Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mistborn Part 2

Continuing a look at the Mistborn and how some of the things in it may be useful to many types of campaign.

1. Keep the NPC's motivated. In this book, Vin, one of the main characters, is sought out by the Inquisitors several times. It's related to her background, but not as a hero of destiny, but rather, as a device by which the NPC can shame another character and take their power. Have the players allies that would rather not be dragged out to the light? Do they have aliases or friendships with individuals who would look bad simply for knowing the players let alone helping them? By capturing Vin her and forcing her to confess who her father is, Vin dooms that man to a harsh death and catapults the Inquisitors to a new level of greatness. See if there's anything in the players own backgrounds or actions in campaign to use in a similiar fashion and see if they can figure out what the NPC's are trying to do.

2. There's always another secret. This mantra comes up several times. In Mistborn, the Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson does a great job of wrapping up everything and yet leaving the scenario open for more books to follow without ending things in mid stride as many authors tend to do. While the Lord Ruler is dead at Vin's hands, his dying words indicate that he was doing something special, something that only he could do and that his death would bring in new problems. While the city has fallen from nobel hands, a new society does not emerge overnight and must be carefully cultivated leaving many adventure seeds for future campaigns. While the villains are defeated, what happened to their wealth that wasn't where everyone assumed it'd be?

In fantasy games, this could be as simple as providing multiple cave entrances in a dungeon that lead in different paths. It could be the players knowing that the foe they currently face isn't the most dangerous, only the most immediate. It could be that the foes they face aren't necessarily the real enemy at all and rather, they are on the retreat from something oh so much more powerful that they'd rather fight the players than stay where they were and die. Keep the players moving forward while giving them good 'pause' points to think of what the next move forward is.

Mistborn is a solid book and provides a lot of example characters and magic systems that in and of themselves could inspire their own RPG. Use the plotting and pacing as guides of how to bring the action and when to take a pause.