Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Disadvantages are the story

This is applicable to any game system. 

TL:DR merits of sitting back and letting Players make the material. 

Begin by requiring players to flesh out characters with "complications" or a simple paragraph explaining how all the disadvantages tie together. This is a great exercise for getting into the PCs to communicate their own expectations regarding enforcing disadvantage rules and in how the GM will use the character's background. 

There has been discussion about Low-Prep games, sandbox games where players have every direction open, but they have to take initiative. This is an Overlay for sandbox game, the Disadvantage driven Introduction. 

Basically, the GM gets the Disadvantages in the mail and reads up on it. He ties everyone disadvantage into a story that hits all the "ducks that are in a row" then begins with this story for the sandbox. All the Players have done half the work for the GM, and everyone gets a spotlight because it is their disadvantages that are pushing forward. 

The "script" was basically provided by the players, and the GM merely obliges. 

"You have a secret, good the first session is that secret might get out."
"You have an enemy, good that person is out to get you and your team."
"You have an obsession/ambition, well look at this, an 'opening' came up"
"You have family, they are involved."
"You have principles, well they are challenged by one of the methods needed to 'skin-this-cat'."

It may be as bare and nakedly transparent a ploy, but that is a GREAT thing. Its something everyone saw coming, and they should have prepared for. It is an opening, that is challenging and they have to trust the GM to be a great "moderator" in keeping the pressure hot enough to exciting but not too hard to be frustrating. 

The GM shifts to the "Facilitator" role, and draws ammo from the PCs own disads. This might make the game about "Changing" or overcoming the disads. already a great start because the overall goal becomes "development" and change. Its about personal demons and internal conflicts.

Best of all, the GM does not have to do as much work. He can specialize in being receptive and processing what the players put into the game, and worry less about making stuff up. 

In fact the posts in-between games can be opportunities of the players to feed the GM other avenues and solutions. Solutions he will shape to fit the narrative if the players can make a coordinated successful maneuver towards that end.

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