This series was written to help players develop their own storylines with ease. It consists of three parts and each part can be found here. Enjoy!
Okay, my last guide was called “Writing a Successful Storyline“. I think the guide was pretty good personally, but I feel it was aimed towards more of a personal storyline. This guide aims at helping you write a storyline that isn’t based around your character, but perhaps a group of people.
Just like the previous one, I’ll be writing what I would do and how I would go about it.
Here are a few things to consider before writing your story.
Firstly, you have a group to worry about. Let’s use 10 as a base number for example. Each member of the group is an individual character. Each have their own feelings and beliefs. Each will only do certain things and will not break their principles. Some characters may like combat, others may not. So how do you get everyone involved?
Personally, if I was going to write a storyline that involved more than 2-3 people, I would consider what was going to happen in the story. The important thing is to get everyone involved. I see this all the time… Storylines that are written with no characters in mind apart from the story teller. I disagree with this. If you do this, no one will attend. So make a clear definition of what you want everyone to do in the story. You don’t have to tell them, but know it in your head.
Don’t forget that all characters are different. Some are passive, where as some are aggressive. Know how to get people in line if the storyline begins to lose track. The last thing you want, is your story to be hijacked. I’ll make it clear though, be sure to not be too dominating with this. Don’t turn around and be like “You shouldn’t do that! You have killed him and we needed information!”. Instead, have your members know that this character isn’t to die.
Be sure to have a clear outcome planned in your head. This is very important if you want a storyline to pan out for weeks. Don’t rush it, and take your time. After all, a rushed story is a failed one.
If you want your group to reach certain points throughout the story, make sure you make it clear to them that you want them to reach targets.
Another interesting thing to consider, and what a lot of people forget, is that you might want your players to learn from the story. You might when their characters to be affected. I tend to disagree with physical changes to a characters appearance because of a storyline, however psychological changes are fine. They might be disturbed by something during the story. If this is the case, make sure you lay it on heavy in the story and target the character correctly.
For example, Carmtan is a druid. He cares very much about nature and would generally be upset if he walked into a burnt area of woodland.
If we use that as a basis in a story. Have your group walk into the wood. Carmtan should notice straight away and it should affect him. Be sure to engage with him. Talk to him about it and see how he feels. The player should empathize with the character and you’ll get a better standard of RP immediately.
Also, don’t be afraid of having things in your story that changes your groups outlook on life. Yes, not everything is doom and gloom in life, but having something bad happen to a member is often a good thing. It drives RP and gets everyone thinking.