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Please keep the metaplot for Trinity 2.0!

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  • Please keep the metaplot for Trinity 2.0!

    So I'm a few weeks late to the party on the Diving Into the Continuum post. I'm really, really looking forward to backing this Kickstarter, since Trinity is one of my hands down favorite games of all time. And I know Ian Watson has been THE driving member of the Trinity fanbase since the very start, so I'm glad he's finally gotten the chance to lead the project. (Although I sincerely hope Andrew Bates will be along for the ride somehow, too! Any news on that?)

    But one thing I read just completely shocked me. I quote from Ian's update:
    Aeon, for example, will showcase some interesting upcoming events that characters might want to get involved in, and offers a number of different possible outcomes for them. They’re the sorts of situations that previously may have been covered in adventures like the Darkness Revealed orAlien Encounter series, which gradually advanced the timeline and had certain assumptions about unfolding events which all future supplements adhered to. That’s not happening anymore. Just as Exalted has always been set in Realm Year 768, so to will Aeon be perpetually set in 2123.

    I can't help but think this is a colossal, colossal mistake. The metaplot was a huge part of what made Trinity awesome, and EPIC. (And part of why oWoD was such a huge success!) Every new group I've ever introduced to the game got their chance at playing through the Darkness Revealed trilogy, and sometimes Alien Encounter. Andrew Bates and his team created a solid foundation, and then with every new book they uncovered more conspiracies and histories and secrets, and wove them all together to a pretty damn cool sci-fi story. I really wish Ian will continue in that vein, rather than just make a sandbox revision of another team's work.

    Is this decision set in stone? Or is there still a chance to reintroduce an evolving, living metaplot? Here's to hoping!

    (As for Aberrant or Adventure, I don't really care one way or the other. Not my cup to tea.)
    Last edited by Wintermute; 08-24-2015, 06:33 AM.

  • #2
    Chillax - all it means is "the situations covered in adventures like the Darkness Revealed orAlien Encounter series won't be in the past or events that already happened (or were made impossible by XX)". They can be introduced in the game - by you, or any other ST that feels like it, just as it was back in the 90s'.

    Overall metaplot, in terms of Trinity Continnum and afaik, has more to do with the "interconnectedness x independence" of the different settings and timelines/periods than making any one event "not canon".

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    • #3
      I'd argue that more games have failed with metaplot than succeeded. It's good for making books for reading, but not so much good for playing.

      Comment


      • #4
        My understanding for how things are going to work is that quantum uncertainty and parallel-universes are going to be central to the game's cosmology, thus allowing for different event options to be presented without railroading tables.


        Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
          I'd argue that more games have failed with metaplot than succeeded. It's good for making books for reading, but not so much good for playing.
          Perhaps, yeah. Dark Sun is a famous example. Either way, I loved Trinity for getting it right. And I'm really looking forward to it continuing!

          Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
          My understanding for how things are going to work is that quantum uncertainty and parallel-universes are going to be central to the game's cosmology, thus allowing for different event options to be presented without railroading tables.
          Like Monte Cook's The Strange?

          It just feels like generic systems and sandbox settings are overdone. To me, linking a strong setting together with a system customized for that exact setting is great, and even more so when a metaplot drives it all forward. A couple of examples are L5R and Orpheus. And a host of oWoD games. As another example, the Dragon Age RPG is (to me) a much better experience to play than the painfully generic Fantasy AGE. Even if both use almost the same core mechanic.

          Anyway, I'll sponsor the Kickstarter either way. Just hoping Ian would read this, and hopefully that a few others might agree with me!
          Last edited by Wintermute; 08-26-2015, 09:37 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wintermute View Post
            and hopefully that a few others might agree with me!
            Hey Wintermute......long time!

            I liked the Aeon metaplot stuff, as has the groups I've run the DR books and AE books for. Metaplot as a concept isn't inherently bad - but there certainly are good and bad implementatios of that concept. As it happens, I really appreciate when a game line publishes something I can buy, read and run with little modification - I have scarce free time to spend coming up with my own spin on settings or creating scenarios for the most part.

            Anyway, hey again!


            Trinity Continuum G+ Fan Community
            H.S.U.

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            • #7
              There is a distinct difference between a strong, detailed setting and a metaplot.

              We'll have one of those.


              Ian A. A. Watson
              Onyx Path Community Manager
              Trinity Continuum Lead Developer

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              • #8
                The first one, please!


                I'm a professor! Why is no one listening to me?!

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                • #9
                  A strong setting and a metaplot are pretty far apart. I really like Orpheus's strong setting...and I did not care the least bit for it's metaplot. A strong setting helps create a sense of unity, and gives a sort of expectation across multiple groups: if I join somebody's old school Deadlands game, I have a pretty good idea of what's going on. If I join someone's D&D game, especially anything not a published setting, I have no idea what to expect, and those lack of expectations mean I am more likely to try to fit something that doesn't work into the game. That doesn't mean I'm really interested in that setting going anywhere, especially if I like it.

                  Thing is, RPG books are meant to be reference, and reference needs to be easy to use and consistent. Filling your book with metaplot wastes space on things that could legit help my game. Clarifications, new options, crossover rules, any of these would add more to my game than reading about who the new board members of Pentex are, for the third time. I have enough trouble remembering who my own NPCs are, let alone some 300 signature NPCs, and keeping up with them as dynamic characters across multiple books. Metaplot is filler, and when you are supplement treadmill, I'm sure it's great. That doesn't make it any less filler.

                  This doesn't even address issues like:

                  1) Large scale unpopular choices. Have a favorite character type? Guess what, we're nuking it. Have a favorite setting? Guess what, we are nuking it. If you stick with these choices, then you are losing something you like or got value out of before. If you don't, then what value does metaplot have for you? None.

                  2) The game being played for you. Hey, did you have plans for that big bad NPC? Well guess what, we killed him. I mean, hey, we left it out there so you totally could have been the one to do it. You totally could have your face plastered over a completely preplanned event that you had no personal choice or input in. I mean, it's not like anyone wants those things in role-playing, God knows.

                  (As a footnote, I actually like the Aberrant War as it presents a worst case scenario event that could be prevented or changed, as opposed to something that was just gonna happen and your input was limited to participation or not.)

                  3) Really bad plot elements, and when you have a plot, as opposed to just a really strong setting, bad elements build on each other.

                  That being said, no metaplot does not mean that the setting is entirely in freefall, no rules, ST fiat only, Final Destination. We can have a large fairly static setting, and the occasional book/adventure that can describe an if possibility...what if this NPC dies, what if these countries go to war, what if this psionic order betrayed Earth..and that can mean the game can branch out without having to nail anyone to the wall. You provide options and different paths and meaningful choices, because that's what RPGs are all about.

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                  • #10
                    Having everything published set in the same year, the current one in the game setting, doesn't eliminate the meta plot it just means that only the events that took place before that year are set in stone. After that the meta plot is made up of npc plans and fore scheduled events. For example the Aberrant war; it hasn't started yet but the setting books can still describe the actions of Proteus and Mal, they can even outline the probable path of things to come, they just don't require that any of those things actually happen. The past is set, the present is described, but the future is only a bunch of nebulous plans that the players can totally muck up if they choose to.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wintermute View Post
                      Like Monte Cook's The Strange?
                      No, not remotely. The Strange is about jumping between completely different genres, not divergent timelines.


                      Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                      • #12
                        Problem as I see it, is that Trinity as designed (3+settings with different themes and ideas, but ultimately following chronologically) tends to be metaplot. Aeon will be metaplot, because it is first book, farthest along the timeline and sets the mood (rulebook setting might help, but, unless authors actually bite the bullet and make it different timeline, where Aeon cannot be reached it will not happen) Authors will have to go and stop this from happening and ignoring the issue is not a long term solution and all the speaking about Quantum realities will not help, unless you do showcase them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by zorb42 View Post
                          Problem as I see it, is that Trinity as designed (3+settings with different themes and ideas, but ultimately following chronologically) tends to be metaplot. Aeon will be metaplot, because it is first book, farthest along the timeline and sets the mood (rulebook setting might help, but, unless authors actually bite the bullet and make it different timeline, where Aeon cannot be reached it will not happen) Authors will have to go and stop this from happening and ignoring the issue is not a long term solution and all the speaking about Quantum realities will not help, unless you do showcase them.
                          So the importance of quantum uncertainty and parallel-universes in the new take of the cosmology. Connections are visible, but if they have a true causal relation or are just similarities due to coming from similar places, is something for each ST and gaming group to define on its own.

                          Think of the X-men: Days of Future Past storylines (comic & film, that starts from a wholly different continuity), Age of Apocalypse, the Terminator or Back to the Future films and other media. The future you see is not exactly the future you will have. In some cases making sure it is not can be the core conflict of a story.
                          Fringe and Sliders also make great reference material.
                          Last edited by Baaldam; 08-27-2015, 09:30 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by IanWatson View Post
                            There is a distinct difference between a strong, detailed setting and a metaplot.

                            We'll have one of those.
                            Hello Ian. Thanks for the response. Sorry to hear I couldn't sway you, but I'll still support the new Trinity either way. At least the timeline will be moved forward so there's something new in there!

                            Any news on getting Andrew Bates involved?


                            Originally posted by CHILL View Post

                            Hey Wintermute......long time!

                            I liked the Aeon metaplot stuff, as has the groups I've run the DR books and AE books for. Metaplot as a concept isn't inherently bad - but there certainly are good and bad implementatios of that concept. As it happens, I really appreciate when a game line publishes something I can buy, read and run with little modification - I have scarce free time to spend coming up with my own spin on settings or creating scenarios for the most part.

                            Anyway, hey again!
                            Hey again! I'm still around, just not posting so much. And now trying out my Windows 10 Agent. :-)

                            I'm with you 100% on the ease of use of a good metaplot. I'll tweak it a bit either way, but it's good to have it there.

                            I shouldn't talk about other game systems too much on here since I'm an Onyx Path / White Wolf person, but I bought Numenera since I knew the guys who did Planescape: Torment are making a new CRPG for that setting. But the Core Numenera RPG book was a big, big disappointment: just a sandbox! No story, no metaplot! Then I might as well copy paste the Numenera system into a more interesting world (Mass Effect, Final Fantasy X, Long Earth, take your pick..)
                            Last edited by Wintermute; 08-30-2015, 05:57 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wintermute View Post

                              I shouldn't talk about other game systems too much on here since I'm an Onyx Path / White Wolf person, but I bought Numenera since I knew the guys who did Planescape: Torment are making a new CRPG for that setting. But the Core Numenera RPG book was a big, big disappointment: just a sandbox! No story, no metaplot! Then I might as well copy paste the Numenera system into a more interesting world (Mass Effect, Final Fantasy X, Long Earth, take your pick..)
                              I am very sure, that was the selling point in the first place. Numenera is DnD variant first and unique Gm created word is one of the main premises of those and core draw. That is how it does work in the first place and how it always worked.

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