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Interest in the Town

 
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Vael
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:11 pm    Post subject: Interest in the Town  Reply with quote

"We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality.
Do you know the legend of Hercules and Antaeus, the giant wrestler, whose strength was incredible so long as he stood firmly on the earth? But when he was held, rootless, in midair, by Hercules, he perished easily."
-Faber, Fahrenheit 451 (by Ray Bradbury).

I have been noticing a certain lack in Town, for a long time. I think all of us have. We've all raised our concern over it, one way or another, but we quiet, let our murmurs subside.
The above quote summarizes my current viewpoint on what is going on- in Town, all there is is talking, relationships, people saying "how swell!" or "that's awful!" or "look at that monster who is eating everyone in this tavern! Atrocious!" There's no action. No, it's not all about fights and evil villains, but Town is about character development, character lives- things that they do... is sitting around chatting using your character to talk to someone else's character really going to make you happy? Hm?
It can- character interaction is a major basis of Town. However, right now I want to put an emphasis on "A." Character interaction- namely speaking to each other- is not the only thing here. It is "a" basis. One. One of many.
I have gone through character after character, hoping to find someone that works- and I've finally figured out why I liked Aesa so much. It isn't that she was an amazingly built character- it's that she could make things happen. She was chaotic, a whirlwind with enough power to fling things around and start stuff going, or end it.
My other characters are dying off not because of some problem innate to them, but the fact that they have nothing to do- they are dying the death of stifled life. The characters that I have been persistent with only are around because I've connected them into interesting things that I do and draw others into (if only a few others.)

What happened to the plots? The random invaders? The places that needed looting? Someone from your past coming to hunt you down? We've always joked about people not caring about things going on- but it wasn't as terrible as it is now. Why are people deliberately choosing not to get involved, not have anything happen that's interesting for them? Is it just because it is easier? Taking the path of least resistance?
Town is not just built on characters. Town is built on action and adventure- made from DnD! An adventurer needs a goal or something to do... without it, he becomes dull and ordinary.

I personally have decided to take up a sort of "DM" role in Town. I'm going to craft adventures, things to be solved that people can get involved in or not. People that need to be captured by police and mercenaries, merchants that want their competition taken care of and dungeons that need looting- I'll make them all.
But I can't do this alone. Just because something is out there doesn't mean it will be used or taken advantage of, and I don't want to have to craft every point of interest. People need to take on the burden of crafting for others and using what people have made, so as to bring life to Town again, rather than all this stagnation we've been going through.

So please, just start acting in Town, rather than sitting around and talking over a beer in Trog's.
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The Bushranger
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. And I have a few ideas...
*rubs hands together, cackles evilly*
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd help, were it not for being ten hours ahead and in my final year of school. Assignments out the wazoo combined with not being able to do anything on most weekdays kinda kills it for me.
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Hawkeye
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One reason why plots don't happen is simple. I've often tried to think of a way to play a plot/invasion out, then I think of the all important question: how to stop the ubers from nuking the plot before it gets off the ground. The answer? There isn't an easy way, and trying to make it work for every uber is impossible. So the idea gets dropped.

I often look back at the previous plots, the ones I enjoyed (the dragoeth, Loki, Dionysus etc), and they can't happen in the town that currently stands. Because the villain would get shot down and the plot would be over.

The way to solve this? All the ubers stay out of plots. The chances of that happening? Next to none.
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Nevrmore
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawkeye wrote:
One reason why plots don't happen is simple. I've often tried to think of a way to play a plot/invasion out, then I think of the all important question: how to stop the ubers from nuking the plot before it gets off the ground. The answer? There isn't an easy way, and trying to make it work for every uber is impossible. So the idea gets dropped.

I often look back at the previous plots, the ones I enjoyed (the dragoeth, Loki, Dionysus etc), and they can't happen in the town that currently stands. Because the villain would get shot down and the plot would be over.

The way to solve this? All the ubers stay out of plots. The chances of that happening? Next to none.

The reason plots die is because of lack of interest. I've never encountered an uber in any of my plots.
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Hawkeye
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really? In all my plots that go above a simple bar fight an uber has got involved...or it's neatly wrapped up by myself.
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Keledrath
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there is my Plane of Nightmares plot, Hawkeye.  The main villain IS so frickin' uber he makes Draken look like a first level wizard that gave up Evocation and Enchantment.
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Destro Yersul
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll get involved. I like town, and it's fun. I've got a plot of my own in the works, of course, that's what Endrik is for. Though he'll probably become a more major part of Town both before and after his plot is over.

My problem is that I don't seem to have enough time to do everything I want to do. I play WoW with friends, ditto roleplaying, I have a job, and warhammer, and comics, and some other interests. I've got a leatherworking project I started a few days ago that I haven't found time to work on since.

So I'll be here, yes. And I'll participate. And my characters, as always, will scale to the relative level of the plot they're in, but I can't promise I'll be here every day. I'll try, but even I need to sleep sometimes.
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DivineAmour
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vael as DM? God help us all. Razz

I agree somewhat. Personally, I'd much rather develop Axl and Raistlin and the others by talking, and forming relationships, because fighting plots take a good amount of time, and I'm just not really a fan of them. That said, plots are good for the town, and they are fun once in a while. Ekrath (who has no friends), will be game for anything you can throw at him, and The Mercenaries will rarely turn down a job. I know this is basically a plug, but that's why they are there. Do get involved in plots and adventures and such.
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Keledrath
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, another problem with fights is that they always manage to start about 15 minutes before I have to go to bed.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well if all goes according to plan, I've got a good plot that will get underway in soon. Before elections start hopefully.

But I'll also have some characters free to get involved in your plan as well. Just time can sometimes be an issue because of school and parents and all. But I'll be on when I can.
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Castaras
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that was why I disappeared from town... That, and a combination of other things taking up my time, and homework. Most certainly not me getting hooked to an mmo, no...<.< >.>

But yeah... Vael, if you need some crazy evil drow with pink pjs to return, or some other character, just yell.

*makes note to make Trill autostart on her computer*
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The Chilli God
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a great amount of fun in Town when my characters were fighting against all odds in a war against the planar forces of unyielding law.
I had a great amount of fun in Town when I got to pull a spontaneous headless exploding chicken invasion every now and then.
I had a great amount of fun in Town when one of my characters squared off in a death duel with another one of my characters.
I had a great amount of fun in Town when the Zerg came along for a visit.
Heck, I even had a great amount of fun in Town when my characters were being pulverized by a host of everyone else's characters.

All of them is fighting scenes.

However, I do not even remember a single moment where any of my characters simply sat, talked, and got "Character Development," so utterly boring the scene must have been to my mind.
Maybe something like a war, invasion, or just a good battle has happened since I last checked Town some weeks ago. I don't know, because it hasn't whacked me over the head with a two-by-four and demanded my absolute attention yet. If something like that did happen to me (After nursing the bump on my head), I would actually consider returning to Town activity - Gods know I have the time to spare, now.

Taking the words from one of my PC's, "MURK want fighty-fight!"
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atreyu_the_masked_llama
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like we are on the other side of the pendulum swing.  First it was "too much talk, not enough action" then it was "we can't RP without someone showing up to take over Town" and we can repeat that about 4 times and we'll be where we are now.    While I'm gone most of March, I hope to be more active in April and Atreyu is always paranoid about whatever is trying to take over Town.
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Moxie
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Problem with fights, at least ones that I usually use to start plots is that no one follows leads. They kind of sit there and go, "Oh, I see what she's doing." Then makes it their work to actually stop a plot from happening, as if a slight bit of resolvable conflict would kill their characters or inconvenience them in some way.

I've held a few interesting scenarios, and never had a problem with an uber due to my way, way, outside the box thinking. I play weaknesses, odd magics, and minions for when Ubers come along, and usually have some sort of puzzle to solve before the conflict is over, rather than a straight fight. There are many ways to castrate Ubers that are all muscles and no brains, and make fun, interesting plots with little or even no fighting at times. But *shrugs* Nobody has learned how to take bait, like you clearly have to label it plot or something... It's not the way I roll, and probably why I haven't actually been on in some time...
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Deadly
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been doing some thinking on this matter, and I think the problem is that Town has become too over-populated, too big and crowded. I'm not talking about the many new members we've seen lately, but long ago the number of characters suddenly began to explode, and it's continued since. I remember once, around when I came to Town, having more than 3 characters or so was considered a lot. I even think Wukei had a special permission from the counsil to have many characters. Then suddenly it exploded and within a short time just about everyone had atleast 10 characters running around, and perhaps it became a bit of a sport to have as many as possible. Then it became something people took for granted. It's no longer odd to see someone have a lot of characters, and with the rise in members we have a small legion or more of characters by now, some more active than others.

Some people, myself included, realised that perhaps having so many characters to deal with, including their individual plots and stuff, became a serious burden. So lately I've seen a number of people actively try to reduce their number of active characters, I know I have. Having many characters makes it hard to really focus on anything, I think, and for me I ended up never feeling I had the time to just hang out in Trog's or get involved in random plots, either because all my characters had their own agendas or because I was already involved in too many threads. I'm notoriously bad at multitasking, more than 2 threads are often too much for me to follow at once, so even the 5 characters I have now can sometimes be too many. Others can probably do better, but everyone has a limit.

That's not new, I think this problem has been brought up before. But there's another side to this huge number of characters. I may not be as active around Town currently, but I don't think I know even a fraction of the characters in Town anymore, I don't even know most of those who are often active. And I know even less about what goes on, plots or just random events or stuff. I simply can't keep up if I want even a semblance of life outside Town, and even if I did spend as much time as I used to do I still doubt I'd be able to keep up. Even though I read every post in Inari's, I still don't know what goes on there sometimes because I have no idea who the characters that keep coming in are, what their story is or what they are up to at the moment.

Long ago, in the beginning, I'd like to think I knew every single character and it was rare I didn't know what went on in various places. Now I barely know what goes on in Inari's, and nothing of what goes on elsewhere unless someone posts about it in the stickies (which I always read too).

I find it really hard to get involved in anything anymore, either because I have no idea what goes on, or because I have no idea who all the people around me are, and to get involved with them you often have to know them already and have some connection IC or whatever. I'm simply overwhelmed and can't keep up, so I guess the simplest way of putting it is that I've very nearly given up on all of it.

Also, often I think the massive speed with which everything happens, because of the huge number of characters available to do things, makes people just give up. I think many think to themselves "I'll have to go in a few hours, I'm not staying on all night, so why get involved when the whole thing will be solved before morning and I'll have to go before it gets moving at all?" It used to be no problem that people had to go for the night, because the plot would just be paused and next night it'd be picked up again, so that everyone could participate equally. Now it seems like most things are solved in a matter of minutes, and the bigger plots take a few hours, unless they are special enough to get a thread of their own.

I'm not going to suggest any rules against the number of characters or whatever, that wouldn't help, but I am going to suggest that perhaps people should stop to think twice before adding a character to the list, and perhaps limit the number of places and plot and things going on, so that we can focus on something instead of getting completely blown off and overwhelmed by the sheer number of things all around.

I like consistency, and I like those who only have one or two characters or so, the same ones they've always had, because I can keep up with them. The llama? Same character as always (changed from his time in Town, naturally, but deep down still the same Atreyu), always there, always consistent. I only have to get to know him once, then I can focus on playing the rest of the time.

I see Town as a social thing, a circle of friends sort of, and if you know noone then you're not part of the circle, and then it's hard to find the motivation to post. That's how I feel sometimes. I feel like I barely know anyone around here anymore, even those I used to play a lot with, because many of their characters are unknown to me.

That's why I think we only have interaction, no action. I stick to what I know, what little I'm still involved in, because I can't find the energy or will to really get involved in anything new anymore.
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Fenric
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we have a couple of things going on.

One is simply a run of bad luck in Real Life.  A lot of the people who normally run plots and stories have been unavailable for one reason or another.  Like Atreyu said, this runs in cycles; and chances are good that many of us will all come back to active Towning all at once, and we will once again see the opposite complaint.

But I also do think Deadly has a very valid point:  Back when everyone had one or two characters, it was easier to know what was going on.  Even for your own characters, it is just not possible to really keep up with more than two or three active characters (and that's a lot of work).  That is the biggest reason that I've dumped most of mine.

But the impact is much more than that.  I've been thinking about this myself, and I've identified two major areas of difficulty.

One, the trend toward "create a character for every situation" has led to a place where we don't interact as players as much as we used to.  Look at one huge symptom:  Why can't any of the service related places keep afloat?  I think it is mostly because we have come to a state where if we need some skill in a plot, we all too often create a character to fill the gap rather than looking for someone to help out.  But with everybody playing a fully-rounded adventuring party just with their own characters, it means that between you and one or two friends you can do pretty much anything without bothering to involve anyone else.  While this can be convenient for resolving time-zone related issues, it really does dampen the multi-player aspects of this game.

The other is something that I have heard brought up in the Chat twice now:  We don't role-play as much anymore.

I think Admiral Kelley is right in his assertion, but I think his analysis is off.  We aren't being plagued by too much freeform creation so much as too many characters.  Role-playing is about development, and it is very difficult indeed to develop a new character every week or so.  It is nearly impossible if your character never faces challenges that require effort to overcome.  I've fallen for it too:  we become so caught up in the myriad possibilities of this environment that we try to explore them all at once.  Unfortunately, this invariably results in a huge pool of marginal characters.  Everybody sits around waiting for something to happen because they haven't invested enough time in a character to really get comfortable playing them.  We have all done this: come up with a great concept, introduce them, and ... then ... now what?

So, I issue a plea for restraint.

Look through your characters: outright drop the ones you just don't play anymore, or play rarely and only then as Deus Ex Machina to solve problems for your main character.  Now look at the ones you have left...  which character or two do you really like?  Which are interesting both in ability and in limitations (because it is in the character's limitations that the core of this game really happens)?  Consider retiring the rest, and focus on developing those.  If you really want to play something new, come up with an IC reason for your older character to be unavailable for a time.  Killing them off is probably not a good idea; but a vacation, going off to training, doing on "off-screen" quest - there are many possibilities.

If we would all do this, I think a lot of our real, underlying problems would be significantly alleviated.
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Osnagard
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, and I admit to not having read through every post entirely (sorry if I'm repeating anything), that the main problem is this: People arn't reacting to the things going on around them.

For example, if there is a fight going on in the streets, shouldn't someone walking through notice?

If there is someone drowing in their own blood in the tavern, is it apropriate to laugh at the joke the person sitting across from you just said?

I just have the feeling that people are ignoring alot of possibilities because they are only concerned with the conversation they are having, and not the very loud person three seats away who's obviously drunk and making a scene. It's something you would notice were you really there.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. ^_^
-Os
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Deadly
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an extension of what Fenric and I have already said... something that can be properly summarised with "Too many villains!"

Everywhere I turn I see new villains sprout up, and being shot down and burried before they get a chance to develop and become memorable. The only memorable villains are the ones that are the focus of the story, and preferably a recurrent one too. The only great villains are the ones you know, and can always count on being there, all the way to the end, because those are the only villains that will ever get a chance to develop and become more than half-baked impulsive ideas.

The same really goes for other characters too, they grow and become great the longer they stay and the more focus is put on them.

What I see in Town is often the opposite, and it makes it hard to care.

Just a small addition.
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DivaDe21
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, my two coppers - if anyone cares.

I started Town with one character, one I transferred over from GitP.  There is a major chunk in the middle of the day when the person that character is tied to (and he knows who he is) is gone, so I created another character to fill that time.  And then another to add depth for myself.  Yet another character I created just to RP with someone I wouldn't have had the chance to otherwise.  ANYWAY, these four are a handful to juggle at times, especially since I also have a few minor characters I toss in for fun.  Trixie, poor Trixie, I must confess, I got so bored with that I asked Vael to help me do a total makeover of to keep from killing her off.  But in all honesty, I find all my characters itching for action.  They are snapping at people, making snide comments, trying to stir things up.  And I guess that's because I'm not happy unless there's aLITTLE bit of chaos floating around.  Larkin and Max - perfectly happy, smooching and doing family stuff - got boring.  So I've thrown in various things to make it more interesting.  

Long story short, while RP is my favorite part of any game, I still like action.  And I feel all my characters have been developed enough they could get tossed into the ninth layer of hell and fight for the next 6 months and STILL be good.

Speech over.  I'll try to work on creating some plot stuff.  I did a little mini-plot that worked out okay, but since I only post during the weekdays, I don't know how much that will help.
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The Bushranger
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DivaDe21 wrote:
I started Town with one character, one I transferred over from GitP.  There is a major chunk in the middle of the day when the person that character is tied to (and he knows who he is) is gone

I have no idea what you could be possibly talking about, my dear.
Embarassed  Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a fair number of characters.  And yet, none of them are doing anything.  I'm not sure quite what to do about it, either.  There are ideas, I guess, but most of them require people that don't come online anymore or simply too much involvement that people can't or don't want to do.

Case in point:  Iris.  I have no freakin' idea what to do with her.  I mean, her deal is to become an extremely powerful monarch, namely by taking over the place of largest populace.  Well... that requires pretty much everyone to be okay with a Town-wide plot.  Or, a few places at a time.  Which, I can safely say most people don't care for.  It's ended up rather like KNAVES, only not as good.  Frankly, there's a reason why people have, for the most part, stopped playing their characters in the castle.  There's nothing to do.  And, boy, that's not exactly good for my ego.

Mneme needs Necropaladin, Geomancer, and Xaspian to continue onwards, so we're on hold until summer comes around again.  Corinne is on hold perhaps from lack of things to do again, Spook's fun, but her actual plot is on hold, Dante needs KNAVES at the moment, Vedran has opened up a shop which doesn't matter much, since no one is going out and buying anything anyhow.  And it's not the Omnishop, because, if you'll note, it's not been doing anything either in weeks.  Quint is supposed to be more of a side character anyway, I'd suppose.

It's possible that part of what holds me back is my hatred of playing my own villains, because that just gets so monotonous after a while.  There's no suprise or quick thinking, just two people doing what I say.  And I don't like it.

As for Nevr's plots, I would have loved to get in on some of them.  But there was nothing for me to do either.  I had offered to play some characters for him if needed, but nobody seemed real interested in doing his plot at all.

Frankly, there have been weeks where there's been not a thing for me to do at all.  And it's getting more frequent.  It's depressing...
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wxdruid
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Joined: 02 Jun 2007
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Location: somewhere...

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what you mean Ms E, it's why Phedre goaded someone to strike out at her, why I try to get people to interact with my characters, (although it doesn't always work and then I get disappointed about it).  It's why I'm trying to keep my characters independent.  Although I would like Gwen to visit Vedran, he does have some stuff that would interest her, and I'm sure she has some that would interest him.  Part of my problem though is work, I sleep all morning and then go to work from 2:30pm - 10:30pm and it takes away my evening time when Town tends to be the most active.  I have been happy to see Trog's more active.  It makes it easier to interact with other people.
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Draken Frosthand
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Joined: 10 Oct 2007
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Location: Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>.>

I am trying to get a town wide plot in motion.

Feel free to join.

Feel free to ask for a patrol of golems do invade your house and fireball your silverware if you need personal incentive.

-----------------------------

Anyway, true, one of the greatest problems regarding the loss of interest comes form a simple detail.

The emotional melodrama is interesting up to a point. Then it gets boring, and you usually (unfortunatelly) don't find something with more action to do.

Go to the streets, don't ignore the more visible threatening NPCs (like Rebo's zombie horde yesterday). If you need long lasting action, it usually starts in the streets. And who knows, it might open up an interesting enmity or something of the like.

----------------

By the way, I will be sure to make Herr'ec send something else against the town in the future. As soon as he is not about to poop his non-existant pants because the old guy is on the move.


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