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Adventure Builder 5: Plotting and Scheming

The fifth installment in my Adventure Builder series is about Linear and Matrix plots. I could just as easily have called them Railroad and Sandbox plots as well, and they're the foundation of all plot arcs in RPGs and computer games.

Comments

( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )
trentc
Sep. 25th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
More of your writing at wizards.com
Clockwork Wonders, 1 of 14
The Matryoshka Matron

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cw/20060925a

I assume this is the Eberron project that you referred to earlier that "papered over" some inconsistencies?
open_design
Sep. 25th, 2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
Re: More of your writing at wizards.com
Oh, good, I was wondering when the Eberron series would start up.

Actually, this one is not the papering over; that is an Eberron sourcebook written with James Wyatt and Ari Marmell. I don't think it's been formally announced yet.
wahcrysob
Sep. 25th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
Another quality article. One day I'll have the free time to not only get my setting to the point where I can actually run it, but sit down and write some adventures putting your articles to actual use. I'll be sure to let you know how things go.
zakarntson
Sep. 26th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
Nice article! I do wonder at the following (under The Trouble with Linear Plots): So, linear adventure designs need to manufacture the illusion of choice.

Why wouldn't the DM just tell the players that the adventure's on a linear plot? It seems that keeping the illusion at the risk of it falling apart would be more dangerous than letting the players in on things. If the players are aware and buy into a Linear adventure, they'd be less likely to run their characters off the rails.

As far as adventure models go, I'm experimenting with what I'm calling a "Reactive" adventure. It's sort of like your Matrix adventure, but instead of triggers, it's "scene-based" and fairly modular. If you're interested, I'm discussing it at my LJ.
wahcrysob
Sep. 27th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
I imagine truthiness in regards to linear plot is a function of the group in question. I know my group, for example, will play whatever the hell I decide to run, not because it's the only game in town (to an extent) but because they simply enjoy playing and aren't so dedicated to the idea of RPing that they're willing to manifest some issue with the adventure at hand because it clashes with their character. In short, the perfect D&D group.

For groups that dislike linear plots (and I'm not saying my group clamors for them), a carefully hidden linear plot might be necessary to keeping the game going. All in all though, I pretty much agree with you, and your hippo icon, that truthiness is the best policy and to simply not run linear plots for groups to which the idea is anathema.
( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )

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