Player GMs

We welcome player-run plots, and we've got a variety of tools that are intended to assist and reward player GMs.

First off, you're welcome to run a story within a prop that you control (such as a shadow under your control), at any time, without any input or assistance from the staff whatsoever. The staff is happy to provide commentary or assistance if you'd like, but our involvement isn't necessary in any way. If you're doing something small-scale and don't require NPCs that will touch the broader game or RPG rewards, then just go ahead and do it.

If you want to go beyond the boundaries of a prop you control, you need NPCs with sheets, or you'd like to be able to give out direct RPG rewards, come talk to one of the staff members, so we can set you up with the appropriate RPG system hooks. That includes:

  • Giving you a token signifying what props you have plot authority over.
  • Having the staff sign any tokens that you feel that you need signed for the plot.
  • Creating and helping you do stats for any NPCs, including new power sources, gifts, items and props if needed.

In general, new power sources, gifts, etc. can persist beyond the duration of the plot if they have a 5-point cost. The persistence of more powerful things is negotiable; the staff is happy to have unusually potent things temporarily in the shands of NPCs, but for overall game balance, may not wish such things to persist.

For major plots, we may also reward you with bonus Focus upon the conclusion of the plot, to be spent upon your characters as you see fit. That's a thank-you for the effort you've put into helping make the game better, and the size of the reward will be commensurate with the amount of time put into running the plot.

Before you come talk to the staff about your plot, think about the questions below. You don't need to have them all answered initially — we're happy to discuss preliminary ideas as well as more developed ones — but by the time you begin to run the plot, you should have answers in mind.

  • What is the core conflict at the heart of the story of your plot? What are the key choices that the players will make, and what will change as a result of those choices? (These need to be genuine choices — the plot shouldn't run on rails. Similarly, we think that stories should have lasting consequences. It's okay for there to be plots that are just about a villain who shows up, causes trouble, and is then defeated, but we encourage you to think about how plots change the props and people they affect.)
  • What is the initial hook into your plot — the thing that will draw characters in? (You can have multiple hooks, but you need at least one. Often, people tend to care more about what happens to characters than to props, and so having at least one character who is initially personally and directly affected and who can therefore "champion" drawing others in is a good idea.)
  • What will bring your plot to an end? What are the likely possible conclusions, and what will make those closures satisfying to the players? (An end does not mean that there cannot be after-effects and "sequel" plots, but there should be a resolution to the core conflict.)
  • What is the scope of your plot? What props does it touch? If those props have controllers, have you talked to the controllers? (We strongly suggest doing so beforehand, since you'll want good OOC communication and cooperation, plus it'll hopefully get you some help and additional ideas.)
  • What RPG system support will you need?

In general, player GMs will be given wide latitude within the scope of their plot. You must stay within the agreed-upon scope (the affected props), although you can re-negotiate this with the staff if circumstances make it necessary. Furthermore, as with anything, players can opt not to interact with your plot; you can't force other people to participate.

However, note that sometimes player GMs will be allowed a scope that amounts to affecting the entire game — plots that are epic in scope and are expected to run for many months. We will approve such plots with care, but player-created plots can result in major changes to the game, up to and including the destruction of one of the Patterns.

Information for GMs

If you are planning to GM, we strongly suggest that you read the following:

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