Happy Yule, everybody! I hope you got all your shopping done ahead of the elven labor disputes.

Anywho, what say we spend this holiday season talking about dooms? In particular, there’s this concept in Exalted 2e called “The Thousand Dooms.” The shtick is that there are a butt load of world-ending threats scattered around the setting, and any one of them might go off at any time. There’s a Death Lord working on The Anti-Life Equation! An evil version of Midsummer Night’s Dream plots to invade from all corners of the map! A planet-sized robot god is about to crash into Creation! Kung-fu secretaries are going to destroy fate! Etc.!

If you try to imagine a setting where all that crap is actually happening at the same time (much less play such a game) your head might well explode. That said, I do like that all those threats exist. Sure there are a Thousand Dooms hanging over the setting, but GMs only have to choose one. All those terrible threats are nothing more than narrative potential until you decide to shine the light of the group’s attention on them.

This is true of more plot elements than the world-ending threats. Any time you sideline Nancy the Noblewoman’s ongoing feud with her evil cousin to focus on investigating Pat the Paladin’s murdered mentor, you’re choosing to privilege one storyline over another. The important bit is to pick and choose with discretion. Make sure that everyone gets a moment to shine, and that each major plot arc weaves in with the next. My favorite explanation of the technique lives on page 77 over here (damn Chris Perkins knows what’s up).

How about the rest of you guys though? Do your plots ever get away from you? Do you ever feel like you’re trying to cram too much into your campaigns? How do you resolve it when half the party is into the arc and the other half wants to move on? Let’s hear it in the comments!


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