Sagas: One Bite at a Time March 30, 2016 08:48

For someone who hasn’t run a saga before, it can look like a lot of work. Ask any narrator you know and they’ll tell you how much work they put in. Don’t worry, because the size of the project is all about perspective. Let’s look into what I call “Bite-Size Sagas.”

When I started running games, I ran one-shot adventures. It’s easier on the Narrator because you only need enough content to last a few hours, and that small window of time allows for a lot of improvisation. When I started looking into running sagas, I was concerned that I may lose interest if the project was too big. Then I thought about how I wrote essay papers in school, and that inspired me to start treating sagas like an essay.

To create your Bite-Sized Sagas, you first need an outline of your story. Make sure to emphasize only the important plot points. Once you see your story written out like that, take each plot point and break it down into smaller pieces. For example: One of my plot points involves uncovering a noble’s horrible secret. Well, the party won’t up and find a secret lying on the road. That’s going to take at least three sessions, so I’ll allow it to take five to include time spent exploring and general player shenanigans, and in each session the party will get a clue to guide them back to the plot point. Once you do this for your plot points, you have a general idea on how many sessions your saga will take. All you need to do at this point is fully write out your first, and maybe second, session preparation notes.

As you progress through your saga, you’ll take some time and write out the next session notes. If something didn’t go as you thought it would, you don’t have to go and rewrite everything afterward. All you need is to change the reason your events take place. In an adventure, mark down the important parts as Point A and Point B. How the party gets there can be unknown and unpredictable. You may also take inspiration from your party members and change certain points of the saga. As long as you keep your notes organized and tidy, you won’t feel overwhelmed or scattered about. I’ve been using this method for two years now, and it’s made my sagas much easier to manage.

Thank you guys for reading! Comment below if you have your own techniques you’d like to share, or if you have questions that weren’t answered in this article. Until next time, cheers and gears!