The topic for the 6 June 2013 #RPGChat was Building Hooks for Your Game.
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Tweets of Note:
Where to get the best hooks for the adventure…
So, let’s start with hooks from the GM’s side: Where do you find inspiration for your best hooks?
The best hooks have always come from my players. Give me an inch of backstory and I’ll make a mile of adventure!
The setting can supply them, in a police procedural or whatever you’re required to solve the mystery.
my players paranoia. When they voice there hypotheses I make sure to listen.
I’ve found inspiration from the books I’m reading at the time, talks I’ve had with other gaming friends and from music.
Hooks… from the players. If not them, I look for details in the flavor text
The best hooks are ‘far mountains’, because you have just enough information to build from, but nothing holding you back.
honestly I find my hooks by asking the players ex:”the necromancer has been cruel to your family, what did he do?”
I, honestly, find most of my story inspiration from the news. Maybe even more so than my players
Most of my “hooks” are just tense situations that I want the players to find a way out of.
I love reworking concepts from movies, tv shows, books, or games that I’m enjoying at the time. Reworking them is always fun
…inspired by song…
@d20Blonde Sometimes, I take song lyrics and turn them into plotlines
@jenniferbrozek Listened to Hotel California this morning. Thought to myself, “Needs to be a Dread game.”
@d20Blonde Queensryche’s Mindcrime is a favor of mine.
The best hook is an escalating situation. The more quick and tense the action, the better.
…using the players themselves…
From the attachments which the PCs made with the world & NPCs.
That said, I’m a huge fan of mining player backstory for my best adventure hooks (and most delightful bad guys).
in one of my ancient ars magica campaigns, i used a character’s lack of full virtues/flaws to open up a whole story re: discovery..
Character creation can yield hooks
As a player and GM, I’m a huge fan of character creation exercises that breed plot hooks
Also, asking the players about their PCs future tells you what THEIR place is in YOUR world
I love Central Casting for backstory hooks. Everything from the mundane to the invisible fire breathing friend no one else can see!
I will let the players pick three things, like a place, an object and an animal and incorporate them on the spot
@d20Blonde I call it the questions three – 1. What does your player love, with a capital “L.” What will they die to protect
@d20Blonde 2. What does your character hate. With a capital “H.” What will they forsake everything else to destroy
@d20Blonde And finally 3. Why is your character currently in this situation. (It helps SO much with first sessions.)
…what makes a great hook…
As a player, the hooks that speak most to me are those that the GM has designed around my backstory. Makes it personal.
A good #rpghook should give you a clue for how you’re expected to interact with the game world
For example, a prophecy that that the city is going to be destroyed isn’t a hook. Because what can you do about it?
Any hook can lack appeal anyway. But a hook that leads nowhere is not a hook. A hook has to spur characters to act.
A good #rpghook should be a problem to be overcome, or a quest to be achieved. A wrong to be righted
Also a good #rpghook resolution doesn’t always = happy times, some times it is the 1 that stops you & makes U think
…what to avoid in hooks…
Most game sessions don’t have a lot of time for exposition and set-up. Keep your hooks clean, quick, and clear.
…what if none of the hooks catch…
When none of the hooks catch then odds are the group has their own idea/desires for what to do
My personal opinion, if none of the hooks catch, is to talk to the players. Ask what they want to do. They ARE there to play, yes?
use multiple hooks
I toss out multiple hooks. Rumors, mistaken identity, pleas for help, the ale that doesn’t taste right
I do that all the time. I call it fishing. I put bait out and see what my players bite on. 🙂
Was in an AD&D 2e game not long ago- DM made an entire town with a bunch of hooks scattered around, see where we bit
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