Putting together a team Physical / Metaphysical Law in NycosRPG Masterbook. | World Anvil

Putting together a team

What ARE Roleplaying Games?

  Most of us have at least some ideas about what constitutes a role-playing game. Those ideas have some merit, but to be clear, this is NOT YOUR CLUMSY OLD SYSTEM. The objectives are still there - defeating monsters, achieving memorable adventures, and advancing your particular character along a path to legend. But in Passages, the key is the pursuit of a compelling story wherein the players, along with their Personae inside the games -become MORE.   The biggest challenge in RPGs today is this specific point. Publishers think they want all GMs to run roleplaying games as "Rules as Written" and therefore maintain intellectual property control of content (meaning allowing only their own playtest people to create the rules for EVERYTHING). Generally, players want to BE the playtest people to see what their ideas will do against a constant, stable background, with their creativity primary in the decision-making process to drive the story (Sandbox). Novice gamemasters want to tool around the rules for their own playtest, with their ideas of how the adventures develop (Railroads). Nycos Adventures are the fourth option, none of the above.  

A shift in Paradigm

  The Passages process is a conversation between the Director and the players as a collective. During the conversation, the adventure unfolds. The Director provides information about the Setting (where the incidents are happening, what resources the players have access to, the persons they can communicate with, etc.). Armed with that information and the Persona (the characters they are playing) armed with their particular Skills, the players navigate that Setting and create opportunities for whatever Scenes may arise. The Director then establishes the parameters for the Scene, outlining the conditions that may impact the Skills the players wish to use, and determining how many stages the Scene might consist entail.   As the first visualizations of the story begin, the conversation shifts to a dialogue; as the players state Actions, the Director responds with Skill Checks (Contested and Uncontested, as the case may be) and Combat Sequences. After each Stage completes, the Director makes any Conditional changes in the narrative, the players offer their ideas about the Scene, and they continue.   As a reminder, all die rolls are accomplished with percentile dice, and success for Skills Checks target for low numbers, and Combat targets high numbers.   That's the "Game Mechanics" in a nutshell. We'll come back to this. Now let's discuss Passages itself.

Enter the Passages

Passages are the travels through space and time. ANd personalities of the people we meet along the way. We read books, watch dramas, and sometimes even simply "People-watch." Playing a game that lets us be another person, to play a role, is a charming, alluring means to that same end. In roleplaying games, characters interact with the elements of the story that the Director sets forth, making decisions, taking actions, and facing the consequences and the rewards of the process as if they were those people. It's easier to understand in Passages than perhaps in any other system. Steps will draw you further into the story over time, at your own pace. Maybe you'll choose a Persona to play that enchants you or allows you to enter the fantasy realm in new and different ways. Perhaps you will ascend mountains, live on a broad plateau and enjoy watching the majesty of herds of wildlife roam. Or, in another case, you'll wander or race down one Passage or another. It's all up to you. Coming to grips with taking on roles in a game isn't particularly difficult. We've all been "the banker," dealing with the media of exchange in games, or "the caller", reading the cards that impact gameplay, etc. Those with a history in RPGs are even more familiar with the idea that the character one plays in the game means specific duties, tasks, and the like. Each falls according to the details of their Persona. NycosRPG's Passages, however, has a slightly more sophisticated approach.  

We're in this TOGETHER.

Role-playing games are notorious for slow starts, usually associated with getting the player group on the same page. In a movie with big-name actors, the same kind of situation occurs. Each player wants his moment of identity near the beginning of the film, to allow them to shine, to be seen individually. It is important to see that the experience of any role-playing game should at least be measurable in terms of advancement, of growth, of progressing the Persona you are portraying, so that you as the player, as well as the Persona you create in the first half-hour or so The Passages mechanism, allows for some individual attention, but the means of play absolutely supports a more collective approach to the Feature Scenes. We haven't gone through even how the scenes work yet, so go through the Directives in order the first time, to familiarize yourself with the terms and game playthrough, and then we'll go on to building stories from scratch.  
The Passages processes work best with team-oriented players.
However flavorful the entry might be, bringing players through the initial setup really eats up a significant part of starting the game. For ease of beginning, listed below are some means by which the players can begin the game in league together. This is far from being an exhaustive list of how Personae may become a group, but perhaps it does offer some inspirational basis for doing so.   The Personae of the Players are somehow related to one another. Two or more of the players (I call them Cadre Members, or Members) have a direct relationship with one another. Siblings, perhaps, cousins, or even marriage can connect them, but blood is thicker than water so that relationships can bring a team together quickly and understandably. The Personae share Common Objectives. Whether or not they are aware, the players travel in a common direction. Shared enemies, shared goals, or even shared destiny bring together players to build a credible and workable CADRE.   The Personae have had Common Experiences. It may be that the Cadre Members have served in the military, or apprenticed with the same guild, or somehow otherwise have grown to know and trust one another through a joint historic event.   A Clear and Present Danger for the Cadre has presented itself. Even if no details directly link the players to one another, an obvious threat to their collective and individual safety can be a strong motivator. Used sparingly, this kind of motivation can build in an intense connection over the Story, Series, or Saga.   A big, fat payday awaits the personae in the session. Perhaps a benefactor has offered a reward. Or the mark has a stash that the Cadre can capture. Money can be a motivator but is not a solid link to the players unless they build that into their backstory.   One or more personae has Life Debt to repay. It happens. One character feels a life obligation to protect or help another player for an obligatory reason – financial debt or someone saved another. It is a reasonably strong motivation if appropriately roleplayed and not overused.   The personae all realize this team is their life. For some, just being a part of something more significant is enough of a motivator to act in concert.

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