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Doc, the Weasel

Session 0 - Involving Players in Campaign Creation

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I still think we should set up a Wiki or something, and upload all the stuff we do with our players. We could create a Living Star Wars game. I gonna do a youtube video about it as well.

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thanks doc.

so is the crew that you are playing edge with the same as those involved in the underworld rising?

 

Mostly.

 

Jesse and Leila have left the group (and are still podcasting on Reckless Dice). Ed, Dustin, Bryan and myself are still together, and have added 2 (Marisol and Richard). 

 

I was talking to the gang, and we may start up our own podcast, starting with this game. 

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thanks doc.

so is the crew that you are playing edge with the same as those involved in the underworld rising?

 

Mostly.

 

Jesse and Leila have left the group (and are still podcasting on Reckless Dice). Ed, Dustin, Bryan and myself are still together, and have added 2 (Marisol and Richard). 

 

I was talking to the gang, and we may start up our own podcast, starting with this game. 

 

i for one would listen. i think the community can learn a lot from you and your players. 

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I am starting a campaign in a couple weeks (after finishing Long Arm of the Hutt) and wanted to get my players very involved in setting it up.

 

Your ideas here are invaluable. Thanks a lot for posting them! I for sure will use this info in the first session of my campaign.

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I have one more piece of advice that I found myself not following.

 

When I was trying to make a story out of all of this stuff, I was running around in circles. Yes, I had a bunch of conflicts that I could see playing out, but I didn't have a way to integrate the characters – well I did on some, but not in a way that would work for the length of game I wanted. 

 

I realized that I was coming at it from the wrong direction. Rather than looking at the setting first to craft the story, I should be (and am now) looking at the characters' Motivations, Obligations, and backstories to find out where the conflict is. Once you have THOSE stories (and they are by design compelling, because they hit the players where it hurts) then you integrate the setting elements in. 

 

Have a character that supports the Rebellion, but also owes a favor? Have that favor be something that hurts the Rebellion. From there you look at the setting for the guy the favor is owed to, a potential Rebel Agent to betray (or save), and an overall situation for why this is taking place. 

 

It's tempting to put all this work into the setting and then use it as the centerpiece (especially when you are excited with all you created). Don't. Keep the center on the characters. Use the setting for context and to fill in the gaps. What are the repercussions of the main character conflict? The setting should tell you that. 

 

I'd go into more detail, but I have players that read these boards. Sneaky, sneaky players.

Edited by Doc, the Weasel

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Doc, that is a great insight!

 

It's really the core of drama, having characters compelled to push just how far they will go to get what they want--and if their values conflict with what they need to do, how far will they go?

 

I'll definitely be looking at characters' Motivations and Obligations in this light now!

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hey doc,

 

so are you saying that for you session 0 you want to have the character motivations and obligations be in the forefront of your groups minds as they generate the faces and planets?

 

Yes, that's exactly it.

 

In practice, I found it was balancing between making a bee-line to flesh out the Obligation characters (in a way that didn't fit together) and building a great, interconnected setting without thinking of how Obligations fit in. There is a sweet spot in the middle, where everyone is putting the setting together, and interjecting where the Obligations fit into that.

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Our group just finished our last game out and are now moving on to EotE. This time around, instead of writing a short campaign, I decided to try my hand at having the players do it. 

 

The plan is to have a "Session 0," before the game begins. I normally do something like this to make characters, but this time the players will be hashing out the details of the setting and then make characters. 

 

What I hope to walk away from this session with is a set of NPCs and locations that are tied to both each other and the PCs. From there, I'll make an adventure for the party.

 

I've seen this kind of thing in games such as The Dresden Files and Smallville, but have never tried it. What I hope to gain from it is to have a party that is intimately tied into what is going on. With this game specifically, I didn't want to have a "main" setting/npcs/plots, with everyone having their own little personal settings through their Obligations. 

 

The other thing I want to see is how much less work this is for me as a GM. This one may be hard, because my normal process is a lot of work up front and less week to week. This process inverts it a little, so it may be hard to compare.

 

I plan on writing up my planned process in the next day or two, and then following up with how it plays out (we meet this Saturday). By posting it here, I'm hoping to a) solicit feedback and ideas and b) share with others who may be interested in doing this.

 

Does anyone have any experience with games that do this? Are there any pitfalls to avoid or advice to make it better?

 

 

There are some benefits to this idea for sure. My only suggestion would be to make it optional. A lot of players, myself included, have no interest in world-building. I'm fine just showing up and playing in whatever setting is described to me.

 

Similarly, don't be offended or insulted if not everyone is interested in participating. Playing a character in an RPG and building a world for one are two very different kinds of creativity.

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