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Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 01, 2003, 03:30:56 AM
Hi,

I hope this topic is appropriate for this forum.

Quote from: In a recent thread Ron Edwards
Basically, role-playing writing has no real foundation for Narrativist scenario creation. I've just begun to scratch the surface for this in my Sorcerer books, and a number of other people have scratched it as well in different ways, but by contrast, there are hundreds if not thousands of objective-based scenarios in the published RPG literature.

I've written a scenario for Issaries myself, and I know it was a real challenge to present it in such a way that provides structure and conflict, but does not railroad events and outcomes, and permits the players to generate The Big Point of the resulting story. Sure, you and I do this in actual play, but we have little or no literary precedent to draw upon for how to do it, and with what, for someone else.


Oh, I do hope someone would like to explore this with me. How do one write a Narrativist scenario for HeroQuest? Would anybody be interested in a learning by doing experiment with me?

I volunteer to provide a number of basic ideas, premises, conflicts, situations, etc. for us to use as a basis for our discussion. The purpose would be to answer the question: How do we write a playable Narrativist scenario based on this mess?

All the best,

/Peter N


Title: Start with the Heroes Motivations
Post by: MrWrong on June 01, 2003, 04:19:48 AM
If by narratist you mean purely story driven, as opposed to a good old wargaming style kill the baddies grab the goodies approach, a good way to start seems to be with the Heroes motivations.

I've found two reasonable ways of doing this. The first is in an ongoing campaign where I make a point of asking the players what they want to do next session. I started doing this when I was running my campiagn under Runequest, since it was a very good way of keeping player interest high. It made the players feel as if they were the Stars of the game, rather than bit players

Based on what they ask for, and bearing in mind the heroes ongoing goals (stated on the character sheet) I go away and cook up the next session's adventure or, as in HeroQuest, Story.

Another method which has come up in running Convention games, is Mick Rowe's (who posts here as  Palasee) method of giving each hero a mini-myth on their character sheet, such as the Arming of Orlanth ritual. This is an excellent way of getting new player into the story, since it gives them an automatic entry point into the flow of the game, and gets them involved in the game much quicker. In the case of the player with the Arming of Orlanth ritual, he watched what was going on until he found a point in the story where the ritual was appropriate and suddenly his hero was the focus of the story as he organised the clan to gather the necessary equipment and then performed the ritual.

Not entirely sure how this would work in an ongoing campiagn, it would be a bit artifical to give players a new mini-myth at the begining of an adventure. Perhaps a better route would to have players find unrelated myths in their previous storys, that become relevant in the current episode. Also of course there is the discovery of myths during the story. In a strange way you are replacing money and magic items with Myths as rewards for play, since the Myths allow the players to progress in the story , effectively giving them control of the plot devices (the myths).

The episode with its scene structure, then becomes a framework for the Story that the players are weaving.

As you probably guessed I'm a big fan of Player driven games as opposed to GM manipulated games.

So I suspose to translate idea into something practical, what Character motivations do you forsee that the Heroes will have at the begining that get them involved in and continue to motivate them as the story progresses?

Regards


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 01, 2003, 07:54:44 AM
Hi Newt,

Thank you for your swift reply. Your advice is most welcome. I know that you are an experienced narrator and I look forward to your input. However, we are not quite discussing the same thing here.

Quote from: MrWrong
If by narratist you mean purely story driven, as opposed to a good old wargaming style kill the baddies grab the goodies approach,


I mean Narrativist in the Ron Edwards sense. Read System Does Matter (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/11/) to begin with. If you have questions regarding the definition of Narrativism, please ask them at the GNS forum.

What I Am Looking For With This Topic:

I am talking about written scenarios. Not made up by the people playing the scenario. I am literally thinking about scenarios written to be read and played by people other than its author(s). This is what I mean when I ask, "How does one write a Narrativist scenario for HeroQuest?"

I would like to actually write, here at this forum, a Narrativist scenario for HeroQuest. This is what I mean when I talk about learning by doing. As we speak, I am preparing notes for an adventure idea. This will not be a finished scenario, but rather a bunch of, well, ideas, concepts, and conflicts. Then I hope that the talented people here at the Forge would like to dissect, criticize, and mutilate these ideas. I myself plan to most enthusiastically participate in this massacre.

Goal:
The goal, to use Ron's words, is "to present it in such a way that provides structure and conflict, but does not railroad events and outcomes, and permits the players to generate The Big Point of the resulting story."

All the best,

/Peter N


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 01, 2003, 07:57:32 AM
One more thing before I post my ideas:

There is no purpose to this exercise if no one else is prepared to participate. So, people, if you are interested in beating a scenario idea of mine to a pulp, please let me know. I anxiously await your response, so I know whether I shall proceed to the next stage or not.

Cheers,

/Peter N


Title: Re: Start with the Heroes Motivations
Post by: bluegargantua on June 01, 2003, 07:58:33 AM
Quote from: MrWrong

Another method which has come up in running Convention games, is Mick Rowe's (who posts here as  Palasee) method of giving each hero a mini-myth on their character sheet, such as the Arming of Orlanth ritual. This is an excellent way of getting new player into the story, since it gives them an automatic entry point into the flow of the game, and gets them involved in the game much quicker. In the case of the player with the Arming of Orlanth ritual, he watched what was going on until he found a point in the story where the ritual was appropriate and suddenly his hero was the focus of the story as he organised the clan to gather the necessary equipment and then performed the ritual.

Not entirely sure how this would work in an ongoing campiagn, it would be a bit artifical to give players a new mini-myth at the begining of an adventure. Perhaps a better route would to have players find unrelated myths in their previous storys, that become relevant in the current episode. Also of course there is the discovery of myths during the story. In a strange way you are replacing money and magic items with Myths as rewards for play, since the Myths allow the players to progress in the story , effectively giving them control of the plot devices (the myths).


  Hmmm...it seems to me that, at the start of play, you could take the local pantheon, come up with a few mini-myths for each one and then build a relationship map that shows the different ways in which they're linked -- or potential ways in which they're linked.  Let players bring in their unique perspective when the myth becomes relevant and watch how other players linked to it start defining or revising their ideas about the myths they know.

  Widen it a little bit and show how non-local pantheons tie into yours.  Orlanth is seen very differently in many Orlanthi-related cultures for example and obviously, the Lunars see him in a totally different light.

  Pop out a small Heroquest that changes the nature of one of these links and the Players will probably start creating and manipulating the relationship map all on their own.

later
Tom


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 01, 2003, 08:29:02 AM
Hi Tom,

Your ideas are neat and interesting. They are off topic, however. Please, do not hijack this thread.

Editing in: I most certainly did not mean to be rude or impolite in any way. I intended only to state clearly that, in my humble opinion, your post did not address the topic at hand.

Respectfully,

/Peter N


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Bankuei on June 01, 2003, 08:42:01 AM
Hi Peter,

This is an excellent topic for discussion.  Of course, I'm going to recommend Sorcerer and Sword and Sorcerer's Soul as Ron's examples of Narrativist scene writing in action.  I'm going to recommend from my batch of stuff, for you to look here:

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/collists/waystoplay.html

which pretty much is just a restatment of many of the ideas on the Forge, with some of my personal favority techniques for making Nar play happen.

On to your challenge..

Not being entirely enough familiar with Glorantha, I'll give you a generic sort of scenario that can be applied fairly easily, if you want more, or exact details, I'll be happy to fill in.

Summary:

The tribal chief is currently in a coma, and two sons are in line for succession.  The eldest should have it by tradition, but is a brash, irresponsible leader, and other nearby tribes have become more agressive.  The younger is an excellent leader and a pragmatist, and torn between his duty to his father and tradition, and the growing realization that his people might get smashed by outside forces if they're not unified quick.  The people are split, factionalizing is happening, and time is running out.  Some of the folks are still hoping the Chief will recover, and so arrange for a Heroquest to either bring back his soul or see it safely to the underworld and finalize succession if necessary.

Bringing in the PCs:

Specific to this scenario, each PC must have one or more ties to all of the factions, Eldest Son, Younger Son, and the Old Guard(staying true to the Chief).  PCs also start with some form of status/position gain/loss to risk based on who is in charge.  If a PC is one of the Old Guard, they risk losing their position, if one of the sons decides to demote them.  If the PC is related to, or in service to, one of the sons, obviously there's room for rise or loss, betrayal, etc.  If a PC doesn't have this established pre-game, it should quickly be established in game("You know if my cousin doesn't get Chieftain, your sister and your nephew could find themselves left cold in the mountains...")

More Details:

Each son is established with followers and groups, a relationship map is created, etc.  Notice that at the moment, the personalities of the two sons is not established, so either one, or both could be great guys, or complete assholes.  Depending on the tone of story, its an adjustible dial that can spike the conflict more.

Putting on pressure:

Create a couple of NPCs in each faction who will do some pretty desperate and underhanded stuff to acheive their goals.  Also introduce a rival tribe or perhaps an Empire or such that threatens the tribe.  It would also help if outsiders are interfering with the Heroquest, or perhaps through poison or magic have caused the Chief's coma in order to set up this dissension.  Whenever the pressure seems to let up, have one of these NPCs do something, whether successful or botched, that ups the ante.

How does this kind of thing work?

Well, first notice that the role the player characters have in the conflict is undecided.  That is, while they may be related or working for one faction, through ties and conflict, they may have reason to work for another.  The ability to choose what role you play in a conflict is highly protagonizing and allows a lot of room for thematic statements on the parts of the players.

Second, notice that the conflict has some fairly good reasons behind it.  We're talking about a judgement of "What's best for the clan?" being played out with some pro's and con's on all sides.  It makes it even nastier if the younger son happens to also be a cruel asshole.

Third, stakes are high, people are desperate.  The survival of the clan is at stake, everyone has something to gain or lose in this.  Not only all of that, but the father's soul is in some form of limbo, which isn't cool at all.  Desperate people will take drastic measures, some without thinking, causing more chaos in the mix.  This is where folks will be making the majority of thematic statements/moral judgements.  

Consider, if an elderly woman tries to poison someone on the other side, because she has no one who will marry her handicapped son, while what she did is wrong, a judgement of how to punish her(or perhaps aid and abet her) is being made by the group involved.  If a young woman lies and deceives to see a particular side gain power, because someone promised her justice on that side against a rapist on the other, what happens?  Basically, the chieftainship being in question is simply a catalyst for all of the hidden problems, dysfunctions, ambitions, and injustices to come to a head and folks to try to make power plays.

If you'd like a detailed version of this, then I would be happy to write it up, though it might take a bit of time.

Chris


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: simon_hibbs on June 02, 2003, 07:40:04 AM
Quote from: Peter Nordstrand

What I Am Looking For With This Topic:

I am talking about written scenarios. Not made up by the people playing the scenario. I am literally thinking about scenarios written to be read and played by people other than its author(s). This is what I mean when I ask, "How does one write a Narrativist scenario for HeroQuest?"

...

Goal:
The goal, to use Ron's words, is "to present it in such a way that provides structure and conflict, but does not railroad events and outcomes, and permits the players to generate The Big Point of the resulting story."


I think the way to write such scenarios is very similar to the way people write freeform games (LARPs).

I think it's usefull to understand why goal-oriented scenario design is so dominant. There are good reasons for it. The author doesn't need to know very much about  the characters, only that they will care about the scenario goal and that they have sufficient abilities to be reasonably expected to acheive the goals. Even these two things are realy just asserted as requirements to play the game.

Narrative gaming is much more concerned with the character's relationships, their emotions and the overlaps and conflicts between their personal goals.

There are two ways to resolve this. One is to provide pre-generated characters. The personal relationships, personal goals and personality stuff that are part of the narative design can be built-in. This is how Freeforms (LARPS) solve the problem.

(As it happens many goal-oriented scenarios also provide pre-generated characetrs, but usualy just for convenience rather than as part of the scenario design. E.g. One-off convention scenarios).

The other way is to build personal relationship and personal goal stuff into the game mechanics, or game background and character design rules. Some games already do this. Vampire is an excelent early example. The different Vampire clans each have characteristic personality traits, rivalries and such which are intended to kick-start narative play. RuneQuest had this pretty much by accident in the Cult writeups, which established a few basic character personality archetypes, but in Vampire it was more explicit.


Simon Hibbs


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Bankuei on June 02, 2003, 08:24:28 AM
Hi Peter,

Upon re-reading of your posts, I realized I totally missed the boat on what you were saying.  Please forgive if I hijacked your thread there.

To clarify a bit:

Are you asking how to write a Narrativist scenario to be run by someone familiar with Narrativism, or for anybody?

Chris


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Mike Holmes on June 02, 2003, 11:59:16 AM
Quote from: simon_hibbs

Narrative gaming is much more concerned with the character's relationships, their emotions and the overlaps and conflicts between their personal goals.

There are two ways to resolve this. One is to provide pre-generated characters.

...

The other way is to build personal relationship and personal goal stuff into the game mechanics, or game background and character design rules. Some games already do this.
There's this really cool game that does a great job of this called Hero Wars. ;-)

This is why Ron likes Hero Wars so much. Relationships are one sure way to good Narrativist play. And no HW character is without these. In fact, if you want more Narrativism in play, require more Relationships in chargen.

Once the relationships are in play, all you have to do as GM is to step on them a bit. For example, everyone has a relationship with their Tribe or village, whatever. Simply have some important member of that group denounce the character for some other value they have. So if the character is a lonely shaman type, the chief's brother says that his worship is demonic in nature. Uh, because his wife was killed by the last shaman. Whatever. Then kick it the other way. Say that the chief doesn't want the PC to challenge the brother because that might hurt their standing. What does the character do?

The key to creating Narrativist play is via the "Bang". This is Ron's term for an event that causes a situation to arise that has two qualities:
1. It cannot be ignored. If the character can walk away that decision must be as impactful as any other.
2. The decision is a conflict. That is, it's not at all certain how the player will have the character react. The player will be making up the response, and not simply reacting in an obvious manner.

So, given number two, you can't write up a bang that says that the characters are attacked by some hated enemy. Where's the choice in how to respond? Instead, have them attacked by someone who they care about, and don't want to hurt. Or have the character have the option to fight the hated enemy or help a dear friend. Basically look at the character sheet or at the players play, find two values of the character's and make the player choose between them.

Don't hose them in all cases for these choices. That is, by putting these things opposing, don't make it so that all decisions involve automatic loss. Its just as cool to allow players to choose between two good options, for example. The idea is simply to have the decision mean something to the player that made it.

Just pick a few of these combinations, and write up a couple of possible events for each. Then unleash them when the time seems right. You'll know. It doesn't matter that the characters have differing values. Don't try to have all bangs affect each character equally. This does lead to play that goes off in a lot of directions, but that's part of how narrativism works, and shouldn't be fought. Basically play looks more like a book than the typical RPG flow where the characters are always at each other's sides. As long as you have bangs that will affect each character, it's all good.

That's the basics. You'll note that Chris's good example is done just this way. He starts with relationships and values, stomps on them some to rile folks up, and then lets it all just go and work itself out. The rival tribe is just a bang that pressures players to consider the overall question of leadership in a timely fashion, for example.

What's really cool is that, once things are established, you just need to come up with a few new Bangs each session. You don't really write entire scenarios, just the precipitating events. As the characters evolve through play their new vaules will allow you to create bangs to ask questions about those values. As the player answers the questions, the character grows.

Mike


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 02, 2003, 12:01:05 PM
Hi Newt, Tom, and Chris,

Your replies are creative, intelligent, and thought-provoking. They are good replies. They are not at all the kind of response I expected. And this thread is not at all moving in the direction I planned. It doesn't matter. If I already knew the answers, I might just as well talk to myself. Please forgive me for not immediately recognizing the value and relevance of your posts. As a punishment I will perform the "How Eurmal Made Orlanth Eat His Hat" heroquest. Naturally, I will play the part of Orlanth.

Quote from: Bankuei
Upon re-reading of your posts, I realized I totally missed the boat on what you were saying.  Please forgive if I hijacked your thread there.

To clarify a bit:

Are you asking how to write a Narrativist scenario to be run by someone familiar with Narrativism, or for anybody?


For anybody, I guess. Or rather, for anybody familiar with HeroQuest and Glorantha.

Chris, can we use your scenario as a basis for the continuing discussion? I mean, would you mind making a detailed (and Gloranthan) version of the scenario a step at a time, publicly, so that we all can comment, ask questions, and come with suggestions?

And thanx for hijacking the thread with such a wonderful scenario idea! :-)

Cheers,

/Peter N


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Bankuei on June 02, 2003, 12:17:12 PM
Hi Peter,

Works well for me.  I had owned a copy of Hero Wars some time back, but didn't manage to pick up any of the culture/background books, but only have the most incomplete knowledge of the backgrounds.  So, to make this happen, let's do this cooperatively.

I'm going to need some die-hard Glorantha-philes to pick a good culture to base this tribe out of, and produce appropriate names for the Chief and his two sons.  A list of potential names would work well for me to detail specific NPCs in the scenario and set up some nasty subconflicts.

Also, Peter, do you want the PCs to be pregenerated?

This would make it easier to hook in the conflict with less prep, but on the other hand, I've always been a fan of simply telling the players to pick relationships from the NPCs as I listed above.

Second, are we talking Con-scenario or play scenario?  The first type is pretty much going to limit the action to "Here's the problem, jump into the Heroquest" whereas the second type is probably going to last between 4-10 sessions depending on how folks want to spike the conflict and jump into some of the fun moral subplots as listed above, plus how much you want to go into fall out from success/failure of the Heroquest.  In other words, the first is a "mission", the second is strong enough to form its own story arc or campaign.

Finally, if we're talking about writing a Nar scenario that can be picked up and played by folks who may have never experienced Nar play, we'll need to include some "How to play this" advice into the scenario.  I'm not sure what Ron did for his scenario, but it'd be a good reference.  Otherwise I'd just crib my ideas from my rpg.net column and give them a simpler spin.

How's that all sound?

Chris


Title: Source material
Post by: MrWrong on June 02, 2003, 12:28:00 PM
Hi all

Not got time for a long post at the moment , but just a quick suggestion.

It might be a good idea to use the Lhankor Mhy Research Libary over at the Issaries Inc site (http://www.glorantha.com/library/index_old.html) as a source of background, and give links to it as reference so that people who don't own the background, but are interested in following the thread can easily keep up with what is going on.

Later dudes


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 02, 2003, 04:32:13 PM
Hi,

A short first answer before I go to sleep.

Quote from: Bankuei
Works well for me.


I am most pleased. And very enthusiastic, indeed.

Quote from: Bankuei
I had owned a copy of Hero Wars some time back, but didn't manage to pick up any of the culture/background books, but only have the most incomplete knowledge of the backgrounds.  So, to make this happen, let's do this cooperatively.

I'm going to need some die-hard Glorantha-philes to pick a good culture to base this tribe out of, and produce appropriate names for the Chief and his two sons.  A list of potential names would work well for me to detail specific NPCs in the scenario and set up some nasty subconflicts.


I suggest that we pick one of the 10 homelands from the upcoming HeroQuest book. We need a society where leadership positions are hereditary. I propose Seshnela. (There are other possibilities, however.) The Seshnegi are not a tribal people at all. They are your basic feudal society with knights, barons, counts, and dukes ruling a large population of bonded peasants. The King and the Ecclesiarch have joined forces to unite the kingdom and enforce the strict Rokari religion. "One God, One church, One King!" Social mobility is a sin. "To aspire beyond the limitations of one's caste is wicked, with the sinner sure to be punished in the hereafter" (Glorantha: Introduction to the Hero Wars, p. 39).

Thus, your tribal chief becomes Banneret Knight Eustaf.
His two sons--> Guilbert and Hugo?

Use semi-French/Latin names. Do you own Pendragon? Check out the French and Occitanian names (pages 105 & 106). I can make you a list if you wish.

Quote from: Bankuei
Also, Peter, do you want the PCs to be pregenerated?

This would make it easier to hook in the conflict with less prep, but on the other hand, I've always been a fan of simply telling the players to pick relationships from the NPCs as I listed above.


I prefer it if the heroes (as PCs are called in HeroQuest) are not pregenerated. Character generation is fun! It is also the best way to involve the players from the start.

Quote from: Bankuei
Second, are we talking Con-scenario or play scenario?  The first type is pretty much going to limit the action to "Here's the problem, jump into the Heroquest" whereas the second type is probably going to last between 4-10 sessions depending on how folks want to spike the conflict and jump into some of the fun moral subplots as listed above, plus how much you want to go into fall out from success/failure of the Heroquest.  In other words, the first is a "mission", the second is strong enough to form its own story arc or campaign.


I think that your ideas are too good to be wasted on mission-style play.

Quote from: Bankuei
How's that all sound?


It sounds like candy.

Cheers,

/Peter N


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Bankuei on June 02, 2003, 09:44:48 PM
Hi Peter,

I'm in full agreement about allowing players to create their own characters and going with longer range scenario than simply a one-shot.  With that in mind, I haven't been in possession of a copy of HW for about a year now, so my memory as to some of the concepts may be a bit off.

Here's what I've found on that culture:
http://www.issaries.com/library/dad/western.html

Let's start by defining the "major players" of the conflict-

Sir Eustef
Older man, perhaps late 40's-early 50's.  Tough, probably built like a blacksmith.  An astute pragmatist, who holds little illusions about the nature of power or those who would try to oust him.  Sir Eustef has managed to hold his position over his fief as a benevolent dictator through his ability to discern character, competence, and earn the loyalty and trust of good men.  He has also managed to hold his political rivals at bay through sharp manuevering and always having a trick up his sleeve.  Sir Eustef is a hardened man who is all too used to making hard decisions in life.

(Note if the following abilities are to grainy or can be lumped together for ease of listing, please let me know.   If there are preexisting terms, or more appropriate ones, likewise)

Abilities(in addition to his cultural ones)
Determined 15W
Judge of Character 10W
Assess Competency 10W
Leadership 10W
Old Guard(loyalty to him) 10W
Love for his people 10W
Love for his two sons 5W
Strategy 5W
Politics 5W
Intimidate 5W

Guilbert

Eldest son, next in line for control of fiefdom.  Guilbert is a young man in his mid 20's, well liked by the people.  While his father remained fairly distant, although seen as a fair ruler, Guilbert has always been a man of the people.  Vibrant, young, and full of energy, he's always been one to lead with his heart, more than his head.  While this has endeared him to the populace, his governing skills are not up to par. Not only that, but he is a bit hot-headed to those he believes underestimate him.

Abilities(aside from cultural)
Charismatic 5W
Well loved(by the people) 5W
Love for Eustef 3W
Spirited/Hotheaded 1W
Overconfident 15
Etiquette 1W
Politics 15
Strategy 15
Followers(rowdy idealistic young men) 15

Hugo

Younger son, quieter and of cooler head.  In his early 20's Hugo inherited his father's perceptiveness, if not his intimidating presence.  Hugo is the sort of young man who says little and tends to fade into the background, but picks up every nuance about a person or a situation in an instant.  He is well aware of the political turmoil that surrounds his house, and the various other knights who have been trying to find some political means of ousting their household.  Hugo is all too aware of what is at stake.  While he does believe in loyalty to his father, and the people, he also is acutely aware of the actions of his rivals.  He is afraid he may be forced to act in order to protect his house, just what that action is, well, he's not sure of just yet...

Abilities(aside from cultural)
Perceptive 10 W
Assess personality 5W
Strategy 5W
Politics 1W
Love for the people 1W
Love for Eustef 1W
Politics 1W
Swordfighting 1W

Like I said, its been awhile since I've seen the actual HW books, so if these numbers are off, any input would be welcome at this time.

Chris


Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 03, 2003, 04:24:50 AM
Hi,

I have a many questions, suggestions, and ideas, but let's take one small step at a time, and start with the characters.

NPCs in HeroQuest can be presented in a number of ways, ranging from just a keyword
    Western Knight 19 (lance +3)[/list:u]
    to a complete chart including the most important abilities of both the character and his followers (I’ll put up an example of this on my homepage, but it must wait a couple of days).

    Perhaps it is too early to decide how to present the characters (edit: in terms of abilities and ratings, that is). It is largely dependant on other factors I believe. The abilities sound about right. I think they could use some tweaking, but that can wait. In my opinion, what matters most right now is the magic and relationships of the major players. Do you agree?

    Check this out:

    Sir Eustef
    Magic: Orderly of Saint Gerlant Flamesword.
    Relationships: Banneret of Spring Fountain, Leader of Old Guard, Love Sons.

    Guilbert
    Magic: Common magic only.
    Relationships: Loved by the People of Spring Fountain, Leader of Rowdy Idealistic Young Men, Love Father.

    Hugo
    Magic: Liturgist of Saint Gerlant.
    Relationships: Love the People of Spring Fountain, Love Father.[/list:u]

    Eustef has access to a whole bunch of spells through the order of Saint Gerlant (a military order). Guilbert knows only common magic. This is normal, but common magic is frowned upon by the church. I suggest that Hugo is a clergyman, connected to the same military order that his father belongs to. As a liturgist, he knows no spells but many blessings that benefit his community.

    Oh, yes, I made up a name for Sir Eustef's fief. Change it if you want.

    Does this make sense?

    Cheers,

    /Peter N


    Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
    Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 03, 2003, 08:21:42 AM
    Hm...

    I had a few moments to spare. What about the following stats (says the guy who claimed this wasn't important)?

      Sir Eustef
      Keywords: Orderly of Saint Gerlant Flamesword 17W, Cavalry Soldier (Shock) 4W2.
      Significant Abilities: Intimidate 5W, Judge of Character 11W, Political Strategy 5W, Tough 19.
      Marks: Built like a blacksmith. Is in a coma. ;-)
      Relationships: Banneret of Spring Fountain 10W, Leader of Old Guard 10W, Love Sons 5W.

      Guilbert
      Keywords: Petty Noble  4W.
      Significant Abilities: Charismatic 7W, Etiquette 1W, Hotheaded 1W, Overconfident 15, Political Strategy 15.
      Relationships: Energetic 16, Liked by the People of Spring Fountain 5W, Love Father 3W, Leader of Rowdy Idealistic Young Men 15.

      Hugo
      Keywords: Liturgist of Saint Gerlant 12W, Clergyman 3W.
      Significant Abilities: Assess Personality 5W, Perceptive 10 W, Political Strategy 3W, Sword Fighting 1W.
      Relationships: Love the People of the Spring Fountain 1W, Love Father 1W.[/list:u]
      Cheers,

      /Peter N


      Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
      Post by: Mike Holmes on June 03, 2003, 08:26:48 AM
      That makes a lot of sense. Basically I'd ensure that all keywords are listed, and a few more pertinent abilities at most. Actually I make up almost all Abilitys and scores as I need them, so I personally wouldn't have many at all. But that'll be a taste thing.

      OTOH, what I see as problematic, so far, is the classic scenario writing problem. The cool thing about HW is that you can potently link the characters to the scenario by looking at their abilities. Since you don't have the characters ahead of time, however in this case, you have to guess, or have this be the first scenario played, and give instructions in the scenario for guiding players to make characters that will hook.

      This is what Chris mentioned. The characters have to have some linkage to such a scenario to make it work.

      Assuming that this isn't neccessarily written as a first scenario, then we have a much harder job. We have to link to the obvious choices that all characters have. This works, but is less potent because it's a sorta obvious croc. I ran just such a scenario at DemonCon a couple of weeks back, and you can tell when the players sorta glaze over at the "oh, it's another save-the-tribe scenario."

      I use that example, because that's the commonality that one can usually assume. That enough of the characters can be assumed to have the cultural keyword, and be invested that way. Anything else is less likely to stick for random characters. And, in fact, we find that this is indeed yet another save-the-tribe scenario that's working up. But consider that it'll only be applicable for characters with the Seshnela keyword. Or who get linked to it artificially.

      I'm not sure what the solution is. I'm afraid that the only practical solution is not to write scenarios. It's a style of play that doesn't work well with Narrativism.

      Another way however is the generic scenario. That is, write up all the elements in a nondescript way. Instead of Sir Eustef have "Important Clan Member or Nobleman" as his title. Then have his magic listed as "Order of Warriors". Love Sons stays as is, but the Banneret of spring Mountain becomes "Relationship with fiefdom". Etc.

      This way the GM just renames the characters, and adjusts the desccription of the abilities to the locality of play, and more importantly to things that will hook the players by their characters' Abilities. For example, one PC has "Loyal to Lord Dortson". Then Important Clan Member or Nobleman becomes Lord Dortson.

      Another idea that I had would be to have hooks for a scenario that players would have to buy into. That is, you'd advertise that you have an adventure that you can run, but only if the players get certain Abilities to certain levels (thus ensuring that the hooks are present). Seems weird, but it would probably work, I think.

      But in the end, a simple primer on how to build these yourself, seems to me to be far more effective than trying to make them up for consumption.

      Just a perspective.

      Mike


      Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
      Post by: Bankuei on June 03, 2003, 01:49:01 PM
      Hi Mike,

      I with you 100%.  Hence my columns over at rpg.net.  But for the sake of giving a practical excercise, I figured I run one through and show folks how its done.

      If you look at my first post, it gives conflict heavy potential, but the details are up to the person wanting to run with it.  For the more perceptive of you, you'll notice aside from the Coma/Soulsaving Hero Quest tip, this is pretty much the Godfather scenario.

      As far as linking player characters in, I'd go ahead, develop the NPCs, draw up a relationship map, and give a basic rundown of the people on the map.  Since we're talking a poltiical group, the PCs likely have a good feel for the major players.  I'd simply give some guidelines and tell players that they need to link their characters in at least 3 places, through blood, duty, friendship or romance.  There'd also be suggestions that folks can add further family members, servants, followers, or friends onto the map as appropriate.

      On note of the stats and such, again, if its not necessary at the moment, we can pretty much skip them for the sake of setting up the relationship map and the conflict.  On the other hand, Peter, if you want to go ahead and stat up characters as I go, that's fine by me as well.  I'll do some research into appropriate names and come up with some secondary characters to the conflict and set that forth later tonight.

      One of the best things about this sort of conflict is that you can choose to "web out" to encompass larger and larger groups, showing a ripple effect across tribes, fiefdoms, clans, kingdoms, or whatever based on the level of Stakes you're going to be running at.  Right now, folks are just worried about the family and the immediate fiefdom.  This gets nastier if Sir Eustef's family holds special responsibilities to those above them, or their power has some sort of greater effect than what is immediately seen("As long as the 8 Clans stay true, so lives the land.  So says the prophecy!")

      Anyhow, that's my thoughts for now.

      More later,

      Chris


      Title: Comments on the narrativist adventure
      Post by: Palashee on June 05, 2003, 01:20:17 AM
      Hi folks,

      I've come to this very interesting thread a little late, and seeing as MrWrong (Newt) has already mentioned my name I thought I'd better add a few comments.

      So here are a few thoughts, in no particular order.

      Generic/Specific Adventures

      The way I would write episodes is to keep them fairly generic, using descriptive titles for the main characters and locations. such as eldest son, rather than actual names. Then I'd place a box alongside the main text listing all the generic characters/locations with a space next to each for the narrator to fill in the actual names. This way he/she can quickly tailor to story to fit in with their own little bit of glorantha.

      Also if it left fairly generic the adventures would be equally valid set in an Orlanthi tribe that has hereditary chiefs as it is in a western fiefdom.

      Hooking the Heroes into the story.

      Quote
      The tribal chief is currently in a coma, and two sons are in line for succession. The eldest should have it by tradition, but is a brash, irresponsible leader, and other nearby tribes have become more agressive. The younger is an excellent leader and a pragmatist, and torn between his duty to his father and tradition, and the growing realization that his people might get smashed by outside forces if they're not unified quick. The people are split, factionalizing is happening, and time is running out.


      My first thoughts on reading Bankuei's outline is why is the leader in a coma. Could it be that in the first episode has the Heroes going on a Heroquest (possibly their first) to aid the community and they fail. When they return, they discover the result of their failure is the chief's coma.
      This gives them an intimate involvement in the story.

      My Three Choices Rule

      Nothing in Glorantha is ever totally black or white, right or wrong, its a subjective choice on the part of the heroes. With this in mind I always write my adventures so that there are always at least three choices to solve to a problem.

      If you know the characters beforehand you tailor the problems encountered so that different heroes prefer different solutions, giving rise to conflict and debate among the band. If you don't then these problems need to be fairly broad ranging so that with a little luck and a standard set of heroes this happens anyway, playtesting to see if the conflict situations work.

      With the three choices rule in mind I'd argue that you don't forget about the Old Guard, this is as equally valid a solution as choosing either of the sons.  

      Other options can emerge as the story develops, perhaps a foriegn power tries to take the throne, or ambitious heroes may try to take the throne themselves. you never know.
         
      Mythologising the Story.

      For me what makes glorantha special are the myths and so IMG heroes are little incarnations of the gods they worship. They repeat the actions of their gods and ancestors, either unintentionally through their wyrd or by actively recreating them via Heroquesting. Thus every action they do has already been done by the gods and so there is a myth somewhere out there that tells the story. All these myths may not necessarily be known to the heroes themselves, but when needed they can be found out to support their actions.

      Thus each faction will look to its mythic past to support its claims, but the ancestors and gods did so many things that their own myths sometimes seem to contradict each other. I suggest that each faction will try to find a valid myth prooving its path is just and lawful in the eyes of their god, probably trying to enlist the heroes aid to so.

      Possible Myths for the factions include
      The Old Guard - The Awakening of XXXXX - where the king is fatally wounded and the hero quests for the herbs to restore his health.
      Eldest Son - The Crowning of YYYY - The traditional tale of the how the first king gave the crown to his eldest son
      Youngest Son - How ZZZZ became King - The story of how a younger son quested to proove that he should sit on the throne instead of his older brother.

      If all three factions find the appropriate myth, then they quest to proove the validity and superiority of their myth. To do this they must persuade the various undecided interest groups within the community that their cause is best, leading to all kinds of political intrigue, backstabbing and double dealing.
       
      Hope this makes sense and helps

      Cheers,
      Mick


      Title: I have not abandoned you
      Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 05, 2003, 06:18:42 AM
      Howdy,

      I will return to this exciting topic as soon as tomorrow's exam is behind me.

      Cheers,

      /Peter N


      Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
      Post by: Bankuei on June 06, 2003, 11:39:09 AM
      Hi Mick,

      Excellent input.  My first post was basically that generic conflict, "Add spice and flavor appropriately" as you've mentioned.  I see the leader in a coma issue being a catalyst, rather than necessarily "the problem to be solved".  That is, the real problem is keeping the tribe, people, clan together in the face of adversity and not having them splinter and fall to their own infighting or get smashed by an outside group.

      Like I said, the coma issue could be as mundane as the Chief fell off his horse and landed on his head, to more interesting things such as he was cursed after pissing someone off, to an outside group deliberately attempting to cause dissension within the people.

      Bringing this to our chosen example, I'll detail some of the movers and shakers of the 3 major factions:

      Old Guard

      Sir Alfan

      Argubly the strongest, and most loyal supporter of Sir Eustef, Alfan owes his life to Eustef and will do anything for him.  Alfan is a stern traditional man, but not high on airs, rather very down to earth and practical.  He's been Eustef's "ear to the people" and his right hand man.  He's not the brightest, but no fool either.   Alfan will be the first to step up for the Heroquest to save his liege and soul-brother's spirit.  He has absolute faith that Eustef will pull through, and may have trouble dealing with the situationa if Eustef chooses to pass on.

      Lady Collette

      Sir Eustef's sister in law.  When her sister Aileen passed, Eustef had grown into a cold, unfeeling man.  Lady Collette eased him through his grieving and naturally an affair developed.  Collette is a still a spinster, and while its fairly "common knowledge" about the relationship between the two, it has surprisingly avoided serious gossip and scandal.  Collette has always been the pragmatist, able to cut to the heart of a situation and tell it like it is.  Sir Eustef's coma has her terribly depressed, because she is well aware of the politics of the situation.  She's willing to accept Guilbert as the heir, but will lobby to get Hugo as much power as possible to keep the people safe and things running smoothly.

      Serge of the Cresent Sword

      Loyal and competent as the rest, but Serge is much more pessimistic about the situation.  He has already started manuevering to put Guilbert in power, and is determined that he must have a strong hand to watch over him in his father's stead.  Serge's cut and dried, this-is-how-it-is attitude has helped Sir Eustef handle the ugly and rough portions of managing his fief, but also will cause conflict with Guilbert when it comes to deciding how the people are managed.  

      Guilbert's Supporters

      Etienne, his aide

      Guilbert's right hand man, a youthful 19 year old son of a merchant.  Etienne has proved to be an excellent orator and "hype man" for Guilbert in dealing with the people.  While Guilbert's interactions with the people haven't always been the most prudent or practical, with Etienne, they've always been popular.  When the sorta solutions fall apart, usually minor grumbling was passed onto Sir Eustef instead.  Etienne is a young man fond of the good life, and while he does care about Guilbert, he also sees him as his ticket there.  Etienne also tends to egg Guilbert into some hasty decisions based on the notion of "fun".

      Sister Josette

      Sister Josette is a young nun(or whatever is closest in religious terms), who has been a major part of reform and improvement in Spring Fountain.  She's helped restore churches, feed the homeless, and promote the church all around.  She's an excellent manager and has an eye for men with talent, able to assign the right person to the right job, and figure out what will help the people the most in a simple pragmantic way.  Josette is overflowing with energy and is just a notch short of hyperactive in her duty.  She also has a blazingly clear crush on Guilbert.   Pretty much everyone except Guilbert has noticed this.   She vehemently attacks anyone who has anything unpositive to say about him.

      Hugo's Supporters

      Sir Xavier, the man at arms, militia trainer

      Xavier is Hugo's swordmaster, who's trained him in both the art of the blade, as well as that of strategy and though.  Xavier is only 35, but has been through some of the worst battles and roughest situations.  Nonetheless, he is a collected, refined man, with a terrible insight into the realities of things.  He understands that the neighbors of Spring Fountain are going to make a move, politically, or forcefully, and take that which appears to be in chaos.  He doesn't intend for his star pupil to fall to the stupidity of others.

      Brier, Hugo's servant

      When Brier's mother(Hugo's nanny) passed, Hugo took Brier in, so that she wouldn't be left starving.  In her mid teens, she's absolutely loves him, as a brother, perhaps as more, but the line has never been crosses.  She respects him for his upstanding morals, but sometimes wishes he would slide a little, at least for her.  She has no real illusions about her life or her future or of having anything more in her life, but she'll do anything she can to see him get ahead.  She's sort of living vicariously through his ups and downs in life.

      Old Maslin, the elder

      He's older than the Old Guard.  Maslin advised Eustef's father, and now is retired from the political management arena.  He pretty much just wants to die of old age, watching people live happy.  Maslin, unfortunately, has seen what is going down, and he wishes Hugo was the older brother.  Alas, he won't make any moves unless it seriously looks like its up in contest.  Nonetheless he'll give the best advice anyone could wish for(this guy might have a double mastery in practical advice type traits...).

      Third Parties

      Father Rance(priest, or appropriate title)

      Father Rance has been the spiritual advisor to the family line.  His primary concern is for Sir Eustef's soul, and the welfare of the people second.  He is very concerned that Sir Eustef's spirit either pass on safely or return safely.  He will also hope that Eustef's last wishes, if necessary, be carried out.

      Raoul de Nesle, merchant

      Rival to Etienne's father, Raoul wants either Hugo in charge or Etienne out of the picture.  He has been trying to get more trade with Eustef's family, and has only managed to make small sales with them.  He's hoping to get the monopoly and push Etienne and his family out of Spring Fountain.  He wouldn't murder, but he'd definitely lie and do a bit of underhanded work to make it happen.

      Father Ratier, organizer

      Father Ratier has been assigned to review the work Sister Josette has been undertaking.  She's requested additional resources, and Ratier is there to approve further funding or deny it.  A young priest of only 30, but strict in his views of the teachings.  He is immensely impressed with her work, but at the same time completely upset with her feelings for Guilbert.  Of course, he's also attracted to her, and not aware that he's "competing" with Guilbert in his head, but is extremely harsh with him, and doesn't want to see him succeed.  He considers Guilbert to be a hedonist and a bad influence on the people(notably Sister Jolette).

      Trencavel, head of the militia

      An older warrior, perhaps in his early 40's, strong, and a veteran of some rough times.  Trencavel has respect for Sir Eustef, but isn't sure about his sons, he gives respect only after people prove themselves.  Nonetheless, he is greatly concerned about the actions of some of the neighbors of Spring Fountain, and will try his best to get some action ASAP to prepare for what he feels will be trouble.

      Lady Noella, widower

      Wife of one of Sir Eustef's old Allies, she's here to decide who gets to marry her daughter, Aimee.  This marriage will give political clout to Noella's rule(until her son, now 5, is old enough to take control), and simultaneously link Spring Fountain to her land's greater resources.  She's traveled for almost a week via carriage with her daughter, and will arrive not long(a day or two) after Sir Eustef is incapcitated.   She is will be even more anxious to marry Aimee, and will be testing and eyeing whether Guilbert or Hugo will make a better match.  Who she picks is based on who she feels will better be able to take control and hold it safely with stability, although she will encourage that person to take more "active" measures to force the other to submit, not to mention that she is quite willing to spread some gold around to influence folks.

      Peter, any thoughts on these characters?  Or do you feel the sub conflicts need to get spiked more?

      Chris


      Title: The Story's Target
      Post by: Palashee on June 07, 2003, 09:04:40 AM
      Hi there,

      Its the weekend, and I've got some spare time so I thought I'd make a few more comments and ask a some questions.

      I'm a little confused about who this story is being targetted at and what type of story we are trying to tell. Being an analyst programmer in the RW I know from experience that it is vitally important to get the aims and objectives of a project clear and settled at the beginning, rather than let them evolve over time, as this leads to misinterpretations and confusion.

      I've made a few assumptions about the story we are trying to create, but as they are not explicitly written down they may be wrong. sorry if any of this goes over old ground, but i thought i'd ask for clarity's sake

      So here are my assumptions and some questions.

      Primary Objective of Project.
      To write a narrativist story for HeroQuest in a publishable form that can be used by other narrators.

      I've assumed by narrators we mean novice narrators and that the finished product will include lots of helpful tips on how to narrate the story, but will also act as a template to help them write their own adventures in the future. This means that some objective based or goal orientated structure must be written into the storyline, to show how the relationships between the various personalities can be used.
      Implicitly, this also means that the players may well be novices to role playing as well. so there should be help on how to help the players as well.    

      The Heroes
      Some discussion has taken place about this already, i.e. We don't want pregenerated characters, but i have a few more questions. If we're not using pregenerated characters then have to assume there will be a 'standard' group of heroes.

      So what does a standard group of heroes consist of?  

      How many heroes are expected to be in the group?

      What level of experience are we expecting from the heroes? Are they freshly written up beginning heroes at the start of their path to herodom or are they experienced veterans with multiple masteries? The competence of the heroes is important know beforehand as it has a bearing on how we expect the different levels of society and any particular NPC's to react to the heroes words and deeds.    
       
      From experience I'd suggest the following:
      There are 6-8 heroes in a standard party, half of which are warriors/hunters, plus one knowledge guy, one trading guy, one specialist magic user and possibly a healer. The heroes will have a moderate amount of experience with their primary skills averaging around the 10-15W mark.

      The Story
      A number of factors come to mind when thinking about what type of story we are going to tell.

      How many sessions of play will it last as this will have a bearing on how complicated things can get.

      Is it going to be an encapsulated mini campaign where all the issues are resolved by the end of the game, part of an extended campaign where the narrator has the freedom to develop any loose ends, or the whole campaign story arc. If its within an extended campaign, is our story going to be the beginning adventure of the extended campaign or do we see our story as being integrated into a preexisting campaign.  To use a TV analogy is it an episode (one off/demo game), a mini series (encapulated campaign), a number of episodes within a series (part of an extended campaign), or the main story arc for a complete series (whole campaign).

      My assumption is that its going to be the basis of a number of episodes within the series, making up around a dozen or so episodes, and that the story will be designed to be easily integrated into an existing campaign.    
       
      The Origins of the Heroes
      It is important to know where the Heroes are likely to come from as this will affect their relationships with the community and important NPC personalities.

      Are they members, strangers or foreigners?
      Where
      Members = the Heroes are part of the community and so have preexisting ties to the holdings of Spring Fountain and its populace. This is easy to do if the its the beginning of a campaign where the heroes can write the relationships into their 100 words, but is dangerous as players, particularly novice players, find being given lots of handouts to read before the game daunting and off putting
      Strangers = The Heroes are part of the same culture and so may have general relationships in common with the people of Spring Fountain, such as to the church and/or to king and country; but they don't have any relationships to particular people. This is the most likely situation to arise if the story is placed into a pre-existing extended campaign.    
      Foreigners = Heroes from a different culture completely, with no obvious relationships to anyone at Spring Fountain. this is another possibility with a pre-existing campaign and adds an extra layer of interaction with a few well placed traits among the NPC's stats such as Distrust/Hate Foriegners.

      One solution to the Strangers and Foriegners lack of traits is for the first two or three sessions to be pre-coma where Heroes go to Spring Fountain for a completely a different reason and are then slowly introduced to all the main personilities, gaining friends and enemies along the way, before the crunch time comes.    

      Player Handouts
      As I've mentioned before giving players stuff to read can be dangerous. In my experience players want to come round, drink a few beers, eat some munchies, have a laugh, and play a game. They don't want to read reams and reams of background. Reading stuff, that's what they do at work all day. Even those that are keen and do read background info can't assimilate too much of it at once, so it becomes self defeating as they constantly drop out of character to check the name of this bloke and that geezer. So I would recommend that the adventure is written with absolutely no player handouts, all the information should be conveyed verbally during the story. I find players take in a lot more detail by listening than they do by reading.

      To Summarise
      Ok, that's it for now, I can't think of anything else to say other than to coalesce all my thoughts into a couple of paragraghs, written as if they were the blurb for the published document or a short taster I use at to get people into my games at a con. I've embellished the basic plot a bit.

      Spring Fountain Manor
      "Welcome, Stranger, to Spring Fountain Manor, in the beautiful land of Seshnela, famous for its eponymous magical fountain that heals the sick and cleanses the soul. The good folk of this land are a paragon of virtue and order, following the wise Sir Eustef, the brave and caring banneret of this fiefdom.

      Wait, what's that, the fountain is no longer flowing and the banneret in a coma. This is dire news, What shall we do, who will lead and protect us."

      The disability of the Banneret, and the failing of the fountain leave a power vacuum in the fiefdom of the Spring Fountain. The once orderly lands of Sir Eustef begin to disintergrate into quarreling factions. As Eustef most loyal followers seek to restore the king to health his sons start arguing over their claims to the throne. And watching from across the borders the neighbouring lords begin to muster their knights to take Spring Fountain for themselves.

      Amidst all the politics and double dealing stand the heroes. Why has the fountain dried up? By whose side will they stand in the troubles ahead or have they a cunning plan of their own?  

      Spring Fountain Manor is a HeroQuest game set in the magical world of Glorantha. A ready to play story for 6-8 aspiring heroes whose primary skills are around 10-15W mark. It can be played as a stand alone mini campaign or easily intergrated into any existing Seshnelen Homeland Campaign. The story arc and episodes are designed especially for novice narrators and players, including helpful hints and tips on how to run a Gloranthan HeroQuest Campaign.  

      Cheers,
      Mick


      Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
      Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 07, 2003, 01:28:43 PM
      Hi,

      A lot of catching up to do. I'll begin with Chris's post.

      Chris, I like this. Despite the fact that there are thirteen different characters described, I have no problem (I think) remembering the motivations and goals of each and every one of them. Maybe that is because you focus on the important stuff, motivations and relationships and, well, ignore the unimportant things. The characters are put right in the conflict, and we don’t have to read tons of meaningless psychologizing.

      I am most amazed that you have managed to avoid making a bad guy out of any of the characters. Most seem to be driven by quite noble passions, such as loyalty or love, rather than vengeance or hatred. Of course, once things start heating up love can easily turn into jealousy, and jealousy into hatred. This is so cool. Had I made up the NPCs they would have started off with much baser emotions.

      On magic and religion

      In HeroQuest magic and religion is present at all times. In a sense, exploration of magic is part of what the game is about.

        ”They were incapable of isolating secular affairs from their supernatural context. To men who saw behind such natural events as storms, famines and eclipses the direct workings of divine providence, any attempt to do so would indeed have seemed the opposite of realistic. Religious belief conditioned their attitude to the whole social framework of their lives, permeating the texture of every institution” (
      The Penguin History of Medieval Europe).[/list:u]

      You may want to consider the following.

      Every successful community has a supernatural guardian of some kind. It provides blessings to its members, and protects them from harm. HeroQuest has rules for guardians, but for now all we need to know is that without its guardian the community will suffer, cease to exist even, for in a sense the guardian is the community.

      What about this:

        The Well (Guardian)
        The guardian of Spring Fountain is the actual fountain itself, a sacred well where Saint Gerlant forced a wicked serpent being into hiding. The Well has no personality, no identity of its own, it is just a very useful sacred well. Unfortunately, only the lord of the fief can tell it what to do, and now that he is in a coma, no-one can contact it, and the people of Spring Fountain cannot benefit from its blessings. Should a foe choose to attack the fief now, it would mean disaster, for without its guardian the community cannot defend itself properly.[/list:u]

        Quote from: Bankuei
        Like I said, the coma issue could be as mundane as the Chief fell off his horse and landed on his head, to more interesting things such as he was cursed after pissing someone off, to an outside group deliberately attempting to cause dissension within the people.


        I think we need a magical reason, a curse or something which has put Sir Eustef in this unnatural state between life and death. Also this magic, this curse, must manifest physically in the world. Perhaps Sir Eustef’s pale apparition can be seen in one of the manor’s mirrors, or maybe his image has inexplicably appeared in that old tapestry depicting St. Gerlant and the Fountainhead Worm. Something that tells us that the event is out of the ordinary, that we have left the world of everyday conflict and entered the realm of magic and wonder.

        Quote from: Bankuei
        Bringing this to our chosen example, I’ll detail some of the movers and shakers of the 3 major factions:


        Would you draw a relationship map of this, or is the text in itself enough?

        Quote from: Bankuei
        Etienne, his aide

        When the sorta solutions fall apart, usually minor grumbling was passed onto Sir Eustef instead.


        This sentence has no meaning to me. The sorta solutions? No I don’t get it.

        Raoul de Nesle, merchant

        Idea: Spring Fountain is the producer, or source, of something special or unusual. Something that a merchant like Raoul would really want to trade in. I don’t know. Perhaps it is only color, but I like specifics.

        Trencavel, head of the militia

        His loyalty lies first and foremost with the people, right? Does he even care who becomes lord of the manor as long as the common man is doing fine? What do you think?

        Lady Noella, widower

        Her daughter Aimee is hardly described at all. Hm... I think I see why. She has no connection to any other character except her mother. Yes, that makes sense. She is in fact her mother’s follower.

        Slightly mad greetings,

        /Peter N


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 07, 2003, 02:53:24 PM
        Hi Peter,

        Quote
        I am most amazed that you have managed to avoid making a bad guy out of any of the characters. Most seem to be driven by quite noble passions, such as loyalty or love, rather than vengeance or hatred. Of course, once things start heating up love can easily turn into jealousy, and jealousy into hatred. This is so cool. Had I made up the NPCs they would have started off with much baser emotions.


        Part of what makes this kind of conflict work is that the players can choose what role they want to take in the conflict, and by doing so, by choosing sides, etc.  make a thematic statement.  For this to happen, you can't load one side to be "all good" or "all bad".   Naturally, if we're talking like a crime drama, then probably all the characters would be pretty dirty with minor redeeming qualities.  

        As it stands, I'm going to assume that Sir Eustef was rather competent and good at managing Spring Fountain, and choosing fairly good people to work with.  This is really the tragic part of Sir Eustef's condition, he's a good ruler, and now he's being replaced.  The tough choice is who, how, and why?

        As an aside note, you could also play up the less noble traits of the characters if you want.  I usually leave a lot of room for that in my own scenarios, because I may find it more fun to spike certain characters in certain ways.  Serge could take extreme actions in belief of what he thinks is right, Etienne could run Guilbert down the path of empty hedonism, Sir Xavier could push Hugo to actions he normally wouldn't take, Brier could poison folks or cut dirty deals, Raoul can easily contribute to the mess, and Lady Noella is can range from honest woman to evil bitch.  In other words, most of these characters could be played nasty, or turn that way based on the GM's interpretation.

        The Well concept works fine for me.  As far as Sir Eustef's situation, there's some pretty obvious cliches that could be pulled into play:

        -Neighbooring group wants to take over, inflicts magical attack(I'd assume that Eustef was competent enough to thake precautions against this)
        -Sir Eustef stepped on someone's ego(possible)
        -Someone unintentionally created the curse(One son offhandedly says, "I wish he would die!", the other says, "I hope he lives forever!", oops)

        I'm not too high on what idea, or if another works for me.  I'll leave that in your hands, Peter.  Just be aware that if the coma is inflicted by another party intentionally, then it becomes the classic rpg, clue to a clue to a clue to find the "big bad guy behind all this" in a Scooby chase.  If it's internal, and intentional, well, its uglier, but can easily slide into the Scooby chase again.  Finally, if its unintentional, well, that's when justice is the trickiest, and things get interesting.

        Quote
        Would you draw a relationship map of this, or is the text in itself enough?


        I would draw an R-map, although given Ron's strict definition of Sex and Blood, it wouldn't be an R-map proper.  It would be an affiliation of strong ties of loyalty, duty, love, rivalries and hate.    But yeah, that's already what was in my head.  Notice that I started with 3 parties, and just expanded and webbed out conflict based on that.

        Quote
        This sentence has no meaning to me. The sorta solutions? No I don’t get it.


        Sorry, Etienne suggests popular short term solutions that aren't really anything more than stopgap measures.  Guilbert receives the praise for "helping the people" and when the solution falls apart, his father Eustef takes the blame.

        Raoul-
        Yep, anything is fine.  I'll leave the details as to what Spring Fountain produces in your hands.  Maybe a specific dye color, or a certain wine that the King favors, you decide.

        Trencavel-
        Right on the mark.  He only cares about the people, hence his unsureity about supporting either son.  He is looking to see who is capable of filling their father's shoes.

        Aimee-
        I was tired, and wrote up a lot of NPCs.  Right now as it stands, Aimee could either be simply a follower, or if you want to complicate things even more, make her unhappy about the prospect of marriage, or some other form of troublemaker.  Of course, if that's the case, neither son is probably going to really go for this marriage.  It was Sir Eustef's pragmatism that pushed for the marriage, and if there seems to be too much trouble, probably neither one will go for it.

        Anyhow, hopefully this covers a good set of folks for conflict.  I'll go into some possible bangs or story twists later.

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 07, 2003, 03:52:05 PM
        Hi Mick,

        I think you and I are coming from very different camps of "how this works" in regards to scenario design(which isn't to say either is better, just very different).  The goal of this thread is to write an example of a Narrativist Scenario.  This is not designed for beginnner or novice GMs, at this point, although if someone really digs this and decides to reformat it as such, that's cool by me.

        I suspect that much of your confusion is related to the fact that this is designed to be a Narrativist Scenario.  The generic example given in my first post is what I consider "sufficient" skeleton to build or run on.  That is, a conflict is established, and enough bones exist to make it run.  Everything past that is showing what this kind of thing looks like with the whole regalia added.

        The Heroes

        The only requirements for the Heroes are thus:

        -They must have a vested interest in the outcome of the situation
        -They must be tied into 1 or more NPCs as listed above.  I'd prefer 3 connections.
        -They must not be able to "solve" the conflict easily("I'm a demi-god, I grab his soul, and everything is ok")

        Pretty much if the PCs fit those 3 requirements, plausibly, they can fit.  This scenario is heavily biased towards characters who are already part of Spring Fountain, or very familiar with it, by virtue of the first two requirements.  Hence, the classic, "Wandering heroes come save the day" cliche doesn't fit in with this at all.

        Second, aside from the last restriction, the actual stats don't matter that much.  The nice thing about HW is that you can scale stats to fit your needs, so if you really need to make things tougher, just give someone an extra +10 or Mastery to their stat.

        Third, if you look down my NPC list, we've got everything from fighting men to nuns, maids, merchants and the elderly.  All of these folks are capable of changing the outcome.  The expectation that you'd need fighting guys, magic guys, or healing guys is unnecessary.  Consider if you simply had a mild mannered scribe who was obsessively in love with Brier.  He may not be the best fighter, but then again, he can definitely shift the scenario based on his actions. PCs, again, are only restricted by the 3 requirements I've stated.

        Finally, if you are suggesting that there "should be" 6-8 players, or PCs+followers, adding up to that many heroes, again, completely unnecessary.  I would dread running this scenario as written with more than 4 players, and I'd probably cap it at 3.  With the serious amount of drama and subconflict I've set up, there'd be way too much going on to worry about 6-8 players.  Hell, at that point, I'd just have like 3 NPCs and let the game be about the conflicts between the PCs.

        The Story

        How Long?

        Earlier in this thread, I suggested to Peter, that at its simplest, we could simply have a one-shot with just the Heroquest.  Which would, of course, mean all these nifty NPCs and subconflicts wouldn't even get any screentime.  My suggestion is that this scenario could be run in as few as 4-6 sessions(of a standard 4 hours) if the GM and the group drives hard at pushing things along, and keeps the focus narrow("Who will rule Spring Fountain?/What happens to Sir Eustef's Soul?"), without resolving all the subconflicts.  

        I'd also say this could easily blow up into its own campaign, given the amount of subconflicts that can expand in this game.  If you choose to start involving neighboring fiefdoms, the King, the Church, or whatever, then it can just keep going and going.  You could also do this if you expand the number of NPCs involved, which isn't hard, if you simply remember that most of  these folks have friends, family, superiors, coworkers, subordinates, love interests, rivals, etc.  

        In other words, the "time" of this scenario is dependant on what the group wants and how they push it.

        It is also not designed to be integrated within an existing campaign, unless the Heroes happen to be very involved with Spring Fountain.  Again, wandering heroes doesn't work too well here.

        Player Handouts-

        Here's where HW and Sorcerer meet, I'd give the standard HW 2 page culture summary, and the R-map(with very basic info about the NPCS given).  Then I'd say, here's the situation: Sir Eustef is in a coma. Make a character connected to some of these NPCs, preferably 3.   Players would then make characters as a group, launching suggestions, advice, perhaps coordinating("Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we were brothers, after the same girl?" "Yeah!")

        The Sales Pitch-

        Again, this thread is more of a "here's how I did it, and you can do it too!" example, rather than a scenario that need be sold. Hell, if I was going to sell this, it'd go something like this:

        The Well of Souls-

        A father lay dying, his soul trapped between worlds.  His sons fight for power, while their land is threatened by the power hungry and ambitious.  What drives brothers to fight?  What holds them apart?  When the lives of the many are in the hands of the few, peace is rarely an option...

        The Well of Souls is a Heroquest scenario of passion, drama, and intrigue that asks the question:  When a man's soul is at stake, when the people are at risk, when the fate of hearts lay on the line:  What will you do?


        Anyhow, Mick, perhaps I'm misreading you here, but a lot of what you've posted appears to be based on some assumptions about play that aren't in operation here("What play is about, how many players, what kind of characters, etc.").  If what I've written here raises more questions than answers, I'd be happy to discuss it with you via PM or on another thread.  If not, I'll just chalk it up to random misreading on my part. :)

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 07, 2003, 04:25:02 PM
        Editing in: And I deserve to be shot for not reading Chris' post before posting my own. I beg your forgivness.

        Dear fellow inmates,

        Several of you have raised the concern that we don’t know what characters the players are going to create. Boy, do I have news for you.

        We do know!

        They are going to create heroes that are compatible with this scenario. 'All' we need to do is tell them what that is. Chris actually addressed this in his first post:
        Quote
        Specific to this scenario, each PC must have one or more ties to all of the factions, Eldest Son, Younger Son, and the Old Guard (staying true to the Chief). PCs also start with some form of status/position gain/loss to risk based on who is in charge.

        If a PC doesn’t have this established pre-game, it should quickly be established in game.


        I do acknowledge the problem, but it is in no way specific to narrativist gaming. In this case, I suggest that we assume that the heroes are created specifically for this scenario. We write a section about this, and leave it at that.


        Cheers,

        /Peter Nordstrand


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 08, 2003, 12:23:03 PM
        Mick,

        Most welcome to our little party! Please stay with us. Chris answers your concerns so much better than I ever could. Mike Holmes' first post in this very thread (Mon June 02) is also very good and useful. And by all means, don't forget Chris' amazing column:

        http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/collists/waystoplay.html

        All the best,

        /Peter N


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 08, 2003, 12:30:34 PM
        Hi Chris,

        The precise reason for Sir Eustef's coma needs some consideration, I guess. We don't want the Scooby chase. Ideas anyone?

        Quote
        I'll go into some possible bangs or story twists later.


        This is one thing I am really looking forward to.

        Best,

        /Peter N[/quote]


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 08, 2003, 03:25:10 PM
        Hi folks,

        to reiterate Peter's point, this excercise is open for other people to drop suggestions or contribute, so don't feel shy!

        Peter,

        On further consideration, I've thought more about Sir Eustef's coma, and here's what I think would be cool:

        On the day of the Blood Moon Eclipse(or whatever culturally appropriate nifty "oooh-its so magical" day name fits), one of the sons had a falling out with Sir Eustef.  Brooding about the Well, he wished his father would die, in the usual, "I hate you" phase that folks have when they're angry.  Later that day, the other son was exceptionally pleased with his father, and wished he would live forever, whist milling about the Well.  Neither would know the power of their words, or the terrible consequences...

        Notes:

        -Who said what, and why?  I leave that in the hands of the GM to decide.  Both will feel incredibly guilty and screwed up about it once they make the connection.
        -Mythology-wise, it makes sense.  A wish spoken without thought that leads to disaster is pretty cliche, the twist being that its two wishes, both of which lead to Eustef's inability to pass into the afterlife, nor return to his body.
        -Plus, instead of making one nasty bad guy, now we have this messy moral dilemma, which makes the decisions and influences of the PCs even more important.
        -Finally, it leaves lots of Bangs to be produced on the Heroquest itself, as the various spirits of the Godplane explain what the actual reasons are that they can't let Sir Eustef go one way or another.  Plus it puts both of the sons in a position of extreme responsibilty, guilt, and desperation...good stuff for drama.

        More later,

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 08, 2003, 07:28:55 PM
        Allright,

        Let's talk Bangs...

        Well, as far as it goes, for a scenario like this to work, Bangs really need to be developed around the PCs.  This isn't in the same sense as Mick brought up, in that its important to know if we've got "magic guys or fightin' guys", but rather that its important to know which NPCs they're tied to, and what their personal goals are.

        With that, I'm going to start with general guidelines regarding the overall events, then some specific possible ones, and leave it to you to recognize that the majority of Bangs are going to be based around your particular set of heroes and decisions made in play.

        Overall events and Conflict
        These aren't bangs, but good suggestions that you can use as inspiration for Bangs...

        Sir Eustef's Coma

        First of all, the longer this goes on, the more the various characters will try to side with one of the sons, and get that person into power for their own safety and stability.  If this info leaks to the general public, expect massive troubles in town, and general unrest.  Also expect the neighboring political powers to make the moves that they've been kept from doing all this time, or to set up to annex Spring Fountain.

        It's Magic

        When it comes out that Sir Eustef's condition was inflicted, expect various NPCs to look for someone to blame and punish.  Many of these people will not be using reason.  Sir Alfan is number one on the list of people to trip.

        Lady Noella and Aimee

        Odds are that the Old Guard will try to keep the situation from her at first.  This facade won't hold up for more than a couple of days, at best.  Once Noella figures out something is wrong(not hard, she's sharp), she'll try to cement the political situation, pick Hugo or Guilbert, and set things straight as fast as possible.  Her unstable political power is depending on an alliance with Spring Fountain.  She will actively try to get one of the sons in power ASAP to keep things stable.

        The HeroQuest

        On the Heroquest itself, this is likely where information such as what caused Sir Eustef's conditions(such as the wording of the prayers) will come forth as the heroes deal with the spirits.  The identities of those responsible might not be known by the spirits, but the sons might break down and admit their role in it.  Or, once they realize that they were responsible(individually, probably not recognizing the action of the other), they may try harder to hide their role.

        This is where things get really sticky.  You could have both sons admit at the same time, their individual responsibilities in this mess, or perhaps one owns up to the blame, and the other doesn't reveal his part until "justice is served"  Either way, things can get real ugly here.

        Politics and Money

        Obviously we have a rivalry between Raoul and Etienne's family.  Both sides will try their hardest to win favor with both son's and try to get their "winning horse" in power.  They will also try to hinder someone if they are against them.  Etienne is pretty much a shoo-in for Guilbert, so it will probably be a political duel between his father and Raoul.  Things could get progressively ugly, depending on how far either one is willing to go.

        Love and misunderstanding

        The Bard used this to great effect, and its always fun to run with.  Here, you have people full of passion, even if they can't admit it to themselves(Father Ratier), leading to extreme, irrational action.  Can you say drama?  I knew you could.  Most likely the fun bangs for this will come out of the various folks trying to put down rivals, or potential rivals, or trying to help their beloved without informing them of their plans or actions, probably fouling up whatever their beloved had going to begin with.  

        Outside Pressure

        The longer the rulership is in question, the higher the pressure from outside sources will grow.  If it takes too long, the King may grant one of the neighbors the right to put Spring Fountain under its "protectorship" until things are sorted out(bad).  At its worst, the King might just allow one of those neighbors to out and out annex it.  At first, you may find some raiding or minor border violations after the news breaks, and perhaps bandits may swoop in to take advantage of the confusion.

        Ok, that's the general stuff, let's get a little deeper-

        Possible Bangs in play-

        Note the term "Possible", any and all of these can be discarded, ignored, revised, or whatever, without necessarily "breaking play".  They're just possible ideas you can use or modify if things get slow.

        -Guilbert arrives to the summons about his father's condition, late, and drunk.  Hugo and him have a shouting match...the rift begins...

        -Raoul attempts to send the best doctors to aid Sir Eustef.  The doctors are good, just not that good, and provide more of a spy network within the manor.  A PC discovers this fact.

        -Sister Josette comforts Guilbert and attempts to make a move.  He'll likely go for it.  A PC discovers this, but the couple isn't aware of it.

        -Xavier may enlist some of the PCs to protect and watch over Lady Noelle, particularly the ones who are well mannered, will leave a good impression, and think highly of Hugo

        -Lady Noelle may attempt to worm some info about the sons out of PCs, and various folks around the Manor.

        -Aimee may fall in love with one of the PCs, complicating things very much.

        -Father Rance will reveal that Sir Eustef's condition is magically induced, and that his soul is trapped between worlds.

        -Father Rance will, after some research, find the appropriate myth and ritual to save Sir Eustef's soul, and prepare to establish a Heroquest.

        -Brier does not want Hugo to go to the HeroQuest, and will try to dissuade him, and hopefully engineer some way of keeping him from undertaking such a dangerous action, she'll likely try to enlist the aid of the PCs, or trick them into her goals.

        -If civil unrest gets nasty, Father Ratier will call in the Church's armed forces to peacekeep.  This will be his perfect chance to make a power move to establish a center of power for the Church in the area, and get a cushy position that lets him stay near Sister Josette.

        -Sir Alfan will vehemently shout down anyone who might even imply that Sir Eustef might not make it.  He'll volunteer Hugo and Guilbert, and anyone else who he thinks has a good heart and the courage to save Sir Eustef's soul, most likely some of the PCs.

        -Lady Collette and Lady Noelle will have a rivalry going on.  Consider it the ego "lady of the house" thing.  Both will make comments and try to put the other in as uncomfortable and embarassing situations without getting too vicious with it.  This can be entertaining if the PCs are around to see this, or have to "take sides"

        -Serge will try to keep things under control.  If any PCs are military, they will find themselves under a practical, but intimidating taskmaster.  He will have a lot of things for them to do, and will not take failure very well.  He'll also push for more resources into keeping the peace rather than the Heroquest.

        -Ratier and Serge will clash a lot.  One has faith only in God, the other only in himself.  Plus both are trying to establish military power.  You do the math.

        -Etienne will try to console Guilbert, through wine and women.  He'll also try to make sure Guilbert is surrounded by good friends, probably PCs if they're involved.

        -Maslin is an excellent source of Bangs.  Whenever you want to reveal some crazy old fact, that requires some sort of Lore, he can just mention it.  Stuff like, "Wishes spoken around the Well on the Eclipse of the Blood Moon always come true!",  "When the guardians of the afterlife won't take in a soul, that means magic is involved."  Basically, whenever you want to drop some non-sequitar hints, this is the guy...

        -Trencavel will immediately be concerned when word gets out that Sir Eustef is ill.  He will probably clash with Serge, since Trencavel is a "man of the people" and a bit of an idealist, while Serge is the cold pragmatist.  Trencavel will be the first to bring news of banditry, raiding, or even riots.  As things get progressively more screwed up, he'll become more active, even unto the point of establishing a martial law with his militia...

        -A good Bang would be for one of the son's to recognize their role in their father's situation and to fess up.  The other may immediately, or later recognize their own responsibility.

        -The reactions of other NPCs to such a confession will likely be drastic, and maybe even life-threatening.

        -"The other foot to drop" is whether the sibling admits to their equal responsibility or lets the other take the fall.

        -Sir Eustef may choose to move on to the afterlife.  The kicker of his return is that someone is going to have to die.  Whether one of the sons, one of the PCs, or some other NPC takes his place is a big meaningful choice as well.

        -Sir Alfan will not stand for Sir Eustef dying.  He may be ordered by Eustef to live, and not take his place.  In this case, Alfan may be crushed.

        -There may be another way to save Sir Eustef, but it will rely on creative manipulation of the involved myth(this is Glorantha, right?) which of course, will have ramifications.

        -Whether Sir Eustef lives or dies, or which son gets power, is all a Bang unto itself.  You can spike it if Eustef picks the son unpopular with the PCs.

        -At any point, things could start to get ugly, with folks actually breaking out into scuffles, poisoning each other, throwing each other in dungeons, etc.  That's the point where its getting deep.  That's all good Bang-worthy material as well.

        Anyhow, that's the general list, and you can see how, well, unflavored it is without specific PCs to fit into the scenario.  None of these Bangs will happen for sure, and just are ideas that may or may not get used accordingly.

        Thoughts? Comments?  More Bangs?

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Palashee on June 08, 2003, 11:56:44 PM
        Hi.

        Quote from: Peter Nordstrand
        Most welcome to our little party! Please stay with us. Chris answers your concerns so much better than I ever could.


        Cheers for the welcome, but I'm afraid Chris' answers doesn't answer my concerns and raise further issues.

        Quote from: Bankuei
        The goal of this thread is to write an example of a Narrativist Scenario.


        Although partly true, this is not the whole truth. Quoting from one of the Peter's earlier posts
        Quote
        What I Am Looking For With This Topic:

        I am talking about written scenarios. Not made up by the people playing the scenario. I am literally thinking about scenarios written to be read and played by people other than its author(s). This is what I mean when I ask, "How does one write a Narrativist scenario for HeroQuest?"


        As I see it, the stress here is on the "written to be read and played by people other than its author(s)". Therefore there needs to be an awareness of who those "people" are, how they play and what they want from a published scenario. There needs to be some appreciation of the target audience, it doesn't matter whether its published as a book, placed on a website, or passed around by hand. It needs to cater to the needs of its target audience. Knowing who your target audience is and what they want is as important as the story itself.

        As a dedicated Glorantha Fan, a long time GM/narrator of both one off games and extended campaigns. and in recent times a demonstrator of HeroQuest at cons up and down the UK I think I have some understanding of what these various issues and needs are.

        If this was a one off game, then I'd agree that creating heroes specifically for this story, with preexisting relationships to the NPC's, is the probably the way to go about it. But as this is going to be a mini campaign I believe this approach to be flawed.

        My reasoning behind this is as follows:

        As a narrator, what do i look for in an adventure module, whether it be bought at a shop or downloaded from the net. The answer is simple, I have always preferred adventures that can be easily assimilated into my on-going campaigns. Where there is no need, or at the most, very little need, to do any retrofitting to fit the published adventure into the campaign. The reason for this is Time. I buy/download adventures to save time, so i can concentrate writing my own adventures and actually doing stuff in the RW. If I have to spend too much time retrofitting an adventure then it defeats the object of getting the adventure.

        This Time issue shouldn't be underestimated. As people get older, and the current Gloranthan roleplaying community is verging towards the older side of life, their RW list of relationships and commitments gets ever longer. Work, Marriage, Kids, etc. all get in the way, meaning less time for their hobbies. So gamers are less likely to want to put their current campaign on hiatus for an extended period to create new heroes and play a mini campaign for 4 to 6 sessions, as this could quite easily translate into 4-6 months of real time. This lack of spare time actually means that they want more ready to play adventures to slot into their existing campaigns

        Any good story will reflect these factors in its design. Thus if your wanting as many people as possible to play the story, rather than just read it, you cannot begin with the assumption that heroes will be especially written for this mini campaign

        Which leads onto my point about the size and make up of the standard group of heroes

        Quote
        Finally, if you are suggesting that there "should be" 6-8 players, or PCs+followers, adding up to that many heroes, again, completely unnecessary. I would dread running this scenario as written with more than 4 players, and I'd probably cap it at 3. With the serious amount of drama and subconflict I've set up, there'd be way too much going on to worry about 6-8 players. Hell, at that point, I'd just have like 3 NPCs and let the game be about the conflicts between the PCs


        The point I was trying make was with reference to placing this mini series within an already running campaign. I not suggesting that there "should be" anything, rather I was asking what "actually is" the standard group of heroes made up of. We then design the adventure to cater for that standard group to give it the widest appeal and ease of use.

        Thus my description of the make up of the party was to bring an awareness of what type of group is most likely to be playing. Half of them being warriors and the other half being specialists of one form or another seems reasonably common from the campaigns I've run and played in. This was in no way a statement to say that this must be the case, only what is most likely. I totally agree with the comment that a scribe could have as much impact as a warrior and never said anything to the contrary.  

        Upon reflection I think 6-8 players is probably on the large size for a continuing campaign group. This is my normal target numbers for Demo games. But equally three people is on the low side. Its much more likely to be in the 4-6 people range. Again the number of plots, subplots and conflicts should reflect this number of players.

        As to their skill levels, the levels of their skills are a factor in how they relate to the community around them, as much so as their traits and relationships do. The HeroQuest rules detail what skill levels the standard NPC's have at certain social ranks, the relative difference between the heroes general level of skill and that of the NPC will add or reduce the authority and weight of their words and deeds in the community. So its important to know what their status is likely to be, especially in a caste dominated society such as Seshnela  

        The other factor in running the story as part of a preexisting campaign is the heroes lack of relationships to the main characters. This is why i suggested that the first two or three sessions take place before the Lord falls into a coma, so the heroes can gain their relationships. Describing these early stages then makes it far easier to assimilate into the longer running campaign.

        Quote
        It is also not designed to be integrated within an existing campaign, unless the Heroes happen to be very involved with Spring Fountain. Again, wandering heroes doesn't work too well here.


        I'm sorry if all this goes against the grain, but by imposing restrictions like these, and 3 as the maximum number of players, your missing a potentially large target audience for what could be a very neat story. To me if your going to write an adventure for other people to use, then you should write it for as many of them to easily enjoy as possible and not write it as your own personal game.

        "There is always another way"  

        Cheers,
        Mick


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 09, 2003, 08:18:46 AM
        Hi Mick,

        Thanks for sharing your experience.  I'll try to address the issues you raise...

        Quote
        As I see it, the stress here is on the "written to be read and played by people other than its author(s)". Therefore there needs to be an awareness of who those "people" are, how they play and what they want from a published scenario.


        This scenario is being written with a very good awareness of its target audience: Narrativists.  Narrativists want a good conflict, high-loaded for drama, and a good set of NPCs to drive it.  

        Narrativists have also been poorly served in terms of scenarios.  They have no problem looking at a scenario such as this one and saying "Yeah, I want to play that!" or changing names and faces to fit their campaign, because they've been forced to do that AND write conflict and NPCs on top of that, all this time.

        Therefore, while your concerns of time and accessibility may apply to gamers, or even Gloranthan players in general, it doesn't apply to Narrativists, and isn't a concern here.  

        Quote
        The point I was trying make was with reference to placing this mini series within an already running campaign. I not suggesting that there "should be" anything, rather I was asking what "actually is" the standard group of heroes made up of. We then design the adventure to cater for that standard group to give it the widest appeal and ease of use.


        Again, we've got some different operating procedures at work here;  the assumption of a long running campaign being the norm, and of designing the scenario around the "widest appeal".  Narrativists are more concerned with a solid story arc rather than year in year out campaign play.  I have faith that the Narrativists who are engaged in long term play are either writing their own, or quite used to having to modify scenarios, the only difference is that this one is rather "easier" to modify towards Narrativist needs.

        This scenario is well designed for appealing to a wide audience within Narrativists.  Notice that its open to anything from warriors to scribes, that no one side is "right or wrong" or limitations being placed on  role or condition of the player characters, aside from the fact that they need to have motivation to interact with the situation with meaningful emotional ties.  If someone wanted to play Sir Eustef's brother, it would make a big change to the outcome, but is certainly permissible within this frame work.

        Also, notice that none of the NPCs are completely nailed down.  You could run Lady Noelle from a concerned matron with political power to an evil bitch.  Guilbert could be a well meaning guy, needing to learn responsibility to a complete debauched spoiled brat.  There is plenty of room to take this scenario and run with it as you will.  No events(other than the coma) are nailed down as mandatory, so you could run everything from a feudal war to a high themed mythological jaunt into the afterworld to a soul wrenching soap opera of betrayal.  

        Quote
        As to their skill levels, the levels of their skills are a factor in how they relate to the community around them, as much so as their traits and relationships do. The HeroQuest rules detail what skill levels the standard NPC's have at certain social ranks, the relative difference between the heroes general level of skill and that of the NPC will add or reduce the authority and weight of their words and deeds in the community. So its important to know what their status is likely to be, especially in a caste dominated society such as Seshnela


        This is very secondary to the conflict, which is the reason at the moment we're not focusing on statting up NPCs.  I'd likely put them all at reasonable low skill levels, but with the understanding that if you want to up the stakes with high powered PCs, you can certainly up the stats of the NPCs to match within reason.  

        Quote
        I'm sorry if all this goes against the grain, but by imposing restrictions like these, and 3 as the maximum number of players, your missing a potentially large target audience for what could be a very neat story. To me if your going to write an adventure for other people to use, then you should write it for as many of them to easily enjoy as possible and not write it as your own personal game.


        There's 100% open room for character types, for players choosing to side with, aid, or hinder whomever they want, there's no established outcomes based on what I think is cool, or should happen, and there's no "GM's favorite NPC" going on.  There's plenty of room to change what the story focus is, and variation on how the NPCs are played.   I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "my personal game", as far as I'm concerned, this sort of stuff is a Narrativist's field day.  

        What you are saying isn't against the grain, its simply not concerns that Narrativists are worried about.  Your concerns make perfect sense if I was aiming for a different target audience.   The only reason I keep stressing the Nar part is that in fact, this scenarion stuff is written with them in mind, and that the needs and requirements are signficantly different than what you are asking about.  

        Folks who don't play this way will look at what's here and scratch their head and go, "How do I make this work?  What is supposed to happen?", while the Nar guys will either go, "That's exactly the kind of stuff I want!" or go, "I like this subconflict here, screw that, that's what I want to focus on!"  That's why I said my first post with just the basic conflict and concept essentially contains all I really need to make things go.  Peter immediately saw what I'm talking about, and everything since then is just icing on the cake.

        If you'd like to continue discussing the differences and needs of Narrativism vs. other styles of play, I'd be happy to continue this discussion in another thread, preferably either RPG theory or GNS so that we can get some input from some other Nar style players and GMs.

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 09, 2003, 02:09:02 PM
        First of all, let me stress how grateful I am that you want to do this, Chris. Reading your posts is nothing but pleasure. The only reason why I don't continually praise you is that it would be rather annoying after a while.
        Quote
        Let’s talk Bangs…

        Yes, let's. :-) Since most scenarios out there aren't narrativist, there is no precedent to draw upon for how to actually handle this. Thus I assume that the scenario ought to include a "How to Play this Scenario" section, with some brief guidance on how to use the Bangs, what to think about when making up your own, how to tie the heroes to the scenario, and so on. Nothing extensive, I imagine, just some basic good advice and reassurance. Do you agree?
        Quote
        Also expect the neighboring political powers to make the moves that they’ve been kept from doing all this time, or to set up to annex Spring Fountain.

        We need to know something about these wicked enemies, don't we?
        Quote
        Sir Alfan is number one on the list of people to trip.

        Sorry. English is not my first language. To trip?
        Quote
        The Heroquest

        How do you plan on handling this? Aren't you railroading the scenario towards the quest? I assume that you are planning on writing the myth that Father Rance finds. If not, well, why? Perhaps Tom's neat idea (that I sadly dismissed too quickly) can be used in some way?
        Quote
        Etienne is pretty much a shoo-in for Guilbert, so it will probably be a political duel between his father and Raoul.

        If it probably will be a duel between Etienne's father and Raoul, shouldn't Etienne's father be included in the character roster?
        Quote
        Can you say drama?

        Oh, man, I can even say MELOdrama. I just loooove that melo part.
        Quote
        Possible Bangs in play

        This is great stuff. It also makes me very aware of the importance of Scene Framing…

        Cheers,

        /Peter N
        -----
        Nobody expects the Rokari inquisition.


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 09, 2003, 02:38:33 PM
        Hi Peter,

        I'd be happy to hear more input from you if you've got some good ideas right at this point.

        Deliberate Undefinition-

        Some things I'm deliberately leaving open.  Which brother makes which wish?  What reaction they have when they discover the effects?  What are the neighboring political powers up to?

        Why am I doing this?  Laziness?  No, each of these are dials and "doors" for the GM to customize this scenario.  Like I've said before, this could just be a tragic scenario of well meaning mistakes, or it could be a heinous backstabbing festival.

        Mick's concerns about integration with a larger campaign are somewhat taken into account by not defining the larger setting.  If you do choose to port heros into Spring Fountain, its simply a matter of getting them involved with a nearby event and linking them in.  If you want to really expand the situation, raise the stakes, and play high powered, then Spring Fountain is simply the beginning of warfare and political struggle.  If you want to keep it small, then you can do that too.

        I'm rather happy simply defining the neighboring political situation as something for the GM to define with this note:

        Neighboring Fiefs

        Sir Eustef has carved out his land, and held onto it with fierce determination and cunning.  He's held any rivals at bay through strong politicking, alliegences, and unspoken threats as necessary("Eustef's men began doing 'training manuevers' by the silver mines, sir...").  The neighboring fiefs may not be out and out hostile, but they are probably ambitious and hungry for more land.

        At the very least, they can provide pressure for action, at the most in-depth, they can extend the political conflict all the way up to the King.  Create them as you see fit.

        Sir Alfan-
        Sorry, slipped into slang language.  Sir Alfan is the most likely one to react without thinking, probably out of anger.  When the news that Sir Eustef has fallen to magical influence, Sir Alfan will be looking for someone to blame, and may start looking to imprison or execute whoever he thinks may be responsible, before thinking things through.

        Etienne's Father-
        Yeah, as I'm writing this, he needs to be given some formal definition.  I'll come back with a better handle on hiim later.

        The Heroquest-
        I'm going to see what I can research regarding the culture and mythology involved here, before I come back with a more detailed ideas about the Heroquest itself.

        As far as railroading it to happen, that is not guaranteed.  Let's just say it's highly "likely" to happen, although there are some plausible events I could see making it impossible or otherwise changing it significantly(such as one PC assassinating Sir Eustef's body in order to rush one of the son's into power...).

        How to play this Scenario-
        I will probably write up a section along these lines, although it will probably be brief and aimed at folks who already "get" narrativism to some degree.  I'd rather not have to write a massive essay and staple a scenario to it, but rather give the basics and let folks run with it, etc.

        More to come,

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 10, 2003, 01:48:36 PM
        Hi Chris,

        What I have here is nitpicking, basically. Please be patient with me. However, I do have a list of subjects I would like to address, and I am posting as quickly as I can.

        Relationships

        While relationships between people is what makes this adventure, relationships to communities are hardly touched upon so far. Yet communities have a significant impact on play. For example, when the Old Guard goes on its heroquest, it will desperately need the support of the various communities: Their congregation, their families, various interest groups, etc. Without absolutely 100% support from at least a couple of important (i.e. large) communities the questers will undoubtedly fail. Characters desiring to disrupt the quest will be working equally hard to convince communities not to support the venture or even to condemn it. The communities have the power to make or break the heroquest before it even begins.

        Hm…this is not nitpicking at all. :-)

        In my opinion, we need to identify the most important communities. It shouldn't be too hard. Give me a couple of days to come up with something.

        Subjects for my upcoming posts (just so you know it is on its way ASAP):

        Class Consciousness
        Religion Revisited: Heresy
        The Heroquest

        Cheers,

        /Peter N


        Title: Class Consciousness
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 10, 2003, 03:09:32 PM
        Class Consciousness

        Seshnelan society is a caste society. If you are born a peasant, you stay a peasant. The characters in this story seem to lack the class consciousness that is so important in their culture. This is fairly evident in one of the suggested Bangs concerning Trencavel: "As things get progressively more screwed up, he’ll become more active, even unto the point of establishing a martial law with his militia…" Now this is fine by me, as long as it is clear that a commoner like Trencavel is not authorized to make that kind of decisions. At least not if his social superiors are affected. His duty, not only according to the law of the land but according to the Divine Cosmic Laws, is to obey his betters.

        Anyway, I think it would be nice to introduce a hint of class consciousness to the character descriptions. Again, I will have a look at it as soon as I am able. Perhaps I can come up with something more tangible.

        Hm...this is nitpicking I believe. :-)

        Cheers,

        /Peter N


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 10, 2003, 03:36:35 PM
        Hi Peter,

        No problem.  When you start asking about the hair length and shoe size of each character, then I might get irritated :)

        Right, so to go into some of the various groups, factions, and people involved....

        -The general public
        Right now the most popular person is Guilbert, although folks still support Sir Eustef.  This can change based on the actions of folks though...

        -The Church
        Overall heirarchy power lies in the hands of Father Ratier, but the local clergy supports Josette for her tireless actions.  She's also popular amongst the more religious public.

        -Merchant/Artisan/Trade Guilds
        This is where Etienne's(as of yet) unnamed father and Raoul will politically duel for power and support.

        -The Militia
        The Militia has worked well with Sir Eustef's forces in the past, but tension may rise if people start getting hurt due to bad decision making by the interrim leaders.

        -The Military(Eustef's forces)
        Depending on who they serve, and how long they've served, their loyalties may differ.  Anyone who's worked under Eustef is probably very loyal and disciplined.  Xavier's trained many of the better fighters, and they owe him some loyalty.  Serge is a cold but efficient leader, so he will have some supporters as well.  Anyone who's gotten a chance to work with Hugo will see that he has all the makings of a good leader, although their disposition towards him depends on how he acts and reacts(GM's call on playing him).

        That covers the major groups, although if you want to go into further details(specific Guilds, calvary units, etc.) be my guest.

        Class Consciousness-

        After doing some more research on Seshnela, I've picked up more on the caste system.  This really only makes some of the love triangles going on all the more poignant  On note of class issues, folks who'd make good "haughty" sorts include Serge, Father Ratier, Lady Noelle, and Etienne(and his father).

        Trencavel's actions would be after desperately pleading with folks like Serge and either getting no where or having them move too slow.  He would institute his vigilante martial law only if rioting broke out, or an invasion occurred.  Nonetheless, it would brand him an outlaw...

        If you've got some more interesting twists to add to this, please feel free.

        Heroquest-

        I'm doing research on Seshnela's myths at this point, one which appeals to me greatly is the idea of the "quest" in the sense of just travelling to a far land, ala the Green Knight, and that constituting a Heroquest, somewhat similar to an Arthurian legend.   I'm playing with the idea of all the spirits encountered being Saints(particularly knights), and the various tests being social, wits, or out and out tests of arms by the various knights.

        Potential ideas in the brewing:
        -St. Taylor as a trickster/guide
        -St. Horal & Gerlant as the guardians of the passing from this world to the next
        -St. Xemela as the final spirit who carries out the decision as to who lives or dies.

        More to come,

        Chris


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 12, 2003, 12:20:15 PM
        Sorry for taking so long to respond.

        The Heroquest-

        I am happy to declare that I have a number of objections to your heroquest ideas. Finally I feel useful! ;-)

        Short version:
        Don't involve any saints. Write a story, not a heroquest.

        Longer version:
        In my humble opinion, neither Talor nor Horal are venerated in Seshnela. Also, I am not particularly fond of them being the guardians of the gate to the Other Side. It doesn't quite work that way. In this instance, going on the quest will be a deliberate act. A wizard will make a Portal of Power, and the questers' will use it to send their minds to the other side. There will be a very strict procedure, and a very specific ritual will be performed to make the transition happen. There will be no supernatural "guardians of the gate," and the crossing from the mundane world to the hero planes will be obvious to all participants. (Note: In Glorantha there are always exceptions to a rule, but this is most clearly not such an instance.)

        I don't think Saint Talor the Laughing Warrior works very well as a trickster. He laughs because he knows the blessing of Joy, which is a glimpse of Solace in the mundane world. As a Saint, he is a representative of a higher order, based on reliable cosmic laws, which in my mind makes him a lousy trickster. (Though the Rokari Church of Seshnela, who doesn't believe in Joy, may very well see him as one.)

        Saint Xemela is basically a Saint of healing and self-sacrifice. She is not a psychopomp. Her worshippers are pacifists. I don't think she decides who lives or dies.

        However, this stuff about the Saints doesn't matter, for the heroquest will not involve them. Yes, I hear you moan. The thing is that Talor, Horal, Gerlant, Xemela, and almost every other saint (except perhaps Malkion) were active since time began. They are not part of any myths, and therefore a heroquest cannot be about their actions.

        However, despite all this, whatever cool ideas you may have can easily be salvaged. Just change the names of the characters involved and go ahead. I have only one piece of advice here, but I know it is good: Don't bother writing a heroquest at this stage. Begin with the story. Make up a myth.

        Cheers,

        /Peter N


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Bankuei on June 12, 2003, 12:33:59 PM
        Hi Peter,

        No moaning over here.  No idea was fully developed enough to deserve salvaging.  Like I said, I did some net searching for info on the culture, and well, worked with what I had.  This is where folks, like you, who are Glorantha knowledgable, jump in and take over.

        Writing myth? Easy, I do that all the time.  Writing myth that fits in with an established culture I have no real understanding of?  Hmm, problem.  

        To give summary of my Glorantha lore: Picked up HW, no extra books.  And that was it.  My copy of HW disappeared over a year and a half ago, a little before I made a big house move, so I don't have paperback reference to dig into.

        So, I'm quite happy at this point to be "hands-off" and let you write up a myth and work from there, or else dig deeper if you can point me to a good site or source of info.  I was working off the library link previously provided, and some various google searches.

        Pretty much all I have envisioned at this point is something along the lines of Orpheus' quest, into the underworld, either to bring back Sir Eustef's soul to his body, or see it safely to final resting.   The suggested saints and roles were simply based off the 1 or 2 sentence descriptions as depicted on the library link.

        So, ball's in your court :)

        Chris


        Title: I'm Stuck
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 17, 2003, 12:01:31 PM
        I wrote this fragment several days ago, but can't seem to finish it, so I thought I'd better post it as is.

        MYTH 1: HOW ROSCARD SAVED HIS FATHER'S LIFE

        Trymir was a great hero of our people, and one of the earliest settlers of this unfortunate land. At one time he was enthralled by the witchcraft of Damsel Ophidia of the Moist Between the Rocks. Eventually he freed himself of her spell and returned to the outside world. Unknown to him, Ophidia gave birth to two sons, Ivo and Roscard. Ivo was dark and foul like his mother, Roscard noble and bright like his father.

        Roscard grew to become a valiant and capable young man. He wanted desperately to get together with his father, but Ophidia would not let him. She imprisoned the young hero like she had tried to imprison his father. However, Roscard tricked her into eating some poisoned berries and broke out of his prison while she lay sleeping on the ground. Dark Ivo tried to stop him, but noble Roscard wrestled his brother into submission.

        "Hereafter, I shall be your Lord, and you shall be my subject," said Roscard to his brother. "For such is the nature of things that some men must lead for others to follow."

        On the way to his father's house, Roscard was assaulted by the Black Knight of the Slippery Dark, but defeated him. Roscard reached his destination only to find Trymir's magnificent stronghold reduced to a state of unnatural torpor. The once bright hallways were permeated with a soporific vapor. Even the guards at the entrance were soundly asleep and young Roscard walked right past them into the disorienting fog.

        ---

        So, what happens next? Well Trymir's fortress is obviously a metaphor for a place between life and death. The new master is not Trymir but a guy called Cold Man or something similar. Before Roscard is allowed to meet his dying father, his virtues are tested. First a test of Temperance. Second a test of Loyalty. Third a test of Compassion.

        Finally, Roscard meets his father, who tells him that a great sacrifice must be made in order to save his life. (The myth doesn't tell us what the sacrifice is, but obviously someone else must die in his place.) Roscard gladly makes the sacrifice, and Roscard goes on to become a magnificent  hero.

        Stations

        1. Escape from Ophidia

        2. Wrestle with Ivo.
        It is a bad idea for Roscard to kill Ivo at this station. They are brother's, and anyone participating in such an unspeakable act will surely draw a horrible curse upon both himself and his family. Note: The more victorious Roscard is at this station, the stronger the Black Knight will be at Station 3.

        3. Fight the Black Knight

        4. Avoid Being Affected by the Vapor
        Failure gives a penalty on the rest of the stations.

        5. Test of Temperance

        6. Test of Loyalty

        7. Test of Compassion

        8. The Great Sacrifice

        To be continued…


        Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 17, 2003, 12:37:59 PM
        Complications

        There is more than one version of the myth above. The commoners of the land tell a different story. According to them Roscard was dark and foul, and Ivo was noble and bright.

        After wrestling with Roscard, Ivo becomes very angry. (The more decisive his defeat, the angrier he gets.) He sets off into the night dressed as the Black Knight of the Slippery Dark, catches up with his brother and defeats him and takes his identity! Ivo curses his brother, and Roscard slithers back into the darkness. Ivo then continues the quest as laid out above.

        What happens to Roscard? Well, he can only enter the mortal world during times of transition, such as equinox, midsummer, or sacred time. But he is still there, hiding in the crevices of reality, brooding and vengeful. Therefore, to this day, the peasants of Spring Fountain offer him propitiatory worship, thus keeping him from punishing the legitimate descendants of Trymir: Sir Eustef and his two sons. Should the church ever find out, they would surely do their best to eradicate the wicked heresy. Should the peasants ever stop their practice, the realm would be invaded by fiendish Snake Things, minions of the true Roscard.

        Anyway, this version of the myth can be very valuable for anybody intent on disrupting the heroquest planned by the Old Guard… Should anyone attempt the heroquest knowing both myths, they will be at a considerable advantage.

        Cheers,

        /Peter N


        Title: What's Next?
        Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 18, 2003, 04:24:38 AM
        All right. In my opinion, the meat of the adventure is all there. We have the characters, the conflict, and a truckload of fantastic Bangs. Some things still need to be polished. The myths need to be properly finished, the characters need stats and religious affiliation, and so on, but this is mostly manual labor. If this thread was about 'how to set up a narrativist campaign' this is the moment when I would cheer and happily withdraw in order to actually play the scenario.

        However, I would like to keep this thread alive for a little longer, if you don't mind. We are talking about a scenario written to be played by people other than its author. Are there still important pieces missing? Yes, I believe there are.

        Below is a suggested outline of The Well of Souls. Two parts are pretty much missing right now: How to Play, and the two first sections of the Putting on Pressure chapter. I agree, Chris, that a complete introduction to narrativist play is not what we are looking for here. We must assume that the persons reading the scenario get narrativism and want it. However, let's not take for granted that they have ever heard about the term narrativist, or that they have ever actually read a scenario catering to their needs before.

        Here are a couple of issues that I think should at least be sketchily addressed in the abovementioned chapters:
          How to tie player heroes to the scenario.
          "Hey, why is there no plot?"
          How to run the scenario as a GM: How to use the Bangs, how to come up with your own, aiming the Bangs at the players, how many Bangs to prepare? Don't railroad!
          When is the scenario over? [/list:u]
        Do you agree with me or is this just hogwash?

          THE WELL OF SOULS
          Summary
          How to Play
             Bringing in the Heroes
          Spring Fountain—A Brief Overview
             What is it Like?
             Communities and Guardians
             Neighboring Fiefs
          Eustef's Coma Revealed
          The Major Players
             Sir Eustef
             Guilbert
             Hugo
          The Factions
             Old Guard
             Guilbert's Supporters
             Hugo's Supporters
             Third Parties
          Putting on Pressure
             How to …
             When is it Over?
             Overall Events and Conflicts
             Possible Bangs in Play
          Appendix: Myths[/list:u]


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Ron Edwards on June 18, 2003, 06:34:00 AM
          Hi Peter,

          Speaking as someone who's suffered greatly over this issue, for many games in addition to Hero Wars/Quest, I suggest that the first task is to decide who your audience is. It's flatly impossible to make this mode of play understandable to everyone, especially since quite a few of them will find it undesirable as well, if only out of habit.

          Best,
          Ron


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Bankuei on June 18, 2003, 11:43:34 AM
          Hi Peter,

          Along with what Ron said, here's where some serious decisions need to be made.  How much of this is a scenario, and how much is a "How to play Narrativist" hand book?  

          As much as I dig Narrativism, I find that "telling people about it" rarely does anything for their gaming.  As it stands, there's a hell of a lot of folks who 1) wouldn't like it after experiencing it(cool, their choice), and/or 2) are too entrenched in a given play mode to be able to understand it.

          So, to lay down my understanding of our goals:

          "To write a Narrativist scenario playable by other folks who are into Narrativism"

          not

          "To write a Narrativist scenario that will introduce and explain Narrativism to folks who have never played in such a fashion."

          If you're looking for the second case, you might as well write a Narrativist Handbook, and drop in a couple of scenarios, as opposed to try to write a scenario that "teaches".  The problem here is that there's a lot of folks who cannot even conceive of the concept of:

          -Playing without a prescripted story/flowchart
          -Players being given free rein to decide what role they will play in a conflict
          -" being given free rein to act or react however they wish(within plausibility, minus railroading)
          -playing without a "goal" to accomplish/overcome
          -etc.

          Jumping those mental barriers is necessary to even understanding narrativism, and even then, it may not turn out to be a person's cup of tea.  Instead, I'm more for designing the scenario specifically for Narrativists, who will look at it, "get it" and go with it.  The other folks will just scratch their heads, throw up their hands, and to one degree or another say, "This doesn't support Gamist/Sim play, I don't get it!".

          With that, here's what I'd put in the scenario, based on your concerns...

          What's this all about?

          The Well of Souls is a scenario designed to facilitate a play style where the players play major roles creating the outcome, as opposed to enacting it.  Folks familiar with roleplaying theory will recognize this as Narrativism, protagonism, or possibly as "free-form" play.  Those of you less familiar with such things need only know that this scenario is designed without a prescripted plot of events or a flowchart of "things to happen".  

          "What happens" is based on the actions of the player characters, and the non-player characters, acting, and reacting to each other, based on their individual motivations.  This isn't harder than prescripted play, requiring only the same skills that you use in roleplaying any given character, but definitely different.  If this concept doesn't make any sense to you, this scenario may not be offering what you need.  If you're interested in finding out more about such things, check out www.indie-rpgs.com.

          Wrapping things up

          Depending on how you want to run Well of Souls, you could have it be a short scenario of a few sessions, up to a campaign in and of itself.  If you want to close things up, I'd suggest drawing things to a climax around the two major issues of deciding who will take power, and the fate of Sir Eustef's soul.  Otherwise, you can expand things by dealing with the neighboring fiefs, their politicking, and the actions of the King in all this.

          Setting up the Scenario

          There's only one requirement for this scenario to work.  The PCs must have a vested stake in who runs Spring Fountain, and they should have an emotional tie to at least 1 NPC(either the ones given, or one tied to the ones given), preferably being tied into 3 NPCs.  You can either have players make new characters to fit this, work in the NPCs over play of a longer campaign, or finally just do a cut take and say, "You've spent 3 months in Spring Fountain, who do you hang out with, who are your friends, who're your rivals, etc.".  Feel free to briefly introduce all the NPCs involved, and give a basic description of them.  

          Does this fly with you?  I'll start compiling what we have here, do some touch ups, add in Etienne's father, and start working on a "complete draft version"

          Chris

          PS- as an aside, "When is over?" really makes me realize that Narrativism is a lot like Go, in that the game is over when both sides agree that it is over, and that further play would be pointless, not by a specific "win scenario" condition.  Neat.


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 21, 2003, 08:34:15 AM
          Hi Ron,

          In my opinion, we have already established that our audience are narrators of HeroQuest. They are not newbies to roleplaying, narrating (GMing) or HeroQuest. They may not know of, or even be interested in, roleplaying theory, but they do enjoy Narrativist play.

          More later.

          Cheers,

          /Peter N


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 22, 2003, 03:41:52 AM
          Oh dear. I have written over 2,000 words about this, but I can't seem to get it right. I have things to say, but don't quite know how to say it. How  frustrating.

          Anyway, here is a short version, a start while I try to figure things out.

          Writing a handbook about "How to Play Narrativist" is not at all the issue here. It has never been. Don't worry about it. Besides, if I ever wanted to discuss that, I would not pick the HeroQuest forum.

          However, How to Play This Scenario is the issue. Perhaps you are mixing the two up a little bit, despite your obvious intention not to. In my opinion the Well of Souls is 100% a scenario, and 0% "How to play Narrativist" hand book. In fact, I don't think we should mention Narrativism or protagonism at all. Instead we should concentrate on a few paragraphs of good advice on how to run the Well of Souls. Will this happen to include advice that is also useful as more general "how to play Narrativist" advice? Yes, probably. But so what? You don't need an article about Simulationism in order to play Masks of Nyarlathotep (for Call of Cthulhu). Yet  Masks does contain some advice on how to play it. Some of this advice is good Sim advice. All of it relates to the adventure at hand. I see no contradiction, and no problem.

          More later.

          Best,

          /Peter N


          Title: The Unwitting Narrativist
          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 22, 2003, 10:48:19 AM
          Hi again,

          This is long. Please bear with me. I suffer from the delusion that there is method to my madness...

          The Unwitting Narrativist
          For years I could never figure out why some of my gaming sessions rocked and others were dull at best. One of my most successful roleplaying campaigns is a good example. I was the GM, and there were only two players: Henrik and CJ. We were playing Mage, but in a alternate setting where mages were very rare. No Technocracy, no Traditions. Only a couple of dozen powerful magicians and their apprentices.

          The first session didn't work out very well. I had prepared a scenario, a mission for the PCs to accomplish, which they did. The thing is I really, really, really suck at writing objective based scenarios. I can come up with a good conflict, and a bunch of cool NPCs ready to fight each other and the PCs, but when I try to make up a plot… I am simply not able to make it engaging. So we were all pretty bored. However, I had planted clues to a larger conspiracy. I had no idea what it was about, but it sounded cool at the time.

          I came completely unprepared to the next session, and boy did we have a good time! Our heroes traveled to India and Nepal to combat an evil slave-keeping sect, and to ally with a magic school teaching tantric magic to a small number of talented students. They also became mortal enemies of a Japanese ghost. They found out that they had been a couple of very powerful mages in a previous life, known as the Golden Warrior and Captain Uranus. A zillion cool things happened, and the players were happy.

          During the rest of the campaign I relied on my ability to improvise. And since the plot soon became way to complicated for me to keep track of, I listened very carefully to what the players had to say. They would say things like "it doesn't make sense, in order to do that he would have to be in two places at once," and suddenly the major villain had the ability to be at two places at once, or perhaps he had a twin brother, or perhaps someone was impersonating him. What actually happened in the campaign is not as important as this: Whatever interested the players is what I would concentrate on. When they wanted to go to the South Pole, I made sure that they found an abandoned base with lots of clues to their mysterious pasts, as well as a neat egg-shaped vehicle. When they wanted to see if their magical flying egg could go into space, I said "off course it can," and made up a weird hermit mage living on one of Jupiter's moons.

          It was a fantastic campaign and we still, many years later, like to remind each other of the breathtaking adventures of Captain Uranus and the Golden Warrior. As a GM I especially liked that I was surprised too. All the time. Anyway, I winged it, made it up on the spot, improvised. Or rather, the players did, and I just followed their lead. This seemed like a great way to roleplay.

          Later it turned out that I was just lucky. When I tried winging it in other campaigns, they often fell apart. And I couldn't figure out why. Did I do something wrong? Did the players do something wrong? I had to go back to the pre-prepared plot, the story that was already written, the scenario where the players only contribution was to provide color. Not only was I bad at this, it also bored me to death. I never told the players, but here is what I was thinking: "C'mon guys. Surprise me! Astound me! Do something unexpected! Sweep me off my feet!" It rarely happened, but when it did, everything seemed to fit again, and everybody, including me, had a good time. Yet I never understood why it went well. In what way were the successful sessions different from the unsuccessful ones?

          The way I saw it, there were only two ways to run a game:
             
            1) The pre-determined plot.
               2) Winging it.[/list:u]

            The pre-determined plot was a relatively safe method. As long as I relied on published scenarios and studied them well, the result was … acceptable. When using this method, the quality of my GMing was stable. It was not very satisfying, however. Improvisation, on the other hand, was a gamble. Sometimes it created truly amazing experiences. Other times it was just dull. A few times, it turned into disaster.

            One of the games where I usually managed to pull it off to everybody's satisfaction was Vampire. In Vampire I sort of mixed the two methods. I prepared a large conflict, wrote a lot of NPCs with ties to either the conflict itself or to one of the other characters (thus setting up sub-conflicts). Then I started it all off with a macguffin of some kind, such as "you hear a rumor that someone in town has a piece of the original cross in their possession." The players chased the macguffin, and I improvised the rest. Whenever things began to slow down, I improvised some kind of event, usually drawing inspiration from the main conflict. This is beginning to sound familiar, isn't it? Inspired by Chicago by Night and similar sourcebooks, I even made complex relationship maps, which I continually referred to during play.

            Only in hindsight do I recognize these patterns, however. Back then, I wasn't able to separate the behavior I just described from all the other odd stunts I pulled. For example, I did not see the relationship map as a potential tool for non-Vampire campaigns. In my mind, these maps were closely connected to a game of conspiracy and intrigue. What use could they possibly serve in a Gloranthan fantasy game?

            So did I recognize different kinds of roleplaying? Sure. There were two sorts: Boring and fun. I liked the fun kind.

          The Point
          If you had shown me the Well of Souls I would have recognized it as great background material for a campaign. That's right, despite my own experiences as a GM, I would have labeled it background material, and I would have thought of the Bangs as a bunch of rather weak scenario ideas. In short: I would have seen the Well of Souls as an unfinished scenario. I would not have recognized it for what it is: Precisely what I was looking for.

          So when you want to know what target audience I think we should aim at, I have a pretty clear idea: Peter Nordstrand five years ago.

          Airwaves (an Over the Edge scenario, and one of the few Narrativist scenarios I have ever read) puts it like this:

          Quote
          There is a danger that you will have a preconceived notion of how the adventure will be played by your gamers. Try to resist this urge, as it is the players who should determine the outcome of the adventure.


          The question that comes to mind is how? Now, if we can answer that question in 700 words or so, we will have what I am looking for. ;-)

          /Peter Nordstrand
          Mad Hatter


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Bankuei on June 23, 2003, 09:21:02 AM
          Hi Peter,

          That was a great post, and probably something I'll be referring some folks to.  Unfortunately I haven't seen that OTE scenario you've mentioned, but now I'm definitely interested in checking it out.

          I just wanted to point out that Narrativism requires player input, and the prescripted plot doesn't allow player input, hence the reason you've had "more success" with improv.  

          But, the methods that many folks have pushed for, Ron with Kickers, Bangs, and R-Maps, Jake with SA's, and a variety of other folks, is that it need not be "unfocused, pulling miracles out of thin air, um, um" improvisation, but rather, a focused set of tools used to allow the GM to maintain a coherent gameplan, but still adapt on the spot to anything the players create.  Pretty much what I've said in the rpg.net column, that is, give the GM tools equivalent to what the character is to players.

          The mental leap, that you're talking about from 5 years ago to now, is this:

          NPCs are more than a list of stats and responses to if-then conditions triggered by player choices on a flowchart of events.  NPCs are simply characters, that happen to be played by the GM.  

          That's it.  The idea that Well of Souls is simply "background" is because no set of if-then actions and reactions are given here.  Notice that in prescripted play, either the GM must push the players or the players must willingly walk into the various event paths for things to happen.  Here, either the players push their characters to do things, or the GM pushes the NPCs to do things, and no specific, if-then events must be triggered.

          So, with that...

          The Well of Souls, how to use this scenario

          Well of Souls departs from traditional scenario design in many ways.  You won't find a set of events, a plot, or a flowchart of things to happen and "run" your players through.  We take a different design philosophy here.  Instead of giving you a set of specific things which you must manipulate, cajole, or railroad your players into, we give you a set of flexible tools that can adapt to anything your players do.

          Sound hard?  It's not any harder than trying to predict your players' actions or push them to fulfill a set plot.  Here you're given a set of NPCs with motivations and goals, and all you need to do is pick an NPC, or two, and have them do something, either of their own accord, or in reaction to what the player characters are doing.  Pick one or two, put them in a scene with at least one PC, and let things happen.  When things slow down, cut to another scene, pick another NPC, drop them in a scene.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

          There's only 2 skills you need to apply regularly to make this sort of scenario work.  First, you must be able to roleplay a single character.  If you have that much skill, which is basically the same as any of your players, then you are halfway there.  The second skill, is to think of what would be interesting, or at least dramatic.  If you know two characters don't like each other, you know that putting them together will make trouble, and make things interesting.  Boom!  It's the same skill applied by producers of reality tv and talk shows over and over.  

          There are no "hooks" in this scenario.  If you decide to run this scenario, both you and your players must agree to hook in the PCs.  The PCs may already know folks in Spring Fountain, they might have arrived a few weeks ago and just made friends, it doesn't matter.  Everyone has to agree to have emotional ties with some NPCs in Spring Fountain, aside from that, its open game.

          Finally, recognize that the NPCs and their conflicts we've provided are all simply tools for you to use to make interesting stuff happen.  Take any or all of them, change them, play them nice, play them mean, use them the way you want to.  Add characters to the conflict, create servants, friends, family if you want.  Expand the conflict, create the neighboring fiefs, have politics, drag in the King if you like.  Well of Souls is a flexible set of tools for you to use to run a series of sessions or a whole campaign off of.  The scenario ends when the group has closed a climax and decides they've done most of what they want to do with it, whether we're talking having decided the fate of Sir Eustef and his sons, restructured the politics in the entire kingdom, or simply gotten the "girl"(whoever they've fallen in love with).

          The Well of Souls is a flexible set of tools, loaded with conflict, drama, and characters, and is waiting for you to pick it up, and use it.  It's designed to work for GMs in the same fashion that characters work for players.  The players come to the table, never knowing what's going to happen, but they can always look to their character and figure out how to act or react.  As a GM, look to the list of characters, look to the central conflicts, and use that as a guide for "what happens next".

          The Well of Souls is yours to use.  It's waiting...


          How's that, Peter?  Does that adequately sum up how this works?  "Selling" it more than that, I'm afraid, is simply trying to push it to folks who aren't interested.  I've just laid out what WoS does, and how the GM is supposed to use it, along with the basic requirement of introducing PCs as a group concern, not a plug and play sort of thing.  Explaining it deeper, or further, I think goes beyond what we're trying to do here.

          Thoughts?

          Chris


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 23, 2003, 11:34:41 AM
          Hi Chris,

          Wow. Yes! This is exactly what I had in mind. I'm so glad you got what I was rambling on about.

          I can hardly wait for the complete draft version.

          The OtE scenario isn't really that interesting. In the Forge terminology Airwaves presents a conflict (and a number of subconflicts), a bunch of NPCs, and a small number of Bangs. That's it. It is 16 pages long.

          All the best,

          /Peter N


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Mad-Eye Moody on June 23, 2003, 11:39:37 AM
          Quote from: Bankuei


          The Well of Souls is yours to use.  It's waiting...

          Thoughts?



          That was bloody brilliant.  I want more.  NOW.

          That is exactly what I'm looking for.  Both in my own designs of scenarios and in published materials.  Do you have a web page or draft version that contains more info?

          Amazing.

          Nathaniel


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Bankuei on June 23, 2003, 11:55:41 AM
          Hi Peter,

          Glad that's on target.  I was a bit afraid you were asking for the full "How do I play Narrativist?"* handbook.

          I'll be rewriting, touching up, organizing, some stuff, and I'll present a "draft version" for you.  I invite you, or anyone else who is familiar enough with the system to stat up characters.  To be rather honest, I myself, probably would just scribble down 3-5 traits for each character and make up the rest on the fly, but I'll let you diehard HW folks determine how many stats are necessary.  

          My personal organization of such a thing would probably put the actual stats in the "back" of the book, maybe on character sheets, thereby allowing the actual text to be free of all the math.  One thing I will ask is for Peter, or someone(whoever volunteers) to write up something short on Spring Fountain as a place, and the culture, etc, since I'm (woefully) ignorant of the culture and "environment".

          The only other "stat-wise" thing I think would be nifty might be ratings forL
          -The strength of Sir Eustef's fighting force, broken down into the followers of the various factions and leaders, plus the Militia
          -The manpower and wealth ratings of the Church(locally, under Sister Josette, contacts through Father Ratier, influence from Father Rance, etc.)

          Well, off to work then...

          Chris

          PS- Mick, if you're still around, I'd be very interested in your input given the last few posts.  Again, while this may not be your preferred playing style, does this clarify at all what we're doing here?

          *I always hear that question being asked in the most annoying, whiny voice, the one you always want to slap a person for using :)


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Ian Cooper on June 24, 2003, 09:34:15 AM
          I am enjoying this dicussion and learning fromit. This comment is slightly at a tangent to Heroquest, but fits. I think with what is being discussed here.

          Does anyone remember the Morrow Project scenarios from TimeLine. These were, in form, very similar to what is described here.

          The format for their scenarios was always similar. The majority of the module was the desciption of a place, npcs and usually a crisis affecting that place into whichtheplayers were thrust.

          There was no scene by scene scenario. The closest thing perhaps was a section entitled 'play of the game' which described inserting the players into the events  (the module usually began with a desription of some emerency that wakes the players fromcold sleep) and then discussed likely player actions and likely npc reactions, and suggested events to throw at the players.

          Interestingly though, while my GNS terminologyis poor I would describe the Morrow Project as pretty heavily sim with an exploration of setting focus. Anyone else agree?  Certainly it seems there maybe a distinction between non-linear scenario design, which is what we are discussing and making something narratavist by consciously considering a premise.


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Bankuei on June 24, 2003, 10:28:13 AM
          Hi Ian,

          Quote
          Certainly it seems there maybe a distinction between non-linear scenario design, which is what we are discussing and making something narratavist by consciously considering a premise.


          I agree 100%.  My earlier point is that mistaking the two is common because Narrativism requires player input, which cannot occur while the linear plot determines "what happens".

          My hope here is that the moral issues presented with the primary conflict, and sub-conflicts produce a natural push towards theme.  I know with what we have here, it's sufficient for me, I'm hoping that the final product of this is sufficient for everyone else as well.

          Chris


          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 24, 2003, 02:43:17 PM
          Hi Chris,

          I have already begun with statting the characters up and expect to be finished in a couple of days or so. I think the major players are best represented using a leader sheet, which is a graphic way of presenting the characters with the main character in the middle, surrounded by the supporting cast. Thus, Guilberts leader sheet would include Guilbert himself, Etienne, Sister Josette, and perhaps generic Idealistic Young Man. The remaining 5-6 characters will be written as individuals.

          I disagree about putting the stats in the back. They will not take up much space. For example, Lady Noella's might look something like this:
            Keywords: Seshnegi Housewife 16W2.
            Significant Abilities: Assess Social Standing 4W3, Canny 3W, Command Inferior 5W. [/list:u]
            The leaders sheets will take up perhaps two full pages altogether, and I think they should be put as close to the characters they are describing as possible. This is just a matter of taste, of course.

            Unless someone else volunteers, I will take care of the Spring Fountain writeup ASAP. All you need to know about Seshnela will be available in the HeroQuest rulesbook, so I think a general account of their culture is unnecessary.

            Quote
            The only other "stat-wise" thing I think would be nifty might be ratings forL
            -The strength of Sir Eustef's fighting force, broken down into the followers of the various factions and leaders, plus the Militia
            -The manpower and wealth ratings of the Church (locally, under Sister Josette, contacts through Father Ratier, influence from Father Rance, etc.)


            Well, I am not entirely pleased with the the lack of info on the communities. The thing is that it is probably more important to know the size of Father Ratier's congregation than his own abilities. "Today we all pray for the safe return of Lord Eustef's soul to the world of the living." There is a hefty bonus right there, but is it +10, +16, or +25? It depends on the size of the community. Hm…it is probably easiest to just attach this information to the Spring Fountain writeup.

            Quote
            Glad that's on target. I was a bit afraid you were asking for the full "How do I play Narrativist?"* handbook.


            Perhaps you heard what you expected to hear. :-)

            Cheers,

            /Peter N


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Bankuei on June 24, 2003, 03:15:44 PM
            Hi Peter,

            Quote
            I disagree about putting the stats in the back. They will not take up much space. For example, Lady Noella's might look something like this:

            Keywords: Seshnegi Housewife 16W2.
            Significant Abilities: Assess Social Standing 4W3, Canny 3W, Command Inferior 5W.


            Well, that works out fine by me.  The only real example I've seen is the giant player character chart coated with 20+ different abilities from stuff like Spear lore, Spear chucking, Spear Care, Spear haggling, etc. :)  If we're doing the short hand list, that works fine for me.  Also, Leader sheets work just fine for me as well.

            Quote
            Well, I am not entirely pleased with the the lack of info on the communities. The thing is that it is probably more important to know the size of Father Ratier's congregation than his own abilities. "Today we all pray for the safe return of Lord Eustef's soul to the world of the living." There is a hefty bonus right there, but is it +10, +16, or +25? It depends on the size of the community. Hm…it is probably easiest to just attach this information to the Spring Fountain writeup.


            This is where I ask you or another Glorantha-phile to step in and give detail. Again, I'm completely at a loss as to the details of Seshnela and what is appropriate for their population and numbers.

            Right now I'm going through the character descriptions, and adding useful questions for each character, for example, Guilbert:  "How can he show his love for his people?  How can he prove his worth?" based on their motivations.

            Also, I'm going through the Bang list again, and probably going to do some serious revisions, clarifications, etc.

            Chris


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Ian Cooper on June 25, 2003, 09:04:32 AM
            Quote from: Bankuei
            Hi Ian,
            I agree 100%.  My earlier point is that mistaking the two is common because Narrativism requires player input, which cannot occur while the linear plot determines "what happens".


            Understood - a linear scenario precludes narrativist play developing, but a non-linear one does not necessarily mean it will - you still have to establish the premise you intend to explore.

            Actually I think this is a mistake I have made when experimenting with this in the past - been insufficently clear about the premise to be explored.

            PS My apologies for the lack of editing on my previous post


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Bankuei on June 25, 2003, 09:23:03 AM
            Hi Ian,

            Right, that's really a difficult distinction for a lot of folks to grasp, simply because the majority of gaming publications have little support for, or little exploration into the variety of non-linear scenarios and non-linear play.

            As Peter pointed out, most people understand extremes, linear play, or absolute free-form.  The "gamble" factor of freeform is keeping a focus, or pushing a theme without any sort of solid concept to work towards.  When you have that focus, effectively you have Narrativism.  When you don't have that focus, you have "stuff happen", but the interest level is dropped because there's no recognizable theme of action.

            Because linear play is so dominant, and non-linear play is rarely mentioned, and when it is, no actual useful advice is given, there usually arises a number of assumptions that serve as road blocks to functional non-linear play....Usually folks need to understand these facts:

            1. First, that non-linear play is possible, and functional
            2. That non-linear play need not be complete improvisation without any sort of preparation or tools
            3.  That non-linear play is significantly "harder" than linear play(usually once people grasp #2 properly, this becomes less of an issue)

            Narrativism really requires a focus, and not a meandering set of events.  This focus is delivered by the group as a whole, although anybody, players or the GM can be more active in pushing the thematic focus, or take turns even.

            You'll really notice that with Well of Souls, most of the work is prepartory work before actual play, but the result is less work during play and before each session.  Linear play provides you a "one-shot" plot that happens, and its over, while this particular style of scenario provides you with a load of conflict that you can use as you see fit.

            You get a couple of focal conflicts to come back to, a cast of characters to use around that, and a load of subconflicts for fun and flexibility.  Still, this doesn't guarantee narrativism, as someone can simply take these ideas and create a linear plot, or force feed/railroad the players without giving them room for input.  But, at least we're trying to explain how it should work, and giving actual tools for use along with it.  

            I'll be very interested to hear what folks think who get a chance to run this when its complete, as well as a little from people completely unfamiliar with the concept.

            Chris


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Palashee on June 25, 2003, 09:50:49 PM
            Quote from: Bankuei

            PS- Mick, if you're still around, I'd be very interested in your input given the last few posts.  Again, while this may not be your preferred playing style, does this clarify at all what we're doing here?


            Yes, I'm still here, and No it hasn't clarified anything really.

            Why?

            Well, you seem to be working on the assumption that i don't like or even know what narrativist roleplaying is, this is wrong on both counts. Narrativist roleplaying is my preferred gaming style, I have never argued against using a narrativist approach to the story. I've been running my Gloranthan campaigns this way for years, in fact I started using these techniques so long ago that i just thought it was how role playing games were meant to be run, and well before anyone had, or at least i found out anyone had, defined the theory of Narrativism.

            What i am still dubious about is how much Heroquest and Glorantha are going into this story. So far all i see is a generic narrative story. It lacks any real use of the Heroquest systems unique features, simply appending HQ stats to generic individuals isn't exactly using the system to its full potential. Likewise there's no Gloranthan look and feel whatsoever. In fact, at the moment, it feels to me like it should belong in a medieval european setting rather than in Glorantha.

            So if the object of this thread was 'How to write a narrativist scenario' then i'd be relatively happy, but as its 'How to write a narrativist scenario for Heroquest set in Glorantha' then it falls down on two of the three keywords.

            Sorry for being negative, but you did ask

            Cheers,
            Mick


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Bankuei on June 25, 2003, 11:22:20 PM
            Hi Mick,

            I apologize for making assumptions about you and your style of gaming.  I'm rather glad to hear about your experience, and in fact, welcome more input, both positive and negative, as good critical advice on improving this scenario.  

            As far as the lack of Gloranthan specific details, I have stated before and again that my Gloranthan knowledge is passing, and have and still do invite folks with more specific information and familiarity to input and add to this.

            Personally, my experience with Glorantha was the bit contained in the two basic Hero Wars books, which, was insufficient(IMO) to get a good grasp of the Gloranthan feel, much less an area such as Seshnela.  I'm working from the limited base of information I could pull from the internet, plus the bits and pieces folks have sent my way.  Again, input from folks more familiar with the setting is always welcome.

            Quote
            It lacks any real use of the Heroquest systems unique features, simply appending HQ stats to generic individuals isn't exactly using the system to its full potential.


            Could you elaborate?  What would you suggest would make use of HQ's unique systems?  

            As it stands, here's what I see that would get used in WoS specific to HQ:

            - Relationships(lots of these), as augments, extended contests, particularly involving loyalties and politics
            - Community relationships/support, from the general populace, the Church, the fighting men, the various factions, etc.
            - Personality traits, especially in the character to character interaction
            - Magic, lots of it, especially with regards to the Heroquest itself
            - Emotionally driven conflicts, such as "conviincing" Sir Eustef to return to life or not, clashes of wills between romantic rivals, etc.

            These are the sorts of things I've found especially driving with the HQ rules, perhaps you can give some examples of things that are being missed or completely left out here.

            Chris


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 26, 2003, 01:29:42 AM
            Hi,

            Just to add to Chris' post:

            I am currently going over the Spring Fountain fief. Among other things, it will include some kind of decription of the communities involved, as well as a number of guardians. It will also tie-in more specifically to Seshnela while still allowing the narrator to make her own decisions regarding, for example where it is located, who Sir Eustef's liege lord is, etc.

            Ideas, suggestions and input is of course most welcome.

            Mick, please stop telling us what this thread is really about, as if we didn't know. You may also want to consider the possibility that I too have at least a little bit of experience roleplaying in Glorantha.

            /Peter N


            Title: Family Name
            Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 28, 2003, 11:58:10 AM
            Howdy,

            Can anybody come up with a decent family name for Sir Eustef & sons?

            Cheers,

            /Peter N


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Palashee on June 29, 2003, 12:58:52 PM
            Quote from: Bankuei


            Could you elaborate?  What would you suggest would make use of HQ's unique systems?  


            Chris

            Before I list what I think is important in a Heroquest adventure I’d like to take a moment to briefly explain part of the design philosophy I use. When I’m creating stories I never consider the HQ game system, the Gloranthan game world, or the narrativist play style in isolation. Each has a bearing on what the final scenario will be like, the story is created by blending these elements together concurrently to produce a final solution. IMO to focus only on one aspect at a time leads to problems, and invariably means it takes longer to write, as bits of the draft have to be rewritten to accommodate the information specific to another element.

            As an example of what I mean, let’s take the title ‘Well of Souls’. Now I expect this was written in all innocence and when reading what’s been done so far seem’s perfectly acceptable. But once we begin to apply Heroquest to the scenario we find that this innocent title has some surprising repercussions. Why, because Seshnela’s main religion is the Rokari church, its main magic system is wizardry and so its worshippers and practitioners don’t have souls. This is because in Heroquest only theists have souls, wizards actually have essences, whilst Animists have spirits. So the question is, should the title be changed to ‘Well of Essences’ or does the title signify some connection with the lands pagan past. One that the church is likely to whole heartedly disapprove of and will try to stop anyone from attempting to use. If it’s the latter then this will have a knock on affect on some of the NPC’s and communities goals.  Which way you go for is open for debate.

            Anyway here’s some of the factors I think need to be looked at:  

            The Law of the Land
            What seems to be lacking is that none of characters seem to have a basic awareness of the norms and social order of the society they live in. Without that its difficult see how they fit into the caste system and which traits are virtues and which are flaws. (If I get time I’ll write a short summary up of my understanding of Seshnelan society)

            Relationships
            -   Culture (in this case Seshnelan Caste System)
            -   Communities (including Relatives, Religious, Governmental and Unions)
            -   Hero Bands
            -   Individual NPC’s
            -   The Heroes

            The great thing about Heroquest is that it provides the heroes with a social context to play in. Thus the relationships and goals of the various parts of a society to the heroes and to other parts of the society are all important. All these groups will have their own agendas, their own wants and needs, what’s good for one sector of society may not be wanted by another. How the heroes and major protagonists interact with these groupings will determine level and size of their support when it comes to a Heroquest.
            I think each of these communities needs to be written up in the same way you’ve written up the individual characters.    

            Mythical and Historical Resonance
            –   in daily life
            –   in the actions of the individuals and communities
            –   in the form of the heroquest  
             
            The cyclical nature of Glorantha means that events are prone to repeat themselves every Age or so. The more the current events can be connected with any historical or mythical precedents the better. Similarly, Gloranthans show their piety by emulating the words and deeds of god and his saints. So a pious farmer will live by reenacting the deeds of the patron saint of farming and the teachings of Rokar, with the ultimate form of reenactment being a heroquest.

            Terminology
              I think someone may have mentioned this already, but I’ll repaeat it for the sake of completeness. This is going to be a Heroquest game so you should use Heroquest terms rather than theoretical Narrativist terms.

            If you want me to expand these points further let me know.

            BTW Looking back over what i've written i think one of our differences in design philosophy is that you start with the individuals and work your way outwards, whilst i start with the social order and then work my way inwards

            Hope this makes sense

            Cheers,
            Mick


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Bankuei on June 29, 2003, 02:13:51 PM
            Hi Mick,

            Please realize that what you see here, is still a work in progress.  Peter has already volunteered for full write ups of the various communities, and the area of Spring Fountain.  As far as your other concerns, I'm still very much not sure on what you're asking for here...

            -Awareness of culture

            All of the NPCs presented are very much considered with a caste system in mind.  Their individual motivations are not a denial of such a system, but serve areas of dramatic conflict, where they must either submit to tradition, find some work around solution, or out and out violate it.  Notice that most of the lower caste individuals are very concerned with allying or manipulating the higher ones into assisting them in their goals.  

            I was very much thinking of themes such as tradition vs. necessity, chivalry vs. pragmatism, politics vs. ideals(church and otherwise), love vs. society rules, etc.  

            -Mythology

            I'm not sure what you're asking for in these terms.  Mythology-wise, all of the NPCs have their individual motivations, but much of their personalities have been left open for interpretation, with the specific intent that GMs will be able to fit them into the players' focal mythologies, and shift the focus of the scenario to what fits best for the heros' myths.  

            -Terminology

            The only Narrativist terminology that's being ported into the scenario is Bangs, for which I have not seen an equivalent term in HW.  If the new HQ rules happen to contain one, I'll gladly use it.  Aside from that, you've completely lost me on what you're referring to.  Can you give me an examples?

            -The Name

            Frankly, I'm rather fine with the name as is.  Soul, Spirit, Essence, whatever term, humans generally refer to a "something" that is beyond the physical.  I have faith in the audience to understand that the title is simply that, a summary to convey the concept, just as the movie Requiem for a Dream did not specifically involve a requiem or a dream(in the literal sense of either).  Of course, given Peter's interpretation of the heroquest, and the mythology, it very well could be pointing to the animist past of the area, and that's also cool to me as well.

            All in all, I'd like to ask for more specific information so I can understand your concerns.  Aside from the need for individual community write ups, which I agree with, and Peter is working on at the moment, I'm not sure I understand the issues you're raising.

            Chris


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Peter Nordstrand on June 29, 2003, 04:23:57 PM
            Mick,

            I note that you ignore the fact that several of your concerns have been addressed by me previously. In the case of communities, relationships, and guardians I have brought it up repeatedly. Please understand that this is not about who though of these things first, it is about you not recognizing that I am a participant in this discussion.

            The Law of the Land
            It is assumed that narrators are familiar with the HeroQuest rulebook, which gives all the basic information about Seshnela.

            Mythical and Historical Resonance
            I agree that Glorantha resonates with myth and magic. However, the Rokari Church strongly discourages people of emulating the saints, even membership in a saintly order is viewed as suspect by the iconoclastic Ecclesiarch. People show their piety by going to the weekly worship service, and by acting in ways appropriate to their caste. Obedience is the most important virtue. Emulating God? I'd say it is time to contact the Inquisitors' School.

            Terminology
            GM = narrator
            NPC = narrator character
            PC = hero alt. player hero

            Is that what you mean?

            /Peter N


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Alai on June 29, 2003, 05:40:56 PM
            Quote from: Palashee
            Why, because Seshnela’s main religion is the Rokari church, its main magic system is wizardry and so its worshippers and practitioners don’t have souls. This is because in Heroquest only theists have souls, wizards actually have essences, whilst Animists have spirits.


            This isn't quite right, or at least, would only be true of exceedingly "advanced" users of each magical system.  One doesn't instantly "lose one's soul" on initiating into a liturgical or animist religion, for example.  Rather it would be more accurate to say that one's otherworldly self ("sorb" to use Greg's term) starts off as a roughly even mixture, and is made to progressively consist more of (or assume the shape of, if you will) one of the three otherworldly templates. By the time one had say, concentrated one's magic to theism, become a devotee, and learned one's deity's Secret, one would be pretty much pure "soul", though. (And more or less irreversibly so, not necessarily the case earlier on.)

            Cheers,
            Alex.


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Christopher Kubasik on June 29, 2003, 06:08:59 PM
            Hi guys,

            Thanks so much for the thread so far.  I've been following it with great interest and look forward to more.

            At the risk of being presumptuous, I'm going to step into the meta-discussion taking place between Peter, Mick and Chris.

            First, Mick, welcome to The Forge.  I want to be very clear up front that this post is made as a welcome.  Many people have received similar responses to their initial posts when they'd first arrived at the Forge and felt like they'd been told off.  This is not the case.  This is a post that says, "Welcome.  Here's some information about the surrounding landscape."


            The Purpose of the Thread

            The purpose of the thread is to create a scenario for a certain style of gaming, referred to around these parts as Narrativist style.  It is assumed that people like this style, want it, and don't need to be led into it using more commonly accepted techniques found for a coupel of decades now in most RPG scenario design.


            The Term "Narrativist"

            Different people are using this word (or variations), but are using it to mean different things.  It's all very Gloranthian, really, with two or more sides talking past each other say, "No, I am Narrativist," but not understanding why they can't understand each other when they talk about this thing called Narrativism.

            Mick, you have to understand that you are, essentially, an outlander to a new land, and here there are specific terms, definitions and ideas associated with Narrativist play.  You may not like that, you may not agree with them (once you become familiar with the local definitions), but at this point you're assuming what the word means – and I can assure you, this word has been rubbed and carved into something very specific around here.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of threads that detail all sorts of tools and techniques that help define Narrativism and offer tools and techniques to facilitate it.  You may not care to look into all of it, but... there it is.  It means something specific here, and everyone else is going to be working on the assumptions of those meanings.


            Scenario Design

            An example of the difference between your definition of scenario design and what Chris and Peter are defining is your assumptions about the party size, the idea slipping a "generic" adventure into a longer campaign and so forth.

            The fact is, while these assumptions are common in the RPG publishing world, they are not assumed here.  They are one type of scenario design, and one type among many.

            The truth is, an odd one, I addressed this matter in fourt part article for Inphobia magazine a decade ago.  One part of the series was called, if I recall correctly, "Why Modules Suck."  And it was a rant against the generic module design for a mixed group of adventurers.  Unbeknownst to me, several of the people who have been posting on this site for a long time (even before I knew about it), picked up on some of my ideas, combined them with their gaming frustrations, and started cooking up these new terms, techniques and styles.  (I arrived late the party and have simply benefitted from everyone else's hard work.)

            The point is, your assumption of what Narrativist play is, and what a good scenario design is, is completely contrary to a lot of the goals of a lot of the people here work toward when they create Narrativst design.  Now, to each his own.  But to assume how a module is "supposed" to be won't fly here.  The Forge is a place where the mold gets broken.  It's just the case.


            Special Jargon

            There are tools and techniques used by many people here.  Many of them have been developed by Ron Edwards for his Sorcerer RPG and its supplements.  They're good, and people port them to other games because they're not necessarily about the game, but about Narrativist play. Some of these techniques are: Kickers, Bangs, Relationship Maps.  There are others.  And other people have their own spin on new ways of playing RPGs as well.  People use these terms because they work.  Because they make a certain kind of play more accessible and fun for the kind of play they want.  They can easily be ported to a game like HeroQuest, and so people do. In fact, certain games accept them for easily than others: HeroQuest and the The Pool, for example, accept them easily, while AD&D takes them with a bit more effort. Why?  Because the first two games facilitate narrativist play easily, and these techniques are all about narrativsit play.


            Narrativist Assumptions

            Here are some assumptions that are unique to Narrativist play, as opposed to assumed scenario design:

            * The story is about the PCs, and so all the relationships and situations are designed around the PCs.  People wandering in out of the woods to deal with the problem at hand are simply not as interesting as characters with emotional ties to the story.

            For this reason, people usually preffer to play with a smaller number of PCs (two to four).  This is because the "party" is disolved as a useful game concept.  Instead of waiting around as a group for each character to shine, sessions often inovled cutting between characters emotional actions and responses.  Sometimes characters are in a scene together, sometimes they're not.  But things tend to work better this way if you're dealing with fewer people and can get around the table faster.

            * The story is about solving some sort of emotional crisis for the character.  (Thus the need to tie the player characters emotionally, through sexual, romantic, and familial ties.)  When the emotional crisis reaches some sort of climax or resolution (for better or ill), the story ends.

            * A detailed "story" planned out ahead of time by the GM is poison to the whole undertaking.  There is no story until the players, using the player characters, make it happen.  The GM cannot know where the climax will take place, or even, really, who it might take place with.
            This point cannot be stressed enough, because it runs so counter to most scenario prep assumptions.  The GM does simply no know the story.  There is to path, no specific encounters, no plotted out geography of locations the player characters explore.  What matters is the emotionally charged relationship between the PCs and the NPCs.  Through these relationships, the actions of the characters upon one another produce stresses that make the characters take stronger actions, that then produce more stresses, that make the characters take even stronger actions... that lead to the climax.  What actions are taken?  We just don't know until we're in the middle of play.


            * Characters are not best played when their behavior is limited to cultural standards and assuptions. That is, they are part of a society and culture, but, unlike a lot of games where the players is looked at askance if he acts "out of character"," there's wriggle room is here – because it causes more stress and response from other characters.  Thus making a better story.

            So, a Samurai built for a typical RPGs session, say in feudal Japan, is going to behave like a Samurai.  If he stops behaving like a Samurai, then he's doing it wrong.

            In a Narrativist game, it's the opposite.  If this same Samurai falls in love with the ghost of a woman who commands him to betray his code, he might well do that... and that's great – because it will provide stress with the PCs wife, his lord, his son and so on.  HeroQuest provides lots of strictures for behavior based on the background of Glorantha.  But it is the choices the PCs (and NPCs) make to follow -- or not! -- those strictures that provides compelling story.  (cf. Macbeth, Romeo, Tristan, Borimor, Achilles, Balin, Michael in the Godfather movies, Al Pacino's character (again) in Dog Day Afternoon, everyone in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the young protagonist in Blue Velvet and so on.)

            [And Mick, this last point was added from my attempts to read between the lines of your posts. You may already assume this is the way to play.]



            Anyway, there's some stuff to consider.  When Peter posted his, "How I Stopped Plotting Everything and Learned to Love RPGs" post on this thread, he was reflecting certain assumptions about how people around here see Narrativist play.  A lot of work has gone into buildig more tools and ideas to support that style of play.  It's something to consider as you wander around these boards.

            Again, welcome.

            Take care,
            Christopher


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Nick Brooke on June 30, 2003, 03:19:41 AM
            Quote from: Alai
            Rather it would be more accurate to say that one's otherworldly self ("sorb" to use Greg's term) starts off as a roughly even mixture, and is made to progressively consist more of (or assume the shape of, if you will) one of the three otherworldly templates. By the time one had say, concentrated one's magic to theism, become a devotee, and learned one's deity's Secret, one would be pretty much pure "soul", though. (And more or less irreversibly so, not necessarily the case earlier on.)

            This monkeying around with language ('one true meaning of common English words') is what leads to spirits becoming daimones, illusion magic becoming creation magic, and the apparently urgent need to rename Nomad Gods "Nomad Giants". A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of HeroQuest authors. "Well of Souls" sounds fine to me, and I hope it sticks around.

            Cheers, Nick


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Palashee on June 30, 2003, 08:00:04 AM
            Hi there,

            Oh dear it seems that with each post i step on someone's feet.

            Let me take this moment to clarify my position. I'm not against narrativist intent of this thread, trying besmirch anyone's efforts or nitpick for the sake of nitpicking. Any criticism is intended as constructive criticism aimed at making the final story the best story possible. If I thought this exercise was a complete waste of time then i just wouldn't read this thread.

            I admit to being a little bemused when i'm told to stop talking about what this thread is about, how does one discuss the main premise 'How to write a narrativist story for Heroquest' without referring to it.    

            My perspective is different, so what, I see this as a positive thing  if everybody's approach was exactly the same then there'd be nothing to learn about writing the story. Based on this it seems perfectly valid to make comments on and discuss my design philosophy. The whole point of my argument is that the ideal method designing the story is to look at all three elements, Heroquest, Glorantha, and narrative, together and not in isolation. (I do understand Chris' lack of Gloranthan know-how means my ideal has not been met in this instance, but its still valid to point it out).  

            Quote from: Peter Nordstrand
            I note that you ignore the fact that several of your concerns have been addressed by me previously. In the case of communities, relationships, and guardians I have brought it up repeatedly. Please understand that this is not about who though of these things first, it is about you not recognizing that I am a participant in this discussion.


            Peter, Yes you have and sorry i wasn't ignoring your posts, rather i was trying to support your case by re-emphasising that these points are important, and need to be developed as well as the individuals have been.

            Quote from: Chris
            Please realize that what you see here, is still a work in progress. Peter has already volunteered for full write ups of the various communities, and the area of Spring Fountain


            Chris, Of course i understand its a WIP. You asked a particular question and so I responded based on what actual bits of the story have been posted so far. I can't comment on what's not been posted yet.

            Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
            Narrativist Assumptions

            Here are some assumptions that are unique to Narrativist play, as opposed to assumed scenario design:
            The story is about the PCs .....
            The story is about solving some sort of emotional crisis for the character......
            A detailed "story" planned out ahead of time by the GM is poison to the whole undertaking......
            Characters are not best played when their behavior is limited to cultural standards and assuptions......


            Christopher, i'm not sure what your point is here, as i have never argued against any of the above.

            I'll clarify the other points ASAP

            Cheers,
            Mick


            Title: Re: The Story's Target
            Post by: Christopher Kubasik on June 30, 2003, 11:09:09 AM
            Hi Mick,

            I'm sorry if I misunderstood your words.  I was working from the paragraphs from a post of yours from a few pages back.

            I agree with you.  The value of this thread is everyone hashing this out.  But I stand by my statements.  What you have suggested in your posts runs counter to some of the more... outlandish and newfangled assumptions of RPGing one can find on the Forge.

            Quote from: Palashee


            The Origins of the Heroes
            It is important to know where the Heroes are likely to come from as this will affect their relationships with the community and important NPC personalities.

            Are they members, strangers or foreigners?
            Where
            Members = the Heroes are part of the community and so have preexisting ties to the holdings of Spring Fountain and its populace. This is easy to do if the its the beginning of a campaign where the heroes can write the relationships into their 100 words, but is dangerous as players, particularly novice players, find being given lots of handouts to read before the game daunting and off putting
            Strangers = The Heroes are part of the same culture and so may have general relationships in common with the people of Spring Fountain, such as to the church and/or to king and country; but they don't have any relationships to particular people. This is the most likely situation to arise if the story is placed into a pre-existing extended campaign.    
            Foreigners = Heroes from a different culture completely, with no obvious relationships to anyone at Spring Fountain. this is another possibility with a pre-existing campaign and adds an extra layer of interaction with a few well placed traits among the NPC's stats such as Distrust/Hate Foriegners.

            One solution to the Strangers and Foriegners lack of traits is for the first two or three sessions to be pre-coma where Heroes go to Spring Fountain for a completely a different reason and are then slowly introduced to all the main personilities, gaining friends and enemies along the way, before the crunch time comes.    
            ....
            Spring Fountain Manor
            "Welcome, Stranger, to Spring Fountain Manor, in the beautiful land of Seshnela, famous for its eponymous magical fountain that heals the sick and cleanses the soul. The good folk of this land are a paragon of virtue and order, following the wise Sir Eustef, the brave and caring banneret of this fiefdom.

            Wait, what's that, the fountain is no longer flowing and the banneret in a coma. This is dire news, What shall we do, who will lead and protect us."

            The disability of the Banneret, and the failing of the fountain leave a power vacuum in the fiefdom of the Spring Fountain. The once orderly lands of Sir Eustef begin to disintergrate into quarreling factions. As Eustef most loyal followers seek to restore the king to health his sons start arguing over their claims to the throne. And watching from across the borders the neighbouring lords begin to muster their knights to take Spring Fountain for themselves.

            Amidst all the politics and double dealing stand the heroes. Why has the fountain dried up? By whose side will they stand in the troubles ahead or have they a cunning plan of their own?  

            Spring Fountain Manor is a HeroQuest game set in the magical world of Glorantha. A ready to play story for 6-8 aspiring heroes whose primary skills are around 10-15W mark. It can be played as a stand alone mini campaign or easily intergrated into any existing Seshnelen Homeland Campaign. The story arc and episodes are designed especially for novice narrators and players, including helpful hints and tips on how to run a Gloranthan HeroQuest Campaign.  


            Note that while you don't rule out the possibility of tying the characters directly to the NPCs, your wording leans in general toward this notion: the "Heroes go to Spring Fountain for a completely a different reason and are then slowly introduced to all the main personilities, gaining friends and enemies along the way, before the crunch time comes."

            This, to the folks around here, runs counter to Narrativist assumptions about design.

            Crunch time is *now.*  The PCs have friends and enemies *now.*  What you proposed in these paragraphs runs counter to emotional crisis for the characters with the players driving the story.  I used to use these techniques.  Hell, I used to write modules for TSR, FASA and other companies and do the best job I could with the techniques and still found them wanting.  I discovered, as others have around the Forge, that what one usually gets using these techniques is a story where the PCs are strangers who wander into someone else's fight, with a story already in motion that they are there to "figure out" as a group.

            The differences between effects found between the techniques you are suggesting and those Chris is offereing may not yet be apparent to you, but I assure you, they are there.  You and I may want the same result (in fact, now I'm sure we do), but the tools and assumptions Chris is making will, I and others have found, get a table of players there faster.

            However, I assumed otherwise, because I can't honestly see how a group of strangers wandering into a place where they have no connections is going to be emotionally engaging.  Yes, it's standard fare for RPG scenario design. But if you look at almost all literature and dramatic narrative that has stood the test of time, you'll find that the protagonists are deeply embeded in emotional ties of romance, family or violence right from the start.  To assume otherwise, to my way of thinking these days, is to explicitely deny any desire to have the PCs as active, emotionally engaged protagonists.

            (As the for the last point about limiting culture behavior, as noted in my post, this may or may not have been a concern of yours.  I admitted as much at the time.)

            Again, I don't think you were arguing against these points.  It's that a lot of us has hashed these things out, and found that the assumptions of scenario design don't actually facilitate the play desired, *in spite of* the intentions.

            Take care,
            Christopher


            Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
            Post by: Bankuei on June 30, 2003, 02:57:41 PM
            Hi everyone,

            I just wanted to thank everyone again, for their input, and reiterate that the floor is open for input and comments.  I'd also like for folks to take some time and review the posts thus far, which will prevent further confusion.  Peter and I are both working on a draft version, and request that any specific concerns be presented with specific examples or points to help us in understanding what is being said.

            That said, I wanted to lay out some thoughts of mine, about the work in progress, as a POV that may provide some insight:

            -WoS presentation?-

            Concern has been raised that WoS may be presented in such a way that may alienate potential players.  Since WoS is being produced for free, as a labor of love, I'm not too concerned with "how many people play it".  My only concern would be if the writing was unclear, or the organization set up in such a fashion as to make it difficult to pull forth the ideas.

            Ron has already noted that some folks just don't dig narrativism out of preference or habit, and by designing such a scenario, we've already "alienated" them, no biggie there.

            Second, as far as terminology goes, I'd like to ask folks to reread "How to use the Scenario" as listed above.  That's about as theory-theory as I get with it, and that's all the theory you're going to see, aside from a brief definition of Bangs.  I'm not sure as to any other form of terminology that might confuse people, so please provide examples of any concerns you may have.

            -Violating Tradition-

            WoS is rife with conflicts, much of which violate or threaten to violate social mores.  This isn't to say that Spring Fountain is some crazy lawless land in the midst of Seshnela, but to say that the conflicts are putting enough stress on the communities to strain the seams of order and norms.  All of the characters were written with the idea of a highly stratified social order, caste, feudal order, church, etc.  

            The decision to stick to social traditions, or break them, how and why, where we get a lot of thematic exploration.  Family vs. Duty, Tradition vs. Necessity, Love vs. Social role, etc.  Aside from a "untouchable" class, throughout most caste based societies, you had lots of undercover deals, affairs, and conflicts going on between castes.  I'd assume Seshnela to be no less complicated.

            -Let's talk Myth-

            So, we've got NPCs with conflict, but a lots of room to interpret those NPCs, or choose what conflicts or subconflicts become the focus of play.  Is this sloppy, or lazy design?  By no means.  I want you to fit those characters into your players' myths.  I have no clue what kind of players you have, or what heroes they will produce.  At best we can give you highly flexible tools to customize to them.

            To use mythology examples I'm familiar with: Is Sir Eustef an Osirius figure?  Is Etienne a jovial Eros type, or a scheming Trickster?  Is Lady Noelle a wise matron sort, or an overcontrolling mother?  Look at your heroes, and adapt the NPCs, to them.  Choose conflicts that fit their myths.  Make it your myth, make it your story.

            These are all some of the foundational concepts I'm working off of here, so hopefully this will shed some light on where I'm coming from.

            Chris


            Title: Spring Fountain Draft
            Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 01, 2003, 04:26:11 AM
            Hi,

            Comments and criticism is more than welcome. Please remember that it is a draft.

            SPRING FOUNTAIN
            Delivered from Shadow

            Named after the magical fountain located in the courtyard of Wells Manor, Spring Fountain was seized by Enval FAMILYNAME only six generations ago. The previous lord had been killed in the Serpent War Invasion. Enval cleansed the land of the poisonous vipers, and established himself as its ruler. He renamed his territory Trymirwal in honor of his heroic ancestor, who lived here in before time.

            Enemies have always coveted the fief for its riches. The small town of Wells is a center of local economy, and is strategically located along an important trade route. Spring Fountain is also the sole source of a rare blue dye. ETIENNE'S FATHER retains the dye trading monopoly on behalf of the FAMILYNAME family. Nonetheless, Lord Eustef's reign has created political and military stability unprecedented in its short and violent history.

            Spring Fountain includes four vassal holdings: Biche, Boyenne, Mime, and Stalos. Boyenne is ruled by Serge of the Crescent Sword, Mime by Old Maslin. The two remaining knights can be created by the narrator, if necessary. If one of the player heroes are playing a cavalry soldier (i.e. a knight) or a petty noble, one of these lesser holdings may belong to him.

            The peasants of Spring Fountain have always held on to some of their ancient pre-Rokari ways. To this day, they offer propitiatory worship to Rascarl of the Slippery Dark (see The Peasants' Tale, pg. XX), who was banished in mythic times, but who is still hiding in the crevices of reality; brooding and vengeful. Should the peasants ever stop their practice, the realm would again be invaded by fiendish Snake Things. If the church knew about the secret practices of the commoners of Spring Fountain, they would surely do their best to eradicate the wicked heresy.

            The exact location of Spring Fountain is left for the narrator to decide. Sir Eustef has managed to stay remarkably independent from his superiors. His liege lord is either the church, one of the few important lords not conquered by the crown, or King Guilmarn himself. If Spring Fountain is a vassal of the church, Eustef's liege will be a powerful bishop, or even Ecclesiarch Theoblanc. If a vassal of King Guilmarn, most matters between lord and vassal will be handled through an intermediary, a Constable appointed by the king. The only great territorial magnates remaining are the Count of Noyelle and the Baron of Gilboch (an island). Narrators may decide to place Spring Fountain outside the kingdom proper, such as the Castle Coast, Nolos, or even the western parts of Ralios.
              Formal Name: Trymirwal.
              Ruler: Lord Eustef  of the Fountain, Bannerette of Trymirwal.
              Population: 1750 adults, and about as many children.
              Settlements: Boyenne, Mime, Wells, and numerous lesser villages.[/list:u]

              Wells
              Wells is Sir Eustef's personal demesne, centered around the town of the same name. It is the focus of the military, spiritual, and economic might of the fief.
                Ruler: Eustef.
                Adult Population: 720.
                Army: 3 knights, 7 sergeants, 38 men-at-arms.[/list:u]

                Townspeople of Wells
                Wells is a small town of about 60 buildings, a marketplace, and a stone church. Wells Manor, protected by a moat and a wooden palisade, overlooks the settlement from a nearby hill.
                  Leader: Council.
                  Adult Population: 180.[/list:u]

                  Congregation of Wells
                  Once a week peasants from the surrounding countryside gathers at the newly renovated church of Wells. The building is a source of great pride among the populace, and a testimony to the piety of their Lord.
                    Leader: Father Rance.
                    Members: 700.[/list:u]
                    The church's reliquary is the Frontispiece of Saint Rokar's personal copy of the Abiding Book.
                      Communication: The blood of St. Rokar appears on the paper.
                      Functions:
                                Awareness—Sense Disease 2W.
                                Blessings—Work Even Harder 7W.
                                Defense—Be Content 15.[/list:u]
                      The Well of Souls (Guardian Essence)
                      When Enval liberated Trymirwal, he reconnected with the ancient past. He spent a full season of prayer and fasting. When he finally stood up, a well sprang to life beneath his feet. Many years later, a fountain was built around the spring. The Well of Souls has no personality or identity of its own. It is just a sacred well. Unfortunately, only the lord can control its magic. While Eustef is in a coma, the people of Spring Fountain cannot benefit from its powers.
                        Method: Emanation.
                        Form: A beautiful, ornate fountain.
                        Communication Manifestation: The shape, color, and odor of the water.
                        Functions:
                                  Awareness—Sense Ambush 15W2.
                                  Blessings—Lord of the Lands 1W3 (Command Peasant, Fertile Fields, Strike Down Peasant, Tear Apart Enemy Unit.) (This functions as a wyter ability.)
                                  Defense—Protect from Earth Magic 9W2.[/list:u]

                        Vassals

                        Biche
                        Adult Population: 180.
                        Army: 1 knight, 4 men-at-arms.

                        Boyenne
                        Ruler: Serge of the Crescent Sword
                        Adult Population: 380.
                        Army: 1 knight, 2 sergeants, 14 men-at-arms.

                        Mime
                        Ruler: Old Maslin.
                        Adult Population: 320.
                        Army: 1 knight, 3 sergeants, 10 men-at-arms.

                        Stalos
                        Adult Population: 150.
                        Army: 1 knight, 2 men-at-arms.


                        // SIDEBAR//
                        Rascarl of the Slippery Dark
                        Rascarl is a fiendish serpent being from the Ice Age who was banished and dismembered by an ancestor of the FAMILYNAME family. He is still looking for vengeance, and only the propitiatory worship (see HeroQuest[/b], pg. XX) of the peasants of Spring Fountain keeps him from invading the realm.
                        Rascarl is the son of an earth daimon known as Damsel Ophidia who was worshipped by ignorant humans in the Dawn Age. Neither are revered today.
                          Form: Rascarl manifests as an invasion of venomous snakes. Each snake is but a part of his body.
                          Functions:
                                    Awareness—Sense Serpent 20.
                                    Defense—Resist Snake Venom 17W.[/list:u]
                          //END SIDEBAR//


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 01, 2003, 04:28:51 AM
                          Hi Mick,

                          Thank you for your courtesy. I appreciate it.

                          /Peter N


                          Title: WAR!!
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 01, 2003, 10:22:08 AM
                          Hi again,

                          Chris asked for a overview of the military forces connected to this adventure. Below is two tables. The Army of Spring Fountain is a list of the armed forces as distributed on the five holdings of the fief. Military Strength of the Factions lists the fighting force broken down into the followers of the various factions and leaders.

                          The Army of Spring Fountain
                          Wells (1): 3 knights,   7 sergeants,   38 men-at-arms
                          Biche:   1 knight,   4 men-at-arms
                          Boyenne (2):   1 knight,   2 sergeants,   14 men-at-arms
                          Mime (3):   1 knight,   3   sergeants, 10 men-at-arms
                          Stalos:   1 knight,   2 men-at-arms

                          Total:   7 knights,   12 sergreants,   68 men-at-arms

                          (1) Includes Alfan, Trencavel, Xavier, and their personal followers.
                          (2) Includes Serge.
                          (3) Includes Maslin.

                          Military Strength of the Factions
                          Alfan: 2 sergeants
                          Serge:   2 sergeants,   14  men-at-arms
                          Old Guard Total: 4 sergeants, 14 men-at-arms

                          Maslin:   3 sergeants,   10  men-at-arms
                          Xavier: 1 sergeant
                          Hugo Total: 4 sergeants, 10 men-at-arms

                          Trencavel: 38 men-at-arms.

                          Note: I don't think Guilbert quite as weak in terms of fighting force as it seems. Remember that Serge "has already started maneuvering to put Guilbert in power, " which gives him a total of 2 sergeants and 14 foot soldiers in addition to the idealistic young men he is hanging out with. And in addition to his general popularity.

                          Cheers,

                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Bankuei on July 01, 2003, 10:27:04 AM
                          Hi Peter,

                          Excellent information.  I was rather thinking of the military ratings as something abstract such as, "5W3 worth of fighting men", or some such, but exact numbers work well also.

                          I'm currently revising the Bangs and doing up artwork.  I'll go hunting for a family name as well.  Etienne's father has been dubbed Jacques for lack of originality at the moment.

                          Chris


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 01, 2003, 11:02:02 AM
                          Quote from: Chris
                          I was rather thinking of the military ratings as something abstract such as, "5W3 worth of fighting men", or some such, but exact numbers work well also.


                          Oh. Yes, of course. That is a great idea! I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. I'll write it all up using the Mass Effort rules of HeroQuest. Now we are beginning to use the full potential of the game system. (You can find Mass Efforts in the Narrating chapter, I think, for those of you who wish to look it up when the game is published…oh so soon…)

                          Quote from: Chris
                          I'm currently revising the Bangs and doing up artwork. I'll go hunting for a family name as well. Etienne's father has been dubbed Jacques for lack of originality at the moment.


                          Jacques eh? Hm … yes I know I told you to use French names, but I think we need some variation here. Rename him Deliam (after an ancient and forgotten King of Seshnela).

                          Cheers,

                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Bankuei on July 01, 2003, 11:47:43 AM
                          Hi Peter,

                          Quote
                          Oh. Yes, of course. That is a great idea! I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. I'll write it all up using the Mass Effort rules of HeroQuest. Now we are beginning to use the full potential of the game system.


                          From the old HW books, as soon as I saw the rating chart that rated things from tribes to kingdoms to Gods, I instantly figured on just rating things along those lines, including stuff like "popularity", "cultural cohesion", etc.  My idea for WoS might be something like a small addition to each character stat block such as adding Father Rance's congregation info along with his stats, and the short description you have, plus their own stats.  I had assumed that everybody playing HW was operating along the same lines :)

                          Quote
                          Jacques eh? Hm … yes I know I told you to use French names, but I think we need some variation here. Rename him Deliam (after an ancient and forgotten King of Seshnela)


                          Deliam it is!

                          Also, I should have the small character portrait sketchs for the NPCs completed in about a week.  

                          Chris


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 02, 2003, 12:43:45 PM
                          Hi Chris,

                          Yes, the concept of Mass Efforts and communities and stuff has been there from the start, sort of, but … well … it is so much more streamlined, so much clearer, so much better in HeroQuest!

                          Go buy the game goddamit! It's fantastic!

                          Hrm…

                          Sorry about that.

                          :-)


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 02, 2003, 12:46:46 PM
                          Hi folks,

                          Here are a list of concerns. Sorry for not considering this before. I don't think it will cause much trouble, however.


                          -Blood Moon Eclipse

                          I agree that it sounds cool. For various Gloranthan reasons, I don't think it is appropriate. Let me know if you want me to list them. Alternate suggestion: The sons' make their wishes at a time of transition, such as equinox, midsummer, or mid winter. This is also the time when Dark Ivo (aka Rascarl of the Slippery Dark) is strongest, so I think it fits.


                          - The People?

                          Several of the characters have relations to "the people." Who are the people exactly? Are they the commoners of the realm? But why would members of the knightly caste, like Alfan and Guilbert, fraternize with mere peasants? Also, I don't believe in the concept of 'people.' I believe in merchants, knights, lords, clerics, noblewomen, barrelmakers, and peasants. People? A modern construction. (BTW. I *do* believe in subjects, but that is something else entirely.)


                          - Knights and sergeants

                          I just realized, there are only four knights in Spring Fountain: Serge, Old Maslin, and the knights of Biche and Stalos. Only landholders are called knights in Seshnela. Non-landed members of the knightly caste are known as sergeants. So the army statistics must be changed a little bit. Some of the knights are sergeants.


                          - Lord Eustef

                          I suggest we promote Eustef to Lord, and that we do not call him Sir at all.


                          - Militia?

                          I'm not entirely happy with the term. It is too modern. We are talking about the peasant infantry garrisoning Wells, right? Can we not come up with a more appropriate name for these poorly equipped and poorly motivated men?


                          - The Well of Souls, how to use this scenario

                          Quote from: 4th paragraph
                          There are no “hooks” in this scenario. If you decide to run this scenario, both you and your players must agree to hook in the PCs. The PCs may already know folks in Spring Fountain, they might have arrived a few weeks ago and just made friends, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has to agree to have emotional ties with some NPCs in Spring Fountain, aside from that, its open game.

                          Chris, perhaps you should add a few more sentences here. Earlier in this thread you gave a little more specific advice regarding how to hook the player heroes:
                          Quote
                          I’d give the standard HW 2 page culture summary, and the R-map (with very basic info about the NPCS given). Then I’d say, here’s the situation: Sir Eustef is in a coma. Make a character connected to some of these NPCs, preferably 3. Players would then make characters as a group, launching suggestions, advice, perhaps coordinating (“Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we were brothers, after the same girl?” “Yeah!”)


                          I believe that "show the players the R-map" is great advice. It is also something that no narrator schooled in the Don't Tell the Players Tradition would ever think of. Perhaps we should include a Players' Relationship Map as a handout?

                          Cheers,

                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Bankuei on July 02, 2003, 07:30:56 PM
                          Hi Peter,

                          Excellent input, and exactly the sort of stuff I've been waiting to hear as far as Gloranthan specifics.  

                          -Winter Solstice?  

                          Works for me.  I just figured any game that pulls out stuff like "10-Demon Bag" earned funky holy day names.  If one sounds appropriate to the Rokari Church, by all means suggest it.

                          -The People?

                          Obviously we're not talking about a "voting" situation here, but rather a couple of things:  The folks with political power, such as the merchants, the church, guilds, knights, etc.  We can already see a lot of division in terms of who favors who in that regard.  

                          But!  Lord Eustef also has managed to earn a good reputation with the folks who make up his conscripts, the infantry.  He has treated them (comparatively, for feudal heirarchy), well and just, thereby earning a higher morale, and has not treated them as cannon fodder.  This has given him a little extra military oomph that has helped keep the neighboring lords with hungry eyes at bay.  Plus it never hurts that the peasants always seem to have a good information network...

                          In terms of Guilbert, his son, many of the churchgoers and upper class folks see him either working with Josette or Etienne, so he has many connections there.  He has support from those folks in that regard.

                          Does that clarify the people I'm speaking about?

                          -Knights/Sergeants/Lord

                          All acceptable by me.  

                          -Militia

                          Conscripts?  I'm not sure about the exact term used for these folks, but basically their role is to keep down banditry, attempt to enforce some form of social stability in more populated areas, and are called up as soldiers in actual combat.  Anyone have the term we're looking for?

                          Aside from that, one of the points that I wanted to make about Lord Eustef is that he has wisely made excellent use of his conscripts, instead of crippling them(in terms of supplies and training) to prevent rebellion, he's earned their respect and loyalty, and has given them better training than the neighboring areas have for their peasant troops.  He also tends to conserve his troops, earning their respect and also allowing more folks to survive and gain battle experience.  These guys are better motivated than the standard conscript group.

                          Does Lord Eustef do this out of compassion, or raw Machevellian political need?  That depends on how you want to play him.  He's a smart man though.

                          -Hooks

                          I'll add some more to that, although the two concepts are not contradictory.  Traditional hooks are basically "I can't believe its not railroading" sort of things, like "The man in the dark cloak meets you in the bar and offers you money for a job...do you take it?"  Here, the players are freely deciding how they want to enter the scenario, so I'll add some more on that.

                          Chris


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 03, 2003, 03:34:54 AM
                          Hi,

                          Here is the draft for the third party characters. Please note that I have changed Ratier's occupation a little bit. He works for the church, but not as a priest.

                          Father Rance
                          Keywords: Clergyman 8W, Liturgist 20.
                          Significant Abilities: Quote Scripture 14W.
                          Relationships: Leader of Wells Congregation 2W, Spritual Advisor to FAMILYNAME 6W.
                          Followers: Retainer 2W (Meines: Assistant Liturgist 17).

                          Raoul de Nesle
                          Keywords: Merchant 14W, Orderly of Saint Mistandar 4W.
                          Significant Abilities: Feign Sincere Interest 6W.
                          Formulary:
                            The Ledgers of Credit (possesses talismans for Convincing Offer, Sense Others' Wealth, Strengthen Lock).[/list:u]
                          Relationships: Contacts in [Nearest Big City] 4W, Rival to Deliam 20, Leader of the de Nestle Family 15W.

                          Ecclesiastical Assessor Ratier
                          Keywords: Church Official 4W, Member of the School of Saint Rokar 5W.
                          Grimoires:
                            Use The Abiding Book 7W (possesses talismans for Banish Daimon 3W, Calm Horse 6W, Calm Serpent 1W, Encourage Bravery 6W, Exert Will 19, Memorize Text 10W).
                            Use Saint Rokar's Third Encyclical 20 (possesses talismans for Burn Pagan Writings 20, Enter Library 15, Find Right Book 20, Read Book 1W).[/list:u]
                          Relationships: Attracted to Josette 18, Jealous of Guilbert 5W, Member of the Order of Rokar 3W, Works For the Bishop 4W.

                          Trencavel
                          Keywords: Foot Soldier 3W.
                          Significant Abilities: Archery 2W, Lead Men 6W, Spear Fighting 8W (+64 AP from followers).
                          Weapons and Armor: Spear +3, bow +3, leather and shield +4.
                          Relationships: Leader of Garrison 7W, Loyal to Eustef 2W.
                          Followers: Four Retainers 9W (Foot Soldiers 16).

                          Lady Noella
                          Keywords: Noblewoman 16W2.
                          Significant Abilities: Assess Social Standing 4W3, Canny 3W, Command Inferior 5W.
                          Followers: Sidekick 9W (Daughter Aimee: Bashful 5W, Naive 17, Pretty 19).


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Valamir on July 03, 2003, 03:52:29 AM
                          I'm not sure its cultureally appropriate to the region you are in but Fyrdmen is would otherwise be a good replacement for militia.  I believe it simply means "free men".


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 03, 2003, 11:58:18 AM
                          Hi folks,

                          I know this is all 'just' stats, but please read carefully, since it will have an impact on play. Also, Chris, the stats contain information that may or may not contradict what have in mind.

                          One thing: Who are the idealistic young men hanging out with Guilbert? I have no idea what stats to give them.

                          ---
                          Guilbert
                          Hotheaded Eldest Son

                          Guilbert
                          Other Keywords: Seshnegi 1W, Petty Noble 4W.
                          Significant Abilities: Charismatic 7W, Dueling 1W, Energetic 16, Etiquette 1W, Love Eustef 3W, Political Strategy 15.
                          Weapons and Armor: Fancy sword +2, chainmail and shield +4.
                          Flaws: Hotheaded 1W, Overconfident 15.
                          Hero Points: 4.
                          Personal Augments:
                          Enhance Appearance talent (+2 to Etiquette or Charismatic)
                             Stay Awake talent (+2 to Energetic)

                          Etienne
                          Keywords: Lay Member of the Rokari Church 18, Merchant 13.
                          Significant Abilities: Bargain 16, Eloquent 19, Find the Fun 12W, Persuasive 19.

                          Sister Josette
                          Keywords: Orderly of Saint Xemela 6W, Nun 19.
                          Significant Abilities: Administration 2W, Enamored with Gilbert 11W, Recognize Talent 16.

                          [two lines]
                          Contest Synopsis
                          Have a Good Time (Etienne): 12W.
                          Dueling (Guilbert): 6W (+6 AP).
                          Persuade (Guilbert): 9W (+20 AP).

                          [one line]
                          Lay Member of the Rokari Church 16

                          [two lines]
                          Liked by the People of Spring Fountain 5W

                          [three lines]
                          Leader of Rowdy Idealistic Young Men 15
                          Typical Idealistic Young Man
                          Keywords: ???
                          Weapons and Armor: ???

                          [two lines]
                          Personal Time


                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 06, 2003, 04:07:44 AM
                          Hi again,

                          Sorry for not posting more exiting things. I know already that these stats will be revised. However I will revise them only after posting it all here, and then I'll send the complete revised stats to Chris to be included in the final thing.

                          Right now, I am considering having only two leader sheets, for example: Hugo and Serge, but we'll see.

                          Also, I have NOT forgotten about the other issues being discussed, such as what to call the foot soldiers, etc. Once the first draft for the stats are finished, I will return to more interesting issues.

                          Sir Serge of the Crescent Sword
                          Hard Liner

                          Sir Serge
                          Significant Abilities: Lance Charge 9W2, Sword Fighting 6W2, Lead Troops in Battle 13W2.
                          Weapons and Armor: The Crescent Sword +6, lance +5, chainmail and shield +4.
                          Personality: Merciless 20.
                          Personal Augments:
                          ///YEAH, YEAH, I KNOW...///

                          Kerioc Oxheart
                          Keywords: Cavalry Soldier 2W2.
                          Significant Abilities: Archery 20W.
                          Weapons and Armor: Sword +3, lance +5, longbow +3, lamellar armor and shield +4.

                          Marcior Without Mercy
                          Keywords: Cavalry Soldier 13W.
                          Significant Abilities: Cruel 7W, Mace Fighting 19W.
                          Weapons and Armor: Huge mace +5, lance +5, longbow +3, chainmail armor +3.

                          Little Ionni
                          Keywords: Squire 17.
                          Significant Abilities: First Aid 10W, Horsemanship 5W, Strong 18.
                          Equipment: First aid kit +3.

                          Contest Synopsis
                          Lance Charge (Serge): 20W2 (+92 AP).
                          Close Combat (Serge): 18W2 (+99 AP).
                          Archery (Kerioc): 6W2 (+36 AP).
                          First Aid (Ionni): 13W.

                          [one line]
                          Lay Member of the Rokari Church 19

                          [two lines]
                          Holder of Boyenne 5W

                          [four lines]
                          Cavalry Soldier (Shock) 20W
                          Leader of Men-at-Arms 5W.
                          (includes time commitment to followers)
                          Typical Man-at-arms
                          Keywords: Foot Soldier 14.
                          Weapons and Armor: Spear +3, bow +1, leather armor and shield +2.

                          [two lines]
                          Solving Problems for Eustef

                          [one lines]
                          Personal Time


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 08, 2003, 12:27:58 AM
                          Here we go. The last of the stats posts, I think. Please note that the stats posted above have already been altered somewhat, but unless someone have some actual comments, I will send the final version to Chris directly, rather than taking up more space here.

                          Hugo and his supporters are posted below for the sake of completeness.

                          Hugo’s Supporters
                          Hugo
                          Keywords: Petty Noble 20.
                          Significant Abilities: Assess Personality 5W, Perceptive 10W, Political Strategy 3W, Sword Fighting 14W.
                          Weapons and Armor: Hand-and-a-half sword +3, hardened leather +1.
                          Relationships: Care for the People of Spring Fountain 5W, Love Eustef 1W, Member of Wells Congregation 1W.
                          Hero Points: 4.

                          Xavier
                          Keywords: Cavalry Soldier (Regular) 8W.
                          Significant Abilities: Archery 13W, Spear and Shield Fighting 17W2, Sword Fighting 16W2, Sword and Shield Fighting 18W2, Teach Fighting Techniques 12W2.
                          Weapons and Armor: Iron sword +6, ringmail and shield +4.
                          Relationships: Backs Hugo 12W, Member of Wells Congregation 4W, Militia Trainer 9W.

                          Brier
                          Keywords: Servant 14.
                          Relationships: Idolizes Hugo 14W, Member of Wells Congregation 13.

                          Sir Maslin
                          Keywords: Advisor 15W, Cavalry Soldier (Regular) 18.
                          Significant Abilities: Good Solid Advice 18W, History of Spring Fountain 19W, Political Strategy 17W, Sword and Shield Fighting 16.
                          Weapons and Armor: Rusty old sword +2, chainmail and shield +4.
                          Relationships: Devoted to Hugo 5W, Holder of Mime 1W2, Member of Wells Congregation 6W.
                          Flaws: Old 10W.



                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Mike Holmes on July 08, 2003, 06:57:11 AM
                          Pretty fricken sweet. So when can I download a PDF, or buy a copy?

                          Mike


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 08, 2003, 10:02:09 AM
                          Hi Mike,

                          Unless something unexpected happens you will be able to download the pdf from Issaries' website … eh … soon.

                          Cheers,

                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Bankuei on July 08, 2003, 10:25:33 AM
                          Hi guys,

                          I've been returned to the slow land of dial-up, so I'll be off and on the next few days, with less posting, but I'll probably be done with the illustrations tonight, and my re-write of everything I have in the next 2 or 3 days.

                          Again, we're still open to suggestions and input, although we're probably looking more at minor tweaks than fundamental changes at this point.

                          Chris


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 08, 2003, 11:05:23 AM
                          Hi Chris,

                          -Funky Holy Day Names

                          Oh, I have no problem with an evocative name for the day. But 'Blood Moon' has strong Heortling anti-Lunar connotations, and eclipse … no, I don't think so. Must it be a church holy day? On the contrary, the whole setup bears the mark of the devil, if you ask me. Blood Raven Day? Hare’s Night? You can probably come up with something better. (However, note that raven is associated with both the trickster and with death, while hare is associated with trickster alone.)

                          Quote
                          In terms of Guilbert, his son, many of the churchgoers and upper class folks see him either working with Josette or Etienne, so he has many connections there.


                          OK. But you please note that techically, though not necessarily in practice, Etienne and his father (and Raoul de Nesle) belong to the peasants caste.

                          -Militia /Fyrdmen

                          As it turns out, the term militia is probably not as inappropriate as I first thought. Sorry about that. However, this is what I suggest: Trencavel is leader of the garrison of Wells. Use 'militia' if necessary, though.

                          Valamir, regarding Fyrdmen: The peasants of Seshnela are not free. While they are not slaves, they belong to the land. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

                          Cheers,

                          /Peter N


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Bankuei on July 13, 2003, 04:53:38 PM
                          Hi folks,

                          Those who are still interested in this project will be pleased to know that I've produced 19 illustrations for this scenario and just sent off a draft of my portion of the write-up to Peter for layout.  

                          If anyone is interested in contributing artwork, or layout skills at this time, please contact Peter, otherwise we'll being going ahead and you can expect something within the next 2-3 weeks, which would be about a week or two after the release of HQ.

                          For everyone else, probably the #1 contribution that can be made is taking a look at it when it comes out, letting us know where things are unclear or confusing, and of course, play, play, playing it.  

                          Chris


                          Title: Narrativist Scenario Writing
                          Post by: Peter Nordstrand on July 14, 2003, 11:42:59 AM
                          That's it folks. It is time to close this thread. Contact me directly if you have suggestions, ideas or futher comments.

                          Chris' pictures are magnificent. In my opinion the Well of Souls is a good answer to my original question: How do one write a narrativist scenario for HeroQuest? I am biased, of course.

                          Thanks everybody; especially Chris. This has been an enlightening experience.

                          I'll let you know when we are done.

                          Cheers,

                          /Peter N