Interested in running your own game of DragonScale? Don’t worry; while you’ll need to know more than the average player to properly set up a game, you’ll need to do far less research and remember far fewer rules than in most other comprehensive RPG systems.
- First off, remember that DragonScale campaigns are story-driven.
If it’s a pure combat campaign you desire, the system can certainly provide; but there are other systems available that are much richer and more nuanced in this regard. The entire point of DragonScale is to maintain the flow of play and to keep the players interested. What battles there are should exist to progress your story, not the other way around.
- Second, give your Players plenty of non-combat-related scenarios and situations.
In fact, much of play can be done completely without touching a card or dice. Describe what (and only what) they experience, without interpretation, and allow them to draw conclusions and make plans. Detail the consequences. Give them challenges where combat isn’t even a physical option. Make them think outside the box.
- Make each encounter a puzzle that can only be solved by cooperation.
Of course, different GMs have different governing styles and expect different things from their players. For myself, I prefer to use RPGs as exercises in group planning, decision-making, and negotiation. These are skills that are as useful off the table as on.
- Give a false sense of free will.
Be a magician; fool your audience. Make rough plans for scenarios, NPCs, and enemies that they’ll eventually encounter. Then, no matter what choices they make as a group, have them eventually stumble across your prepared plot points. Force them to engage your story. But never admit to it.
- Lastly, make your sessions memorable.
Straight hack-and-slash campaigns quickly lose their charm. Make something stand out in particular about your stories or how you handle your sessions. Perhaps they are forced to relive the memories of one of your characters, potentially changing an event that made them who they are. Perhaps one of them is a murderer, and only you as a GM know which one will eventually betray the party. Or perhaps they are infiltrating a stronghold of creatures with acute hearing, and they must complete the entire session without speaking and using only hand signals.
Let’s walk, step-by-step, through the preparation of a quick afternoon session.