Articles By Author - Brian Suskind

From Screenplay to RPG: Interweaving Plotlines with a Three-Act Structure (Part One)

Warning! Possible Railroading Ahead! Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, we can delve into the realm of plotlines. Interweaving plotlines within a campaign can be amazing, but it can also lead to your players feeling like you are forcing them down certain paths. The trick is to build layered subplots without limiting choices. The Three-Act Structure Typically, screenwriters build their scripts out of three “acts.” Each act has a...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Arcs

When I’m writing a screenplay, one of the first things I focus on is how my protagonist is going to change over the course of the story. This is the “character arc.” In Star Wars, for example, Lando begins as a self-centered, selfish rogue, but by the third movie he is volunteering to lead a desperate attack on the second Death Star. To do this in a roleplaying game, establish what your character is like right now. Even a vague idea, such as...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Backgrounds (For the GMs)

Welcome to the second part of the article that covers character backgrounds for GMs! You can read the first part here. This time, Brian discusses weaving together the backgrounds and more, so take a look. Interweaving the Backgrounds of the Party After you have carefully examined each character’s background, you can then interweave the elements—naturally drawing some characters together or spawning organic conflict between others. When two or...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Backgrounds (For the GMs)

When you get your players to develop detailed histories, they will see them as ways to explore their own characters, but you, as the GM, know what they really are: game generating fodder. When I’m writing a screenplay, I interweave my plot with the backgrounds of my characters. Often I find ways for the plot to intrude on the character’s lives in order to create emotional conflict. It is why, in action movies, the bad guys break into the hero’s...

From Screenplay to RPG: Character Backgrounds (Part 1—For the Players)

Whether it is a few questions on an index card or a twenty-five page questionnaire, character backgrounds serve two important purposes in RPGs: For the characters they provide motivations and personality, and for GMs they provide ammunition for plot hooks, nonplayer characters, and campaign ideas. Why does Indiana Jones hunt for treasures? Why does Emperor Palpatine hunger for control and power? It’s not just because one is an archaeologist and...

Seafaring Creature: Carnivorous Ship

Looking for some seaworthy creatures to use in your game? Well, the carnivorous ship just might fill that need for you. You can also take a look at Journeys to the West for more useful seafaring material for your campaign. Also called a ship mimic, the carnivorous ship sprang out of the turmoil of an ancient arcane war. Its creators designed it to be used against a naval foe, and now it runs amok and plagues the seas worldwide. The carnivorous...

Monster Monday: Terlynne Avrronix—Chaos Bringer, the Piebald Jester, the Abomination

An accursed figure rarely mentioned within the borders of the Sultanate and virtually unknown outside of it, Terlynne Avrronix (CN Large pandemonium dragon) wanders the nations bordering the Empire and brings the somewhat questionable freedom of pure chaos to those who are (she believes) trodden down by structure, order, and law. In her natural form, Terlynne is a piebald dragon; she has albino scales with patches of gold and red scattered...

Midgard Tales: Hune the Doorlord

The Midgard Tales Kickstarter continues gathering more patrons, and we want to share our joy at seeing so many more people join in on the fun. So, without further ado, we present to you Hune the Doorlord. Many thanks go to our current patrons, and we hope to see more of you back this project in the near future! The sage’s tomes abound with tales of the enigmatic godling known as Hune the Doorlord. With his tattered gray greatcoat, tricorne hat,...

Slaying Dolls

Your breath catches as they emerge from the shadows, each a gore-splattered marionette with black hollows where their eyes should be. Only the jagged, sharpened teeth protruding from their cold porcelain smiles mar their faces. They move like nightmares, limbs held falsely and jerking from motion to motion. Tiny fingers end in wicked steel blades, still dripping from their latest victim. You turn to run knowing you are far, far too late....

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