One of the jobs of the GM is to cut from scene to scene.
When you frame a new scene for a character, adhere to the character's circumstances.
Alone means isolated from friends and allies. The character might be literally alone, or might be surrounded by enemies. In order to allow a friend or ally into the scene, the character has to win a conflict whose stakes include the circumstance.
When you frame a scene for a character who is not alone might nevertheless be by herself or surrounded by enemies, but her friends and allies will be immediately available to her. In addition, any other players whose characters aren't alone or lost can ask you to include their characters in the scene.
In trouble means in media res, and not to the character's advantage. Frame the scene to the character already doing something stupid, dangerous, or desperate; having already lost, stumbled, or screwed up; or already trapped, hurt, or incapacitated. In order to get out of trouble, the character has to win a conflict whose stakes include the circumstance.
When you frame a scene for a character who's not in trouble, you can frame her moving toward trouble, but you can't drop her right into it.
Lost means in a place of your choosing - anyplace of your choosing - not of the player's or character's. Lost also means that there's some barrier between the character and where she'd like to be. In order to reach her destination, the character has to win a conflict whose stakes include the circumstances.
When you frame a scene, ask the character's player where the character goes. If the character's not lost, frame the scene there or in transit; if the character is lost, frame the scene accordingly.
Unprepared means vulnerable, materially: underequipped, weak, sleeping, intent on something else, off her guard. When you frame the scene, say how the character's vulnerable. In order to gather herself or her tools, the character has to win a conflict whose stakes include the circumstance.
When you frame a scene for a character who's not unprepared, she can be surprised or distracted, of course, but with her tools close at hand and her attention quickly focused.
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