Allow me to ramble a bit on what I like about this system and how I think LA may gain from it. By doing so I'll explain where and how, I think, people can benefit from it and where we can simply keep things as they are.

As mentioned before. I very much like the mindset. It's how I want to play: Players telling a story together. This mindset however, is significantly different from how we play on LA now. It differs from the way we more or less agree to RP on LAmush.

The way (I feel) we currently play IC Time and story resembles ‘RL feel’; The development of the story and the character, what the character does, all depends on what they ‘run into’. Anything can happen anytime. You can work to make something happen but everything needs to develop 'on the spot', by the flow of IC actions.

The big bonus to this is that players have the feeling, that (1) everyone has the same chance (which isn’t true) and (2) that anything is possible anytime.. which includes their ability to potentially affect any situation.

The minus is that actually.. players are not storytellers. They are not focused on the opportunity to build story, they are solely focused on RP-ing the -here and now-, their situation, their +sheet. The flow of a story is coincidental and/or based on who puts in enough effort to win, or who's +sheet has the highest stats. It's not based on what players OOC-ly enjoy. We're not really trying to focus on what's interesting to the other. Players tend to focus on what their characters can achieve with their particular +sheet in their situation.

At this point +sheet and IC-situation is all-powerful when it comes to decisions on story-development. On top of those I believe that our Themes of repression & violence and even our ‘Face the Music’-policy (as valid as they are) often are used as a justification to disregard anothers OOC fun.
How often do we hear arguments like; ‘The situation is like this’ + ‘My character is like that’ = ‘This is the only IC-course possible’.. as if a player doesn't have a million ways to influence his characters story and decisions, if only by choosing their characters scenes, places, mood and background situation.
How often do we hear arguments like; ‘He dominated me, now I just need to kill him. It’s in Theme for this neonate to suck it up and face the music.’ … when on an OOC-level the neonate-player created a huge amount of enjoyable story, then either doesn’t dare to stir anything or leaves LA out of frustration.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying those Themes or policies should be abandoned or anything. LA is -about- these Themes and players that don't enjoy and pursue them likely shouldn't play here. I'm merely saying that having these themes doesn't alleviate us from responsibility to apply them in enjoyable ways.

At this point I feel we lack the focus, the mindset to put enjoyable story first. Players are looking for it, but don't trust the other to return the favor. As a result players tend to paralyze both themselves and others. Many stopped stirring plot or conflict because the risks tend to be much higher than the benefits. There is no safety net for those that dare to initiate conflict. There is no ‘protection’ from people ruining another’s story. In fact it’s perfectly acceptable to anything, as long as it’s IC and In Theme.
Yes, we tell our players to be cooperative and pleasant, but there is no -official- option or system that obliges or enables people to engineer their story in directions that are pleasant to all.

The ‘Road to Amber System’ offers an opportunity to put weight to our ‘cooperative roleplay’ policy. It empowers the third decision-factor that actually should be the foundation of story-building: OOC Fun.
The things that happen should still be In-Theme and IC, but they shouldn't be the only decision-factors. It counters 'this is the only viable IC-route' or 'Face the Music' as an excuse for disregarding the other persons fun. It forces people to find interesting alternate IC developments and alternate ways to make someone face the consequences of their actions that are IC and In-Theme but enjoyable also.

With this in mind I think we can largely run as we did without changes… EXCEPT we now offer an additional option to Negotiate Plot & Conflict that can be used in two ways:

1) INITIATE PLOT & CONFLICT: This is a tool by which players can initiate their own plots without the need to 'wait until they run into something'. It's a tool to initiate conflict, but with a safety belt. All that is agreed upon still need to happen IC, but players negotiate the scope of the plot first, defining their goals and OOC-ly enjoyable consequences before the plot is kicked off.

2) RESOLVE EXISTING PLOT & CONFLICT: In cases where conflict simply emerges and it wasn't agreed upon in advance, players can proceed as normal. However, when one of the players involved sees the conflict escalate in a non-enjoyable direction, a player has the right to negotiate a resolution that is IC, In-Theme but ALSO! OOC-ly enjoyable. Examples of non-enjoyable directions are:

  • significant restriction of a characters RP-opportunity, temporal or permanent (death, torpor, staking, ban)
  • forcing a character into an action, a situation or company that the player doesn't want to be in
  • causing a significant change in the character's situation, personality or mindset, that the player does not enjoy
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