Author Topic: Let's dialogue about plots  (Read 16784 times)

Semper

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #125 on: September 16, 2010, 12:38:24 PM »
Quote from: Salt Merchant
We're given the responsibility to start and run the plots, yet we don't have a lot of the tools we need to really make it work outside of a narrow range.

Quote from: Semper
I mentioned it before, but while players can throw the stones to make waves, the waves won't be very large unless the staff give us the tools to make bigger waves.

I believe we're on the same page regarding that. While players have a large potential to change things, there's only a certain level that we can attain without staff being able to run with it the rest of the way.

[added: And I think one way that staff can help with this is through animations, bringing realistic reactions to our plots. They've mentioned all this already though, and I hope to see it working.]

Quote
The overall aim of this is to see STs out there animating every day, because they -want- to, to see plots and stories that reflect what players are interested in and want to achieve and staff supporting what you all are doing.

[edited to add: removed the rest as it isn't relevant after Talia's response]
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 12:47:01 PM by Semper »
"And all around is the desert; a corner of the mournful kingdom of sand."
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Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #126 on: September 16, 2010, 12:44:46 PM »
My PC Templar (I don't have one, just example) absolutely hates Tuluk. They go about getting as much of the player-base within Allanak whipped into a frenzy to go and kick their arses, and ships off various insults or what-not to try and goad Tuluk into the same state. Will this happen?

Probably not, for IC reasons. But you could try, and you could probably make a lot of fun for people by doing so. There's nothing wrong with losing a conflict, failing in your goals, or getting your PC killed. In PC vs PC conflict, SOMEONE is going to lose. But if everyone has fun, then who cares?
 
My PC has the drive, allies, coin and materials to re-open a raiding clan (like the Blackmoon) to cause conflict against the city states/settlements. Will we get the support of a built hide-out/business location, NPCs built, etc?

You're not going to get Blackmoon re-opened. And there is a "no new clans" policy. That being said, if you were to start this in game and show that you are truly contributing conflict, plot, and fun, then I think you might be able to find staff support for some of what you want. I think it depends on the players, their communication with staff, and what they are truly trying to do. If you're just looking to put in a new clan and "win"...no, those are not compelling reasons to staff.

My PC spends X-amount of time and effort to try and cause a certain creature to be "burned out" of a location to attack Tuluk, or the outlying outpost to really add to the issues already being dealt with. Would this happen?

I think this might be do-able. Again...you'll need to communicate, plan, etc. I recommend reading LoD's old posts about how he played Thrain. There's nothing to say there can't be another Thrain or another LoD.

My D-elf decides that they REALLY hate another settlement and various actions are taken to try and bring about a war (Random example of the Soh against the Akei) Would this happen?

I think this might be do-able. See above.

My Guilder decides to try and rally the whole of the Rinth over time to assist the 'Crew' in an organized raid on Allanak proper food-stuff locations to let those damn dirty southsiders starve instead of them for a change. Would this get support?

I think this might be do-able. See above.

All of what you propose to do is nearly insanely risky--not because of staff, but because of other players. (Seriously, we don't need to stop you guys in your plans of evil, you're really good at stopping each other.) Few players have the patience and perseverance to do things like this. But some players over the years have proved that it can be done. I believe very strongly that it STILL can be done.

Let's all remember that, in the end, Thrain lost. Allanak stands. But wow, what he created while trying.
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NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

WagonsHo

  • Posts: 247
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #127 on: September 16, 2010, 12:47:17 PM »
In my brief leader role, I had success with plots which:  A) Would result in a clear benefit to my clan, either through reputation or resources;  B)  Could be mostly or entirely achieved through PC actions (especially ones that kept minions busy);  C)  Didn't involved anything that wasn't beyond my character's realistic control or influence;  D) Didn't involve staff work for an incredibly transitory, one-shot thing.

From reading accounts here, I suppose I lucked out because following that rubric, I was never told "no."  Sometimes I was told, "That's unlikely" or "You should consider the difficulty of X" and then I adjusted my strategy and still went after the goals.  Following this rubric, I had room descs changed when appropriate, npcs permanently moved, etc.  There were plenty of changes and I saw many other leaders around me also instigating and successfully making changes.

Edit:  I always notified staff when I had an idea for something that would ultimately require staff assistance.  Feedback was important, even if it took several tries to make sure we were all on the same page.  I updated staff religiously and copiously.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 12:53:14 PM by WagonsHo »

Shabago

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #128 on: September 16, 2010, 12:51:00 PM »
Thank you, Talia.
Nessalin: At night, I stand there and watch you sleep.  With a hammer in one hand and a candy cane in the other.  Judging.

Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #129 on: September 16, 2010, 01:00:36 PM »
These are designed to try and HELP give the PB examples of what they can or can't do based off of staff replies. Yes, we get the policy isn't going to change (sad this was decided before this discussion even occured) but I think the following work within these new (evidentally misunderstood) guidelines.

Just another comment about all your examples/questions. I think that, probably, if you really want to rock the boat of the gameworld, you're going to need to be standing NOT in the boat. PC templars, nobles, merchant family members, and other clan leadership roles frequently have their hands tied by the V/NPC authority layer, by the many alliances and agreements that exist between organizations, by the rules of the organizations (don't hire magickers, don't hire elves, etc.). I am not saying that these limits are a bad thing, or that they don't make sense--this is our gameworld, this is how it works. I just think that those limits are limiting if you really, truly want to play the bad guy who starts the big conflict.

Food for thought.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #130 on: September 16, 2010, 01:05:01 PM »
Just letting you guys know, I've been asked to compile and summarize the items from this discussion which are things staff can reasonably do to improve the current system, for the other staff to look over. We're going to conclude this discussion at the end of the day today (I'll lock it up) so it doesn't drag endlessly on. So go ahead and post before then if you've got more thoughts (especially new, interesting, helpful thoughts).
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

Old Kank

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #131 on: September 16, 2010, 01:11:13 PM »
Just another comment about all your examples/questions. I think that, probably, if you really want to rock the boat of the gameworld, you're going to need to be standing NOT in the boat. PC templars, nobles, merchant family members, and other clan leadership roles frequently have their hands tied by the V/NPC authority layer, by the many alliances and agreements that exist between organizations, by the rules of the organizations (don't hire magickers, don't hire elves, etc.). I am not saying that these limits are a bad thing, or that they don't make sense--this is our gameworld, this is how it works. I just think that those limits are limiting if you really, truly want to play the bad guy who starts the big conflict.

I agree with this, but the staff have been almost unyielding in their support of clans over independents.  "You made an indie merchant, and raised over 1 MILLION 'sids?  That's cute and all, but Kadius and Salarr are still bigger and more influential than you'll ever be."  The limits make sense for the game world, and I even agree with siding with clans over independents, because that's where the game's continuity and long-range vision stems from. 

But, don't you see how this sends a mixed message?  The staff says do stuff within the very narrow confines of the existing, open clans, but don't step outside the lines!  Or go outside of clans and do stuff, but... don't expect to really accomplish anything because you don't fit in the game world.

What's more important, a tight, well-themed environment that players actually have to work against, or a game world where people are encouraged to do things and promote fun?  I'm leaning towards fun, personally.

Nyr

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #132 on: September 16, 2010, 01:17:24 PM »
Just another comment about all your examples/questions. I think that, probably, if you really want to rock the boat of the gameworld, you're going to need to be standing NOT in the boat. PC templars, nobles, merchant family members, and other clan leadership roles frequently have their hands tied by the V/NPC authority layer, by the many alliances and agreements that exist between organizations, by the rules of the organizations (don't hire magickers, don't hire elves, etc.). I am not saying that these limits are a bad thing, or that they don't make sense--this is our gameworld, this is how it works. I just think that those limits are limiting if you really, truly want to play the bad guy who starts the big conflict.

I agree with this, but the staff have been almost unyielding in their support of clans over independents.  "You made an indie merchant, and raised over 1 MILLION 'sids?  That's cute and all, but Kadius and Salarr are still bigger and more influential than you'll ever be."  The limits make sense for the game world, and I even agree with siding with clans over independents, because that's where the game's continuity and long-range vision stems from. 

But, don't you see how this sends a mixed message?  The staff says do stuff within the very narrow confines of the existing, open clans, but don't step outside the lines!  Or go outside of clans and do stuff, but... don't expect to really accomplish anything because you don't fit in the game world.

What's more important, a tight, well-themed environment that players actually have to work against, or a game world where people are encouraged to do things and promote fun?  I'm leaning towards fun, personally.

A tight, well-themed environment that players actually have to work against--or with--is more important by far.

If you want to do these things, do them, don't promote hypothetical situations and the likely result.  Sure, your indie merchant probably will get killed by a GMH.  This shouldn't stop you from trying.
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Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #133 on: September 16, 2010, 01:24:30 PM »
What's more important, a tight, well-themed environment that players actually have to work against, or a game world where people are encouraged to do things and promote fun?  I'm leaning towards fun, personally.

You seem to equate fun with winning. They are not the same thing.

I agree with this, but the staff have been almost unyielding in their support of clans over independents.  "You made an indie merchant, and raised over 1 MILLION 'sids?  That's cute and all, but Kadius and Salarr are still bigger and more influential than you'll ever be."  The limits make sense for the game world, and I even agree with siding with clans over independents, because that's where the game's continuity and long-range vision stems from.

This is not siding with clans over independents. Unclanned have a clan--it's called "Unclanned." Those players get responses to their requests in the same manner that clanned players do.

Enforcing the game world is what that is. The big scary hugeness of those organizations is part of what makes the gameworld fun. The challenge is what makes plots fun...not winning.

If what you're saying is that you want to be able to create plots AND you want to be guaranteed to win them AND you want staff to be primarily responsible for running them in a predictable manner...err. Wouldn't you rather just go play a video game? I don't mean to belittle your desires, but I do mean to say that you can't get what you want from ARM, if that is what you want.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

Bogre

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #134 on: September 16, 2010, 01:34:07 PM »
I think Salt Merchant's point is that you're saying rock the boat, but to clanned leaders, you say don't rock the boat.

So basically stating that you have to be the Thrain Ironsword or unclanned raiders or a sorc or something to rock the boat.

This would be fine if PC city-clanned peoples goals were to 'stabilize the boat'. But they don't really get that goal from staff, and Salt merchant's problem is that if they decide instead to try and rock, they'll be handslapped. So its kind of like 'You can do what you want. Except this. Or that. And none of that.'
I tripped and Fale down my stairs. Drink milk and you'll grow Uaptal. I know this guy from the state of Tenneshi. This house will go up Borsail tomorrow. I gave my book to him Nenyuk it back again. I hired this guy golfing to Kadius around for a while.

Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #135 on: September 16, 2010, 01:51:36 PM »
I think Salt Merchant's point is that you're saying rock the boat, but to clanned leaders, you say don't rock the boat.

So basically stating that you have to be the Thrain Ironsword or unclanned raiders or a sorc or something to rock the boat.

This would be fine if PC city-clanned peoples goals were to 'stabilize the boat'. But they don't really get that goal from staff, and Salt merchant's problem is that if they decide instead to try and rock, they'll be handslapped. So its kind of like 'You can do what you want. Except this. Or that. And none of that.'

I think you have a point that staff have not clearly stated "If you accept this role as templar/noble/GMH family/whatever you will probably not get to invade Tuluk/kill off Winrothol/overthrow Kurac/blah. So don't pin your plans on that," either on an individual basis during the recruitment phase (unless the player states up front they want to do something along those lines), or on the GDB in announcements and whatnot.

However, I don't believe that staff have EVER indicated to players that they'd get to do those things if they are in a sponsored role. I don't see any support for that idea, actually. I believe it's an idea that players have built up, independent and contrary to ALL statements of the staff, ever. I think it's a misconception, and I'm not sure why players have it--except that it's maybe partly because we continue to get new players trying out these roles and so they haven't been previously personally told it's not going to happen.

I think staff could probably make it a standard part of our announcements for sponsored roles that we want to see specific plans from applicants for reasonable plots that don't have to do primarily with rocking the boat.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

valeria

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #136 on: September 16, 2010, 02:51:36 PM »
Just letting you guys know, I've been asked to compile and summarize the items from this discussion which are things staff can reasonably do to improve the current system, for the other staff to look over....

Thanks for starting the discussion and doing the groundwork on this!  It was really heartening to have a discussion with input from both sides that was largely reasoned and thoughtful.

thatkid

  • Posts: 188
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #137 on: September 16, 2010, 02:55:06 PM »
Now, I'm new to this game, and all, but I just thought I'd like to make a quick comment.

Since this is a fantasy game, I can imagine that some of you have read at least one or two books from the Legacy of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore. If you've read the first three or so which take place in Menzoberranzan, you might already be able to figure out what I'm about to suggest, if not, here's a quick run-down: In Drow society, all drow are constantly scheming to one-up or otherwise destroy each other. It's the ultimate rat race. Within this society, there are several noble houses, which (along with an unhealthy level of infighting) are constantly scheming to destroy, or one-up, each other as well. For the most part, there really is no reason for some of these houses to be going after each other, yet even the wealthiest and most influential still takes part in the covert warfare. They do it simply so they can garner more power, and keep a hold on the power they already have.
In the incredibly harsh world of Armageddon, why are the clans not constantly trying to one-up each other? The argument that you don't gain anything from it, quite frankly, makes little to no sense. Power is a drug, after all, and eventually every junky needs more and more of their poison to keep the high (and, I guess, they also need to keep other junkies from stealing their drugs, or something).

If your clan leader, in the world of Arm, isn't the type to constantly pursue more and more wealth and power, how did they reach the rank they're at in the first place?

flurry

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #138 on: September 16, 2010, 03:33:32 PM »
I'm really enjoying reading the various points and responses here. It's enlightening to read other people's experiences and perspectives regarding plots.

A constructive suggestion: I think it would be beneficial to some players to have some kind of how-to guide about initiating player-driven plots that may require staff support. I know something like this may seem unnecessary, but it's evident in this thread that a number of players have had difficulty getting a plot off the ground. I suspect that players often don't know the ways in which the staff would be willing to support plots.

Also, someone brought up the previous suggestion of "job descriptions" for sponsored roles. I've loved that idea since it first came up, and I hope that we see those at some point.
Be the change you want to see in Zalanthas.

Twilight

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #139 on: September 16, 2010, 03:42:45 PM »
There are varying levels of knowledge.  Both between players, and between players and staff.  This creates difference in people's perspectives of what is and what is not the logical response of the gameworld to any particular action.  Tempered by individual judgement, I think these factors drive the plots people submit.

There are plots in this thread where I read them and I think "They have to be joking, right?"

Take this with a grain of salt, because my opinion here is gained through posts on the GDB, present and past, but I would posit that there are a small number of people where the individual's judgment is the problem.  A sense of entitlement may also play into this, but with repeated attempts at driving things created from poor judgment (at least where Arm plots are concerned) resentment against the staff builds, because they have the perception that they aren't let to do anything.  And if they formulated a plot in poor judgement, they shouldn't be.  How can we change people's judgment to be better?

Among a greater number of players, in fact I would say all of us, there are differences in perspective on what is and what is not the logical response of the gameworld to particular actions.  If we do not have a handle on what a logical response would be to our proposed plots, we are going to propose plots which we think fit into the gameworld, but do not.  Or could not succeed.  Or would not get the support from our clan/government/etc that we think it should.  People who have been around longer, or have played repeated roles in a particular area/clan/race/etc hopefully have a higher likelihood of having a more realistic and “correct” (i.e. vis a vis the staff’s perspective) view of the world and logical responses.  How can we change people’s perspectives of the gameworld, and the logical responses they can expect, to be more in line with staff’s?

Personally, I feel that it goes back to the first line of my post.  Knowledge.  For perspective, to give some (vague) examples of why knowledge is important:  In the past year, I was asking about one topic with my staff, and in explaining it they touched on something else.  This wasn’t how I thought about this other thing at all, but in absorbing the information, it changed my entire perspective of my clan.  It was that fundamental.  At a different time, I found out about an agreement that my clan had with another.  That was nowhere in our docs.  Again, changing my perspective on how I should be interacting with that other clan.  For judgment, I feel that giving people the reasons why and explaining them is the only way to hone their judgment.  Not doing this gives them no basis to change.  Some people will never change even if you do, and will continue on with poor judgment.

Unfortunately, knowledge is one of those sacred cows.  There are, literally, almost twenty years of IC knowledge.  Much of which the staff doesn’t even have.  Much of which is, admittedly, irrelevant.  But the staff also has, per new staff statements on coming onto staff, much more information available than the players.  It would seem in many cases, staff are also the only way to get that knowledge into the game, as while another player might or might not have it, in many instances it is unlikely they can justify their character having it.  While it is incumbent upon the staff to keep much obscured, or just dribble out certain information, I think it is also incumbent upon them to ensure that they are sharing knowledge that can grow their player’s perspectives and judgment about the gameworld.  Responding to plot suggestions with some of the ancilliary information (both IC knowledge and reasoning) staff is using to determine their response seems an excellent way to accomplish this.  Oh, and updating the documents to include all the historic and active treaties, agreements, etc.

Of course, my judgment may be faulty in thinking those should be available to any leader type.

In summary, staff have a key role in building better players.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 03:46:05 PM by Twilight »
Evolution ends when stupidity is no longer fatal."

Semper

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #140 on: September 16, 2010, 04:12:33 PM »
Just a quick run over the thread and came up with a couple areas that more staff input would be welcome.

Quote from: Kiara
I agree with your first point. I disagree with your second. Why can't you as staff infuse a plot with a little spice if it begins to unravel. You're here not just to be facilitators, but also guides that help steer things along if something bad happens. Doing nothing contributes just that: nothing to the dynamic of the world. If things are allowed to fall apart, the world becomes static. Boring.

A few points of my own from this, generated from my thoughts and those of other players here:
- organizations become stagnant when left alone
   If player-initiated plots in their clan are starting to falter, I believe infusing some spice and action into the mix from the staff-side will go quite far in bringing the clan back to life. Players can't always be expected to know what they want to do next without -some- kind of guidance. It's like dropping us into a jungle and telling us to make a path through it. If we don't know what the possible paths are, and whether or not it's the right direction in the first place, it won't be long before we start giving up from frustration. And once we start on a path, prodding us in the right direction now and then, or dropping us crumbs to follow or better tools to work with will do wonders.
   A good way to put it is for staff to possibly be more "inventively reactive".

- Player-run/initiated plots have one major down-side. They don't have the grand, over-arching perspective to things that staff have, and it's -hard- generating plots that are closely linked to game history and feels a part of the world, rather than contrived and forced. Much of this is due to the short life-span of players, but also the fact that we can't make characters that have their history, beginning from birth to their creation, and all the characters and elements that come with it. So the feud between Noble House X and Noble House Y will only continue so long as the present PCs are alive. Once they die, there's very little from them that will linger on for future PCs through their children, or from their servants, etc.
   Through staff animations, and responses to player-run plots, allowing these elements to crop into situations will help tie the plots more firmly into game history, give players much more of an investment in seeing things followed through to the end, and provide more over-arching plots that reach not only farther across, but deeper within organizations/clans themselves.

- On a similar note, perhaps staff can provide more large, macro-level direction for player plots. It doesn't have to start from scratch, simply building on the plots that players are working with, and helping to remove the roofs from the possibilities to extent farther than players alone could do.

Quote from: Talia
Why can't your thug decide to abduct the aide in order to impress the gang boss, on his own? That's what I'm not getting. Why do players think they need staff to tell them to do that? Aren't you just as inventive as we are?

Staff have been players before, so I'm pretty certain you all know just how inventive we all can be. The issue I believe is that players don't have quite the same resources as staff, and the major difference is simply that of perspective. We only have the perspective of our own characters to work with, while staff have the big picture. I mentioned it before in this post, but giving players some avenues of progress, and some direction with their plots will pay for the effort in the end, as we now have the tools and direction to work toward, rather than attempting to forge our own path without any guidance, and meeting dead ends in the process. It's constantly running into dead ends that causes player frustration with plots and with the staff.
"And all around is the desert; a corner of the mournful kingdom of sand."
   - Pierre Loti

Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #141 on: September 16, 2010, 04:16:58 PM »
In summary, staff have a key role in building better players.

I loved your whole post and definitely agree with this. Personally, I wouldn't be the player I am (OK, not like I'm all that, but you know what I'm saying) were it not for prior generations of staffers. I think we haven't quite figured out yet how to teach players to run plots (nor do we have all the necessary tools in place), but I hope that we are headed there.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

Talia

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Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #142 on: September 16, 2010, 04:27:56 PM »
If player-initiated plots in their clan are starting to falter, I believe infusing some spice and action into the mix from the staff-side will go quite far in bringing the clan back to life. Players can't always be expected to know what they want to do next without -some- kind of guidance. It's like dropping us into a jungle and telling us to make a path through it. If we don't know what the possible paths are, and whether or not it's the right direction in the first place, it won't be long before we start giving up from frustration. And once we start on a path, prodding us in the right direction now and then, or dropping us crumbs to follow or better tools to work with will do wonders. A good way to put it is for staff to possibly be more "inventively reactive".

I believe that staff are already very inventively reactive. But if you have not updated me on your plot to kidnap Lady Fale in a few weeks, why should I try to spice up that plot rather than putting the time I have to spend staffing this week toward animating at an RPT where my attendance has been requested by some other players? We will always have an environment where staff time and attention are limited. I think it's unreasonable for players to expect that if they are lagging/slacking/dropping the ball on their end, staff will step in and "spice it up." We will react if you give us something to react to. I have plots right now in my clans which are languishing because I haven't heard from the players nor seen any action in weeks--sorry, but I am not the housekeeper/nanny and it's not my job to make sure that players drive their player-driven plots.

Squeaky wheel and all that. I'm not telling you to be obnoxious in your requests ("Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!"), but if ye don't ask, ye shall not receive.

Player-run/initiated plots have one major down-side. They don't have the grand, over-arching perspective to things that staff have, and it's -hard- generating plots that are closely linked to game history and feels a part of the world, rather than contrived and forced. Much of this is due to the short life-span of players, but also the fact that we can't make characters that have their history, beginning from birth to their creation, and all the characters and elements that come with it. So the feud between Noble House X and Noble House Y will only continue so long as the present PCs are alive. Once they die, there's very little from them that will linger on for future PCs through their children, or from their servants, etc.
   Through staff animations, and responses to player-run plots, allowing these elements to crop into situations will help tie the plots more firmly into game history, give players much more of an investment in seeing things followed through to the end, and provide more over-arching plots that reach not only farther across, but deeper within organizations/clans themselves.

You're right. I agree with you generally. However--I will say--there are plots going on right now in the game that were not started by the PCs who are currently shepherding them along. If a plot is truly good and compelling, I think it will create its own momentum. I wish I could tell you that there was a policy solution to this conundrum, but I don't think there is.

On a similar note, perhaps staff can provide more large, macro-level direction for player plots. It doesn't have to start from scratch, simply building on the plots that players are working with, and helping to remove the roofs from the possibilities to extent farther than players alone could do.

I think we do this already. Unless I am misunderstanding you. That's the heart of player-driven--taking something the PCs are doing and spinning off of it, building on top of it.

It's constantly running into dead ends that causes player frustration with plots and with the staff.

I agree with you here. I think better documentation on the player-driven process, expectations, job descriptions and all that will help. Dead ends suck--I can't promise they won't ever happen anymore, but I'd love to see them reduced.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

Aaron Goulet

  • Posts: 2228
    • Goulet Online
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #143 on: September 16, 2010, 04:32:07 PM »
I read something pretty inspiring in one of my character books, and I'm gonna try at an "antagonist" character. I'll also transcribe the little bit from the book into a GDB post after work.
Quote from: Zoltan
When in doubt, play dangerous, awkward or intense situations to the hilt, every time.

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Decameron

  • Posts: 520
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #144 on: September 16, 2010, 04:47:50 PM »
To restate a previous idea, I think that including recent events in documentation and randomly providing particularly information from a list to an accepted leader might be better off than giving them a general overview of their organization. I am not stating that the overview isn't necessary, it simply doesn't provide anything to hit the ground running with a leader.

I would suggest also a change to staff rotation, or at least how the staff and players approach this issue. Even with Imm-inspired plots of long ago, many plots simply seemed to die out after the staff had been replaced/retired. It's changed, but, not in a very helpful manner.

Comparison: Imm-driven plots versus PC-driven plots in the face of a staff rotation.

Imm-driven plots:

NPC: We need barracks. Build barracks.
-Staff rotation months later-
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”
-Deals with fire-kank invasion, struggling for some months, staff rotation-
Character: “We’ve located the fire-kanks nest, and are prepared to in-“
NPC: “Fire-kanks? Why don’t you worry about the vestric-zombies eating our gardens!”
Etc.

New policy, staff rotations:
NPC: I’d like to hear what you’ve been working on.
Character: “I’ve been working on building a new barracks for some tim-“
NPC: That fell through. What else you got?
Character: “I’ve been attempting to write up a contract to marry Senior Lad-“
NPC: “She’s dead. What else you got?”
Character: “She’s dead? Maybe I ought to investigate.”
NPC: “Nah. Maybe not. Why aren’t you keeping busy?”

While it might be somewhat exaggerated, it’s based off things that have actually occurred to my characters, ICly, in both systems. I’ve attempted the whole ‘write an e-mail explaining what you’re doing thing’ but at times it seems that it’s easier to start with a blank page. It’s understandable in terms of ease, but it certainly contributes to the sense of frustration. I would’ve loved to have actually sit down with someone and explain what I am doing, what my motivation are, why I did this or that – and move on from there. The staff doesn’t have to comment on whether or not it’s a good or bad thing that my character did X or Y, but it will give them a sense of the character’s perspective, what’s going on in the character/player’s head (even if it’s completely wrong) and give them a base point to start from.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 04:56:47 PM by Decameron »

Talia

  • Legend
  • Posts: 2084
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #145 on: September 16, 2010, 05:29:37 PM »
That made me laugh, Decameron. Fire kanks, rofl.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!”

Voular

  • Posts: 926
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #146 on: September 16, 2010, 05:51:36 PM »
Dec. made the post with most common damn sense here. Krath.
Modern concepts of fair trials and justice are simply nonexistent in Zalanthas. If you are accused, you are guilty until someone important decides you might be useful. It doesn't really matter if you did it or not.

Old Kank

  • Posts: 665
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #147 on: September 16, 2010, 06:09:09 PM »
You seem to equate fun with winning. They are not the same thing.

I equate fun with doing things.  'Winning' is just the motivation.

To put it another way, the more likely I believe I am to fail, the less likely I am to try.  It's basic human nature.  I will still play an indie merchant, but I'm not likely to try anything important with him.

Quote from: Talia
If what you're saying is that you want to be able to create plots AND you want to be guaranteed to win them AND you want staff to be primarily responsible for running them in a predictable manner...err. Wouldn't you rather just go play a video game? I don't mean to belittle your desires, but I do mean to say that you can't get what you want from ARM, if that is what you want.

What I'm saying is that the if the staff won't run plots and they want players to run plots, then they need to ENcourage rather than DIScourage.  Challenges are fun, but trying to do things on Arm frequently feels like an experiment in futility.  And, strangely, I thought Arm WAS a video game.

lordcooper

  • Posts: 7880
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #148 on: September 16, 2010, 06:38:22 PM »
To be completely honest, I have little to add to what has already been said here other than a simple suggestion and a newb question.

If the staff want armageddon to be more player driven, then maybe they should allow higher-ups to be played by PCs.  I'm not suggesting someone lets me play as Tek, but (as a slightly tongue in cheek example) why not allow a PC to be the leader of the Byn?  They could suddenly declare war on another clan, resulting in mucho plot material and fun.  Dumb example, but if you want players to lead the world, let them.

Now the newb question.

What exactly is the difference between the glorious, exhalted plot and characters merely doing stuff?
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam

fuck authority smoke weed erryday

oh and here's a free videogame.

Wolfsong

  • Posts: 1477
Re: Let's dialogue about plots
« Reply #149 on: September 16, 2010, 06:45:17 PM »
I think the problem there is that, taking your example with Commander of the T'zai Byn, high player turnover clashes in a serious way with gameworld stability and consistency. On one hand, as a NPC, the Commander has persisted and will persist (in all likelihood) through the ages, outliving everything and everyone - tens of lieutenants, hundreds of sergeants, hundreds of thousands of millions of Runners and Troopers, etc. On the other hand, as a PC, he'd last all of a week or two before he got bored and went out to pwn some scrabs (and gets eaten by a grue.)
A dark-shelled scrab pinches at you, but you dodge out of the way.
A dark-shelled scrab brandishes its bone-handled, obsidian scimitar.
A dark-shelled scrab holds its bloodied wicked-edged, bone scimitar.