A Quick Way To Make Player Victories Sweeter

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #1104

I just finished reading the Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns. I highlighted and flagged a few pages, so expect a tip or two I’ve gleaned from the guide in the future.

On page 23 there’s a great tip about making player victories sweeter:

Designing a finale specifically to a setting makes an ending stronger, because specific triumphs (“We beat the 33rd legion of the Dragon Empire! The Magdar ride for freedom!”) always beats a generic triumph (“We beat the orc legion! Humans win!”).

This tip works because it makes foes, challenges, and obstacles more personal for your players.

You give them specifics to hang their swords and scrolls onto.

I would use this approach for more that linking a finale to your setting.

Add it as a detail to any kind of player opposition:

  • NPCs
  • Traps
  • Monsters
  • Factions
  • Catastrophes

For example, in real life we name hurricanes and cyclones.

This quick extra detail also gives you design prompts for inspiration.

“We beat the 33rd legion of the Dragon Empire! The Magdar ride for freedom!”

Are there other legions in the Dragon Empire?

Why does that legion serve?

What’s the history of that legion?

Have they had any notable victories or losses?

Who commands the legion?

Apply 5W2H and be curious. (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How, and How Much.)

I find that as soon as I give something a name or an identity, I can leverage that for more details by asking questions about it.

Don’t make the opposition generic. Give it a specific identity so players feel a sweeter victory. Try this in all your adventures and campaigns.