Wednesday, 16 September 2009

tangled threads and too much information

This month's RPG Carnival is about roleplaying mistakes and thinking back, I've made a few howlers.  My last old World of Darkness Mage game folded due to a mixture of factors, players disheartened by escalating odds and their conflicting goals but the killer was it seems too many plots.

That's not to say the plot threads weren't linked - a resurgence of the conflict between Hermetics and Tremere tied to a conspiracy of vampires and mages trying to cure vampirism through certain rites with dire consequences (as the characters learned) and drew the attention of powerful mages.

In the background were plots leading to mass Ascension.  The Technocracy sought to contain multiple threats and launched surgical strikes using intel from Nephandic sources but were losing control as the Avatar Storm was breaking down the Gauntlet and Oracles were walking the worlds.

The group of players were all seasoned roleplayers (about seventy years of gaming experience around the table) with a working knowledge of the World of Darkness; armed with handouts.  The clues were there but the players were drowning. Where did the pieces go? Was this even the same jigsaw?!

Eventually we had to fold the game due to Real Life (tm) but it was still a blow as I spent over a year running it and the same prepping for it.  That said, it's taught me a lot about organising game events; the need to recap information and using NPCs to prompt for and to summarise essential plot arcs.

It's also taught me you sometimes need to tie off loose ends in a way players can trust won't come back to bite them in the backside; you can work out a way to bring plots back if need be.  Keeping things open can distract player focus - you can't look forward while looking over your shoulder...

I'm going to post some plot threads in future posts here so you can use them; after all, I've done the groundwork for it.  In the event the game comes back around I'm not going to post threads they were directly involved in but this won't diminish the amount of material by that much.

1 comment:

  1. Something similar happened the Dark Heresy Campaign that I was playing in. It had been running for a year (although I played maybe a fifth of it).

    When the regular GM was on holiday, another player volunteered to run a one off. This culminated in the death of my character, the near death of another character and third player making two demonic pacts and having a mask made out of the skin of an ancient necromancer attached to his face.

    The regular GM came back to absolute carnage, ran a few more session before an anticipated switch to Rogue Trader, then decided that there was no way her could stick to the campaign plot and deal with the detritus of the one-off because it had just become too complicated.
    It was a shame to finish that campaign though.


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