Arcs

Overview

Arcs are the big sections of the campaign: the big movements and broad strokes that yoru campaign will be presented with.

Normally, there are three arcs per campaign, that mesh up with the three-act narrative structure: the Beginning, the Middle, and the End. Each arc is assumed to be about four adventures long (and thus take up four months of real time). You could split the campaign easily into four arcs, each one being three adventures (and thus three months), for more complex or episodic tales (in this case, you may have two "middle" arcs).

Arcs are an organizing concept, not a mechanical concept: they help you plan your game, and to give it a narrative thrust, but there's little in the ways of dice-rolling rules for them.

The Beginning Arc

(Adventure 1-4)
The Beginning Arc establishes the baseline for the campaign: it introduces the major locations, major groups, major characters, and essential conflicts, that the rest of the campaign will be re-visiting. Generally, this means that there should be at most four major "sides" in the conflict, or at most four different angles to approach the central conflict, and four different groups that the players interact with. There can be countless other minor plots and minor groups and minor characters, but the number of adventures you spend on the beginning arc should introduce the major ones. If you have less than 4, you can always give extra attention to one or more of them, fleshing them out in a bit more detail.

The Middle Arc

(Adventure 5-8)
The Middle Arc involves challenging the established sides, advancing the established conflict, and gradually escalating the risk posed by the villain. By the end of this arc, the villain should stand in stark relief as a danger, and the decision of the characters will be center stage. This arc can be used to flesh out individual characters or groups (including the villain), and to present opportunities for the PC's to fail spectacularly. You may begin this arc by introducing the villain as the direct conflict, and you might end it with an adventure that revolves around thwarting one of the villain's first major schemes.

The Ending Arc

(Adventure 9-12)
The Ending Arc involves fighting the villain directly. A lot should be at stake in each adventure, with the enemy slipping away until being cornered at the end. Here, the PC's begin to go on the offensive in earnest, finding ways to effectively get to and fight the villain by the end. Though this arc may begin on a downer note after the first major strike in the previous arc, it should present hope that the PC's can thwart the evil that faces their world, and spur them on to face it, even if they wind up losing.

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