Monday, February 1, 2010

Game Continuity

Well, I have waited too long since I posted an article. The year started off good and, as usual, life churns and everything becomes a tangled mess of putting out fires. This brings me to the topic I would like to discuss in this post, Game Continuity.

Game continuity is something I learned at an early stage of game mastering, and I believe this lesson has garnered me praise for my games. I do not think continuity is difficult to employ, but using it does require an attention to detail, fastidious notes, and somewhat of a flair for the dramatic.

So what is game continuity? Game continuity the ability to make a series of gaming sessions appear as one intertwined story. Continuity is more than just a ‘campaign’, although campaigns use elements of continuity. Continuity is allowing the players to draw the conclusions and realize there are forces behind the scenes they are not aware.

I like to utilize pre-made adventures with my story arc. This allows me to utilize someone else ideas and blend them with my own to create a more detailed story. Some game masters like to use ‘home brew’ adventures. This is fine if you don’t fall into a flat arc. Often a game master will use his own adventure and the players will be railroaded into the story, making them feel like their actions don’t really matter. Other times the players feel that the game master is making stuff up ‘on-the-fly’ and that the he does not have the adventure planned out. Using a premade adventure, allows the game master to have a detailed plot to fall back on if the players go awry from the original story arc. If you can handle the detail, try running two or three premade adventure along with your own. This will confound the players as well as give them a sense that there is more in the world than they can handle t one time.

Using multiple adventure also link stories together is such away that the transition from one adventure to the next is seamless. This requires some work, especially if you use premade adventures, but from my experience keeps the players more engaged. There are some excellent premade adventures out that can easily modified to fit a campaign. Do not be set a single gaming system either, I have modified Science Fiction adventures for fantasy games, the idea is to take what you need for your game.

Be sure you keep good notes, when you create an non-player character out of the blue, write down the name. You never know when the merchant the party met at first level turns out to be an empire spy 7 levels later. If players do connect abstract references to previous games, award them experience. This will make player look for possible connections in the game a make the world more cohesive.

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