A defining feature of SEED RPG is the way each session begins and ends as a complete story. When you gather, the group chooses a plot for that session. A plot gives the session structure but it does not tie the game to a specific scenario, group of persons, places or things. Meaning each plot can be played over and over again without getting old. It also lends your stories great pacing that builds to a satisfying conclusion each session.
Mechanically a plot is a series of choices and scenes. The plot is responsible for setting the stakes and influences how long each scene takes to resolve. As a practical example here is an outline for the choices and events of the bounty hunt plot and a few notes about what each choice or event provides.
- Player’s chose employer
- Lets players pick their reward for success.
- Reveals the groups motives and morality.
- Gm chooses bounty head + reason for bounty
- Gm gets to create an interesting character and back story.
- Gm chooses location to investigate
- Gm can pick from pre-made or home made locations, and npc’s
- Players chose a deal or steal scene to find information on bounty
- Allows players choice but is still easy to prepare for.
- Deal or steal scene is resolved
- Regardless of success or failure the plot will move forward
- Wining side gets more resources
- Players use information to start the hunt scene
- Sets the scene for the final showdown
- wining side gets more resources
- Gives a short break between the plot’s two longer scenes.
- Players take on bounty head in a fight scene
- Gives player’s something to expend resources on
- If players fail they get no employer reward
- Players will still earn “experience” for finishing the plot
Mechanically the choices made at the start of a plot help build a unique story each time the plot is played. As a designer I know exactly what gameplay resources are used while playing this plot and I can effectively balance the game while leaving the story for the players to create and discover. The plot gives me a whole lot of tools to control the flow of your game ensuring it’s always interesting. While I intend to have plenty of pre-made content in the game, the plot serves as a very clear guide if the gm would like to prepare content for their players. Preparing will always be an option, never a necessity.
The plot is simply making rules from the way most people already play rpgs. “Tavern, Road, Dungon” is a classic plot line that many people use every time they meet for a game. When the game ventures away from this structure you find you have spent 2 hours simply buying equipment or philandering. Some groups will learn how to follow the plot and have years of great games together. Sadly some groups never learn this and will eventually stop playing. So making the plot a part of the game means we all get to play more and have to prepare less for each game!