Part 1 of our discussion of adventure design and play techniques that either worked well or were really terrible ideas.  We discuss good methods to motivate characters and how to make the game more fun for new and experienced players.  Sometimes both.

Note: We now move to our summer format we announced 2 weeks ago.  Our episodes will only be 1/2 hour long instead of about an hour .  Episodes that are split will have the rest published the next week.  We will be returning to our normal format in the fall after Dragoncon.  Hope to see you there.

02:00 GM’s entertain your players – Combat! Putting in a teaser, setting the mood, flashback combat scene, medias res.

08:00 Don’t use capture or blackmail to make the player’s friends with an NPC.

11:30 Players, surrender is sometimes an option.

12:50 Give the characters more tasks than they can possibly complete.

14:15 GMs, use the player’s comments to influence the adventure.

16:10 Big story arcs along with short story arcs.

20:12 Being funny, it’s harder than you think. Let it happen naturally.

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  • Steve Wollett

    Very well done. The section on GM responsibilities to the players was excellent and much needed for many GM’s who get god complexes and run sessions to their own liking regardless of the players wants or needs.

    The part on surrender was so true to form. I hate running a game where I need them to surrender because they never do or if they choose to surrender it is at the moment they need to fight the most. lol

    Jun 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm
  • GeneralTristan

    RE: Surrender is an option… In my experience, Player reactions in nearly every encounter begin in one of five classifications… 1. Parlay 2. Avoid/Evade/Ignore 3. Fight 4. Surrender 5. Observe/Investigate (often only available if the PCs have managed to avoid being detected) …and these initial choices will segue into one of the other five choices. It’s very rare to find a party capable of the segue from Fight into Surrender, as most players I’ve known often lapse into a Dungeon Crawl mentality, fighting to gain ground and completely slay all opposition (since that defines ‘Victory’ in a great many RPG’s).

    Now that’s all fine-&-good if your Players’ basic group premise is an Assault Team, but if your PCs are playing a Reconaissance Team (as most IDET teams in the Early Campaign will be) it’s important that they have enough grasp of battle tactics to be able to conduct what’s known as a Retrograde Action — a “retreating” battle where the goal is simply to *escape* without any necessity of defeating one’s opponent.

    Once your players acquire the mindset that they don’t need to *win* every fight, just survive it, they’re more likely to possibly choose ‘Surrender’ as an option.

    Jun 30, 2010 at 7:49 am