I'm about to start a new campaign, and I'm intrigued by the idea of the prologue (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 133). I've never used such a device in a role-playing game before.
Has anyone here used it? How did it go? Did your players balk at being asked to start the game with secondary characters (or a script)?
If you allowed players their own characters for the prologue, how did you distinguish the prologue from "the beginning"? Or did you?
No, I haven't used it, because I haven't been the GMyet. I would either start with a very small bit with no input from the players, just like the bit before the intro sequence in the series or give them instructions like this: You are soldiers in a colony, the pay is bad and the food is worse. Roleplay one of your patrols. The players try to roleplay and they suddenly notice one of the NPCs is missing and so on....
Don't know how it would turn out, but personally I'd like such an opportunity to temporarily play another character.
We did have one prologue with our regular characters. I don't remember all the details but it went a bit like this:
The party steps out of the Tardis, it's a new place, they investigate, bad guys enter ... GM starts the Doctor Who theme tune.
I wouldn't be so happy with a script though, passive and the gm could see my character differently from how I see it.
"Play someone else" prologues really have to last long enough to be worth it. They might only represent the first three minutes of a TV episode, but they need half an hour or so for the players to look at the characters, establish them in play and get most of them killed off. I find it's generally better to have temporary PCs for a longer period, such as an entire session as a "Doctor-Lite episode". (One alternative would be to introduce temporary PCs like this for players who are only there for a session or two, as local characters the time travellers meet and team up with for this adventure.)
As for writing the whole thing out, players generally dislike scripts, so I restrict that to scene-setting emails before a session. I'll have the text in my notes for the session as well, in case someone didn't receive it, in which case I'll read it or cover the gist of the prologue in an opening narration, trying to keep that under a minute or two.
Post by brainsnaffler on Jan 10, 2012 11:23:23 GMT
I have been running adventures as per the new series... in episodes. I plan my campaign to run 13 episodes (like the new series), and each episode I run a prologue.
Typically, I have a bit of a briefing for the players and typically, they play someone totally new for it. The birefing tells them roughly what the characters motivation is and what they are trying to achieve. I then set the scene and let them get on with it.
Usually after about 5 mins, something happens to lead them to a climax (usually being one of the characters meets a nasty alien or screams in horror). I am careful not to explain what they see and use it as a cliff hanger. At that point, I start my Dr Who theme tune music and away we go :-)
There are exceptions. One of my episodes they played their characters and the prologue was the doctor briefing the companions on where he was taking them whilst frantically searching through old boxes. Eventually the climax was a reveal of him finding out his old Elvis Suit and announcing they were going to Las Vegas 1976 to see Elvis in concert!
I've not done a prologue for my convention game as the players start mid-Act 1. But if I do a campaign, I'm thinking of using them. A setup for the problem that may have a vague hint at how to solve it before the PCs arrive.
Although as a Faction Paradox campaign, the resolution will be very different from a Doctor Who result
"This is my timey wimey detector. Goes ding when there's stuff."