I’m plotting two things for our Dresden RPG. In addition to potentially running the next campaign, I’ve also warned our GM that I will potentially be stealing a casefile…and it’s this casefile that I want to talk about.
Let’s be fair: I don’t plot in my novel-writing. I’m crap at it. I hate writing from anything more than a vague “this is possibly what could happen at some point” and I really hate plodding through a step-by-step this-is-what-happens-next list…so. Yeah. I hate plots. I find they kill my writing style and I lose all interest in the book.
But I am absolutely loving plotting for the casefile. The original idea of stealing it came about as the GM’s character is likely to be involved in playing, and it would suit the plot very well for my character to not play – and therefore, I could GM it, which would suit both of us. This also means that the GM would have to be a player and therefore will have little or no say in what happens, which means I can be exceptionally evil. And boy o boy, am I making the most of that!
I originally started with scribbles; a vague outline, a lot of notes like “what would happen if…?” and “could this person do this…?”, a few odd notes that contradicted themselves and made little if no sense to anyone except me. Then I left it to settle in my head for a while, and returned to it today. It’s now got to the stage where I’ve outlined a few courses of action, done character sheets for the NPCs who might be involved in the fights, and looked up a lot of the information I’ll need. My plot background is about half-way there, but there’s still a lot of it that can change – and it might need to. Luckily the casefile won’t be for a few months, so I’ve got enough time to change things or just leave it there until I need it.
I think the reason that I’m loving this type of plotting is that it can go so many directions. Although I have a plot and a timeline in my head, the course that the story takes will be entirely dependent on the PC’s actions; if they notice something, an event triggers – but if they don’t, that sets off another timeline. There’s action that won’t come into effect until a few hours later. There’s things that seem bad to start with but have good results later. There’s decisions and choices for them that really will allow them to choose different paths. And all of this is going to force me to keep track of everything. I’ve got four simultaneous timelines running; I’ve got trigger events that will change the course of the story, I’ve got a number of different characters who may or may not get involved…
The changability of the game is one side of GM’ing that I love, and it’s entirely within my play style. I plan a lot, I have an entire folder of notes – but if it doesn’t get used, hey, that’s awesome! I’ll adapt and change and make it up as much as I need to. I know that even though I’ve tried to anticipate every move the players will make, I’ll have to think on my feet anyway and there will be results and actions that I haven’t even thought of…but then I’ve got a few things that they won’t see coming – and that’s the fun of the game. The story doesn’t get written until we play it!