When There’s TOO MANY Awesome Hooks
During a chat I had with RPT GM Omar last night, he mentioned this tricky problem:
I also had a great holiday season and got a new Cthulhu-themed rulebook I’m eager to try.
I really downgraded my prep in favour of a dynamic world that reacts to any player choice.
That is, until some player complained about the abundance of choices…that’s life, I’m afraid LOL.
Hehe. This is a common GM trap with sandbox campaigns. Especially if you apply my Treasure Crawl method to create irresistible adventure hooks.
Part of my solution for this involves helping players create clear short-term and long-term character goals. Then, when faced with Tyranny of Choice, players can decide based on which option will get them closer to their goals.
Also, when the party gets mired in debate or stuck with indecision, my first GM Move is to send an NPC to the rescue. If I can’t drop a recurring NPC into the table at that moment, then I’ll create a memorable one on-the-fly using my 3-Line NPC method.
Roghan: “There’s too many choices! Get Black Razor from the volcano, quest to find The Tower of Fez to teach Ignitus more spells, or take care of the goblin horde amassing in the north?”
Johnn: “As you guys weigh your options, a frumpy-looking dwarf in rags limps over. [High pitched- voice.] ‘I couldn’t help but overhear. Did you say Fez?'”
Little Phingers the Halfling: “Yeah, so what, shorty! It’s none o’ yo ‘bidness. Now get back to beggin’ or whatever yo deal is. And mebe get a bath too. You stink!”
Johnn: “Well, I ask because I happen to have some very interesting details about Fez. Verrrrry interesting. For example, I know where his tower is. And I also know it’s magical! Yes, it only appears during a Dusk Moon. And that’s tonight!”
Roghan: Well, that settles it then! Johnn, I reach out and grab the dwarf by the lapels and begin shaking the info out of him!”
NPCs bearing clues or even exact information like above can break the party’s log jam pretty quick.
And don’t forget an item on our GM Agenda: Introduce at least two NPCs every session, and kill (or remove) an NPC each session. When your players are faced with Tyranny of Choice from too many irresistible hooks you’ve dropped into play, an NPC encounter helps us reach this goal and solve the problem.
Have more fun at every game!
P.S. I asked Omar what his new book was and it’s Cthulhu Dark by Graham Walmsley.
Also, if you want to learn how to improvise awesome 3-Line NPCs and get 450 example 3LNPCs you can immediately use in your games, get my NPC Mastery Bundle here.