Curve Balls and Ricochets

Curve Balls and Ricochets

Coping with the unexpected is both fun and challenging for any GM. It can be a little tough on newer GMs, who are less used to improvising on the fly.  One thing players hate is being railroaded back to the GMs pre-planned plot line when they have decided to explore other avenues.

You can't prepare for every scenario but there are things you can do to make adapting and extending your planned plot easier.

  1. A sheet of generic combat stats and Hit Points is always a good investment. If the party decides to get into trouble, having a selection of stats for "weak", "medium" and "tough" enemies allows you to improvise combat quickly.

  2. A small collection of "side plots" in outline form that you can quickly use should your party decide to take an unexpected path.

  3. A small selection of mid-level Non-Player Characters who can be brought in to either assist the party in their preferred course of action, or provide the necessary challenge to them.

Unexpected actions by party members can offer additional RP opportunities for the GM. Laying aside notes, it can be entertaining for everyone to just RP through the scenario and see where it takes you.  Having the above tools to hand will make this a little easier.

For further ideas on how to avoid railroading and to be more prepared when the PC's "wander", check out my article, "Just-in-Time Worldbuilding".

Happy Gaming!


P.S.: Have you had an unexpected plot twist in one of your games?  Let me know how it turned out by replying to this email!

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