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Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:45 am
by Zackzenobi
Now that I have my Nile Empire Physical Sourcebook I'm diving in headfirst. I dont enjoy the PDFs as much as some people do. So I usually just skim them until I get the hard copies. YMMV.

On pg 81 the Law of Action it talks about starting the characters off In Media Res occasionally. Are there guidelines for starting off in the middle of a chase? Should the Heroes already have a card in their pool? Should the Villians be at Step B and the Heroes at step A?

Has anyone else started out a Nile Adventure this way? What did you do differently?

Re: Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:49 am
by mistervimes
I run my games like episodes of a TV show. So, I start all my sessions in medias res unless they are continuations or a previous session. I give the players an overview of the mission and have them tell me what has happened up to this point. Any actions are started then. I don't deal with retroactive situations unless I want them to start at a disadvantage (vehicle damage for example).

Re: Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:11 pm
by Kuildeous
Funnily enough, I started my PbP campaign in media res within the Nile Empire. Here is the introduction I presented to them:

The acrid odor of petrol assaults your nostrils, punctuated percussively by the gritty landscape of the desert. The ringing in your ears subsides gradually as you struggle to stand up against the backdrop of the Pride of Nut wreckage. Who knows what caused this plane to crash? Could it have been the buffeting winds of the sandstorm that now overtakes you? Could it have been the lightning strike which set fire to one of your wings? Could it have been the glowing purple death beam that shot out of a nearby dune that cut your plane in half?

Come to think of it, it probably was the glowing purple death beam that fired out of that dune--the dune next to the metal hatch which flipped open to allow several large scorpions to scuttle onto the shifting sands. The hatch laboriously swings to close, but the sandstorm forces thousands of obstructing grains of sands into the hinges, preventing the metal door to slam shut. You could seek shelter from the storm within that hatch if only the scorpions didn't have other plans for you.


I don't view in media res as starting a combat in round 3 or something like that. I may describe it where an NPC got knocked out by the villain, which implies that they're in the middle of combat, but I'd have the combat begin at that point.

As I look at my introduction, I think about how this could've run differently with a more organic approach. When I went with in media res, the card pools began with fighting the scorpions after the plane crash. If I had started it sooner, then it's possible I could've put the plane crashing into rounds, in which case maybe they would be fighting the scorpions in round 3 or 4.

Interesting thing about running in media res is that it lets you set the stage so that the complications are already in place without trying to force it through game play. For my story, the plane has to crash. So it did. In the background. If I had tried to put them in a plane and make it crash through dice and mechanics, it probably would've been clunky as hell. I might roll crap for lightning damage. A Storm Knight might have a spell or miracle to offset something. A Storm Knight could make an Outstanding success on Air Vehicles check, and how much of a jerk would I be if I just ignored that roll and crash the plane anyway?

It could be tricky to do in media res. It could easily fail. I think a way to make it fail guaranteed is to dictate a PC's actions before the action. If the mummies attack because a PC standing guard falls asleep, that could rub the player the wrong way. If the mummies attack because they burst through the wall unexpectedly, then it doesn't rely on a Storm Knight's failing—unless the player is cool with that; describing the scene and letting the players fill in the gaps is a great way for someone to say, "Oh, sorry, guys, Herbert has jet lag and fell asleep on watch. My bad." In fact, I think in media res has a greater chance of success if you let the players fill in the gaps on why you're there. I didn't do that for this game, but I could've, and I think it would've been fun.

Re: Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:27 pm
by TorgHacker
Kuildeous wrote:It could be tricky to do in media res. It could easily fail. I think a way to make it fail guaranteed is to dictate a PC's actions before the action. If the mummies attack because a PC standing guard falls asleep, that could rub the player the wrong way. If the mummies attack because they burst through the wall unexpectedly, then it doesn't rely on a Storm Knight's failing—unless the player is cool with that; describing the scene and letting the players fill in the gaps is a great way for someone to say, "Oh, sorry, guys, Herbert has jet lag and fell asleep on watch. My bad." In fact, I think in media res has a greater chance of success if you let the players fill in the gaps on why you're there. I didn't do that for this game, but I could've, and I think it would've been fun.


Asking the players why something occurs is a good way to do it.

"Joe, you're suddenly attacked by mummies. Why was your character surprised by this?"

Re: Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:00 pm
by Atama
TorgHacker wrote:"Joe, you're suddenly attacked by mummies. Why was your character surprised by this?"

Well Deanna, it’s 7 in the morning and mummies rarely attack me earlier than 9 AM.

Re: Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:16 pm
by Sword of Spirit
Zackzenobi wrote:I dont enjoy the PDFs as much as some people do. So I usually just skim them until I get the hard copies. YMMV.


Glad to hear I'm not the only one. It means I'm generally going to be one cosm behind the current buzz, but I just don't feel right unless I read through that nice hard copy, and I don't have the time to read all the way through any RPG book twice unless it's a core rules book.

Re: Nile Empire En Media Res

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:36 am
by mathey
My favorite use of In Medias Res was in a spy game where I started people off with their characters falling out of a crashing airplane, with one of them lacking a parachute, ala "Moonraker."

Generally speaking, the purpose is to skip the "boring" stuff like the briefing get the players active and proactive.