RPPR Episode 149: Labyrinths and Mazes – Linear and Nonlinear Scenario Design

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Synopsis: Labyrinths and mazes may seem similar but they diverge in one important aspect. A labyrinth has only one path to its goal (linear) while a maze features multiple paths to multiple destinations (nonlinear). Bill and I talk about designing linear and nonlinear scenarios and their place in creating great campaigns. We also have shout outs and anecdotes!

Shout Outs

Song: Old Haunts by 2 Mello

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1 Comment

  1. As always, great discussion. I think it parallels the discussion between the “maze of clues” and “ocean of clues” approaches on last week’s Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.

    One of the interesting points (made by Robin Laws in that episode) is that in retrospect, story beats will generally seem linear – since you get a series of lines connecting the points that you explored.

    Bill’s comment on how it’s better to use a more linear approach for particularly involved or strange settings made a few things click for me. Caleb did that to great effect in Know Evil, for instance – the first few sessions are very defined in their environment and objectives. I’m planning to run Unknown Armies soon and that’s a very useful insight. So is the idea about alternating them – I think that’s an aspect of strong storytelling, to vary up the beats, that can get lost when you’re in the middle of running a campaign with lots of moving parts.

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