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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3507

  • Michael
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Allan wrote:
PS; we did get another per­son at the table this week. Total noob to gam­ing, but I think that could be a good thing, after the last debacle.

I think so, too. Old gamers can be very set in their ways, and if those ways are the ways of DnD or Pahfinder, they can have a hell of a time gra­so­ing the con­cepts of Blade. Tell us how it’s been going with the new guy.

Con­cern­ing Aaron I think you should now step it up a bit, PA-​wise.

For exam­ple: Ridik goes to find/​rescue Alim. Ask Aaron how he (he, not Ridik!) feels about Alim, whether he likes that NPC. If he does, sug­gest he might turn that into a PA. And — maybe — if he doesn’t, kill off Alim and men­tion that part of the rea­son that you wasted the NPC was that he, Aaron, wasn’t all that inter­ested in him. Show him that his wishes for the game mat­ter.

Or: As Ridik is spend­ing quite a lot of time drag­ging his feet in one place and run­ning other people’s errants, ask Aaron if trav­el­ling back home maybe isn’t all that impor­tant for him, the player, any­more. If he says it is, fine, try hit­ting Ridik with some real obsta­cles to his jour­ney which he has to over­come, and then speed him on his way. If he says he likes the place and sit­u­a­tion Ridik is in, strongly sug­gest he change the PA about get­ting home into some­thing he wants Ridik to do or achieve locally. Sug­gest some shock­ing things, like tak­ing over the entire army from its cur­rent gen­eral to remind Aaron that Ridik is not an errand boy, but an achiever, that the sky’s the limit!

That’s my advice, at least.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
Last Edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Michael.
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3508

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Gen­eral Tumamos is very con­cerned, espe­cially with the odd Valk behav­iour. But he has to be very care­ful to accuse them of any­thing espe­cially with their favour in court.
Ridik is con­cerned as not all the bar­rels that he remem­bers on the wag­ons where in the cel­lar.
The Gen­eral orga­nizes a quiet search of the Palace cel­lars, but comes up empty.

Sir Ridik is not involved as after all the activ­ity gets some sleep.
All are woken by the explo­sion of the cities large Brew­ery, down by the river’s flow into the lake. Fire rains down.
Again its not really any of Sir Ridik’s con­cern, but he does go on a ride out around the city perime­ter, as he is con­cerned that these events are some distraction/​atttack before some force attacks.
He encoun­ters some strange Valk activ­ity, as they raid the Bar­racks Armoury, appar­ently for ‘promised weapon sup­ply’. He is chased of from fur­ther snoop­ing.
Later dis­cus­sion decides that the Brew­ery was a log­i­cal place to be able to take a mass of bar­rels.
No real motive is estab­lished or any­body owns up to the ter­ror­ist attack. The Apothe­cary has dis­ap­peared.

The next day or so, is sched­uled for a day of games, ordered by King Ganymedes. Sir Ridik has learned that the man is appar­ently mad or a sim­ple­ton, and the real power rests with his coun­cil, of which is patron Gen­eral Tumamos is a mem­ber.
I ran a day of;
Lift and carry the 3 dif­fer­ent sized anvils and put them on plinths.
Tug of War etc. Play­ing to Sir Ridiks PA.
Oh and Alim shows up after com­ing back to earth after hit­ting the Drups, Booze and Women.
There is some ten­sion between the three. Ridik not trust­ing Sharisa, Alim try­ing to make ‘friends’ with Sharisa and Sharisa really not inter­ested.

Soon after that — a day or two — the entire army, King and all heads South, to deal with the King­dom once and for all.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3509

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Very nice so far, but I think you should now begin play­ing more strongly to Ridik’s two PAs about get­ting home and sor­cer­ers. The generic ones about show­ing off are very nice, but they are too “easy”. Play­ing to them is going to give Aaron a wrong impres­sion as to what PAs and player-​guided gam­ing are sup­posed to look like, as these PAs will be engaged by pretty much any old adven­ture you dan­gle before his nose, as they are always an oppor­tu­nity to show off. I do sug­gest most urgently that you firmly set your­self the task to only plan ses­sion where at least one of the other two PAs are going to be engaged, and that you intro­duce and actively sug­gest at least one plau­si­ble thing at least every other ses­sion ses­sion for Aaron to change one of his two lame PAs into. Those were ok for the start, but at least one of them absolutely has to be got­ten rid of.

Really prep­ping a ses­sion around non-​generic PAs is of course going to be harder for you, but then you should by now get­ting a firmer grip on Blade, so that should com­pen­sate for the increased effort.

And then it shouldn’t be all that much of an effort, you just need to devi­ate fur­ther from sup­ple­ments you are using. With “Sub­men Ris­ing” (got it, like it!) you might have a sor­cerer be behind all that, and let Ridik sus­pect that at the first oppor­tu­nity, not only to give him a strong rea­son for doing what he does, but also to demon­strate to Aaron how his PAs are always at the fore. With “A Hot Day in Lutrel” the same. And my advice would be to also put some kind of sor­cerer behind those pesky Valks. Engage those inter­est­ing PAs with a vengeance, really show Aaron that they — and his wishes — mat­ter to the kind of adven­tuires he is having!
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
Last Edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Michael.
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3511

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Thanks.
We are catch­ing up to cur­rent time in the nar­ra­tive.
This week, Aaron did change the PA of; Show­ing of in front of a crowd with phys­i­cal prowess to, Seek out Oshalla the God­dess of Anti-​Magic.
I can’t remem­ber the word­ing exactly.
We also spoke about the fact that he does not have to sit on PA’s for a year and a day, but move the inter­est around. I have been men­tion­ing our dis­cus­sions with him.

I have been encour­ag­ing him to check up on the Forum also. So I have not wanted to divulge to much, in case he is read­ing. But suf­fice to say, that much of what you men­tioned is going on behind the scenes. I was just a bit wary early on, from play­ing the Anti-​Sorcerer PA to much and fill­ing the world with there evil doings.

The Valk, the Red Right Hand and the Tir­shata are all con­nected, with another party pulling the strings. I have not fully worked out all the details, but I have enough of a skele­ton.

I am work­ing towards a sort of chap­ter cli­max here at the city. Then with the new player, if he does stick at it, I want to do another game, not Blade, to break him into gam­ing. Instead of throw­ing him in with an exist­ing game. We also need to find a plau­si­ble rea­son for him to join Sir Ridik.
Jason the new player could not make it this week. But I have given him some Genre/​setting sug­ges­tions, to see what he might like to play and he has opted for Super Hero. See if he turns up.

To be hon­est; it is the prep­ping that wor­ries me. With the idea of Ridik on the move, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to have a long term vil­lian, although the Red Right Hand is sup­posed to fill that spot a bit.
I sup­pose the game becomes episodic, but I also have to keep it inter­est­ing enough, story wise. Aaron likes the Story Telling; moral dilem­mas, plot twists. So I do feel the pres­sure.
I know it can be done, I just have to get myself to that spot where this type of prep, flows more eas­ily. I have always run big themed, multi plot cam­paigns and this just feels sort of weird. Like step­ping of a cliff into a void, I can’t see how it will play out. Nor­mally I have a vague or rough idea where I am going with the cam­paign.
Like I said, its noth­ing wrong with Blade, I just have to find how to work out the run­ning.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3512

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Allan wrote:
This week, Aaron did change the PA of; Show­ing of in front of a crowd with phys­i­cal prowess to, Seek out Oshalla the God­dess of Anti-​Magic.

Excel­lent!

Allan wrote:
We also spoke about the fact that he does not have to sit on PA’s for a year and a day, but move the inter­est around. I have been men­tion­ing our dis­cus­sions with him.

Excel­lent!

Allan wrote:
I was just a bit wary early on, from play­ing the Anti-​Sorcerer PA to much and fill­ing the world with there evil doings.

Unnec­es­sar­ily so. My advice would have been to casu­ally men­tion to Aaron that it might seem strange to him that the world is full of shady sor­cer­ers, but that this is a result of his PA. To tell him that when he has had quite enough of them lurk­ing behind every cor­ner, he should just change that PA. Ridik would of course still dis­like sor­cer­ers, but they would be con­fined to the side­lines of the sto­ries at best. An oppor­tu­nity to edu­cate Aaron about PAs.

Allan wrote:
The Valk, the Red Right Hand and the Tir­shata are all con­nected, with another party pulling the strings. I have not fully worked out all the details, but I have enough of a skele­ton.

I am work­ing towards a sort of chap­ter cli­max here at the city.

Good. And look­ing at Aaron’s choice of PAs it prac­ti­cally needs to be some­thing about the machi­na­tions of a sor­cerer or the cult of Oshalla, or prefer­ably both of them, maybe like a plot by a sor­cerer to move into a posi­tion of power to smash that cult for good…

Allan wrote:
Then with the new player, if he does stick at it, I want to do another game, not Blade, to break him into gaming.

Very bad idea, Blade is the only game worth play­ing! ;)

No, seri­ously, I think it is a good idea. If you want to edu­cate Jason to the style of gam­ing you seem to pre­fer I would how­ever coun­sel intro­duc­ing some kind of player author­ship also into the super hero game. I know no sys­tems sup­port­ing that genre, other than maybe Spirit of the Cen­tury, which is a kind of pulp super­heroes, but some mechanic that gives PCs a per­for­mance bonus under cer­tain cir­cum­stances is eas­ily grafted to prac­ti­cally every sys­tem. Some­thing like PAs, or, for a com­plete change, maybe some­thing like “story arcs” or “plot twists”. I am not very famil­iar with the cho­sen genre, but think­ing of the Mar­vel heroes who always seem so very con­flicted maybe some­thing like a “char­ac­ter con­flict” seems aapro­pri­ate. Every player choses one or two ini­tial ones, like a con­crete aspect of his real life (col­lege stu­dent, girl­friend, etc.) vs. a con­crete aspect of his super hero exis­tence (unusual hours, hid­den base, calls to duty at incon­ve­nient times, arch­en­emy), and when­ever he has to make a sac­ri­fice to his mun­dane life for his secret life, he gets a per­for­mance bonus. And when the player has had enough threats of dis­cov­ery to his secret base, he just changes his “char­ac­ter con­flict”. Prob­a­bly a half-​baked idea at best, but it’s all I can think of on the spur of the moment.

The — I think — impor­tant thing to edu­cate Jason to your pre­ferred type of gam­ing and to con­tinue edu­cat­ing Aaron is keep­ing them aware of metagam­ing and pow­ers of player author­ship.

Allan wrote:
To be hon­est; it is the prep­ping that wor­ries me. With the idea of Ridik on the move, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to have a long term vil­lian, although the Red Right Hand is sup­posed to fill that spot a bit.

I smell an old gam­ing habit, which is not in itself a bad thing but in this case does not mesh well with the type of heroes Blade char­gen pro­duces. Those guys are pow­er­ful and super-​achievers. They achieve much and they achieve it rel­a­tively quickly. These guys are not really well suited to play­ing through a dozen of ses­sions or more to slowly unravel the mach­ni­a­tions of a pow­er­ful oppo­nent and finally, after long prepa­ra­tion, take him down. The speed of events and achieve­ments should match their capa­bil­ity. Events are sup­posed not to unfold at the speed of Game of Thrones, but at the speed of Conan the Bar­bar­ian. Dis­cover prob­lem, find out the real nature the prob­lem, solve prob­lem — that’s three ses­sions, tops, for a longer story arc.

In a word: It is sup­posed to feel episodic, episodes linked by a strong char­ac­ter and a set of related (via the PAs) chal­lenges, not episodes welded into a whole by a nar­ra­tive largely pre­pared by the ref­eree and pre­sented to the player to just play through.

Allan wrote:
Aaron likes the Story Telling; moral dilem­mas, plot twists. So I do feel the pressure.

Moral dilem­mas do not come from con­vo­luted plots, moral dilem­mas come from con­tra­dict­ing impulses. That sor­cerer is actu­ally a good guy — does Ridik still try to bring him low? This sor­cerer could hex Ridik halfway home — if only he per­forms some ser­vice for him. You don’t need twist­ing plots for that.

Allan wrote:
I know it can be done, I just have to get myself to that spot where this type of prep, flows more easily.

Yes on both counts. We have actu­ally set up Blade so that prep­ping can be done quickly. For exam­ple, com­mon NPCs can be cre­ated on the spot and require just a few num­bers, you can lit­er­ally squeeze all that you need on the back of a bus ticket with­out any trou­ble. And you can lift the stats of most com­mon NPCs that will ever become nec­es­sary straight from the Appen­dix. This does alle­vi­ate part of the pres­sure of prepa­ra­tion — you can wing it more eas­ily as you won’t need to worry about mak­ing up NPCs on the fly.

Major NPCs should of course be prepped ahead of time, if their stats are likely to become rel­e­vant. But Blade is delib­er­ately set up in such a way that even that can be done quickly, with­out need­ing to refer to any tables of lev­els and pow­ers and char­ac­ter points or what­not, and by not­ing down just a few more rat­ings than with the com­mon guys. Just look how slen­der the write­ups of even guys like the glad­i­a­tor cham­pion in the Appen­dix is.

I take you for an expe­ri­enced gamer, who has in his day seen a vast load of gam­ing sit­u­a­tions, and who has read many sup­ple­ments and adven­ture mod­ules. Trust that knowl­edge of stock sit­u­a­tions, trust your­self. Take the step off the cliff, aban­don fol­low­ing adven­ture mod­ules and just wing an entire ses­sion. I am very con­fi­dent that you can do it, that you can actu­ally fly! If you can trsut your­self to describe the court of a mad king with­out prep, just from the stock sit­u­a­tions in your head, if you can quickly find a reply to the ques­tions whether some courtier might be behind the king’s mad­ness and what he might be like and what his ene­mies at court might be like and why he might pos­si­bly regard Ridik as a poten­tial threat you can wing a ses­sion with­out prep. Dare it!
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
Last Edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Michael.
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The fol­low­ing user(s) said Thank You: Allan

Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3513

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A lit­tle post-​it Thank You doesn’t suf­fice for the time you are tak­ing.
Thank you very much.
For this and all your atten­tion on the forum.

:cheer:

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
The admin­is­tra­tor has dis­abled pub­lic write access.

Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3517

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Maybe I should bet­ter be start­ing another thread for that, but as I want to direct my advice directly at you and your cam­paign I shall for the moment keep it in this thread. If this gets out of hand and dis­tracts too much from your account I will later split this into a topic of its own.

I want to talk about wing­ing an entire ses­sion with next to no prep and con­vince you that you can do it.

In another thread I recently men­tioned the short story “Raven’s Eyrie“, and as I know that you are famil­iar with I use it as an exam­ple how to run that story one-​on-​one as an adven­ture. I’m not going to talk much about PAs, but it is of course assumed that the story engages the PC’s PAs.

That’s the setup: Early in the ses­sion a run-​in with the PC’s Con­nec­tion Poor Asset ended with him heav­ily wounded in the wilder­ness and run­ning from a group of very pow­er­ful ene­mies, with a few sur­viv­ing of his NPC allies accom­pa­ny­ing him in almost as sorry a state. As the PC’s back­story con­tains quite a few unspec­i­fied heinous deeds, you, Allan, the ref, decide to have the refuge the PC is going to find be the iso­lated and hard to spot house of a woman whom he raped and whose fam­ily he killed. As the PC’s back­story con­tains quite a few unspec­i­fied heinous deeds, you feel entirely jus­ti­fied in this, but as an inn, as in the story, wouldn’t really fit the region you decide on mak­ing the house an iso­lated wealthy farm­stead instead. And you decide that the Com­pli­ca­tion your player took away from the com­bat will have his pur­suers run­ning him down, at the farm­stead no mat­ter how well he might roll to make a clear get­away; you decide that those pur­suers have actu­ally rested at the farm­stead a day or two ago and know about it, or that the raped woman or one of her ser­vants will sig­nal them – doesn’t mat­ter, some expla­na­tion why the pur­suers arrive unerr­ingly will eas­ily be found.

Run­ning from the ene­mies, the PC spots the farm­stead which you inno­cently offer up as the only refuge around, has his allies take him there and forcibly occupy the premises to give them a chance to use the Heal­ing Skill on him. You do at first keep the for­merly raped woman out of the way and also do not yet decide on the exis­tence of a daugh­ter from that encounter. The PC has a PA lock­ing him in antag­o­nism with a super­nat­ural entity or race of super­nat­ural enti­ties and you decide to use that instead of Lord Tlolu­vin; the woman has made some deal with it/​them to get her revenge on the PC, and you will decide later dur­ing the ses­sion what she has offered, her­self, the child, or some­thing else.

Sen­tries are posted and the PC rests to regain some strength. The pur­suers turn up, the occu­pants of the farm­stead aid them directly or indi­rectly, exactly how depend­ing on what how active and wary the PC remains. You do now maybe get a tiny siege-​like sit­u­a­tion, or a sit­u­a­tion where the PC imme­di­ately needs to flee again. Depend­ing on how things are going you use the child (if it exists) and the super­nat­ural creature(s) to thicken the plot, but what­ever you do you only decide that when it becomes nec­es­sary, no sooner. Maybe the PC is hid­ing in the same spot where the child has already been hid­den away, maybe the pur­suers start behav­ing so bes­tialy towards the occu­pants of the farm­stead that the PC feels com­pelled not to just make a clear get­away but to risk tak­ing his pur­suers out like a guerilla, maybe he almost makes a clear get­away only to be turned back by the appear­ance of the super­nat­ural creature(s), maybe he decides to make amends for what he did to the woman by sav­ing her from the pact with said creature(s), maybe he just wants to save his child from the creature(s) or occu­piers of the farm­stead – it doesn’t mat­ter.

Con­sider whether you can deal with any of that. Can you imag­ine a large iso­lated farm­stead in the deep moun­tain wilder­ness? Can you imag­ine what it looks like, what build­ings you would likely find there, who its occu­pants might be? Can you do a rough sketch of a plau­si­ble lay of the grounds, right now? I am sure you can. The setup above sup­poses that the pur­suers and their lead­ers is already estab­lished, just like the super­nat­ural creature(s), but even if not: Can you imag­ine what kind of guy the leader needs to be for the adven­ture to work and what kind of mooks the fol­low­ers? Can you imag­ine what a super­nat­ural crea­ture that makes a devil’s bar­gain to grant some­body revenge might be? I am sure you can.

You don’t need to prep stats. The pur­suers and the occu­pants of the farm­stead can be lifted right from the pages of the Appen­dix. So can the leader of the pur­suers – use for exam­ple the body­guard, also right out of the Appen­dix, enough of a chal­lenge for a wounded PC, or the sor­cerer. And so can your stand-​in for Lord Tlolu­vin – use the vam­pire from the Appen­dix, toned-​down if the intended chal­lenge is to defeat it, or as it is if the chal­lenge is to flee from it. Your actu­ally bet­ter off not setling on stats until you finally need them, as it allows you more flex­i­bil­ity: Maybe you find, halfway dur­ing the ses­sion, that it would be inter­est­ing if the raped venge­ful woman was a minor witch; great, make her one!

You don’t need to prep floor­plans. Blade is not sup­posed to be a dun­geon crawl where play­ers draw maps and search for traps and hid­den com­part­ments. All you need is a rough sketch, and you can eas­ily do that on the spot. You are after all able to imag­ine what rooms might be found on the ground floor of a farm­house and what on the first floor, what items you might find in a barn and in a shed! Secret doors and traps? You can decide on their exis­tence when it becomes nec­es­sary, no sooner. Then of course those are unlikely in a farm­stead in the first place, but who knows, maybe you just need one? Then it is easy to find a ratio­nale for their exis­tence – a hid­den stor­age room, or some­thing like a panic room in case ban­dits come call­ing, or a secret altar nook in the cel­lar for the unwhole­some stuff the raped woman is into…

Think about it hard. You believe you need prep, but you don’t need it! Your head is bound to be full of plot frag­ments, full of stock sit­u­a­tions, stock loca­tions, and stock char­ac­ters. I hope I could con­vince you that you can rely on them to cre­ate some­thing inter­est­ing as you go, that you can eas­ily wing it. You just need to dare it.

A final word on inspi­ra­tion: It is always bet­ter draw­ing your inspi­ra­tion from books and movies than from adven­ture mod­ules. The lat­ter are geared towards tra­di­tional gam­ing, and tra­di­tional gam­ing sce­nar­ios are a far call from what good sto­ries are like. But some­thing like „““Red Har­vest“ or its derived movies “Yojimbo“, “For A Fist­ful Of Dol­lars“ or “Last Man Stand­ing“ — ah, now don’t tell me that you can­not use either of them as inspi­ra­tion for wing­ing a great adventure!
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3518

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Thank you, I will digest.
Every­body should take it in.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3519

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Not really much to digest, actu­ally. I just wrote in such detail and used so many words to have a prac­ti­cal exam­ple (“Raven’ Eyrie”) to demon­strate these prin­ci­ples in action. The bot­tom line ist just this:

You can, dur­ing the ongo­ing ses­sion, add any ele­ment and change any ele­ment that doesn’t con­tra­dict any­thing that has already hap­pened.

You don’t need to decide before­hand if the raped woman is a witch or not, and even if you did you can change your mind, unless her being a witch or not already came up in play, chuck your pre­vi­ous deci­sion at any time and change it into some­thing more inter­est­ing in that moment. All you need is either a very good cre­ative instinct — which most of don’t have — or a vast store of stock adven­ture sit­u­a­tions to draw from filed away in your head — which most of us do!

Apart from that you only need a sys­tem where NPCs can be stat­ted out quickly, on the go. Blade is such a sys­tem, but you can wing ses­sions eas­ily with any other sys­tem that is just as well.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
Last Edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Michael.
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Cam­paign So Far 6 years 6 months ago #3520

  • Allan
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Ok, It will be done my mas­ter. :woohoo:
I just have a cur­rent plot to wrap up in the city then we shall see.

Allan
Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shack­led we are bound
Free­dom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned
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