Suspense and Tragedy in RPG

5:58 AM Esteren 0 Comments

The english translation for the first part of Dearg, Shadows of Esteren’s official campaign is over. This first part will include some game aids and inserts with advice concerning how to handle the system of narrative arcs and Focuses, which is introduced and used in Dearg. This system was detailed in a previous post. Here is a sneak peek at one of these new game aids:

Suspense and Tragedy

The motor of a typical role-playing session is suspense: as they progress through the story, the Players remain unsure of what will happen next, anticipating plot twists and looking out for danger. Just like spectators following a movie, they are eager to know what will come next and fear for their Characters.

With the aforementioned introductory Focuses, things are different. Since these scenarios explore the PCs past, they tell a story that is already part of the Characters’ backgrounds and therefore cannot be changed. For example, in Eoghan’s Focus, Mael will die, no matter what the PCs do. This also applies to Finn’s, Adeliane’s, and Joris’s stories: Players who have read Book 1 – Universe will already be aware of decisive elements of their backstories.

As such, suspense cannot be the story’s motor or the source of the Players’ interest. Instead, the introductory Focuses draw from a different genre: tragedy. Since the Players may already know what their Characters are in for, what matters is not what is going to happen, but how. Experiencing the story becomes more important than the story itself or its conclusion. As a result, the Players and Leader can focus on the Characters, their feelings, and their development.

Marco Garro | Le Supplici di Euripide
Liceo Cagnazzi di Altamura - Festival del Teatro Classico dei Giovani 

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