On the Glass-Maker's Dragon Quests, and NPC Quests in General

For context, this is the question to which Jenna was responding:

I'm confused by how the quests and arcs are supposed to be used. Let's take the following example:

Holly (the HG) is running a Glass-Maker's Dragon game. Her players take the roles of Chuubo, Rinley, and Miramie.

1. On what arcs, and with which quests, should each of those three characters start?
2. How do the arcs and quests proceed for those three once the game has started?
3. Holly wants to make sure the Spring arcs (Jasper's) feature in the game; when should she introduce those, and how exactly does she use the quests?
4. Is it possible to run a Glass-Maker's Dragon game without involving the Glass arc, if no one is playing Miramie? (What if someone were?)

Originally posted by Jenna Moran on RPGnet

BEGINNERS

If you don't really understand how to pick your quests, then Chuubo starts out on "Chuubo and the Tiresome Temples:"

  • Haunted, then
  • Wishing for Ease OR Wishing for Power (player's choice), then
  • Wicked Creatures

Rinley starts on "Rinley Yatskaya Looks for Trouble:"

  • Adventure GET, then
  • Let's Doing!, then
  • Labyrinth Diving

Miramie starts on "Shards of Glass:"

  • Beautiful and Far Away, then
  • Fascination, then
  • This is So Surreal OR This is Such a Bad Idea (player's choice)

If Holly wants to see the Spring Arcs, then she should introduce Jasper Irinka, and after a while say, "I'm going to start the story of Jasper Irinka's deal as a set of 'group quests,' things the whole group does on the side. Unless someone really hates the idea, or really wanted to make it a personal focus soon?"

If no one is playing Miramie, then the Glass Arcs don't have to happen. I mean, they still COULD, if someone wants to discover Miramie's hidden room and play through the quests—-but they don't have to.

INTERMEDIATE

Once you know what you're doing, then you have a few more options for 1&2. I mean, it's still basically what I said above, you're supposed to start on those quests, but it's a much softer "should"—-Chuubo's player might say, e.g.,

"Y'know, I don't care about this giant snake stuff. I only care about rock & roll. I'm still going to play through Chuubo and the Tiresome Temples, but I'm taking my tie off, tying it around my head, and doing it as a BLUE WOUNDED ANGEL ARC, starting with 'WICKED CREATURES'."

And Rinley's player can say, "I love playing Rinley, but I actually got through all her Arcs in my last game. I want to play through the 'Shards of Glass' Arcs right along with Miramie."

Or whatever.

Similarly, if you've got a decent sense on how the game runs, you get another option for 3—-Holly could just start on the Spring Arcs herself. She's the one who's interested in them!

Here's how that works.

The first quest of the Arc features an "I'm Touched" card that you hold up to get XP, so she could say, "OK, it's spring, and love is in the air, and you guys can now earn plot progress on some side stuff by being extra-sweet to one another and to my NPCs."

Jenna Later Clarified: (The default card would be the Lurid version. It's just more fun with the "I'm Touched" card, because there's something quintessentially game-mastery about the players being cute, the HG holding up a sign towards them reading "I'm Touched," and the back side, towards the HG, quietly promising "this will end in pain.")

That'll be pretty slow, but eventually she'll get to the second quest of the Arc. At that point, the NPCs for the Arc will have been around for a while, and basically she can use any of them as the "you" in the quest card to progress through that. (Or any random NPC she wants, but that isn't as slick.)

ADVANCED

If you really know what you're doing, it's probably fine if one of the players is going off and doing some completely unrelated or player-designed stuff. It might even manage to be a Glass-Maker's Dragon campaign if two players go off and play a bunch of custom quests, as long as the HG and the other player are mostly focused on GMD stuff. That said, it's the HG's right to say, "Hey! We're running a Glass-Maker's Dragon campaign here! Don't do that. Or do that less."

Originally posted by Jenna Moran on RPGnet

Note that "running a quest as the HG" and "running a group quest" aren't quite the same. Running a group quest is the basic option; playing a quest as the HG is the weird option for people who're willing to do weird things.

See: the HG is a player.

So, technically, the HG can just, you know, start a quest. And play it.

The HG doesn't really have stuff like Arc Traits or Perks or MP (I mean, you can but it's kind of silly) so taking a quest doesn't do the HG much good unless they have a GMPC. But the orange and green cards are fun, and conceivably a storyline quest would be an interesting way to pace NPC actions.

In a group quest, the "you" (on a Quest card) is a player.

If the HG takes on a quest, the "you" is presumptively "the world," "a GMPC in whose name the quest was taken on," or "whatever NPC fits."

For clarity, I don't actually expect HGs to take on quests under normal circumstances, and most of the time when they do it's because there was a good reason to have a GMPC. (Only 1 other player? Only 2 other players? Only 3 other players, and you're running a Steven Universe game?)

… but the Spring Arcs are just ones where I'd be really tempted.

I mean, not only can you flash the "I'm Touched" card at players, but then you can go on to picking a PC as the "unlikely friend" and having a suite of pre-designed options for things the zillion NPCs for Spring can do to interact with that PC, including an option for switching their attentions to someone else if you have spotlight management issues. After that it gets less perfect but STILL.

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