A plan to go forward

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A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:36 am

Hello everyone, here is my plan for narrating this game. It's probably a bit lengthier and more detailed than necessary, but I don't want anyone unpleasantly surprised by anything I do.

Feedback is requested, here or by PM. Tell me what you like, don't like, find confusing, or find interesting. I will consider your feedback, and next Wednesday (I want to give a full week for discussion) I will post a revised version along with a poll. Of course, if someone else wants to throw their hat in the ring and present their own plan, the poll will be between myself and whomever else, otherwise it will be a simple yes/no. If you are considering putting your hat in the ring, please do.

1) Scope, Duration, and Schedule
At this time, I cannot commit to years of narrating - not even a single full year. I am expecting - even hoping for - a major upheaval in my life sometime this year. I do not know what the full extent of it will be, or when precisely it will occur. I am confident that I can implement Story 3 with no difficuty, even during/after the upheaval (I may need a week or so off, but that would be it) due to the fact that it has already been developed. However, I cannot be certain that after the upheaval I would have the time or energy to develop Story 4. It is not a guarantee that I cannot or will not continue to narrate; however, I want to be clear that I may not be able to. I should know well before the end of Story 3, though, so a more orderly and less disrutive transition would be able to be arranged.

I anticipate Story 3 lastng at least 4 months, but it could be abywhere from slightly shorter to significantly longer, depending on a number of factors. At this time, I do not have a schedule for how often game events would be released, as I do not have the details of those events. Further, I woudl like to keep the schedule somewhat flexible, at least to start - I would like to guage the pace of play before committing to a specific schedule. There would always be at least a week's notice before events come to an end, however.

2) Content
At this time, I do not intend to deviate from Reader's prepared story. Circumstances may necessitate tweaks or even major rewrites - no narrator can predict in advance how the players may impact the planned events. In fact my greatest joy in game mastering is the unexpected things that occur as the  players interact with the ongoing world. However, my priary objective will be to maintain Reader's vision for Story 3 and to allow all of you to tell the story of your characters.

I do not intend to create any events beyond those prepared by Reader, nor any narrative side stories. I wish the focus to be on the PCs. Of course, players are encouraged to interact with each other and with NCs for character development, advancing character or house goals (mechanical or otherwise), or for any other reason.

If a thread would need my involvement I would recommend discussing it with me in advance, preferably laying out the purpose and desired scope of interaction. This is more to help me manage my time than to control PC actions; I may simply ask the player to write up a scene and then make tweaks to better represent the NCs personality. This approach has been used with good result by Nathan, myself, and others (Septon Arlyn, I think?).

3) Mechanics
I do not intend to make any major changes in mechanics. All of Reader's decisions will still stand, regardless of whether I agree with them (Maneuver action, Tourney Knight, others too). Obviously, there will be matters that need clarification and issues that have not come up before. For simple matters of clarification I will likely just make a decision, but for more complicated issues I would solicit input first. As with everything I do, constructive feedback is always welcome. If a thread is being held up by a mechanical matter, I may make a temporary ruling to allow the thread to be wrapped up while the issue is discussed. Mechanics heavy threads typically move slow enough as it is.

I have noted in the past that I am fond of exploring various combat options other than the standard "Charge, Knockdown, Aim and Attack, Reckless Attack" over and over again. This is something that Reader has been doing, particularly for non-Westerosi opponents, and I will continue to do so (and non-Westerosi opponents will be a prominent feature of Story 3). NC opponents will fight to their strengths and their personalities, much as I would expect all of you to do. It adds variety and character to the combat opponents.

However, some have expressed concern that this would require a level of fight mechanics greater than what players have. I will however point out that at this point, only the most significant of NCs have the raw numbers that PCs have. Most opponents, no matter what style or combat actions they use will be overwhelmed by the raw superiority of the PCs. Furthermore, should anyone feel that their knowledge of the mechanics is insufficient, I encourage you to say something in a public OOC thread (mechanical discussions would be appropriate) or ask me for advice. Having varied mechanics in use is intended to keep combat interesting, not make it more difficult. This applies to all mechanical matters, not just combat. The rules are there to facilitate the character, not get in their way.

4) Team
I have given this a lot of thought. I would have liked to have a story narrator to help with RPing NCs and weaving player-driven story arcs into the existing events. However, we have just lost my preferred candidate, and not too long before we lost another player. To be frank, I don't think that it is a good idea to lose any more characters.

For that reason, I would prefer to have a pool of volunteers that I can call on to handle various tasks as needed rather than a single Story Narrator. These volunteers would assist in running combats, battles, intrigues, and even NC roleplay as needed, with guidelines for NC behavior set forth by me. This is a bit of an expansion of the player volunteers we have had so far. However, just as you the players would need to trust me the narrator, I too will need to trust you to have NCs behave appropriately and ask for clarification or further guidance where necessary. I do not know how often I will need to call on volunteers, but having a pool of volunteers in advance would allow me to select the right volunteer for the job at hand.

5) Communication
It is my opinion that communication is the most important aspect of being a narrator. I have said that I don't expect that being narrator will be easy, nor do I expect it will always be fun. However, I hope we can work together and make sure that everybody is having fun. If you are having fun, I will be having fun. If something is not fun, let me know, and i will strive to fix it. I may be smart, but I am not psychic. I do not always pick up on problems. All i ask is that you give me the benefit of the doubt and that if something is bothering you, tell me. I want everyone to feel comfortable talking to me about both what is good and what is bad. I would ask that you try to be polite about it, but I'd rather you say something without being polite than not say anything at all. I can't fix problems I don't know about.

Like Nathan, I do not particularly like the PM system here, and (once I have access) would prefer to communicate in private forum threads rather than by PM. Further, for matters that are of public interest, such as asking about event mechanics, the schedule, etc., a post in the game discussion OOC thread is better than communicating with me directly. Other may have the answer, and if not, others will probably want to know the answer. Private communications should be reserved for matters that involve IC secrets, discussions about volunteering tasks, and so on. Of course, communications of a personal matter should be discussed privately, as well. The more public the communication can be though, the better. General OOC is preferred to House OOC threads, House OOC threads are preferable to Personal OOC threads.

If I have not responded in a reasonable timeframe - say, 48 hours, a post in the "narrator summoning thread" would be appropriate. If 48 hours have passed from that post and I still haven't responded, PM me. Of course, on occasion there may be time sensitive matters. If 48 hours is too long to wait, indicate that in the message; I will do my best to respond sooner, but I cannot make any guarantees.

6) Baelon (the character)
As I have stated elsewhere, I will work with Reader to develop a reason why Baelon will not be directly involved with the story events. He may appear in RP or pure narration scenes, but that would be at the instigation of other players or things that Reader has already developed as part of Story 3. I have no details as of yet because I do not have the Story 3 materials yet. That is someting that would necessarily have to wait until after the vote.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Ereth Redwain on Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:59 pm

I would like that Baelon the character like Nathaniel the character does not contribute any form of points, house advancement, and such things like it was planned for Nathaniel´s npc and only available if someone would go out of their way to find Baelon the character. I understand Gwyn interacting with Baelon, but Baelon should not contribute in any other way, or it would just be a GMNPC that has the benefit of plot armor and is untouchable, but have all the benefits of being active. Just like Nathaniel was going to have his side adventure to explain his absence, I think Baelon the character should be the same.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:57 pm

Oh, absolutely; I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. I wrote that more or less in order, and was rushing toward the end. Baelon would not have any involvement with the story events (barring if for plot reasons Reader specifically wrote him in somewhere, as far as I am aware that is not the case).

To be crystal clear, Baelon will not be fighting duels* or be part of battle scenes, will not roll in events, cannot earn Green/Black points, cannot earn House VP, and will not be pursuing his personal goal**.

* The only exception to this would be the same sort of circumstances that could lead any closely allied NC to participate - about the only case I can think of would be if a duel of honor needed to be fought on Gwyn's behalf; even then I expect that circumstances would prevent it in the same way that Cersei was prevented from calling on Jaime when she needed a champion. That of course would depend on what reader and I come up with to separate Baelon from the PC events.

** Baelon's current personal goal is much more significant for narrative reasons than mechanical ones; If Reader was planning on making use of it for future stories, it may happen anyway. However, if so the "VP" earned for it would be from "off-screen" events and would not impact "on-screen" events in any way. It would also only come into play at the end of Story 3, and will only happen if necessary for Reader's intended plots to move forward. Again, I do not have Reader's notes yet so I cannot say with certainty.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:06 pm

I have received 1 PM regarding the plan, as previously stated I am sharing an anonymized version of it to respond to.
If you feel I have misrepresented your PM, feel free to PM me again to let me know.

To be clear, I am only going to do this for this process, I don't intend to do it for all communications as narrator.

Anonymous (PM, paraphrased) wrote:I see no issues.
Good to hear!
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Loreia on Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:17 am

It's nice to see elaborated how Baelon's character will behave like any other NC when removed from play. Any actions by Baelon the NC of mechanical or narrative significance should pass through Reader if they haven't already been discussed with him by the time we are ready to continue the game, or as situations develop. The latter will be a rare occurrence though, and not the headache it would seem to be otherwise.

I am confused about your mention of a vote in the original post. What are we voting on now?
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Gwyneth Drakeson on Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:53 am

Given that Baelon wasn't going to be interacting directly with me much, if at all, this Story anyway, I'm fine with this proposal.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:45 pm

Loreia wrote:I am confused about your mention of a vote in the original post. What are we voting on now?
Because of the circumstances and accusations surrounding Nathan's departure and the general mixed attitudes towards me, I do not feel comfortable simply taking over.
I don't want anyone to feel like I pushed Nathan out because I lost the previous vote, or that they are stuck with me becoming Narrator, regardless of their feelings on the matter.

The vote will be whether or not to accept me as narrator and the plan I have presented, or if someone else throws their hat in and presents a plan it will be between the various narrator options and their plans.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Loreia on Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:13 am

Baelon's proposal seems okay by me. I'm also really eager to get moving again. Anyone else?
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:01 pm

100 views to this thread, 15 people on in the past 24 hours, 3 commenters and 1 PM.

Thank you those that have spoken up.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Theomore Tullison on Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:36 am

The main concerns of mine to this plan is that:
1) We might have to do this discussion over again, but that would give someone interested in starting up a game from scratch in case this one dies more time to tinker with it.
2) Lack of NPC capacity, but that is not necessarily different from how it was under reader, and if it works, I think the solution can be an improvement.

As for the mechanics bits, I would indeed be careful with changing anything, and I'd also note that I think there's enough houserules by now that more shouldn't be added unless a situation arises where we see that something needs to be done. However, I think that after two years, a bit of revision (at least if everyone agrees to it) wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Could also be an idea to codify all the little things we've been deciding on how to do things, mostly melee/combat related, I know there's a few details I'm not 100% clear on since Theo never took part in any melee (and no combat on foot for that matter).

Side remark on raw numbers, not all PC's can outmatch a KoQ (and there's plenty of those to go around) in a straight up apple vs apple comparison, those with combat as their primary focus mostly can handle pretty much anything that isn't a primary NPC most of the time from what I've seen though.

Regarding content, I've got two things to add, first being that there's some event suggestions in my private forum which I have discussed with reader (some scrapped, one he really liked, one that he did like may not be much point in having given OOC circumstances having reduced the number of viable participants), second that I'd lift the timeslot restrictions on chapter 3, since those phases isn't confined to single day, they make somewhat less sense, if I want to do a one on one conversation with each and every PC around in Phase 1, then why the heck not? Most of the time, 8 threads tends to be enough to worry about for any player in my experience, but special circumstances apply with everyone only being together for Phases 1 and 5, which may at least call for relaxed policing of those two.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Jon Templeton on Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:39 pm

I'd like to continue but it seems some people want things ironed out before hand. I'm not into wall of texts so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Daveth Coldbrook on Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:53 pm

Seems fairly reasonable to me, but, as always, implementation is never as simple. I think your point about communication being key is a good one.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:19 pm

Theomore Tullison wrote:The main concerns of mine to this plan is that:
First, thank you for your feedback. I can't make changes to fix issues I am not aware of, and I am only one person - I doubt I could see all the potential problems in advance on my own.

Theomore Tullison wrote:1) We might have to do this discussion over again, but that would give someone interested in starting up a game from scratch in case this one dies more time to tinker with it.
This is true, however, it was always a potential, no matter who took over - even if Reader were to continue it could happen.
If anyone does feel they can commit to taking over in the long term, I would ask that they seriously consider speaking up about it now - better to only have one transition than several.

The idea of a replacement game was floated and pretty firmly rejected, but while I for one would be displeased, it is a viable alternative.

Theomore Tullison wrote:2) Lack of NPC capacity, but that is not necessarily different from how it was under reader, and if it works, I think the solution can be an improvement.
Yes, I am concerned about this as well. I hope my volunteer system works well enough that our fears are not realized; if anyone has another suggestion on how to handle it, I am all ears.

Theomore Tullison wrote:As for the mechanics bits, I would indeed be careful with changing anything, and I'd also note that I think there's enough houserules by now that more shouldn't be added unless a situation arises where we see that something needs to be done. However, I think that after two years, a bit of revision (at least if everyone agrees to it) wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Could also be an idea to codify all the little things we've been deciding on how to do things, mostly melee/combat related, I know there's a few details I'm not 100% clear on since Theo never took part in any melee (and no combat on foot for that matter).
What I had meant was that I would not unilaterally make such changes. The issue I have with changing house rules mid-game in general is that characters have developed around those existing house rules. Any changes made would not impact characters evenly, and could have unintended consequences. I'd be open to a few tweaks, but I would be looking for unanimous consent. I know for instance the passive attack rule is not well liked. I would not want to scrap it completely, but a small adjustment could make a big difference. That is a discussion best held in a different thread, though.

Theomore Tullison wrote:Side remark on raw numbers, not all PC's can outmatch a KoQ (and there's plenty of those to go around) in a straight up apple vs apple comparison, those with combat as their primary focus mostly can handle pretty much anything that isn't a primary NPC most of the time from what I've seen though.
This is true, I was thinking of combat focused characters. In the unlikely event that I would be putting a non-combat character in a fight, I would make sure they either have appropriate assistance, are facing lesser foes, have a way out other than fighting, or, most likely, some combination thereof.

Consider the event "An Opportunity in Myr". Yes, there is the potential for non-combat characters to get caught and end up in a fight, but against relatively weak tertiary foes (a knight, not a KoQ), the option to run instead of engaging (likely resolved as a chase scene), and the the worst case outcome is the character's house having to ransom them back. Bad, but not disastrous, and (in my opinion) an interesting story.

Theomore Tullison wrote:Regarding content, I've got two things to add, first being that there's some event suggestions in my private forum which I have discussed with reader (some scrapped, one he really liked, one that he did like may not be much point in having given OOC circumstances having reduced the number of viable participants), second that I'd lift the timeslot restrictions on chapter 3, since those phases isn't confined to single day, they make somewhat less sense, if I want to do a one on one conversation with each and every PC around in Phase 1, then why the heck not? Most of the time, 8 threads tends to be enough to worry about for any player in my experience, but special circumstances apply with everyone only being together for Phases 1 and 5, which may at least call for relaxed policing of those two.
If I take over, will discuss the events you created with Reader; if he was planning on including them I would do the same. My ultimate goal is to carry on Reader's vision, so if those events further that vision then they are more likely to be incorporated than if they conflict with it. Having neither Reader's notes nor knowing anything about the events you created, I cannot really say much about them.

As for relaxing the time restrictions I am open to considering it, but keep in mind that the IC logistics surrounding the story events may play a role; you cannot simply wander about from place to place in the middle of a war. I'm for hand-waving those sorts of logistical issue to an extent, but not to an extent that shatters suspension of disbelief. Keep in mind too that those restriction are there at least partially because your narrator has limited time, and it's not right if a small number of players get the majority of NC interactions. It gets back to your second concern above, really. I will be conservative about relaxing those restrictions until I have a better grasp of how things are going.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:21 pm

Jon Templeton wrote:I'd like to continue but it seems some people want things ironed out before hand. I'm not into wall of texts so I'll leave it at that.
Daveth Coldbrook wrote:Seems fairly reasonable to me, but, as always, implementation is never as simple.  I think your point about communication being key is a good one.
Thank you both for your feedback. If you see anything that needs to be ironed out or that can aid implementation, just let me know. Smile
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Ser Walton Dulver on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:14 pm

let's give it a shot, what else could be said? priority is to make game continue. Baelon is new Narrator, that's what I need to know, and that's enough to give him full credit of trust or how the hell You say that in english... and let's deal with obstacles when they come.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Baelon Drakeson on Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:14 pm

I appreciate your trust.
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Re: A plan to go forward

Post by Reader on Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:43 pm

Checking in here. Smile
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Re: A plan to go forward

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