McGuffin help

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Marras
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McGuffin help

Post by Marras » 05 Jan 2016, 03:12

My previous "noble game" idea, as it was dubbed in our group tanked. Players were surprisingly sort of nervous for having to play nobles. Well, it didn't matter too much as I am still waiting for the rules ;)

Anyway, I began to play with another idea. The idea is much more open ended with practically any character concept being viable. All characters are connected to each other at least by one NPC and they all meet at the NPC's funeral. So, each PC needs some reason for being a friend of the NPC and hopefully it will help to define other things, too.

Now, the reason why this NPC died is because he was a paid guard to a merchant or noble or something like that (that is still a bit open). He was on duty when a party of NPCs did what a PC party normally does, which is a heist. They infiltrated the place and after being discovered killed the NPC to be able to escape.

So, the PCs have to find out what happened, who the killers were and avenge him. I have to guide players in character generation so they will choose SAs that will guide them to this direction.

In a normal fantasy game that NPC team would have stolen a magical artifact or something like that but since BoB is light on that part I might have to think of other avenues. What would be the reason that the team did the heist? I have even thought that the dead NPC was actually working for "evil" employer knowingly or unknowingly and that NPC team is actually a "good" team to make a twist.

Any help with the McGuffin or otherwise is very welcome.
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thirtythr33
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by thirtythr33 » 05 Jan 2016, 03:36

Politics.

Its ALWAYS politics with those damn nobles. It could be something as innocuous as his business ledger or diary. Obviously, he refuses to discuss the contents. This naturally leads to building it's own twist as well when the PCs inevitably read it and realize it wasn't just a list of what the townsfolk owe for taxes, but something much darker. Maybe those enemies can now become allies?

It could be a book of information he is using to blackmail some other houses and someone got fed up with being taken advantage of and hired someone to acquire the evidence. Maybe its the last will of a now dead duke with instructions his property was to go to the SECOND son. Or some letters with discussions of an assassination attempt on the Duke, with the plan of having a cousin instated in his place.

The best thing is you don't even need to come up with what the secret is until they have gone through a bunch of the story and you get to see what all their SAs are. Someone has an SA like "slavery should be abolished!"? Well, it turns out the noble your working for wanted you to recover his ledgers for his black market slave trading he has been doing.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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Agamemnon
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Agamemnon » 05 Jan 2016, 21:45

thirtythr33 wrote:The best thing is you don't even need to come up with what the secret is until they have gone through a bunch of the story and you get to see what all their SAs are. Someone has an SA like "slavery should be abolished!"? Well, it turns out the noble your working for wanted you to recover his ledgers for his black market slave trading he has been doing.
This in particular. I tend not to even bother writing stories for the players, so much as coming up with an initial situation that will get things moving. After you've done that, the players and their SAs will tell you where to go next.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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Marras
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Marras » 06 Jan 2016, 12:50

Thanks for the replies!

I think I will settle for a book and decide an initial content for it. The actual content might change during the game (that was a great idea).

Now I just have to decide whether the patron will be a noble or a prominent merchant/banker.
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higgins
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by higgins » 06 Jan 2016, 14:07

Marras wrote:All characters are connected to each other at least by one NPC and they all meet at the NPC's funeral.
This is an OUTSTANDING idea! :shock: I'm not sure if you realized yourself how outstanding it was, so, let me explain.

I mean, as of now, I've always tried to create an interlinking weave of SAs between the PCs. Who is protective of whom, who is indebted to whom, who likes whom, occasionally even who hates whom, etc. Using an NPC proxy between the PCs has always proven a problematic concept, since a) the NPC can't always be there, b) the NPC being important takes the spotlight off the PCs, and c) what if that NPC dies? But now Marras comes along and solves all those issues with one fell swoop! :)

My hat is off to you, sir! That's a really nice touch. :)

Plus there's the added benefit of everyone remembering the guy way better than he actually was! (Sorry, but it's true.)

However, you need to make sure that the dead guy is memorable. If at all possible, find a good portrait for him. I don't know if you're in the habit of using character portraits, but if not, it's even more powerful. In a word, it would be beneficial for you to create some kind of a Laura Palmer effect. (The Comedian was also much the same, for that matter.)

Although careful not to overplay it! Not everyone in the universe has a tale to tell about our dear departed. Unless the events take place in a small town on the outskirts. Then maybe they do! :twisted:
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Marras
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Marras » 06 Jan 2016, 15:10

Thanks, Higgins! 8-)

Because SAs are still not all too clear to me not to mention to my players, I wanted to give them a small but important anchor point to create at least one SA that gets the story moving. This was the simplest way to do it that I could invent.

Yeah, I can still remember Laura Palmer :) I don't use character portraits because I am not that good of an artist but it could work even better for that reason. I just have to scrounge the net for appropriate pictures.

No, I didn't intend to have a huge list of stories. The patron will have some sort of speech and maybe 2-3 fellow guards and other NPCs have something memorable to say about the dead NPC.

Hmm... maybe I will link this to the setting info I already wrote for that first idea. Yes, the patron could be the head of one of the noble houses that has only little amount of details so far.
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higgins
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by higgins » 06 Jan 2016, 16:14

Marras wrote:Yes, the patron could be the head of one of the noble houses that has only little amount of details so far.
Or you can stick him (or her?) into one of the established houses and have a ton of background to draw from without any additional work? :P Although I must say I kind of liked the idea of him being a merchant, since your players already shied away from playing nobles, bringing the whole setting into a lower key might be beneficial. And different, too.
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Marras
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Marras » 06 Jan 2016, 16:32

higgins wrote:Or you can stick him (or her?) into one of the established houses and have a ton of background to draw from without any additional work? :P
That's true. I have to re-read my notes and see what would be a suitable house. On the other hand I only fleshed out 2-3 families.
Although I must say I kind of liked the idea of him being a merchant, since your players already shied away from playing nobles, bringing the whole setting into a lower key might be beneficial. And different, too.
Fortunately in that setting prominent merchant houses can rise to noble position and even old houses try to have a merchant fleet. Anyway, the dead guard was a commoner and got to the status of house guard from being a soldier and mercenary. That way even non-nobles has a reason and opportunity to know him. Further details of his background will be fleshed out based on PCs and their SAs.

And yes, it's him because for some reason (no surprises here) I have envisioned the guard to be male.
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thirtythr33
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by thirtythr33 » 08 Jan 2016, 06:48

Marras wrote:And yes, it's him because for some reason (no surprises here) I have envisioned the guard to be male.
Now I want to start a game off like this:

"So how did you know Maria?"
"Oh, she's my ex-wife."
"Me too."
"Me too."
"Me too."
"..."
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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higgins
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by higgins » 08 Jan 2016, 08:45

Image
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
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Marras
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Marras » 08 Jan 2016, 10:41

What, is this some kind of soap opera? :lol:

That would be an interesting setup, no doubt :shock:
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Agamemnon » 08 Jan 2016, 21:01

Marras wrote:What, is this some kind of soap opera? :lol:

That would be an interesting setup, no doubt :shock:
Dont disparage the soap opera. For RP potential, it's hilarious.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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Marras
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Marras » 10 Jan 2016, 07:51

Agamemnon wrote: Dont disparage the soap opera. For RP potential, it's hilarious.
Frankly, that's true. The amount of (ridiculous) drama in soap operas is amazing and pretty good exaggeration to work in RPGs. The way I see it, RPGs are in that department a bit caricatures as it really takes a very special group to work in subtle ways. Most of us are quite thick headed in that way and need pointed and exaggerated ways to really add drama to games.
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Re: McGuffin help

Post by Agamemnon » 10 Jan 2016, 21:16

Marras wrote:
Agamemnon wrote: Dont disparage the soap opera. For RP potential, it's hilarious.
Frankly, that's true. The amount of (ridiculous) drama in soap operas is amazing and pretty good exaggeration to work in RPGs. The way I see it, RPGs are in that department a bit caricatures as it really takes a very special group to work in subtle ways. Most of us are quite thick headed in that way and need pointed and exaggerated ways to really add drama to games.
That's kind of the rule you need for RPGs in general. Subtle doesn't work well with a group of people trying to play a game. Subtle clues are overlooked, subtle drama goes unappreciated and under-analyzed. You need big sweeping gestures to get the player's attention, most of the time.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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