I’ve run a couple of sessions for my RPG group of the last couple of months.

I’ve run a couple of sessions for my RPG group of the last couple of months.

I’ve run a couple of sessions for my RPG group of the last couple of months. Everyone says they’re enjoying themselves but they have one criticism, there’s no story arc. Killing a different monster every week doesn’t really lead to an over arching plot.

I was wondering if/how anyone else incorporated a story arc into their games of MOTW.

5 thoughts on “I’ve run a couple of sessions for my RPG group of the last couple of months.”

  1. Pgs 227-238 of the book detail the creation of arcs (which are, imo, integral to the game). Essentially creating arcs is very similar to creating a mystery: you pick a basic concept, some threats, and a countdown. As for where to get that stuff? Mine your character’s backstories! Most of the playbooks give you lots to work with: The Initate’s sect, The Chosen’s destiny, the source of The Spooky’s powers, and so on. There should be plenty to dig in to just with that stuff, and the more you can connect it with your players’ backstories and interests, the more invested they’ll be.

    My current game is still in its starting stages but the Initiate’s sect–a creepy New Age-y yoga cult–is going to play a huge role in things to come, as is a local evil corporation. The one thing I would say is try to let some of the background stuff develop organically. If you plan too much in advance it’ll feel forced. The real trick is to make it up as you go but make it feel like you had it planned all along.

  2. Player histories! I started with a single mystery idea and a vague notion of a larger story that one mission could turn into. After player creation, I had a pretty much clear picture of how we might resolve the player stories through mysteries. Like a TV show, much of the sessions will be main story episodes, but there can also be some novelty or otherwise side-bar episodes too.

    – The Chosen and Divine share a mission to stop the coming apocalypse, which I’m tying into the vague overarching story I had considered. That’s going to be the main story arc that involves multiple steps and individual episodes.

    – I have a Wronged whose family was killed by wraiths, but the player specifically said the wraiths were sent by someone. So I’m going to make it so the person who sent those wraiths works for the Agency that our Professional works for and see what drama the players take from that.

    – The Professional first encountered the Crooked and the Divine through a debacle involving a particular immortal. That immortal is going to come back in some way I haven’t determined yet. But the original event already put tension between the Crooked and Divine. I will certainly use his return to play with that tension and see how they choose to resolve it, including possible ways the Agency could try to push the Professional into an uncomfortable position.

    What I love about PbtA games in general is their collaborative nature and how little the Keeper has to individually carry. The players took 2 hours to create the characters and backstories. Don’t let that go to waste! Mine that to create a series of mysteries and are interesting in and of themselves and that also let the players resolve some of these stories they created.

    The players are just as responsible for creating a fun and interesting narrative as the Keeper is. In this group, for example, the Crooked went off and did a bunch of stuff on her own, which I didn’t expect. While I was scrambling to think through how to handle things, the Professional simply announced that when she came into this particular room, he was there! Yes he had to explain how that happened, and his back story fit that perfectly (the Pro used to be married to the Crooked’s mother), but he did that, not me. Empower your players to guide things. “Play to find out what happens.”

  3. I ran a game on Happy Jacks RPG called Interpol X (http://happyjacks.org) that included a season arc. I had a vague idea of the overall arc based on session 0, and just made sure all weekly monsters sprang out of that arc. I made a separate mystery sheet for the arc and then had NPCs continuously show up so that when the big showdown happened the PCs were already familiar with these baddies.

    It’s totally doable. Even retroactively. Have some previously seen NPCs turn up again and start linking them together. Try to build the arc out of threads that already were established about the world.


  4. I’m starting a game filled with Angels and Demons in steampunk London. There is a half angel/half demon queen who wants to rule earth. But she’s also a popular madam in a well-known brothel and the hunters will start the game thinking she’s an ally, or at least neutral.

    They think they are hunting down an anarchist gang calling themselves The Queendom of Heaven, and they go to her for information – in fact, it’s HER organization. A fallen angel works in the same brothel and she is indeed an ally who also provides them with information. Each week, they are going to be sent on one wild goose chase after another – I’m a little hopeful (weirdly so) that they make some mistakes in who they hunt down, and eliminate some of the “good guys” – it will create some wild tension – not everyone is as they seem.

    Ultimately, the end of the campaign will be when they either realize she is their true enemy and hunt her down, or get too close without realizing the truth and she comes after them. I’m excited to see where that goes.

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