Author Topic: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.  (Read 8994 times)

RogueGunslinger

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Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« on: July 27, 2014, 06:09:43 PM »
I don't understand how talking about the plot surrounding that log was that far off topic, but considering Nyrs threatening to ban people I figured I'd make another thread. I don't think that should we be casually sweep the discussion under the rug. People are allowed to be upset at how things went down, or jealous of not being able to do what's been done in that log. I think it's a perfectly fair question to ask how these people were able to do what so many haven't done. This thread is for talk about Plots, staff directed, staff assisted, or ran all on your own. It's for talking about the best way to run such plots, and of course, discussion on how previous plots could have been done better.

Here's the original thread the argument stemmed from: http://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,47751.0.html

I  think that thread could have avoided a lot of problems if staff just said "Yep, we changed shit, it's better now, and what you couldn't do before you have a better chance accomplishing now. If you don't like that we're sorry but we think its changed for the better." Or the flipside: "You could always do this, here's some examples of others doing such:" Why this has to be something controversial or worthy of banning people for or getting insulting and questioning their love for the game I don't know. It's not a big deal from either side and people should probably just calm down in general. I don't like how Nyr goes into defense mode and hand-waves away any possible criticisms, so hopefully this thread will allow for some proper discussion without people getting upset.

I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.




palomar

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 06:36:07 PM »

I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.


I agree.

The log thread got me thinking about staff-plots in general and I feel that in recent years the notion of being able (on all levels) to affect the outcome has diminished. Not only the final end result of a plot, but perhaps more importantly the smaller steps along the way. I'm not one of those golden era nostalgics, but I'm comparing the build up to the last HRPT with the end of the world plotline which climaxed with the HRPT of 2009. In my personal and limited perspective, I believe players could affect far more parts of the latter plotline along the way and in a more noticeable fashion too, compared to the recent one. Perhaps it's also true in regards to the Copper War extended HRPT. The key here is the perceived opportunities of being able to affect the outcome. Maybe the difference lies in the 2013 HRPT being largely political/military and the 2009 HRPT and prior events being political/mystical. I don't know. I'm not the greatest fan of the end of the world plot years, but I have a more positive feeling about my own and others involvement in those plots. Not to say I don't appreciate all the effort, player and staffwise, that went into the 2013 HRPT and its buildup - lots of it was very fun to follow and/or be part of. It's just a reflection, my two sids and so on.

Norcal

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 06:53:54 PM »
I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.

+1
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bcw81

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 07:09:53 PM »
My personal take on the plot is that it was rather well done. As a person who personally interacted with one of the spies for a very long time on a very personal level, I had absolutely -no- idea that they were a sleeper agent. That said, in retrospect, there were a few things the person did that, had I and my character not been so close to the person, should have set off bells immediately.

One such thing was them leaving spontaneously for no reason quite often. At the time my character was a bit paranoid that the person didn't want  to be around him, which was all good and well. There are other things, sure. Small things - Them asking a lot of questions about my interactions with His Faithful and His Chosen, about what I could gather about the Legions and other citywide organizations. There was plenty of room for me, as a person without any kind of mystical powers, to see something was amiss, and I completely missed it. The players of these special roll called characters did an amazing job. They did not shirk the ability to be found out, which is one of the things that makes an amazing sneaky character.

With all that said, though, no one found them out. The Faithful more than likely saw things worded in such a round about manner, or didn't have the context, or simply ignored these people long enough to allow the plot to happen. The PC's of the game world should be the moving force in anything possible. The PC Faithful had every tool at their disposal to find these people, and they didn't. To say that the hand of god should have come down and fixed that is, in my opinion, asking for a 'rocks fall, everyone dies' scenario.

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James de Monet

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2014, 07:19:59 PM »
My point in the other thread was not that this scenario is completely, 100% plausible, 100% of the time. As I said, I see the reasoning behind the complaints, but I also think to say, 'this should be completely impossible and no IC mitigation could have made it less so', when staff have very definitely intimated that there was more going on here than was represented in that log is just silly.

My personal stance on this is: I don't have all the info, I think there is room for this in the game world, and I think the plot added something good to the game.  Maybe I just lack the personal experience with getting spy plots quashed to share in the resulting bitterness that apparently makes this so hard to stomach.
You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

BadSkeelz

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2014, 07:31:56 PM »
I generally think the best course for finding fun for yourself is to set goals and follow plots that do not require staff to proceed, much less succeed. The best commentary I can get on my goals from staff is "All of these can be accomplished without staff intervention, but do let us know if you feel you need anything." I think that's the best baseline for interaction between staff and players, without one side demanding too much of the other. I try not to ask too much of them, and I trust them to dragoon me into interesting things when they feel the need to.

That said, I have been involved in what I think are a lot of staff-driven plots and RPTs, and enjoyed myself a great deal through almost all of it. For my character, the outcome has always been very simple: survive, or don't. The means for achieving that goal were also comparatively simple: have good skills, good allies, and good luck. Mundane means against mundane foes. The RPTs I've been in have always been pretty clear cut in terms of dangers and how I might overcome those dangers.

The Tuluki Spy plot was up against decidedly non-mundane foes who had quite a reputation for crushing much lesser plots. My skepticism towards it isn't regarding how the mundane spies interacted with other mundanes, but how they could have beaten the non-mundane without staff help or meta means. Staff are maintaining that they won through simple luck and skill. I just haven't seen enough to really believe that, but hope to see it in the coming logs.

As a player, I'm apprehensive about playing in such a non-mundane saturated environment. I'm glad the spies succeeded, and hope they've caused Tuluk to roll back on their powers and allow some freedom to the player base up there. I'm hoping these logs (and others) show how someone can exist in Tuluk and not be the drum-circle bardic stereotype.

I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.


This is especially true when railroad plots make the game world a better, funner place to play.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 07:34:57 PM by BadSkeelz »
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Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 07:46:13 PM »
I don't think that should we be casually sweep the discussion under the rug. People are allowed to be upset at how things went down...

Players generally don't know what went down.  They have the one log and one staff member's assurance that the virtual world was taken into account for this particular plotline.

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or jealous of not being able to do what's been done in that log.

That's actually a good reaction, or better than being upset over what went down.  Being jealous of another person's plot involvement can at least possibly lead to a player saying "man, I wish I could do that...you know what, I'm going to go give it a shot," or try to match it.  It can also go badly, sure, and lead to complaints, but them's the breaks.

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I  think that thread could have avoided a lot of problems if staff just said "Yep, we changed shit, it's better now, and what you couldn't do before you have a better chance accomplishing now. If you don't like that we're sorry but we think its changed for the better." Or the flipside: "You could always do this, here's some examples of others doing such:"

But it's neither.  It's a unique plot.  I guess it depends on what you're asking...

Is it this:  Could you, everyday player with a PC fresh out of the box with no real IC work or anything actually do what these spies did and be heavily involved in an HRPT with the equivalent of a spotlight role (no pun intended)?  The answer is "probably not."

Is it this:  Could you, everyday player with a PC that has invested tons of time into the role, developed it to the point where it was ABLE to do what these spies did, then get heavily involved in an HRPT with the equivalent of a spotlight role?  The answer there is more complicated.  We don't really have so many HRPTs in the first place, it's hard to guarantee that.

Is it this:  Could you, everyday player, snag one of these kinds of roles in the future?  Absolutely (depends on being selected for it) but even then, you might fail.  There was ample chance of these folks failing.  The fact that they succeeded didn't mean they didn't have obstacles to overcome.

Is it this:  was this a new kind of plot?  The answer is both yes and no.  Yes, in that we actively recruited players to play very key roles in this plot, with this plot alone in mind for them and its influence on the future.  No, in that we've always had larger HRPTs that worked somewhat based on what players did (but not with specific roles like this).  Yep, it was railroaded to some degree...most staff plots are.  Of the overall Tuluki stuff going on plotty stuff, this was probably the least railroaded part. 

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Why this has to be something controversial or worthy of banning people for or getting insulting and questioning their love for the game I don't know. It's not a big deal from either side and people should probably just calm down in general. I don't like how Nyr goes into defense mode and hand-waves away any possible criticisms, so hopefully this thread will allow for some proper discussion without people getting upset.

I think it's fair enough to ask about what went into a plot and learn how to do things like a certain plot in the future, or how plots in general might be, or HRPT stuff, or what-not.  To enter the process on the negative...probably not the best way to discuss or even debate.

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I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.

And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk was going to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.  I feel like that has been said before, though.
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Inks

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2014, 08:06:11 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.

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Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 08:12:00 PM »
Staff are maintaining that they won through simple luck and skill. I just haven't seen enough to really believe that, but hope to see it in the coming logs.

Wait, we are maintaining that?  I'm mulling that phrase over while reviewing our staff-side process for introducing them/etc, even the plot overall.

January 28 2013, staff-side discussion, I'll quote:

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A spy group will be established in Tuluk. They will appear as native Tulukis.  We will be doing this via a role call/invite. Nyr and Adhira will be responsible for handling this group.  They will be given limited information and expected to operate in a set of guidelines.  Essentially they will be 'resource pcs'.

That's how we looked at it before the roles started.

So we gave them a set of guidelines, some setup in advance, and did do things to help them trick not just the IC playerbase but the OOC playerbase, because (quite honestly) it is just as important to do that if you want to keep a plot secret and not have people getting interested in being suspicious purely because they are veteran players and "know what to look for."  Examples:  new PCs show up all at once and seem to interact with each other well?  That raises flags on an OOC front which means it raises flags on an IC front; we staggered the entry.  New PCs show up at any point and have skills that are super high (wow, dude, you owned this guy in the Legion that has been training for years)?  That raises flags on an OOC front which means it raises flags on an IC front (inevitably); we adjusted skills over time to prevent skillsniffing/guildsniffing activity--they had to LOOK like new PCs and not specially set up PCs.

We also thought we'd have to direct them in a certain direction.  As it turned out, they managed to aim in the right direction on their own. 

March 25, 2013, staff-side discussion, I'll quote:

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Well, we were worried about having to deus ex machina the spies towards this?  Here's what one of the spies put in their report on their own...

We still pushed them in a direction but that sure helped, having one of the players taking initiative to do this on their own.

Was it just skill and luck?  No.  A whole lot of it was, but you can't divorce that from the staff assistance that would almost have to be there for anything of this magnitude to exist in-game.
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Lizzie

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 08:16:06 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.

This kind of thing doesn't really bother me, to be honest. I've played plenty of games where I know what the end-game looks like, and still have lots of fun achieving it. How many times did I play Myst, to discover all the different twists and turns of the virtual world, to see the very limited couple of possible outcomes? There are books I've read several times on purpose just so I could discover new aspects of the plotline I hadn't noticed the times prior.  Knowing that the end is pre-determined doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the adventure leading to that end, as long as I'm allowed to participate in my own way. Plus in the case of the HRPT, no one knew what that end was going to be until it happened, except for those staffers who designed it. So we still all got to enjoy the ride, AND the surprise ending.
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2014, 08:20:13 PM »
This was ignored in the last thread and deleted for being "off topic". Here it's not so off topic though.

[Nah, it pretty much is.  The GDB is not a soapbox to fling accusations at staff.  -Nyr]
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 08:33:01 PM by Nyr »

Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 08:25:02 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.

Every HRPT has been that way though. 

Players contribute in that they are involved in a larger story.  Their part of the story is important to them and to us as well.  The overall story that we are pushing and facilitating in the HRPT is already planned out.  That's because of the nature of what an HRPT actually is--something we on staff plan out/etc--even if we plan out multiple ways to get to the destination, or multiple destinations within a group of possibilities we want to see happen, we have it generally plotted out.  In this case, there was an end goal in mind:  transforming Tuluk and fixing some stuff in the process.
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James de Monet

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 08:32:30 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players?

You seem to be missing the fact that this wasn't just a plot for plots' sake. It also represented a change to the playable game world. If this was a change that needed to happen, and you were given a choice between interactive, IC storyline, or behind the scenes retcon, which would you choose?
You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

Marauder Moe

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2014, 08:34:04 PM »
Don't cry for me.  I had a wonderful ride.

Harmless

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2014, 08:36:43 PM »
Taking a step back, how are "needed" changes deemed needed vs not? Some players have one idea of what changes are needed, and the staff have theirs. The assumption that a change is needed, done, period, let's go with that, is where I think Inks is pointing out his/her discontent.
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2014, 08:49:22 PM »
What's needed will always be defined by higher-up staff and the people capable of coding/implementing ideas. Armageddon is not a democracy. If you want change and want to be sure it gets in you apparently have to make it from the top down, so apply for staff.

What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

In an ideal world staff would be backing up those ideas with assistance just because the player is willing to do all the work required. In reality I imagine a lot of that stuff gets nixed just because staff doesn't want to waste time doing something they themselves aren't 100% behind, certainly not when they already have other projects on their plate they think are more important.

Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2014, 08:54:10 PM »
Taking a step back, how are "needed" changes deemed needed vs not? Some players have one idea of what changes are needed, and the staff have theirs. The assumption that a change is needed, done, period, let's go with that, is where I think Inks is pointing out his/her discontent.

We have a proposal process, and for large enough proposals to be approved they have to be approved by Producers before they even go up for discussion (this one was one of those because it was a pretty drastic change).  Staff proposals and changes come from staff members, who are current/former players with a different focus on the game (looking now at the game from the top down/the good of the game itself rather than local stuff).  The ultimate answer is that staff decides what changes the game needs, though player input and player activity are contributing factors as well.
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Cutthroat

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2014, 09:06:08 PM »
What's needed will always be defined by higher-up staff and the people capable of coding/implementing ideas. Armageddon is not a democracy. If you want change and want to be sure it gets in you apparently have to make it from the top down, so apply for staff.

What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

In my experience, players tend to have quite a bit of freedom in starting plots, and they get support from staff relative to their station, the amount of players that the plot will involve, the amount of permanency (i.e., if a change to the game will affect new PCs in the future), and how much it aligns with staff's vague long-term plans. Of course, if you don't have any of these factors on your side, it would be really hard to do anything. But having one or two is typically enough to work on stuff like that.

Given that players get to try to do what they want, or at least throw their weight behind someone capable of doing bigger plots, like a sponsored role or other established leader, it seems fair that staff, who presumably are staff because they enjoy the game, would be able to run plots of their own to affect changes that they want. In that sense, in terms of activity, there's something of a balance between player plots (which could come to a conclusion, or die with the PCs involved) and staff plots (which tend to come to some conclusion). Overall, that gives the game some fluidity, the sense that something is always happening.

Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2014, 09:12:52 PM »
What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

Buying an empty hovel isn't simple, though.  That simple act involves Producer review, because current policy is "no."  We have an apartment system and we only recently started experimenting with player-run and player-leased warehouses.  If we were to review a single PC buying a hovel like that, we'd need to look at the policy and revisit it.  The policy was made for a reason.  Why?  Let's analyze that, then see whether we still agree--if we disagree, then we change the policy.  If we agree, then we discuss and determine whether this is something that we can compromise on and find a way to meet the player desire.  Oftentimes the answer is no, because there's a good reason for a policy, even if the reason starts out as simple as "precedent is established by allowing one PC to do it, therefore if we let one PC do it, we have to come up with rules for what allows a PC to do it."

If that simple thing is that complex then the complex stuff is complex.  Short answer:  we are willing to assist players and it is a complex process; we can't give a one-size-fits-all answer for every scenario.
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Barzalene

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2014, 09:17:30 PM »
I think staff has always been very judicious in what affect players can have on the world. I think anyone -can- have an effect, but very few will. And I believe the reason for that is that if everyone who worked hard and had a plan had a lasting impact on the game, it would morph too quickly into something unrecognizable.

In the end, I think this is important.
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Bushranger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2014, 09:23:06 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.



I love the fact that Thrain Ironsword's are so very rare on Armageddon MUD. With the Known marching on as it will, often times against what various players are trying to achieve, and throws up so many hurdles and left turns that force PC to react and go in certain ways makes it feel all that more realistic and every so much more frustrating and annoying. It means that when, IF, you get to play that character who does affect the Known it is all the more rewarding. With hundreds of players with characters plotting against themselves and the Known I can not see any believable way to have them all, or even some of them, affect the broad stokes of history but they do affect the gritty, day to day affairs. If there is a plot where Muk Utep and Tektolnes are facing off again I would not expect "War was going to happen but players stopped it" but rather something like "War was going to happen and players changed the location from Red Desert North to Red Desert East" I would see that as a major victory for players affecting the Known.

It's what the spies, from what I've seen, succeeded in doing. They did not change the destination of historical events but they did affect some decisions the pathway took.

The mud is not trying to replicate your D&D game where it's four or five player characters against the world so that comparison holds no real meaning - if you want to be guaranteed to be amongst the most important, world changing people in your campaign there are dozens of play by (forums/email/irc/twitch/virtual tabletop)
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Inks

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2014, 09:28:06 PM »
Just wanted to say thanks for the balanced responses. I actually misunderstood Nyr's words to mean the spies had no meaning at all during their entire lives. Sorry about that.

Also I never said I personally wanted to change the world.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 09:34:03 PM by Inks »
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Norcal

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2014, 10:00:37 PM »
I am a bit confused as to what the problem is.  Itís not really possible to run a game like Armageddon, trying to make it as playable as possible for a wide number of people, and not have staff involved in some plots with pre-determined outcomes.

 As far as I can tell there is still a lot of room for player driven plots to be hatched and succeed.  I was playing in Tuluk at the time and I thought it was well done.  While staff did set an end goal, they left it up to the player base to achieve it. I can remember my jaw dropping when I heard the news, with my PCs jaw doing the same. I was blindsided and I thought that whoever dreamed up the plot were some talented cheeky folks indeed. Itís not bad to ride on a railroad once in a while.
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Mood

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2014, 10:04:48 PM »
Players generally don't know what went down. 

wow what a useful diversionary tactic that is. you use it so much!!!!
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Lizzie

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2014, 10:13:58 PM »
I am a bit confused as to what the problem is.  Itís not really possible to run a game like Armageddon, trying to make it as playable as possible for a wide number of people, and not have staff involved in some plots with pre-determined outcomes.

 As far as I can tell there is still a lot of room for player driven plots to be hatched and succeed.  I was playing in Tuluk at the time and I thought it was well done.  While staff did set an end goal, they left it up to the player base to achieve it. I can remember my jaw dropping when I heard the news, with my PCs jaw doing the same. I was blindsided and I thought that whoever dreamed up the plot were some talented cheeky folks indeed. Itís not bad to ride on a railroad once in a while.


The "concern" is that world-changing plots aren't player-driven plots. Players who want to make world-changing effects on the game have to do it the Staff's way, and even then only if/when the staff says it's time for a change, and then only if/when the staff agrees that this particular change is what the staff wants to see happen. Player-driven plots that result in world changes require staff intervention. You can't blow up Tuluk, unless the staff says it's time that Tuluk got blown up. You can't own a hovel on Wall Road, unless the staff decides that Nenyuk is willing to sell one of their properties. You can't have an argosy, unless the staff decides that an existing argosy should be sold or a new one created. You can't even make a master-craft skirt unless the staff decides that your skirt is acceptable. What makes anyone think that world-changing plots could be player-driven? They are player-participated, and even player-manipulated, and player-influenced. But the staff drives those. They're the drivers of the game, it only makes sense that they drive the world-changing plotlines.

Again - this is just my perspective of it, and I'm fine with it. It's how it is in every game I've ever played. He who makes the world, decides if the world will change or not.
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