thread: 2011-06-27 : The Dice & Clouds series from 2009

On 2011-06-29, Tyler Tinsley wrote:

I can only describe how my game is doing This, there are other solutions.

Before you can narrate your first scene in an rpg you need to establish a bunch of things.

WHO is there, WHAT do they want, HOW do they get it.

Solve for WHO by making characters. this follows a procedure like normal and it also involves the GM creating NPCs and such.

Solve for WHAT by telling people WHAT! In my game you are bounty hunters the "WHAT" is to hunt bounties. What is the premise of the game not a choice. This premise sets the scene structure. The type, order and stakes of each scene in a session are predetermined.

first a scene that gives the bounty hunters a lead on the location of the bounty, then a scene where the hunters find the bounty followed by a scene where the hunters try to capture the bounty. This structure is static but it is important to know that it also contains a wide breadth of variation because it is full of systematic choices and repercussions.

Solve for HOW by providing a menu of choices and letting people pick. So in the "hunt" scene where players find the bounty, hunters pick from "stake out" "searching" and "setting a trap" each action rolls a different stat, the bounty has his own menu and also rolls. High roll wins but each player describes his action from lowest roll to highest, giving each player a turn to explain their action and earn chips even though most have "lost" the roll.

This is what the game calls a "short scene" there are longer "challenge scenes" like dealing or fighting that use a more granular turn based method. Before these scenes are described rules like "high ground" can be chosen and worked into the scene description, these are chosen from a menu of scene type specific "twists". Once set, the scene is played in turns with each player picking an action from their menu, resolving it and describing the result. These turns build into a compelling scene.

It's all done with rules and system choices inspiring the narrative. The only time something flows uphill is when players reward one another.

The plot structure determines what the scene is about, all the choices before the scene determine who is there and the choices made during the scene determine how it plays out. a few options at each stage lead to a wide variety of outcomes. There is no need to have so much of a game flow from cloud to box.


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