August 24, 2012

Sowing Hooks

EDIT:  This post has been revised and re-written along with some other content.  The revised version can be found here: http://runagame.blogspot.com/2014/09/plot-hooks.html


Somewhere between "writing hooks to characters" and "writing stories to characters" is writing "characters to stories."  Now, as a GM you don't get to design any of the player characters (short of doing draft or "pre-generated character" games).  But you can constrain the players' options.  As part of your pitch, you can require the players to work certain hooks directly into their characters.

Instead of writing a long blog post here, I'm going to link you to a Prezi I designed about this.  I admit, I made this Prezi mostly to play around and learn the app.  But it gives an idea of how to do "reverse design" or sow hooks into the players' characters.  I was thinking about Mage: the Ascension when doing this exercise, so that's where the examples go.




Click "MORE" and then "Full Screen" (if you want) and then "Autoplay" to get it to display for you, then click the arrow to progress through the presentation or just watch it.  If you haven't seen Prezi before, it's way cooler than PowerPoint... and it's free.

If this process seems too heavy handed, consider my hooks post.  Remember that a 2-3 year campaign only really requires seven hooks.  Let's say you create seven plot hooks, each with one or two different seeds to sow (player character traits such as locations, connections, and events in their history).  That would be 7-14 different seeds to sow among 5 player-characters, or 1-3 seeds per PC.  Each player can select whichever seeds he likes, so the players aren't very badly restricted by the process.

What do you think?