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Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by Winged_Jedi, Jan 18, 2012.

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  1. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    With the right players, enough time and the right player, having enough time . . . I think you can do a complete game in that time, up to 100 posts and a bit above! But time and players usually are the problem, so . . .

    I recently had to think about this format, when I realized I really wanted to use the break to do something. And it is always the question of balance of interests. At some point you can better play-by-chat. So two weeks? I think as a GM you need to really, really dedicate to it AND find a few players who do the same. And you should not have to many players (fast moving and many players? Get´s complicated), nor too few (reliance on one player is not working either) to do so.

    Actually I think as a ONE on ONE it would also work, if you concentrate. For both GM and player the above is true, too. But you do not need to be so strict, as you can simply "date-to-play". I came to the conclusion that instead of games, I´d actually prefer combined posts of considerable length for the two week break. Maybe the discussion makes me rethink?
  2. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    My typical lawyer question would be . . . could you please clearify the term game?

    Do you mean a proper game as the JC defines it? A game with back and forth and GM updates and OPs and submission stages and so on? Oh, it needs to be cut and trimmed at least and to be more htan a working game you need a lot of good plot and story and probably players hwo are really into it. The format ITSELF was made for longtime play and it´s rules and adjustment are based on weekly updates and slow development of both plot and character. Fastforwarding it won´t work that well. That is why classical post-by-post never got that popular on the web. Because now ocmes something that will probablx lead to a bit disbelief. Three weeks is the maximum length of games in other communities. How that? Well, they approach the thing totally different. Online text-based RPing really got more options and if you have only three weeks to do it, that might be the perfect, perfect time too look into them.

    What comes to my mind . . . and I really just float around, experts are other people . . .

    Chat-RPing. It is really the dominant form. I believe there were more people online in the old, legendary White Wolf chat per day than ever posted around here. Until it´s fashistic hierarhcy brought the whole tihng down in 2006 it was a roaring beast with uneuqaled success. Still it´s private owned heirs do pretty fine around the web. They really do. Other games like this are available on various sites. Spin.de is very frequented by Germans. Even those from aorund here. I heard of a page based om InvasionFree which only does it. TheSithGirly´s monomyth is done that way. Chat, post transcripts or do summaries or even work it into literature-like posts. Or simply chat, it all works. Drawback? You need to be online at the same time. Advantage? You cover things in minutes that you cover around here in weeks. A lot more dialogue heavy approaches are possible.

    Time-frame RPing. You get everybody online in a certain time frame and do scenes in big back-and-forth. Much like LordT and Mitth did it with me lately in SotF, although I believe we never did make an appointment, we posted around the same time every day later. Fin and I did our final duel in 128 ABY that way. We played it out at the RPING table and then wrote our posts accoridng to our tabletop results and then we got online at 15:00 and began posting. Every 30 minutes one we agreed. We could have done the same for playing out the scene, so that might have worked. The old wizardsboards worked with that format. Meet at 1800 US time and play for three hours. Two GMs doing two scenes with three players each. Eight people in total. Three hours for one chapter, with everybody posting three to four times an hour. Do the math. It becomes quite a game in three such sessions. A bit like MMOing without the graphic engine.

    Freestyle. My favourite time of doing it. This was developed on boards which have no "fanfic" section. When you imply it here, people always say it is too close to that. The GM, if you wanna call him a GM still, maybe more of a storyteller, gives you certain "points" to include in your posts and the rest is up to you. Just make him an interesting read. He does that with tree players/characters who all are linked to each other. When characters meet, see options above. And through that you tell a story in something like 30 big, long posts. It is more about writing and enjoying creating the world than fastmoving plot. But as the story is developed by a Gamemaster and not yourself it is really more of an RP and less of a fanfic. Also being good in latter might actually kinda help.

    All these formats usually only last a week or two, with three being a slow moving epic thing. So all three could help doing games. if I understood it right Fin seems to approach the whole thing of "interims gaming" as a FREESTYLE game? Much appreciated. Fin uses the technique quite much in finales, anyway. Also under a different name. Anyway, my two cents are . . . the above techniques might make more sense than o
  3. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    Don't quite have enough time to go into detail, but a few things that jumped out at me below.

    Xany: An average of 14 posts to wrap up a game, eh? It can be done, but not if the game was a "traditional" one. Unless you just played out the first chapter of a traditional game. For example, what if you had closed Corellia after the getting-to-know-you prologue and just called that a game in itself, then launched Act 1 as another game. Not that you should have. But you'd be building on your foundations each time and potentially gathering new players for each act. I'm rambling here.

    I think what I'm getting at, is, why do we always take the approach of a-thread-per-entire-story, instead of a-thread-per-act?

    As for not having been done before, I'd forgot that we have actually tried something similar fairly recently. Rostu's Renegades: Return with the Jedi (full title included on account of being awesome) was a mixed bag, but it set a pretty furious pace to begin with.

    LordT: The usual posting sequence is 3 updates and thre responses is one scene. Intro GM, intro player, problem by GM, solution by player, result by GM, reflection by player.

    That's a very interesting breakdown. It rings true, though I haven't gone looking for posts to test its veracity.

    Or maybe an in media res - against the clock scenario? A simple dialogue could work, but that is probably very close to a chat then. You can build up little.

    I think in media res would be almost compulsory for games of this type. And a straightforward "chat" might not be so bad, if done well.

    Fins: At some point you can better play-by-chat.

    That's so true. I think many of us have had those moments when you happen to be online at the same time as another player, and about halfway through your posting exchange you wonder "wouldn't it have been easier to just do this over AIM or something?"

    Sirak: Do you mean a proper game as the JC defines it? A game with back and forth and GM updates and OPs and submission stages and so on? Oh, it needs to be cut and trimmed at least and to be more htan a working game you need a lot of good plot and story and probably players hwo are really into it. The format ITSELF was made for longtime play and it´s rules and adjustment are based on weekly updates and slow development of both plot and character. Fastforwarding it won´t work that well.

    Haha, that's a very good point. This is the crux of the problem, I suppose.

    Of the three options you present, I also prefer the "freestyle" version. I'm not really fussed about appearing too much like fanfic. I used to worry about that sort of thing, but it's since dawned on me that we're all writing fanfic. Our "RPG" fanfic is just more collaborative than "real" fanfic, and we specialise in writing particular characters. Several famous RPGs- notably the GAW series- are not that much different from epic Round Robin fanfics. Which isn't a bad thing, it's just their style.

    Time-frame RPing is hard to coordinate. It requires another level of commitment. And I know there must be some players like me who take half an hour to write a two paragraph post. :p I keep it open in a tab and go back and forth from it until it's finished. So it wouldn't suit players like me. But then I guess players like me aren't the ones you want for a super-short game.
  4. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    So inspired by this discussion I have rethought my idea of a final bow and come to the conclusion that an Experiment has it´s own value. So I digged up my ages old concept of "After the Rain" and think that might be my farewell ride . . . a game completely written in combines. No GM update whatsoever after the first post, so that it becomes unrecognizable what is my doing and what is my players, actually. A perfect format for a Noir Crime story which usually lives from a very ego-centric view on things . . .

    And Sirak, that was an excellent summary of doing things different. These three are the tried and tested methods not used here. For a three weeks game any of the three might work better than just GMing it in a hurry. And hope for faster updates, too!


    My prediction btw, after seeing the Intro thread: Neo Noir will soon be raging here.
  5. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Arguably a lot of games and storylines existing are already Neo Noir in a way. But anyway, happy to see that is your choice, LordT. Whenever it happens, I won´t miss your farewell ride for anything in the world [face_laugh] So let´s see what experiments the MOVE brings forth. It indeed might be a very good time to broaden the horizon and adapt new methods for this unique situation. Fins project in SotS already seems to make good use of this break. So I hope other games follow. It is chance to something different with the familiar characters, really. Three weeks, no board. Temp board, only. And whatever we do is gone after those weeks. I was not aware of that last point, but it makes it even a bit more intruiging.
  6. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I was thinking of Rostu's Renegades when I wrote that, but didn't that go overtime? We will have considerably more time pressure on the temp boards - when the transfer is done, they'll go down, or at least that is my understanding. With any other game we've had before (or will have since) going over by a couple of days won't be an issue, but it will be on the temp boards.


    why do we always take the approach of a-thread-per-entire-story, instead of a-thread-per-act?

    I suppose, like many things, this has its roots in history and precedent more than anything.

    That said, in my opinion a game should be a self-contained module with a clear beginning, middle, and end. That's why I said I thought it might work as an adventure story: I don't think it could've worked with a prologue-type thing because there's really nothing interesting in a prologue. In Corellia it was like, you land on the space station, here are some other people you'll be working with, here are your rooms, here is where you eat, please go meet the captain. That's not an interesting game. It's an interesting buildup to a game, but not very good by itself.

    A short game - whatever it is - will have to condense dramatic structure into a tiny tiny package.


    And I know there must be some players like me who take half an hour to write a two paragraph post. I keep it open in a tab and go back and forth from it until it's finished. So it wouldn't suit players like me. But then I guess players like me aren't the ones you want for a super-short game.

    I do this! So it wouldn't suit me either. :p I'm terrible at chat room RPing for that same reason. I just don't write fast enough, and if I don't edit what I write I wind up hating it.
  7. Sir_Draco Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    Well, you can do prologues who are a lot more playable. See James Bond.


    Anyway, I propose we take this topic back on our lsit after the MOVE to see how it worked out for those who plan to try! I would love to hear how it all worked out.
  8. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4

    [image=http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z205/JekyllnHyde_photos/July%2017th%202011/tumblr_kve9hzXe3H1qznk94o1_400.jpg]
    Winged's (not quite) Weekly Rounds

    The Operating Table

    Onwards and sideways. This week we discuss "Players- the unknown factor."

    As put by LordT:

    Every game needs players. Games are made by GMs, but brought to life by players. Who are your players? How do you manage, treat and motivate them? Do you have regulars or is it always a new mix for you? What works for you in a player, and what doesn't?


    The Waiting Room

    1. Feature: Behind The Scenes
    2. Disc: Multimedia
    3. Disc: GM Techniques and Secrets
    4. Feature: The Games That Never Were
    5: OP: Lukes_Apprentice
    6. Feature: The First Challenge
    7. (your topic here)

    GM Of The Week...is pashatemur, for reviving the great Galaxy at War from a seasonal slumber!

    Did You Know...that there have been ten Final Fantasy games started since the NSWRPF was founded, but only three of them made it to 50 posts?
  9. Sir_Draco Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    By no means I am expert on htis topic, but especially the hard times I had dealing wiht my players made me think a lot about it. So I´ll throw out some of my thoughts and hope for more insight from the wiser and more seasoned GMs around.


    Who are your players? Do you have regulars or is it always a new mix for you?


    Well, I did two games and I think except two players of which one was my own sister, I had two very different "teams" on both of them. I actually enjoyed this a lot, as every player brings something new to the table and gives another perspective to things. Perspective is important, as telling your story through their perspective is what I feel is what we do here. So I see the use of "well-known" players, I feel it is always a good thing to get new takes on things into a game. I had the luck to see this in both my games, as long as they lasted. I have seen it in other games to much greater effect. Sirak, sprintABM, Fin, LordT and those many EUC guys really did interesting things in 128 ABY back in the days. The many newbies really made The Sins of the Saints very special in it´s first run. The sequel profits from the new players a lot, as they bring frsh takes to the familiar game. I am sure someone knowing more games could give many more such examples.

    So my players are those who read my OP and wanna join the ride. I am really open-minded there. Maybe a bit too much at times.



    How do you manage, treat and motivate them?

    When I started ME: Ashen I asked Fin (my RPF mentor) how he does it, because I always found he did it well and he simply answered:

    Give them the best game you got and don´t try to please them, but try to surprise them and please them.

    I ran with that advice, not compromising, but trying to tell my story the best I could. I try to update every player equally. I also try to give them all at all times something interesting to do. Be it vanishing miners in hostile environment, mysterious patients, a mystery, a strange and creepy affection by a NPC or simply a dialogue with some rough drunks at the bar (my basic intros to Ashen) I try to be entertaining and yes . . . as cinematic as possible. I think as long as people feel like this scene could be in a good movie, they feel like they wanna see more.
    Of course fairness is important. And yet to tell a good story you sometimes have to be demanding. Don´t give ´em weapons, because they want some. It is boring. I don´t make everything clear and every twist totally neutral and fair. But I try to show that an evil plot-twist is done in the good sense I try to entertain them and I found out players were more than ready to accept that. I do not believe in "leads" also I have seen games have great results with that concept of core-players. I believe it doesn´t suit me as a GM, so I try to give everybody the same portion of story. Depending on their update speed, of course.

    The best thing that happened to me was when I left my own game and handed it over to another GM and my players did not hold it against me and actually most of them stayed and concluded the game. I think despite us being not regular co-players in other games, that was a good sign of trust.

    In crisis I wasn´t a very good GM I felt. But I think when a player-crisis happens I feel you have to contain it early and not be over-negotiating things (as I did the first two times). Sometimes a GM must be judge, probably.



    What works for you in a player, and what doesn't?

    Basically I said it above. They need to take things in the sense it is given. I am not opposed to minor godmodding, when they make an awesome scene out of it, or do a cinematic kill. I also like them to mingle, to interact among each other so this is something I look to in those times. Bascially it is like a DVD evening and I bring the movie. So I hope they all like the same movies I did. In my first game I looked for people who loved the 80ties early 90ties action flicks and those who shared my love for those actually were the most easy to h
  10. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well, to nobodies surprise I can see a lot of my philosophy up there in Draco´s entry. But I probably should add a bit here and there.



    Every game needs players. Games are made by GMs, but brought to life by players.

    Agreed.


    How do you manage, treat and motivate them?


    Oh that is a big question. I made so many, many mistakes here, before I found my drive . . . Motivation is simple once you get it. I expect them to bring some and then I do whatever I can to keep it and probably even make it grow. Players are the blood of the body of any game. You do it all for the players. BUT I am not doing fanservices. I think that keeps many games from ascending beyond their natural limits is that the GMs care too much about fulfilling expectations. I do my game and I assume they wanna be in it. If not I don´t want them to "suffer and try hard". This is not meant to be work. If they wanna hear my story though, they shall sit down at the campfire. I am gonna tell them my story. Once they have bitten, a good story is motication in itself.

    Story structure is also a key. Because progress works in all stories the same way. And by using sructures you give the players something unconsciously familiar to keep up with. Maybe something for the GM technique topic coming up.

    And then I try to give them as much freedom as they can take. Never too much so they loose their grip on the game, never too little, so they feel like railroaded.

    Twists, interesting NPCs and the common things to do as a GM and everything that Draco basically talked about above is something I bring to the table if I can. Doesn´t work always. But often enough.



    Do you have regulars or is it always a new mix for you?

    Regulars I certainly do have. Several these days, which I am very happy about. I always know what Mitth, Sirak, LordT, Draco and Spy bring to the table. Seen them in most of my games. And I consider them all to be friends and efriends. So yeah, I am happy to have them. In GM-theory terms speaking though: regulars are overestimated.

    It´s the newbies you need to have to make a great game.

    You doubt that, do you?

    Think about it. I mean it.

    What your player-crew needs to have is a hunger for your story. Enthusiasm. Fresh angles. The potential to surprise you. All big games in here had break-out performances by newbies, I believe. My own The Sins of the Saints would simply have been impossible without a few rare faces and a few new or renewed ones. They gave my rather exotic take on things a chance and they fell in love with it (so do they say in the PMs I got back then). Only fair those guys got the recognition back then. They made the game, which everybody considered to be such a "successful"-game. Half the "establsihed players" expected Aria of the Soul II and dropped out. Then we had our regular "droppers" and those in seven games, who divide their time between them and manage games, instead of diving into them. Those guys are great and reliable and I love to have them. But they sit there, stare at you and say: Put me on fire.

    And they expect you won´t manage to do it. They have seen great games and they are critics by now.

    The newbies come in burning and from there the fire spreads. So a mix between newbies and regulars is my combination I usually look for. The success of my games I usually measure by the newbies, though.



    What works for you in a player, and what doesn't?

    I expect a player to be open to my world. Everything else I have problems with, to be honest. I am not good at convincing players of my worlds. I am actually kinda opposed to it. I don´t compromise a lot. I am killing characters. I am swimming against the stream sometimes. Thinking of it, I think I am hell of a demanding GM. So I hope, I look for players who are ready to take all this and can still enjoy my game.

    What works with me is character. Totally untainted and unrestrained vanishing of the player within the character. When people just play their character in the game and do not think about anything else. I try to pro
  11. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    How do you motivate them?


    For me this has always been an issue. Before I came here I always used long-winding plots and stories to motivate my players. Once people play a character for a while they become invested and enjoy the story-progression. Since I came here I enjoyed doing hsorter things and I always found this was a problem. Some GMs seem to have a good vibe here. Mysteries seemed to work especially well, but I always found it difficult to maintain the aura of mystery, reveal a bit and keep them guessing. Or make them guessing in the first place. Player-trust, as staed above, is here key, probably. If you show players you can do good stories, a lot is won.

    What works well is foreshadowing, of course. Not only the direct one through prophecies, but to have plots which obviously lead to a certain point, confrontation or something like that. And then there is danger. Danger and challenges seem to work great. They are the fast track to player motivation. But keeping those up in the long run needs a good timing.

    Actually Fin I would like to hear about story-structure. How is it useful in that regard? Is it the familiar patterns that keep people in the loop?
  12. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    I'm back from a brief absence. Let's move straight on to our next (eagerly anticipated!) topic.


    [image=http://images.wikia.com/planetoftheapes/images/a/a3/Zaius_1.jpg]
    Winged's (not quite) Weekly Rounds

    The Operating Table

    This week, our first ever Behind The Scenes feature, in which we take a peek past the curtain! I'll hand over to one of our favourite GMs and let him take it from here.


    The Waiting Room

    1. Disc: Multimedia
    2. Disc: GM Techniques and Secrets
    3. Feature: The Games That Never Were
    4: OP: Lukes_Apprentice
    5. Feature: The First Challenge
    6. (your topic here)

    GM Of The Week...is Trieste (with a nod to Commissioner CPL_Macja) for completing another successful Limmie season and getting another started!

    Did You Know...that you can RP elsewhere on these boards, namely within The Lower House of the EU Senate?

  13. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Thanks Winged. I feel very honored and hope this little piece will be enjoyable to read for some of you.

    Well, little piece . . . it actually turned out to be the longest post I have ever done. Therefore let´s not loose any time you´ll need to read it, if you actually dare to work yourself through the whole thing.


    So I was asked to do a Behind-the-scene featurette of one of my more memorable scenes I did as a GM and it was pretty clear to me immediately, it was probably a good time to break my silence about the finale of 133 ABY. So today I will try to explore how this finale came together, what were my moves to make it happen and what effect my players had on it.



    Behind the Scenes ? The 133 ABY ? The Dark Odyssey Finale

    So I was asked to do a Behind-the-scene featurette of one of my more memorable scenes I did as a GM and it was pretty clear to me immediately, it was probably a good time to break my silence about the finale of 133 ABY - The Dark Odyssey. So today I will try to explore how this finale came together, what were my moves to make it happen and what effect my players had on it.


    Prelude



    I remember the time when I reached 133 ABY´s finale clearly. It was almost three years ago now. A lot in this game had been planned, outlined and blended early on, as it was based on the notes of deceased GM for whom I had taken over.

    Anyway, the finale was pretty much a blank and I knew the game had been going on quite well and people were deeply involved in the experience of this game. It had consumed a lot of energy and attention of people and I was fully aware I had to deliver now. I had to reward them with a worthy finale. I also was aware, that I could never give them anything worth their effort put into that game. So I decided to try to do something unusual. I hope within this article I can show that I am not to credit for this and it isn´t false humbleness, but my serious opinion, that the 133 ABY finale showed - beyond any doubt - that players make games.
    Now enough of a pretext. This will get terribly long anyway.


    I. The Set-Up


    The idea of the 133 ABY finale was, to have two of them. The game itself was a blending of HONORverse, the old German´s campaign we did before even knowing the RPF existed and ABYverse, the amazing universe Sinre had created out of the Legacy series. To make it a proper wrap up of all storylines, I had therefore to satisfy both storylines. I had to conclude my story developed from 128 ABY and I had to conclude Xenly.

    What is Xenly?

    Xenly, I guess I should explain that, was my main antagonist of the game. A hive of dark-side insects. Something like an arcane experiment gone wrong. Originally meant to be an army breed from Verpine drones, it turned into an embodiment of the Dark Side guided by the trapped madness of the name-giving Verpine Dark Jedi Xenly. Whatever Xenly touches, Xenly kills. He is poison. A Dark Side equivalent of radioactive material that had a lot of insectoid bodies tight together in a hive mind. (you think I ripped of Gorog? Xeny came into existence 1999. Interesting is it?) It also had a special connection with one of my player - Kira Romar (played by SirakRomar at this point in her third and final game). It would proof to be the most double edged sword for her and my major bridgehead into players hearts for the finale. Portraying Xenly was therefore my first challenge. Bad guys usually become cliché very easy. Dark Jedi are a bit worse even. red saber, dark hood, evil laughter. Done.
    Xenly had to be different. The fear of him would drive this finale, I knew. And . . . Xenly wasn´t my making. He has been around in games for ten years. So I needed to live up to some great GMs before me, too.

    He also had not really been seen in his true nature so far, so I could so anything with him. I tried a different approach. The Hive as I referred to them,
    />
  14. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Fascinating! :D

    I didn't realize so much (or so little, paradoxically) went into GMing that scene. Shows you can get a lot out of just giving your players room to create.
  15. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Oh wow, that is really insightful and for me who was there more than a bit interesting. It is also rather long and therefore I´ll go into the various parts later and hope you´ll discuss things with us. Anyway, one thing jumped to my mind while reading it.

    I think you are too humble and really underestimate this little move by you. You had made Talia such a deep and complex character. She basically betrayed us and we all rooted for her anyway, because we understood why . . .

    And we build these scene up, sure. the conflict was there, the characters all stayed totally in line and all their development came to a perfect high in that scene. But we players had no resolution, we only had the crisis. And your post as Talia - and that is where the brilliance of your GMing lay - brought it to a sudden, very emotional and meaningful and yet totally unusual - finale. Talia doing it ended her developemnt, Tenks, Kira´s. All in one post. It was the absolute darkest moment of it all, as not our enemies but our friends turned on us and actually did the riight thing (which was also unforgivable in a way, which was so brilliantly deep about it). My death scene you so proudly post there was inspired by this terrible situation and the remption and damnation we all found in it.

    So yes, less-is-more sometimes, but you knew the right moment, not one post to early or late, to take it out of our hands and stop talking and facing ourselves . . .

    You realize none of us thought of it anything else than the absolute finale?

    All it needed. And nobody else could have done that. It was a lovely timing and perfect post. The shot really was one of those after which there is no music and only silence as you sit there shocked as an audience. Then you pick up your pieces and bring it all to an end. And God I believed I write Kira´s death, until this unforseen and yet plausible redemption moment arrived. It was masterful. Especially because it was surprising and yet so rooted in the 1000 posts before. So among the important posts in that finale it was probably your only one, but the most important of all. Something GMs can learn from (I certainly did). Don´t write the story. Push it and if you rise your voice as a GM say something meaningful.

    Trust your players is certainly another lesson. Also I strongly believe to do it like you did, you need to build a pretty deep relationship with their characters. On that maybe next time.

    Thanks for sharing this, Fin!
  16. Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 5
    Ah, 133ABY, I wonder if Sarge has healed from it yet? o_O

    That was a great ending in my book, I kept thinking Kiar was going to die. Every PM was an 'Oh, next post then.' It got to the point just before the end I was posting more to see if he would survive to make another post. Then at the end watching Kira die I thought, Kiar dies of blood loss in five, four, three, two, one. . .negative one, negative two...He lived!

    It was one of the biggest shocks beyond the game itself and its ending. As for you the GM taking a break, if I remember right we all needed a break at the end of that game. It was a sigh of relief, like watching a really intense movie where the final scene has played and they show blue sky or some other soothing nature/life scene for thirty seconds before giving the epilogue. Being in an RP spanning so much time it felt right to have that break, to get up go to a park and smell the nothing on the air.

    PM GMing, that was unique for me as a player to have done not just one rare post, but for so many scenes to get a little PM guiding the next post. I think it got to be two pages of PMs in my inbox of just Fins updates, and was spilling well into a third by the end. It was daunting, it was relieving, and after the final posts it was a happy instance after a while to get a PM for the epilogue and look back at all those previous ones.:)
  17. Sarge221 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2006
    star 5
    Pfffft, no. Now I'm just the "bitter veteran" RPer that unfairly judges newbie/casual players while taking shots of Mountain Dew and swearing off anymore German-led games until that one day some mysterious personz/someone from the pastz walks in and gives him an offer he can't refuse [face_cowboy] Or opening up to a said newbie/casual player to guide/save them from their own RPing troubles *pours himself a shot now*


    But as for the discussion about Odyssey...what can I say? A lot has been said already both here and other threads, but I think Odyssey's one unfair advantage over other games is that, obviously, there was a lot of history to back it up what with Sinre's Sith-Imperial War game where a lot of us had already had previous developments and attachments with our characters. That's where Kira, Xenly, Tenk, Talia, and a bunch of other characters came from whether directly or indirectly (such as Si). And considering that game didn't exactly finish and Sinre decided to write some ambiguous endings for our characters off to the side to wrap things up, there was probably a hidden longing of completing a character's story for all of us. That's how I got roped into Odyssey anyway and (considering the history concerning some of our players and/or GMs), I would assume some people like Sirak probably had a stronger pull then I did. I figured it could be a way to give my character a more final ending and, hey, could have some fun with this latest adventure.

    Course, this adventure involved him getting stabbed, eye-zapped (again), nearly driven insane, nearly devoured mentally and/or physically by bugs, and having a traitor wife.

    ...........Yeah. Suddenly this wasn't a nice, easy, fun, and safe adventure I originally thought it would be >.> So realizing that my character was in real danger caused me to invest a bit more then you usually would. And considering that I had previously developed my character and had more of an attachment to him then I did for my other characters....yyyeeeeeaaaah. Do Not Want Death.

    Course it wasn't just my character and the new dangers that he had to deal with but other characters as well. As much as I developed Tenk in Sith-Imperial, I was tracking some of our other players during that game which included Sirak's Kira Romar and her trials. She didn't get much in the way of happy memories either and it opened up a bit of a bond between my character and hers. As much as I didn't want Tenk to die, I especially didn't want characters that had went through similar experiences to meet such a fate either whether it be Talia, Kira, Melmont, etc. While I initially had Tenk not wanting to have really anything to do with this conflict, the plights of the other characters forced him to take more direct action.

    Which had led to a bunch of memorable scenes. Tenk beating Xenly? That was born from a drive of "DON'TDIEOMGZ!" But, like I said, while I was worried about my character's preservation, I would be worried for others. It didn't help that Fins kind of upped the ante with the whole Kira being pregnant and a possible fate of being imprisoned by Hoole until her son would come of age to kill her and become the ultimate dark side weapon. Or being consumed by Xenly. So when it came to the final struggle between Hoole and Kira, I had Tenk jump in to intervene. Not from any direction from the GM but because of my desire to not have Kira die/fall/consumed/whatever. I'm personally proud of myself for that scene because, as I just said, there was no direction about what I should do, I just did it. And I struggled about it if I should because, as some may know, I fell into...*counts fingers* One...two...three? Quite a few number of traps in Odyssey by trying to take a goody-good cliche or other "clever" routes like using a stun saber (which led to stabbage) or trying to get Xenly as an ally (near-consumption of mind and body). So it kind of went something like:

    "Gotta do something he
  18. Sir_Draco Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    I remember that finale. How very insightful. When you read through it, you indeed feel it might have been all planned out by you, Fin. Anyway, I wonder how much the backstory and history of the other games influenced your decisions. Did you felt sort of a "friendly rivalry" with the marvellous 128 ABY finale?

    Anyway, the characters were really all top of their game and I loved how players totally did not follow the clichée there. I think you know you got a good grip of your character, when you free yourself of expectations. Kira turned into something almost a villain, also I understood her reasons. Hoole? Did you people know LordT ended short below 2000 posts on four boards with him? We counted once. To give him another totally believable spin in this finale was for us long time fans amazing. Hoole the old, bitter dying man who finally shows his fans were all along right. He is not the typical Dark Jedi psychopath, but rather a highly effective and controlled sociopath. That Vong/Dark God storyline with the rebirth of Xenly (the person) was so great and I loved Kiar going after his God! Tenk Qatar, I actually did not like early on, because he was so desperatly trying to be a Jedi in a world that did not need them anymore. Kira was the badass, Tenk the softie. But in that finale I saw that he had a pureness, that did allow him to overcome his limits, truly. He was a Jedi and a true Jedi was Xenly´s perfect match. Incorruptible. But what I loved was how being the good guy did make you a winner.

    For me the most marvellous thing was the udel probably. How the reader slowly realize Hoole does not want to kill any of them. He is sooo tired. We know he is a grandmaster of saber-fencing, he could kill Tenk easily and even Kira with all her burrowed power seems to be no match for him. But he never intended to do so. He wants the child and his dreams come true in it. He is dying, poisoned by Xenly over decades. He tried it all and it did not work. And when he fails I felt he expected it. It was kinda heartbreaking.

    But I join the camp of people accusing Fin to be too humble :p 1000 posts of which 50 were the finale. The other 950 were cunning, ruthless, highly-creative plots getting people to that point. Your plot gave people the chance to make those characters their Masterpieces. The finale was probably little more than the pay off for the best build up characters ever. So it was only fair you could lean back and enjoy the show, right? [face_laugh] In less fan-oriented and more GM-oriented terms: The GM part in the finale was building up to it since post 120. When it came everybody knew what they were doing there.


    And also I believe Sarge does the Germans a great injustice when he accuses us of being as cruel as Fin as a GM, I must confess 133 ABY had the opposite effect on me.

    Desite me not being there for the finale and both my chars dead . . . I felt joining another game that did not show the promise of such a depth in characters . . . difficult afterwards. And Mitth got it right there. It is simply tough to enjoy a good 42 minutes of Magnum, PI right after you have seen Silence of the Lambs, you know?

    So a few questions to Fin actually:

    Was the plan to be that intense?

    When did you choose the players roles? I always expected Melmot and Tenk to duel in the end, then it never happened. Were such things planned out all along?

    How did 128 ABY and Verluste influence you stylewise and contentwise?


  19. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Too little time to go into detail, but what an insightful read. I think the finale and they way it worked shows pretty good that games make finales. A good game will have a good finale. 133 ABY just reaped what was already blossoming through a whole game.
  20. Sarge221 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2006
    star 5
    Hey, I joined Ashen and TORR didn't I? :p My comment was just a purposely over-exaggerated generalization of German GMs made for my usual joking manner where I never take anything seriously [face_laugh]

    Funny thing though, I did not really expect Tenk to become that much of a softie/Jedi as he ended up becoming. Believe it or not, before Odyssey had even started, I had suggested to Fins that Talia would be dead. That she had in fact died on Bakura and its something else that Tenk would have to wrestle with on this adventure.

    Course, Fins used the persuasive "I haz planz" - complete with Jedi hand wave - and I decided to go with his advice of keeping her alive and being married.

    And then came his "planz" and.....yeah.....we all know how that went [face_worried]

    But back to the matter at hand, Draco's comment about players getting a chance to turn their characters into "Masterpieces" in Odyssey really is something I can get behind. This is especially true for Tenk. At first I did want him to be more conflicted, doubtful of himself, hesitant, and all-in-all not the person that he would eventually become. I mean me suggesting that Talia was dead was to be an additional factor into his inner conflict and darkness.

    Course, that was when I realized there was plenty of dark to go around between Kira's mental and emotional torture, Jacen's inner demons, Talia's betrayals, the twisted individual that had become Melmont, and so on. Honestly, Dark Odyssey really emphasized Dark and I know when the game started I had thought "Wow...this is just too depressing. I gotta bring some light here!" [face_thinking]

    And that light ended up being Tenk. By the time Tenk got stabbed for his stupidity of using a training saber against a Sith and what seemed like Kira starting to make her descent to the dark side during that duel, I was convinced that I needed to rework my original plans. Odyssey didn't need another depressing character that wanted to end things but fix things. So despite whatever Fins may throw at Tenk, I was going to focus on just getting past them and get my character to try and help out others.

    Then Talia "died" [face_laugh] After such a blow, I had thought to drift Tenk back into depression and focus on bringing Hoole down.

    When he got his eyes zapped, I realized how stupid that was and had immediately tried to go back to focus him on figuring out how to solve everyone's problems.

    Then he contacted Xenly [face_beatup]

    Funnily enough, that was probably the defining moment as to what I wanted to do with my character. Fins had my back to the wall, I was scrambling around for things to do, and it was actually skimming through Matthew Stover's Shatterpoint that finally directed me to the path that Tenk should've taken all along: the Jedi path. No, there were no Jedi in Odyssey. That was the problem. We had plenty of Force users, but all of them immersed in the dark side. Even in the beginning of the game I had Tenk declare himself as not being a Jedi and not really intending to become one again. A mistake. So I fixed it :p

    With the stage that Fins had set up which formed into the finale, I was given enough freedom to transform my character into an active participant of it. As Fins had mentioned, he had decided to sit back and watch what happens which gave me freedom to do with Tenk as I saw fit to supply what was needed with all the dark-sidedness running around what with dark side bugs, Kira's fall, and Hoole's own dark planningz. At first I thought Tenk's efforts would end in failure what with Kira's fall but his rediscovery of the light would grant him the power needed to pull Kira out from the darkness of death itself.

    Odyssey has definitely left an impression on me and I know my recent characters have been constructed partly due to my experiences in Odyssey.
  21. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    It is actually my absolute believe as a GM that every game is only as good as it´s characters. Games are characters living through a story made by the GM. Of course you need to have a good story, but it is always reflected, brought alive and excuted by the characters in it. So the balance between railroading and freedom is they key to making a game any good. As this post above probably shows my only achievment as a GM was allowing them room to develop and more wasn´t needed or asked for.

    A game is it´s characters. So was 133 ABY - The Dark Odyssey.



    1. Absolutely, also it surpassed my wildest dreams. I wanted the game to be dark, so I needed investing, well played characters, obviously. The story asked for them. I did what I could to "push" character development. I actually always do. But here, with those refined characters from post one I had an advantage (as Sarge observed totally right) and with the characters I introduced I made some extra effort to give them depth.

    2. That duel was pretty early off the table. But when Tenk turned into more and more of a "Jedi" I actually knew I would put him against Xenly. Xenly feels drawn to the lightsiders by instinct. He isn´t smart, but hungry. How did I choose roles? I didn´t really. It came naturally to the game. I just had my elements like Hoole, Xenly, the Sith and I tried to have them act within their limits and make my characters react. That pretty much cleared that question up. Mitth early on became an enemy of Yarong (the Vong name for Xenly), Tenk was the guy who tried to be a "good man" early on, so I knew Xenly would have a problem with him and Hoole would take him serious. Hoole always had respect for Jedi in his wicked way. He once was one. He thought of himself as one for a long time. Kira was pregnant and that twist always brought her on a collusion course with Hoole who wanted her kid (plotted already in 128 ABY- Collapsing Galaxy). U´tek was about loyalty, so him and Talia (who did what was necessary to make her family survive, she was a traitor because she traded her loyalty to save Tenk!). Talia was caught in the Vutlure´s web. The Vulture (TGI) was driven by his anatgonism to Hoole, so was Selpha, because Hoole used Mandos. Si always wanted to save Kira and was destined to fail. And so on and so on . . . I never choose hose, they were pretty clear to me from the start or at least after post 200.

    3. It was sequel to both game. Verluste (the German finale of our Honorverse in 2003? 2004? It means Casualties and was our last big game) was 200 years over, but it was Xenly´s origin story. The earlier finale The Siege of Roche actually served as a direct prequel to this game in many ways. Xenly´s creation, Siri Romar, Hoole. They all were born in their current form there and then I simulated their development over the passing time. SoZ script referenced it quite a bit. Greatest challenge of the game was incorporating it in a way that new players understood it. But that was done, when the finale went down. Only the final reveal that the original Xenly was a bad guy and Hoole a moderate bad guy back then was revealed in Tenk´s visions when he had his mental battle.

    128 ABY was the origin of most of our characters. This was an ABYverse game. A finale to character arcs from ABYverse. So those two were on my mind all the time. Again, that was natural to me. Very natural, actually. 133 ABY- The Dark Odyssey was a sequel. It could stand on it´s own, storywise, but as I said above the characters were what counted and they were rooted in those games.

    Despite that SoZ and Sinre were the guys I learned GMing from. I used many of their techniques. So I think
  22. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    You could call this A Case Study In Hands-Off GMing. It's a great example of what you can do when you trust your players- and when you've set things up well enough that they can repay that trust.

    Fins' trademark GMing-by-PMing is, incidentally, the reason I chose him first for these features. You can't get much more Behind-The-Scenes than that! :p

    So a great read here. Thank you to the 133 ABY crew for popping in to discuss it and sharing your thoughts, and thank you most of all to Fins for the original analysis and for his answers to your questions.

    I'll give it a day or two and then we'll move on, so if anyone has anything else to add, please do so.
  23. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Well, I´ll gonna make good use of the remaining time then to give my input on this rather surprising in depth analysis of the what happened behind-the-scenes of this memorable finale. Yes, certainly Fin did not push himself into the first line to yell at us how brilliant he was, but left the actual writing, characters and actions to us. Nevertheless I felt his hand in it, more so than he probably did. I have never before or thereafter seen a finale like this. The mood, the setting and the character connections to each other were . . . fresh and yet Star Warsy familiar. What was the most important though was, everybody had got that by then and nobody went through the finale on SW autopilot (a terrible phenomenon very common in all strong franchises - autopilot gaming). Rather I felt inspired and challenged to give my best and I felt everybody including Fin counted on it. I also felt I am asked, motivated and encouraged to give the game my best Hoole. He did not wanted me to scare people as a GM, he never asked me to . . . but to fascinate people with the backstory I was part of. That is a big call and also a lot of fun to undergod such a megalomaniac thing that trying to fascinate people. Dunno if it worked, but that was a rather unique thing to ask of me.

    I guess all other characters were equally challenged. He did not allow us to make our characters masteripieces, Fin encouraged us to do so and actually . . . and that´s the reason why he was so well regarded after this game by most people who were in it . . . he also showed us how to make them masterpieces. There was an idea and a vision underlying 133 ABY and that one was what we all got. Than we did not need updates on who shoots who in the very end . . . that was obviously not what was going on. We needed to see how it ended.


    So yes, Fin stayed silent. But it wasn´t the silence of a guy who is overrun by his players and we who played there all know that. It was the silence of a composer listening to the world premiere of his symphony. He might not be a good flute player, which doesn´t mean it isn´t his beauty that shines through every note. The genius is in the notes. The arrangment just threatens to ruin it.


    Now, what is there to learn of it? I mean we ask successful GMs of successful games to do these things here so we can look into their cards and learn a few tricks, right?

    So what is there to learn from 133 ABY? I disagree with Fin that "allowing players to take over" is the lesson. "allow your players to take over, once you did proper prepare them!" That might be more like it.

    So how to prepare? I believe the techniques of Fin are worth a look for any GM. GMing-by-PMing is hell of an effective technique. The balance between railroading and freedom is also something to consider. But what is the trick, what made Fin´s game leagues above . . . let´s say my game playing in the same year and being a terrible failure (133 ABY - The Cold Embrace had a cooler title and then I lost to Fin in every category, I admit it)? The trick is (imho) player immersion. Fin sucks in players. He captures you and drags you deeper into these dark places his games often are.

    How does he do it? Well, I have some insight into that process, having Co-GMed four games at his side. And what I believe is the key here, is that Fin does not think in scenes and Chapters and totally not in posts, but he thinks in character arcs and story-structures. 133 ABY - The Dark Odyssey for example had 7 chapters, but actually Fin divided it into 9 sequences with three plotpoints of which two were twists. Plotpoints, progress and then slow odwn, before plot points 2, progress once more. And I think that is a rather effective thing.

    Because drawing in players is not an art, as so many like to believe. It is a science.

    And what modern storytelling is, is nothing but drawing your consumer into the story. Now to GM here you should probably not begin to study screenplay-writing or theatre dramaturgy. But you seriously should consider check out wikipedia on it and maybe a
  24. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    That's an interesting take, LordT. I disagree slightly with the final part on it being more of a science than an art (for me it seems more similar to the spirit of improv comedy, with Fins being the experienced instructor to a group of talented performers who bounced off each other), but generally I think that was a good place to conclude the discussion. Thanks again to Fins for being kind enough to write up the feature!

    As usual, if anyone has anything else to say, please do so, but the group's focus will now move on to...



    [image=http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100117114932/masseffect/images/6/67/Mordin_Character_Box.png]
    Winged's Weekly Rounds

    The Operating Table

    The Multimedia Discussion, as suggested by Saintheart:

    Images; youtube links; game soundtracks. Do they work? Do they detract from the text-based experience? In more nuts and bolts terms, where do you go to look for yours?


    The Waiting Room

    1. Disc: GM Techniques and Secrets
    2. Feature: The Games That Never Were
    3: OP: Lukes_Apprentice
    4. Feature: The First Challenge
    5. (your topic here)

    GM Of The Week...is Bravo, for steadily guiding the Star Wars: Intervention squad through another mission and toward the 100 pages milestone!

    Did You Know...that the 007-style franchise consists of six separate games?

    />
  25. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well, just when LordT gave us a new topic to discuss . . . I think it is obvious to anybody who spend time with professional writers that at some point writing becomes a craft and only a craft. If htat is also true for the RPF (that translation was done above) is arguable. We come here ot have fun after all, right? But I must say my study of the two relevant sciences dramaturgy and narratology (which I did in a total different context and for another purpose) does not hurt.

    Yet, this is a hobby. So I think it is totally unneccessary to educate yourself to do this. Just have fun.



    So, Multimedia? Well, working under the premise of GMing is storytelling pictures obviously help. Giving players visuals of scenes is simply an awesome way to set a scene that is less effort than writing it (also probably slightly less effective) and I think I don´t have to explain to anyone, that OPs with mood setting picutres are usually quite much easier on the eye than those without. We have the advantage that we can do pictures here, really. Novelists would dream about adding photos and concept art to their books. Where do I get them? Oh, google obviously. But usually I do not find what I look for there. So I go through art pages of all sorts. I do that a lot anyway and usually save links I like. I usually use the genre term to go looking for art, too. The Sins of the Saints was fed a lot by concept art of rejected games (the wonderful NeverBe.com is gone) and actors I would have cast in the roles. Funny enough the actors would probably be cheap, I did not go for stars. :p (also my George would be more expensive these days). That serves the purpose to make it a more cincematic experience by visualising your concept. I love it. You can write all day, you will never in those short posts as a GM in which you have to do so much more . . . set the same mood as you do with a pic. If your ego demands to do with words though, there is little reason not to.

    Music? YouTube has only limited functionality in Germany anymore, because many songs are blocked now, so receiving soundtracks is more or less impossible for me. But I could - out of the remaining billion songs - still choose some as soundtrack. Lately I asked my players on SotF if they actually miss the soundtrack. Most voted for me to bring it back. All who voted actually did that. I mean my whole SotS soundtrack consistes mainly of four themes and everything else was thrown in for good spirit. Those four themes - who all include a lot of violins - are my soundtrack.

    Why did I hesitate to use them again for the return of SotS? I haven´t thought of it, but I think soundtrack integrates less well into posts than pictures do, therefore I began to doubt lately it adds really a lot to my game. Star Wars games, where the idea came from, actually has very iconic soundtracks and they are really easier to use. So there . . . it really added to the atmosphere. ManCubs, Twilight or Cold Embrace had always a special touch, because they did not use John Williams. While AFAS worked best for me, when classical SW soundtracks was used. I felt the game suffered when loosing this OT vibe it held on to for so long. The few KOTOR soundtrack pieces used in TORR were great. For Star Wars it kinda works, because it seems to be more of the Star Wars experience to listen to music. The same was true for Mass Effect, actually. The few classical ME songs mixed with creepy space themes . . . worked for me. that is, I believe, because SW and ME got a defined musical identity and playing with that, even by breaking with that . . . is interesting.

    In NSWRPF where you often hear the iPod favourites of GMs and players when they post and where you actually have few movies to look for and those usually have the famous "invisible" music . . . which is almost impossible to do here . . . all of that is a bit different. I am not saying it does not work, mind you. I say I doubt we already cracked the way to do it. But it is certainly less effective.

    Another problem is, obviously . . . we did all with it we coul
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