Monday, September 5, 2011

Plotting The Course To The FUTURE!!!

So, I'm getting into some interesting things here in Hekinoe, and I feel like talking about how I make scenarios. I tend to try and build up a buffer of one or two scenarios. I keep kind of asking the guys about goals and that sort of thing and get an idea about what I am going to write out next. I think that this questioning process kind of leads people to believe that I am something of a haphazard plotter and GM. I know a lot of GMs only build scenarios after they finish one. They'll make it, play it, begin work on the next, rinse and repeat. I kind of work that way, but primarily I try to keep ahead of the guys. There have been times, especially lately, where chunks of my buffer get left out in the cold when the guys decide to go a different route, which isn't the worst thing, as the non-plot content can still be put to work in another area as a fight or trap or whatever.

I am a meticulous planner. I plan events and plots and follow them down towards their conclusions. I don't put any of it to paper unless I absolutely have to, because once it is on paper I become reluctant to deviate from it and it becomes a potential railroad. I only put stuff in my head to paper when it is time to put it into a scenario, or when the plot or idea or whatever becomes too involved to keep track of.

Writing scenarios for Hekinoe isn't really an issue of sitting down and planning out scenarios for the guys. It is more of a situation where I sit down and start trying to wind the various elements of the world that are already present into a scenario. All over The Known World, all of Hekinoe even, I know intimately what is going on. I build scenarios by sitting down and staring at a blinking cursor and visualizing wherever they are or wherever they are going.

Hekinoe is a living world to me. Nothing sits and waits for the players to show up. It isn't WoW or Oblivion where you can't kill quest givers and battles never change anything other than your level. Things move and shift around the world, independent of the players and their actions. Which is not to say their actions can't fuck everything all to Hell, or turn everything perfect. 

I dunno where I'm going with any of this. I guess I'm just trying to kind of explain how I make scenarios. It is a lot different than I used to. I used to start with the question of what are they going to do? Now, each scenario is a more complex process of weaving what the players want to do into what is going on in The Known World around us. It's fun.

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