Narrator tips

Narrator tips are ways for a Narrator to more skillfully immerse the players into the Milhamah world. While ever Narrator will have one’s own style, here are some ideas to consider so that your game sessions will be exciting and memorable:

The Narrator is a storyteller who must paint a mental picture of what the player agents are experiencing. Narrators must consider the story’s theme and plots out the visible world that the player agents will interact with. The Narrator makes dice rolls on behalf of characters and forces that the players won’t control: villainous counteragents, bystanding experiencers, hostage patients and more.

The Narrator is expected to know the game rules well. And when rules become ambiguous, the Narrator also acts as a referee and always has the last word in a situation.

Be flexible if it makes things fun

Use the rules as inspiration and guides. If they make things too constricting or limit your vision, ignore them. Just let your group know that you’re using house rules, preferably ahead of when they’re relevant. Be a fair moderator!

Make it a learning experience

Edutainment is a real way to make a Milhamah session stand out from the typical RPG. A Narrator with some Hebrew or Semitic language knowledge might choose to be a teacher of sorts to the other players, building puzzles based around vocabulary, verb conjugations and sentence forming.

Maybe Speech Acts get optional bonuses when player characters recite memorized passages of Scripture or the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially in their original languages!

Read up on the Qumran Community and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Research the geography and cultures of the ancient Near East and Mesopotamia. For the true Narrator scholars, create an African experience in Cush (Ethiopia) by including Ge’ez.

Make new worlds challenging

Plot out the major beats of a new wilderness, battleground or secret base beforehand to make it a coherent adventure for the Agents. It’s a good idea for the Narrator to draw a handful of maps that could be used to represent the locations, battlegrounds or strongholds that are central to the plot.

To do this, make a mission a grinding battle of attrition that requires agents to take along helpful items and then be strategically forced to use those items.

A safe room or two. These provide areas where the party can strategize, take inventory and rest. But make sure the party only has limited time to rest. If they lollygag too long, enemies or disasters should be at hand.

Plot out a few traps, hazards or disasters. Alarms, surveillance cameras, pitch darkness, trapdoors, spiked pits, flamethrowers, acid, poison darts, you name it.

An area or two with something weird. Strange gravity, illusions and hallucinations, paranormal phenomena, surreal voices or characters.

A boon room, whether it has a treasure stash, critical documents, an arsenal or undercover arms dealer, or a band of NPC allies who join you as subjects.

An area that requires a puzzle or special item or key to traverse through. Or maybe there are secret doors or passwords. Hebrew or language exercises are a reliable puzzle that can test character knowledge.

Some habitats where monsters lurk, or the enemy army typically guards or hangs out. A Narrator should use the domain’s shoresh root and its variants, corruptions, ciphers and gematria to create a list of possible enemies. These enemies should be more likely to appear if the party is noisy, visually conspicuous through size, color or brightness; or smells weird.

Stronghold components

A fleshed-out enemy stronghold should have at least some of the following:

Work spaces: Secret labs, factories, workshops, classrooms and training facilities, etc.
A source of food and water:
Maybe shipments of food and provisions are brought in. Or maybe there’s a garden, a river or the ocean nearby.
A place where food is prepared and eaten: A kitchen, a grill, a cafeteria, a mess hall.
A place for waste disposal:
a sewer, a latrine, bathrooms, a garbage dump.
Containment and storage spaces: Brigs, dungeons, warehouses, closets and more.
Doors: Locked, hidden, phony, stuck, barricaded or sealed.
Secure areas: A bug-out room, underground corridors
Living quarters: Barracks, bedrooms, dorms.

While exploring, your team will probably move more cautiously if they’re in unfamiliar areas. If they panic and start running around, they are likely to fall into enemy traps and catch the eye of enemies.

Common skills to use in an enemy base involve climbing, swimming, navigation, searching/perception and listening. When doing so, the Narrator rolls on behalf of the agent in order to maintain mystery among the players. Searching areas will often depend on lighting, familiarity and so on.