Monday, February 6, 2012

The Ubiquitous Tavern Scene

If you've played Role-playing games for any length of time, you've had the Ubiquitous Tavern Scene. The players all meeting in the tavern to learn what the next adventure is. Now there's plenty of other ways to start an adventure. You don't have to railroad the players into the tavern. It's easy to just drop players into the tavern...but what other hooks are there? We can look to MMORPGs for some guidance, as they have taken plenty of RPG tropes.

- There's the jobs board. Now this is about as MMORPG trope as you can get. It's a good place to find adventures, but not to bring a party together.

- A Contact that all the players know, even if the players don't know each other. This doesn't cement the bonds of a group together however.

- Writing the other players into the background of your own character is often the best way to create a solid group. It does require forethought however. I like the way Traveller does it, when you have a joint event, you actually get a bonus skill point. This can easily be transferred to other games like Pathfinder, by granting either a bonus skill point, class skill or even a trait as a reward.

- My favorite system so far is the Dresden Files and the other FATE games. With the Aspect system it really helps tie characters together. I really like that the characters can make the city, the movers and shakers, and the conflicts. This requires the players to actually do some thinking, but really makes for some dynamic characters.