Welcome back to the Realm Works Spotlight Series! This is Liz, and I’ll once again be your host for the sixth installment. If you’re just joining us now, I recommend first reading the initial five entries or watch the videos on our YouTube channel.
When the Content Market launches, there will be a number of incredible adventures, modules, and resources available for purchase. Many gamers have asked what to expect when purchasing content for Realm Works. This week, we’ll discuss how users will get started with published content, including various resources that will facilitate getting the most out of Realm Works.
Where to Start?
By now, you should have a good grasp on how Realm Works differs from traditional published content. As you’ve seen, these differences add a lot of valuable options and resources for GMs, and we want to make sure GMs start off on the right foot.
After you buy an adventure or module in Realm Works, you have three options. The first is creating a new realm with the purchased content. This option is ideal for stand-alone adventures like Rise of the Runelords or detailed settings like the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport. Once the new realm is created, you can run the adventure “as is” or customize it to your heart’s content.
The second option is adding the content into a staging area within an existing realm. This is a great option for a variety of published materials. Because the content is kept separate within the staging area, you can freely pick and choose what to incorporate into your world. If you want to add Thistletop from Rise of the Runelords to your custom world, simply move the topic and its children into your active material.
The last option is integrating published content straight into an existing realm, which is ideal for small modules or mini-settings. Realm Works automatically places the topics into the appropriate content family groupings: Events, People, Groups, Places, and Things. From there, you need only to weave the content into your world.
Importantly, the second and third options require the use of our cloud service. Every GM Edition purchase includes an initial period of cloud service, so you’ll have a chance to see how this option works for your games before choosing whether to continue the service.
Cherry Pick the Content
It’s common for GMs to find inspiration in published material, and now it will be easier than ever with Realm Works. Let’s see how this will work with a highly reusable resource like Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs. This system-neutral product from Engine Publishing provides GMs with 1,000 “masks,” or non-player characters, that GMs can easily drop into their game.
Since I’m only going to choose one or two NPCs at a time from Masks, I’ll pick it up from the Content Market and add it to the staging area within my current campaign. The staging area is located in the navigation pane, allowing me to view all the topics in Masks, along with my campaign’s topics. To add an NPC to my realm, I simply drag and drop the topic where I want it to live. From there, I can tailor the individual’s topic to exactly fit my story.
But if I don’t know much about Masks after I purchase it from the Content Market, how will I know how to get started? Modules, settings, and other resources purchased in Realm Works will all include details about the content for both GMs and players. To see what this will look like, let’s look at Masks in its own separate realm. In the navigation pane on the left, you’ll notice a “Sources” section. By clicking on the “Masks” topic, you’ll find a brief description of the content, called “Story Source” in Realm Works.
What I want to read is the “GM Synopsis.” The GM Synopsis for Masks includes summary information, like the Story Source, but it also includes summaries and links to Game Mastering advice, as well as links to the NPC genres – Fantasy, SciFi, and Modern. Clicking the links in the GM Synopsis brings you to the associated topic within Realm Works. So, if I want to check out the advice on finding the Perfect NPC, I just click the link in the synopsis, and it brings me to that topic.
Also included in the GM Synopsis for Masks are suggestions for using the material with Realm Works. With this particular resource, we recommend using tag filtering to find characters that fit your criteria: traits, genre, and even author. So if I want to find all the NPCs with the “wealthy” trait, I could easily narrow down the list to everyone with that tag. Finding a suitable NPC for a particular situation can’t get much easier!
The GM synopsis should always be your first stop after picking up content for Realm Works. You’ll get an overview of the material, and guidance on how best to leverage the content in Realm Works.
By the Chapter
Now that you’ve seen how a reusable resource like Masks will be presented in Realm Works, let’s head over to the mammoth-sized Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path from Paizo. Rise of the Runelords is over 400 pages long and includes six major chapters, not to mention extensive player materials. Trying to include everything a GM needs to know into one GM synopsis would be overwhelming for any GM. Recognizing this, we’ve included an overview and a separate, detailed synopsis for each chapter.
After I first purchase the adventure path, I can check out the GM synopsis for Rise of the Runelords to get a general sense of the story. The second section, “Using this Material,” is especially useful. It provides suggestions on how best to present details to players within Realm Works, as well as links to important elements, like the overall adventure storyboard, the GM synopsis for each chapter, and the topics for both Varisia and Sandpoint.
The “Chapter 1: Burnt Offerings” synopsis gets into the nitty gritty details of the opening chapter, providing GMs with a summary, links to key events and more. As was the case with Masks, there are convenient links in the text to important topics, and the transitions pane on the right shows links to and from associated topics. With summary details and guidance for getting the most out of Realm Works, the GM synopsis for the current chapter you’re running is a great topic to review before an upcoming session. You may even want to keep it open in a tab when running the game, especially during your first few sessions.
For the Players
Now you know where to start, but what about the players? While looking at the GM Synopsis topics, you may have noticed something important. The snippets are all GM directions. This was done on purpose, as the details in these topics are for the GM’s eyes only.
However, there is typically background content and information included in published material that are meant for the players. That’s where the Player Synopsis comes in. Let’s take a look at the Player Synopsis for the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport by Green Ronin Publishing.
This player-specific topic includes text snippets that can be revealed to players as the players encounter the locations, characters, and events during play. The Player Synopsis for the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport provides players with a quick summary of the setting and links to important places in the setting, key characters, events in the Fury in Freeport adventure, and the five quests from the Campaign Threads.
GMs can readily provide a link to the Player Synopsis from within their Realm Starting Point topic, which is essentially the “home page” of your realm and very important for any players using Realm Works Player Edition. When your players open Realm Works, they’ll have easy access to the Player Synopsis and anything you’ve revealed if you have it linked on the Realm Starting Point topic.
As was the case with the GM Synopsis, large adventures like Rise of the Runelords will have separate sub-topics for each chapter. This will keep things more manageable and allow you to reveal details to players chapter by chapter, instead of maintaining one massive topic.
Between both the GM Synopsis and Player Synopsis topics, you’ll have everything you need to get started when you pick up your next module or setting from the Content Market.
So long, farewell…
Thanks for joining me as I showed how to get started with published content from the Realm Works Content Market after it launches in early 2016.
In the next episode, we’ll focus on NPCs, monsters, and encounters. You’ll see how statblocks are included in adventures and modules, and the many options available to users with Hero Lab.
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If you have questions that you want us to answer in future entries, let us know! If your question is already answered on our Frequently Asked Questions, then it’s already on our radar. If not, we encourage you to ask it on our forums.
Live long and prosper.
Lone Wolf Development
- in Realm Works