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  • Help with a Scenario

    So, I have an idea for a campaign in the diceless RPG Lords of Gossamer and Shadow​, where in the vanilla game the PCs are to all intents and purposes Planeswalkers who traverse an infinitude of alternate universes by means of the 'Grand Stair', which is a literal and nigh-indestructible (and possibly living) staircase that winds between worlds.

    ​The beginning of the campaign is going to basically be based around the PCs, who at this point are basically the players - the game is to be not entirely unlike a self-insert. What I would like some advice on is how to have the PCs enter the Grand Stair - which they're doing as a group - as an entirely new experience but not make the players feel like there's no direction to the thing. Any advice anyone can offer on this would be greatly appreciated.


    Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

  • #2
    This is the game that's basically Amber, right? You could do worse than cribbing from those books, or just about anything from the portal fantasy genre.

    I've run some games that had weird cosmic premises where I just dumped the players into the action and expected them to figure it out in the way I imagined in my head, and it's never fun or even workable. When in an unfamiliar setting, remember that the only thing the players know is what you tell them. If you want your players to understand what's going on and where this is headed, just explicitly tell them as it comes up. Traversing the Grand Stair is the entire premise of the game you want to run, there's no point dancing around it. The players can fill in the sense of wonder and novelty by themselves as they roleplay it out.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Caladriu View Post
      This is the game that's basically Amber, right? You could do worse than cribbing from those books, or just about anything from the portal fantasy genre.

      I've run some games that had weird cosmic premises where I just dumped the players into the action and expected them to figure it out in the way I imagined in my head, and it's never fun or even workable. When in an unfamiliar setting, remember that the only thing the players know is what you tell them. If you want your players to understand what's going on and where this is headed, just explicitly tell them as it comes up. Traversing the Grand Stair is the entire premise of the game you want to run, there's no point dancing around it. The players can fill in the sense of wonder and novelty by themselves as they roleplay it out.
      ​So, are you suggesting that I give them some kind of in-character guidance (an ancient book, a mentor of some kind) and then work from there? The idea is that the PCs are basically utterly green Gossamer Lords and that the players will be learning more about the setting as they go. A reasonable part of the first arc is intended to be based around A) finding their way back to their original world and B) learning some basic skills of the Gossamer Lords (Sorcery, cantrips etc) and discovering that the hard limits on human capability have pretty much fallen away for them. The whole thing is intended to be on a much lower power scale than most LoGaS games.


      Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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      • #4
        If you like, it could be an in-character resource. Depending on exactly what you have in mind for what happens in the first session, I was thinking out-of-character giving them some explicit suggestions and hand-holding. "Some things you might try right now would be: seeing whether the current world has any locals you can talk to, attempting to cast a spell, fighting the monster, running away from the monster..."

        Personally, I tend to regularly talk to my players OOC while I'm running games, and I don't know how common that is. I find that I get a lot of "what's happening/what exactly are the stakes right now?" if I don't. Asking your players (not their characters) what they want to accomplish, inviting them to elaborate, and giving them explicit choices are all good tools. "I want to find my way back to that weird staircase." "Okay. How is your character planning to do that? Looking for a trail, asking around, using their magical senses? By the way, you have magical senses now."


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        Brotherhood of the Demon Wind
        Choir of Hashmallim (plus extra Summoning content)
        Storm Keepers

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        • #5
          With zero knowledge of the game/setting, I suggest you decide how the PCs get to the Grand Stair by asking yourself the following questions.

          1. Do the PCs find the magical otherworld by accident (if no, skip to 2)? This assumes they had no prior knowledge of the Grand Stair beforehand, even as hearsay, and aren't led there by a more knowledgeable creature.
          1a. What events led them to step through the wardrobe/get switchflipped/take the red pill/whatever?
          1b. What is their impetus to stay in the Grand Stair insteado getting the eff out and spending years in therapy to forget their involvement?

          2. Do the PCs find the magical otherworld on purpose?
          2a. Did they find it on their own, or with directions from a leader?
          2b. Is their transformation into Gossamer Lords part of some grand plan, orchestrated by someone other than the PCs?

          3. Regardless of how they got to the Grand Stair, what sources of information do they have that enable them to understand it better?


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          • #6
            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
            With zero knowledge of the game/setting, I suggest you decide how the PCs get to the Grand Stair by asking yourself the following questions.

            1. Do the PCs find the magical otherworld by accident (if no, skip to 2)? This assumes they had no prior knowledge of the Grand Stair beforehand, even as hearsay, and aren't led there by a more knowledgeable creature.
            1a. What events led them to step through the wardrobe/get switchflipped/take the red pill/whatever?
            1b. What is their impetus to stay in the Grand Stair insteado getting the eff out and spending years in therapy to forget their involvement?

            2. Do the PCs find the magical otherworld on purpose?
            2a. Did they find it on their own, or with directions from a leader?
            2b. Is their transformation into Gossamer Lords part of some grand plan, orchestrated by someone other than the PCs?

            3. Regardless of how they got to the Grand Stair, what sources of information do they have that enable them to understand it better?
            ​With those suggestions, I think I have an idea. Namely, that the characters independently stumble onto the Stair as the result of a series of communications (emails, letters, phone calls etc), none of which actually reference anything about the Stair or even anything particularly out of the ordinary for each of them, eventually leading them to open a Door onto the Stair, each quite by 'accident'. Waiting for them is one of the Dwimmerlaik, an ancient race who once warred against the Gossamer Lords and were defeated (although he certainly doesn't tell the PCs this at first). This particular Dwimmerlaik is the one who orchestrated their entrance to the Stair, using magic to single out individuals who had the potential to become Gossamer Lords and making sure that they made that step.

            ​His main intention was to create a group of Gossamer Lords who are sympathetic to the Dwimmerlaik and can act as 'representatives' to the main governing body of the Lords, as there is little love lost between the two factions and the exile of the Dwimmerlaik is untenable and their leaders have decided that peace and cooperation with the Lords is preferable to extinction. His strategy for keeping the PCs from simply going back into their own world revolves around utilising his magic to bar the doorway back - without them knowing - and while they are sorcerously weak enough to be tricked by such, getting them 'hooked' on the power that being a Lord brings (they can go all the way up to nigh-godlike might, to the point of being able to manipulate an entire Gossamer World however they like, provided that they soul-bond themselves to it).

            ​That way, I have access to a mentor who, although not entirely trustworthy, can inform them on the Stair in-character, a number of sources of conflict (extremist Lords or Dwimmerlaik, various challenges which the mentor might set up for the benefit of the PCs, whatever is making the Dwimmerlaik's exile unsustainable (there are Great Old One-esque god-monsters ready-made in the setting)) as well as a number of different arenas (political, sword-and-sorcery battles etc etc). Does that sound reasonable to the good peoples of the forums?


            Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
              .... Does that sound reasonable to the good peoples of the forums?
              With the caveat that I don't know anything about the lore of this game, yes.


              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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