled normally). Some examples: Showing a player's relationship with a just introduced NPC, Seeing their life "during" The War, showing their training with The Maestro, showing part of their personality (or why it is this way), playing out how they met another PC, a few scenes showing their early friendship with The Bad Guy, and so on.

Flashback - Training Montage/ Planning Montage - We have seen these in many action or heist movies. Some games have actual mechanics for this these looks into the past. They are used to help give bonuses to an action or to let you "go back and plan" when something comes up.

Flashback - Practice/ Prelude - These are often character scenes played during The Casting the Chronicle Phase. Some of them are "practice scenes" to work the kinks out of the character. Some are scenes that are important to the character's past or relationships. They help players work together and develop their characters before play even begins.

Flashback - NPC- Sometimes things that occurred in the past to an NPC might define the story at hand. This is best handled with Stages/ Casts. This kind of flashback helps illuminate the NPC for the players and explain some event of setting history. This is a trick used sparingly,but can be really effective.

Dream Sequence - PC - Sometimes you want to get artistic, or you just want a change of pace. The character dreams of some other time and place. The other players, play along with some faux characters (or their characters in that kind of dream world). Sometimes you do this for story reasons, sometimes you do this for a change of pace. And you wake up... and it is all over.

Foreshadow - Always try to include something that will be important sometime down the story line early on. This is best exemplified by Chekhov Law, if you hang a gun on the wall in the first act, you must fire it by the end of the play. There should always be hints and implied things... if not a downright introduction... of an element that will become important. If your president reveals himself to be an evil mastermind, you need to have posters for him being elected earlier. Heck you should have characters think about voting for him. Have him on a debate. Want to whack um with it, have them rescue him from a potential assassin early in the campaign.

Chronicle Metaphor I have expanded on this in series of posts, but the way a GM thinks of their chronicle and sessions, in terms of what kind of media are they emulating, can shape the players' experience of the game.

Story Arcs - The big events of things. Most players are consumers of stories. They want stories in their games. So by learning story structure and the creation of arcs, a GM can bring a more satisfying player experience to their games (and make it easier for themselves).

MoonHunter Ways for plotting a session - Yes, if you have been reading this blog or have been on RPG.net for a while, I am sure you have stumbled over this post. So you can see my view of things here. It requires the presence of multiple story lines and drop in plotlines. It rocks when done right and is really easy to do right.

Use good scene structure - This is a focused way to ensure your game moves forward. Learning/ interenalizing the use of a scene will help you focus your GMing and storytelling. It ensures that everything has a purpose and that purpose is obtainable.

Maps and roadmarks not directions - This is a technique that teaches you how to approach your preparation. Preparation is key. The more preparation you can do early on the chronicle, will pay off later. You plan and plan to death. Then, you have to let it all go.

The GM knows the settings and situation so well, that they no longer have a single path (well the path the characters probably take), but know other places they might go to... so GM knows how to feed the players what they need to keep going to the actual goal you want them to reach.

You do not have directions or a plot on rails, you have a goal and many options to do on the way there.

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This is a good list. Check this space, I may add even more. Like....

Riffing - Practice your presentation in front of a mirror. Are you interesting? Do you do it well? Is what you are saying interesting? A little practice makes you perfect. I will keep preaching this until everyone is doing it.

Added 03/20/2018
Embedded description - Remember to add little bits of useful description every time you can. This prevents the info dump or big boring descriptive bits. It is a little ladle of information with every action.

Added 04/23/2018
Rule of 3: This is a general rule in fiction (and psychology) for "establishing a standard". Three strongly associated things in a grouping increase acceptance and make it more memorable.

Added 11/02/2018
Techniques: The Narrator: To provide a consistent, clean and clear game experience, using an NPC Narrator is a good technique.

Added 11/02/2018
Techniques: Encyclopedia Moment: Short Moments where elements of the setting are presented to the players to learn.

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So the question for you GMs who are reading this, how many of these are you doing? Most good GMs will be using some of these sparingly. They can be used more. Go back to your source material or pieces that you love. To push your game to the level of a novel or tv series or movie, you need to use the same level of artistry that the stories that inspire your chronicle. How much do you try to up your game? Are these things that can improve your game?

Think about them... try them out... see what you think.
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