Larger Scenes!



  • Okay, I have realized, again, recently, that I am not a more than 3 or 4 people per scene kinda gal. I become background noise when the scenes get to big, even when my char wouldn't.

    Anyone got suggestions on how to get past, or at least tolerate, larger scenes? Because on at least 1 of the games I'm on it seems like a large scene is about the only way to get random RP.

    And, what do people prefer? LArger or smaller scenes? I've already stated my preference!


  • Pitcrew

    I prefer smaller scenes, but I can deal with large scenes as long as I have 1 or 2 people that I can depend upon I will interact with and they will interact with me. I usually try to arrange or know that ahead of time. Or if the large scene serves a specific purpose - if it's an info dump scene then I don't mind being background noise - I'm there to gather information rather than do a lot, or give our information vs expect all the other participants to be entertaining.

    My preference is for smaller scenes if I want something meaningful and character developing though. Both for what I'm playing and what I'm STing.


  • Pitcrew

    I find that having a general game philosophy for larger scenes that becomes part of the culture. An old game I staffed on had a great forum post about surviving large scenes (although it was focused a bit more on GMed scenes/plot scenes than general social scenes) that tried to basically make recommendations to encourage certain beneficial behaviors to become game culture. Things like

    1. Always always always tag your pose.
    2. Always tag the names of the characters you are talking to/posing at. Big scenes are not the time to use descriptor shorthands. Always use names.
    3. Highlight your character name client-side. That way, it's easier to pick out when people are posing at/about you.
    4. Keep your poses brief, specific, and to the point. Big scenes are the time to toss out the paragraphs.
    5. Use the rule of 3 for pose order. Don't ever try to keep a strict pose order for big scenes (which we defined as 4+ people). If three other people have posed after you, you're probably good to go. That said, be sensible and keep an eye out. That said (again):
    6. If you're in a GMed scene, do NOT pose a second time until the GM has responded to your pose.

    Of course, all of those are things that only work if you can try to instill them into the game at large. From a more personal approach to what helps me survive big scenes:

    1. Don't try to respond to everything. Find a cluster, something of interest, and engage those characters directly. Think of it like a big party; you're not responding to every person there, or even AWARE of every person there. You're probably finding a smaller clump of people within the mass and interacting with them before moving on to another clump.
    2. Don't do the thing where you pose at another character and they don't respond in their pose and then you pose about how rude they are for not responding/how they must hate your character/etc. Most of the time, people just missed your pose. It drives me crazy when someone takes it personally that I didn't see them pose at me in a scene with like ten different people. Just let me know I missed you!

    In general, I prefer smaller scenes. There is a sort of art and magic to big scenes that work, especially social scenes. (Plot scenes have a sort of common purpose and focus that provide an easy driver.) I've had some fantastic group social scenes over the years, but they're a bit of a blue moon event. A ton of fun when it works out just right, though.



  • I hate large scenes. That said, I've been forced to attend, even run, quite a few of them due to various IC reasons. There are a few things I've learned that may or may not be helpful.

    • Create a concept that isn't dependent on large scenes. If you, like myself, dislike them, avoid mush-wide positions of power and the like, as you will be required to attempt so many functions.

    • If it's a info drop get what you have to say out as quick as possible. Those interested will seek you out, even after you leave. Make the first couple poses count.

    • Do something unexpected. Don't take over the scene but don't be afraid to shake it up a bit. Those are the scenes that will be remembered, and will find RP later (but be prepared to stick around a bit to deal with repercussions or questions).

    • Don't be afraid to talk to those running the scene. If you talk to them ahead of time, you can likely get in what you need before it turns into a social/bar-fest. In PrPs, you can determine if you want to be there or not and there are often opportunities for behind-the-scenes activity if you can't make/can't handle the scene.

    • Ask about pose order. Is it three pose rule? After the set, who's posing? I've seen scenes delay and hour because no one knows who's posing next that first round. Don't be afraid to ask or suggest something.

    I don't know how many of these are actually helpful, but suck at big scenes, myself, and therefore feel the pain. These things have helped, however loosely related.


  • Pitcrew

    @Thisnameistaken said:

    • If it's a info drop get what you have to say out as quick as possible. Those interested will seek you out, even after you leave. Make the first couple poses count.

    Oh my God thiiiiiiiiiis. I was in a scene once where the GM had indicated that it was going to be a major NPC talking to their faction. But then the GM decided that would happen -- at the end? We were supposed to socialize before? Idk it made NO SENSE and the GM was so confused about why people weren't getting into it. It was such backwards logic.

    • Do something unexpected. Don't take over the scene but don't be afraid to shake it up a bit. Those are the scenes that will be remembered, and will find RP later (but be prepared to stick around a bit to deal with repercussions or questions).

    This is also a good one. It can be hard sometimes to note the balance between unexpected fun and scene hogging, but 1) you can usually tell when YOU feel bored in a big scene, and 2) it's a bit harder to hog a big scene, just given the volume of stuff. It's usually reasonable to allow yourself one unexpected thing in a big scene and then see if people roll with it. Sometimes it'll just stick to that one thing, sometimes it'll take the scene in a fun new direction. Just important to note how people respond.



  • @Roz said:

    @Thisnameistaken said:

    • If it's a info drop get what you have to say out as quick as possible. Those interested will seek you out, even after you leave. Make the first couple poses count.

    Oh my God thiiiiiiiiiis. I was in a scene once where the GM had indicated that it was going to be a major NPC talking to their faction. But then the GM decided that would happen -- at the end? We were supposed to socialize before? Idk it made NO SENSE and the GM was so confused about why people weren't getting into it. It was such backwards logic.

    • Do something unexpected. Don't take over the scene but don't be afraid to shake it up a bit. Those are the scenes that will be remembered, and will find RP later (but be prepared to stick around a bit to deal with repercussions or questions).

    This is also a good one. It can be hard sometimes to note the balance between unexpected fun and scene hogging, but 1) you can usually tell when YOU feel bored in a big scene, and 2) it's a bit harder to hog a big scene, just given the volume of stuff. It's usually reasonable to allow yourself one unexpected thing in a big scene and then see if people roll with it. Sometimes it'll just stick to that one thing, sometimes it'll take the scene in a fun new direction. Just important to note how people respond.

    This is true. You don't want to hog the scene. Throw something out in a pose. If someone grabs onto it, awesome. If not, move on. I've had some long lasting plots (such as enemies made or new skill focuses) and IC atmosphere (such as someone acquiring a goat and it becoming a part of quite a few scenes) because of random stuff I've thrown in. You can't force it, though. Throw it in with the rest, and don't expect a response /right then/.

    I think everyone hates big scenes. But if you throw out something memorable, people will seek you out later.



  • If everything and everyone are clicking just right, I love big scenes, and especially big combat scenes, more than just about anything else. Otherwise, I like three to five people, although having some of those be NPCs doesn't bother me. One-on-one scenes can be awkward, especially if you get into one and discover that you're not really being very entertaining to each other.



  • @Roz said:

    @Thisnameistaken said:

    • If it's a info drop get what you have to say out as quick as possible. Those interested will seek you out, even after you leave. Make the first couple poses count.

    Oh my God thiiiiiiiiiis. I was in a scene once where the GM had indicated that it was going to be a major NPC talking to their faction. But then the GM decided that would happen -- at the end? We were supposed to socialize before? Idk it made NO SENSE and the GM was so confused about why people weren't getting into it. It was such backwards logic.

    The last faction head I played, I did my very, very best not to have "infodump" scenes, and to get most of that done via +bbpost. I did lots of other scenes, even large ones, but I made a conscious effort not to have meetings that were just meetings, because I hated them and figured me doing something I hated wasn't going to come off well. I never got any complaints and things still got done.


  • Banned

    I live for really big scenes exceeding 8 or so people; they are fun and dynamic, and I have never had a problem coordinating people's poses with my own.

    Historically speaking, I tended to gravitate towards games with large numbers of players on the grid, specifically to find large-scale scenes.

    Large scenes seem to be a thing of the past, personally speaking. The modern MU* player seems to prefer small scenes; this thread appears to corroborate my findings.



  • Like real life meetings, I've always wondered why the opening isn't the set/big info dump so its done, and people can get on with reacting or leaving or whatever. As much as I think people can and would interrupt certain long speeches or actions, you can give a general heads up before hand, and if no one wants to interrupt, then post it and go.

    Or is there something about that method that won't work?



  • @Thisnameistaken My char is not dependant on large scenes, at all. She's just a very social person. She likes to talk to people, she is a shameless flirt and tease, etc.. The scenes in question always have lotsa happening people on the game. and where a lot of the activity seems to be.

    The game uses a +vote system so going to events is a thing. Always lotsa people at them.


  • Coder

    As a GM, these were my methods:

    • Let the scene flow as it may. Guide it, nurture and feed it, because the players are looking to you as GM/ST to do exactly this.
    • Do not force the flow unless it is absolutely critical. Already have an idea of what critical points NEED to happen or be conveyed BEFORE you start your scene.
    • Follow up with an @mail to the group, post Rumors if your game uses them, or make an OOC Info post about 'what is now sphere/faction knowledge'. People will not have all the fine points, they will have missed something here and there, or have read it differently than you intended. Be clear.
    • When it is appropriate, I ANSI-colored important scene poses to grab everyone's attention. Big events get missed in the scroll that EVERYONE should be aware of, reacting to, etc. Do not let your players miss it, it can kill your entire flow.

    I found that when I did this approach, it cut down on pre- and post-scene OOC work quite a bit. Plus, players relaxed because they knew that they didn't have to focus /so hard/ during the scene itself to get the meat.



  • I have really had no problem with a history of big scenes, primarily either big meetings on faction-divided MU*s (and many times as a fachead) or big combat scenes. I feel like the natural progression for big sceneslike that tends to always be 'divided up smaller groups socializing/meeting' and 'fachead/important guy saying stuff'. And in combat, it was almost always 'X people pairing off in a fight' unless someone was masochistic (or just plain powerful enough) to volunteer for 2- and 3-on-1 battles.

    I am one of those weird ones though that, I feel like the social component is important before the infodump. For example, when I run Vampire court as our NPC Prince for the LARP, I have the time set of 'court will start at X, be there some time before' to allow for the social element; it's usually going to be social element tied to what the meeting will be about anyway (Clan and individual territory requests, reports on what you've been doing with city-wide issues, etc.).

    I did this the same way when I was a fachead on Transformers and Megaman MU*s, which allowed for divisions within the military to get their stuff together among themselves before presenting it to the leader or faction as a whole.


  • Pitcrew

    @Bobotron said:

    I am one of those weird ones though that, I feel like the social component is important before the infodump. For example, when I run Vampire court as our NPC Prince for the LARP, I have the time set of 'court will start at X, be there some time before' to allow for the social element; it's usually going to be social element tied to what the meeting will be about anyway (Clan and individual territory requests, reports on what you've been doing with city-wide issues, etc.).

    I think that socializing before big scenes can be great; I've often been a part of it on my games. The difference is that it usually happens BEFORE the scheduled time, people sort of getting in the swing of things before the main event. I think something like that is great, because it's up-front about what everyone can expect. My objection was a GM saying 'okay this important NPC leader is going to be talking to his crew/hanging with them/etc.' and then didn't bring him out until like an hour after the scheduled scene time.



  • @Roz
    Yeah; I get that. I wasn't super clear; I meant to add 'usually, I'll put a start time, with a time for business to start, so people can show up and not be actually late to the important stuff' .


  • Pitcrew

    Be a machine about it like me.

    I've been doing a lot of these big things lately as the game I'm playing on really lends to it, and I'm trying to provide an easy-in for folks to meet other folks, but it can be pretty much a nightmare. Most folks have already mentioned what I would suggest for coping, but here's my thing:

    1: Highlight names, your own characters' and anyone else's you need to be paying attention to.

    2: Take breaks. If you have to do it more than an hour or two, have your PC step off to look at something else / get something to eat / use the powder room. Even 10-15 minutes where you have no requirement to read the rapidly scrolling text will help. Remove yourself from the situation, though. Don't just step afk and then have to catch up when you get back.

    3: Caffeine.

    4: If there are multiple rooms being used, use them. Places, same deal. If your host has not installed places in the room the event is being hosted in, beat them. (I'm fully aware, yes)

    Other stuff, but those are the tips I have. Running them is something else entirely.

    Oh, here's one: feel free to smack me on the head if you want me to make the attempt at breaking scenes up into smaller ones. The big things don't bother me for some insane reason.



  • @Roz

    I find that having a general game philosophy for larger scenes that becomes part of the culture.

    I feel like maybe somebody mugged this sentence on the way to the board, maybe rifled through its pockets and stole a word or two. Is it just me?


  • Politics

    @HelloRaptor said:

    @Roz

    I find that having a general game philosophy for larger scenes that becomes part of the culture.

    I feel like maybe somebody mugged this sentence on the way to the board, maybe rifled through its pockets and stole a word or two. Is it just me?

    No.



  • @Coin said:

    @HelloRaptor said:

    @Roz

    I find that having a general game philosophy for larger scenes that becomes part of the culture.

    I feel like maybe somebody mugged this sentence on the way to the board, maybe rifled through its pockets and stole a word or two. Is it just me?

    No.

    Monosyllabic is not usually a compliment, but in this case I'll allow it.


  • Politics

    @HelloRaptor said:

    @Coin said:

    @HelloRaptor said:

    @Roz

    I find that having a general game philosophy for larger scenes that becomes part of the culture.

    I feel like maybe somebody mugged this sentence on the way to the board, maybe rifled through its pockets and stole a word or two. Is it just me?

    No.

    Monosyllabic is not usually a compliment, but in this case I'll allow it.

    :D


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