Hi all and welcome to a Saturday write-up where tonight I wanted to explore the concept of easter eggs. What I mean by this isnt the delectables that are left around the house, found, gorged upon then forgotten on a top shelf for 11 months I am referring to the little bits of something that pop up in an adventure only for the party to realise later their significance.
Now, the term easter egg may not be quite correct for this but tis the season so I had to give it a shot…
Now the trouble with these is they need to be significant enough that they are recognisable but not so much that they are at the forefront of the players minds.
I have historically bad attempts at trying to bring this into play and normaly the attempts that come close are where the party uncover a book, a scroll or an item with a symbol that is super relevant to the story line but ambiguous enough that when describing it to the party they dont instantly pick up on it.
For me they need a few common traits (and this is just my personal opinion and not something quoted from the internet so let’s have an open discussion in the comments if you have a different view)
I’ll use a symbol in a book that belongs to a cult that worships undead dragons as an example. Perhaps the book is explaining the finer points of gem cutting, written by a pseudo famous dwarven gem cutter to make sure that they are finely crafted and pure, even the slightest imperfection or blemish may cause them to lose value. Next to the lengthy paragraph about this gem cutting is a shorter paragraph scrawled out with a specific symbol sketched, perhaps doodled, next to it explaining the vital importance of making sure there is no flaw in the crystal lest it too frail and weak for their biggest customers.
1. Relevant. As I mentioned before it the symbol, words, phrase or what ever Macguffin is used needs to be relevant to some point of the story.
2. Vague. The above appears to be vague, the book itself may be the work of any dwarven Gem cutter but the scrawl could be a note from the previous owner to clarify the importance of the passage regarding gem cutting for larger clients.
3. Detailed. Now not to confuse with vague but it needs to be specifically worded and detailed enough that its memorable, this part is both the hardest and easiest part. Easy in the way that if you describe something detailed enough with specific components and it should be memorable. For most of us being able to write something down that flows in with the rest of the plot is easy but it gets difficult in creating the right time difference between the easter egg and the discovery of importance.
This is what I find to be the hardest in the way that you need to write something that is detailed enough, specific enough (yet vague) that it enables that Eureka moment at a point of choosing. Let’s be honest it’s unlikely that we will have the luxury of dictating the exact real world time difference between that initial discovery and when we put though the next trigger point.
In our example above the trigger point could be at the middle crest of the adventure, I believe I’ve mentioned it before that having a specific spike (twist or secondary hook) about mid way through the adventure is key to renewing vigor and hooking players further into the campaign by reserving, in this case, a journal which has engraved/embossed the symbol that accompanied the hand written paragraph explains the details around creating a lich using a focus point, the more pure the foci the stronger the connection to the body.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of week write-up where we check how our party is braving the marsh in search for reagents. Also I hope to put out some more hobby progress something tomorrow so whilst enjoying easter sunday feel free to check in on my amateur painting skill!
And lastly, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe