Content of the article: "On or Off camera?"
My next campaign is going to have a political bent, with the PCs being ruling caste of a post-apocalyptic world, and the campaign will have a heavy focus on political machinations and nations at war.
After watching Matt Colville's series on politics, I was inspired to hold my nations together in peace via one or two uniting figures: savvy negotiators and strong warriors with their hearts and heads in the right place, holding these chaotic countries at bay for the good of the world. As is expected, I plan on killing these peacekeepers to plunge my world into chaos and war. Haven't decided quite how yet, but it's not important for the question.
My question is this: To kill these characters on or off camera?
Do I establish these people as powerful movers and shakers, have them meet the PCs, show the players how and what these folks are doing to keep the menace of war at bay? And then when they go down, the PCs are invested and knowledgeable about the political situation, to which they are already very close. Seems to me like the best dramatic option, though it might lead to a bit of a slow opener to the campaign. Also gives them the best understanding of why this war is happening.
The second option is to use it as a strong opener, a hook. "The king is dead," sort of set up. This plunges the PCs immediately into war, and the players directly into conflict. They won't be as personally close to the conflict, but I think that skipping the early setup in RPGs is valuable. The conflict will be made personal either way, since my plan is to have the PCs be rulers or politicians or high profiles like that, but to literally see 'peace' killed in front of you is a different sort of tone. And I can emphasize the war in the first few sessions.
I'd like to hear peoples' different perspectives here. I think I could really be swayed either way. What's your preference? Have you played this sort of premise one way or the other?
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