A few sessions ago in my Masks – A New Generation campaign I tried something new. The player characters were separated into three locations in a large high school prom event and I wanted to keep all the players focused, especially during the other player’s turns. But how?
What to do?
I decided to borrow one of my favorite improv techniques: Self Editing. Self Editing occurs when a player who is currently on stage playing in a scene decides to end the scene and move to the next scene, usually while they are playing a scene.
How to translate that into a tabletop roleplaying game?
I placed a call bell (AKA a “ding”) on the table and told my players that anyone can ding the bell to switch or “edit” to a scene of any other character except their own characters. I also mentioned that they should aim to switch scenes in the pick of tension whenever possible.
Of course, I could switch scenes using the ding as well.
All players were very focused on the scenes of the other players, waiting for the perfect time to perform the edit. Tension rose for the players as well as for me since I didn’t know when a scene will be edited and I’ll have to jump in with the lead-in to any other scene.
Editing is an art. It is hard to do in movies and stage productions but it is much easier in a roleplaying game. Because the people who are in charge of building the tension are the same people who are editing, so they know when editing will leave them with the most tension.
Feel free to try this at your table as well, and let me know how it goes.