Eclipse Phase: Breakdown – Plotting the Game with 5×5

Tonight is the first session of my Eclipse Phase game. I’ve helped my players make their characters, talked to them about motivations, plot, and the themes they want to see in the game. All that’s left is to get something ready for them.

Last Minute, Much?

Reading the last sentence in the above paragraph, it sounds like I’ve not been working on anything for this first session at all. That’s both a true statement, and a misleading one. I have a difficult time planning ahead for game sessions. I really like seeing the players take the ball and run with it during a session, and so I tend to improvise the sessions to a large degree. However, I’ve been thinking through plotlines and such since I first knew I was going to run the game. To that end, I’ve decided on a method of planning that will see me with the seeds that I need to plant, as well as being able to remain flexible during the individual sessions.

Enter, the 5×5 Method

If you’re not familiar with Dave Chalker’s 5×5 Method for adventure/campaign planning, you should do yourself a favor and check it out. The basic gist is this: come up with five big questlines for your game. Then, come up with five things for each questline that need to be done to complete said quest. Give each of those sub-things a location, preferably one that’s close to other quest locations, for maximum syngergistaticness.

Like such:

Stop the Spread of the Breakdown strain of the Exsurgent Virus

Stop Project Ozma from taking over the Inner System

Halt the impending Factor Invasion

Preserve the Jovian Republic from The Second Coming

Find out why XPers are dying in extraordinary numbers








As you can see, I don’t have the bottom sections filled out yet. I know that I’m not ready to commit to locations and such, just yet. I’ve got those big plotlines to play with, and I want to find good ways to introduce them. After the first session wraps up tonight, I’ll have a much better idea of where things are going with this, and I’ll fill the rest of the table out.

Also, sometime next week, I should have audio of the first session, so I can give you all not only a rundown of how it went, but you’ll be able to hear the dulcet tones of my voice guiding my unaware transhumans through a sea of conspiracy, horror, and tentacles.



My Name is Tracy Barnett, and This is My Game

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Unrelenting font of ideas, both good and bad. Co-owner of Exploding Rogue Studios, and on Twitter as TheOtherTracy.

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About TheOtherTracy

Unrelenting font of ideas, both good and bad. Co-owner of Exploding Rogue Studios, and on Twitter as TheOtherTracy.
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