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Old 05-10-2002, 09:27 PM   #1
Sidmouth
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Not too long ago we did a trial on my mud of what I call rp adventures. Many muds have them and refer to them as rp quests I think. We tailor a storyline for a player at their request. The completion of it allows them access to a special benefit, like a good piece of eq, a special talent for their character, or something similar.

Ours are about 3-4 hours in length. I was pretty much doing them solo and found that one a week was my limit (I also build and do various admin jobs). For the most part I thought the three we did were very successful. The biggest problem was with me, as I was very reluctant to allow people to fail a quest. A reasonable probability of failure would mitigate requests for these things and force players to put some real thought into -why- they want whatever reward they are trying for and why it will be a good rp move for them and not just a character boost.

Anyways, our program is in its fledgling stages, and I'm curious to hear about other people's systems. I have seen muds where these things can last several days and are done mostly by use of riddles/progs/mud exploration rather than intensive 1 on 1 sessions with imms (what I do). I've also seen people give a variety of interesting rewards for them. This is something I am struggling with as I want options... if only a few things are available, the entire pbase will attempt to get those things and I can only fail so many of them.

Go into as much detail as you wish and include links to your webpage if you have logs or other relevant material.

Thanks,
Sidmouth
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Old 05-11-2002, 02:36 PM   #2
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We've got small, medium and big picture RP options that we've been honing during the past four years. They've all got their pros and cons.

Our tight-focus RP, where we zoom in on a single player, can involve anything from their attempts to hack into the computers of a megacorporation to their working with a lawyer on a legal defense against a crime they didn't commit. One example of tight-focus RP would be The Question, in which Fulton went on a vision quest in the caves of Quaquan. Another, sparked by the request of Brightclaw, was The Would-Be Warriors. Another, during our extended stay aboard Sanctuary, was Abduction. Some are just downright weird, like Interlude with a Vampire, in which I and a few other staffers and players put on a dream sequence for Jaxx. These are activities in which individual players get to flesh out their characters through intensive admin-cooperative stories.

I don't have nearly as much time as I used to for those, as our playerbase has continued to grow, but I have to say those are the activities I've usually enjoyed the most. You don't have to worry about whole groups of people being online at the right time, the individual player doesn't tend to go out of their way to throw a wrench in the works, and can often come up with interesting ideas of their own.

The medium-shot plots, if you think in cinematic terms, are the ones that involve a handful of players but are fairly compact. Often, these involve throwing an admin-played character into the mix and shaking things up. For example, I had a character aboard Sanctuary named Duke Buchanan, who was all about human purity and hatred of aliens. Some of the results of his interactions can be found in Intolerance. But it can also be a "quest," of sorts, such as trying to find the cure for a virus, as seen in Face of the Enemy. In these plots, I often strive to give small teams of people chances to shine (or fail, as the case may be, victory is rarely assured).

The panoramic shot plot, again in cinematic terms, is the one that takes on epic proportions and can involve dozens of people. These usually last for three months or so. We call them story arcs. Nocturn Sonata, the finale of Arc XII: The Marionette's Last Dance, is a good example of a panoramic plot - it jumps from world to world on its way to the conclusion.

I find myself doing more medium and panoramic shot plots these days, but I look forward to doing more of the tight focus plots down the line.
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Old 05-11-2002, 03:38 PM   #3
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I used to look at doing fairly small, contained quests, the 3-4 hour kind, that were reasonably easy and had limited chance of failing. But often I find that these sorts of quests only involve the questing player and an Imm (who plays all the other roles, takes over NPCs, etc.) This tends to be time consuming for the Imm and I've found there's a limited number of quests you can pull off this way, i.e. kill the beast, save the princess, find the treasure, etc.

Also, these types of quests tend to get away from the principle of an RP Mud which is for players to *interact*.

So lately, I've changed my style. I create quests that are far more open-ended, with far more possible paths to the ultimate "end". I put end in quotes because it tends to be a relative term. With open-ended quests, players can end up taking several different paths, and maybe there's no specific or absolute end, or the end occurs before/after we expected or the end is something that wasn't expected at all. All of that is fine, as long as people roleplay throughout and interact with others.

Now this may make it hard to give specific rewards for the conclusion of a quest, but I don't necessarily think that's the case. I think you can give out rewards to people in the middle of a quest, especially if it's taking some time, and the quest itself becomes really a storyline or just becomes part of everyday life for the characters on the MUD.

So if something starts, a quest of some kind, with a specific goal in mind, and I see halfway through that the player has done an excellent job - I'll reward them. Doesn't mean the quest should end, but especially if it's veered down another path, I give them a reward, because (a) they deserve it, and (b) to encourage them to continue.

Also, by making quests more open-ended you avoid the urge to make sure that the player succeeds. Even if the player fails - if they roleplayed well, then they deserve the reward nonetheless. The reward isn't necessarily contingent on "saving the princess" it's on "what you did RP-wise while trying to save the princess".

The Turning Point does have some more narrow quests - a Warrior Quest for example - in order to gain more hitpoints. This was setup before my time, but it was done in part to help balance old warriors' hp rolls cause they weren't good enough to properly compete. That since has changed, so I think that quest is more a thing of the past. But it had definite guidelines, processes and steps that warriors would take.

These days though, I am moving away from that sort of "closed door" quest or "narrowly focused" quest.

Also when people ask me for quests, I often ask *them* to come up with ideas. As an Imm I've got to handle many quests, many responsibilities, etc. I would love to be able to think up quests for everyone, but I simple cannot. So, I ask people to come up with ideas that would suit their characters. People should know their own characters better than anyone else - so they should also be able to come up with ideas for quests.

Another thing I've started doing is asking respected players who find themselves involved in quests for others to report back on the progress, quality of RP, etc. This way, I don't have to be watching 24/7 while someone is on a quest, the other players around can help me out.

Finally, as far as rewards go, standards on TP are experience points and restrings. I'm partial to restrings because it adds some uniqueness to characters and the entire MUD. Titles are also common, but I'm not as much a fan of them. We are also working on building in other RP mechanisms/features that we can then offer as rewards. For example, we can change the talk-verbs of players now, so while all drow may "sneer" as their default talk verb, we could change it for specific people. This again adds uniqueness and more style to the MUD. By doing it through rewards though we help minimize abuse, and help extol the virtues of continued and exceptional roleplaying.

Hope that helps out with some ideas...

Pleos
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Old 05-11-2002, 07:48 PM   #4
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I was referring to the first type you mentioned Brody, those which are one or just a few players (great logs by the way, wish I had logs of the two I did somewhere).

I've also asked players to furnish as many ideas as they can Pleos. Often I don't know a character quite well enough to come up with something on my own that makes sense for them. You both mentioned the time constraint, and that certainly is the hardest thing about these.

I still think there's value in doing these very small quests though. Like Brody, those are the ones I find most entertaining as an imm, and I get the feeling morts enjoy them most of all too, for the one on one interaction. It's especially nice to take that time to get a feel for one of your players. It's close to impossible for me or any other imm to watch all the rp in the mud, I was amazed when I did the quests at how much I learned about the character involved.

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