Author Topic: Tips on how to plot a RPG?  (Read 1644 times)

Mr. Sacchi

  • All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.
  • Not postponed. Not in the end. Not for long.
Tips on how to plot a RPG?
« on: October 31, 2013, 09:20:24 PM »
Basically, I've been running a Forum-based Text-Adventure/RPG hybrid for a while but I've hit a point where I'm gonna need some help. I'm gonna give you guys a quick run down of the story so far and some of this is gonna sound really freaking stupid I know but bear with me.

The story setting is in 2025, 7 years prior to the story there has been a "Great War" that, though it only lasted for one year, it completely destroyed politics, economics and what-have-you (it was basically a massacre) and the entire world, especially the USA has been feeling the consequences. The story starts out in NY, with the player characters being completely normal humans in what is basically a completely normal world with the exception that for one year the world has been getting more and more populated by digimon (stupid part - basically the digimon are there to help rebuild the world after the war, this isn't random, but going into details would take too long).

I've separated the story in chapters, the prologue, which is where we started, basically serves to introduce the players to the world. Then what is reported as a Global Earthquake happens and we jump into Chapter 1, the players are wondering how the fuck is that even possible and try to survive the consequences of the earthquake before they're all kidnapped.

The players then find themselves in the grasp of an organization known to them only as The Army - formally, the Night's Pupils - and they are given a pseudo-choice, the army's second-in-command wants the players to go to heaven to checkup on the army's leader, whom we'll be calling Sky for now, because he's the only one that can fix what happened, cue them finding that Sky has gone missing.

We then jump into chapter 2, the army's second-in-command discovers that not only is S missing, but apparently he has been divided in several "Skys", which basically means that his essence has been divided in 4, and the only way to fix what's wrong with the world the players have to gather three of the four essences and bring them to the fourth one, fuse it, and then done. The first essence is in a different dimension altogether, so the players have their "hidden powers" awakened (I won't begin to explain here why they have these powers otherwise we'll be here all day) and pick up one of the generals of the army to be their "Partners" in the mission. The remaining Generals will play damage control in the normal world while one of them in specific will look for one of the essences which is still in the normal world.

The players are then dumped into the "Abyss Dimension" which is basically the normal world but in a digimon-zombie apocalypse. The players find an old abandoned base and with it a dimensional counterpart of Sky's, which after a miniboss battle agrees to help them, the players manage to restore power to the base using the dimensional Sky's prowess and the Army's resources, but this is where it gets tricky.

Basically, what happens here is that Sky's essences have somehow divided into four different beings of extreme power, and one of them has decided to try and bring the cure to this zombie-apocalypse, and has also holed itself up on a place where it's basically suicide for the players to try and go to. The players decided to try and find a cure and that would bring him out of his hiding place and into their hands, which is exactly what I wanted.

Problem: I have no fucking clue how exactly the players are going to find a cure. Basically the cure is hidden in the digimon's generations, the digimon are divided into 6 generations (the sixth of which is a secret) and, depending on the generation, the digimon can be either more or less resistant to the virus affecting them, basically, The first generation is very susceptible, the second is somewhat resistant and the third is almost immune, however, due to the "special circumstances" of the fourth and fifth generations, they are out-of-the-question, which means that the only option is the sixth, which the players have no knowledge of.

My question is: How the hell to I get the players to not only realize the hidden "trick" to finding the cure, but going out of their way to discover the sixth generation? It should be noted that Sky's dimensional counterpart is one of the few people who do have knowledge of the sixth generation.

My second problem is a little later - chapter 4.

At this point, if everything goes as planned, the players will be in a different dimension with the first essence in hand, and now will be going to get the second, which is in a "perfect" dimension created by none other than Sky himself, basically, he has dreamed up a dimensional that is perfect for him and wants to live in this world, he doesn't even have any memories of his life outside of it. Again, the players have to draw the "extremely powerful being" out of its hiding place, this time, the being is acting as Sky's Guardian Angel and if his life goes sour, it's going to act... The point here is for the players to try and screw with Sky's life as hard as possible. Question: How to make them realize this?

I know this sounds like a sucky plot but just help me here if you can.


Re: Tips on how to plot a RPG?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 01:24:15 AM »
I would suggest reading through this game and some of the games at this link for some examples of what to do (or not to do, as the case may be) with the storytelling itself.

As for getting the players to do what you want them to do... I need to read what's happened already before I can say one way or another. I mean the thread itself, not a summary. It's probably going to amount to "they need to start thinking about looking for something that they've already discounted as possible", which is never a good situation to be in.
The ultimate joke would be making Wriggle an EX Boss, but there being a game-breaking bug in her final spellcard that made it impossible to catch.

Think about it for a second...

Hello Purvis

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Re: Tips on how to plot a RPG?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 09:29:56 AM »
Lemme see if I have assessed these problems correctly.

In the first problem, you need the players to find a cure in order to lure the guy out. And the cure comes from, essentially, naturally selecting out digimons that have developed progressive immunity. You have one advantage here; if the guy has isolated himself, it's very easy for him to be completely on the wrong track and missing obvious clues. So it's entirely plausible for the players to encounter groups of same generations, and notice that later ones aren't quite so affected. Combine this maybe with rumors of a place where no one's affected (which would be where the secret sixth gens hang out), and you ought to have enough of a hook to make this work. Characters would have to care enough to want to solve the plague, though. Also, drop hints that the majority of the victims are the elders and such, perhaps.

With the second problem, you need to get them to basically wreck this guy's life, right? My thoughts are encourage them to experiment at first. Maybe just taunt them into trying fuck with the guy a little bit with obvious prank set-ups and so forth. Make it a sort of scenario where people will just want to mess with it because it's so sickeningly perfect. Alternately, perhaps the guy subconsciously sets himself up a scenario where he gets to be a hero, like interfering with a purse snatcher or something, but the heroes happen to be in the spot to stop it before it can reach him so that it wrecks what he wanted. Once they wreck a thing, reward them a little bit. Let them get a bit of that essence they need, or detect it's loosening up a bit. Or maybe detect that the whole delusion is weakening. Essentially, let them get a bit of knowledge that their goal is a bit closer. At that point, they'll probably go apeshit gleefully wrecking everything.

Mr. Sacchi

  • All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.
  • Not postponed. Not in the end. Not for long.
Re: Tips on how to plot a RPG?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2013, 03:05:52 PM »
Argh, finally got a break from school/studying and my mom ain't home so I can have internet for like 5 minutes.

I would suggest reading through this game and some of the games at this link for some examples of what to do (or not to do, as the case may be) with the storytelling itself.

As for getting the players to do what you want them to do... I need to read what's happened already before I can say one way or another. I mean the thread itself, not a summary. It's probably going to amount to "they need to start thinking about looking for something that they've already discounted as possible", which is never a good situation to be in.

Duly noted.

And yeah, which is why I'm asking for help before they start counting stuff as impossible.

Lemme see if I have assessed these problems correctly.

In the first problem, you need the players to find a cure in order to lure the guy out. And the cure comes from, essentially, naturally selecting out digimons that have developed progressive immunity. You have one advantage here; if the guy has isolated himself, it's very easy for him to be completely on the wrong track and missing obvious clues. So it's entirely plausible for the players to encounter groups of same generations, and notice that later ones aren't quite so affected. Combine this maybe with rumors of a place where no one's affected (which would be where the secret sixth gens hang out), and you ought to have enough of a hook to make this work. Characters would have to care enough to want to solve the plague, though. Also, drop hints that the majority of the victims are the elders and such, perhaps.

With the second problem, you need to get them to basically wreck this guy's life, right? My thoughts are encourage them to experiment at first. Maybe just taunt them into trying fuck with the guy a little bit with obvious prank set-ups and so forth. Make it a sort of scenario where people will just want to mess with it because it's so sickeningly perfect. Alternately, perhaps the guy subconsciously sets himself up a scenario where he gets to be a hero, like interfering with a purse snatcher or something, but the heroes happen to be in the spot to stop it before it can reach him so that it wrecks what he wanted. Once they wreck a thing, reward them a little bit. Let them get a bit of that essence they need, or detect it's loosening up a bit. Or maybe detect that the whole delusion is weakening. Essentially, let them get a bit of knowledge that their goal is a bit closer. At that point, they'll probably go apeshit gleefully wrecking everything.

First problem: I've been giving hints about it in battles, most of the digimon the players have fought up until now are 1st Gen, if I'm not mistaken they've only fought a single 3rd Gen so far. I'm not so sure that's enough to make players realize the connection here.

Now, the biggest problem with the sixth gen is that it's what I like to call a "prototype generation", basically, there's only one sixth gen digimon and that's because the sixth gen never saw widespread use. However, your idea of "rumors of where the sixth gen hang out" has given me an idea, because it's actually entirely plausible that a single place in the world wouldn't be affected, and it would make sense for the "prototype" to be housed in what's essentially the Digital World's Science Lab.

Second problem, the part of him subconsciously wanting to be a hero is out-of-the-question (the whole reason why he subconsciously created the dimension in the first place is that he wanted to have a 100% normal and mundane life) however, giving them little hints could work, my original idea was having the players kill his loved ones, but just making his life hell is equally plausible.


Hello Purvis

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  • Hello Jerry
Re: Tips on how to plot a RPG?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2013, 07:25:11 PM »
Trust me, there's nothing players love more than a legit excuse to GTA stuff up and get away with it. Once they figure it out, they'll be setting up tripwires, ordering 10,000 pizzas in his name, and ghosting cars into his house in the middle of the night in no time.