The 5×5 Rule in practice…

2009 September 1
by Dante

I’m getting prepared for tomorrow night’s gaming session, the first weeknight game I’ve played in a long time.  To get ready for this week’s session, I’m continuing on my exploration of Dave The Game’s 5×5 method, seen over at Critical Hits.  Last month, everybody’s favorite Chatty DM did a guest post where he detailed a slightly different perspective to help plan shorter term games.

Great Minds Think Alike

It seems that great minds think alike!  I used the 5×5 method to outline my current campaign, but quickly realized there were some specific plot points that didn’t quite line up to a full epic plot arc so I opted for Chatty’s approach.  That’s one element that I love about the 5×5 method: you can use it to drill in to whatever level detail that you want to flesh out a specific encounter or plot point.

I used the 5×5 method to design some roleplaying encounters in town, and after my players significantly deviated from my planned activities I discovered a new aspect of this tool: it’s very easy to apply on the fly.  I had planned that the town had a council of five prestigious townsfolk, and the rogue started asking around about if there was any underhanded dealings going on that might offer some clues on a cult that the group was investigating.  I thought this was an interesting idea, so I quickly jotted down an idea that popped into my head and during a break, I generated the five steps that led the group back onto my prepared path.  This was pretty seamless, and provided an opportunity to reward the rogue for thinking to investigate a lead that I had not considered.

Is anyone else using the 5×5 method and meeting success?  If not, you really should be.  Let’s hear your experiences in the comments!

One Response leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009

    Very glad to hear it has been a help!

    All 5 don’t need to be epic plots per se… one of the paths in my game currently only has the first step filled in with the rest question marks, and it might evolve from there into something big, or it’ll just be a series of minor events in the background. Either way, you should only need to plan what you feel like.

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