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Re: Structuring One Shot "Demo" Session

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  • David C
    The best one shot demo I have played in was the Fafnir s Treasure scenario for Fate of the Norns. Viking Historical fantasy, so not entirely dissimilar to Age
    Message 1 of 11 , May 1, 2013
      The best one shot demo I have played in was the Fafnir's Treasure scenario for Fate of the Norns. Viking Historical fantasy, so not entirely dissimilar to Age of Arthur.

      The scenario opened with the characters being on the beach with he captain of their ship walking into town leaving he vessel abandoned on the shore.

      Two major, and I do mean major, NPC players in the struggle between gods and giants were in town. Both wanted the same legendary treasure and each was auditioning heroes to go recover it. Accepting the quest led to advice to follow one of two routes to the treasure depending on which faction the players allied with.

      There were various other encounters in the village and of course along the trek to the treasure with a major fight to actually get it. Followed by lavish rewards from the patron.

      All in all a nice adventure. A fairly obvious linear plot to follow for the "main adventure", enoug intersting side encounters to keep us busy when we strayed from the plot, and some memorable NPCs.

      I played it through three times at the same Con. Once working for each of the two main NPCs and once going off on a major tangent. We actually recovered the treasure once, once we spent too much time on our in town preparations, and once we through the adventure completely off the rails, ignored the plot and went our own way.

      What made it so effective was having clearly defined goals, clear choices of factions to ally with, and enough little vignettes to give us the feeling of being in a living breathing world. Having the choice of factions to join and a couple of other tasks we could perform for various NPCs kept us from feeling too railroaded, as did having a map with our destination clearly marked but the choice of route up to us.

      Have a couple of distinctive NPCs and a couple of memorable encounters and the rest should take care of it self.


      --- In FateRPG@yahoogroups.com, John Rudd <johnkzin@...> wrote:
      > On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 1:46 PM, Leonard Balsera <lbalsera@...> wrote:
      > > **
      > >
      > >
      > > One good way to do structured prompts without it precisely being a
      > > railroad (though I'm with Lisa that the term itself is sort of a problem)
      > > is to lay out the NPCs' plan in steps presuming that the PCs *don't*
      > > interfere.
      > >
      > > So, for a simple "heist and resell to dangerous people" plot:
      > >
      > > * Steal the MacGuffin
      > > * Transport MacGuffin to buyer
      > > * Make the exchange with buyer
      > > * Get out of town
      > >
      > > And then the dangerous people have their own set:
      > >
      > > * Make the exchange with buyer
      > > * Execute nefarious plot (this is actually multiple steps, but I'm
      > > generalizing)
      > >
      > > Then use that chain to structure scenes at all the break points where the
      > > PCs *do* interfere.
      > >
      > > So, if your scenario opens after the theft, they might be able to
      > > interrupt the transport, exchange, or escape of the culprit. And so on. And
      > > then you can use the fallout from those to react in the moment, because you
      > > know what the NPCs *would* have done.
      > >
      > This kind of reminds me of something we used to do in some of our games...
      > "if your scenario opens after the theft", we would play out the theft using
      > minor/throw-away NPCs as the player characters (ex: bank security guards),
      > hopelessly outclassed by the villains. Not because the minor NPCs were
      > supposed to have a fighting chance, but as the "hook scene" at the start of
      > many shows and movies, that help establish the MO, personality, etc. of the
      > villains, and give the players an intro to what's going on.
      > And, those scenes were often HEAVILY railroaded (key rolls were heavily
      > fudged against the minor NPCs, and scenes would end before the action was
      > fully over, once the important details and personalities had been
      > established, as well as the imminent loss of the minor NPCs, though
      > sometimes THAT would be used as a misdirection about the minor NPCs being
      > recruited by the villains as they surrender after the end-of-scene
      > fade-out, instead of dying or being taken hostage).
      > Made an interesting way to start out a scenario. Though, some of the
      > players would get heavily frustrated as they got lost in the gamesmanship
      > ("I need to WIN") over the storytelling.
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