March 28, 2011

Hari Ragat: Voyage Narrative Structure

The core story upon which Hari Ragat adventures are built is the Voyage.  The heroes depart, go somewhere wondrous and dangerous, and if things go well, return with some kind of treasure and tales of deeds increasing their renown.  More specifically, I’m thinking this can be broken into four acts:

Call to Adventure
A player character – either volunteered by a player or chosen by whatever means the GM likes – states a destination and a reason for going there, and recruits the other PCs to join him/her on the voyage. 

Preparations are made and the heroes set off.  The voyage will usually be a trip by sea, but it may also involve an overland trek.  Obstacles and hazards will be encountered, and must either be avoided or defeated.

On reaching the destination, the heroes wil undergo some great trial of their courage, cunning, or other abilities.  The purpose of this great trial is to give the playes something satisfyingly exciting to play against. This may be a battle, a duel with some champion, a fight with a monster, a challenge involving diplomacy or intrigue, or a series of courtship challenges.  The latter should give players who want to roleplay more an interesting hook.  

Their purpose achieved, the heroes return home.  Depending on the desired play time and presence of unresolved story elements, the GM may give the players another challenge or two to get home.  Perhaps the princess they just won had rival suitors who now want to try abducting her.  Or perhaps that giant they slew has an angry brother.  The return act should reinforce the feeling of triumph and epic accomplishment for the whole adventure.

I’m also thinking that this simple 4-act structure can help Hari Ragat GMs create and run episodic one-shot games.  From my perspective, the episodic one-shot is the best compromise between Real Life™ and natural desire to maintain a character and see that character grow over successive sessions of play.


  1. Good to see you posting again! Vivid sounds familiar, for some reason... good name for your RPG!

  2. remember to ask me one day exactly how it got named ... :)


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