Something That Sucks. How do we make it not suck?

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jpariury

Duke
As an example, after one particularly brutal game day, characters that rezzed as part of "The Big War" received glass mugs etched with "In appreciation for your sacrifices we call you Hero of the Ridge: <Character Name>"



We gave out Letters of Commendation, we put out cool reps that players can hold on to. We've baked cookies, made cakes. We have local titles that hook you in to more plot, we auction off goats and horses.

Part of the whole "integrated world" thing is that when you have consistent townfolk NPCs (or visiting dignitaries/villains), they start creating relationships. Those relationships yield "silly" rewards, but those are the things that we, as Plot, can use to both give our players the kudos (or infamy, for that matter) that they deserve.
 
Very cool HERO CAKE.

Anyone else have examples of this idea? As far as I am concerned in is the best treasure ever.
 

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
Give every PC a fan club - NPCs who love them for having saved them from goblins or zombies or whatever. Since high level guys already feel pretty cool, concentrate your efforts on low level guys. I've seen lots of mods go out where low level guys saved the farm from giant rats or whatever. But I've never seen the farmer ever again. Why does that ungrateful bastid not come to the tavern and tell all the other adventurers how these six people that saved his farm kicked some serious butt? Part of the problem might be NPC numbers, but I think the bigger problem is that monster camps (in my experience anyway) don't try to organize this kinda stuff. When I NPC there's always down time where I could be out making the people I hooked previously feel cool. But we have to wait for the upcoming battle, or monster desk is busy, or whatever.

BTW, I like the idea of reserving a thread for ideas only. It can be highly annoying to read one post of ideas and then 10 posts of opinions that don't really advance the thread at all.
 
James Trotta said:
Give every PC a fan club - NPCs who love them for having saved them (...) I've seen lots of mods go out where low level guys saved the farm from giant rats or whatever. But I've never seen the farmer ever again.
This happens organically if you:
No random townies. Every NPC who checks in gets a person that they RP as all weekend. Those 'townies' have names, stats, RP information, and some of them have module hooks. NPCs play that townie all weekend; when they need to go IG to eat, when we have "RP lull" written on the schedule, or when we need to give the town guard something to do. These are low-risk versions of the permanent townies that the NPC Guildies get in case that person never comes back, but they serve the same purpose. If they do come back, we have 'their guy' on file.
We link this to people's downtimes, too, so if they say that they're out mending fences and rounding up livestock after that last orc attack, they get told which farms they were on, and so do the NPCs, so they can have that sort of interaction IG.
 
tiddings of the anseters, a cuple of chapters ahve this and its a pacage or add ones u get for one game it costs gobbys its liek haveing once ever magic cast on you by the forses that wave the stings of the world. each chapter cas contoll over what the pacage offers, i tend to liek the one SF offers called healing hands it gives mee exstra healing spells and purifys and bless spells, so i neever have to say i only have blank left inless we realy get boned, yess it eats up gobbys fast but if your a good little player your donating and helping your chapter have evrything it needs to run a lot beter! for evryone.

yes i still run out of things but thats part of the game if we could sit by a fire and recarge are spells game play would be to easy and no fun the fun is in the strugle and overcomign the odds, not in winning evry fight and crushing the NPCs with out a chalange.

my 1st game i went to at lvl 1 i have about 5 spells in all. i ran out of them half way in tot he event haveing only gone on 2 mods and haveing cast 0 on mod 1 just taging a long to see how things worked... 3ed mod of the day was a boss fight i thoght thay would not take me becuse i was out of spells but i was draged a logn and told u have healing arts and fist aid u can be vary usefull and here is how... same gos for a lvl 1 fighter put a bunch of armer on them have them hold the line even if only swingign 2 damage have them rowtate back to refit when there armer isa bout to be breached, meat shilds or tin cans what ever u want to call them. well on that boss fightt we nearly got rolled and no one went to the cercal why becuse at the end of it there was 3 of use useing first aid haveing run out of all healing and potions.... allmost dieing on game one was what got me hooked the real fear the real strugle and the real gratification of over coming it!

understand when ppl say to you i only have one dage left tell them then you will have to be light on your toes. when thay say i only have one healing spell left toelel them make it count and use fist aid
if thay say i only have one more ice bolt stone storm or whatever toolll them hear carry this bag of arrows cary this bag of potions heres some scrolls to use, or ask them to help by being bag man for loot or souting a head, there going to be carful not to be seen becuse thay know thay have nothing to doa bout it if thay are..... usefullness is in the eye of the beholder. so play smart and dont leave ppl out, drag them a long!
 

Davion

Scholar
Go to Chicago, they've never had silly/stupid low level stuff (beyond this one NPC that gives quests who is a former dragon mage who's gone senile and forgetful. But he's the quest giver, the quests themselves aren't silly).
 

Simon

Adept
Two thoughts:

#1: I will tend to discuss my resources in a very point of fact way. Number of magic armors, dispels, prisons, parries etc. Why? Because it is like being in a real combat situation. You do ammo checks. You figure out what you have and you can react appropriately to the next encounter. Of course you cannot spread bullets around per se so you spread people. Some times I will use my resources instead of a team mate using their last one because that way we each have one left and you have no single point of failure. It is RP, but it is strategy. It is trying to win but really whose character would really go about life trying to put themselves in a bad situation just because? So talking frankly about resources amongst friends = good thing

#2: Now I happen to have a very interesting team right now. Last event there were 5 of us present. 3 of us have been doing this almost an average of 15-20 years I think. The other two...about 1. APL disparity is there. So what do we do? We teach our newer players. I take pains to show them the techniques that will allow them to maxamize their abilities and I teach them how to conserve. I explain to them that it is okay to conserve and I tell them when you do not. I make sure that they know that we all tap out sometimes and I try to equip them with items as often as I can. Yep, that includes the magic items...because the fighter does should not be holding two life items when the young healer has none. So you take care of your people by training them FIRST and helping them second. In a short while they are not so "young" but more than just having some levels, they know what to do with them...and the entire time they are engaged and encouraged. That is how you do it.

BTW that was 110% not my experience so put me down as living proof that you can overcome obstacles.

Joe S.
resident jerk
 

markusdark

Knight
In San Francisco, a PC who was given a title (Sir, then Baron Marcus) took it upon himself to create awards for various PC's to commemorate major conflicts. They went out to anyone who did anything to help, each with different focus on the areas they worked on.

He hired me to make various pewter medallions, he created written awards that he had plot sign as the local duke and did a lot of work to make other PC's feel like their contributions were meaningful to the IG community at large.
 

Jim

Scholar
jpariury said:
You asked for only adding, not nay-saying, so here you go:

Quit focusing on the stat lines. Don't talk to one another about how awesome it is that you have access to X effect or can do Y so many times a day.
  • Talk about the awesome things you've seen people try. Celebrate other people's successes.
  • Try things you have no reason to succeed at. Win or lose, enjoy the experience.
This. A bunch.
 

Jim

Scholar
markusdark said:
In San Francisco, a PC who was given a title (Sir, then Baron Marcus) took it upon himself to create awards for various PC's to commemorate major conflicts. They went out to anyone who did anything to help, each with different focus on the areas they worked on.

He hired me to make various pewter medallions, he created written awards that he had plot sign as the local duke and did a lot of work to make other PC's feel like their contributions were meaningful to the IG community at large.
This, also a bunch. PCs need to be a part of the solution as well.

One thing I find effective that we did at our last event is we split the game low/hi (for the most part), which is common at all chapters I'm sure. The lowbies were off destroying a few small encampments and the Highbies were in battle against bosses. We attempted (and I hope were successful) at making sure it was clear to all players that when the bosses called for their reinforcements none came because the lowbies had engaged them, thus aiding the big battle without falling down in two swings against the big bads. I particularly liked this approach because it pretty much kyboshed any mod theft. I'm sure as plot members we've all had that moment when you realize your hook for the mid/low/x team was ganked by some other group.

Also, don't discount silly. Way back in the Seattle days we had a fairly silly goblin plot that evolved to the point where goblins were an acknowledged race of the Kingdom, Polare was the "herald" of the "great and powerful Zot" Goblin Casta come "Goblin King" and formalist. The PCs even convinced the goblins to go to war with them against the Strega, a very big bad from way back.

I agree that it is irksome to be a lowbie and always dealing with the "shinies" or clearing giant rats from the tavern's basement or saving the farmer's daughter from kobolds, etc. and that is on plot. Plot should make sure newbie/lowbie plot is diverse. I also think that highbies should get silly plot once in awhile, too.

I agree that 100 players cannot have their PCs be the hero of the game all at once every event, but over the course of the season plot should be trying to create opportunities for every player who has that desire (plot should really know what types of experiences each of their players want) to feel special/heroic/valuable/etc. Perhaps a difficult task, but not a Sisyphean one.
 

markusdark

Knight
Jim said:
This, also a bunch. PCs need to be a part of the solution as well.
Although I agree to a point, this stuff he paid for out of his own pocket, never reimbursed. Now, granted it probably didn't cost a lot however he was already paying an event fee. I'm all for giving in to the game, (I've sold sodas as a barkeep for 4 years there without any reimbursement) but there needs to be some sent back.
 

Lurin

Duke
It all depends on the form of pay back you are looking for. Most players that go the extra mile tend to find themselves very influential in game regardless of character. Let's say I go to Chicago from SoMN.

Driving (Gas) 30 bucks a head
Wear/tear on car ~$80 (including tires, oil changes depreciation, on an 800 mile round trip)
Food (Kirkland Family restaurant twice and at game) - $30
Half day off work for the drive down - Half of what I get paid in a day.
Event fee - $30

Total $170 + half a day of PTO

Cost of a few extra props/food/pins - Negligible compared to the cost of the event. I could easily get a few things every game for 5% of the what it costs to go. Honestly it's the cost of popcorn at the theater, some people buy it to enhance their experience, some do not.

Your mileage may vary of course, but we all spend time on costuming, packets, practice etc. I don't see how this is somehow inherently different than any other category.
 

markusdark

Knight
Lurin said:
It all depends on the form of pay back you are looking for. Most players that go the extra mile tend to find themselves very influential in game regardless of character.
And some, don't. However, it won't ever stop me from going that extra mile, even if I'm left on the side of the road with my thumb out. :)
 

Jim

Scholar
markusdark said:
Jim said:
This, also a bunch. PCs need to be a part of the solution as well.
Although I agree to a point, this stuff he paid for out of his own pocket, never reimbursed. Now, granted it probably didn't cost a lot however he was already paying an event fee. I'm all for giving in to the game, (I've sold sodas as a barkeep for 4 years there without any reimbursement) but there needs to be some sent back.
I was not suggesting that every PC need to do something that costs money. I apologize if that was not clear. I meant that PCs need to be part of the overall solution, not that specific solution.

Also, I'd prefer Mike H (player of Baron Sir Marcus) speak to the issue, since he was the one who did it and actually was at the game for all of it. From my perspective, it was super appreciated. Once I was on plot I worked with Mike on the awards. It was awesome and he's awesome. The only part I remember not being awesome was at one point he was concerned because the source of the physical awards had indicated he was going to refuse to make the awards any more because it was for "that game". Luckily Mike overcame the hurdles and was able to continue the tradition.
 

markusdark

Knight
Jim said:
The only part I remember not being awesome was at one point he was concerned because the source of the physical awards had indicated he was going to refuse to make the awards any more because it was for "that game". Luckily Mike overcame the hurdles and was able to continue the tradition.
Ah, touch'e! As I was the one making the awards.

Yeah, it was kinda hard to do it for free for a game that banned me from playing in it. ;) But Mike and I worked something out where he paid for materials and I still donated my time and craft work.

But this is now getting into a personal/chapter specific matter and not following the post so it's the last I'll comment on it publicly.

My original comments were more meant to say two things:

1) That such things as awarding the characters for defending the realm or other such awards or notes based within the setting should be more on the onus of the local plot team and not a player.

B) That if a player puts in a lot of work into a chapter via IG items/work, they need to do it for the sheer joy of it and not to expect something to come back to them as that will not always be the case.
 

sirmarcus

Newbie
Did someone say Baron Sir Marcus???

The really hard part about doing the whole awards thing was getting the other PC Nobles to recommend people for said awards.

It was something I always thought was missing in the game. Sure you get loot and cool items for stomping the gorram snot out of some uber bad critter but when the NPC Duke calls your PC up in front of the adventurer community reads off a cool description of the award and what was done to earn it, presents you with a scroll proving you were awarded said award, puts the Order of Valor award around your neck, has you turn and face the adventurers and gives you a mighty 3 cheers it is remembered more then the loot split. At least it is for me.

I also likes doing the full on court elevations for a PC when they finally managed to get elevated to the Nobility. A Knighting ceremony is pretty cool.

Some of the tokens on the higher up, and a few of the lower, awards were costly and I always seemed to run out of various bits when I was finishing them up the night before the event but *shrugs* you make due.

Mike/Baron Sir Marcus
 
I feel I'm pretty much too late to this party, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

There are two solutions that I generally advocate to the problem of low level characters feeling mechanically frustrating:

1) Make the vast majority of magic items single-use (right now x/day is the most common magic item by a large margin).

2) Change the skill system to an encounter based skill system rather than a daily skill system.

-MS
 

Wraith

Newbie
markusdark said:
Lurin said:
It all depends on the form of pay back you are looking for. Most players that go the extra mile tend to find themselves very influential in game regardless of character.
And some, don't. However, it won't ever stop me from going that extra mile, even if I'm left on the side of the road with my thumb out. :)
It's stopped several people I know from going to events at all, for the last couple years. The reward of being the perpetual lowbie wasn't worth the cost of all that travel and time off anymore.
 

Lurin

Duke
Wraith said:
markusdark said:
Lurin said:
It all depends on the form of pay back you are looking for. Most players that go the extra mile tend to find themselves very influential in game regardless of character.
And some, don't. However, it won't ever stop me from going that extra mile, even if I'm left on the side of the road with my thumb out. :)
It's stopped several people I know from going to events at all, for the last couple years. The reward of being the perpetual lowbie wasn't worth the cost of all that travel and time off anymore.

In the end EVERY system will have people that choose not to partake. A system more balanced to Newbie strength would see people that prefer a strong advancement system pick something else. It not a bad thing to recognize that we don't appeal to everything.
 

markusdark

Knight
Lurin said:
In the end EVERY system will have people that choose not to partake. A system more balanced to Newbie strength would see people that prefer a strong advancement system pick something else. It not a bad thing to recognize that we don't appeal to everything.
So how do you promote such a system to a potential new player? "Hey, it's a great system after you put in years of work and thousands of dollars." (Yes, this is mostly sarcasm... mostly.)

A system where the balance is skewed away from new players wanting to remain means that growth will be stunted to the point of almost stagnation. Sure, every system will not appeal to every person. But one that makes it unappealing to start playing the game is a bit self destructive.
 
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