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Friday, November 15, 2013

Goals .. That's the thing...

The goals, that’s the thing!
Let’s talk about goals in RPG’s.
In my current project each character can set up to three goals for themselves when the character is created.  The option is left open to leave them blank until the player gets their feet wet and has some ideas about where they want their characters to go.
Mechanically the player can spend experience to move their character closer to fulfilling a goal.  Once the goal is fulfilled they get to narrate a section of story that brings closure to the goal, and they can then add something new to their character sheet, this can be anew connection or a new ability and so on.
Our group used this exact system in our group written house game Phase Abandon.  I like it so much I am directly porting it into my latest project.
Having goals for characters allow the group to move in a story arc, even when they are not 100% sure how to start off. The goals also provide a generally pretty natural feeling of character growth.  The player can say that my character has (blank) because he did (blank.)  What’s more the player will have a series of stories in his mind’s eye that (most importantly) happened in play that will lead him to whatever growth his character has experienced.
The goal of the GM in this process is to allow the players to pursue their characters goals. The Gm should not have an agenda in this game; an overriding story arc that may go on around the characters may even touch the characters lives and get them involved naturally would be great. The goals however should be the starting point use them as kickers to get the game moving. Take a second to look over the player’s goals, pick one right out of the gate and hoot the adventure to it. It provides instant investment and takes a bit of the “what do we do now” pressure off of the GM.
Taking this one step further, since the party has to share a connection to start out, I see no reason why there cannot be a subset of goals called “party goals.”  These would be things the group is striving towards.  If one of these goals were to be completed it could be a boon to the party as a whole.
So to tie it up, taking chances in the story earns narration, narration earns experience, experience goes towards goals, goals fuel character growth, and finally character growth gives the characters new ways to take chances.
If I can keep this economy in my mind while developing systems and subsystems, I think that I will end up with a game worth playing.
There is another play test scheduled for Saturday with two new players.  I am hoping to stick to the game plan a bit better for this test and I will let every one know how it went on Monday.
Wednesday I will be doing a post that deals directly with the die mechanic and how I think it is working out.
Thank you for reading.
Comments always welcome!