Plots for Spheres


  • Pitcrew

    There's a lot of knowledge here so I'd like to try to gather as much as I can. I'd like to try to make the culture of plots on my game as fun and as stress free as possible.

    What are things you love in plots?

    What are things you hate in plots?


  • Pitcrew

    The title of this is wonky because I had a different idea when I started to post it. Now it should just be called Plot likes and dislikes.



  • Trivial tasks.

    Designing to accommodate 10 experts on everything involved. Limit participation in given efforts so their effort can matter.


  • Coder

    Things that cannot be solved by rolling dice.

    Leka's player (STing a small plot) once put us against a minion who escaped into a doorway that lead to the bottom of a lake. Water gushed out (would need to overcome that) and no knowledge of what was on the other side (drowning may happen). We chose not to follow, knowing that this is a player who would absolutely kill a character who hopped into an unknown portal into an immediately deadly environment.

    Someone tried to ambush the friend of my character, and because we expected an ambush we went in an angle that the ambushers didn't expect and turned it around. (And paging the other players after was hilarious.)

    My only successfully run plot was a railroad (everyone knew and expected it), but I threw so much theme and setting that the praise I got afterwards was enlightening. I think I asked for three dice rolls.

    Rolling dice happened, but we were engaged as players of these characters. Characters were played. Fun was had.


  • Pitcrew

    I hate railroading. If you cannot be adaptable to the whims of your players, you shouldn't be running a story. It's fine to have an end goal, but if you don't know how to direct people gently towards that goal without totally invalidating what they're trying to do... it's nasty.


  • Coder

    @Lord-Renegade said in Plots for Spheres:

    I hate railroading. If you cannot be adaptable to the whims of your players, you shouldn't be running a story. It's fine to have an end goal, but if you don't know how to direct people gently towards that goal without totally invalidating what they're trying to do... it's nasty.

    In my instance, the players wanted to have one single resolution and I promised to give it to them, but I wasn't going to just say, 'Okay, you get to the bad guy, now have a combat.' I was going to throw morality, theme, Otherness at them along the way. The players were railroading; I was providing an interesting journey. They loved it. Win-win.

    I think this is a fine storytelling technique. On Haunted Memories, there was a large battle against forces of Arcadia. It started this way, "Hey guys, we're going to fight against these forces that have been harassing us all year." It was broken down into: Organizing for the trip, making it there in one piece, scouting and planning, and finally fighting.

    While IMO it was drawn out too long, and did what all war plots do (kill interest in the sphere), it was extremely linear. But then again, it wasn't. There was no sense that people who pushed in one direction had no effect on what happened next. Just because you know where you're going doesn't mean it's going to be a boring trip.

    --

    I know this isn't really what people think of when they say "railroading". They usually mean, "No matter what the players do, the outcome is the same." Having some sense and agreement on the direction things are going, or the goal, is generally a good idea. It's when staff or players are unbending that it all starts to suck.



  • I hope that you mean within reason player whim.

    I personally am fine if the players go to the Antarctic for a swim, I'll just say okay you are off grid for 3 months and get back to the players wanting to participate in what has been presented.


  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain I hadn't read what you posted above me, if I'm honest, so my point wasn't in reply to yours. Arrangements made within a group of players are totally okay, so long as they're fair.

    My problem comes when staff has this "grand vision" and any player diversion from said vision is ignored, or otherwise discounted. Akin to writing a book rather than actually building a story with the players one is leading.


  • Admin

    From a ST's point of view:

    • Proactive players. Your PC isn't in this, it needs to be fun as well. If I need to do all this work and have to also drag people to play, figure out timezones on my own, bug them to act on their own investigations then that's not fun.

    • I don't expect players to know what they want (although it happens). I do expect them to give me some feedback afterwards though so I know if what they were served worked for them, and what I could do to make it better. Don't give thanks (although sure, that's good too), give comments.

    • Staff. I can't always get help but at the very minimum I'd like them to be out of the way unless they absolutely positively need to be there. Make it clear how much leeway I have and what I shouldn't do and we'll be fine - but don't second guess me after the fact if I tried to work with them.

    • PC knowledge. If you want the spotlight on your PC for something you need to speak up; would you like a big one-on-one fight for your moment of glory? Say so, I won't assume you'd love it. Are you a superb medic and would like to save the day? Can do, but I can't always know every character in my schenes. Do you have a tie from your char's childhood I can abuse? I can't read minds, read it to me. But don't let me drag it out of you, and realize what I'll do might not be exactly how you envisioned it in your head.

    • Whatever you do, be a little grateful afterwards. I don't expect eternal gratitude and constructive criticism is welcome, but don't act like you hated every moment for a screen's worth of pages then follow it with a quick "... but I had fun, I didn't mean to imply otherwise!" at the very end.


  • Politics

    @Lord-Renegade said in Plots for Spheres:

    My problem comes when staff has this "grand vision" and any player diversion from said vision is ignored, or otherwise discounted. Akin to writing a book rather than actually building a story with the players one is leading.

    There's two kinds of railroading: (1) where there is a definite, express, or obvious sequence of events to the story; and (2) where the storyteller shuts down any method or tactic that does not lead to the desired outcome.

    It's the difference between having to take out a squad of bad guys to get to the goal, and where the GM has put you in a narrow corridor that forces you to open a single door and confront the squad head-on.



  • Hrm.
    Most of the points i'd bring up are covered. I would add...

    • A willingness to integrate personal plot/goals into larger, long-term plots IF they fit. Steal that shit from the players whose ideas are better than yours.

  • Coder

    @Bobotron said in Plots for Spheres:

    • A willingness to integrate personal plot/goals into larger, long-term plots IF they fit. Steal that shit from the players whose ideas are better than yours.

    This.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to MU Soapbox was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.