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Rally phase

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ok..per the rules the rally phase is used between acts...  Anyone else find this a bit...artificial?   I'll give a comparison based on LotR (since as geeks, we have ALL seen that movie at least twice):

 

Act1: Shire

- rally -

Act2: Moria

- rally -

Act3: Splitting of the Fellowship

 

With that layout, we would see a rally step before Moria (likely after the lurker pulled down the roof inside the front door of Moria) and one after Moria (just before wood-elf city).

However, much of the rally step seems to be most effective 'during' a combat..which would mean:

Act2: Moria

bucket down the well

first wave of orcs

- rally -

second wave of orcs + troll

- rally -

flee

chased by balrog

gandalf : 'you shall not pass' speech

- rally -

party escapes

 

=======================

Subdividing the Acts to fit the 'better literary' rally steps would make the acts almost meaningless as opposed to the first Act divisions.

=======================

I'm thinking the rally step should not be restricted to 'between acts'...  just my opinion, of course...

 

 

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Well it isnt using "act" in the sense you are (or in the sense most people use them).  Typically a story has 3 acts with each act having some number of scenes.  the structure they recommend is to have 3 chapters (or more I guess) each with scenes.  Within the scene you break up the action into 3 "acts"

 

So yes you could take the scene in moria and break it up into acts with rally steps in between them.

you could take the breaking of the fellowship and split it (from the point of view of aragorn/gimli/legolas

1st fighting uruk hai

rallystep - boromir blows his horn

2nd fight their way to boromir

rallystep - find boromir body and the uruk hai begin to run away

3rd, kill the stragglers.

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so the acts dont necessarily have a resolution?  I would have expected an 'adventure' to be resolved by the end of act 3.  Hmm... so I have to scale back the scope of the acts ?

On the plus side, this makes 'winging it' much easier as the acts would be defined by the rallies than the rallies being defined by the acts.

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no, the adventure doesnt end after the 3rd act, the scene does.

It's unfortunate they used the word ACT because its not really what they mean.

It is just recommending you break each scene into beginning-middle-end to give scenes structure.

 

On a side note there is no reason at all why you couldnt have a scene with more (or less) than 3 acts, the 3 is a guideline to creating a compelling story/scene.  Many scenes will make up the adventure (Which you may split into say 3 "chapters" which would conventionally be known as "acts" in literature)

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 I disregard their mechanical description and go with what seems to be the gist. Here's what I used for my intro to my campaign:

A scene takes place in a given location: say a small village.

  1. Act 1: the players catch word of a greenskins raiding a farmstead outside the village. They rush to the scene and fight some snotlings and gobbos.

    Rally Step
     
  2. Act 2: The players discover some of the goblins and a handful of orcs fled the scene before their arrival with a pair of boys ages 3 & 5. The players give chase... and they either catch up and save the boys, or arrive at the greenskin camp where the nasties are fighting over the boys (possibly already dead if the PCs were delayed in tracking)

    Rally Step

     
  3. Act 3: Fight the Greenskins and save or recover the boys. etc.

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I would run that more as 3 individual scenes than 1 scene with 3 acts (and therefore rally steps)

Another way to do it would be:

Intro, pc's hear about the village and rush there

Scene 1 - Village

A1: They wander in and kill some snotlings

<rally step> they hear a woman shrieking and look to see her on top of the inn trying to escape some goblins climbing out of the window after her.

A2: They rush in and have to fight the goblins in the inn to get to the roof

<rally step> the goblins break and try to disengage/runaway

A3: run them off or try to help the wounded/survivors

 

Scene 2 Find out about the kidnapped kids, run a chase scene with the progress tracker with the result affecting the next scene

 

Scene 3 - Orc Camp

A1 Kill some orcs

<rallystep> alarm sounded, Boss Orc comes out

A2 Kill Boss

<rallystep> Another Orc tries to make off with the kids while the fight is going on, the girl screams and everyone looks over

A3 3 way epic fight between the 2 orcs and the PC's

 

 

As you can see the rally steps go inside the scenes, not between them.  A rally step is a short period of down time that allows one action.  More of a story tool than a mechanical one.

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As Kaptain O says.  FFG mentions breaking "longer" scenes (and even campaigns) into their own smaller 3-act pieces.  Essentially, a beginning-middle-end.  So, while you could only have Act1-rally-Act2-rally-Act3-end.  ... Act 1 could in fact have its own "Act1-rally-act2-rally-act3-end" structure.

So, it ends up like 1a-rally-1b-rally-1c (end Act 1, rally) 2a-rally-2b-rally-2c (end Act2, rally) 3a-3b-3c (end Act 3 and adventure).  Or a combination.  If the first Act is pretty short, you could have: 

Act1 (end Act 1, rally) 2a-rally-2b-rally-2c (end Act2, rally) 3a-3b-3c (end Act 3 and adventure)

and so on.

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Thanks Kaptain O. That makes a lot more sense to me than what I had read last night. Makes it nice small bite sized pieces that help you break up what could otherwise be long fights which could get a bit tedious.

Taking a Rally break when the lady in the upper floor screams is a nice story element that causes a slight shift in the game as now the players go from whacking snotlings around to rushing through the inn or scaling the outside.

Another Rally break after saving the lady and they find the greenskins are scattering to the winds, what do they do? It really seems to give a sense of accomplishment and shows the results of the player's actions.

I think with some practice this will actually help me design adventures. Many of my feeble attempts end up getting too confusing for the players and too many things mashed together. Time to read that book again.

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Yeah, I found it quite enlightening - most of us are used to creating a structure to our adventures (and even campaigns) but very rarely do I consider giving a structure to the individual encounters.  I am hoping that using the 3 act model as a guideline (notice a guideline, not a rule) will help me create more engaging and interesting encounters.

 

We will see...

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