Outside the Box GMing


  • Pitcrew

    I'm curious what cool and fun ideas a bit outside the norm people have tried out in their plots. @saosmash is currently planning something akin to a dungeon run for TLF with maps and finding loot and stuff, which I'm excited for because it's something we've never done. (TLF also lends itself to lots of different kinds of plots, because we're trekking around space and going to different colonies and generally open to fun shit.)

    @Tez has also done this cool thing on two big epic plot climax scenes now. Since she had so many people to basically fit into a climax scene, she tried out putting characters in pairs and giving each pair three rounds of their very own and focused entirely on that pair for those rounds. It gave everyone a period of spotlight and let there be a clear build where every character had a part in the eventual victory. The idea was to try to go for a sort of cinematic feel, like in big movies where you see each of the characters basically get to Do Their Thing to defeat the Big Bad. Obviously it's not something for every GMed scene, but I found it really cool to try stuff a different way and see how it could work (as a player in both the scenes she tried it on).

    So I'm curious what cool and different things people have tried out in their GMing (or I guess even just in their RPing!) that has turned out well (or I guess not well, if you wanna share). I'm a big fan of trying new things in general instead of always sticking to methods we know.


  • Pitcrew

    One thing I have always wanted to do but never been able to pull off is the Gibson style converging plots,
    where you have two PCs or groups working on seeming unrelated things then eventually end up realizing hey we are all working on the same thing after all, for the ending.
    Idoru is my favorite example of this from Gibson's writing but it is seen in most of his novels, I really like it as a story telling device but the problems i have run into in trying it is getting the two groups to the endpoint at nearly the same time since scheduling is always a pain when running things on MUs for me. And then of course the logistics of dealing with the larger group for the concluding parts.


  • Pitcrew

    @ThatGuyThere Oooh, that does sound like it'd be cool but also really hard to coordinate to make happen.


  • Admin

    @Roz I've tried different formats in the past, some with more success than others. I like to set up long ambitious multi-chapter plots with their own wikis which I'm still tweaking - so that's the first thing, having a central nexus feeding newcomers with information, letting them see who the current primary participants are and get a brief synopsis on the (relatively spoiler-free) story so far so they can decide if it's something they'd like to dip their toes in.

    I took a hey-would-this-work approach back while I was staffing Geist on TR by making a big Mortal Kombat-style tournament with a promised huge payoff happen in the Underworld. The idea was to let characters from all spheres compete with NPCs trying to get to the promised prize... and it did work for a time. Mages and Sin-Eaters (predictably) were more interested in it due to the setting itself, the idea got pretty good traction. If I had to redo it though I'd have done so in isolation from other thematic changes I was making in the sphere at the time since keeping the two distinct was becoming a chore, involving a lot of posts on TR's forum, bboards and actual scene logs.

    One of my experiments was on Safe Haven Harbor where I tried to pull a Walking Dead by introducing a rival city to the PC's as well as resources they were meant to scramble over. My plan was to break down the story into independent-looking parts and then bring them together organically. That... didn't work as intended; the MU* was smaller and its characters more closely knit than I expected which resulted in a premature gigantic social scene meeting with a potential hostile rival settlement early on. While it was still fun and at least we got halfway into the second chapter in retrospect a more integrated format breaking meetings down into several smaller group-sized scenes would have served them better.

    On Eldritch I had a long chat with Eerie before the MU* even opened since I wanted to run a more large scale epic story based on the emergence of a big bad and the recovery of a mythical judeo-christian relic. My revised plan that time entailed breaking down participants in either coterie/cabal groups or, in case of loners, hook them in through their spheres; I ended up sending a ton of @mail and opening +jobs to feed people separate clues through dreams, Auspex visions, spirit interventions and the such. While that approach worked much better to get the hurdle of enormous scenes off everyone's plates I kept having issues managing the momentum - key characters kept dropping in activity, logging on more infrequently and making the endeavour more about logistics than storytelling.

    Actually I STed a pair of scenes lately on BITM where I had a group of mismatched mortals to this building where one floor was in a different world than their own. I got pretty good feedback from the players there - this was one of my very few short arc plots, usually I go for the long term - so maybe I need to run more creepy smaller scale stuff.


  • Pitcrew

    I started a plot in media res one time - as in, "You're right now running from people who want to kill you, and don't remember a damned thing about how you got here." With the plot itself being putting together how the PCs got from the last thing they each remembered, to all being covered in blood and dirt, with people trying to murder them. It actually worked out pretty well - of course, I gave people OOC warning up front that their PCs would be in the position of something having been done to them that they did not have control over, and letting them opt in/out on that basis.


  • Pitcrew

    @Pyrephox Oh man that sounds super cool and like something I totally want to steal.

    I did a plot once back on the now-closed X-Men Movieverse using a mutant who basically shut down short term memory retention when people were around him. In short, people would just lose time completely when they were around him, and no one was able to really remember him apart from people who knew him before he manifested. So that was kind of fun GMing because I could be like "and now you're suddenly on the other side of the room and don't really know why!"


  • Pitcrew

    @Roz Hey, by all means. I stole the initial image/scene from Memento without shame. Since it was WoD, it ended up being that they had all been possessed by vengeance-driven ghosts who had already /gotten/ their revenge (and abandoned the bodies, hence why everyone 'woke up' at the same time), and now they had to clean up the mess. Or, as rather ended up happening, create a miniature gang war (one of the PCs was Mafia-affiliated).


  • Pitcrew

    @Pyrephox Awesome. I'm not on WoD, but there's sooooooo much you can do with mutants and alternate universes. (We're movieverse street-level, but we just did a huge cosmic comics-level type of plot in an AU.)


  • Admin

    @Roz That's one of the advantages of being a comics MU* or somewhere you can pull weird shit like that off without running into plausibility issues. For example you can't do it on KD.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel I dunno! The world of KD has some pretty weird stuff in it - none of which is probably used in a MU*, because it IS weird, but, I mean, the world of Kushiel is pretty weird.


  • Admin

    @Pyrephox said in Outside the Box GMing:

    @Arkandel I dunno! The world of KD has some pretty weird stuff in it - none of which is probably used in a MU*, because it IS weird, but, I mean, the world of Kushiel is pretty weird.

    Oh I'm not saying it's not weird - it's weird in a specific way. You can't as easily introduce your own shit to it without someone going 'NAH-AH that doesn't happen in the book!'.

    With comic books... well, so much happens in comic books as it is.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel The funny thing is that our sort of base theme is certainly limited in some ways. We don't have crazy comics-level powersets cause we're more in the movieverse vein, stuff like that. You can be super creative with mutants, though, and introducing this recurring element with AUs lets us do some stuff we couldn't otherwise do on a temporary basis. I'm pretty excited about bringing it into play more.


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