"template & substitution" content & less details

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
King Shere King Shere's picture
"template & substitution" content & less details

Despite my love of information & prose, I'm advocating the use of "template & substitution" approach when developing content.

Much things are made & described over detailed, I feel its wasted text, print and effort.

Instead present material more deconstruction, templates. Make the Gm job easier to "conceal" the railroad. -The railroad tracks & yoke can be invisible.

"labeled but not labeled", "false choices" flowcharts of plot/reactions/responses. Creating it This way will also give it a wider use -extending the created content outside EP. Much things will be more usable if its in templates, than a static fact.

Quote:
The Action was chosen among multiple alternatives.Those alternatives was however one & the same (but perhaps wearing makeup). PCs never realized that

It didn't matter to the plot where if the players decided to travel east, instead of west. The Gm simply made the space-station into a passenger-liner & let the players enter it in the eastern sector. Society is crowded & Space is vast.

For a GM; Companies, families and Models rarely need a "fixed" name, A Mall (IRL/AFK) can have 20+ restaurants/fast-food joints. that will be under new ownership 4 years later. Players and visitors usually visits one.

Its almost wasted workmanship to have written details of the designer brand of the restaurant floor-tiles & location of each of the 20 restaurants. A list of suggested names, and only three template restaurants will make it look more fleshed out.

"Hint descriptions" for the templates for example a reminder to mention greasy floor-tiles when describing a shoddy bathroom or "shareholders".



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: "template & substitution" content & less details

King Shere wrote:
Its almost wasted workmanship to have written details of the designer brand of the restaurant floor-tiles & location of each of the 20 restaurants. A list of suggested names, and only three template restaurants will make it look more fleshed out.

I disagree. At least about the floor tiles.

Running a good game in an exotic setting requires a lot of description and verisimilitude to get into it. If you were describing a restaurant in a real-world mall you would not need much description, since we all know how it works. But would that be true in EP? Food is being assembled, the menus are virtual and might include XP clips of tastes, you get your own personal obsequious AI waiter... and that is just the printburger bar. Even the dirt on the floor will be different, since it won't be street dust mixed with grease from dropped food and some lysol from last night's cleaning, but likely a cheap nanoswarm digesting dropped crumbs discreetly. When the PCs get into a quarrel and one starts banging the other's face into the floor, it is nice to be able to describe that he can see the tiny "CeraFriends Manufacturing PLC" label between the hits...

I agree that in terms of overview it is often great to have the basic story of an adventure laid out in a flowchart of scenes or objects. But these can be highly abstract and high level, such as "X and Y gets married", "All superheroes get mindcontrolled", "End of the world" etc. But they need their dressing of details, otherwise it becomes dry and uninteresting. They also need their own behind-the-scenes logic, since you will need to update the plan when the players surprise you.

But adventures are only part of roleplaying. I often give my players very free hands to run things, trusting them to interact with a complex setting in fun ways. Adventures are just more scripted subsections of the bigger interaction. I might have a overall plan with the campaign (a Mage campaign was scripted according to the seven planets/metals, a Vampire game was explicitly set as a tragedy: the players knew it would end in tears, another campaign was slowly twisting the screws towards Armageddon), but that is more like tilting the playing field in one direction.

In the end there are many ways of playing, GMing and writing up roleplaying scenarios.

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: "template & substitution" content & less details

Even at the start there are many ways of playing.

I agree that created content shouldn't be uninteresting, abstract and dry with no behind-the-scenes logic.I agree that even With the template approach, certainly template colors and labels are needed.

"absurdly powerful student council" (tvtropes) as the only description of the PCs schools.. student council would often be to simplistic.

Details are needed. Even "unnecessary" Details can be fun to have. Having the details swimming in dressing & drowning the detail with its plot are not always a bad thing.

In many many role-playing scenarios I find the flowcharts, overview & "behind-the-scenes logic" strangely missing.

Game-masters can modify, regardless



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: "template & substitution" content & less details

King Shere wrote:
"absurdly powerful student council" (tvtropes) as the only description of the PCs schools.. student council would often be to simplistic.

Yes. Although sometimes one can go the other way around.

In my previous campaign I needed some quick intro adventure to get the characters to start interacting. Since they were actually Japanese highschool students I looked up tvtropes and actually randomly selected "absurdly powerful student council" - who would become head of the council? Since the group involved at least three ultra-ambitious rich kids this got the political sparks flying. Vote fraud, getting uncle Toda the spin doctor to help out, sousveillance, meme hacking and eventually brute force bribing won the day... and in the process I got a chance to invent a few interesting school characters and accidentally (!) got the main plot started.

A good core concept can be extended by the GM and players, often in real-time. I use a number of improvisation tools such as tarot cards to add details and quirks to basic patterns. Aha, the torturer is actually both musical and a moral paragon... If the characters interact for a while with an NPC or organisation it will start to get more detail - and since I usually have a pile of possible mini-plots lying around, they might even get their own subplots or secret agendas if they become relevant enough. Flexibility is the key.

I think my view is that one should ideally have a grand scheme of the campaign, a lot of general and specific (but moveable) worldbuilding/description and some sense of the logic of adventures - but like all good plans, the players will do something different with all this than you intended. Which is often a good thing, since good games tend to be shared story construction.

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: "template & substitution" content & less details

Arenamontanus wrote:

I think my view is that one should ideally have a grand scheme of the campaign, a lot of general and specific (but moveable) worldbuilding/description and some sense of the logic of adventures

This, have this view also-when making adventures & sourcebooks. To make the EP experience better for us consumers.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch