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PCs Changing the World

The lack of player-driven IC change in the game. Something that used to be very common back when we had 10-20 active players and has become considerably more difficult as our numbers have increased. Partially due to Staff time commitment and also because some of us do a poor job of supporting change.

I read this on another thread and wanted to provide my personal thoughts on the matter as a GM.

To start with, I am 100% open to changes like this. If a character pushes hard, gets the support of other players, sticks to it and makes the right moves, I see no reason why PCs can't be the driving forces of real IC change. Modifying the status quo.

But this is not something that will happen overnight. It may never happen. It will not be easy. It could end up being something your PC drives for for months or years and never manages. Also, as a GM, I will be making the IC world react as make sense and often this will be them making a real effort to preserve their power base. And I will not force other PCs to support the change you want or ask them to not bar your efforts.

Sometimes I get the impression that people set on a path like this think that it's just going to happen in a few days or weeks. In 99% of cases this is just not reasonable. I have also seem cases where PCs expect to just have an idea and that the NPCs will magically love it and make it happen for them. Almost inevitably, I see PCs give up at the first signs of adversity.

Another aspect to consider (and this is something I am still trying to come to grips with and understand better) is that Sindome is a place that places a great deal of importance on the past. Removing elements introduced to the game by other players to make room for something new can be a touchy subject that needs careful consideration staff side.

On a personal level, I want new big names and cool, substantial IC changes driven by PCs. Please do try. Having a goal like this is a great way to ensure that you will always have something to do when you sign on. And I will be happy to support it to the best of my ability but do understand that 'supporting your efforts' does not mean it will happen and it really really doesn't mean it will be easy. That will be determined by how your PC plays it ICly.

As someone who has sunk literally hundreds of man hours into a plot only to have it met with nothing, I can feel your frustration. However, in the process of doing that plot, my character got to meet legendary figures from the mix's deep history, get roped into ever conceivable conflict imaginable, made huge gains and huge losses.

Even though the plot literally dead ended out of the blue after about four months, it was incredible while it lasted, and I feel lucky to have participated in it.

My point being- that even though the things that were planned out that were probably going to take over a year to accomplish never came to fruition, my character and myself were able to experience stuff that was worth the ride and time spent along the way.

I'd also say, having a bit of experience on the other side of things, that it is more than likely that staff are also frustrated by plots imploding or going nowhere, and that is the most likely of scenarios to play out when running plots, and not the plot actually going to script and hitting checkpoints.GM burnout is a real thing, just like player burnout is, and it's further compounded by the issues of staff trying to run a RPI moo with like, over a hundred active characters. Just my thoughts on the matter.

In the past though, I recall staff telling people something along the lines of “You can try em this, but you will fail, so you probably shouldn’t bother” in regards to some topics. The one that sticks out to me is creating your own gang. I remember when there were two gangs. A now longtime staffer created a gang. I created a gang. Other people have also tried with crews and such. The point being back then there were no @shouts, walls of yellow text, or official announcements insinuating you might personally invite the wrath of god for trying to carve out your mark on the mix. When force feeding that stuff instead of just letting it play out it’s going to foster an environment of fear to push the envelope. I also write that under the premise is all of the ideas are in good faith, in theme, etc. I understand sometimes you can’t have a gang of People wearing SS uniforms calling themselves the gestapo or something out of theme like that.
I really don't have anything to add here.

I think my ideals and expectations are aligned with Mobius. :-)

From my time GMing in Pathfinder and one privately for a video game, I learned that people love to feel and experience their achievements. I think that it is reasonable to allow and even assist (in a reasonable manner) with people wanting to progress and push through long plots that change or influence the world.

The longer the plots, the richer the experience at the end of it, but it should be as much of a challenge as it should be rewarding.

I would suggest to, internally, without mentioning it outside, to find a good number of people required to actively work together to move towards that change. Challenge them, challenge their morality, make it seem hopeless (where appropriate) and reward it, if they can manage to push through it again.

Roleplaying is all about writing a story together :)

The greatest complaints that I have seen and still see, is that the world has stagnated, does not change and does not adjust to what the player do. Some of the stuff that was shared, was called and viewed as an abuse of power, some of the GM character sitting in the highest positions and not wanting for any competition to ever have the chance to rise. The lack of transparency does make it more difficult, transparency being the strict restrictions on OOC talk about IC things, as that means that people do not always know either if it is an NPC bothering them or a PC.

Maybe it would be best to move away from the strict difficulties on changing the world for a while and to allow a few small ones with currently existing plots? Give people a different message in the upcoming months?

But that, again, would come at a cost and put a strain on the GMs. Eh, I am pretty sure that you lot will figure it out.

I can't imagine us (today) brick walling things unless we had serious concerns about how it would impact the game. Things like theme, balance, mechanics, time constraints and other such factors can all end up making a desired IC change largely impossible. But even if that is the case I would not be the guy to tell you to not even try.

I'd rather not take that motivation away from you. I'd rather see it play out ICly. Worse case, you get months of RP far more exciting than chatting at the bar or having your sofa teach you how to use a katana. Best case is that IC events could change how we feel about it. As long as you are respecting the rules, respecting the theme and not being meta, you can have your character do most anything. Go for it.

And yes, generally speaking we will not OOCly confirm, deny, promise or plan out any IC goals you have. This is not a game where you come to the GMs with something like, "My character wants to do X. I think it would be cool. Will it work? Can we make it happen?" I will just tell you to try and find out if you feel it's something your character would go for. In my opinion, the right way is to just ICly go for it. Try to make it happen. Enjoy the story you get and see where things fall.

I'd rather not take that motivation away from you. I'd rather see it play out ICly. Worse case, you get months of RP far more exciting than chatting at the bar or having your sofa teach you how to use a katana. Best case is that IC events could change how we feel about it. As long as you are respecting the rules, respecting the theme and not being meta, you can have your character do most anything. Go for it.

That’s what’s up. I wasn’t knocking any of you guys , just making an observation of what I’ve seen in the year I’ve been back and compare it to the past. Mileage may always vary of course.

+1 to Mobius
One thing to consider with regards to this is that if I were running a tabletop game of Sindome, which on occasion I have done for friends who don't play the game just because I know it well and can do it without much prep... I'd let the players do a lot. I'd support their plans and change my own plots to fit them. That's tabletop gaming. It's inherently collaborative in character and out.

That isn't Sindome. Many times I have seen people trying really hard to make something part of the status quo and I've seen someone else trying equally hard to sabotage that person. And then the person with big ideas gets frustrated and says the game is stagnant or that they got no GM support.

Our jobs as GMs involve reacting impartially to what is happening in game on an OOC level, and within theme on an IC level. There are often factors that prevent something from changing-- and those factors might be past RP, current RP, other people's plots, poor planning or operational security or a myriad other things.

GMs must also contend with the Bruce Almighty paradox. Where in we give everyone what they want. Everyone wins the lottery and thus, everyone gets $26 dollars.

There will always be winners and losers in s competitive game. There will always be plots that go nowhere and plots that create change.

Sometimes plans are great and themely and work is put in but cannot be supported due to code restraints or restraints on the MOO or the game world.

One example of this is a character who wanted to create a Badlands courier service. They put in work for it. It was good roleplay and they had fun. However, there was nothing out in the Badlands. There was no rp to be had there. No factions to courier things to and from. And creating all of that just to support the plot desires of one character was not feasible. It would have been 50-100 hours of work to bootstrap that. And then 3-5 hours a week to keep it going and continually write plot or runs and create challenges for the players involved. We were not ready to do that at that time.

To address Grizzly, those are the things I would push back on. Those are the things I would say, hey, RP this if you want but keep in mind that what you are asking for requires a lot of GM time, builder time, coder time. And the less coder time we devote to it the more gm time will be regularly needed since none of it will be even partially automated.

Some plots have a lot of potential and aren't feasible not because of player effort but because they aren't supported by the game code at this time.

To address Grizzly, those are the things I would push back on. Those are the things I would say, hey, RP this if you want but keep in mind that what you are asking for requires a lot of GM time, builder time, coder time. And the less coder time we devote to it the more gm time will be regularly needed since none of it will be even partially automated.

Well I gotta be honest, that’s a bit ironic considering you are who I referenced in starting their own gang which is now hard coded into the game. I’m sure that also took GM , builder, and coder time, but as I remember it, you as a player put in that work to bring it about. We both know in most cases these gangs burn bright then burn out (which then in turn doesn’t need your coding or building) but I wouldn’t try and talk anyone out of doing what others have done with gangs. I just think it is good to reward people for months of hard work, if It lasts that long.

@Grizzly666

Some things are evidently more important than others. Duh.

My vote is on making the badlands more a thing, seeing as how it has been more involved in plot back when we had half the playerbase.

last time I tried a Badlands plot I was told it'd receive minimal to no GM support due to no playerbase
It makes sense they'd try to deviate as much GM resources as possible to highly populated parts of the game so that they impact more people.
(Hypothetically speaking, as not to share IC

The player doing badlands stuff had an amazing experience rp'ing their way through things, and staff did some awesome support that gave the player defining traits for its character. The player also experienced at least 3 of the most memorable gaming moments of their whole life while doing it.)

Focusing on more densely populated areas makes complete sense. More ripples with every hook and plot that way.