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Running a Theatrical Campaign - Part Four

   Posted by: Wolfgod   in Fantasy, Movies, RPG, Sci-Fi

So the band of heroes isn’t acting very heroic?  They’ve told the old King to go rescue his own daughter?  They’re starting bar fights because they won’t accept the quest and they’re getting bored?

It’s time to bring in the Mentor.

Everybody needs a reason to go on a dangerous Quest.  Your players will have more buy-in to the storyline if they feel like something is in it for them.  Of course, some players don’t engage much with the role-playing part of the story, and others are very reluctant heroes who need a good push out the door.

That’s where the Mentor comes in.  The classic mentor figures are guys like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Gandalf; wise old Wizards who can tell the young hero what he needs to do - and maybe train him a little bit, or give her the special item that’ll give a much-needed edge later on.

They don’t always have to be old wizards.  The Mentor could be the King, or a parent, or anybody with wisdom to share about the coming trial.  (The Ranger who last went to the Mountain of Shadows to get the Pearl Orchid.)  Even a bard with a good story could help out - give the heroes that last bit of advice and a shove of motivation to get them moving along.

The Mentor is your device to give the heroes a compelling reason to take up the dangerous quest; to change their minds if they refused the adventure, to give them advice and make sure they’re properly equipped for the trial to come.  The Campaign worlds we’ve created over the years have usually had plenty of Mentor figures built in; often the same Mentor would appear in different campaigns, giving a new band of heroes that extra nudge out the door.

Now, if all else fails, you can simply use an authority figure for the mentor - the aforementioned monarch, or a military leader, or one of the gods.  That’s your last resort to get the heroes moving - but it’ll work.

Now that they’ve accepted the quest, they’ll need to cross over into the adventure proper - I’ll cover that in Part Five.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 at 7:30 am and is filed under Fantasy, Movies, RPG, Sci-Fi. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


I’d say it makes a difference whether the NPC is hiring/pressuring the PCs (in which case I’d call that a Patron) or is actually looking out for the PCs’ interests and trying to bring them along their chosen career path (a real Mentoring role). At least, if you don’t think about the distinction you may lose sight of some of the ways that you can motivate the PCs.

October 22nd, 2008 at 10:55 am

Yep. Obi-Wan is a Mentor to Luke, and can guide and advise him. M is a Patron to James Bond. Different relationship.

November 22nd, 2008 at 9:54 am

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