Everything found within the ARC Guide is considered to be a tool for the ARC, the one running the game, to help them understand the management of the system’s health, balance certain encounters, and to assist in bringing their Dragon Ball Universe (DBU) campaign to life.

Nothing you see in the ARC Guide is a hard and fast rule. Everything is a suggestion, something that we hope will help you to run your games smoothly. Even if you don’t take everything here directly into your games, we hope that the time spent reading and thinking over it will help you to come up with your own perspectives and methodology for running a game that will be an awesome experience for both you and your players.

ARC Introduction

As the ARC Guide serves as a tool to help new or even experienced ARCs, this section can be seen to be a more general introduction to being an ARC with the DBU system. A few important topics for discussion are covered below, each which should at least

Rule Zero. Beyond the rules of the system, there is one general rule that an ARC should follow: that of the narrative. While DBU has a large focus on its Combat Encounters mechanically, due to the nature of the Dragon Ball media, this system ultimately exists to allow for role play experiences, and that should always be the priority. The main duty of the ARC is not to face off against the players, but to work with them in constructing an overarching narrative that everyone (both ARC and players) can enjoy.

Sometimes, when using the DBU system, you may come across a situation in which you are faced with no clear ruling on how to proceed – or you may simply disagree with an existing ruling. To keep the game fun and flowing, it’s best to make a quick decision here for the sake of brevity and continue with your current session of play. You can always tell your players ‘just because we’re applying this ruling here, does not mean it’s our official stance on doing this’ and seek out more information (or even create your own adjustments) later. At the end of the day, in your campaign, you are the one who lays the scene and plays the world. If a part of the DBU system does not function in accordance with that, it is okay to adjust or scrap that section completely. For each campaign, the ARC is the final decider of what is and what is not.

There is a limit to the use of Rule Zero, however. It should not be used to punish players, railroad a story in the direction you originally planned it, or otherwise undermine the potential fun of a campaign. The DBU system has been crafted with an intent behind it and certain balances in mind and while it may not be perfect, if you begin snipping out certain rules without a complete understanding of the system, you may completely break the balance of your game. Essentially, show restraint with Rule Zero. Inform your players of any changes to the system you may make or adjustments that you agree upon, generally only use it when absolutely necessary, and absolutely never apply this rule out of spite.

Communication. Beyond even Rule Zero, there is something you should always keep in mind when beginning to start a campaign or any type of DBU game: communication. As an ARC, it’s important to hide your story beats, plot twists, and whatever surprises may lay in store for your players, but you should be very honest about the type of game you intend to play. For example, let’s go over some questions you may want to ensure you have an answer to for your players: What kind of tone is the overarching story intended to be? Where and when does it take place? Is it a part of the overarching Dragon Ball universe or is it a universe of the ARCs creation? Do I need to be concerned about more mature themes?

The healthiest way to run a campaign is to always be ready to talk things through with your players, rather than let any negativity fester among you, or to let anyone be caught unawares by themes they may be uncomfortable around. Though, communication is a two-way street. You should try your best to be open and available for your players to come and discuss things with you when they feel like they need help or if something is negatively affecting their enjoyment of the campaign.

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