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Aug. 7th, 2018 @ 05:11 pm RPG-a-day, day 7
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Day 7: How can a GM make the stakes important?
By making the characters (and, by extension, the players) care about what happens — by making it personal.
Personally, I’m a big fan of putting emphasis on personal things that are outside of the overarching plot of the campaign. Pay attention to what the character does in their “down time” — those add depth to the character. In the dungeon, every murder hobo is the same, but the difference in how they spend their loot is what defines a character. Some will want to give it to the orphanage where they grew up, others will want to invest in a business venture, and still others will want to build their own stronghold. By making these choices, the players (indirectly) tell you what interests them. (And, to tie it to yesterday’s question: they also make the world seem so much more real instead of being just an endless chain of dungeons!)
One very cheap way of making the characters care is by threatening their projects or dependents. But that’s tired and done to death, so why not show others working on similar projects? These could be competing (other business ventures) or complementary (another orphanage in need of funding), and bring the character in a position to help or hinder them. Think about the consequences of those actions, and let the characters reap what they sow later down the line!

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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Viking!