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the filthy monkey, it plots

I've been doing some thinking about RPG stuff lately. I've also noticed that a fair number of people on my LJ friends list are writers of one stripe or another.

Which has me thinking, both about GMing, and about why I am not a writer. Essentially, it boils down to the same problem; I have trouble plotting.

I have worked out a rich and well developed fantasy world. I have, in my mind come up with various interesting NPCs and potential PCs to fill the world with. however, the interesting people in thier interesting world, just sit there. I can't figure out a way to get them to actually DO anything.

When I game myself, I play from a character-based style; I figure out how my charcter would respond, and act accordingly. I don't try to plan too deeply, unless my character is a plotter, nor do I tend to think about how my character's action will affect the plot. I don't tend to get too "meta" about things when I'm playing.

One of the reasons I was so excited about Cry of the Unicorn is that I had, for once, actually thought of an over-arching plot for the game. I still had the problem, though, of figuring out what happened in between. I have problems creating events for charcters to react to vs. figuring out how the characters will react.

I get lost in the spaces in between.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 10th, 2003 12:00 pm (UTC)
I do better with plot than all the other stuff. Maybe we should co-GM.
Oct. 10th, 2003 12:34 pm (UTC)
I think this may be the solution; I've got a local who's volunteered to help me run my next game for this stuff. Of course, co-gming at cons has been less than successful for me in the past... but that may be due to underplanning.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 10th, 2003 07:18 pm (UTC)
My problem thus far, is that I think of the big story, and come up with a couple vaguye stumbling blocks, like zombie ninjas, to throw at them to slow them down.

I then throw the ninjas at them in the first 15 minutes, and, by then end of the first hour, they've found the big plot and the major villain because I couldn't think of a reason to stop them from finding it.

So, I burn up my zombie ninjas too quickly.
Oct. 10th, 2003 12:42 pm (UTC)
Oh man, me too. I *want( to GM - I want to put together great and wonderful storylines... Tomorrow is the next game and I am again paralized thinking about it. Arrgh. What have I gotten into?

And you read Warren. Heh.
Oct. 10th, 2003 07:16 pm (UTC)
Of course I read Warren... where else would I get my daily dose of weird, random vitriol and strange Japanese porn? Well, ok, so I have a few other sources, but Warren is a good one...
Oct. 10th, 2003 01:03 pm (UTC)
My co-GM offering remains open, for any time you feel like using it.
Oct. 10th, 2003 07:15 pm (UTC)
I intend to take you up on it, once SAS is done; it's planning for that campaign that has got me thinking.
Oct. 10th, 2003 02:15 pm (UTC)
I hope it isn’t minded if I chip in some thoughts on the subject since I’ve been thinking of running something at Mac come January-ish. It’ll probably be fairly disorganized since I’m too lazy think it all out first before writing.

For me, while running a game (or writing a story, but I haven’t done that in years), the concepts all have to begin with the principal antagonist. I differ in my usage of this word from the proper definition because to me it usually is a person, but in my mind it can be any person, place, event or object that provides a basis of conflict. Once I determine this cause of conflict, the game is built around it and it all dominoes into place by working backwards. So I introduce the antagonist into the setting and ask myself, “What is the antagonist’s ends?” and then cascade events backwards from those ends, interacting with the setting and NPCs, to develop the means, usually events, that cause the antagonist’s ends to occur in that setting. The PCs are then usually dropped into the events (preferably not at the very beginning of the events you’ve determined so you can have some back story to feed to the players) and you see how their actions will modify what you planned on happening if they had not been there in the first place. This to me is why I enjoy gaming over writing. When writing the protagonists are controlled by you and do exactly what you want while real human players are constantly throwing you curves that you have to deal with. You either adapt your events based on what the players have done and break from your projected path creating a new path or adapt your events based on what your players have done and force them along the path you projected in the first place. Both ways have merits and help the story flow in different ways. IN the end though you have to break from your ends because the PCs should triumph not your antagonist (unless they’ve pissed you off and you’ve had enough. Either it’ll tick them off or it’ll be refreshingly different for them *shrug*).

So, most of this is stuff probably most everyone does, but I voiced it for my own benefit.

Where do these antagonist come from? For me, I steal. I steal from history and literature. After I steal them I take them to the chop shop that is my mind and make changes. Sometimes they are still recognizable as being from what I stole them, but sometimes no. Once you’ve given them character (ie. Personality, History, Attribute, etc…) you have to get inside their head. This is usually easy for those who play from a character-based style as a PC. Once you’re them ask yourself “What do I want?” to discover the antagonist’s end. Ask yourself why for deeper development.

Hmmn, co-running. I don’t have the personality for it. I’m really quite a concept control freak if it’s a game of my design. I will usually only let a co-gm roll dice for me for combat (but since I don’t really care what my dice say when I describe action (unless I deem luck is playing a part) and I only really use the dice to keep the players interested I don’t usually need a co-GM). But if you trust your co-GM enough to follow the broad plan and let them have their fun with the details or want to use them to bounce details off of to develop broad details, more power to you. The best game I ever played in had 10 DMs and 40+ players that would bounce from DM to DM depending on where events took them.

Anhierd (Eric, from over Ish’s Journal way)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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