Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Lesser of Two Evils Is Still Evil

Volume Two, Shards brings the reader an Empire torn apart. See, the old Emperor was betrayed by the Sith and civil war tears apart the lands.
So there are numerous factions that the people in the middle may have to deal with, and not all of them are completely dedicated to the cause, some of them not dedicated to the cause at all, and some of them loyal not to an idea or to personal power, but to their allies and personal friends.
In looking at Shards, if the Game Master is not running a dungeon or site based campaign, that campaign needs to have numerous enemies and threats within it to motivate the players. The actions of the players against those various factions can lead to different elements coming into play.
For example, the Skywalker viewpoint here, Cade, is responsible for a jedi being caught and he sees a vision of that jedi being tortured. So now Cade has an oracle inspired mission. Well, not an oracle, but it's something that the Game Master can use, in this case, the Force, to 'nudge' the player along.
In typical fantasy games, the Game Master always has the use of dreams, omens, prophecy, priests, ancient texts, and other things that may tie to a character and that character's recent actions that can be used to spur the party onto the next big thing.
For example, say the party meets and defeats a group of bandits on the road. Unknown to the party, that group of bandits was part of a fallen group of knights being lead by the younger brother of a knight in retirement who now wants vengance against those who've done his family wrong.
Or the party meets a group of bandits on the road and avoids them to betraying their own travelling allies and handing them over to the bandits only to be troubled by visions and dreams that those comrades they've betrayed may have been more important to the party than they initially realized.
When leaving the dungeon, personal motivation, the acts of the characters, the ripples those characters have on the setting, ranging from their backgrounds, weapon choice, career choice, and current methodology, all become tools necessary to keep the campaign flowing.