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[meta] D&D Tropes

Posted in: Fluff,Meta-gaming by Dyskko on August 7, 2009

This is the definition from the main page of the site Tropes – Television Tropes & Idioms

“Tropes are story telling devices and conventions that a writer can reas

onably rely on as being present in the audience members” minds and expectations.”

ventilation_shaftYou know, like when you are following a story, and it goes in a direction you didn”t expect, and then you find out it was All Just a Dream.

Or when the heroes are trapped in a locked room with no windows and the only way out is the Air Vent Escape. Or the only way in is the reverse of this.

In the Dungeon Divas (and perhaps D&D in general), I”ve been thinking that the story line follows a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot. This is a plot with many story arcs that intersect, thread together, and create a large Myth Arc. Of course, that”s just the story the way we”ve been playing it. At other tables, and even within this story, there are always opportunities for the heroes to battle against a Monster of the Week.

Back when the Divas discussed what we wanted out of gaming, we agreed that role-playing was more important that roll-playing. We wanted there to be a connected storyline, and for everything to relate. But if we wanted to do something off-track, we should be allowed to do that on occasion.

SCAPHCThe Shackled City is a series of adventures by Paizo publishing. It starts with Chapter 1 and the characters at Level 1. Eventually, it At Casino Canberra you can play the world's most popular and exciting Casino games. travels to Chapter 12 and the characters at Level 20. We”ve been playing every week for two years and we are now in Chapters 8 and 9 with Level 13 characters.

It”s a pretty famous storyline and it”s been played by a lot of groups. We”re pretty dedicated — about 3 hours a week for over 100 weeks — and we”re only 75% through the story. With such a complicated plot strung over a long time, it”s easy to imagine the risk of Continuity Lock Out. New players joining us have no idea what is going on. Even our Diva Charter Members can get lost in the intricacies of a plot this lengthy.

In our most recent episode, we encountered The Thirteen, and participated in The Reveal. Here we learn that the group”s main goal is Breaking Out the Boss. Now this could be a spoiler, except that in classic Jigsaw Puzzle Plot fashion, the Divas have been gathering evidence for some time. At this point, they”ve put enough of the pieces together that they can guess what the final picture could be. A classic Recap Episode, it serves as a great opportunity to review and introduce.

dixiemattresscompanyAnd what did we learn? The evil Lord Vhalantru, is not the Big Bad we thought. No, The Man Behind the Man is this group of Thirteen. And we get to utter the Arc Words “Everything is connected” as a parade of familiar faces comes to the meeting. The horrible people the Divas have been following were just Mooks. The Dixie Mattress Company, once thought as just The Convenient Store Next Door, was actually a centerpiece of villany. No, this Villian Episode did not provide a lot of opportunity for Evil Gloating but gives us a lot of information.

But does it give too much information? Of course not. Because the beauty of this scenario is that it follows the classic Xanatos Gambit. The heroes are supposed to find out the plot. How else to motivate them to action? And we know it works, because you can see an index of successful gambits, and that”s not even revealing too much because Xanatos Planned This Index.

And of course, as a DM, I must be well-versed in the Evil Overlord List of all the tropes to avoid.

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1 Comment

  1. I think that, if anything, this awesome write up on Eberron solidified my facination with it.

    Comment by mnology — August 9, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

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