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Old 12-18-2014, 01:12 PM   #11
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

Some groups find intricately planning out a caper to be deathly boring, but for others if you take away the ability to actually do the cool planning stage rather than representing it mechanically it doesn't feel like they are actually master criminals (or whatever) and the whole thing is rendered significantly less fun. With the first group you can simulate the actual form of most fictional capers, with the second you are doing something inspired by but fundamentally different due to the different medium.

The real issue is the common situation of having some of one and some of the other. There are some things that can help, for example having the standard formula being an information finding session, a discussion over email to develop the plan and then an episode to actually implement it.

It also helps to give the PCs constraints that show off their skills. If it's a mission where literally all the information can be acquired before the job and there is time for that and for tinkering with equipment that will naturally push to taking a long time getting ready.

Complications are both realistic and in genre but they shouldn't be used constantly. There is a kind of player who gets really tired of things constantly not going smooth and even just a rare mission once in a while where things go smooth will keep them satisfied.

Finally if the group just steamrolls a job and it's very anticlimactic take inspiration from fictional capers and imagine that as a quick job in the beginning of the episode that sets the stage for the rest of it somehow.
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:40 PM   #12
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

Plots involving the characters being defeated and/or captured can be tricky. First off, there's always the chance of them winning and throwing the whole plot for a loop. Secondly, it can be difficult in some RPG systems to defeat a party without killing them (due in large part to players' general unwillingness to retreat or surrender).

Plots that ultimately hinge on a single action are typically a bad idea in RPG's. Having a single shot to try and assassinate the madman before he can activate his doomsday device only works if it's possible to disarm/destroy/deactivate/escape it in the case of a miss. Similarly, if there's one piece of evidence that is absolutely necessary to resolve something, there's a pretty decent chance it will get overlooked, left behind, or destroyed by some unforeseen event.

Plots that involve splitting the party can work, but are less than ideal. This is simply a matter of the GM being able to keep things straight, and all the players feeling involved.
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:44 PM   #13
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Again, that does depend on the players. Some people believe that tension is needed in every sub-plot and game session; some people do not. I happen to game with the latter kind of people, so they actually have more fun when all their characters' hard work actually has a picture-perfect result.
The problem I had was that one player was like yours, and was playing the team leader (naturally), and the others were adrenaline junkies who thought a perfectly executed plan was about as exciting as watching paint dry. I hadn't realized this was a possible problem, because I'd never run a caper campaign before. Now, of course, I know!
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:56 AM   #14
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

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One is to have an abstract preparation system (of which there are two in Pyramid #3/53) which lets players retroactively have prepared for the unexpected. Which can break role-playing a bit.
Yup. My suggested solution is similar to that, except that instead of it being via extremley purpose-specific traits that some characters just happen to have, without us knowing why they have them, the party (or squad, or fellowship) uses more general-purpose learnable Skills to generate Plant Points.

These Plan Points are then used during the long con, or the heist, to retroactvely have anticipated or otherwise prepared for the encountered challenges.

And since the Plan: Long Con or Plan: Heist skill roll is usually done against an extremely high Roll Difficulty, the characters will have to scout out the target first, spy on him, engage in social engineering, dumpster diving, and that isn't meant to be abstracted. Instead it is played out in detail, and each such preparatory action reduces the Roll Difficulty, based on how much was accomplished.
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
And since the Plan: Long Con or Plan: Heist skill roll is usually done against an extremely high Roll Difficulty, the characters will have to scout out the target first, spy on him, engage in social engineering, dumpster diving, and that isn't meant to be abstracted. Instead it is played out in detail, and each such preparatory action reduces the Roll Difficulty, based on how much was accomplished.
I'm thinking that, in GURPS, you could somehow adapt the Monster Hunters investigation rules, except instead of finding the culprit behind an event, you're finding the way best way to pull off the event.
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:47 AM   #16
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

Part of the prep work can be procuring unspecified (or vaguely specified) equipment, from the black or grey market, like early on in the movie "Ronin".

Again, a crucial element of my idea is that you don't just make the Plan: Heist or Plan: Long Con roll right away.

Instead you know - collectively - that if you were to try to formulate the plan right away, there'd be a huge penalty and the plan wouldn't be a very good one. So you engage in various pre work, each activity to be played out, such as various forms of scouting and espionage, serving to reduce the penalty, until the point is reached where the characters (not the players, the characters) assume that it's good enough and that the attempt to formulate the plan should be made.

Ideally the penalty to the Plan roll is kept secret from the players, so that they can't know when they've done enough, but can still know that each thing they do serve to reduce the penalty, and that even work beyond reducing the penalty to zero has some value.

When to roll is, of course, not always entirely up to the characters. Often they're under time pressure, and so may be faced with several prep actions to take, of which they have time for only two, and so which ones they choose might well be based on how good they are, e.g. if one or two party members are known to be (or incorrectly believed to be!) a social engineer, or if several are good at Stealth, or it might be based on risk assessment (in which case players whose characters have Overconfidence or analogous flaws must of course roleplay them!).
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:14 PM   #17
soulnafein
 
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

Peter I wish I could see (youtube or long written example) an actual session involving a plan and how you interact with your players.
Do you explain them rules about penalty, BAD, etc?
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:44 PM   #18
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

I've been sometimes tempted to pick up the Leverage RPG rules just to see how the they run their plan formation and execution.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:42 AM   #19
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

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Originally Posted by soulnafein View Post
Peter I wish I could see (youtube or long written example) an actual session involving a plan and how you interact with your players.
Do you explain them rules about penalty, BAD, etc?
Well, I'm still developping Sagatafl so I haven't GM'ed it yet, apart from one single playtest session long ago (which mainly revealed that Sagatafl doesn't work well with handout character sheets - the player has to involved in the game mechanical aspects of the character creation process). Also I wouldn't us BAD, since that's a concept from GURPS Action that is too much metagame for me to tolerate in a fully serious campaign.

I could write a hypothetical detailed example of how I currently envision the Planning process working, and the use of Plan points afterward, but that's not what you asked for.
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Old 01-07-2015, 05:56 AM   #20
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Default Re: Is there a good article/post on story ideas that work in RPGs versus film/literat

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Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
As far as I can see there are two canonical answers to this.

One is to have an abstract preparation system (of which there are two in Pyramid #3/53) which lets players retroactively have prepared for the unexpected. Which can break role-playing a bit.

The other is to say "all right, you successfully prepared for the stuff you knew about: the patrols, the moving laser beams, the safe. And that's all dealt with, no further rolls required. But now here are unexpected challenges, and let's see how you deal with them".
I suppose if a caper is a one or two time thing you are planning you could start media in res with the pcs being caught in the vault, having their employer ambush them, having their get away car explode or something.

Then you revert to x time before and explicity allow them to prepare for that eventuality so long as that opening scene occurs.

I think that would only be fun once which probably explains why capers are usually in books or movies and not 22 episode tv series.
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