#RPGaDay2019 30th August: ‘Connection’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 30: Connection

When it comes to a character generation I’m a firm believer in the requirement that each character have a connection to the rest of the group. I absolutely hate the random party that came together by pure chance or strangers that met in a tavern. It’s just a bad way to start a campaign and I’ve seen too many flounder because the group have no reason to stay together. My exception to this are games with limited run lengths such as one shots. For those it makes sense that a single event might bring people together without requiring that they stay together afterwards.

As for forming those connections between characters I use the session 0 approach, otherwise known as talk to your players. For some campaigns I’ll make use of a more formal approach such as those outlined in Fate or Smallville but most of the time I leave it more vague. We’ll discuss the campaign setting, what we’re after and most importantly how it is going to open. That provides a clear demarcation point, allowing us to set up the events that have led to this moment in time and explain why everybody is willing to work together.
 

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#RPGaDay2019 28th August: ‘Love’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 28: Love

I don’t tend to proactively include love stories in games that I’m running. A large part of that is because I want to avoid the ‘hero gets the girl’ trope that’s in too many action/adventure stories. If I’m running a game that’s meant to be action focused then that is what I will bring to the table.

The exception is when a player brings it to the table, at which point I will actively promote it. During the last Legend of the Five Rings campaign I ran three of the five characters had love interests. One was blissfully married and ended up sacrificing his honour to return home to his family while the other two were in a complex mess of political betrothals and lost loves that culminated with one being compelled (aided by a little bit of brainwashing) to sabotage the wedding ceremony of the other. It was one of the highlights of the campaign and prompted some incredible RP.

Looking back I wish more players were interested in those story beats as I would happily run more relationship based games. While I’ve only played it once Smallville is one of my favourite games and relationships form the core of the system. It’s a game where who you are doing something for is more important than how you are doing it and it leads to some amazing stories that most systems are just incapable of telling.