TTRPG Arc Design #

I want to think of a structure for TTRPG arcs that will have a emotional core or structure.

I don’t love the D&D plots that are simply Kill the Bad guy or survive this dungeon. To me, there’s not enough of an emotional core there.

What do you need for an emotional core? Drawing from some previous thoughts, I think we can go through the following stages and come up with some examples for a TTRPG setting

So, I have a bunch of these that are in 3 or more parts that follow this chain or even have multiple forms of this chain. However, now i’m asking myself, is this too prescriptive? Does it make maybe more sense to simply set up a situation and encourage the GM to figure out how the situation should go?

There’s certainly one aspect of these scenarios that’s a little difficult to deal with in that they’re missing a lot of details. If there are two characters that disagree, it doesn’t delve into why they disagree - it tells the DM to figure out the hard part, which is manufacturing the situation. Additionally, when i read these various arcs, there’s clearly a lot of subtext that I had when I thought about when creating these situations.

The problem with these arcs is that they focus on the shallow structure rather than on the high level goals of what you want your players to experience.

Another way to make my existing arcs more compelling is by having one or more of the main characters be one of the people that the story involves. If the GM knows the characters for a session ahead of time and one of those characters would tie in nicerly, then it makes sense to tie them in.

When doing this, it makes sense to be aware of character’s skill levels. for example, it doesn’t make sense to make the weakest character in the session into the antagonist, cause the other characters would just destroy them. On the other hand, maybe this power dynamic is what the GM wants the players to explore.

We might as well also think about how to bring all these things together.

Another thing to consider: the arcs I have right now include filler. Do I want that? Most of these could be wrapped up in 3 story stages. I kind of like the filler as a bit of additional flavor, but I could just add that flavor to the regions.