"Make Mine Marvel!" - Stan Lee
About a month ago, I picked up the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying book. While I'm still learning the rules (and need some friends to play with), I find the concept of the game really exciting and enjoyable. The game seems to flow more from roleplaying and actually being your character instead of trying to roll dice/kill things. The game system is set up to take full advantage of using your powers to create great story points. It's like an action vs reaction kind of a thing.
How does this apply to DnD?
First, most DnD players seem to complain that there isn't enough roleplaying, or that their players don't get into the game enough. Though not every player is all about roleplaying (or every group), there are some subtle tricks that can make things head in that direction.
In MHRPG, each character has milestones they can reach. This includes things such as mentoring an ally, or stepping up and becoming a leader. These milestones encourage players to roleplay/make decisions for their character. We can use the same thing in DnD. At any time (this works great in outside of game emails), you can ask each character for three goals. Then, be sure to try and find ways to weave those goals into your gaming sessions.
For example, I have three goals for Kov Nitikki, my goblin character, and ways my DM might use them to create interesting moments in the story.
1. Return to Raav (the goblin city) - DM's can always present interesting choices with this. Perhaps Kov and the party can find a boat/airship that will take them to Raav, but there is a more pressing concern with where they are (like a village under attack or something). Each choice has consequences: either return home and allow a threat to grow larger, or put off the goal of returning home again. While this might not be a huge issue, it will cause the player (me) to grapple over my choice, debating with my fellow players over what is the 'right' choice to make.
2. Learn More Alchemical Formulas - While this goal may seem mundane, know that players will definitely include goals like this. I think 'find treasure' is something many players will put for the sake of needing a goal. However, creative DM's (and aren't we all creative) will find interesting ways to make this work. Perhaps the only way to learn more formulas is to venture into some of the most dangerous places in the campaign. Perhaps the quest that the DM wants the players to take has some formulas as a reward. Regardless, take these mundane things and use them to entice your players
3. Create A Better Place for Goblins in the World - Now we're talking about some crazy goals! Some players will give you crazy in depth goals and it will be your job as a DM to figure out how to incorporate them. Moral dilemmas are always good. Maybe Kov has to choose between either defeating an enemy or showing mercy and increasing people's opinions of goblins. Or, put two goals in the dilemma. Make the choice between getting more alchemy or helping goblins. Choices like this will really test the players, and create memorable moments.
I've been trying to delve into other RPG lately, trying to take concepts from them to help with DnD. With DnD Next, it seems that Wizards is attempting to take all sorts of ideas and give them a place in their games. I'm trying to do the same.
As always, be sure to follow me @artificeralf on Twitter, and leave lots of comments!