So, this is it, the last in the "GMing to Break the Fifth Wall" series. 8 days ago, I came with the announcement, and here is the finish line, it's here smiling at me and you...
So, what did we have? We had 7 emotion posts, each one discussing a main one and almost all of them some minor related ones.
I started with the most basic and important one- interest. Interest includes all the rest of the emotions in our stories, and as such should get the most of our attention and energy. I gave a few techniques for how to catch the players' interest, and I finished with 4 important points about conflicts: 1) Always think about the outcome of the conflict. 2) You should strive to come with a different conflict for every time. 3) The conflicts should be meaningful. 4) Conflicts are not between the characters but between a desire and an obstacle.
Then I've jumped to the next one- curiosity. Curiosity is the need to know, and is one of the main reasons for continuing to follow a story. My main focus in that post was about raising questions, and many of them. The goal was to not let the players have a moment with no questions rolling through their heads. I've discussed questions from the beat level to the act and story levels, each question bigger and more important than the one from the lower level.
Then, I've went to discuss the next one, anticipation. Anticipation is the feeling of looking forward to an event. Here I've made 2 points that I believe are very important: 1) Always has the characters (PCs and/or NPCs) want something, and don't ever fulfill a goal before giving the players and their characters something else to look for. 2) The MacGuffin doesn't have to be an object all the time. It's much more interesting when it's a place or even a person (fictitious or real).
The next post was about suspense. Suspense deals with what will come next, and when will it come. I've talked about probabilities of particular events and went all the way to dilemmas. I've made 2 points about dilemmas: 1) They should never be less than black and as almost as black, or there will be no dilemma. 2) The higher the stakes, and the more personal they are, the better the dilemma will be.
After that, I continued to surprise. Surprise was used there not to change the outcome, but to change the way to the desired outcome. The most important thing came, as always, at the end: There's no point in trying to surprise the players, if the setup is not good enough.
Then, I've moved to the next one- thrills. Thrills are the moments of sheer sudden sensation. I've went through violence and sexual tension and ended with battles, where I've stated 2 things to make them more thrilling: 1) making battles short, brutal and chaotic as a way to make them more thrilling, and 2) Making the situations more complex.
After that, I've finished with empathy for the NPCs. Empathy is what we feel when we care or like a character. I've stated three main ways for quick empathic bond between your players and the NPCs: 1) Victimizing the NPCs. 2) Giving the NPCs humanistic virtues. 3) Giving the NPCs some desirable qualities.
And that's the end of the series. Hope you've enjoyed it and have found it useful.