Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to Basics: Double-Hooking

As I noted in the comments from the last post, we sometimes get away from talking about basic concepts that I might take for granted. So let's do that.

Let's talk about double-hooking.

Double-hooking is the act of using your PCs to NPC for one another. That's pretty much it. Nothing complicated to it.

This greatly reduces the need for NPCs, and when utilized at proper times, gives the ability for overwhelming numbers of monsters against a smaller group of PCs. It let's you focus your time on guiding full time NPCs into more advanced roles. Finally, it lets you run stuff faster than if your NPCs had to change costumes when running multiple modules.

NPC shifts break immersion, so doing so in the middle of an important story can be bad. There is less time to guide the NPCs when they're double-hooking, so you might not get the results that you had planned for the module. Also, in costume heavy games, it's a pain for players to change into NPC cosutmes. Finally, you shouldn't require it, because players want to PC. And if you don't require it, you might not get the NPCs you'd hope to have for a specific module.

Have any questions about double hooking? Drop them in the comments!


  1. In my experience, the greatest time to make use of double-hooking PCs is mid-afternoon on Sat. This is when PCs are coming down to the NPC shack more consistently, and generally running mods that are either mod sheets or personal plot. Since they are (usually) less intensive mods, it's less of a problem to send PCs off to double hook. I do always feel a little bad asking a heavily costumed PC to double-hook (but I usually do it anyways).

    Dangling the carrot of "I can get to your mod faster if you double-hook for me" usually gets volunteers; although you *need* to make good on your promise, lest people become less willing to work with you.

  2. On rare occasion, I've seen people run double hooked mods in creative ways to minimize immersion breaking, and it was really successful.

    For example, for one mod, the hook explained to the PCs that they would be journeying into the mindscape in two small groups. Since the mindscape could play tricks on you, each group would be fighting spirits that might take the forms of people they knew. But you could be certain you weren't really slaughtering your friends because the spirits would be marked with red lights on their chest.

    The double hooked mod ran with no holds, no costume changes (other than putting on a glowing red necklace), and very minimal OOG briefing. Of course, it takes some finesse on the part of the staff member, and some tact and receptiveness on the part of the players, but it can be done!

  3. @Dave

    Even with smaller modules, double hooking breaks immersive roleplay (some exceptions, see below). There are some people who try very hard to run full immersion games (like most Accelerant games), and without IG reason, you break immersion for you and for others who see you (and think you're playing your PC).


    That sounds awesome! And it gets past most of the difficulties of double-hooking. However, it's definitely an advanced technique and should be used with caution.

  4. I totally agree that double-hooking is never the ideal, and it does break immersion. When it does happen, however, I think it needs to be at certain times and done in such a way that rewards PCs for going the extra mile to help plot out of a tight spot. I guess that's what I was trying to say.