Mush Campaigns



  • @Three-Eyed-Crow said:

    BS Pacifica managed a proper closer (I actually came back for the finale after taking a hiatus, and it was a great experience), but @faraday puts us all to shame, in a zillion ways. :heart:

    I missed that last few months of Pacifica because work picked up and I didn't have time to log in anymore. It was a fun place.


  • Coder

    I've ran a few successfull campaigns on mushes, but for me it's about not having an ending, it's about having a solid /beginning/ as to why this impacts the world and then letting characters run with it. You have to know what the NPC's are like personality wise pretty well before hand because you /will/ have to adapt to situations on the fly.

    When doing it this way, it may resolve in an entirely different way than you imagined, and in my opinion that is awesome. It's organic, players impacted the world to some extent, and it will impact the future of the game to some extent, large or small.

    I've also seen it done badly where the GM refused to let people try anything except certain predetermined path(s) to success.

    For me you can't rail road it, you just can't. It's not just your story once you unleash it onto the game world, like any plan, it won't survive contact with opposing forces.


  • Coder

    @Three-Eyed-Crow said:

    BS Pacifica managed a proper closer (I actually came back for the finale after taking a hiatus, and it was a great experience), but @faraday puts us all to shame, in a zillion ways. :heart:

    Aww shucks. You're being overgenerous, but thanks. I am very proud of the Pacifica finale, though.

    I wrote down my thoughts about running BSP in two editorials awhile back: Director's Commentary and Lessons Learned. The first article goes into some of the ins and outs of running the campaign, although I'm not sure how much of it would make sense to someone who didn't play there. The second is more about running a MUSH in general - and I'm not sure I agree with all of it now that 8+ years have gone by. But there are some ideas in there anyway.

    The Greatest Generation also did an awesome job at campaigns, but it was kind of a unique setting. Each campaign ran for a few months with a different historical setting and a different cast of characters. It wasn't one big gigantic campaign, but each mini-campaign had an arc with a beginning, middle and end.



  • I will say this: I think it might not be very possible to have a wide-sweeping, successful campaign on WoD games with a large number of spheres. Those games really are cattle calls, and using Haunted Memories' Changeling Sphere as example, you can have successful campaigns within the spheres, but the game as a whole may simply be too large and too uncoordinated (even as a genre) to run a successful campaign.

    Using BSG as an example, a SINGLE sphere with the player characters either supporting each other or ONE "badguy" sphere (a la Rebels vs Imperials) creates your biggest chance for a successful story. When you craft the game, you should have a loose outline of the campaign. Run the game, tell the story, then dismount. Tell the story and then close the books. Reset the game with a new story/new chars if people wanna play more, but it really does require staff/storytellers to craft a beginning, middle, and end. The hard part is creating a campaign where you have an idea where it's going, but allows for players to feel as if they're affecting outcomes.

    Here's a good example:

    A long while ago, I played on that future Lords and Ladies game, The Fifth World. The staff definitely seemed to have an idea of where the game was going, but they hamstrung players plot-wise. You either did the thing that made their direction of the plot happen or you didn't. It ended up rather frustrating, especially seeing as how their staff-alt characters were the only ones really furthering metaplot along. At one point, the PCs captured one of the mysterious, cybernetic bad guys. Players fucking threw themselves at this npc, trying like all hell to reveal parts of the plot, get useful Intel, try to generate drama and rp through this NPC, but the scenes ultimately went nowhere because the staff had other plans for the npc.

    So be careful of that. There's no point if the players are just waiting for you to tell the story. They want to help tell the story. Always.


  • Banned

    @Ghost said:

    A long while ago, I played on that future Lords and Ladies game, The Fifth World

    That game had a hefty thread at the old place. Thanks for reminding me about it, I remembered the wackiness that went on there instantly. ayy, lmao.

    I wanted to roll something there, but then it shut down in a blaze of glory.


  • Pitcrew

    Probably the most satisfying campaigns I've had to run and participate in were on the old X-Men Movieverse: X-Factor game, where the core of the game was as secret mutant government agents. Since plot required missions required GMing, there was often times where we had back to back plots from staff and players. We had a big shadowy organization that was our rival to dismantle over the years. Since things were secret agent mission-based, we weren't as reliant on single players to carry things through; we could shift plot around a little easier. When I started on staff, I was unemployed and pretty sad about it. Never have I had more time energy to help run plot and more investment in a game, and now that it's years later I know I never will again. Unfortunately, that level of plotting is a total staff burn-out, which is what eventually happened. I'm still really sad we couldn't wrap things up better.

    When we decided to close Mass Effect: Alpha & Omega, we specifically planned it out several months in advance to out with as satisfying a bang as possible. I really liked that we got to go out as epically as possible for that one.


  • Banned

    Star Crusade started out with a solid plotline, at least for a while. Things followed a similar trajectory to The Fifth World: the staff had an excellent vision (The Star Knights attack the Space Muslims holding Space Jerusalem under Space Sharia Law!).

    My character was an excitable blonde white female Space Knight Noblewoman.

    I expected the Staff to put us in the teeth of the front with the Space Muslims. Staff insisted we were going to fight a brutal war straight out of the Levantine Crusades. We would all die, they said. It would be ugly, they said. Tales were told of the huge, brutal battles on the old Fading Suns games.

    Instead, we got to hang out at a city miles away from the front, go to masquerade parties, have sex with each other, and play dress-up at our castles.

    A few of the more important Space Christians got to do things, but they were usually closely controlled by the staff.

    I said fuck it and left for a month while they figured out what they were doing. I'm not saying I don't want to play a pretty pretty little noblewoman who has sex, but I was under the impression we were there to fight a war, and if I'd known that, I would have desced my character wearing a dress, not full plate.

    I came back and they closed a little later.


  • Banned

    The wackiest character on Paulus's Star Crusade was not actually the busty Space Battle Sister, Momoko.

    No, it was Jerusalem Cross, the TV Series Actor Turned Crusader Knight Turned Reality-Show Host.

    And it was Countess Amber, who increases her military power and political standing with sexy parties and sex appeal. Staff thought this was a great idea (or not, because she was unpopular with some. Either way, she carried a good deal of the plot by slinking around in tight black catsuits), and cited instances in the Fading Suns rulebook where being seductive wins you in-game bennies.

    Again, had I been told that it was That kind of game, I would also have made my Space Knight Noblewoman a ditzy, busty blonde who says things like, "I've got, like, really good luck!" and "I like going to the beach!"

    There were a bunch of other wacky characters, too. I, along with a few others, began to feel like we were the only ones actually taking the so-called war seriously.

    Staff wouldn't hear of you launching any attacks on your own unless you were a count, which kinda makes sense, but I don't know why they were so adamant about protecting our precious little characters and keeping them out of harm. You're talking to someone who let another PC bisect their own female vampire PC and thought it was a great joke, elseMU* .



  • @Thenomain said:

    Haunted Memories Changeling Sphere. It took players to want to finish the storyline, but finish it did. No regrets.

    That was a plot that I still look back on fondly. One that was so good I insisted on showing up for the final events despite being so sick I actually passed the fuck out in the middle of the giant damn combat. Gave heads up that it might happen and gladly accepted having my character backgrounded for the rest of the scene. The one and only time I've attempted RP while I'm that sick.



  • @Cirno that kind of drove me crazy on Fifth World. Becoming a knight takes YEARS of training and dedication, right? I can absolutely understand being a knight that likes to get laid, because all that requires is hormones, but a ditzy knight that acts like being a knight is secondary to some sexy bikini photo-shoot roleplay doesn't make a lot of sense to me. There was a bunch of that on 5W, too.

    "I've spent my whole life training to be a knight....but somewhere in there I also became a world-class actor/movie star/dancer/baristas/pastry chef!"


  • Banned

    @Ghost said:

    @Cirno that kind of drove me crazy on Fifth World. Becoming a knight takes YEARS of training and dedication, right? I can absolutely understand being a knight that likes to get laid, because all that requires is hormones, but a ditzy knight that acts like being a knight is secondary to some sexy bikini photo-shoot roleplay doesn't make a lot of sense to me. There was a bunch of that on 5W, too.

    "I've spent my whole life training to be a knight....but somewhere in there I also became a world-class actor/movie star/dancer/baristas/pastry chef!"

    Call me a grump or a blockhead, but being an Erotic Noblewoman who hosts Sexy Parties doesn't really jive with what I imagine the commander of a Space Christian Crusader Army to be like, either.

    Of course some staff members were like, "Her character is totally appropriate, there's game code for you to be a sexy Noblewoman and gain all the points, etc etc."

    In a similar vein to the storyline on 5W you described that the Staff threw away, Paulus and Co. did something similar on Star Crusade - there was an NPC traitor in the Space Christian Knights, and this could have led to an amusing fraternal war between the Crusader factions. We could even have worked in the stubbornly pious Crusaders against the epicurean masquerade-hosting pleasure-seeking Crusaders. There's a whole story!

    Instead, Paulus And Co. left us to do...nothing.

    There were players who were all like, "It's like Space Game of Thrones! Cool! Sex and Lords and Ladies!" However, in GoT, the enemy attacks you sometimes. The Space Muslims mostly just left us all to our really cool masquerade parties.

    but a ditzy knight that acts like being a knight is secondary to some sexy bikini photo-shoot roleplay

    Lady Rhonda of Rousey!



  • @Cirno I'm still keeping my eye on Fifth World. Long after the game closed down it was brought to my attention that the people who were running the game were writing a novel in that setting and had the characters, houses, etc written up in the novel. There was no disclaimer or sign-over of usage of contents in the game as material for their book. They have since removed everyone's access to the wiki. The wiki is still there, but you can't edit, add, or alter any of the content because all of the users were removed.

    I have my logs and character's embellishments, wiki, etc saved. It would have been FUCKING NICE to know that there was a chance anything I did was going to be taken as their novel fodder. It really, really would have been nice.


  • Banned

    @Ghost said:

    @Cirno I'm still keeping my eye on Fifth World. Long after the game closed down it was brought to my attention that the people who were running the game were writing a novel in that setting and had the characters, houses, etc written up in the novel. There was no disclaimer or sign-over of usage of contents in the game as material for their book. They have since removed everyone's access to the wiki.

    I have my logs and character's embellishments, wiki, etc saved. It would have been FUCKING NICE to know that there was a chance anything I did was going to be taken as their novel fodder. It really, really would have been nice.

    I have logs of Star Crusade of mostly nothing! Just like the rest of the game!

    It is the ultimate example of your theory regarding Staff throwing away the story. Space Knights attack Space Muslims...by being buff, chiseled, erotic male noblemen and curvy noblewomen who stride about in catsuits.

    Some peasant laboring under Space Muslim Slavery: I'm so fucking hungry. [wistfully looks at the Sexy Lords and Ladies having parties]

    (actual Log of Countess Amber being a POLITICAL GENIUS and a STRATEGIC MASTERMIND)



  • If that game were still open, I'd totally make a SpaceDouche(tm) who makes internet videos about how bad SpaceMuslims are and then (with the aid of 20-some other SpaceDouchebags) takes over a meaningless building in the middle of nowhere because he thinks he's a SpacePatriot (Spatriot? Y/N?).


  • Banned

    @Ghost said:

    If that game were still open, I'd totally make a SpaceDouche(tm) who makes internet videos about how bad SpaceMuslims are and then (with the aid of 20-some other SpaceDouchebags) takes over a meaningless building in the middle of nowhere because he thinks he's a SpacePatriot (Spatriot? Y/N?).

    You are the lmao to my ayy.



  • A lot of the examples of MU* campaigns mentioned here touch on something I think is important. I think it's a LOT easier to do a satisfying, game-wide story on a game that's focused on PvE, rather than PvP. This is one of the reasons I prefer those types of games, though far from the only reason.



  • @Three-Eyed-Crow said:

    A lot of the examples of MU* campaigns mentioned here touch on something I think is important. I think it's a LOT easier to do a satisfying, game-wide story on a game that's focused on PvE, rather than PvP. This is one of the reasons I prefer those types of games, though far from the only reason.

    Agreed.

    That is precisely why I think @faraday BSG games worked so well. In a hobby where so many thin-skinned people are worrying OOCly about who gets this or that snowflake privilege, a game that pretty much said: "You're all fucked and now live in a shitty bunkhouse with people who fart in their sleep. Now get out there any fight on the same team before we all get GENOCIDED" worked so well.

    EDIT: Also, as a side note, since all of the characters (unless you turned out to be a Cylon, which I never was, goddamnit) weren't defined by some kind of supernatural phenotype, people had to shape personalities, quirks, and hobbies to flesh out their characters. I genuinely believe this led to more meaningful roleplay.


  • Banned

    @Ghost said:

    @Three-Eyed-Crow said:

    A lot of the examples of MU* campaigns mentioned here touch on something I think is important. I think it's a LOT easier to do a satisfying, game-wide story on a game that's focused on PvE, rather than PvP. This is one of the reasons I prefer those types of games, though far from the only reason.

    Agreed.

    That is precisely why I think @faraday BSG games worked so well. In a hobby where so many thin-skinned people are worrying OOCly about who gets this or that snowflake privilege, a game that pretty much said: "You're all fucked and now live in a shitty bunkhouse with people who fart in their sleep. Now get out there any fight on the same team before we all get GENOCIDED" worked so well.

    EDIT: Also, as a side note, since all of the characters (unless you turned out to be a Cylon, which I never was, goddamnit) weren't defined by some kind of supernatural phenotype, people had to shape personalities, quirks, and hobbies to flesh out their characters. I genuinely believe this led to more meaningful roleplay.

    This is what we were told by Paulus and co. that Star Crusade was going to be: a hopeless charge of bold Space Christian Knights trying to repel the relentless, brutal Space Muslims.

    I genuinely expected my character to die in some tragic battle like that of Mount Badon, skewered alive by cruel Space Muslims after a tearful farewell with her Space Christian knights.

    "I guess this is goodbye. Farewell, everyone!"

    Instead I got:

    Staff: Cirno, your character is totally out of place. Can't she wear normal clothes and look pretty instead of melodramatically wearing armor?

    Cirno: But...space war...

    Amber: Oh, by the way, party at my castle next week! Space Muslims are sorta attacking my fiefdom, but it's cool; they respectfully agreed to stay a hundred miles away from anywhere relevant!

    Cirno: u wot, m8?



  • @Cirno Uggggggggggggh I ache for you.

    Characters need to fucking die. One thing that always gets to me is the suspension of disbelief that comes from the fact that a LARGE number of mushers are willing to play actiony characters...so long as they get to decide whether or not they die, and if the risk of chardeath is up for grabs, they tend to just not get involved.

    I've spent years on mushes where so-and-so has no fear doing cartwheels wearing only a thong and a bucket of chicken on their head through the combined fire of the entire Canadian JTF-2 staff, and then land in a pit of poisonous snakes filled with Yakuza-affiliated-Ninja, holding their breath through poisonous gas, and then are forced to watch Boys Don't Cry seventy-thousand times with a boxcutter well within reach should they want to commit suicide....and only take 2 bashing.

    Part of why I don't tend to staff is because I would be that guy that goes "They throw a grenade at you" and require a character to suffer for the grenade explosion, even if it totally gets in the way of their current TS arc with SexyBoobiePornstarKnightNumber34.

    Because that's what fucking gaming is.

    EDIT: You only get the prestige of surviving all of that shit above if the risk of dying doing it exists, but if you can do this all of the time with zero fear, then you're playing a superhero game and not any other genre. Or? You get prestige for doing it and fucking dying. I swear, I always have to double check what someone means by dead when they tell me that a character died in a combat scene, because so few characters EVER die, I always assume it was a planned death and never because they went into a combat scene and suffered the consequences.


  • Admin

    @Ghost said:

    Characters need to fucking die. One thing that always gets to me is the suspension of disbelief that comes from the fact that a LARGE number of mushers are willing to play actiony characters...so long as they get to decide whether or not they die, and if the risk of chardeath is up for grabs, they tend to just not get involved.

    While that's true, I don't think it's unusual. What about literature or pop culture prepares us for regular character deaths? Because most people (and I don't mean that in a demeaning way) roll PCs as protagonists in their own stories. And protagonists dying is rare; so much so that shows which kills theirs become known for it - look at Game of Thrones, for some it's its main characteristic. And let's not go into movies - John McLane survives things which would have reasonably murdered anyone several times over - or books.

    That's the paradigm we're all accustomed to.

    Because that's what fucking gaming is.

    Is it? Again, I'm not so sure. I mean sure, my character on WoW has died hundreds of times but he always gets better afterwards! It's fairly rare for gaming deaths to be permanent - Diablo's hardcore mode comes to mind but that's hardly a common feature.