MU Pacing


  • Pitcrew

    I've been struggling recently with realizing that my ideal pacing is different than many people's pacing when it comes to MUs. Specifically, I've come up against issues, where players want to go from meeting my char to Sharing All the Things within a scene or two.

    Personally, unless there's a reason to speed things up, I like a slow burn. I like slowly discovering and learning about a character with maybe one or two reveals a scene, and then I like time for my character to chew on that mentally and time for other chars to chew on what my char revealed before we come back again.
    Same goes for a plot, I want a Thing to happen and then I want plenty of time for my character to RP about it and consider it and make the next move.

    However, it seems lots of people want fast moving plots and lots of action. So I'm curious, what do you consider good pacing in MUs and storytelling?



  • Slow burn is where it is at. I share your frustration with the desire to rp relationships etc on fast forward. I don't know that I have a constructive solution for how to get the twain to meet though.



  • @Lisse24 I am with you on this, and I (pardon the in-joke, I guess? :D ) sort of feel like we're on the same island on this particular front.

    I get the whole cinematic or 'traumatic circumstances' reality that has people bonding rapidly under adverse conditions, but while some games are like this, most... not so much, at least not in downtime, and not so much over a sustained period.

    I could see rapid (or pre-existing) bonds in a setting like The 100 M* much more than I do in the Anytown by Nights for those reasons.

    It seems to be an 'across the board' situation, though. I've never been sure what to do about it, either. I always get to a point where I think there's some progress and a nice slow buildup of tensions and trust and confidences and then the next day I log in and that person I was RPing with has zero time left to do anything because over night they powerbonded with somebody fresh out of CG and they're totally married now and OMG all the things are perfect.

    Then there is this. It is truly the only response I can muster at that point. :/


  • Admin

    @Lisse24 said in MU Pacing:

    However, it seems lots of people want fast moving plots and lots of action. So I'm curious, what do you consider good pacing in MUs and storytelling?

    The pacing for those two things has to be different. To explain:

    In Storytelling there is usually a goal in mind, a resolution of some sort. As the runner you are providing the narrative but there is also an overall agenda - any elements you present are means to an end. The pacing needs to reflect that.

    Scenes are different in that they are their own goal. To tap into Ganymede's reasoning, they are probably more like improv (which isn't to say plot has to be scripted either, but you can see where I'm going with this), and characters need to feed off of each other, and in some cases that's tricky to do in an interesting way unless they can hook into engaging plot points of some sort. In other words if a Vampire and a Werewolf meet in a bar without knowing what each other is, pacing can kill their potential to generate an interesting dynamic between them if it's too slow - because they need to have something to grab onto.

    However in both cases the point you made is still very valid.

    Specifically, I've come up against issues, where players want to go from meeting my char to Sharing All the Things within a scene or two.

    Game of Thrones would be a piss-poor story if there was no build-up before dragons showed up to burn Lannister armies. That's what we sometimes neglect to do in the hobby, we just rush to the good parts without constructing the narrative first; sure, it's the big flashy moments that stick with us, but they only have any meaning if the entire story led to their ultimate cultivation. You can't just bypass those parts without them feeling empty... because if you do, they are.


  • Coder

    For me, such a pace needs to be discussed up front, and commonly... before my character is built. It becomes a character goal that I build the character around, a long-term thing that is worked towards.

    Not just romantic relationships, but business partners, ye old Master/apprentice type relationships, and so on. All of them take time and focus, and with limited buckets of RP time, you have to be sure just how much time the other person really, truly wants to invest in relationship RP over any 'advancement' or 'plot' sorts of things.

    I don't think that everyone that wants a relationship as a central goal to their character/RP necessarily wants to spend months building it up. I know it is very, very rare to meet anyone that does. Nowadays, it seems that "Longterm" means two weeks with most.



  • I'm all about slow-burn, and frankly I tend to take someone wanting to go ALL IN AFTER ONE SCENE as a sign I should pull back from that character as potential romantic RP. We're just clearly going to want different things out of it and would both end up frustrated.


  • Pitcrew

    I love relationship RP. I love 1x1. I would love to be able to slow burn relationships; lovers, master/apprentice, vampire/thrall, whatever. But we're living in the real world and it gets in the way. Allow me to awkwardly explain.

    I've had terrible luck over the years. Disappearing partners, dead and dying games, time zone differences, player groups disbanding, my partners getting banned (That's happened about three times now. I need to be a better judge of character).

    If I want to play out a relationship, I feel the need to get to the point and fast before everything falls apart. Instead, I try to play off the speed in which the relationship manifests. So there are misunderstandings, miscommunication and mistakes that come with fools rushing in.

    Example: My thrall, early in his relationship with his vampire told someone (a fellow occultist and close friend NPC) about her. Not in great detail, just saying he had met a vampire and OMG he was SOOOOOO in love. (Stupid vinculum). This was expressed clearly as a no-no. Once. He misunderstood what was off limits and got a little too excited.

    When he offhandedly mentioned that his buddy was concerned about him being with a vampire, He didn't realize he fucked up big time. Dumbass thought the concern was precious and he just had to share. Needless to say, vampire was pissed. It made for a great scene filled with rage and angst and tension.

    Point is, I'm a carpe diem kind of player, because I never know when everything will just go boom and I'll be left holding the ball.


  • Coder

    In this vein of RP (long-term relationship) all of the OOC things come to bear, and more often than not, disrupt or eventually ruin the best laid plans of both people involved. Jobs interfere, schedules shift, and so forth. That's a large chunk (largest, easily) of why any LT RP I had going tapered out and ended.

    The second largest reason would be storyline death, where you run out of things to say/do. A good portion of THAT is because you learned all each other's secrets, removing all mystery of the other... and let's face it, a huge draw to such RP is the mystery and discovery involved.

    Rushing into revealing things is a sure-fire way to make sure that you reach that entropy point faster than you might otherwise. Draw it out, make it last like a nice batch of homemade fudge. Take little bites.


  • Pitcrew

    @Rook said in MU Pacing:

    Rushing into revealing things is a sure-fire way to make sure that you reach that entropy point faster than you might otherwise. Draw it out, make it last like a nice batch of homemade fudge. Take little bites.

    Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about it. Not just with romantic relationships, but with everything. I want to savor what's happening. However, I do get what @Goldfish and @surreality are saying in that it seems if you don't act quick, you can miss the opportunity.


  • Coder

    I think that people view the best interactions as fleeting. Rare is the opportunity for a true LT sort of friendship, let alone torrid/tumultuous relationship of any structure. Life just gets in the way or people get bored.



  • @Lisse24 I refuse to speed up for fears of that happening, though. If I see an opening that makes sense, sure. If not, no, no thanks, I'll wait for it.

    Really, anybody who runs off to the chapel in 24 hours or less (and I wish I was kiddin', but it's happened, and plenty of people are close sometimes) on the regular is not somebody I would want to have to keep up with anyway in terms of feeding the level of instant gratification they're probably looking for. The whole thing sorta screams 'super high maintenance' in the back of my head.


  • Admin

    @surreality said in MU Pacing:

    @Lisse24 I refuse to speed up for fears of that happening, though. If I see an opening that makes sense, sure. If not, no, no thanks, I'll wait for it.

    I've been in games where characters have found their lifemate within a couple of weeks of the MU* opening. In one such occasion I asked as cautiously as I could if they had rolled together... nope, they met in-game.

    Now... there's nothing wrong with that of course. What is wrong is if they're looking to find such a mate NOW NOW NOW and they try to browbeat their intended into going along with it. Y'know, paging as soon as they enter the game to scene, and every scene has to be about Their Relationship, and every page is about how cool Their Relationship would be.

    Read the (bed)room, folks!


  • Pitcrew

    I like plots to be fast, with lots of action (not necessarily physical action, but I do like brisk progression to certain milestones, even if there might be pauses between milestones), but I like relationships to be slow.


  • Coder

    I am horrible about this. Everything needs to be natural for the characters for me. Even if I /made/ the character with the intent of becoming another characters Thrall or Regnant or whatever. If it's not natural, then it doesn't happen, I don't force /anything/.

    Makes for great long term RP even when it is 'arranged' to an extent, but I can also understand how frustrating this can be to others who don't share the same feelings when it comes to that sort of thing.

    Case in point, my Regnant on Reno is constantly being harrassed by another vampire OOCly who apparently, is really into them on an OOC level even /before/ they interacted, (his wiki-fu must be terribly strong). They want to plot out all these different stuff, some of it involving me and my Regnant is like:

    Look, I don't mind having an idea of a direction to go, but this way you're trying to do it would get you killed.

    To which my Regnant basically gets told they are having wrongfun.

    Just goes to show that different pacing and RP styles can be contentious all in their own, but everyone needs to respect that not everyone agrees on things.



  • I find that pacing is individual both for the game and also the PC you're attempting some kind of relationship with...

    I know a lot of people would hope that in the best case scenario things come together organically but often, with one or both of you having jobs/partners/kids/work travel/housework on the weekends, etc., it's in the end better to have some kind of OOG conversation about expectations and availability.

    It doesn't always work out, even with a conversation. Life happens or less mildly, the conversation doesn't end up matching the reality of behavior. So, I guess the best thing I can offer is:

    Have a Plan A for you and the person you're playing with about what's going on, when, and how much. Have a Plan B so that your PC isn't jilted into unplayable status if the relationship runs its course too soon, the other player ghosts on the game or your PC, or OOG drama results in a sudden IG end to things.



  • I hate meeting characters. I hate the intial meeting of characters. Just that cold turkey, "Oh hello. I'm blah." And it so boring, because I've done it to death, and its always akward, as you the player may not have a repour with the other player and your character and theirs dont have a repour with each other either. With mu*ing, being improv, you need to know how to give and take between each other.

    The better part, is in the middle, where you know the character and player. Where rp'ing actually fun. And thats what I think folks are trying to skip to. The comfortable middle.


  • Politics

    @MrWigggles said in MU Pacing:

    I hate meeting characters. I hate the intial meeting of characters. Just that cold turkey, "Oh hello. I'm blah." And it so boring, because I've done it to death, and its always akward, as you the player may not have a repour with the other player and your character and theirs dont have a repour with each other either. With mu*ing, being improv, you need to know how to give and take between each other.

    1. It's "awkward."
    2. It's "rapport."
    3. Skilled improv performers can act with others they have not met before, provided the other person is similarly skilled. In fact, this is one of the first, basic skills improv performers practice.

  • Pitcrew

    @MrWigggles How do you make any new relationships?? Like. I mean, sometimes meeting a new character does end up boring, because you don't click or whatever, but how do you develop any new connections without it?

    I've also had plenty of times where meeting a PC of a player I've never played with before has totally resulted in quick chemistry and rapport. It doesn't require knowing a player already.


  • Pitcrew

    I mean, yeah, if you approach every new player you meet with 'Hi. I'm Steve. What's your name?" It will be boring.

    If you try to think up an intriguing situation, or if you create a character that is interesting to interact with. Also, I think this goes back to pacing in that having a meeting where you reveal, through your chars dialogue what the char is all about, yeah, that's boring. You don't even have to tell a char your PCs name. Yes, I am looking at you @Ganymede, Mr. Auf der Schmermerter.



  • I have in the past on multiple occasions had first meetings follow the "escaping a terrible date by pretending this unknown PC is a friend I haven't seen in years". It's a fun way to meet new folks and seeing how people react to it is a good indicator on how well the player grabs hooks that are throw at them.


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