3/18/2011-“Hey Old Guys”

So far this month, I have been going over the typical devices that many GMs use to keep their Big Bad Guy (BBG) out of the way of the heroes until the final battle.  This third device, I do not use that often and never make it the structure of the plot; however, I think many players have encountered it. 

Cat n’ Mouse Cliché: This is the infamous espionage story, where the BBG is always right there but next to a door, has a chasm or train tracks between you.  Basically, the BBG is seen frequently; but always out of reach.  The heroes chase, BBG evades, and then the heroes have to figure out where the BBG will be next.  It is a straight forward story that has tension, action, and mystery; all fun elements for any game.  It does initially steer the heroes away from being underdogs because they are on the offensive and should have the resources to pursue, the only resource that they really lack is knowledge.  There is a lot of versatility in making your villain and setting. 

Naturally, if you make this cliché the foundation of your plot; then you run the chance of not having much depth in your story.  By keeping your heroes on the go, they do not have time for character development; because the only time they have is for tactical thinking.  Think about how boring the first Men In Black movie would have been if Agent J was already a seasoned veteran.   By introducing Agent J’s recruitment into the story, there was character development which not only helps define the setting but also established the heroes’ relationship.   This all took place outside of the Cat n’ Mouse plot line.Also, you have a similar endurance problem as the Daisy Chain Cliché; too much evasion with too little plot advancement can really tire out the players.  Make sure the players are still making achievements when the BBG slips away.


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