3 Act Story Structure for RPG Scenario Design

Balagan 3 Act Story Structure

As an end of year special I’ll take a detour into the land of RPGs. Specifically story structure.

I first bumped into the 3 Act Story structure in the context of RPG Scenario Design. The 3 act structure I ended up with is pretty simple: hook, journey, confrontation. In truth I always found role playing discussion of this structure confusing. I couldn’t imagine having only three scenes in a RPG scenario. Well, the answer is obvious, of course. Acts are not scenes. Acts contain scenes. Clearly I have dive deeper into the 3 Act structure to understand how to apply it to scenario design.

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Top 20 Pages on Balagan

Balagan Site Stats

I started this blog on 21 Feb 2001 and then Migrated Balagan to WordPress on 15 Sep 2013. So, roughly 4.5 years ago. One of the great things about WordPress, compared to the hand crafted HTML site I had before, is that I get statistics on page views. Apparently I’ve had 1,176,779 views since I migrated and 1,125 comments. My biggest day (23 Feb 2018) brought 2,420 views – this was because Reddit got hold of my Academy of Street Fighting: Tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad post. Today is a typical day with 750 views.

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Explaining Fate Core to Newbies

Fate Core Book Cover

I’m thinking of running a game of Fate Core for some mates. Fate is sufficiently different to other role playing games that I thought I should pull together notes on the things to cover with the newbies. This is basically the Cheat Sheet from the rules with explanatory text and is based on the 2011 Fred Hicks post on The Core of Fate Core.

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Fudge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Fudge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Michael Gentry created “Fudge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer” but it disappeared from his site some time ago. Luckily the rules were captured by the Way Back Machine on 2 Aug 2002; you can find it here. For my own convenience I’ve combined the eight pages into one. I hope the Fudge Community will also benefit. All words are Michael’s.

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Seers in Fudge Bunnies

Bunny Seer

Some bunnies are Seers – they have Psionic abilities. It isn’t realistic but it is cool. Fiver, one of the main characters in Watership Down, is a Seer. His terrifying vision of the warren’s destruction is the plot device that starts the story. Similarly, if you read the material on Bunnies & Burrows (B&B), Seers are often the vehicle to introduce new adventures. But as usual there is no one place to find how Seers work in Fudge Bunnies. So I have pieced together bits from VG Fudge Bunnies (specifically Sprig who is a Seer), Gurps B&B, Gurps 3rd Edition and some stuff I’ve made up.

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Storytelling and Enthralment in Fudge Bunnies

Bunny Storytelling

Storytelling and Enthralment are two of the interesting features that distinguishes a Bunnies & Burrows (B&B) game from reality. My problem is there is no one place to find the Storytelling and Enthralment rules for Fudge Bunnies. So I have pieced together bits from VG Fudge Bunnies (specifically Raspberry who is a storyteller), Gurps B&B, and some stuff I’ve made up.

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Fudge Bunnies – Evolution of Attributes, Skills and Languages


It isn’t always obvious from the published material what Fudge Bunnies – as a distinct rule set – is and how it is different from Gurps B&B. Steffan O’Sullivan, the author of both Fudge and Gurps Bunnies & Burrows (B&B), has been evolving his thinking on Fudge Bunnies since 1992. So in this post I attempt to reverse engineer Steffan’s thinking on Fudge Bunnies in 2014 and fill in a few gaps. At least for Attributes, skills and animal languages.

The big change is in the language to describe character traits. Gurps has fairly bland and generic names for character traits but Fudge is all about evocative language. So the trait names Fudge Bunnies are much more, well bunny-like.

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History of Fudge Bunnies

Lily Bobtail, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny

My wife thinks I’m having a mid-life crisis. I’ve got into bunnies. Embarrassingly these are not Playboy Bunnies but RPG adventurers. You see my six year old daughter has just discovered Peter Rabbit on TV. She loves the bunny adventures. And by coincidence I’ve just discovered that Steffan O’Sullivan, my hero for creating the Fudge RPG, is also author of “Gurps: Bunnies & Burrows”. And Steffan has been running Fudge Bunnies games since 1992. I’d like to bring these threads together and use Fudge RPG to run a bunnies game for my daughter (maybe when she is seven).

So, for those interested, here is a bit of a history of Fudge Bunnies. Incidentally it also forms a bit of an annotated bibliography for the genre.

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Balagan Role Playing Game Plots

There are some great suggestions for plot lines for Role Playing Games (RPG) on the web. Notable amongst them are The 36 Plots by Loren J. Miller. Loren lists actors and elements for each plot and gives a narrative example from a fantasy setting.

To make The 36 Plots easier to transfer to a non-fantasy setting I’ve reproduced some of them here but with a generic description that includes the actors as part of the narrative. That means I can lose the fantasy setting.

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