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Author Topic: [Avalanche] - Should prewritten scenarios be about the PCs ?  (Read 6213 times)
pells
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Posts: 192


« on: March 01, 2006, 01:10:24 AM »

I've already presented my theory and my desing here (see my signature for more information), but there seems to be some recurrent questions about my project, so I'd like to address them here. As most of those questions came lastly from mail, I'll use italic to represent them. I'll also use a common example thru this thread, lord of the ring. I guess I'll be repeating (a bit) myself from other threads, but at least, it will be all there, in this one, from now on.
There are two purposes to this thread : the answer to this questions and a presentation of the design of my final product.
Just a reminder, I'm working on an rpg project, oriented toward plot/setting. My goal is to redefine the way prewritten scenarios are done. Althougth my specific product is multiplots and calendar based, I'll omit those two elements for the present conversation.

Should prewritten scenarios be about the PCs ?
My answer is no. I'll even say that is the main problem with prewritten scenarios. As they concern the PCs, they are chapters based, and thus tend to present railroading. I also think that is the main reason most people think prewritten plots get in the way.
Another important point for this conversation, I don't believe in setting defined outside of plots. So, let's take the lord of the ring example.

Obviously, this is a book. This is not meant for the rpg. From my point of view, for it to be written for the rpg, Tolkien would have needed to separate the setting from the plot (in a book, you discover the setting thru characters, which is not rpg oriented). He would also have needed to present the plot for the all the world involved thru all the timeline. I also think he would have needed to segment the plot (not use chapters, or at least shorter ones). That said, here we go.

My game should be about the PCs !!!
Yes, of course. The actual play experience should be about the PCs. That's why prewritten scenarios should not be about them. That way, the PCs have more freedom. It's just that they evolve in a moving setting. Things happen outside of their influence.

In LOTR, Frodo (as an example) is the equivalent of PC !!
Well, maybe. Or maybe not. In what I'm proposing, players can take the role of major characters. They can even replace them. Or, they migth come to help them. Or, maybe you want them to play heroes from the followship. No problem with me there. But, at least, you have the choice.

If I want a prewritten scenario, it is to play main characters (i.e. Frodo), not just in middle earth !
For one thing, the PCs will be main characters, those of your story. Also, it is not just about being in middle earth, it is about being in middle earth at the time of the war of the ring. That makes a big difference. Stakes are high at the present time. Well, obviously, your PCs can always say "we don't care about those events", but I still think a moving setting is richer than an immobile one.

Prewritten scenarios are doomed because of the PCs' influence
Well, depending on how you play, PCs might or not have influence. That said, if they do have one, I don't believe in illusionist tricks. I prefer to admit that they will have influence, so be it. So, where do we go from now ? We have to provide a way to determine the exact impact of the players over the story. And, if possible, provide more than one story. If one collapses, they may take part in another one.

Just like settings are not about the PCs, I suggest the scenario shouldn't be either.

Providing storyboards as prewritten scenarios
It didn't occur to me until recently that my product looks like a storyboard. Well, in fact, until I added illustrations that was tougth to see. So, that said, let's take a look at what a storyboard is.
It is my strong belief that storyboards are unfinished product. They can be used for ads, teleseries, movies, manga, anime, books, comics. But they are not sold. What is sell is the final product they were made for. Well, I guess for collecting purposes, some people might want to buy them.
When the storyboard is complete, you have a good idea where you are going. The characters are defined, the locations presented, you know the plot (what happens before and after what), but still, you don't know the details. That is not the purpose of the storyboard to settle the details. Based on the storyboard, you know what the final product will be about, but not exactly how it will look like.
What I'm saying is that storyboard would be excellent for the rpg. The final product would be the actual play, and the details would be left to the group (DM and/or players as the group sees fit).
So, what do you think of this idea ?
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2006, 04:22:17 AM »

Here is what I think of the idea. Maybe you should tell us who your target audience is and then we can give you more useful feedback.

Quote
Should prewritten scenarios be about the PCs ?
My answer is no.
(...)
It didn't occur to me until recently that my product looks like a storyboard.
(...)
When the storyboard is complete, you have a good idea where you are going. The characters are defined, (...)
(I put the last bit in italic.)

How can your prewritten scenario not be about the PCs and then claim that it looks like a storyboard? As you said, a storyboard needs characters defined.
If you where thinking of NPCs, then either the storyboard is going to tell a story about characters over which the players have no control (this is just like listening or reading a story), or the storyboard will be of no use to actual play, except for adding the sense that something is happening in the background (personally, I will not give money for that, sorry).


Quote
That is not the purpose of the storyboard to settle the details. Based on the storyboard, you know what the final product will be about, but not exactly how it will look like.
What I'm saying is that storyboard would be excellent for the rpg. The final product would be the actual play, and the details would be left to the group (DM and/or players as the group sees fit).
I'm not interested in filling out detail! I want to, as a player, have a decisive effect on how play turns out, not just deciding if I ride through the woods or over the mountains to get to the action.
If the actual play is your storyboard, then it's just like doing everything according to the storyboard (which by the way is what storyboards are used for in other medias, right?). The players become secondary actors without even knowing what their characters are supposed to do.

I mean your actual play report just showed that, didn't it?
You left your players do what they wanted, and they ended up cancelling a whole part of your calendar. The storyboard was of little use (just the first event was used, I can do that with bangs).
So why would I buy something that either railroads the story, putting the players in a spectator mode, or else is of little use?
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Regards,
Christoph
pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2006, 05:24:27 AM »

Quote
Maybe you should tell us who your target audience is and then we can give you more useful feedback.
First of all, I want to redefine the way prewritten scenarios are designed, in a way more specific and appropriate to the rpg. My main audience would be people who are buying already prewritten scenarios. Dungeon magazine is still in print, so I guess people are buying it, cops sells a monthly magazine with prewritten scenarios and living campaings work well from what I hear. I'm also targeting people who used to play (I konw some) and stopped because they lack the time to write and find prewritten scenarios too poor. My goal is not to convince players who don't use prewritten scenarios.

Quote
How can your prewritten scenario not be about the PCs and then claim that it looks like a storyboard? As you said, a storyboard needs characters defined.
If you where thinking of NPCs, then either the storyboard is going to tell a story about characters over which the players have no control (this is just like listening or reading a story), or the storyboard will be of no use to actual play, except for adding the sense that something is happening in the background
The storyboard is there as a support to actual play, as a tool. And yes, I'm taking about NPCs. What I say, is that when there are things happening in the background, the overall actual play might get richer. The facts that events occur outside the players' influence doesn't mean they can't take part in it or try to change them. I'm saying that if the prewritten scenario is all about the PCs, then things are railroaded. For me, it has no use that way.

Quote
personally, I will not give money for that, sorry
I know you don't use prewritten scenarios. So, let me ask you a question : what would make you buy a prewritten one ? Then, of course, if you reject all prewritten scenarios, calendar or not, storyboard or not, you will reject what I do. I quite understand the difficulties and problematics of prewritten scenarios. What I say, is that what we can design better ones.

Quote
I'm not interested in filling out detail! I want to, as a player, have a decisive effect on how play turns out, not just deciding if I ride through the woods or over the mountains to get to the action.
When I talk about details it is not about how you reach a destination. Details must be filled even in major events. They must be fill all the time : creating secondary characters, places... What I say, is that I don't hold the hand of the DM. And that's what you would do in your game, see how decisive effects made by your players influence the course of events. And in a typical prewritten scenario, you don't even have to fill out the details (or almost not) !!!

Quote
If the actual play is your storyboard, then it's just like doing everything according to the storyboard (which by the way is what storyboards are used for in other medias, right?).
The actual play is not my storyboard. My storyboard supports actual play. Big difference.

Quote
I mean your actual play report just showed that, didn't it?
I've posted three actual play threads (as a reminder, here are two) :
[Avalanche] part I - with unprepared players : in which I tried to show that players, when not filling a hole into the plot, could get somehow disoriented. But, still, they found out how to build their own story.
[Avalanche] - encouraging SIM/NAR, my problems : in which I tried to point out that the management of players' impact can be monitered easily.
By the way, I played last weekend, my players went on complete different story, which they had not impacted yet. I could easily know that, thanks to my design.

Quote
So why would I buy something that either railroads the story, putting the players in a spectator mode, or else is of little use?
Of course, you can railraod the story or set in a spectator mode if you want. What can I say ? But I think it will be easier to avoid those things using my design. In a typical prewritten scenario, you'll come up railroading, since it's about the players. You know what will happen to them beforehand. Not in what I do. As for the use of it, well, I guess it is worst in normal scenarios. Let's say it begins by a mage who offers a mission and your players say "no, thanks". Then it'll be of no use at all !!! The presence of multiplots in what I'm doing helps avoid that, at least I think.

So then, I think we come to a crossroad. We can decide that prewritten scenarios don't suit our hobby and reject them in block or we can try to redefine them to suit us better. I'd like to say that all the points you came out with are revelant, but could be also adress to all prewritten scenarios. But I think it (railroading, spectacle, impact) is worst if the scenario is all about the PCs.
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StefanDirkLahr
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2006, 04:34:13 PM »

pells:
Have you seen The Shab al-Hiri Roach with its use of an arc of defined events, and mix of predefined and made-up-on-the-spot NPCs? Is something like that what you are going for with this idea?


The heart of the issue, as i see it: What does a prewritten scenario give you that a kicker and bang technique does not?

I think much of the idea of "kicker & bang" play is to create a "polite fiction" that things are indeed occuring in the greater world, behind the scenes, while in the reality of the actual game play everything drives from or towards the players (& their player-characters). That is, the GM pulls events out of the PCs' actions & intentions, spins them into the fictional World, and then throws them back into the PCs' faces - everything that occurs in the realm of the players, outside of the fiction, is centered solely on the players, but the fictional space of the game still functions.
That key reasons for this is that it is simply easier for the players to manage as opposed to trying to simulate an entire active world at once, and it also ensures that the PCs are given full protagonist powers.

I do see the attraction of having a defined gamespace populated with situations off of which the players can kick, but is that not really the purview of the setting?

You say "setting should not be defined outside of plots", which i find very strange - i look at Setting materials as those things which give rise to Situations, through constraint and focus of the "kicker & bang" combo. (I'm not sure what the "forge consensus" on the use of setting is, this is just newbie me talking!)
Much of what you are working toward seems to be based on this idea of "situational setting" - would you care to elabourate on your concept here?

I'd really like to know the exact specifications of what you are adovating here - in part it sounds like just a slightly different take on the classic "packaged plot" storyboards, but also in part it sounds as if you want to deliver a structure that strikes me as being very much as Setting tools delivered in small chunks divided across fictional time & space.
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Stefan Dirk Lahr, dreaming the impossible dream
pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2006, 03:06:13 AM »

Quote
Have you seen The Shab al-Hiri Roach with its use of an arc of defined events, and mix of predefined and made-up-on-the-spot NPCs? Is something like that what you are going for with this idea?
I've taken a look at it. What I'm doing is more classical rpg with a DM/players interaction. Also, the arc of events are not known to the players beforehand. And finally, I use multi arcs, which I prefer to describe as a web of events. But, yes there are still some similitudes.

Quote
That key reasons for this is that it is simply easier for the players to manage as opposed to trying to simulate an entire active world at once, and it also ensures that the PCs are given full protagonist powers.
I believe simulating a real, living world is very hard. At least, the chapters based scenarios aren't fit for that. I think you need a tool to do that. That said, I think events located on an arc can be used, somehow, as bang. And, there is nothing in what I do that prevent the use of kickers.

Quote
You say "setting should not be defined outside of plots", which i find very strange - i look at Setting materials as those things which give rise to Situations, through constraint and focus of the "kicker & bang" combo.
Settings are fixed, immobile. I'd say there are, somehow, out of time, as there are no immediate stakes at hand. I guess you can see the difference between selling middle earth as a setting and then plots apart, and selling middle earth as a setting in the time of the war of the ring. The setting and the plots are one coherent thing.

Quote
Much of what you are working toward seems to be based on this idea of "situational setting" - would you care to elabourate on your concept here?
The idea is to provide a moving setting. But to do so, you have to povide all the events for all the setting involved. So things moved, plots evolved without the players' influence. That means that no one is waiting for them. Just like settings are not about the players, this moving setting is not about them. The fact that things moved changes a lot of things in the game. For more information about my specific implementation, see my theory (in my signature). I'd be my pleasure to answer any further questions.

Quote
I'd really like to know the exact specifications of what you are adovating here - in part it sounds like just a slightly different take on the classic "packaged plot" storyboards, but also in part it sounds as if you want to deliver a structure that strikes me as being very much as Setting tools delivered in small chunks divided across fictional time & space.
The main difference is the presence of numerous plots occuring at the same time. So they cannot be sold separatly. Players can't take part in all plots since they can't be at all the places for a given time. So, instead of selling five different plots to be played one after the other, you sell them altogether. Given that, you don't know which story your players will want to take part in.
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StefanDirkLahr
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2006, 11:57:56 AM »

What do you gain by keeping the chain (or web) of events secret from all of the players?

It would seem better for everyone to know what all the events that are framing their story could be, so that they could play off of and to them during play - especially for character development. If i know, say, Saruman is going to turn traitor to the White Council that gives me all sorts of opportunity to play into that event, especially if the system rewards me for playing dramatically & hurting my character - Gandalf laid it all on the line, and i can too.

You might gain some value out of surprising the character players with an event - though i am dubious on that account - but even so, you would lose that on the second or third time you played through the chain/web. Ideally, each time you can use the events differently, even in a simple chain format.


I take the purported success of Roach as a sort of proof that the core of your "moving setting" idea does indeed work. I'm interested in other applications of the concept - seeing how far you can stretch it, how much you can add, how much you can take away.

One thing in particular, that may be only tangentially related: I'm interested in a system that uses LifePaths not only in character creation, but also to shape and guide character advancement through play - what you do determines which path your character's life takes.
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Stefan Dirk Lahr, dreaming the impossible dream
David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2006, 01:28:46 PM »

Quote
Quote
That key reasons for this is that it is simply easier for the players to manage as opposed to trying to simulate an entire active world at once, and it also ensures that the PCs are given full protagonist powers.
I believe simulating a real, living world is very hard. At least, the chapters based scenarios aren't fit for that. I think you need a tool to do that.

This is your conversational disconnect, in a nutshell.

Semp, you are correct... and that is the precise reason Sebastien is creating this method for authoring Settings and Situations (and, for some Systems, Challenges and Rewards).

Sebastien, I'd get away from the notion of "storyboard" and use the term for what you are actually building: timeline database.

See, Semp, that's why there's incoherence in your objections--or, conversely, why you were mislead into making the incoherent statement. The "problem" that you express as the root of your issue with his design is, in fact, exactly what he is attempting to "resolve." See? You agree--and are in debate about it. :-)

Quote
What do you gain by keeping the chain (or web) of events secret from all of the players?

Again, incoherence (caused this time by misapplication of GNS theory on both sides).

Semp, this question only makes sense in narrativist play. Clearly, in SIM play, the players would not have an overarching knowledge of the Situations and Challenges: that would just force them to use play Techniques that tried to "hide" knowledge from themselves. Not very good for "immersion" into a game world. Finally, in GAM play, knowledge of the story arc is, largely, moot: if my guy gets whooped on in the first acts, no amount of knowledge will improve my chances--and, worse, use of such foreknowledge seems, to me, to undermine GAM Agenda: what "kudos" does the victor get amongst the player peers, if he uses foreknowledge to lessen a Challenge until he can defeat it? Sure, he "wins" the Challenge, but he loses the whole point of the GAM Agenda.

And with all that said: secrecy is a toggle, an option, in Sebastien's method. A "GM" might well choose to reveal all, if the groups chooses to play with a NAR System using his database. In fact, to really explore Theme, one could argue a GM would have to reveal the bulk of the Situation ("frame it") in advance--and don't most NAR Systems have a device to do just that?

Basically, try to take Sebastien's product for what it is: a database-driven method to manage events within a deep Setting, with a slew of Situations and Challenges and personalities as hooks for whatever Agenda the group is pursuing.

At least, that's what I think he's pushing for.

Hope this helps;
David
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StefanDirkLahr
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2006, 03:14:23 PM »

Quote
This question only makes sense in narrativist play. Clearly, in SIM play, the players would not have an overarching knowledge of the Situations and Challenges: that would just force them to use play Techniques that tried to "hide" knowledge from themselves. Not very good for "immersion" into a game world.

That is a very good point! I *have* pretty much fallen into the trap of equating "functional rpg-type thing" with "story game".
And i originally saw myself as a SIM player, too! I'll have to make sure to track down the few threads around here that cover SIM play, and see if i can reacquiant myself with the topic.
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Stefan Dirk Lahr, dreaming the impossible dream
Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2006, 04:34:45 PM »

Just to answer Sébastien:
Nothing will make me buy prewritten scenarios since I know of Kickers, Bangs, Relationship maps, etc.

Regardless of CA.


I mean, all players, regardless of CA, want their characters to be the central part of the story (not necessarily the game world), right?

So, Sébastien, this tool you are developping is getting me nowhere (since you keep saying it's not about the players, I discard the option that this is a technique for the GM to control the flow of play by railroading the PCs).
Either we get a good Bang out of it from time to time, but that would be per pure chance, since we don't know if the players will feel concerned at all. Even if there are multiple plots, thus increasing the probability of the players feeling concerned. Sorry, but that's not good enough, I want, as a GM, that what I introduce will be important to the players and play all the time.
Or else it's just background decoration. It might help my immersion the same as, well, theme music and props can.
(Actually, a lot of that can be said about the way Setting has been presented to us in numerous big RPGs.)

And I'm saying this regardless of CA.



BTW David, there is no "clearly" when talking about Techniques in relation to CAs. Immersion is a technique, Actor Stance is a technique. But they do not define Sim. Ask Vincent Baker if he doesn't immerse in his Narr games. Foreknowledge of certain events is a Technique I guess, but it certainly rarely occurs in Narr games of the kind I play, since all is constructed on the go as things play out (how could anyone have foreknowledge of anything?) While I'm at it, Sébastien's whole product is a collection of Techniques. But I'm derailing the subject.

Then again, I mostly agree with the foreknowledge discussion you present, but I'm not sure that that was exactly what Stefan was talking about (foreknowledge of what are we really considering?). More so, the kind of foreknowledge you use in your examples implies that the foreknowledge has a direct connection to the PCs, which cannot be the case with Sébastien's product as he claims since the beginning of this thread, so we aren't helping him with this foreknowledge discussion in the first place.
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Regards,
Christoph
Nogusielkt
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Posts: 55


« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2006, 05:10:15 PM »

I mean, all players, regardless of CA, want their characters to be the central part of the story (not necessarily the game world), right?

No, we don't.  Also, I hate bangs.  I don't want the game to be about me, I merely want to be a part of the game (albeit my part).

Sorry if that was a rhetorical question I answered.
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StefanDirkLahr
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2006, 10:25:39 PM »

I feel like i'm hijacking here a bit, but c'est la vie:

Artanis:

What do you think of the "defined events in time" technique as used in Roach?
Although Sébastien's idea is somewhat more complicated, perhaps detrimentally so, than that, it seems to me that the *core* of the concept presented is identical; This structuring seems to work in Roach, so i'm forced to wonder how it could be applied to other games - would a structured Middle Earth game be engaging?
(There is a lot of other stuff that has to go in there, as well, but this would form the core of the game, it seems.)


Nogusielkt says
Quote
I don't want the game to be about me, I merely want to be a part of the game.

I take it you want the game's story to be about the player-driven characters considered as a group, then?
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Stefan Dirk Lahr, dreaming the impossible dream
Selene Tan
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2006, 01:33:10 AM »

Hmm, I just had a thought.

Sebastien, are you familiar with Dogs in the Vineyard, and specifically with its town creation rules/process? To make a town, you detail your way through a "Something's Wrong" ladder, starting from the least serious (Pride) and ending when you feel satisfied. Events in the ladder always go chronologically from least to most serious, and where you stop on the ladder is assumed to be when the Dogs come in. Then you answer three questions: "What does each named character want from the Dogs?", "What do the demons want to happen?", and "What would happen if the Dogs never came?". If the Dogs never come, the town works its way up through the rest of the Something's Wrong ladder. (For some sample towns, Jason Morningstar has a page full of them, all neatly formatted and well-structured.)

I'm wondering how close the resulting towns are to what you're imagining for your scenarios. The Something's Wrong ladder provides a chronology of major events, although one without strict timings. And it's possible, in a single town, to have multiple ladders of Something's Wrong, each at a different level. (Compare this to having multiple overlapping scenarios.)

I'm bringing up Dogs as a possible counter to your statement that pre-written scenarios should be about the PCs. The point of Dogs town creation is to craft a situation that will go to hell if the PCs don't intervene, and where it's not clear-cut what the PCs should do. That's why it's important for each character to want something from the Dogs really, really badly.

The focus on the effects of the PCs makes it easy to drop a town into an existing game. I don't know if you'll consider it "holding the GM's hand", which you've said you don't want to do.

I hope I'm not totally off with my idea of what you're looking for.
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pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2006, 01:40:36 AM »

David
Your analysis is correct and the presentation of my product is as good as I can do. And you're quite right about the option aspect of revealing the events in advance.

Semp
Your are confonding things for Roach. From what I understand, each game of Roach goes thru the exact same scene. Not in Avalanche. You don't know which events your players will encounter. That said, you can replay the scenario by having players play very different characters and thus going thru a very different part of the web of events.

Artanis
Quote
Nothing will make me buy prewritten scenarios since I know of Kickers, Bangs, Relationship maps, etc.
I guess which way of the crossroad you go. That said, I don't see how the knowlegde of Kickers, Bangs, Relationship maps excludes the use of prewritten scenarios. For me, those elements can still be present in one. I don't see how they exclude one another. In what I'm doing, there is something like relationship map, events can be used as bangs and I don't see why kickers can't be used.

Quote
Either we get a good Bang out of it from time to time, but that would be per pure chance, since we don't know if the players will feel concerned at all. Even if there are multiple plots, thus increasing the probability of the players feeling concerned. Sorry, but that's not good enough, I want, as a GM, that what I introduce will be important to the players and play all the time.
That's where we disagree. Just a note, what I'm doing is highly related to my conception of the world (the real one, not a fantasy one), it has its roots, somewhere in existensialism. For me, any kind of conscience (that would mean PCs) is set for a given time, anchored into his history (and language), confronting his own problems, based on the concern of his time (BTW, this is why we cannot, as post modern, read the ancient greek using our own concerns). For me, PCs' actions take all their sense because they are anchored into immediate stakes, the concerns of their time. I don't think that my events would be something like a background music. I believe the experience of the PCs get richer that way, because they can write down their own story in the context of the concerns that surrounds them. Hey, but that's me. I can understand you think otherwise.

Quote
More so, the kind of foreknowledge you use in your examples implies that the foreknowledge has a direct connection to the PCs, which cannot be the case with Sébastien's product as he claims since the beginning of this thread, so we aren't helping him with this foreknowledge discussion in the first place.
You're right, but in fact it can, if the players choose to substitute main characters (i.e. let's say playing Frodo).

I did some homeworks and look some previous threads related to prewritten scenarios on the forge. I found out those two that are related to what I'm doing. I hope it can help the purpose of this conversation.
Event Driven Adventure Design
Why so little Scenario Oriented Design?
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2006, 04:03:27 AM »

I second Stefan's question to Nogusielkt. I didn't mean to say that play has to be about the players, but I think it's got to be about the player characters. Or maybe some players enjoy watching the big things happen outside their character's influence. But that's a bit like listening to your grandpa's story and getting to choose the princess' name.

Stefan: in the Roach, the scenes are of course preset, but they're intimately tied to the characters you play. It's all about the university campus and the characters trying to become more reputed in that context. There is no list of events that are outside the player character's scope.

Sébastien: Of course your product doesn't exclude Kickers & Co. I never said that, did I?

Of course the PC experience is richer if it is in context with their surroundings. But only if the context is linked to them. And you specifically don't want your product to be linked to the PCs.
And I distinguish between stories and what happens IRL, they're not comparable most of the time.

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You're right, but in fact it can, if the players choose to substitute main characters (i.e. let's say playing Frodo).
Cool, but then you get a prewritten scenario that's about the characters and you are doing your best not to do this. Or maybe I just don't understand what you're talking about from the start.


I've read the two threads you link to. Yes, they are somwhat related to what you do. And all I see is people saying they aren't convinced and the original author not really being able to convince anyone.
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Regards,
Christoph
pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2006, 04:57:08 AM »

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I'm bringing up Dogs as a possible counter to your statement that pre-written scenarios should be about the PCs. The point of Dogs town creation is to craft a situation that will go to hell if the PCs don't intervene, and where it's not clear-cut what the PCs should do. That's why it's important for each character to want something from the Dogs really, really badly.
Selene, that's a fine example. From what I read from your link, at not point, this concerns the PCs. And yes, I do think this kind of structure does not hold the hand of the DM. He would have to fill in the details. There is also a kind of storyboard, althougth, not formal and it also describes what happens if the players don't interfere. On that side it looks like what I do. The big difference, I think, is in the space. Those stories concern a town, Avalanche is about a realm. In what I'm doing there is more much happening, this is why I need to structure my writing. Suppose your examples were, in fact, happening at the same time, thus not consisting of separate adventures, but a single, complex one. The towns would need to be nearer and I guess the different plots would have to overlape each other. You would need a tool to manage them.

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Sébastien: Of course your product doesn't exclude Kickers & Co. I never said that, did I?
Well, you said you didn't need prewritten scenarios because you knew about those techniques. Then, it's my mistake.

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Of course the PC experience is richer if it is in context with their surroundings. But only if the context is linked to them. And you specifically don't want your product to be linked to the PCs.
In fact they might be link to the PCs, if they are there and if they wish to take sides. But this is about actual play, not the design of the scenario. They get link to the PCs because of the PCs' actions and decisions, not because it is supposed to be linked to them.

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Cool, but then you get a prewritten scenario that's about the characters and you are doing your best not to do this. Or maybe I just don't understand what you're talking about from the start.
What I'm saying is that you have choices. You may play it as you want.

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I've read the two threads you link to. Yes, they are somwhat related to what you do. And all I see is people saying they aren't convinced and the original author not really being able to convince anyone.
More or less. I think there are still good points in them. It also it demonstrates the lack of theory about the design of setting/plot.
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