Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Using" Your Players

I know it sounds bad when presented this way, but a good plot team knows how to use their players for the minor tasks at an event.

Doing so frees you up to run the event.

The two best examples of this is the use of the guildmaster position in WAR and a PC running the general store in Exiles.

The guildmaster is the person who manages the players' needs from the guild.  This creates a buffer between plot and the players, and also allows for players needs to meet.  For example, a player might want dispel scrolls while another player might want to trade in/sell those scrolls, so no logistics are necessary.

In Exiles, a PC can work for the general store, selling bullets and other supplies to the players.  This basic task doesn't really require staff to perform.  This frees up that staff to set up the next big thing.

Now, the obvious problems with farming out this work to players is that it cannot be something important and you have to be able to trust your player doing the task.  If you're afraid of that, this might not be for you.

But if you can farm it out, it's totally freeing.


  1. Bill,
    Excellent point, and let's not forget the enormous power of double-hooking PCs. Of course, it is important to make sure that you are treating PCs fairly (they are there to play, after all), but most people are willing to double-hook if it means that their mod is up that much faster.
    In addition, I feel that any LARP with in-game positions of authority should be utilized in this manner. Not necessarily to run a logistical element of the game, but to serve as plot delivery devices whenever necessary: operating as a sort of blend between PC and NPC.

  2. I don't like to include double-hooking or nobility on this. Double hooking is something that you ask for as an oog question.

    Nobility, on the other hand, has the ability to deligate plot, but is not graded by the ability to deligate plot.

    If you run a store but don't sell goods, the IG/OOG response is that you're fired. If nobility takes the plot all for themselves and get it done, then there is no IG reason why they should be removed, even if the player is not doing what plot expects of them.

    The shopkeeper examples build immersion while running logistics, and can be removed without breaking immersion. Nobility, however is not so easy.

  3. For those out of the NERO-sphere, can I get a definition of "double-hooking"?

    Otherwise, neat article, and I agree, that PC-portrayed merchants with some kind of game-mechanical backing are indeed preferable. In my experience, getting such to work organically doesn't really happen in games blow 50 PCs, though.

  4. Double hooking is the act oh having one group of PCs play the NPCs for a second group, and then vice versa. I had a post on it a long time ago. I'll try and find the post when I'm not onmy phone.

  5. Thanks, Bill! I'll dig back through for the older post.

  6. I stand corrected. I didn't post about it on this blog. It was one of the articles I published back when I was writing for

    Probably something worth posting here.