Smaller Scale Events

PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of EsterportSomewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭✭
So. This has been on my mind for a long time, and with my recent experiences in novel writing and playing D&D, it's become a really prominent idea.

Events. Love them or hate them, they're what drive Aetolia's narrative, and can be defining moments for individual characters or organizations. But in recent years it seems like large, global events have been pushed because of a need or desire to have things be grand and epic and world-changing. Who doesn't want to be a hero that's helped save the world?

But in Aetolia, facing world-ending threats seems to be the order of the day. How many times has Sapience faced annihilation or widespread destruction? How many times in the past year alone?

Yeah. A fair bit.

I'm not saying these kinds of events aren't great. They're fun, and they're engaging. But at the same time I feel like there's a lot of wasted potential. A lot of closer connections that are lost or neglected. I've always been an advocate of creating a living world, and I feel smaller scale events can accomplish that, and potentially help alleviate the feeling of aimlessness some orgs have.

In D&D, the level ranges of adventures are sometimes separated into tiers. 1-5 is a 'local hero', solving the trials and troubles of a village or town. 5-10 is the 'regional hero', solving larger problems that affect a wide region or part of a country. 10-15 is the 'national hero' where deeds get noticed on a much broader scale, and the stakes are higher. 15-20 is 'epic level' where you're facing insurmountable odds in order to save the entire world.

Aetolia events frequently fall into the latter two categories and ESPECIALLY the last one.

'Oh, the world is ending again?' No big deal, just another horde of powered up mobs for large groups of players to kill and die frequently to.

So what would Small Scale events involve? What purpose would they serve?

Well. Pick a village. Any village. Now let's say you create an event where said village is hit by a really bad famine and they ask for aid. Players can help by offering things like rations, food, commodities, etc. Event runs for a few days/a week or little bits over the course of a few. Famine over, village is thankful, and maybe sometime later said village sends a little something to the orgs or individuals that helped, people feel good that they've done something, and you've fostered a connection between the village and a few orgs/people.

Or maybe you can pick an org to create a small event for. Let's say the Archivists get contacted because an ancient relic has been discovered. An event could be created where the relic is retrieved and stored, and researched. Boom. You're playing into the org's purpose and actually making them feel like they're doing something (even if it probably won't turn into anything huge later).

Or how about an underground criminal network establishing a foothold in a city and are trafficking and distributing a highly addictive drug that's beginning to ravage the population?

Toss out hooks, and someone will usually bite.

I'm not saying big events aren't great, and I'm not trying to take away from the work involved or the epicness of them. But small events would be great too, and I think they can be interesting or done really well.

And for once, it'd be nice to see a smaller scale plot done that ISN'T a damn race riot. Play into org themes. Mix things up. There's more stuff going on in the world of Aetolia beyond just killing mobs and waging wars. Your players will really appreciate it. I know I would.


  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 636 ✭✭✭✭
    We did that. It was the Proxy War.

    Look how that turned out.

  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yeah. But note the kind of examples I had in my post. Those are not even CLOSE to what the Proxy War was. :P
  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 636 ✭✭✭✭
    Ok... you also had the Three Widows War.

    You know. The same one where people bitched about it being an open pk event. That was small scale.

    Look how that turned out.

  • TiurTiur Producer Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,147 admin
    Small scale stuff is totally on the list. We're talking about cutting back to TWO major things a year, just to prevent burnout.... sometimes, though, 'major' means different things in the Pools than down on the ground, so I can see where misunderstanding happens. For instance, when horrible things invade and start making plant zombie clones? Super easy, all code, handled itself. We wrote 'minor event' next to it.

    So we'll try to keep "scale of threat" in mind more than "scale of effort" for what constitutes major/minor. Unfortunately, minor things with lots of mob animation and new items can be worse than a war that's precoded.

    As a small aside, we're also talking about letting Sapience be more proactive. The heck with invasions and fighting off Albedi who wake up... why doesn't Sapience get to pre-stab an Albedi, or invade someone else!?
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Rhyot said:
    Ok... you also had the Three Widows War. You know. The same one where people bitched about it being an open pk event. That was small scale. Look how that turned out.
    You keep missing my point. Small scale events don't have to be wars. :P

    @Tiur Yeah, I'll be frank in admitting to not knowing how much coding is required for certain things, but I was definitely thinking along the lines of 'small scale, small effort', so things that don't require extensive coding. But scaling back level of threat doesn't hurt either.

    Edit: And big YES to allowing orgs to be more proactive. 
  • TiurTiur Producer Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,147 admin
    Oh! Let me amend my previous statement. There will be no stabbing of sleeping Albedi gods. That was a joke and I like jokes. I just meant for a silly example of being proactive.

    Do not stab anything in its sleep, sleep should be respected.
  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 636 ✭✭✭✭
    But but but.....

    How else am I supposed to pull off a coup d'grace of a god??

  • ImvraImvra Immortal Member, Immortal Posts: 101 Immortal
    At some point we will have a conclusion with the conflict of the Mhun. The play alley and its new quest in Enorian were one loose end tied up so that it isn't hanging open. We recognize that it can become too much, too one-note, and too repetitive, and will not be otherwise touching on that for a time. Everyone needs a break.
  • IesidIesid Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    Tiur said:

    So we'll try to keep "scale of threat" in mind more than "scale of effort" for what constitutes major/minor. Unfortunately, minor things with lots of mob animation and new items can be worse than a war that's precoded.

    Glad you added that last bit.

    Gonna come out swingin' and say I disagree with the points presented by players in this thread. Scale of threat matters, but I would honestly prefer that we continue to 'save the world' in every event, as opposed to 'rescue this cat from a tree'. If the consequences of an event are not scary from an In Character perspective, I'm eventually going to find it hard to come up with a compelling reason to ask myself or my guild/city/council/order to participate aside from "lol, it is an event."

    If your events consist of low-scale threats from a roleplay perspective, I am likely to be far less engaged in the event unless its actual mechanics are fun or there's organic roleplay to be had. This was the root of my motivation to have my character campaign to eradicate the mhun instead of going along with the 'hey we're spirit so we save people' narrative. The narrative 'size' of the racial panic surrounding the mhun was very ho-hum - by no fault of any volunteer, mind you, but instead by reductionist or narrow-minded thinking in Spirit at the time. The narrative of Aetolia has made it clear that Sapient adventurers sort of are epic level characters. If you demote us back to cleaning the latrines, so to speak, I lose the sense that there's something 'Player Character' about Aetolia's PCs aside from handwaved agelessness.

  • HallisHallis Member Posts: 15
    To be fair, there are many compelling threats that are lower than "the literal world's in danger". The problem with saving the world every event is fatigue and an inability to take the threat seriously. If every threat is world-ending and we never lose, no threat is really world-ending because the more you experience the same threats, the harder it is to take them seriously IC and OOC. This is a common problem in WoW, from experience. Examples of compelling lower-threat events could include a competition for a relic that could vastly improve our research; a plague of madness affecting a certain area or group; a good old fashioned murder mystery; kidnappings; restoration of corrupted areas; all sorts of other things. As mentioned either above in this thread or somewhere else, pre-emptively striking the Dreikathi would be a specifically Aetolian example of a compelling event where the world itself isn't at stake. There just needs to be a compelling reason behind the event to justify character and player engagement.
  • IesidIesid Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    Hallis said:

    There just needs to be a compelling reason behind the event to justify character and player engagement.

    This mostly sums up my concern, I don't think we necessarily disagree. I am just wary of events that do not put existential pressure on PCs (even if we both know that we could never 'lose Aetolia', it is clear that there are risks - see: the Indorani being deleted) because anything less than that is prone, in varying degrees, to not really capture attention.

  • ZailaZaila Pacific TimeMember Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Welcome to the Superhero Cinematic Universe conundrum. You can't make every individual character's movie have world-ending consequences when there won't REALLY be any lasting negative repercussions, or else each consecutive movie engages you less and less.

    That's why you make one big movie with world-ending scenario that involves the entire cast(game) and brings everyone together once every year or three, and then each individual character (guild/City) gets smaller little events that just relate to something personally impactful to them. Their closer friends might come help for those, but in the sidelines.

    That's how you keep the engagement up, so says Marvel Studios. 
  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 636 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2019

    See... There have been many small scale events done. IIRC... The pylon maintenance was a small scale one. As were the creation of the mines. 

    Here's another thing. About a year ago, there was a small scale event going on in Esterport/Delve with the slavers or something. Thing is, it was geared towards only spirit players and if a shadow player showed up.... They were killed. (I was killed twice just for showing up to see what was going on.) Shadow players were later told "Dont show up, this is spirit only event."

    If things are small scale, expect everyone to show up and want to put their fingers in the pot. The Problem with that is this:

    Tainhelm is going starting to slowly die of starvation. Enorian and Duiran set up a large feast for them. Bloodloch rolls in and lights the entire feast aflame and now the dwarves are dying. The players of Enorian/Duiran get angry that BL unicorns over their rp and BL is happy that we got to be the bad guys again. This later causes frustrations where you dont want small scale events because you know we'll purposely try to screw the event over against you because we're the bad guys (because thats what we do). Eventually this leads to you just wanting to do large scale world ending events. 

    No matter the outcome small scale events are nice. But it's either going to piss someone off or its going to start a party of exclusion due to the "Its my birthday" feeling. 

  • FezzixFezzix Member Posts: 328 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    @Iesid I think the smaller the stakes of an event are, the more likely your character is to just not care about what's going on. And that's fine. I'd argue that if the stakes aren't so blatantly high, player org leadership needs to get creative in making arguments so that people DO care, which is good.

    Edit: If you can't come up with a reason to get your character involved, that character doesn't HAVE to get involved. If your allies whine at you for not fighting alongside them, then that's a conversation that should be had IC about entitlements and the nature of the relationship.
    Post edited by Fezzix on
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 796 ✭✭✭✭✭
    To piggyback off of @Fezzix, every org has themes and values core to their identity, and they're not all 'save the world' level. Smaller events combined with org leaders coming up with reasons for as to why people should care even with smaller stakes allows orgs and individual characters to further cement their role in the world.

    And @Zaila also brought up a pretty good narrative point. If big, world ending threats are all we get, and they happen so damn often, it quickly loses its impact. 
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