As an ST..

  • an ST, how do you balance for yourself, your group, your sphere, your game, the stories that are on a grand-scale vs. personal?

    One thing I have noticed is The Story has drastically expanded (with the popularity of video games like Skyrim, where one is always the world-saving hero) the scope of importance, rather than focusing on Self or Group.

    Ex: I RP on Sheltering Colorado as Christmas, one of the Holiday Gang of Anarchs. All of our times are really scattered but - we get group play, I get personal play, and the Staff are pretty lax about how involved we need to be, due to it being primarily Camarilla and our story-scope being flexible.

    But, in other places with larger player-sizes, that scope increases drastically (The Inquisition is starting, World War III, The Rise of the Antedeluvians, Cthulu, etc). So...

    How do you, as STs, balance yourself, your stories, and your time?

  • I'm going to speak to this on two fronts, particularly on the creation of stories on a grand vs. personal scale: the tabletop scale of a group of 4-6 players, and from the LARP perspective, which is much like a MUSH in interpretation and implementation.

    From a tabletop perspective...
    A lot of the 'balance' comes from expectations of what I, the storyteller, wants to do with the game (do I want to tell a game of epic intrigue? Do I want to create a world, and let you wander around and encounter plots at random? Do we want globe-trotting power players?) and what the players want from the game (I want to be the hero!, I want moral quandries and dilemmas!, I want to kill monsters and take their stuff!, I want personal stories that draw on my extensive backstory). It's then my responsibility as an ST to engage in dialogue with the players, and see what we can collaborate towards as a group that fulfils the desires of both groups.

    For example, I ran a long-term Final Fantasy d6 game, where I had a 'save the world from the dark god' angle, and the players wanted to adventure in the vein of FF in this custom world, and wanted their personal histories involved in the game. So I built the game to do those things. This player group also was alright with some railroading, so we accounted for that to help them get from Point A to Point Z, but the world was open enough that they had multiple things to choose from to do.

    From a LARP (and MUSH) perspective...
    I do a very similiar setup, but the most significant difference is that I will make it very clear to the players that 'this is the theme/tone/setup for the LARP' and discuss how their characters would fit well into it. A big thing that we'll do is try to make it clear that, Staff have a lot of limited time, and we'll do our best to create personal stories for you, so help us along by providing us this information and helping us to weave your story into the game. This also dovetails into personal theme vs. global theme, I feel; we typically make it very clear that 'this is the theme of the game, and if you want to play in the world but not 100% engage with the theme, you're going to have to do more to make your own fun'. The onus then becomes a bit more on the player to figure out how to have things to do, if they're not 100% vested in the 'core theme' of the game. Like playing Anarchs on a Camarilla game, for example.

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    @horrorhound said in As an ST..: an ST, how do you balance for yourself, your group, your sphere, your game, the stories that are on a grand-scale vs. personal?

    Usually when a story is set to be personal it starts out that way. A pack wants something ran, for example, so there isn't that much need to balance it out; they are the stars. At that point it's pretty similar to being a table-top DM/ST, with the main difference being you can't blow up the city in the process.

    Otherwise my PrP series are launched from a neutral place exactly so that I can fit personal storytelling in them later on. That's tricky - and potentially unwanted - to plan for; sometimes characters I want to buy in don't, and others I didn't expected show up big time. There's no control over this since OOC factors play in the mix (RL schedules, players already having too much on their plate, etc) so I read the room and respond accordingly.

    So to answer the OP's question I balance things dynamically because there's no one-size-fits-all approach here. Stories just need to stay flexible to accommodate newcomers, emerging ideas and approaches, even for interactions with other plots ran at the same time.

    The one thing that isn't flexible is my own time. I have what I have, and I'm available when I'm available. Everything else has to work based on that or else it won't work at all, so my responsibility here is to make it clear from the start and stick to it as much as life allows.

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