Every perspective has some fundamental challenges which should be reviewed when embarking on an adventure. Guidance around these may depend on the game group's decision on the style of play (which should be stated up front), but it is a safe bet a quick refresher will help keep things in perspective and keep communication issues to a minimum.
Character 101Things from a Character perspective that should be considered when embarking on an adventure. Game Masters should review these at the start of each adventure with the players to validate or express to what extent the group style aligns with these ideas.
Stop and Rest if Needed: There is no need to risk character death if you don't have to. If you don’t have some event or time constraint, rest. Heal, repair and reassess. Rest can often refill or recharge powers and/or items that would make an encounter easier. Rest allows a character to distance themselves from immediate pressures that might force them make a rash decision as well.
Failure is an Option: You don’t have to succeed at everything you do. Slaying the dragon is nice, and knowing you are going to slay it makes you feel good, but it is also not challenging. It provides no means of failure and learning. Part of roleplaying is these aspects as well, not just pretending to be a hero. Roleplaying can be a valuable tool for the player in testing out ideas and views and how they might play out in a certain scenario. Knowing you can fail also might make you think more about what you want to do - how it might affect the health and safety of other player’s characters as well as your own.
Running Away is an Option: Sometimes you just don't have enough fire power, brain power, or the luck just goes horribly wrong and gaining the upper hand or solving a conflict becomes impossible or improbable without severe risk. Sometimes the position or alliance a character makes becomes untenable and ruinous. Step back. Get out. Run away. You live to fight another day. If there is shame associated with the decision, its a chance to counter it in the long run. Or maybe not, but you move on to other opportunities with your companions.
Game Master 101Things from a Game Master perspective that should be considered when embarking on an adventure.
GM Checklist: For an adventure, you must have several things prepared in order for the play to be efficient and to minimize distractions. Know what those are and have them ready.
- Danger: Many traditional adventures are easily survived if the PCs only pace themselves and approach each one rested and at full power. It is only a sense of life and death with extreme creatures; In the Incarna perspective, every encounter should have an element of risk of death. Tactics, intelligence, and circumstance can easily allow weaker foes to overwhelm a party relying on brute force alone.
- Dialog: When possible with Narration, say the words non-player characters would say, the way they would say it.
- Facial Expressions: Pretend you are the non player character you are speaking or acting for - show fear, anger, etc.
- Familiarize: Make sure you know the rules and the content well enough to minimize having to stop and look things up. This aspect of the pace is controlled only by the Game Master.
- Gaming Contract:
- Gritty Realism: This is THE focus.
- Let Players Fail: Failing gracefully allows groups more chances and is more like the dynamics of life. Failure always has repercussions, but death is not necessarily one. Like in life, some situations cannot be attempted again but many can or can be walked away from. Valuable lessons learned will be kept and the characters live to see other opportunities instead of being food for worms. It’s up to you to have options in the story line that allow for characters to come to the conclusion that solving issues at hand is too high a risk or the odds and/or rewards are not worth it.
- Player Expectations:
- Prepare: Have the books and online materials needed handy. If online, have windows and tabs with references open, for printed make sure its printed and you have a way to mark up for your own use if needed.
Group 101Things from a Group perspective that should be considered when embarking on an adventure. Game Masters should review these at the start of each adventure with the players to validate or express to what extent the group style aligns with these ideas.
Choose your Group Play Style: How much individual vs. group decision making? Is combat preferred above stealth? Is talking your way out of things an option? How much roleplaying will be done vs. straight up delving? Is their a group leader? Does someone speak for the party in combat differently than making decision on where to go and who to talk to? Talk to the other players, and agree on parameters that will maximize the enjoyment and efficiency since everyone’s expectation will be inline.