epic preparation – p4 – Interweaving

Background interweaving

So you’ve got your world up and ready, now we get back to a bit character work, by now you should know your characters pretty well and probably they know each other well, too. It’s your part that you enhance your player’s work by adding additional contacts and build a network with good and evil guys. Just get a few names for now, we’ll fletch out the np-characters on one of the coming days.

Basic Contactgrid Example

This is a very short example of what I mean you should do now. Don’t forget we’re talking about a special adventure, something to remember and preparation will be one of your aces. There are probably many tools you can use for contact grids, the above one was created with Freemind, an open source mindmapping program. You get a lot more options to set icons for priorities, to link things together – that would looks something like this:

Contactgrid with usage of Icons, Links and Color

So but where to start with the whole interweaving thing?

Of course with your player characters, you’ve got their background story and therefore you start with your main actors, story drivers – with the essential part of your adventure, campaign… (Hey I never said it wouldn’t be a lot of work you’ve to do…)
For example your (imaginary) player Jim has a character called Nephilius the Grey, a wizard that has time and again shown extraordinary foresight and has served the towns of the high north, close to the city of everice in his life with turning back orks and frost giants several times and thwarting their evil plots. Just with this short sentence you will have a mindmap close to the one I present you below:

Nephilius the Grey
Nephilius the Grey

So you’ll end up usually having four-six mindmaps of your characters to start with, (eventually you feel very much like I do with epic quests and will ask some players to provide you with backup characters as well, so work once again is doubled…) But you’ll have broken down, let’s guess, around two to ten pages per character to less than one a4 sheet of information in tidy bits. (Good work so far, get yourself a cup of tea or coffee for the great work you’ve done already). You just have to add a few lines between the different contactsheets and interweave the characters backgrounds and contacts – you’re done with it halfway already and now comes the fun part – now it’s your imagination that counts…

Now it’s all about your plans, are you leading them towards Hogwards or the ice-plane of the 8th hell? Do you plan using a few villains, guilds, organisations, even special events you can prepare for the game at this step and add them to a contact of your character, add them to a character directly or if it’s more important give it several entry points. Just a short example, we’ve once had a very important social event and almost everyone we had ties to did atttend, so what would you do as a character? You’re in the city of your choice and everyone you know seems to be there at the evening, they even ask you to join them or grant you a free entry for it. Of course you would join, spend all you can for the tailor to get you fixed up in a nice dress of suit for it… Wouldn’t you? (Most of my characters most certainly would do exactly that.)

In the end you will decide what’s most important for you, maybe you make a mindmap/grid just for high priority events, maybe you make a combined one and use the icons (see graphic#2) priority 1-9 to sort things the way you need them. From here it is up to you and your imagination. I for my part tend to use one map for everything that’s contacts and take most events into the actionplan (this part will be online next week with part eight of this series).

The whole series (links to the posts will be active after publishing of them).

Getting started on Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part one
Problems of an Epic-Level Campaign
Epic Character Generation Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part two
History and Geography Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part three
Background Interweaving Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part four
Additional resources (links)
Specialities and Resources Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part five
NPC Definitions and Setup Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part six
Political Setup Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part seven
Actionplan Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part eight
Weaving it together Preparing an Epic-Level Adventure – part nine

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