Player Driven Plot

LaMush's first and most important type of plot is Player Driven: PCs on LA are set up and supposed to be each others Antagonists and Protagonists. Players are encouraged to initiate and pursue their own stories, conflicts and events in cooperation with other PC's. There is a practical reason to this: Staff lacks the resources to provide players with plot 24x7. Instead, the MUSH provides the players with the backdrop and tools by which they can develop their own plots and stories, with minimal involvement from Staff.

Players are offered a large amount of freedom in determining the details and reactions of their direct environment (such as backdrop NPCs). However, if a player wishes to pursue extraordinary accomplishments or experiences that go beyond the scope of the PCs in play, they need to consult with Staff. Staff may deny, approve of follow up on such requests depending on their IC likeliness, necessity and adherence to Theme.

Staff Driven Plot

Although its resources are limited, LA Staff does occasionally add plots and story arcs to the MUSH. Moreover, Staff has themes to enforce.
The means by which Staff inserts stories is through direction of Feature PCs, Non-Player Characters and the coordination of Plots:

'Staff Driven Plot' can be divided into the following categories:

  • LA-CHRONICLE ARC's typically impact the LA-Setting, changing it in significant ways. They are usually managed by Architects, since they require a deep understanding of the Setting and may involve both Feature and Plot NPCs.
  • STORYTELLER PLOTS are stories that may affect several factions and individuals but keep well within the confines of the current Setting. Storyteller Plots are usually written and executed by a Storyteller or Architect, but can also be pitched by players.
  • ONE-SHOTS - tend to be ready made small-scale events that can be initiated by a Storyteller on any occasion.
  • PC-CENTRIC PLOTS have a specific focus on one or more PCs. PC-Centric plot could cover botched hunts, expanding influence or background-traits, emerging elements (such as a confrontation with mortal family or Sire) from the PC's Secret Background, historic background events etc. PC-Centric plots can be initiated and requested by all levels, including players.

Plot Approval & Execution

Before any of the above Staff Driven plots is executed, the plot needs to be approved by the Architects. Relatively simple and contained plots such as One-Shots or PC-Centric plots, can be pitched via +feedback. Architects may deny, request changes and/or approve depending on the plots enjoyability, executability, necessity and adherence to Setting and Theme. Approved player requests for PC-Centric plot will normally be forwarded to the Storyteller Team.

Plot Process: Guidelines for Running Complex Plots

When a Storyteller aspires to run a more complex plot that covers various NPCs and scenes spread over an extended amount of time, the Storyteller is requested to follow the process described below:
<Note: Although this document uses the name 'Storyteller', this 'Storyteller' may also be a temporary Storyteller or Architect running a plot>

1) INSPIRATION - is where it starts; a capturing idea. Make way for creativity and brainstorming!

2) INVESTIGATION - Ideas are plentiful, but only few make it through the various steps of realization. Storytellers are advised to investigate if a plot is in line with what the game needs. A changing list with guidelines on what is (un)desirable is posted on the Storyteller BBS. Inquiries after the likes and dislikes of the player-base are encouraged also, since a plot's success tends to depend on player participation.

3) CONCEPT PITCH - After basic inquiries the Storyteller pitches a short plot concept +feedback. Architects may deny, request changes and/or approve the plot-pitch based on the concepts enjoyability, executability, necessity and adherence to Setting and Theme.

4) PLOT SCRIPT - When the basic concept is approved the Storyteller writes a more elaborate script. A script template is provided below. Architects will review and help fine-tune the script where necessary in order to ensure it is consistent with the details of the Setting, the games' balance and Theme.

5) PREPARATION - When the script is approved, the Storyteller is empowered to prepare the objects that are necessary for the plot's execution:

  • BUILDS - need to be requested and approved by the responsible TechArch.
  • PLOT NPCs - are created via CharGen as normal.
  • ACTORS - can be hired to play Plot NPCs. If the Storyteller wishes to recruit an Actor from the player base, the assignment of the Plot NPC needs to be approved by the Architects via +feedback. The Storyteller should instruct, manage and monitor their Plot NPCs closely.

6) RUNNING THE PLOT - All set and done, the plot goes 'live' and the Storyteller works through the various phases of the scrip. Necessary activities may include:

  • PLOT ANNOUNCEMENT - in order to bring the Plot to the attention of the players, the Storyteller posts an announcement on the Plot Opportunities BBS.
  • EVENTS - The Storyteller runs events, scenes and Plot NPCs.
  • PLOT NPC MANAGEMENT - The Storyteller monitors and manages the Actors that play their Plot NPCs in order to ensure they keep on track. In this, NPCs are obligated to follow Storyteller and Architect directions.
  • +JOBS - with player-requests related to the plot are assigned to, and handled by, the Storyteller.
  • RUMORS - can be inserted as appropriate.
  • MEDIA - messages can be posted as appropriate.

7) KEEPING TRACK - While running the plot, the Storyteller is supported and managed by the Architects. The Storyteller is expected to keep Staff in the loop by means of the following tools:

  • THE STATUS - of the plot can be recorded and discussed via a dedicated +job in the Plot-bucket.
  • RECORDS - of the plot, such as logs of Plot and Plot-NPC related scenes should be uploaded to the Storyteller Archive on the Compendium. In case no log is available the Storyteller provides a short summary of significant plot-related scenes.

8) TROUBLE SHOOTING - often is necessary since players are prone to pick the route you least expected.

  • SUPPORT - from the Architects is only a +feedback away, should the Storyteller require help with getting a plot on track again.
  • CONSULT - with the Architects is obligatory when plot events or NPC actions result in significant consequences that were not explicitly mentioned in the Script or the NPC's Feature +jnote. This includes un-foreseen (N)PC deaths, torpor, bloodbonds etc.
  • RESOLUTION - of the plot is important, lest the players are left hanging. Hence, should the Storyteller experience trouble with managing the plot in a timely manner, the Storyteller will consult with Staff in order to determine if timelines should be reviewed. If not, if/who will continue the plot or else. If not, if/how the plot will be wrapped up.

9) WRAP UP - happens after the plot is successfully concluded. The Storyteller closes all open +jobs, erases the Plot announcement on the Plot Opportunities Board, and ensures that any remaining Plot-NPC's exit the game.

10) AFTERMATH - If questions related to the Plot come up afterwards, Architects may forward the request to the (ex)Storyteller, or refer to the documentation on the Storyteller Archive on the Compendium.

Plot-Script Template

Staffers or Players that wish to submit a Plot-Script for approval may use the following template:

1) Title: Name of the Plot
2) Storyteller: Who will run the plot
3) Assistants: Who will assist?
4) Plot Purpose: What is the OOC purpose of the plot?
5) PCs: Which PCs are likely to be involved in this plot?
6) Concept: A summary of the plot
7) Act Structure: (if possible split up in scenes)

  • a. Set-up: Introduction, the background situation that will lead to the confrontation
  • b. Confrontation: The problem, challenge etc.
  • c. Resolution: The climax, be it resolution of the problem or change
  • d. Aftermath: Likely consequences for those that were involved

8) Places: Places that you may need. If you need Builds, please specify.
9) NPC's: A description of the Background NPCs and Plot NPCs that might be required for the plot. When Plot NPCs need to be created, please detail Concept, Race, Sect, Clan, Age, application-XP etc.
10) Actors: Who do you suggest, will play these NPCs?
11) Needs: Special support you require from Staff
12) Timelines: Start and End date of the plot
13) Risks: Potential dangers to watch
14) Restrictions: Things that should be avoided

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