Further Thoughts on Cinematic Universe Style Campaigns

In a previous blog post I commented about running an RPG campaign Cinematic Universe (CU) style, like the Marvel superhero movies. If you haven’t read my article take a moment and go give it a read.

The basic premise for a CU style game is that you start with the collection of heroes for a storyline, then future storylines focus on individual heroes as prequels or sequels. Eventually you bring them all together in another heroic storyline that ties all the threads together.

Our group has played the big kickoff storyline followed by a prequel that had two of the main characters. We are about to embark on our third storyline, a solo sequel. I’d like to share a couple of things that we’ve discovered.

The Players Have Embraced It

The players are having a blast being “secondary” characters. When we do character generation for each storyline there is a lot of chatter about how to make the main PC the center of attention, narratively. They are choosing to play the best friend who dies tragically at the end, or the partner who turns corrupt and becomes a bad guy.

Since our storylines are short (3 sessions) we can have PCs who are literally only together for this one mission, so the characters don’t all have to get along. This isn’t to say that we’re doing PVP. We’re not. But we are collectively trying to tell a story.

It’s All About Worldbuilding

Which brings me to the next interesting thing about running games CU style—it’s all about worldbuilding. Our Facebook group is wild with brainstorming, ideas, and plot! The players are crafting a world for their characters. We have about a dozen storylines in the works.

Most of the ideas from any single player is for other players. Everyone is working to make sure that everyone else is awesome. We have a lot of strong GMs so this isn’t too much of a surprise. As a result, we’ve started doing storylines with round robin GMs.

The next storyline is going to let me play in this universe that my players have built. I’m looking forward to it.

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