When you take on the role of the gamemaster you are in charge. The rules are a guideline to help you out but ultimately it is up to you to craft the game for your players and define the rules to them. This will mean being as descriptive as you can be to your players. They will only know what you have laid out to them in the world so you will need to convey the details to them. Using maps or diagrams can help with this process. For those of you who up to the challenge of being the gamemaster, the best advice is to plan and relax. Everything can and will go off the rails somewhere.
Planning ahead can be one of your most reliable allies when running a game. Walking into a gaming session with nothing prepared for your group is a grand way to confuse the masses but over planning can lead to paths not taken. When you plan out your sessions just relax and keep what you can simple. The players will take actions that completely throw your plans out the window. Flexibility in your session crafting can create new avenues for your players as sessions progress.
Now if dealing with this headache seems like an appealing time to you then use this section of the rules to help guide you down the path. Go find you some angry little malcontents to suffer with you as you drag their characters through hell after hell in pursuit of whatever overpowered entity you wish to torture them with. Because, what is the point of a story without some well-placed drama and comedy? Life is full of both; just because you can throw a lightning bolt at your problems doesn’t change that.
Story is the most important part of any role playing game. It is what drives the players onward and what keeps them coming back for more. It is the gamemaster’s job to weave a compelling and challenging story to keep the players interested. There are many places where you as a gamemaster can pull your stories from as well as many reasons for your individual party members to go along or stay behind for different adventures. If you are a compelling enough storyteller you could make chasing a butterfly an amazing quest for your players. Here are some sample story line ideas.
Class Assignments: Some classes such as Order of the Blade and Serpents of Kinja have a hierarchy that distributes missions to their members. It is common for them to receive these missions throughout the game. This is a good story type for side story sessions when some players are missing.
Profession Jobs: All professions have jobs that need to be completed to move up the profession ranks. If most of the party cancels and the pair of thieves show up. They take on a heist while the rest of the party is away.
Call of the Nation: All characters have a nation or land in which they hail from. Those characters with loyalties to their nation may be called upon to serve their country. This can be a source of conflict for the party if they hail from nations in conflict as they may be called to opposite ends of a battlefield. All of a party could be called to a nation storyline or not and they may be on various sides.
Relations: A player’s family history can become a good source of storylines for your party. Distant or close relations to your characters can bring you urgent family problems that need a characters attention. This is a good story type to use if a player is going to be absent for awhile or wants to try a new character.
Animosity: Characters within the party do not always get along or maybe never have. This can cause rifts between the party as other characters may choose sides in the internal conflict of the group. If things break down between the characters, some may part ways from the party.
Morality: Giving the party moral choices to make and their responses to them, can shape the makeup of the characters and the story. Moral choices can conflict with a character’s goals and sacrifices. This will in some cases also determine which factions may accept the individual party members.
Factions: Meeting the factions of the world can be a valuable tool for your characters. It can give them contacts, safe houses, allies, and equipment that they are not able to find elsewhere. Gaining prestige with these factions can be important to your characters. Gaining trusted prestige will make you an ally while gaining feared prestige will make you an enemy.
Conflict: Characters brought into conflict storylines are headed for the battlefield. These story points are usually tied into a character’s background or faction relations. It is easy for characters to be on multiple sides of a conflict.
Escort: Someone or something needs to get somewhere and they are the target of someone. All gamers know how hard it can be just to get someone down the street safely. Normally this quest involves at least one faction.
Bandit: Someone or something is being escorted and your party is hired to stop them or steal it.
Defense: The party is called to aid an ally in the defense of some location or people important to them. These quests may be based on surviving waves of attacks or giving the non-player characters time to accomplish a goal.
Assault: The party is called by an ally to assault a location or group of enemies. These quests can be a counter point quest to defense or escort types and are accomplished whenever the players take the location or enemy out.
Goals & Sacrifices & Limits
Goals are what characters want to accomplish. They could be large, small, lengthy, or quick to attain. Each goal they have has a sacrifice they are will to pay for it. What they are willing to sacrifice to attain their goal will drive their motivation. Sacrifice could be many things, including financial ruin or betrayal. Limits are what you are not willing to sacrifice. Not all characters have limits. Over time goals can change or expand as they are accomplished or given up on.