Hello and welcome to this week’s installment of Only On Tuesdays! This week we will be discussing how to define the goal of the scene, and why it is important to do so. I also have some announcement’s concerning my secret project and the blog that I will bring up at the end. With that out of the way, let’s ask ourselves the question:
If you are able to define a clear and well thought out goal to your scene, you are halfway there to making a great encounter. A well-defined goal can often be the difference between an encounter that is fun and memorable, and one that lacks focus and direction. Designing encounters with these goals in mind can make for far more powerful scenes as everything is focused on one thing that gives the encounter power. Learning how to use goals in your design can make for powerful encounters that your players will remember for a long time.
In order to identify the goal in the encounter, you must ask yourself what the conflict of interest is between the two (or more) parties. Determining the conflict of interest will give you a chance to focus on what is important in the scene. It’s one thing to have two groups simply trying to kill each other, but when the conflict of interest is that the PC’s aren’t obeying the God Tyr, it gives meaning and depth to when the Paladins show up to smite the infidels. Now that you have the conflict of interest it is time to design the goal of the scene. The goal should revolve around the conflict of interest, as this is why the fight is even happening in the first place.
When designing the goal for the encounter it is important that you make it as detailed as possible. A well-defined goal makes for a far more interesting encounter than a broad open-ended goal. When you look back at the games you have played in the past, the most memorable and exciting encounters often had a goal that was beyond simply “kill everything.” Memorable encounters have well-defined goals that dictate the scene. A goal that can dictate the scene gives something that everyone can focus on, and work towards. The goal of “kill everything” is weak because it does not change how your characters act. A scene with the goal of “get the loot before the thieves escape with it” creates a far more interesting encounter because it changes how your players will approach the scene. A well-defined goal in any given scene should give the players the opportunity to make choices that they otherwise wouldn’t have made.
When creating the goal for the scene remember to keep the following in mind. First, what is the conflict of the scene? Why are they fighting in the first place? Second, ask what actions need to be taken to resolve this conflict? Third, how can you make this as clear as possible to the players? A well-defined encounter is one that has a clear path to victory, even if that path may not be easy. Once you are able to take all of these things into account you will then have a clear goal oriented encounter, that will be much more than “kill everything.”
Thank you for reading this week’s installment of Only On Tuesdays. Now time for the announcements. First I apologize that I wasn’t able to get the secret project out in time for this week. It turns out I grossly underestimated how much work this project will require, and instead of a one-week time frame, we are potentially looking at few months or more. However that is because I want this project to be something great, and that means that it will require a lot of playtesting and polishing in order to be something that I am happy with putting out. The second announcement is that I will probably be posting less in the upcoming months as school is beginning to start up for me. I will try to post at least twice a month, but real life may get in the way from time to time. Hopefully, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and I will be able to devote more time per blog post. So until next time, have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!