We have Vic Vakarian, the human captain from Thyferra, Icantnam Donar, a human slicer spacer, Ko Digga, a Rodian Bounty Hunter from Rodia, and Bok Lesta, a glit-biting Twi’lek pilot from Ryloth. Impossibly, this image actually sums up our group almost perfectly:
Most of the time, our games are action-packed and fit the Star Wars adventure mold – lots of blasters, running from things, derring-do and just general adventure. It goes something like this:
Recently, though, I had a session I was personally really displeased with how it went down. The crew was investigating what may or may not be a hidden Rebel base in the Vad system. They managed to find a Golan Space Platform that was in a stationary orbit between the gas giant Vad V and the sun, blocking it from outside detection.
They managed to cajole their way onto the platform, docked and began exploring/accomplishing their goals on the site, conducting an investigation into who might be selling glitterstim from under the Rebel’s noses.
This played directly into the strengths of Vic Vakarian, the team’s fast-talking and charismatic pilot, as well as Bok Lesta, whose obligation is to the Black Sun and has a background in the underworld. Even Icantnam got in on the action, slicing additional privileges onto their guests badges.
While previous sessions had a lot to do with his Obligation (Duty to his Bounty Hunting code, which is nearly the official religion on Rodia, a planet with a strong hunting culture), this session he didn’t have very much to offer. Because it was an investigation and infiltration adventure, he had nothing to shoot at (yet) and he didn’t have the particular set of non-combat skills that would be applicable in this situation.
During the game, I was caught up in the storytelling and getting everyone involved, answering their questions and digging deeper into the mysteries of the Vad V Space Station, and I didn’t realize until after the session that I had basically abandoned Ko.
While you may be having fun, one of the responsibilities of the GM is to make sure that fun is spread evenly around. Nobody wants to play in the “Superman and his friends the dumb idiot background characters” game; they want to play as the Justice League, each one contributing. Take a moment every now and then to think about the last time you made an effort to involve each player. Make sure that the spotlight doesn’t fall on the player whose character is the most important right now, but make time for each character to shine. If you do, you’ll find that your players are more invested, and there’ll be less people with their eyes glazing over, not invested in the game and checking their phone.
Hello again and welcome to my campaign diary that I post every week here on npccast.com. Last week we talked about making your campaigns epic from the ground up and this week I would have loved to talk about my campaign further but last week real life got in the way and we had to go a week without playing. During that time though, something amazing happened: I got my copy of 13th Age.
Now I am not here to say that 13th Age is a better game than Pathfinder. Some people like things about game systems that I think are flaws and vice versa, but I have been excited to get my physical copy of 13th Age for some time and I like the game system better. Unfortunately I also REALLY like the plot of our Pathfinder game so far. This left me with a dilemma, but I quickly realized that both were medieval Fantasy games and that I could just port over the characters and we could play the same campaign in a new system.
Last week we talked about building interesting encounters. This week we’re going to increase the scope and talk about building a campaign that feels truly epic. But first we need to talk about the general goal of that type of campaign.
What Makes A Campaign Epic?
When building a campaign about heroes we often want to capture a certain feel. We look to movies and video games and we want the climax of our campaign to feel like they do. We want all the characters to be truly invested in defeating the big villain and we want the encounter to have unprecedented gravitas. There are some campaigns where this type of end is not appropriate, but a lot of heroic fantasy and sci-fi campaigns are going to strive for this. We want the feeling of a summer blockbuster or a Final Fantasy style game at the end.
The key to this is that the scope of the game needs to be big. The journey to the epic climax needs to be long and full of twists and smaller conflicts that cause the player characters to be invested in that final showdown. Creating that through traditional storytelling is difficult, but doing it with a shared narrative like a roleplaying game is nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying though and I thought I should share the experience I’ve learned from my own efforts.
Welcome to the NPC Cast ACTUAL PLAY! The guys are joined by their friends Matt S. and Matt C. as they adventure in a “Shinto-Punk” setting using the Savage Worlds system! Casual Encounter- Z4Z (Zeppelin for Zeppelin).
Today will be a quick one due to time constraints but I really wanted to talk about something simple that will help any sort of action-heavy game. In our last session Del’s character Jon convinced the party to head into Blackgate, the domain of his former vampire master, to save his parents. After sneaking over the wall, the session was devoted almost entirely to that single encounter, but it didn’t seem to drag horribly so I thought I’d go over how to make that work.
I apologize for my absence the last couple of weeks. I was sick and then had a lot to deal with. Regardless, we are pressing on and I am going to do my best to have something written up every Monday.
Last time we left the campaign with our heroes having endured some pretty heavy losses. One character’s home was burned to the ground, and another’s ex-wife was murdered. The characters had decided to hole up in a church basement along with the two elven children they had rescued. At the end of the last session they had decided to stop letting things happen to them and planned to take on boss Qarl and the Qarl Syndicate. Continue reading →
Last time we talked about my failure at GMing by email, and also about how to handle hidden information in a campaign. This week I will go over what happened in our latest session, and the planning I did for it.
One thing I wanted for this game, was to create the feeling of the players that they are at the center of the action in the city. I wanted them to be able to see the gears of the campaign world churning around them, while knowing that no one specific machine was entirely on their side, or entirely against them. My idea of how to accomplish this goal was to introduce factions. Previously I had introduced the Qarl gang, as well as hinted at The Harvesters who work for Shindrogon, the master of Del’s character Jon Farrier. This game I wanted to add one more organization to the mix, as well as hint at others. I also wanted to start weaving in the prophecies we came up with from the character creation session. Continue reading →
Welcome to the NPC Cast ACTUAL PLAY! The guys are joined by their friends Matt C. and Grace as they make their way within a World of Darkness! [I could have taken any number of out of context quotes to have been placed here.]
Rise of Aester: A LARP around the Seattle area, which Friend-PC Grace helps run!
I apologize for the lack of an article last week. I will try to prevent that from happening in the future. The email portion of my campaign did not go as well as I had hoped, and I was left with very little to write about. This was nobody’s fault but my own, but it did serve to remind me of a valuable GM lesson, and I’ll start today’s article with that. Afterwards, I’ll explain some ways you can best utilize hidden information in your games.
Last week we talked about character creation and world-building. We fleshed out character concepts and the parts of the cities they came from. That was the easy part. Now we move on to the first session, which is honestly the hardest part. The first session is like a first impression, you only get to make it once. If your players don’t buy in for the first session then its going to be hard to get them to buy in at all.
Getting Your Players To Care
Your players need to have something in common. They can already be part of a formed organization, they can have a mutual ally bring them together for a task, or they can be forced to go through some ordeal together. I usually go with the third option for my games because then I can give the players as much freedom in character creation as possible since my games are more open world sandboxes than predestined stories.
Looking over last week, our character’s only common thread is that they all hang out at Eaton’s Alehouse. This was by design so that I could bring them together by threatening it. I came up with a small adventure hook to capitalize on this. I decided that a crime lord in a neighboring district was having trouble with his competition and had decided to try to move his protection racquet to the peaceful neighborhood of Greenstreets.
Welcome to the NPC Cast ACTUAL PLAY! The guys are joined by their friends Matt C. and Grace as they make their way within a World of Darkness! Please don’t sue us CRJ.
*Our apologies, as there was a slight audio error in this episode when it was first released. An artifact from the otherwise impeccable and in no way amateurish editing that NPC Chris does for the show. We have re-uploaded the episode without this error. Thanks to James for pointing it out!
Rise of Aester: A LARP around the Seattle area, which Friend-PC Grace helps run!
Welcome readers! This is the first edition of a new article here on NPCcast.com detailing the campaign that we play with our group. My hope is to both provide you with some insight on how I approach running a game and also allow you to see a story unfold and characters evolve. This week I am going to detail the process I went through devising the premise and setting of the game, the world-building that we did in the first session, and the type of characters that the players have made for the setting. Continue reading →
*For complete Transparency: The above link uses our Drive Thru RPG referral number. If you purchase Last Stand, it gives us credits to use to buy more games. If for some reason you do not want us to have credits to buy more games, (maybe you hate us) try a google search for Last Stand RPG instead.
Magicians: Roleplay while learning a language! I mean, how awesome is that?!