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Started by IMAGinES, May 10, 2006, 01:05:28 AM
Quote from: Belinda K. on May 10, 2006, 07:21:55 AMHi Rob. That's an interesting post. I think for the GM fun - what made you keep hacking away at a campaign that wasn't fun to run? Was it the social obligation? Enthusiasm of one or two players? An responsibility that 'you were the GM and had to run the campaign?'
Quote from: Belinda K. on May 10, 2006, 07:21:55 AMI think if you keep pushing at the story design all the time, without the players pushing back at the game world, you run out of puff fairly quickly. Maybe it's a problem with military campaigns; generally the set-up has the players being ordered around by the military. When I played in Scott Lette's Jovian Chronicles campaign, he made an effort to get backgrounds off everyone before we started in and chucked the elements into his backstory, but it was all done in isolation from the other players, so the agendas and secrets of the other characters had to be determined only during play - it was all very blackbox. So we followed orders, but stuff from our pasts would come up and it was interesting to see where Scott would take things; I was keen to see where my character would end up next. It was an interesting mix of military plot shoving and other soapy elements that would bubble up between the characters. None of them really crossed over though - it was all PC/NPC relations mostly. But I was keen to watch the other's plot threads unfold just as I did with mine.
Quote from: Belinda K. on May 10, 2006, 07:21:55 AMIn your case, I think your players may have been in TV watching mode, eagerly waiting to see what was next to them, not really aware that they could have any influence over the direction of the game - this means that the entire plotting becomes your responsibility, as well as that of your plot holes.
Quote from: Belinda K. on May 10, 2006, 07:21:55 AMSome players I've met don't like to have OOC discussions about the direction of the campaign. I myself was in TV watching mode and was therefore turned off by a recent D&D game when a GM was saying, "Now, Tony wants to go over and do something about those drow ruins, so we'll spend an adventure there, and Belinda wants to do something with her kobold empire, so I'll put that in a bit..." The illusion was broken, in a way. The god-like GM was scrabbling for ideas and had failed us!
Quote from: Belinda K. on May 10, 2006, 07:21:55 AMAs for plot holes, if you don't plot out the entire campaign, but sort of build it and nudge it as it goes along, it's much easier to address holes - if something happens, build something into the backstory to justify it, make it a feature, rather than a bug, and see where it goes. It's all good.
Quote from: IMAGinES on May 10, 2006, 01:10:16 AMA general observation: One thing I don't like about GMing is getting caught in your own plot holes. When you come up with a justification for something, the players start digging at the details and say "No, that doesn't make sense." I'm tempted to yell, "Dudes: leave the plot holes alone!" except from their perspective that's info that might save their characters' lives (Heavy Gear's rules are geared to be unforgiving when it comes to combat). Heck, I don't really like the GM-as-source-of-all-detail business anyway; it was one of the main problems I had with that Dogs in the Vineyard session I ran a few months ago.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMCheck out the recent Champions thread for some ideas about how to get Kickers and Bangs from extensive character back-story, especially when creating that back-story is integrated into the points/details actually on the sheet.I agree with you that Situation This Minute is an amazing, liberating insight when compared to the Elaborate Finished Story that we all used to scribble during character creation ... but getting the former from a fairly constructive and almost-certainly briefer version of the latter shouldn't be tossed out the window, as it's a useful and fun technique when reined in properly.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMI'm interested in this whole "plot hole" problem, but it'd be really, really helpful to talk about it with more actual-play discussion. I think it'd be good to stay with the Black Talon game for that purpose, possibly because of the distance you've established. Here are my brief thoughts based on what you've posted so far.At first glance, that problem looks like the predictable outcome of plain old GM desperation. If I'm reading you right, it's perhaps a relief to admit that, during this time, (a) you frankly had no idea how to accomplish any GM-tasks at all,
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AM(b) you'd been badly misled by certain key texts (and one of these days I'll talk about Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads as a well-intended disaster for a whole generation),
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMand (c) the golden ideal of the brilliant novelist/film-director GM provided a source of impossible ambition as well as hidden shame when it didn't "somehow" happen.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMUnder these circumstances, you were faced with a great paradox - the characters were these bad-asses at the bad-ass HQ, and yet they had to face danger. You felt the need never to violate the bad-assery, yet somehow there had to be conflict ... and yet no conflict suggested itself, not off the character sheets, not out of interpersonal dialogue, and not out of anything intrinsic to the game text (setting, etc).
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMSolution? Fight! Someone attacks! Ambush! (Why ambush? Because you figured that if the characters were surprised, the players would be surprised, the fun could happen now, and you could get some kind of explanation going later ... except that for that purpose, "later" was the same as "now," because the paradox waited for you in the "later" too.)
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMAgain, it seems to me you were desperate. Desperate to have fun, desperate to provide fun as you'd been advised (disorient, endanger, and amaze the players), desperate to keep everyone else involved in the game, and desperate, perhaps, to establish yourself, to yourself, as "the golden GM" and not a fake.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMMy immediate urge, upon reading your account, is to find your younger self and tell him - hey, it's all right, no one is that golden GM, most especially not those guys who are writing those rulebooks. They're doing something else in play that they are having a hard time articulating, and you're getting stuck in that communicative-disconnection.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMDesperation actions have a tendency to avoid honesty, because the uncertainty underlying the desperation is a source of shame.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 10, 2006, 09:37:40 AMThey also tend to miss the mark of whatever they were supposed to solve or do, providing distraction and inconsistency. That seems to fit with your description.So I think that once the desperation gets cleaned out of there, and it seems like you're well along on that path, then you'll find the plot-holes disappear too. Not because you're providing amazing well-knitted genius consistent plots, but because you're focusing on things people care about, with the result that the whole group will be invested in establishing consistency during play. In my experience, they do this to an extent that, well, works. "Inconsistency" simply vanishes like a bad smell, because the pile of dogshit that produced it is simply gone.