Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Making Time For Friendship

When I initially designed Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, one of my concerns was making sure that the character creation process was quick and painless. If a video game isn't entertaining for the first 10-15 minutes, you're not going to want to play through the 10-20 hours of content it provides. Same basic principle. If this is my first time sitting down to play an RPG, a character creation process that can take hours had better be worth it. But in my desire to streamline that process, I recently realized that I may have done a disservice to one of the game's primary themes.


You see, as part of the character creation process, I instruct the player to simply write down the other characters in the group as their starting Friends List. Simple and easy, right? But it doesn't really answer the question of why those people are on that list. Not just "Why are you traveling together?" but "Why are you all friends?"

One thing that some tables do is hold a "Session 0" for their campaigns, detailing everything that is needed before Session 1 (the first session of the adventure) can begin. In a heavier system, this session might be taken up with character creation. Each player deciding on their character's niche in the party and building toward that. It can also involve the Narrator detailing the world that the characters will adventure in and players deciding the backstory for their characters.

If an AiO Narrator were to run a Session 0 for their campaign, I think the primary activity would be working out the relationships between all of the characters. Who helped who where and how. I'm sort of picturing the first third or so of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz being Session 0, detailing how the characters met and how they all wound up on each other's Friends List with Session 1 beginning with their arrival in the Emerald City and the Wizard ordering the party to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

Maybe if I do a revised edition of the game, I'll work something out to give this a bit more structure and make it more of a mini-game.

1 comment:

Noah Stevens said...

You could do something like Beyond the Wall with randomized history charts and DW's bonds

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