On Monday we started talking about personal plots in your game, and where to start looking for the seeds and ideas for those plots. Today I want to talk about getting your other players involved, as well as how we're going to keep that in mind while we design the adventure itself.
Instigating Event vs. Structure
Here's the fun thing about doing personal plots in table top RPGs: while the instigating element of the adventure gives it a personal touch and direction, the structure is just like any adventure. Keep that in mind. Just like in television shows while an adventure or series of episode can revolve heavily around one character, there are places for everyone to be involved. For the core character this is a story about fixing something from the past. For everyone else this is about learning about a friend while preventing an individual or group with personal connections to said friend from doing whatever it is they are doing.
As such, one of the faster ways of handling these things is to start with a basic plot for your core character with a basic plot. For example, a coup in the barbarian PC's tribe/clan/group can just be a coup story like any other, but it is linked to the PC because it is their tribe/clan/group. Most plots can work this way. You take a normal plot, whatever you want to do, then add in the personal elements to link it to the PC. Provided you're doing a plot that could work for a group adventure already...well, you've got room for those other PCs to get involved.
Broadening The RP
One area you will have to work at though is to make sure that it isn't just mechanics where other players get involved. You want their characters involved in the plot. You want the PCs talking to the other PCs. You want PCs other than the core PC to the plot talking to the other NPCs. You want Role Play, and while it makes sense that this session or adventure may focus more on one particular player, you don't want to exclude the others.
One way to do this is to have NPCs tied to the plot approach the other players and get them involved. After all, if the plot is a personal plot for Luke's rogue, it makes sense that other 'players' involved in the plot will want to find out what Sarah's barbarian and Michelle's paladin are doing with the rogue they know. Right? If nothing else they'll want to fill the gaps to know what Luke is going to do. They may even have their own angles to play that work better with a Paladin or a Barbarian being their key to power.
A Chance To Show Growth
Personal plots like this are a great way to showcase the development of a character. Show how they went from who they were to who they are now. If the character is still fundamentally the same, then show how the group of PCs compliments them more than their old life. These stories frequently work best as a means of showing why the player character became an adventurer, and what they gain out of the group.
This works because in the end it cements the PCs location in the group as where they should/want to be. You pull this off by not just letting the PC the plot revolves around resolve the issue from their character's background, but also by having it so that the resolution can only really happen because of their group of friends.
However, know that when I talk about this here it is in ideal circumstances. The way your group plays out, it could work out differently and that's ok too. Aim for the ideal resolution, let things play out, and have fun along the way.
In the end, that is all you can do. Right?