Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Licensed settings, metaplots, things like that.

This started as a TWH game theory post, became personal and bloggy, and extracted the game theory bit from the personal and bloggy bit...

One of the tricky parts about playing in a dynamic setting like an ongoing licensed universe or a metaplotty RPG is not knowing what the creative types are going to give you next, and whether you'll like it. This leads to a fair number of folks who consider metaplot slightly less appealing than the Black Death, but I've never had a a huge issue with it.

Partially because in The Watch House I cheated.

I didn't start the game until after Buffy had concluded on TV, so I knew all there then was to know. And seeing the mid-season cliffhanger in season seven would throw a big old spanner into my game design, I made the game a period piece... by five years. This meant not referring to movies or music out at the time (with some very occasional cheating) and having five years to run the game until, as I joked, I'd have to hit that mid-season cliffhanger.

And the game promptly ran for six years...

And yes, the influence of the canon setting changed the game a lot, but I'd had years to think about how it would, to decide who the cliffhanger affected, what effect the final Big Bad would have on things, how big and bad my own final Big Bad would have to be to be worth the fighting, and time to connect a PC to something unexpected just to make her player squee.

But wait, there's more.

For the last two of those years, Buffy Season Eight was coming out in comics form. I took it as canon, but not having happened yet. About the only reference ahead I made was that the castle in Scotland was a Watcher fall-back position. Effectively I treated it as a supplement where the metaplot hadn't hit yet. I also joked that I'd only run TWH S8 if I could find a willing illustrator. But, of course, the damn thing went and gave me ideas...

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