Wednesday 17 February 2016

The 'Reactive BBEG'

Here's a method of procedurally 'activating' antagonists plans and actions, based on player rolls and relationships. I took inspiration from 13th Age and Dungeon World. I think it works best for GM who are slackers and make shit up as they go. Like me.

At the start of your campaign (no matter the length) choose a minimum of 3 Antagonists. These should be things that are capable of going the long haul - all the way to the end of the campaign if needed. But crucially they should represent something larger than the actual NPC you create. In my last campaign I had the Orc Lord, The Liche King and  The Great Druid. They each represented a 'prevailing attitude' in my game world, like the Orc was obviously war and chaos. Depending on the scale of the game its likely they'll have a shit-tonne of resources too.

Work those concepts up a bit - keeping them broad and undefined at this stage, but you need to assign each a goal or 'end state'. If their ultimate plan isn't stopped this happens, for good or for ill.  You should probably also come up with 3 loose 'milestones' - big things that need to happen in order for that final goal can be attained.

Have every character that is created choose 3 relationships with them - one positive, one undecided and the final negative. Have them spin a line or two of fluff around the relationship and they're good to go. At the end of every session have them roll d6 for each relationship - any 5's or 6's means that 'antagonist' will do something interesting to influence the story next session. Usually this will mean doing something toward achieving their ultimate goal, and hopefully someway that either reinforces or tests the relationship to the character that rolled a 5 or 6.

Now you've got an interesting sub-system with a bunch of antagonist that should react, act and generally have some backwards and forwards with the players. Also hopefully this takes some load off the GM between session, giving them a firm course to sail when creating stuff. - but also providing a lose structure so if it goes in an odd direction its not a problem. My games always go in odd directions.


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