Well, to get started I frame the scene for the player, along with some context surrounding their history. For instance, I might say: "Thelor, it has been six years since you joined the host of Nurunkhizdin. Through hard work and heavy drinking, you have advanced to the rank of Attack-lord and now command a division of 343 axes. Lately, Orc attacks have diminished significantly and some of your men belive that the tide has turned. One evening, Weapon-lord Gror sends for you and when you arrive, he looks as though somebody sprinkled sour-moss in his ale..."
And we go from there! Like I said, it really is almost a mini-mini-adventure. I make an effort to not make the twists so crazy that it would radically change how the character would've been played over the past games. That would be breaking the rules, I think. Everything else is up for grabs, though.
For instance, for the first five games both Thelor and I assumed through our conversations that Thelor's mother had died. One of his oaths was to her, and we thought he made it on her deathbed. Then, the flashback came -- and he saved her! Now, the player could've chosen to not have and kept with his original vision of the character. This, however, he thinks is better.
Last edited by Leonides; 04-27-2012 at 01:20 PM.
I've done this before, and it's fun. In Burning Wheel, it's a great way to explore the lifepaths the character took in generation.
I've also played with time distortion of an adventure, Pulp Fiction style, which is great fun. I did that a few times in a Spirit of the Century campaign I ran. I would start the episode off in media res, with the characters already embroiled in a conflict. Play the conflict out, then flash back to the events that led up to the conflict. Then flash forward to the outcome of the conflict. Super fun, as it starts the game session off with a bang, gets everybody in a competitive mindset. In Burning Wheel, might be trickier though. Gotta make sure that conflict you're starting off in is tightly tied to Beliefs somehow. Could be too railroadie if you don't play it right, but with some careful attention, might be able to make it work.
I remember one disastrous attempt, way back in the 90s. I was so excited about some aspect or other of the story that I typed up a little script and had the players read it. (I think I saw this in some Star Wars d6 module.) Anyways, it went over like a lead balloon - the players dutifully read it out, and at the end there was a collective look of, "Uh. Glad that's over."
Haha. Michael, I remember that Star Wars D6 suggested those little scripts and had them at the beginning of every printed adventure. I remember the same reaction from my players, too.
That said, I always thought Star Wars D6 was f-ing rad.