Ideas to Improve the ST System

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Buzz K[ir]ill
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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:42 pm

Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:05 pm

I feel a little bit dirty bringing this up after we had a player recently abuse the ST system, but I've had a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head lately for things that would improve quality of life and might help drum up more interest in the ST system.

The "story level" part of the ST system hasn't really been developed, and I'm not sure what all was originally planned for that, but some of these suggestions should probably be limited to folks who have earned some trust and/or proven themselves.

Ideas and Suggestions

1) Starting with the low-hanging fruit, here. The ability to toggle a story as "open to all" vs. "private." It's kind of a headache, when your story is open to anyone who wants to join, to have to manually accept everyone who applies. Really, I think the apply command should only be required for "private" stories. For "open to all" (or "first come, first served") STs, the system should just auto-accept players. That way, the storyteller can just focus on the story.

2) The ability to do a global event to let everyone OOCly or ICly know a story has started and how to join. Global echoes only echo to people already joined for the story, which is fine for other uses, but I'd love to be able to send out a message like:
Word is going around that a crowd of angry farmers in magebane masks is gathering in Church Square, complaining about rotted crops. They're calling for townfolk to grab their noisemakers and come help investigate. (OOC: Rotten! is about to begin in Church Square. All are welcome! Type STORY REVIEW 123 for the full hook or STORY JOIN 123 to join!)
(In moderation, obviously.)

Messengers to all aren't ideal, because they cost the storyteller money to send, can't be written while a story is open, and now all come with a town crier blurb that assumes anything written in the "message" portion is a verbal message. Visnet is free, but it's fully OOC, not everyone has it on all the time, and it doesn't have that oomph that says, "Hey, this special thing is happening!"

3) The ability to build small, temporary areas (1-5 rooms) for story purposes. Right now, I have to ask staff for help with this, and since I can't justify adding to their burden for something temporary, I typically don't. Most of my STs have been limited to places on grid I've discovered in the past, which is fine for a lot of things (I can DnD style in a single room, if needed, and I have the benefit of having discovered many interesting locations and secrets on past characters), but I often wish I could do something special. Something unique that might grab even oldbie players.

For example, a story that takes place on a boat that arrives at the docks for a day, in a temporary tent or structure, in a secret cellar, or in a series of cave rooms (added to an existing cave) that collapse once the adventurers escape with the treasure, etc. etc. If I have to pester staff to build me a boat just for my story, I'm probably going to put that story on the backburner. If I could build the boat in an hour myself, I'd say ahooooy matey!

I kind of imagine this would be fun for other players as well and might be more of an incentive to run an ST if the storyteller knows they have a little more freedom to create a space for their story. For players who don't have years of experience under the belt, even just figuring out WHERE to have a story is probably intimidating. Staff can help with this, but there are still limits to what the grid has to offer.

4) I would love to have my own backstage room and the ability to visit there to prep for a story without having to pester staff for a transfer or having to create a temporary mob to use as a "transfer beacon." I could see this as not only being useful for someone who runs a lot of stories, but maybe also an incentive or just a nice reward. After X stories/story level, staff reward you with your own story room for your account!

5) I've been trying to think of ways to make it easier to coach other players to run their own stories. A storyteller help channel, maybe? Open to other ideas, too. There's just a ton to the system already, and if it were me, I wouldn't want to spam visnet asking for command help on a system most people don't know how to use.

6) The ability to set a co-Storyteller might be useful. This would make it possible to co-run events and make it easier to lead 2 groups at once. Some people might also be incentivized by running a story with a friend, rather than having to wade into the system alone.

7) I think it'd be great if the 'end' command that closes a story could return the same prompt as reroll, e.g. require 'end yes' or some other keyword to confirm. I'm constantly terrified that I'm going to use the command by accident when I mean to pause. I know others have accidentally used 'end' when they meant 'pause' in the past -- to hilarious but unfortunate effect -- and this would help ease my mind. A lot of prepwork goes into setting up a story, and it would really suck to lose everything because my fingers get ahead of me sometimes.
Last edited by Buzz K[ir]ill on Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Buzz K[ir]ill
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Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:10 pm

As a follow-up, I also have a policy question related to QoL and recent abuse of the system:

I have the advantage right now of playing a beefy fighter type, so it's no problem for me to scour the dangerous parts of the grid looking for places to hold my latest story, but what about weaker characters? If your story idea states that your story takes place in the countryside, for example, are you permitted to use the story "peace" command to look for a good spot without getting mauled, or does that seem too fishy and too easy to abuse?

What are players' other options in this instance? Maybe a staff escort?

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Voxumo
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Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:30 pm

Regarding Story Rooms, in the past it was generally done where you'd have an ooc room dedicated to stories, and moods would be used as the "Desc" for that room, so as to prevent mv drain for your players, and to not waste system resources on temp rooms. Essentially it was simply scene changing a stage.

As for the messenger bit... Unless the entire grid is involved in your story, I see no reason you need to alert the entire grid, as such a command exists exclusively to send a message to all story participants, which in theory they are the only ones who need to know such.
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Buzz K[ir]ill
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Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:40 am

Voxumo wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:30 pm
Regarding Story Rooms, in the past it was generally done where you'd have an ooc room dedicated to stories, and moods would be used as the "Desc" for that room, so as to prevent mv drain for your players, and to not waste system resources on temp rooms. Essentially it was simply scene changing a stage.

As for the messenger bit... Unless the entire grid is involved in your story, I see no reason you need to alert the entire grid, as such a command exists exclusively to send a message to all story participants, which in theory they are the only ones who need to know such.
Right. I've run entire stories from traveling rooms, myself, but it's just not the same. I'm not sure temp rooms would be much of a drain on resources, since they'd just go poof when the story ends (much like mobs and story objects do), but I do think the ability to prepare and add detail ahead of time to small story "spaces" might appeal to storytellers, myself included. I am certain I would use this feature if it existed. MV is no big deal thanks to the "restore" command.

As for alerts, I am talking about alerting the entire pbase for "open to all" stories, yep! For private stories, gecho makes more sense.

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Rothgar
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Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:49 pm

Just wanted to pop in to say that I like all of these ideas, but especially numbers two and three. As we've already got global alerts, I'd imagine that those would be reasonably easy to let Storytellers get access to (and would save the ST'er loads of cash), and the ability to have a working - if small - grid for an ST would add a bunch of immersion and would lend itself towards keeping things fresh even during longer stories.
Dope suggestions, I hope the imms consider them!
Rothgar Astartes, Fyurii Rynnya, Nils 'Smith' Mattias, Edward Darson, Curos Arents.

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Niamh
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Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:03 pm

Buzz K[ir]ill wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:10 pm
As a follow-up, I also have a policy question related to QoL and recent abuse of the system:

I have the advantage right now of playing a beefy fighter type, so it's no problem for me to scour the dangerous parts of the grid looking for places to hold my latest story, but what about weaker characters? If your story idea states that your story takes place in the countryside, for example, are you permitted to use the story "peace" command to look for a good spot without getting mauled, or does that seem too fishy and too easy to abuse?

What are players' other options in this instance? Maybe a staff escort?
Will ask Kinaed to take a look to give a definite answer here, but I don' t think we'd view this as a problem, as it's using the ST commands for ST purposes.

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Buzz K[ir]ill
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Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:46 pm

I JUST HAD AN IDEA.

I wonder if anyone would be interested in an ST workshop. Like, one on one or small group workshops, where I walk participants through commands and they get to try them out.

I think this would be possible now using multiple "test" stories, but if #6 were a thing, and I could just assign a bunch of people as ST helpers (give them access to all the same story commands as me), that would work nicely. Then, if I got #4 in my wish list, I could just zap participants to my story backstage room for the occasional workshop. Maybe do 1 or 2 hour long sessions per month or something.

I might bring this up at an OOC meeting to see if there's any interest.

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Buzz K[ir]ill
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:48 pm

Updated with a #7.

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