Author Topic: Article: How to get Involved in Plots  (Read 5946 times)

Taven

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Article: How to get Involved in Plots
« on: January 31, 2009, 05:03:48 PM »
How to get Involved in Plots

  • How to get sucked into Plots
  • Make your Own RPT
  • Involving Yourself in Your Clan
  • Don't Forget the vNPCs


Time and time again questions that have plagued players have been "How do I get involved in plots?" or "How do I make this role more excited and prevent boredom?" and they've had a whole host of anwers. Answers that often get repeated or overlooked because of the sheer amount of other threads and posts that make them impossible to find. This article is meant to be a reasource for players, where the answes can be easily and quickly found. It uses suggestions from many players in a large range of posts, sometimes keeping the original language, and I'll attempt to give proper credit where it is due. Please note that this is player advice and ideas; it's not hard fact supported by staff.

If you have questions or comments on this, please don't post them here, but make a seperate thread. Posting them here will defeat the point of the thread.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 05:32:48 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: How to get Involved in Plots
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 05:04:41 PM »
How to get sucked into Plots
Most of this comes from the work of Gimfailsette, with some contribution from FiveDisgruntledMonkeysWit.
The original post can see be seen here.


It's really not HARD to get involved, provided you're not in some incredibly isolated role. Joining a clan can be helpful, but some people join clans and still don't get involved; why is that?

The sekret key to getting sucked into plots: RELATIONSHIPS

If you do not have enough involvement with other PCs, you will not get brought into plots, it's just that simple. It's not that the AREA is boring...it's that you're boring, because you're not connected! So, here's how to get involved with other PCs:

1. Join an active clan as an employee or partisan.
        Joining a clan puts you in a position to be noticed by the clan leaders, it gives you an immediate connection to the other employees in the clan, and it gives you potential connections to customers/users of the clan's goods or services. Clans give relationships of all kinds a kick-start.

2. Play in a consistent time frame for a consistent quantity of hours.
        If you only have two hours per day to play, fine. But don't then play sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes late at night. Playing those two hours per day at or near peak time, consistently, will assure that you are seeing the same characters on a regular basis and will allow you to develop relationships with them.

3. Play a marginally interesting character.
        If you are Redshirt Guard #15 (or Mage #87) who is constantly stoic and doesn't laugh and appears to have nothing to talk about, you will be easily overlooked. Don't be that person. It's not hard to be just a bit more interesting by emoting some, having some quirks, and having some opinions about things. PCs like to hang out with other PCs who are interesting, and it's the people you hang out with who will get you into plots.

Here are a few helpful ideas along those lines:
  • Don't be just a merchant. Be a merchant/performance artist!
  • Don't just be a soldier. Be a soldier/fortune teller!
  • Don't just be an aide. Be an aide/crafter/physician/linguist/assassin/you get the point, this is a ridiculously versatile role.
  • If your character -is- only good at one thing then do it for two different people, and be a spy!


4. Cozy up to the clan leaders.
        Imm-generated plots are disseminated through clan leaders, who then involve their minions in the plots. If you're not in a clan, or you're not close to the clan leader, you will not be able to take advantage of this connection for getting involved. Making nice with the clan leader is not difficult; it doesn't require ass-kissing or bribery. Mostly what it takes is #2, #3, and #6 on this list; do those things and you will be Right-Hand Minion in very little time.

5. Don't make your character be all about sparring or hunting.
        If you log in to spar in the Zalanthan morning hours, but then log out in the afternoon/night because there's "nothing to do," you will miss out. Ditto with hunting. You MUST get your character involved with other characters in order to get included in the fun stuff. Develop rivalries or friendships, find enemies or love interests, sell or buy things from PCs, however you can get involved in relationships with other PCs, DO IT.

6. Ask your clan leaders for things to do.
        At first, they will give you completely unimportant but necessary tasks, like buying or selling something at a shop for them. Later, they will give you tasks that necessitate you getting in contact with other PCs, which then gives you a potential opportunity to develop relationships with those PCs. And still later, when you've become trusted, they will give you neat stuff to do like carry sekret messages or spy on someone. EXTRA BONUS to doing tasks for clan leaders: The smart, competent clan leaders will usually give you a nice tip of coinage for your work!

7. When given a task, complete it correctly within the allotted time frame, then immediately report back.
        If you're given tasks and you don't complete them, you will never gain the necessary trust with your leaders to be given more important tasks. If you don't report back on your work, you miss out on the opportunity to build trust and also to potentially get 'sids coming your way for a job well done. Plots require lots of things to be done in game, so if you're there to help with the tasks, you'll get involved in the plot.

8. Attend RPTs.
        If your clan is having an RPT, then the likelihood is that your presence would be really helpful to the clan leader. (It's hard to accomplish RPT goals when clan members don't attend.) RPTs are often where interesting plot-related information is passed, or seriously freakin' cool stuff happens. So don't miss them.

9. Live a while.
        If your character dies immediately, you won't get involved in plots. If your character lives for an RL month or more, then you start to have a much better chance of getting involved in interesting stuff. Other characters are not interested in your character until they've seen them around at least three times in, say, an RL week, because there are just SO many insta-dying characters around, and it's a waste of time and energy to invest in totally new characters...usually. So prove you can live, and relationships and plots will follow.


« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 12:29:28 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: How to get Involved in Plots
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 05:05:26 PM »
Make your Own RPT
Written completely by Taven.

RPTs, HRPTs, I think what this is all about is having fun in a way that involves other players or clans with some steady, dependable fun events taking place and happening. I agree 100% that it is NOT solely the leader's job to do this. You can think of your own fun and crazy ideas to try and go for. If you don't succeed, then you can say you tried. Here's a few ideas that can lighten up any scene.

Game Night
Having a clan game day/night every few weeks is awesome, too. Kruth, Tek's Tower, whatever. Just go to your nearest tavern, hijack a table, and show all those other sorry little idlers how awesome your clan is. Furthermore, there are things and ideas to do WITHIN that that can be a game night, or any time.

Impromptu Song Contest
Tulukis, find a location for some public singing or dancing. NPCs do it all the time, don't you go telling me it isn't subtle enough. Also, singing and dancing is not just for Tuluki. Making up silly songs on the spot in the group and forcing each other to sing them publicly could be TONS of fun. Dance with someone at the Gaj. Aspire to find a Nakki bard to come and teach you songs, or some tribal to teach you exotic dances. Let other people know of your plans, set up a time.

Impersonation of other city contest/activity
We do silly things like this making fun of the various cities respectively all the time. Starting this up at a dull day in the Gaj (or Sanctuary? Tooth?) would provide a break from the long boring periods. It's also easy to combine with any of the above ides.

Have clan gossip sessions
You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Players often loose interest in clans because they don't SEE anything going on. Tell them just about what they missed, make them want to play more! Make it so Amos down the bar wants a piece of the action, too. Alternately, have just-clan meetings. Talk about policies, about information you know that they should too. Talk about weather or not that new Salarri IS actually crazy, or if so-and-so has a crush on that half-elf.

Tell stories of ages long gone
That's right. You, crazy Fale, you know we commoners can't read. Impress us with your tales from ages past of great Fale parties. Tor, tell your Silvers some war tales so it will tirckle down back to the common folk. You, there, old grizzled Bynner! Tell us of days gone by when you had to walk up hill both ways in a sandstorm and fight off defilers. Tuluki, same goes for you. Remember when those 'Nakki invaded? We may be at peace now, but back in my day...

Play "bother the elf" (Or Foreigner, as the case maybe)
Seriously, people. These are ELVES. They aren't PEOPLE. They aren't HUMAN. You Tuluki made subtle snide remarks. 'Nakkis, start a fight! Throw some insults. And beer mugs. Be more creative then the bar-fight echos. Also, power in numbers. Have a large support group to back you up. Elves seem, to me, to mostly get ignored. Breeds, too. SNEER MORE, PEOPLE. Interact. See just how far you can insult that breed before they loose it and tackle you.

Learning and Teaching
I'm not kidding. Getting taught things is great. Set a clan day (approve it with your leaders, or on the fly) to teach about whatever you can do. Geography, what ARE those cures for anyways, tricks elves might do, wrestling... Don't make it all about the CODE make it about interaction. I have had stellar times where the routine "training" was broken up by some absolutely incredible lessons on these things. I've given some lessons myself.

Alternately, start a teaching group for your spare time. Maybe you always wanted to learn about Geography, and have traveled in your time. Make a group, trade stories and tales. Healer? It's not all about TABLETS. Rumors of cures, charms, and special "remedies" that may or may not have coded value are perfectly good. In the movie Gladiator, they use maggots to eat away the diseased flesh. How come I've never heard even a whisper of someone using that technique ICly? Also, slapping a bandage on something isn't always good. Tell gruesome stories about infection, and talk about how to clean a wound or set a break properly.

Learn about some foreign culture. Ask that Tuluki about why they have those tattoos... Then mock them for it. Is it true that Gith can actually TALK? Go ask that tribal over there. Learn a language. Insult people in that language while claiming it's praise (use with caution, and beware negative side effects). Learn tribal slang or phrases.

Worship your City's King
Yes, that's right. Remember dear old Tektolnes who decides if you LIVE OR DIE? Those people infront of the Dragon aren't kneeling there because it makes them feel good. What about the Sun King? What have you done to show appreciation for HIS Glorious Light, lately? Make a cult. Inspire worship. Make up your own odd rules and beliefs that you spread to others. Do your odd ideas publicly.

It doesn't have to be traditional worship. Dance to the Highlord, or kill a halfling for the Sun King. Be creative. Look at RL and how many religious variants there are. Not in a big city? What do you worship? What's a new way you can worship this?

Host An Event
Yes, even you, Commoner Amos, can Host an Event. Don't have enough food and wine for everybody? Make it a potluck. Don't have the money for l33t prizes? Talk to your local GMH member and discuss making a raffel for an item. How many Maliks would toss fifty 'sid into the pot for a chance at that awesome sword? Or that insanely cool outfit? If they don't go for it, collect the pot first and then get the item.

Organize Co-Clan Games/activities
Ever get to be in a spot where whatever clan you're in seems devoid of all people, but the other similar clan is hopping? Coordinate with your leader and theres, set up some friendly cross-clan games. Archery contest? Well, our Malik is better then your lame-ass Amos, and thal games. Yes, everybody who enters WILL pay this fee to get in, and if the Templar was motivated, they could charge the viewers to watch, too. It's a fun thing for multipul clans, AND it gets whatever Templar 'sid. Who doesn't like that?

Even if it doesn't work, showing interest and ideas is a good start. Just remember, everyone likes money and if there's other people participating then it doesn't have to be all yours. Convince your leader that while YOU might not have any archery ranges, THIS clan might, and wouldn't it be good to practice? I'm sure there's non-combat oriented ways to do this too, but usually a clan has at least one combat aspect to it.

Explore
Oh, woe is YOU. You're stuck inside your city, how can "go exploring" POSSIBLY apply to you without getting your PC in trouble? Actually take a moment to look at your city-state with a fresh eye. Those room descriptions? Read them again, sometimes you'll be surprised. For example, just who ARE those templar statues of? What sorts of carvings are in the Gaj-- Are they lewd? If there aren't any lewd ones, why not? Shouldn't you make one? Alternately, exploring doesn't have to be physical. "Explore" your PC's past. What are their vNPC relatives up to? Is it something that can make for an interesting plot in PC-land?

Summing It All Up
I think more challenging then a leader not wanting to get all the work, or a minion struggling to create a RPT/event despite their lack of power is when you just don't HAVE minions/underlings, or a leader. There's a lot of things you COULD do, if there were more people around. I think that's one of the reasons that things never actually happen. Trying to plan more cross-clan events would help solve this, I think. The trouble with that, of course, is that with more people to get "okays" from, then longer everything takes. But it doesn't have to be a BIG thing, it can start small and go from there. It's so easy to get discouraged or bored, it's HARD to plan things and involve others. Keeping at it is an important thing to do. I'd also say that it's easier if you've been in your clan awhile, and have a feel for how things work. It's hard to make things new or exciting if you don't have a good grasp of what "normal" is.


« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 12:30:05 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: How to get Involved in Plots
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 05:07:35 PM »
Involving Yourself in Your Clan
Work from Helix's post as seen here.
Work from Fathi's post as seen here.


Characters:

So, if this is a post about plots and clan involvement, then why is the first section about characters? One of the major barriers to  having a good time with clans is that oftentimes characters aren't developed enough for them to operate independantly of their clan. One of the most important part about playing in a clan is also knowing when not to be working on clan stuff, and that requires having a developed character.

Personality:

As a leader, it can be frustrating to have PCs under you with no ambition or life beyond their clan rank and station.  People also seem to expect that they be given these nebulous 'things to do' - often a series of easily (or not so easily) accomplishable tasks that lead up to a bigger task that is an overall goal for the clan or some of the PCs involved in it. Many times what a PC needs to keep 'busy' is simply a more developed personality.

In this case, "personality" is more than just likes and dislikes. It means fleshing out the background - who did your character know, before they were a PC? Who were their friends, their family, where do they come from and what do they want? Goals. Goals, even lofty nearly impossible goals, do more for character development than anything else. This also helps you actually bond with other characters... if you think about how it works in real life - you have the deepest connections with people that you can talk to about a variety of subjects. In Arm - the key is coming up with believable experiences for your character to enable them to have the deep bonds that keep you from getting bored (as the people whom become your characters good friends will often draw you into plots).

The caveat with this is that if you join a clan where there's only two people and you have a strict schedule, you're going to have this problem unless you really, really enjoy solo RP.

Goals:

A range of goals for a character is best. And not just 'I want to become..." type goals. But also character development goals - where do you want your character to go? What do you want your character to accomplish? Allow your character to be shaped and evolve from the events that happen to him. Flesh the character out with thoughts and feels - deciding how they would react to something goes a long way in determining what they want to accomplish. If they 'like' something, they're much more likely to want to pursue something that brings them into contact with what they like. The opposite is true for disliking things.

There's also the concept of having "Things To Do." However - what's much more useful and appreciated is knowing what's going on. Say I'm a clan leader. I have goals X, Y, and Z that I need to accomplish in t amount of time. If you - my loyal and fearless clanmate - know that, then you find an opportunity to advance those goals - in a sense, you're getting "Things To Do" by acting on your own capability and innovation. Rather than sit and wait to be 'assigned' to work on something - figure out what your clan is currently engaged in and then its easy to figure out what you need to be working on - without having to wait for "Things to Do."

Independence:

Don't be afraid to be independent from the clan, either. If you're in a clan that has a tight training schedule but there isn't ever anyone around - address it either IC or OOC on your clan boards. Email your Imm.

Also - mentioning that Storytellers are busy and everything... if you email your imm and say, "Hey, can I do x?" and they don't respond then take what IC steps you need to make it happen, as long as its IC for you to do so. Even if its a 'bad thing', chances are the imm is going to enjoy roasting you alive. If they come back later and say you can't do that, or you shouldn't do that then take that as a lesson learned. But at least you're doing something, and really, if you send in an email about it, they probably aren't going to be (too) angry with you.

Leaders:

As a leader of a clan, here is some extra advice as to what helps with success.

    
  • Have goals:
Have an idea of something that you want to get accomplished. This isn't as easy as it sounds... leaders have to have all the stuff above - they have to be normal characters AS WELL AS be capable of coming up with things for everyone to do. You should have both personal goals and clan goals.
    
  • Be online:
You'd think this was a given. You'd be surprised how many people get intimidated by not really knowing what to do and just stop logging in. Leading characters in Arm is about creating and resolving conflict. You can't do either of those things unless you're online. That's not to say that you can't take time off, or you have to play every day. But you should at least be around fairly frequently. Also, make your leader PC accessible by the rest of the clan. Granted you don't have to be buddies with them, and of course a lot of clans have social structures that would prevent outright friendship or snuggles, but don't isolate yourself from your clannies' PLAYERS. Be around in places where they can find you if they need you or just want to interact some.
    
  • Have a trusty sidekick:
Having a trusted lieutenant goes a LONG way, in my experience. Once you have this - you can direct 'overall' direction for your clan, and allow the lieutenant to be the one who really digs into the details and gets things done. In this way you can focus on higher-level tasks (handling the templars and other nobility) while your lieutenant deals with the scum of the universe (your employees). In this way, you're working as a team at all levels of Arm society. That's hugely important for getting things done, and getting them done fast.
    
  • Be social:
Especially at first, when your character isn't involved in very much... be social. This will quickly embroil you in the political plots of the place that you choose to reside in. Don't be afraid to make blood enemies, and don't be afraid to make trusted friends. Both of those things will generate plots for your players - especially if they feel that their actions are influencing the clan's overall position. Everyone likes to feel important, and everyone likes to feel that their character is doing something large for the clan.
    
  • Delegate:
Giving your underlings jobs and responsibilities not only gives them Things To Do, but it creates a sense of hierarchy and importance. Don't let any members of the team feel like they're stuck in a position where they would be prevented from stepping up and contributing more if they expressed desire to.
    
  • Do things together:
As cheesy as it may sound, palling around with your clannies establishes a sense of unit identity and makes them more likely to stick in the clan long enough for things to develop. Also, I'd imagine any friendly neighbourhood staffers would be more apt to play around with six PCs on a hunt in the same place than six PCs in pairs scattered all over.
    
  • Create Atmopsphere:
Develop a clan atmosphere that encourages contributions from the lowliest underlings up to the top of the tower of power. Don't make your clan meetings into "the apped in leaders sit around while everyone else types 'guard man.'"
    
  • Keep staff informed:
Let your clan staffers know what you're up to! If you plan on going out to investigate That Place In The Grasslands/Tablelands/Salt Flats with your hunters, instead of just going out one day, turn it into a mini-RPT. You'll get more people and you're far more likely to get staff attention when your imms know when and where you're gonna be somewhere.
    
  • Stick it out:
There will be rough patches, there will be boring stretches, and there will be stress. But despite all this, there's a special kind of enjoyment that comes from building a group of players from the ground up, sticking together through thick and thin, and cultivating something interesting, multifaceted, and eventually badass.

And one thing, too, that both leaders and minions can keep in mind: clan staffers are here to help you, not screw you out of having fun. If you're bored and you're unable to stir up anything interesting with your PC boss, try emailing your imms and setting something up with an NPC to get some work on the side. Plot AGAINST your PC boss and your imms might just help you out if he's doing that horrible a job.

Don't be afraid to come to the staff with questions, concerns, and frustrations--just sitting around and letting it fester while you play less and less doesn't help anyone in the end, and chances are your admins will have at least -some- input on how to better the situation.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 12:37:52 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: How to get Involved in Plots
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 05:08:27 PM »
Don't Forget the vNPCs
Origninal post byTisiphone, as seen here.

Develop your vNPC environment. There was one thread where LoD posted, by way of example, an encounter between one of his characters and that character's father. They didn't get along, and the character was in a foul mood for the rest of the week.

As far as getting into exciting things rather than personal quirks, make mistakes. Get totally sloshed because you're upset with your new life and puke on a noble's shoes. If you're a southerner in Tuluk, bow to a templar; nod to one if vice versa. Fall into a hole, get robbed, go mad (this must be done with utmost care as madness is difficult to fake and only compelling if done correctly), fuck a fruit for money, act bigoted towards elves/'rinthis/gemmers/southrons/northrons/dwarves/all of the above at the same time. Have an emotional breakdown.

Do all of those things at the same time.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 12:44:41 PM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: Article: How to get Involved in Plots
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2009, 05:19:12 PM »
This Article has now been submitted to the Original Sumbissions Documentation, and can be found here.



« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 01:16:18 AM by Taven »
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.