Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Storytelling Advice Part 1: The Email

 Immediately after I was elected ST, I recieved an email from a fellow Cammie and a former ST for changeling. He gave me a few words of wisdom, and figured I'd share. Names have been omitted due to lack of permission.

So I'm not worried about you as an ST, like honestly man I have full confidence in you, your abilities, and what your crazy brain can cook up with for mage. No pressure, but I've got faith in you. Now below is a list of things I wanted to throw your way as advice because being an ST isn't easy, and as you're a first timer here, it's going to be… let's say… fun… sure let's call it fun. 

As for ST duties (& stuff): 
  1. Get to know your players & their characters. People are genuinely lazy when they put stuff up onto the database, and as a result the write ups and such that they have in there are not really the same as what they have in the game itself. So getting to talk to and ask everyone what the deal is with their character is probably 1 of the most important things i could ever suggest doing.
  2. Figure out your ST style. By this I mean: Matt's style was heavy on plot bus that had individual tie ins. I was heavy on what I call plot land mines, you start walking through and OH SHIT WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED??? WHY ARE THERE CLAYMORES AND PUPPIES EVERYWHERE NOW???? Abby is huge on crafting the world and having it respond back in a conversation with the players and their interactions. So once you know what your style is, this helps dictate for you what everything else is going to be.
  3. Don't take it personally. No really don't. I spent 1 full year at Changeling panicking before every single game the day of wondering "did I do enough, what can I do more of… oh crap they are all going to hate me, no wait, they do just hate me… FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK" However, we all do understand there is a difference between you and the position itself. We love Craig, and sometimes Craig is going to have to make some tough choices. We may like or not like those tough choices. So as a result, don't take it personally man. The gig comes with this and every ST has to deal with it. So just remember, we love ya, and when your ST hat is on, that's 1 thing, and when it's off that's a different person all together. 
  4. Don't commit yourself to any plot, NPC, or plan. Players will always find a way to simultaneously turn any plans you have both inside out and sideways. No plot will ever go the way you plan, and because of this as an ST you can't get too attached to what you have planned. 
  5. Remember to make time for yourself and for being an ST. I love ST's that can be on top of emails and such 24/7, but burn out does exist and stuff can just get to be that difficult if you don't give yourself some time to breath.
  6. Question everything. If there is ever an app that is in the DB, question anything in there even if it seems like the app is air tight just because the higher in ranks the approval can go, the less and less the higher up officers will know about this person and their character. So you'll want to help paint a bigger picture each time. Same applies to even in game. No player is perfect, and I'm not saying folks will try to pull BS on you hoping your gullible, but players and ST's make mistakes and it's sometimes better to waste time to be clear about something than it is to just have something happen that no one was clear on and have it bite you in the ass later. So don't be afraid to scrutinize players when you feel it's appropriate.


As for aVST advice (yea it's special enough that it needs a separate list):
So the current situation you have for aVST is this:
  1. So you have a game where almost every person is involved in some way shape or form in important plot.
  2. Unlike the other games, we aren't at odds with one another but are a lot more in super friends mode with everyone having a position to play in the game.
  3. You're in a rock & a hard place here. 

My advice is: 
  1. Spend at least 1 - 2 games on your own to just get a feel for the game, how it runs, and what you see yourself needing. This is something that will ALWAYS be new and different per ST and I only really ever found comes up once we are in the saddle. 
  2. Make a list of the things you know for a fact you're going to need help in.
  3. Ask individuals that you already know off the bat that you can work with, have offered, or you would like to help you out if they can come help you as an aVST.
  4. Put an all call after month 3 or 4 if you see that the folks you hand picked aren't going to be able to help you out.

I know it's tough, it really is, but I really also can't stress enough parts 1 & 2 of my advice list along with just being able to give yourself and others some breathing room to see what's up.

My next blog will be the reply to this, using what I want to do and have done since I've started work.