Building An Arc
The easiest way to build an arc is not to build one, and it was suggested that if you have a lot of story questions in one of your scenarios, you can reserve some of them for the next scenario. Then, in your next scenario, add some new questions to go with the unanswered ones. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you’ll have material for three or four scenarios without doing that much additional work. In addition, that lets you incorporate changes to the characters’ aspects organically, rather than making a plan and having it disrupted.
That said, some GMs want to have a greater sense of structure for the long run. It is recommended using the same method for building scenarios in the previous chapter to build arcs, but changing the scope of the story questions you come up with. Instead of focusing on immediate problems for the PCs to solve, come up with a more general problem, where the PCs are going to have to solve smaller problems first in order to have a chance at resolving the larger one.
The best places to look for arc-sized problems are the current or impending issues of places or organizations that you came up with during game creation. If you haven’t made any up yet for a particular place or group, now might be a good time to do that, so you have material for the arc.
Amanda decides she wants to do one major arc for each PC.
For Zird, his Rivals in the Collegia Arcana makes it pretty easy—she decides that perhaps there’s something more sinister behind these rivalries, such as an attempt by a dark cult operating from within to take over the Collegia and turn it to nefarious purposes.
She needs to focus on story questions that are more general and will take some time to resolve. After thinking about it for a while, she chooses:
- Can Zird uncover the identity of the cult’s leader before the takeover occurs? (This lets her do individual scenarios about the attempted takeover.)
- Will Zird’s rivals ally with the cult? (This lets her do individual scenarios about each of Zird’s key rivals.)
- Can Zird reconcile, at long last, with his rivals?
- Will the cult succeed and transform the Collegia forever? (Answering this question ends the arc.)
Then go through the same process of picking opposing NPCs, keeping in mind that their influence is supposed to be more far-reaching in an arc than in a single scenario.