Directing a Game in NycosRPG Masterbook. | World Anvil

Directing a Game

In The Beginning...

  The story begins with the Director and Members discussing the Story and determining which Systembook or Systembooks that will be used in the game, as references during play. The Systembook will determine the variety of options the players can investigate in building out the Persona for the game, and to have a kind of understanding of the world mechanisms in use. For the first session, and even for the first Series or Saga, it is recommended that only one Systembook is used, to reduce confusion and to focus the scope of play to that singular Genre.  Of course, veteran Storytellers can ignore this recommendation if it suits them despite the possible extra effort.   Basically, the game remains in conversational structure, with the Director narrating, explaining, and describing the situation, until such time that he needs input from the players either about their Persona and how they interconnect with the Story, or to ask what they, the Persona would do in that particular case. The game extends from this conversation, using a percentage system to resolve how the decisions of the Persona impact the direction of the story. in most cases, this will simply be a kind of question and answer, or perhaps will entail dialogue between that Persona and individuals in the story, which is then enacted (roleplayed) by the Cadre Members (singular or plural) and the Director in the role of the non-Player character as necessary.   Should the players decide to take some action in the scene, the Director determines if that Action simply happens (as in most cases) or determines a check against the skills of the Persona is required. Actions resolve through individual or combined Skills Rolls - both uncontested and contested, which are called Checks, and of course Combat. The one thing to remember is that Checks, contested or otherwise have "low roll" targets and Combat has 'high roll" targets. But before we roll any dice in the game, there are some details that have to be made clear to all.   The Members and the Director must have a shared understanding of the Scene, Setting, and Stage of the gameplay environment at all times.   Ensuring all the Players, as well as the Director is aware of the overall direction and details of the Story are the point of the dialogue beginning of the Session. This might be simply the setup for the single Session, a continuation of the Series, or even the recap of the Saga being played.   For the most part, the Director's narrative should be explanatory and descriptive. Perhaps a particular building or locale needs a particular detailed definition, or specifics of enemy positions, cover arcs, and such need to be understood. Most Narrative discrepancies are usually only a matter of clarity. Resolution of such Narrative conflicts usually defines the scene, direction and distance, and conditions of the space of the location or setting. The Director must be concise and thorough in describing these details so the Persona knows what kind of options they have.  


Once the Story history and the beginning details have been confirmed as understood, the Director must provide the particulars for the Personae to decide upon. Players react, explaining their chosen actions. When the Director has all the particulars, he then determines what kind of Scene should be set.   Vignette - An individual Action by a player that is out of sync with the rest of the adventure, is particularly interesting, or is necessary to continue the story at large. Usually, one or at most a few of the members are involved, so the scenes are relatively abrupt, with little story development. Buying supplies, or picking up a particular nonsequitur item to push the story forward, vignettes generally are simply at most a singular die roll to accomplish (one and done).   Montage - a collection of vignettes handled individually and sequentially, to allow a bunch of things to be resolved virtually simultaneously and without interfering with the continuity of the story itself. Players are given 'solo' story bits to resolve, usually handled in one or at most a few die rolls, and the story advances as the players conclude their individual pieces of the montage.   Feature - The main sequence of events that demand most if not all the Members to participate for the Scene to be accomplished. In some cases, it is only one Stage, but the Feature Scenes can require a multitude of Stages to complete. In most feature scenes, the Action becomes a bit of back and forth, Action and Reaction, like a seesaw. Each feature scene comprises one or more Stages triggered by the players' relative successes and failures. As the action is generally either contested or under conditional stresses, checks are going to be Contested or Combat Skills Checks unless chosen otherwise by the Director.   Feature Scenes are made up of one or more Stages that must be completed to resolve the Scene.   To reduce Narrative Discrepancies during a Stage, the Director should ask the players to respond to general locational questions to make sure they have a solid grasp of the situation. If the players are not "getting it," perhaps they should be offered a map, terrain pieces, or even miniatures to reduce and alleviate the confusion. In any case, Storytelling, rather than any dice-rolling, should be the avenue for handling these kinds of challenges. So if a player doesn't know where their Persona is concerning the others and the environment, he or she must ask clarifying questions until they are made aware. The Players must be as curious as necessary to ensure they have that same level of awareness.  


The Stages consider the Consequences, Results, and Outcomes of the Actions of the Personae and all external forces involved in it. Stages are a series of associated segments of a scene, usually linked by continuous or directly associated to each other in succession, and usually resolve when the action breaks continuity ( Persona withdraw, pursuers fail to continue their efforts, whatever). After all actions for the Stage have been resolved, determine whether the objective of the Stage has been accomplished. If they have, the Scene concludes, and the story moves on. If they have not, then add any specific conditions that come into play, and restate the Stage. Players then determine if they wish to continue the Stage or to withdraw from it. The Stages resolve each in turn, and each applies the Conditions warranted by the C R & O of the previous Stages.   Once the Feature Scene resolves, Actions will usually return to Montages or Vignettes until the next Feature Scene presents itself.    Once in a while, though, realize that a Feature Scene might lead to another directly, so remember to carry over the Conditions, Results, and Outcomes of the previous Feature Scene into the subsequent one.

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