Thursday, July 21, 2022

Common Elements of Epic Adventures: Familiar Faces

   For those that don't know I had a serious health crisis early in the year. I didn't cheat Death, but I did win on the long odds. Three times. So blogging was light.

  Returning to my discussion of Epic Adventures let me address the first element I think they have in common: the characters are neither low nor very high level. 

  This doesn't mean 'start the PCs at 5th level so they can be epic!!'. This means that the PCs have to grow into their own as well as into the campaign. Among the concepts of my gaming philosophy [Psychotronic Gaming] is the ideas that PCs drive action and that status quo is the enemy. Combined with the rest this means that as PCs start, level up, grow, and develop they inevitably change the campaign and grow to be a part of it. Verisimilitude and resource management effectively forces the PCs to have their own individual, unique relationships with multiple NPCs ranging from hirelings and henchmen to mayors and sages. In the end after 2-4 Real World years of gaming the PCs are integrally part of the campaign such that what their actions and fates matter to the campaign as a whole.

  There are no shortcuts to this. This is something that is organic to the "process" of RPG campaigns. Like true inside jokes. in-group jargon, etc. it can only healthily develop and 'set' over time and with familiarity. Just making a mid-level character and slapping them into a contrived huge battle to save the world is going to have the elements of an epic adventure but won't be one.

  Many bad movies have the elements of a good movie: established, well-known actors; famous writers; famous directors; etc.; yet miss the mark and are, well - junk. Do people watch it? Sure. Might it be a cult film? Yes. But that is NOT because it is epic.

  Just like a lot of creative endeavors/art quality and expertise takes lots of time and practice and that includes with individual characters within an RPG campaign. Relationships between PCs and between PCs and NPCs alone take a lot of time! 

  This means the build up to a truly epic adventure is going to take years of Real World time. The good news is, those years will be full of great fun with friends.

Next time: why you can never plan an Epic Adventure.