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Lights, Camera, Action >> A Look at scene and story structure in WFRP


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#1 ynnen

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:43 AM

One of the big attractions to roleplaying games is the ability to tell an interesting, engrossing story in a fictional setting. Often, these stories revolve around the players’ characters and their decisions and actions in the game setting. Tying these storylines together into larger, cohesive units is the basis for campaign play – dovetailing numerous stories, encounters, and adventures into a living history of the characters’ deeds and actions.

Events in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay unfold and are resolved in a variety of ways. The method used is based on what is being done, the amount of time the events generally consume, and how they affect the advancement of the story. The largest units used to measure events are campaigns and adventures – most often fully developed storylines that can span several sessions.

This designer diary takes a closer look at this topic and talks about the act and episode structure of WFRP, as well as the differences between story mode and encounter mode.

http://www.fantasyfl...ws.asp?eidn=850



#2 ynnen

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:35 AM

While I realise that a lot of the information presented in the new diary is nothing new at all to veteran gamers -- especially for GMs out there -- I wanted to present a diary that spoke more to the new player, or someone exploring the idea of roleplaying games and is wondering how it relates to them, and what they might be able to expect from the game.

For those folks where this info is already tried and true gaming lingo, I wanted to especially point out this section of the diary, which speaks a bit more to how this particular diary applies to the new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay:

Why Use a Structured Approach?

A lot of roleplayers already use similar story structure in their own games. In a lot of ways, this sort of structure comes naturally when telling a story. There are breaks, pauses, changes of scenery, and different parts of the story being focused on at different times. By providing a consistent set of terms and guidelines for how these elements areused in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, it becomes even easier for a GM to find ways to use these to enhance his adventures and campaigns.

The use of the episode and act structure results in a great deal of flexibility for the GM. First, it helps provide a consistent structure and means to develop encounters, allowing the GM to pace stories more effectively and keep the characters engaged. Second, it provides a sort of mental checklist for the GM, to make sure different facts of his story are involved, and allows him to approach session prep in easily managed bite-size chunks. Finally, the use of this story structure makes it easy for GMs to get the feel for the pace and organisation of the action provided in published adventures that present information using this approach.

And with this structure defined, it's easier to design and integrate mechanics that work off these different elements. For example, there are some special actions that can be used during the rally steps to take advantage of the brief respite offered. Likewise, different events or effect durations may be tied to the progress of a scene or act, streamlining effects and reducing book-keeping for the GM.



#3 ragnar63

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:38 AM

This diary I presume is aimed at those people who have not or do not roleplay frequently, as there was very little here of interest to experienced roleplayers. I was hoping that that this diary was going to follow on from the initiative one, and describe combat in some detail. C'est la vie, I suppose. i, personally would like more detail, and less fluff, than this diary has given us. Very disappointing



#4 DeathFromAbove

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:51 AM

ynnen said:

By providing a consistent set of terms and guidelines for how these elements areused in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, it becomes even easier for a GM to find ways to use these to enhance his adventures and campaigns.

Wow man, you really remember me the foreword of Gary Gygax in his DM's Guide of AD&D 1st edition (about 1978).
The quest for consistency and unity in the RPGs' world.

ynnen said:

And with this structure defined, it's easier to design and integrate mechanics that work off these different elements. For example, there are some special actions that can be used during the rally steps to take advantage of the brief respite offered.

Ahhhh, special actions during encounters, during story, etc.



#5 Parzival

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 10:00 AM

DeathFromAbove said:

 

Ahhhh, special actions during encounters, during story, etc.

 

I am not sure that is a selling point for me. It sounds almost to structure. "Oh no, you can't do that until the RALLY phase , and besides this an ACTION scene not a STORY scene....".

 

I could be way off base on how things work, but special actions for certain scenes/acts/whatevers just ....does....not do it for me.



#6 Farin

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 11:11 AM

ragnar63 said:

This diary I presume is aimed at those people who have not or do not roleplay frequently, as there was very little here of interest to experienced roleplayers. I was hoping that that this diary was going to follow on from the initiative one, and describe combat in some detail. C'est la vie, I suppose. i, personally would like more detail, and less fluff, than this diary has given us. Very disappointing

did you even read Jay's post at all? anyway i really like this...it is a better structure to the game process then any other i have seen.....i really enjoy this set up!! *two thumbs up*  and i think its cool that there are actions you can take only it a given phase.  seems more real......cant pray to your god in the heat of battle can you?....not so much...you will get chopped up into squib food



#7 dvang

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 11:36 AM

Thanks for the additional explanation Jay!  I think we needed it, as the majority of us on here are experienced roleplayers, and sometimes we forget not every is.  I thought the diary was a bit bland, because it felt like a rehash of what most of us already know/do (without all the structured words for it).  Plus, in the last diary (on initiative) it mentioned a series of diaries about combat ... which is much more of an interest to me (and an enigma on how 3e handles it), so I was much more anticipating a new diary about combat.

Still, it is interesting and exciting to know that there will be actual rule mechanics, like actions, that have requirements for particular acts/scenes.

I think this:

And with this structure defined, it's easier to design and integrate mechanics that work off these different elements. For example, there are some special actions that can be used during the rally steps to take advantage of the brief respite offered. Likewise, different events or effect durations may be tied to the progress of a scene or act, streamlining effects and reducing book-keeping for the GM.

is the important stuff for experienced roleplayers to be aware of.  Not to mention the paragraph just before, for GMs organizing an adventure (which was already commented on by a few of us).

Thanks!



#8 Farin

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 05:32 PM

dvang said:

Thanks for the additional explanation Jay!  I think we needed it, as the majority of us on here are experienced roleplayers, and sometimes we forget not every is.  I thought the diary was a bit bland, because it felt like a rehash of what most of us already know/do (without all the structured words for it).  Plus, in the last diary (on initiative) it mentioned a series of diaries about combat ... which is much more of an interest to me (and an enigma on how 3e handles it), so I was much more anticipating a new diary about combat.

Still, it is interesting and exciting to know that there will be actual rule mechanics, like actions, that have requirements for particular acts/scenes.

I think this:

And with this structure defined, it's easier to design and integrate mechanics that work off these different elements. For example, there are some special actions that can be used during the rally steps to take advantage of the brief respite offered. Likewise, different events or effect durations may be tied to the progress of a scene or act, streamlining effects and reducing book-keeping for the GM.

is the important stuff for experienced roleplayers to be aware of.  Not to mention the paragraph just before, for GMs organizing an adventure (which was already commented on by a few of us).

Thanks!

 I think it will help for the combat diaries later to come......it will help the new RPers



#9 ragnar63

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:02 PM

Farin said:

ragnar63 said:

 

This diary I presume is aimed at those people who have not or do not roleplay frequently, as there was very little here of interest to experienced roleplayers. I was hoping that that this diary was going to follow on from the initiative one, and describe combat in some detail. C'est la vie, I suppose. i, personally would like more detail, and less fluff, than this diary has given us. Very disappointing

 

 

did you even read Jay's post at all? anyway i really like this...it is a better structure to the game process then any other i have seen.....i really enjoy this set up!! *two thumbs up*  and i think its cool that there are actions you can take only it a given phase.  seems more real......cant pray to your god in the heat of battle can you?....not so much...you will get chopped up into squib food

Actually I wrote the reply before Jay had published his own reply, and because of time pressures did not get to read Jays reply until some time later. It was an honest opinion, and whats with the sniping, we don't all spend all day endlessly refreshing our computer screens. Sorry if that seems harsh, but agian an honest opinion.



#10 macd21

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:27 PM

A fair enough entry, obviously not much there for experienced GMs, but as Jay pointed out - not everyone is a WFRP 1/2 veteran. Another benefit I can see from this structured aproach is published scenarios - with a clear structure they can be divided up into easily identified sections, helping both the writer and the GM control the pace of play.



#11 ffgfan

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 02:38 AM

I haven't seen nothing new in this dairy but it's not a bad thing for the new players.

And the structure system will be good for some scenatrios and adventures in the future. I can imagine that the adventures that will come out will be writen using this structure.






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