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Author Topic: "72 hours earlier" (flash forward scenes)  (Read 568 times)

Caesar Slaad

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"72 hours earlier" (flash forward scenes)
« on: May 16, 2007, 03:05:55 PM »
Every once in a while I fend off arguments about how RPGs should be like X or Y show pointing out that shows are not games and what is good for a show is not necessarily good for a game.

But here's one convention that, while I'll admit has its drawbacks, could be intriguing to use in a game.

What I speak if is the convention in shows like Alias, wherein the show starts with a short sequence where one or more of the characters is in trouble. Then at the edge of resolving it, the credits run and the show starts with a different scene with the banner "72 hours earlier" (or some other suitable time interval) emblazoned across the screen.

I thought this might prove an interesting way to:
1) Get players right into the action, and
2) Get their attention and have them wondering how the situation evolves.

Of course this has its challenges. The first being, given the nature of RPGs, one or more of the PCs pictured in the scene might not even be alive. This isn't a big issue for me as the way I run things, there's rarely a real chance of fatality until specific scenes designed to be climactic or otherwise dangerous. So, the simple convention would be to set the "flash forward scene" at the first climactic juncture of the session.

Other problems could be player resentment if they feel this means you are railroading, or deliberate sabotaging of the game. But I think with the right group of players, it could prove an engaging technique.

Anyone try something like this?
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Sosthenes

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"72 hours earlier" (flash forward scenes)
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2007, 03:13:15 PM »
Back in the days when I was running Star Wars, I've been rather fond of cut scenes and flashbacks, mostly those not involving the players directly. I've recently done a bit of that to cast away the gloom and intrigue of the I-thought-I'd-never-run-this-Drow campaign that's happening currently.

I only tried the flash forward once, at a Conan game. I barely made it happen so that it looks like they got to the point, but not without mistakes. First of all, it happened in two separate sessions. This probably helped to make the players forget what exactly I told them, but it obviously wasn't as interesting. The "flash" was gone.

So I'd recommend being both very vague and try to focus on stuff beyond the players ("You're holding your wounds while Ping the Connectionless is gloating. Behind him stands...") and that the two events are connected in a timely manner.
 

Joey2k

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"72 hours earlier" (flash forward scenes)
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 03:58:37 PM »
It's a minor issue, but with character resources that need to be tracked and managed (hit points, spells available, ammo, etc), whatever the characters' condition is at the start of the session in that first scene may not match the actual condition of the character when they arrive at that point in the story.  Unless that first scene is just a narrative with no real interaction, where it isn't necessary to say how many x they have left at that moment.
The word "problematic" is problematic

Imperator

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"72 hours earlier" (flash forward scenes)
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 05:44:48 AM »
Quote from: Caesar Slaad
Other problems could be player resentment if they feel this means you are railroading, or deliberate sabotaging of the game. But I think with the right group of players, it could prove an engaging technique.

Anyone try something like this?
Yep, I've done it several times quite successfully. I just told the players beforehand what I was doing, and they agreed.
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Kyle Aaron

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"72 hours earlier" (flash forward scenes)
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2007, 05:58:43 AM »
I've never tried it - I just can't imagine it working, because players are too unpredictable.
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