Guide to Using the Plot System

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What is the plot system?

The plot system is used by players to affect the game world in ways that should realistically be possible but can't be done due to code limitations.

There are two pieces to the system:

  1. Plot headers
  2. Plot advances

Plot headers are overarching, generally staff-run plotlines that affect a large part of the game in some way. These are also known as "metaplots."

Plot advances are the things your character is doing to advance the story of a plot header. That's where the terms "header" and "advance" come from. Plot advances don't have to be attached to a header, though, and can be used for all kinds of roleplay assistance (RPA). For example, analyzing evidence left behind at the scene of a crime or trawling the Matrix for dirt on a rival.

The plot process

The plot process looks something like this:

  1. Players draft a plot and submit it to staff
  2. Staff review the plot, respond, and update its status
  3. Players are notified about the status of their plot and review the plot for details/outcome
  4. If more input is needed, players add the required input and resubmit their plot

As a plot progresses through this process, its status is updated from Draft to Queued, Queued to Needs Input (or Completed). Each time a plot's status changes, players are notified by a note on the plot board, as well.

Plots are rarely outright rejected. When a plot is rejected, staff will gently explain why and will probably give you advice on what to do about it. Usually, a rejection occurs because the plot violates something in HELP PLOT POLICY or HELP RPA. So be sure you read and understand the policies first. If in doubt, you can also use the request board to ask staff if your plot idea is feasible and appropriate. :)

Viewing existing plots

To view a list of current plot headers, type plot header list. To review the details of a specific header, type plot header review #, where # is the header's vnum in the list.

To view active plot advances, type plot list. You can also view your past plots (if any) by typing plot list all. To review the details of a specific plot, type plot review #.

Creating a new plot

To create a new plot that advances a header, type plot advance #, where # is the header's vnum under the header list. To create a plot that is not attached to a header, simply type plot advance.

Both commands will drop you into what's called the plot POLCA, which is a system for configuring your plot. (Note: If you forget to specify the header, that's no problem. You can link it from within the POLCA, too. See examples below.)

By default, your new plot will be of the Type : Roleplay Assistance and will not be shared with anyone:

Vnum          : 0
Title         : Plot
Header        : 0, Unset
Status        : Draft
Owner         : Andruid
Type          : Roleplay Assistance
Shared To     : (null)
Requirements  :
[1] 10 Quest points contributed (Unfilled)
[2] An action description (Unfilled)
Contributions : None.
Actions       : None.
Notes         : None.
Post Event    : No
Create News   : No

Type "submit" to advance the completed plot, "store" to store a partial plot, or "cancel" to abort.
Type "commands" alone for a list of commands.

The type of plot you create will determine its requirements, so the first thing you want to do is set the plot type correctly.

Entering TYPE by itself will show you the list of possible plot types:

Plot types:
  Roleplay Assistance
  Organizational Investigation
  Staff Sponsored Plot
  Asylum
  Policy
  News Submission

Some of these types are used very rarely or are awaiting removal from the system, so you can ignore them.

The plot types to care about are:

  • Roleplay Assistance - Use this to request roleplay assistance for yourself or your faction. RPA has a minimum cost of 10QP.
  • Staff Sponsored Plot - Use this if you're advancing a header. Your plot will not cost the usual 10QP.
  • News Submission - Use this to submit in-character news from a news outlet other than your own PC or your faction. See HELP POLICY NEWS for more info on why this matters.

Advance a header plot (example)

Let's say we'd like to advance the current metaplot, which is number 13 in the header list. While in the plot POLCA, we enter type staff, then header 13. This will set the plot type to Staff Sponsored Plot and then link our plot to the header. Pressing enter will show us the updated plot details:

Vnum          : 0
Title         : Plot
Header        : 13, The Scars of Spite
Status        : Draft
Owner         : Andruid
Type          : Staff Sponsored Plot
Shared To     : (null)
Requirements  :
[1] Attached to a plot header
[2] An action description (Unfilled)
Contributions : None.
Actions       : None.
Notes         : None.
Post Event    : No
Create News   : No

Type "submit" to advance the completed plot, "store" to store a partial plot, or "cancel" to abort.
Type "commands" alone for a list of commands.

Note how the requirements have changed. Now, instead of having to pay 10 QP, we just need to add an action description.

With our plot type set, we can look at the remaining fields. In case you ever get stuck, these are listed out in HELP PLOT ADVANCE too. You can also type plot by itself for a quick syntax reference.

Set your plot title

Type title <The Plot's Title> to give your plot a unique name in the system.This will make it easier to identify and review your plot later. The title can be anything you want.

Set your required action description

Type action by itself to enter an action description. Every plot has to have an action description. This is a description of what your character is doing as part of the plot. Are they trawling the Matrix for dirt on their rival? Are they performing a standard background check? Are they investigating a crime scene? Describe what your character is doing.

Example of a bad action description:

Actions       :
[1] Andruid wants to know about Niamh's dirty little secrets.

This is not a good action description because it doesn't say what Andruid is doing or what skills Andruid is using to get the job done.

Example of a better action description:

Actions       :
[1] Andruid uses her skill in decking to trawl the Matrix.  Andruid searches for
anything that might make Niamh look bad, like an arrest report or family scandal
that was in the news.

Contribute QP to the plot (if required)

If your plot is of the type Roleplay Assistance, you'll need to contribute 10 QP before you can submit it. To do this, first store your plot in the system as a draft. This will assign a vnum to your plot. To see what vnum was assigned, type plot list.

Then, type plot contribute qp # 10, where # is the vnum of your plot. This will subtract 10 QP from your account and add it to the plot, fulfilling the QP requirement for RPA.

Other Tips & Tricks

News and IC Events are optional. You can include them as part of your plot to let the rest of the game know that something is happening. You can also wait until the plot is processed and then submit your news or IC Event via request board.

Notes are a way to add details/actions to your plot that you don't want everyone else on the plot to see. Staff will also use notes to share details to specific players but not the whole group (if there are multiple people shared on a plot). If you want to add a note to your a plot, store it first, as the note command is similar to contribute in that it needs a vnum.

Related Resources

  1. Andruid's guide to storytelling
  2. Glossary of text-based gaming terms