Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu


Started by brand, July 12, 2005, 02:06:40 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Sorry if this is not in the right place...

As not native english speaker, I am having hard times to understand this term.

A Technique of preparation and play using a canonical setting and storyline, known to all participants, in which the events of play create a "hidden" storyline to enrich and reinforce the primary one, which is treated as a creative constraint. Term coined by Ron Edwards; also sometimes called "inverse metaplot." See Metaplots, railroading, and settings and Open/closed setting (Pyron?s woes take 165).

Can someone explain me with more details please? And maybe even give some example and/or tip about this technique?


Paul Czege

Hi Brand,

Try this thread:

Open/Closed Setting(Pyron's Woe's Take 165)

I think it was supposed to be an active link in the glossary entry.


editing to fix link Open/Closed Setting - RE
My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans


Thanks for the link :)


Very interesting topic and I must admit that, as historical RPG fan, I had to deal with this issue more than I wished.
I have no idea if it might help somebody, I'm not yet used to this forum, but I will try to share an own tip. When I build a historical campaign, I use quite often a technique we use to call "Kagemusha" (after the Kurosawa movie). Yes, these historical campaigns are usually medieval japanese ones.

The basic idea is to be able to make subtle changes to history only if they are credible, if they add some fun to the story and - the main point - if there are an explanation to the fact that history remembers something else than what happened in the game. The key is to make these moments where history and story join again some climax of your adventures.

For example, an historical NPC dies in your game some years sooner than written in the history book. Thus, you risk that PC don't believe any more in your campaign. A good option to have your compaign going back the right way is to make one of youor PC take the role of the dead NPC and to create a story arc where he should make sure that everybody thinks he's the other guy. A political intrigue might be perfect.
This way, you might have easily a very exciting story arc in your campaign, and more involved PC because both the story becames more credible and you share a secret with them that nobody else in the worlds knows ;)

Another example might be if a specific NPC has to do something in the "storyline". The PCs might do the actual work and either have very good reason to make think the NPC made the job or be crossed by him and he gots all the kudo. For example, PC might actually set Old Roma on fire and make everybody think this weirdo of Nero did it (doesn't matter now if this is facts or legend).

Of course this is easier with historical games than with movie-inspired games, because in the movies, players actually see what happens. And thus the technique has to be compatible not only with a vague remember from elementary class but with the movie they saw several times and they're fan enough to play. But, it is still possible to a certain extent, for exemple, we had a Star Wars game not so long ago where the PCs (quite mature padawan with a NPC trainer) tried to avoid a rogue jedi to go to the Kamino planet. Of course, the PCs have no idea that will happen on Kamino but the players actually think he's seepho dias and he will create the clone army. But after a whole adventure, when they finally defeat him, they speak with the Kaminoan Prime and he asks the name of the trainer. The trainer, after some hesitation, waves his hand to the PCs to make sure to have them shut up, and answers by a fake name "seepho dias".

I'm not sure I am clear.


I think thats clear enough.  Yes, that does seem like a specialised form of the Underbelly technique, you are making a conscious effort to synchronise player expectations and the existing product.  And, using some elements of Alternate or Secret History techniques to achieve that goal.
Impeach the bomber boys:

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci