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Posted By: HituroI think the more the GM is seen as 'entertaining the players' or 'presenting a story to the players' the more preparation they need to do in advance.
Posted By: HituroThere are players who feel their point of entry into the world is, and should only be, their character.
Posted By: HituroPosted By: Accounting for TasteOr to phrase it in a less inflammatory way: there are a lot of players who prefer to interact with the game only through their character, and want someone else to tell them what the results of that interaction are. They're not sitting in the car and looking out the window as the scenery rolls by, they're using a very specific tool with very specific limitations to try and push a situation not of their own devising towards conclusions which they hope will be satisfying.
- Open - The term "plot" has, unfortunately, two pertinent meanings. One is "the plan of the villain" or that sort of thing. As in "he was hatching a plot." So some people think of plot in terms of the "facts" of the situation which remain to be discovered. This is an entirely different sort of set-up, however. Just as the dungeon situations of olde, they simply set the stage for the PCs, who are then allowed to roam it at will, and deal with what they find there as they wish. In this case, there is complete player agency. This is how I've played almost exclusively for the past 4 years.
Posted By: Mike HolmesI think this is the key. Don't worry about "plot" and control of it, you will have some control of it, and need to (should be required to). The questions you need to ask yourself is these:- Am I giving my players decisions to make?- Are these decisions ones that the player is going to enjoy?- Am I making them "real" in that I won't take away the effect of those decisions, in order that the player doesn't feel cheated?Be proactive about it...
Posted By: Mike Holmes- Am I giving my players decisions to make?- Are these decisions ones that the player is going to enjoy?- Am I making them "real" in that I won't take away the effect of those decisions, in order that the player doesn't feel cheated?
Great stuff! I see a distinction in my own play between creating a dungeon to be explored and creating a storyline and events ahead of time. What do you think? To me, those aren't quite on the same part of the spectrum. Same with adventure hooks followed by bangs. Your "A good GM..." paragraph matches a lot of play I've had, which I would not have characterized as GM-plotted. But I'm realizing that some people use that phrase to refer to that style of play, which is really helpful to know.
Posted By: komradebobHave you ever experienced that, Hituro? You'll generally know it. It's the player that's constantly haring off, offering suggestions for what could happen or what might be there. They just can't seem to stay in their character's skin only.I've had folks like that. They don't seem to do particularly well with traditional rpg set-ups. IME, they also don't tend to keep playing rpgs, regardless of how clever or imaginative they are unless they either become a GM or severley modify and limit their behavior.Oh sure, on a local , ad-hoc basis, people did that sort of thing. Some books might even have had stuff in the advice section on getting players more involved with that stuff. I know I had players in my very traditional games years ago doing stuff like that, or suggesting stakes, or offering scene-framing, etc, etc. It just wasn't formal.
Posted By: John HarperI hear people talk about this all the time. "The GM writes the plot for the game," and variations thereof. I've played every RPG there is, for decades, but I have yet to do this, or play in a game where it happened. My curiosity has been piqued by the recent Ars Magica thread.So, what's it like? What does the GM do? What do the players do? Please share your experiences.There are three rules for this thread: 1. No passing judgment on others! Judge your own experiences if you want to, but lay off other folks.2. Say whatever you want about whatever games you want. There are no debates about games allowed here. Take them to other threads. If you are tempted to say, "You don't understand game X," cram it.3. No debating what "plot" really means. Just answer based on whatever you think it means.
Posted By: John HarperDave:Great post. I see a description of how you run games... are you saying that's "GM writes the plot"? Do you identify that phrase as matching what you're doing now, or just the first bit with D&D and CoC?
Posted By: John HarperGraham:I read Gumshoe. I'm with Rich. Most disappointing game of the year. Not because it's a bad design (it's not) but because it was so exactly the opposite of the game I wanted to play. A GM-authored crime that the PCs uncover is not what I think when I hear "GM writes the plot," but if that fits the bill for you, that's cool.
Posted By: John HarperI never thought of a dungeon crawl as a pre-written plot, though. But I don't say that to challenge what you said! That's just my take. I totally dig what you're saying.
A fun thing I've been doing which leads to more complication for your character is what we call "making the GM smile" - relatively early on, Fred quoted a principle "when the GM smiles, it's already too late". In other words, just as he feeds us things to react to, feed him things he can run with. Latest example - the update I just did to the Chaos scene. "Oh, dear, I do hope the Amberites won't find out that I have Oberon's body before I get a chance to explain! That would really complicate things! Oh, noes!" [Broad wink in Fred's direction] This is probably because I hang out at the Story-Games site a lot and have picked up the vibe. I realized I'd become a really Story-Gamer when I was exerting considerable effort to have Garan not gain the power of Trump because I wanted to use the slot for "obsessed with getting Benedict's approval". Your mileage, in terms of what you find fun, may vary. But that's what I do.
Posted By: John HarperYour #1 is very interesting to me. That matches what I've heard when people talk about GM-plotted games. The murky bits for me are phrases like, "The GM advances the plot," and "the plot strolls onward." Can you expand on that? What is the GM doing when she advances the plot? What role do the players have?
Design narrow-wide=narrow. I write my games to be linear at the beginning, moderately linear at the end (in that they usually lead to an anticipated big climax), and totally open to different strategies in the middle. It seems to work pretty well; it allows free choice for most of the game, and still delivers a cool finish.
Posted By: noclueJohn, I'm curious how you avoided GM Makes the Plot type gaming as that was basically what a GM did during play when I started out.
Posted By: GB SteveI'm a bit confused by those who were disappointed with GUMSHOE. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Did you think you were getting something else?
Posted By: buzzIt seems relevant to mention Piratecat, a mod over at ENworld, who's considered the greatest DM who ever lived on those boards. He talks about some of his techniquesin this post about running great con events, and mentions the following about plot:Design narrow-wide=narrow. I write my games to be linear at the beginning, moderately linear at the end (in that they usually lead to an anticipated big climax), and totally open to different strategies in the middle. It seems to work pretty well; it allows free choice for most of the game, and still delivers a cool finish.
Graham's comments suggest that it suffers from the "designer not included" problem that some games have, which is possible.
I write the "plot" of the opposition. The perfect plan if all goes accordingly. For the villain. Then count on the players to screw with that plan somehow....
Posted By: StornI *think* I have a found a comfortable way of doing this. I write the "plot" of the opposition. The perfect plan if all goes accordingly. For the villain. Then count on the players to screw with that plan somehow, sometimes by merely showing up in town.
Posted By: Mike HolmesFBetter than both the negotiation to play the mystery, or the force, is the "Grab" (to paraphrase ol Ronnie and the idea of Grabbiness). In this case, you create a situation in which no matter what the player decides in impacting the situation, he's involved in a way he'll enjoy. For instance, the "Man Who Knew Too Much" is such a situation. In point of fact, in the movie Jimmy Stewart does "walk away" from the request for help. He's confused, and doesn't understand what's being asked of him, and decides quite realistically to just move on. In this case, however, this sets into motion other problems for the character. No matter what the player would do in a situation like this, he's involved with the plot now.Yes, you may never get to the mystery. That's OK. Because, as Hitch would say, it's a MacGuffin. The mystery that is implied by the set-up situation is not, and can never be, what play is about. That's not to say that it won't get solved, perhaps it will (almost certainly, in fact). Simply that the important part is the contribution that the player makes through his character. How does the PC respond at each step, and where does that lead the story?That's what a grabby situation is all about, something that exists to allow the player to explore their character in the context of the situation. That's not to say that the situation can't be fascinating itself. Just that writing it so that the players serve it's ends, rather than it serving theirs, means that the GM will have to enter that dialectic again to find out how to tame the beast.Mike
Posted By: StornOoops folks, that was supposed to be a whisper to Judd...