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Role-playing foreshadowing

Written by Expy - Published on July 18, 2007

Here’s an idea. Your players get to play their characters in the future. And something bad happens. One of the characters is imprisoned, loses an eye or a limb or even dies. They would become extremely wary and tense when a circumstance arises that could get them in the fateful situation they have already played.

A twist on the foreshadowing game idea

Tell your friends that you planned a stand-alone game with characters that are already made. But don’t tell them they are playing their characters from the ongoing game. You’ll have to think of physical changes – age, injuries – or psychological changes, or different names – and reasons for the different names – and extra levels so the players don’t know that they played themselves.

What’s your take on this idea?

Does this idea make sense to anyone? I feel like I’m rambling today. Hopefully this sparks your imagination.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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4 Responses to “Role-playing foreshadowing”
  1. Stûnibu says:

    that is a bit of an out there idea! it crazy 4 me! but it do spark ideas… like the PCs could actuly meet themselves (not play them) and it ould b a warning about something that is 2 cum.. but then wen they get up 2 that time they would have 2 go back and warn their old selves, so u would have 2 ahve time travel nd GRRR that would get compecated… good idea though!! :)

  2. draconius says:

    ARGH!!! i tried this once, myself, and it just fell to pieces. of course, it wasn’t with standard DnD, it was with spycraft, and we were trying to actually do more of a backwards version, where all our current mission characters were old military vets and we were acting out a backstory for how one of the characters lost a leg, but we had a huge problem… the player was a terrible ROLE-player, preferring to just ROLL-play, and he wasn’t even good at that. the dumb bastard kept fudging rolls to keep himself from getting hurt, like we had planned (i repeat, planned, because this was even his own freaking idea) so eventually i just spent a few of my game control action dice, which were all really high, and his character ended up dying. i told him “you wanted his leg detached, then you wouldn’t let me detach it, so i had to detach the rest of him. write up a new character, ass-munch game killer” he pisses me off sometimes, in case you couldn’t tell…

  3. Yax says:

    Painful RPG memories! I’ll remember not ot try this concept with players unwilling to play along.

  4. The_Gun_Nut says:

    OK, I did this in a Mystic China game. Published by Palladium, there was plenty of kung fu, chinese mysticism, zen archery and the works in the setting. My friend and I, who were the only ones in port at the time, were running a long-term campaign where we already knew the outcome: His character was going to become an elightened immortal. After a few months of play, I decided to run a flashback set of sessions. I let everyone in the game (by this time we had 4 or 5 more people in it) know that nothing was set in stone, because at the beginning of every session I showed a future battle between Lei (the future immortal PC) and Gua (a great ally NPC) where they seemed to be battling on top of a pillar of stone above a sea of fire. Some dice even got rolled, and after a minute of battle I flashed everyone back to the present. No one knew what were the series of events that led up to that battle, or if anyone had died or left or what, but each session everyone wanted to know what was happening and when the foreshadowed events would finally take place. After several sessions, I finally revealed the future scene. Everyone’s reaction was “Woah, this is IT!” It coincided with a climactic battle with a demon, a dark chi wizard (is he on our side?), a horde of zombies, and the PC’s. An inventive use of chi powers by the PC stopped the demon in its tracks, and the dark chi wizard was able to recover and destroy it. Huge plot threads were resovled and new twists were revealed, including the PC’s impending immortality! Huge session, and I think everyone there loved it.

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