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Plotlines and Role-Play Planning: How Much is Too Much?


Started by Velathi
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I'm thinking this is either going to be provocative in a positive light, or is going to get people arguing in a way that is negative to the point that this gets locked. If such happens, I apologize, but this is a topic I feel is good to talk about. How much OOC discussion is too much when it comes to RP?

What I mean by this is that sometimes a plotline enters a player's head that they feel the need to include others on. This promotes storytelling, certainly, but is discussing details all the way down to predetermining what all is going to happen (including the most insignificant details) good for the RP experience? Personally I believe that discussion of a plot is good to get the beginning and intended overall resolution figured out, but RP should be dynamic. As such, I don't often discuss actual details of what is going to happen during plots, I just keep the main idea in mind and allow my characters to react ICly how they would.

I think that most of the fun in RP (for me, at least) is NOT knowing what all is going to happen or how other characters or players will react to a situation. Too much OOC discussion ruins that, in my opinion. What do you think?


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Post #70098
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I agree with you. I would prefer not to know what's going to be happening RP-wise (at least in detail), or else that just ruins the fun and sense of adventure. I sort of see role-plays that are being led by a single person as mini D&D campaigns. You know? Except the DM can't, obviously, control your characters- he can only control what everyone else is responding to.


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Post #70264
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A nice idea to discuss! I think different things work for different people but personally....

I think balance is always a good key when it comes to anything. For RP's you don't want to control the plan too much that the people don't have any effects on the characters or environments. But on the otherhand, you don't want to be too loose and let people do and change things whenever they want, as then there is lack of direction so things just awkwardly wander. So somewhere between the two is this soliud RP plot that is affected dynamically by participating characters.

For the RP's I run I like to keep future events hidden from the participants, though I'll keep PM OOC communications to speak of any notable things that another person's character might see. How they react is up to them. I'll also speak OOC in case there is some confusion or questions about certain things, so the people themselves aren't feeling completely lost. This is dependent on the circumstances of course.


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Post #70525
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I'm pretty sure everyone here is in agreement that there has to be a balance between GM control and player freedom, so let's discuss the details.

Horizon Seeker, are you saying that you will PM details to a player that only they see? For instance, a certain player overhears a previously-friendly GM controlled character describing a plot to betray the group. I really like this idea! That way, the player can use the information as he/she sees fit, and the other players will react with genuine surprise when the information is revealed to them.

I'll also add to this discussion with a comment/question: As a GM, how do you react to a derailing of the RP? For instance, once I created an RP with a rather typical "initial meeting" setting - the characters are mysteriously summoned to a certain place and there the idea is to reveal to them their powers/destiny/quest/etc. The problem was that they all started fighting each other, and no one wanted to be the "loser" or the one to surrender. In this case I felt I was forced to "God mod" and physically force the characters to stop. It wasn't long before players began dropping and the RP was abandoned (although we did make it out of the initial meeting).
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Post #70574
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Ok, I'm new to forum RP, but have DM'd for over 20 years. I think we will all stipulate that balance is key to everything. That having been said, I have to say what I have liked and have not liked.

Likes: 1 a separate OOC thread, believe me this is important. If you want the story to flow, don't do an OOC thread in the RP thread. This get's too confusing. 2 one or only a few people running the story. If you do have more than one, make sure they are all on the same page. 3 communication, communication, communication. Nothing get's me more frustrated than lack of communication.

Dislikes: 1 don't OOC the entire story where all the players can see. If I know the story OOC why should I RP? 2 don't let it grow too large on either side of the isle. You've heard the saying "too many cooks spoil the soup"? What it means in this situation is if there are too many people inputting ideas into the story it get's bogged down, or worse it devolves into a clusterfuck. This goes the other way too. If there is one storyteller running the thread, but 20 players the story get's confusing as everyone begins to try writing their own stories to keep their characters busy while waiting on the GM to get around to recognizing their actions.

Overall the OOC conversations should be only done between the ones who need them, or should be restricted to things players need to inform others about. IE "I'm gonna be out of town for 4 days so won't be posting, but I'm not quitting." These type of messages are obviously needed for a successful RP.


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Post #70897
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(June 10th 2013, 12:46 PM)AluminumKnight Wrote: I'm pretty sure everyone here is in agreement that there has to be a balance between GM control and player freedom, so let's discuss the details.

Horizon Seeker, are you saying that you will PM details to a player that only they see? For instance, a certain player overhears a previously-friendly GM controlled character describing a plot to betray the group. I really like this idea! That way, the player can use the information as he/she sees fit, and the other players will react with genuine surprise when the information is revealed to them.

I'll also add to this discussion with a comment/question: As a GM, how do you react to a derailing of the RP? For instance, once I created an RP with a rather typical "initial meeting" setting - the characters are mysteriously summoned to a certain place and there the idea is to reveal to them their powers/destiny/quest/etc. The problem was that they all started fighting each other, and no one wanted to be the "loser" or the one to surrender. In this case I felt I was forced to "God mod" and physically force the characters to stop. It wasn't long before players began dropping and the RP was abandoned (although we did make it out of the initial meeting).

Yep! I PM details that only certain characters might be privy too; based on their location, or circumstance. It's tough to figure out how often to do this though. On one hand you can advance a story with special details to participants. On the other hand, you might be "directing details" too much. I'm sure there's a balance there too.

In terms of derailment of RPs; the initial prevention of that is to find good participants that you have some degree of trust with. If everyone is cooroperative in nature, then they'll keep the main point of the RP in mind. That's not to say there can't be conflict between their characters, just that they'll know to keep it in check so it doesn't overwhelm the purpose of the RP. But if there something disruptive like that did pop up, I'd add in some sort of event to force (from an RP perspective, not a "god mod" force) them all to pay attention or to work together. That way no one actually "wins" the fight as it's interrupted for a more dire need. Tricky stuff though.


Character Profiles:
Endaros Ilmori - Buoyant Armiger
Sunrio - Aldmeri Justiciar

Taren Jucanis - Imperial Deserter (Used for The Black Shroud RP)
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Post #71045
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Too much is too much, obviously....

Seriously though, everything I might say had already been said. I've always liked a bit mystery either as a participant or a DM, even if you only work something out OOC its still all part of generating interest in the story. So with that in mind, I'll keep things as vague as possible. I'll admit to being frustrated when things don't pan out the way I'd planned, but sometimes this is really interesting and I can adapt the story. All about the other participants, of course as seen above.




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