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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 202 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The joys of plot critical mass  (Read 2818 times)
Mytholder
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« on: August 13, 2001, 05:19:00 AM »

I've been running a Blue Planet game for a few weeks now. The first few sessions were ok, if a bit stodgy. Lots of plot set-up and showing the players around the setting.

Last week, they found a scrap of paper with four numbers on it.

They spent two and a half hours working out a few dozen possibile interpretations for the numbers, tying those interpretations into the existing plots, second-guessing themselves, and finally ended up turning the campaign on its head, going rogue, and giving me enough plot hooks and threads to keep the game going for months.

There's no real point to this post, I just wanted to give myself a little electronic pat on the back.
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Ian O'Rourke
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2001, 06:02:00 AM »

And the real evil thing is you had no idea what the number was when you handed it to them?
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Ian O'Rourke
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2001, 02:11:00 PM »

Actually, I think this is quite interesting - at least, it sparked an interesting thought.  I'm reasonable sure taht applying some "narrativist" stuff could have gotten you the plot hooks and etc. you are so happy to have now a whole lot sooner - like, at the first session.

But for some people, myself usually among them, it's somehow  "better" if that stuff emereges "naturally", from something like the list of numbers you mention.

Why is that?  I mean, in the GNS discussions I'm getting clear that most of the Simulationist concerns are NOT high on my priority list, but I find myself relating (and cheering for!) your "two dull sessions and then a breakthrough" description more than is usually the case with, say, the Sorceror set-up descriptions folks have posted.  Is this just familiarity kicking in - force of habit of what RPGs are "supposed" to be?

I'll have to think about that . . .

Gordon C. Landis
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Supplanter
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2001, 04:48:00 PM »

Quote
Why is that? I mean, in the GNS discussions I'm getting clear that most of the Simulationist concerns are NOT high on my priority list, but I find myself relating (and cheering for!) your "two dull sessions and then a breakthrough" description more than is usually the case with, say, the Sorceror set-up descriptions folks have posted. Is this just familiarity kicking in - force of habit of what RPGs are "supposed" to be?


I think John Morrow put it best when he said simulationists hate dull sessions less than they hate some of the ways that would liven them up. Why? Because some people hate it when the wires show.

Best,


Jim
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Mytholder
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2001, 12:57:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-08-13 18:11, Gordon C. Landis wrote:
Actually, I think this is quite interesting - at least, it sparked an interesting thought.  I'm reasonable sure taht applying some "narrativist" stuff could have gotten you the plot hooks and etc. you are so happy to have now a whole lot sooner - like, at the first session.


Hmm. Possibly. I'm not sure. Y'see, it's only when the players have enough information to make connections that they start, well, making connections. "If these bacteria are related to the ones we found at that site in the Styx...and the NIS were involved in that incident...then maybe the NIS are involved here too."

Giving the players formal authorial power early on would have solved that problem, but it would have detracted from the game to my mind. If you can invent a solution to a mystery and make it true, what's the point of the mystery?

Quote

But for some people, myself usually among them, it's somehow  "better" if that stuff emereges "naturally", from something like the list of numbers you mention.

Why is that?  I mean, in the GNS discussions I'm getting clear that most of the Simulationist concerns are NOT high on my priority list, but I find myself relating (and cheering for!) your "two dull sessions and then a breakthrough" description more than is usually the case with, say, the Sorceror set-up descriptions folks have posted.  Is this just familiarity kicking in - force of habit of what RPGs are "supposed" to be?

Possibly...although maybe you just like a lot of setup. I know I'm a setting freak...half the books I've read recently, I find myself shouting "no, stop this stupid plot, you've got far better ideas in the setting. I don't care about the protagonist, tell me about the world" (Perdido Street Station being a prime example here).
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