[3:16] Players influencing campaign direction

edited July 2008 in Story Games
This one is something I am having big trouble getting my head around, so I think it's worthy of a thread on its own. (That probably means it'll be answered with perfect clarity in a single short paragraph, but oh well.)

There are actually several questions here, but they are all related to the same basic concept: how much of the world (that is, each planet, and also, the galaxy) is created before playing each planet. The mission creation rules suggest: pretty much nothing, except what is needed for the currnet plaent. But some sections of the rules don't seem to work at all with this assumption.

1. The Star Killer: after hearing the briefing, choose to use it and vape the star system. Then go to the Mission briefing for the next planet.
First, the rules tell us that the players don't know the AA or Special Ability of the aliens till after they make contact with the enemy, so how can they know when it's a good idea to use this resource?

2. Ranks: players of high ranking characters may sometimes give the mission briefing.
How does this work, when the GM creates the planet? Does the GM says - "the plaent is like this, this is what is known of the aliens. With this background, what sort of mission do you want to do?"
Actually, I could see that working, so it's not a biggie, but it fits in with the general theme of this post.

3. This paragraph on page 48 leapt out at me as if it was flashing neon; i've put certain bits in bold:
"Also note that when PCs become Officers you should allow them
to define what Missions are and which planets they are setting
course for
. As the GM you will be choosing the planet Special
Abilities, but the highest ranking PC may well be driving where
the group is going in the fiction
. Possibly back towards Terra."

I may be being too literal, but I honestly cannot see how this can work without a gazeteer of planets created in advance, that the players know about.

Comments

  • Posted By: demiurgeastarothI may be being too literal, but I honestly cannot see how this can work without a gazeteer of planets created in advance, that the players know about.
    Have you read Agon? I would use its "choose from 3 quest" model and create a three or four nearby planets for the commanders to choose from. By orders they should be clearing them all before moving on, so they can't just skip them (unless they are the Brigadier...), but they can pick the order and if they're high enough level the Starkiller.
  • That leaves open the question of how much detail should be created for each planet.

    I'm certainly interested in discussing house rules to solve the conundrums (conundra?) presented above, but also I'm hoping to here the designer's answers to Q1 & 3 (whether from the designer himself or someone better able than I to extract the designers intent from the book).
  • edited July 2008
    Posted By: demiurgeastarothThat leaves open the question of how much detail should be created for each planet.
    I think the GM should definitely check off some choices for that planet. If I'd already generated it, I'd mark that one off. If not, maybe mark things off at random, or my choice. If it turns out that they starkillered an easy planet... well, that's their problem.

    Also: note that you (kind of) have the gazeteer already, in the list of planet names.
  • I'd just let players create the planets and mission details, as big ol' flags for what they want from me as a GM, and then make that happen.
  • Posted By: demiurgeastarothThe mission creation rules suggest: pretty much nothing, except what is needed for the currnet plaent.
    Hey, you answered your own question. Cool.

    I really think you are over thinking this. Really. I mean, things like the Starkiller Missile. You only get it if you reach Colonel in Rank. That is a long way away, if ever. And I bet dollars to donuts that if a player in your game gets to be a Colonel he will absolutely have an idea about what he is going to do with it at that point.

    In D&D I say to the GM, as a player, "hey, can we go into the nearest village?" What is the village like? Did the GM have to take a week off to prep the village? Does he ask the author of D&D to define all villages in the D&D universe? Or does he just make it up?

    I really suggest that you keep preparation to a minimum and make it up as you go along. If a player ever reaches high enough rank to be doing mission briefings then let them make the planet up. That's what it says in the book and that's exactly what you should do.

    Please, please, please, just do what it says in the book. I did all the hard work so that you don't have to. You just need to make stuff up, play your characters and have fun. That's it.
  • Posted By: Gregor HuttonI did all the hard work so that you don't have to. You just need to make stuff up, play your characters and have fun. That's it.
    Awesome! I think I need to start telling myself this about every game I have. I'm not sure if it's true about EVERY game, but it would help me get more stuff to the table.
  • Ah, so when a player is giving the briefing, he makes up the planet? In that case, I retract my earlier comments.
    I was operating under the assumption that the GM made the planet, and the player would be operating only on the information given in the briefing, which reminded me of my illusionist-GM roots. The player would be forced to use it going on a description of danger that might not actually match the statistics.
    But that's not the case, so it's cool.

    I don't think it's really clear from the text that that is what is supposed to happen (well it wasn't to me, but I admit that may not be the same thing), so I'd suggest adding it to the FAQ.
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