New Narrator looking for some advice.

Would you like narrating advice? Perhaps you want to hear about your fellow adventurer's tales?
thewabberwocky
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:39 pm

New Narrator looking for some advice.

Postby thewabberwocky » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:07 pm

So, let me start this by saying that I am super excited to get into Tephra- but I find myself a little intimidated. Let me explain.

I bought the Playing Guide about 2 years ago at a convention in Williamsburg, VA when my wife sat down at a demo game and then wouldn't stop talking about how fun it was. After picking it up (and following it with Explosives and The Great Airship Raid a year later, both signed by Charlie Stayton, which was cool) we just have not had the time to sit down and get a group together to play. Life has just gotten in the way too often. Now, after relocating from VA to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX I suddenly find myself with enough time and interested peoples to start up a story.

Unfortunately- my wife is a little to busy to actually put in the legwork required to be Narrator (or has just lost interest in being the Narrator- she's a great gamer but can be a little back and forth sometimes). So here I am wanting to put together a game and having some great story ideas with one problem.

I have absolutely no tabletop RPG experience. I have never played, I've never watched, I've never GM'd or narrated or anything, so I have absolutely nothing to draw on when it comes to actually making a playable story. I do have experience with tabletop miniatures games (wargames, zombie games, etc.) but nothing with pen and paper RPGs. That doesn't mean I don't want to be the Narrator- I'm absolutely thrilled at the idea. I'm just a little bit out of my depth here.

Specifically I'm looking for some help with throwing some good encounters at my PCs. I have a good grasp of the rules of Tephra, and feel like I know enough to get myself in trouble with the clockwork system, but am just... I dunno- intimidated?

Maybe I just need some reassurance or some tips from other players, but I have no idea what to do here. Any help would be fantastic.

Thanks!

User avatar
steampoweredgamer
Posts: 734
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:45 pm

Re: New Narrator looking for some advice.

Postby steampoweredgamer » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:03 am

Hmmm... new narrator advice.... hmmmm....

Go for it.
That's all.
Just try your damnedest to have the most fun you can.

You can always start off with the pre-made pdf mini-sagas just to test the waters as far as running a game goes. They provide very good guidelines for their stories and little bits of advice for narrators that can be applied more broadly.

When it comes to narrating, all you're truly responsible for is providing a goal and an environment/setting for your players. The players are the ones that end up making most of the story (though you obviously should have a say in how it progresses, usually in the form of plot twists and careful redirection). You just handle how the world/NPCs react to the PCs and how the world/NPCs try to direct the PCs.

A lot of narrating is trial-and-error. You just have to go with what you believe both your players and yourself will find fun.

My first narration may not have been my first run at pen-and-paper games (I played a bit of D&D 4e before getting into Tephra), but it was my first exposure to running a tabletop game. (I also played in two one-shot sessions of Tephra before narrating, but had no story-telling capacity at the time.)
I came up with a base for a story that I found interesting (an advanced bio-flux device is stolen by anti-bio-flux cultists called the Purifiers, the party is sent after them and stuff happens), but I ad-libed most of it since my players' actions changed the story and how the main NPCs had to react. (I had a vague idea that the Purifiers may end up openly attacking the facility the device came from, but didn't plan the full-on siege of the city by them at first. I also had a collection of friendly and hostile NPCs that controlled my side of the story.)
Never plan anything.
Trust me, your players will always find a way to break it and you.

User avatar
Keitoussai
Posts: 449
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Spring, TX
Contact:

Re: New Narrator looking for some advice.

Postby Keitoussai » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:01 am

SPG's got some good points. But I'm sure it has not alleviated your feelings of anxiety. It's daunting yes. But I'd hate to repeat it but: It's all about the fun of the group and yourself. ESPECIALLY yourself. If it isn't enjoyable, WHY DO IT!?

The thing is: You have to think of it as you're telling a story that you don't remember. The parts you dont remember is coming from your players, filling in the story. Or that's how I looked at it (still do!)

If you are still intimidated, the Great Airship Robbery along with a couple of other adventures are being sold on the tephra site as PDFs. You can just follow those as a guideline, for your first few games anyway, and see how you manuever through it. It's not going to give you a FULL FLEDGED story, but it'll give you a guided game that will help you in your narrating process.

EVEN BETTER if you have all new players.

Since you're in the VA area, I'm 80% sure you're near Mr. Charlie Stayton. To my experience he arranges most of the Tephra sales up there. He might be known as Ghared Cornwall as well... could be wrong. Not sure if he lurks this forum much (although hes on the facebook group). He does most of the games up there :) Just saying. And to my knowledge he does a damn good job of it.

If you have any questions or run into any roadblocks... the first thing to remember is to make it up. don't break the flow by saying WAIT i need an EXACT answer RIGHT NOW. instead, make something up that makes for a great cinematic and then ask the forum. I lurk rather often and am usually able to answer any questions ya got (along with many others I'm sure)

Happy gaming mate!
"And so the adventurers gathered around per-chance in a diner. They could not help but to overhear a fellow patron regarding a legend that has come to pass... Of Jakob; the DragonRider"
Comicpalooza 2014; Final game of Tephra. Never forget.

thewabberwocky
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:39 pm

Re: New Narrator looking for some advice.

Postby thewabberwocky » Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:57 pm

Thanks for the advice. I think I'm going to run a standalone with maybe the great airship robbery or something similar as a starting point, just to familiarize myself and my friends with the system a little.

Since you're in the VA area, I'm 80% sure you're near Mr. Charlie Stayton. To my experience he arranges most of the Tephra sales up there. He might be known as Ghared Cornwall as well... could be wrong. Not sure if he lurks this forum much (although hes on the facebook group). He does most of the games up there :) Just saying. And to my knowledge he does a damn good job of it.


Actually we met Mr. Stayton, he signed some of our books and he's the one who ran the game my wife played. Cool guy. Now I'm in TX though.

User avatar
Keitoussai
Posts: 449
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Spring, TX
Contact:

Re: New Narrator looking for some advice.

Postby Keitoussai » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:06 am

Oh well in that case. If you're in the Austin area; that's home base for CM. If you're in Houston, I'm part of the Houston crew :D And well if anywhere else then... sorry mate :D (Online sessions might help out?)
"And so the adventurers gathered around per-chance in a diner. They could not help but to overhear a fellow patron regarding a legend that has come to pass... Of Jakob; the DragonRider"
Comicpalooza 2014; Final game of Tephra. Never forget.

User avatar
steampoweredgamer
Posts: 734
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:45 pm

Re: New Narrator looking for some advice.

Postby steampoweredgamer » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:06 pm

Lubbock is Rozial and I's domain, but it is pretty isolated (and only exists for TTU really).

There's a cool local gaming store called Hatter's House of Games here that we used to go to before we all moved into the same townhouse.
Never plan anything.
Trust me, your players will always find a way to break it and you.


Return to “Narrating & Adventures”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests