"We're gonna need a face and a forger and a hacker and a cracker. And some muscle. Definitely some muscle…"
The Follow campaign is off to a great start! Thanks to all of you for spreading the word and supporting it! Now let's talk more about the nuts and bolts of how Follow works. First up: fellowships.
United, For Now
Your fellowship is the team trying to win the quest. What kind of team depends on the quest you picked. You could be a crew of hardened crims, a team of research scientists, or a few plucky hobbits and their mysterious ranger friend.
Our characters are united in wanting the quest to succeed (at least for now…) but we each have our own reasons for being here. We may want different things out of our success or want the quest to succeed in different ways. You might want to slay the dragon to win fame while another character wants to protect her homeland. You don't care how much devastation you incur in the battle, so long as it's epic, but she really does.
We also need different things from each other, things the other character is not willing to give. I need you to forgive me for screwing up that extraction in Munich three years ago. You need our handler to falsify her reports. We establish personal connections and generate starting tension before the quest even begins.
What could possibly go wrong?!?
"Who You Calling a Redshirt?"
That's our main character, but we each also start with a second character: our minor character. The minor characters are also part of the fellowship, but they're not the focus of the story the way the main characters are. They flesh out the team and add some depth to our narrative – not to mention giving us more characters to talk to.
So we start with twice as many characters as players but our path is a difficult one and not everyone is going to make it to the end. Even if we succeed at every challenge, there will be times when the outcome indicates that we lose characters. If we're trying to get our Candidate elected, someone could get fired or quit, but if we're playing a Rebellion they might be arrested or shot. Either way, they're out of the fellowship and out of the story.
You might think "ah, the minor characters are there to take the hit!" They can, and losing them can be poignant – everyone loved Agent Thomson! But sometimes you'll decide to lose your main character instead, because it makes a more interesting story or because it just makes more sense to you. Maybe you've already done everything you want with this character and it feels like a good, dramatic moment for them to go. Great!
Losing your main character never means you're out of the game. You just promote your minor character and continue playing. Now they're in the spotlight. In fact, it's a critical principle of Follow that nothing in the story can take a player out of the game or reduce your ability to contribute, which means you are free to embrace terrible, dramatic things happening to your character or the fellowship as a whole, if you want.
Victory can be fun, but tragedy is not the enemy.
Next up: Picking Challenges & Drawing Stones