Player Run Plots
Players as GMs: Incentive
Battle Fantasia greatly encourages players to run plots and scenes for each other!
There are any number of ways to be a Game Master, or GM; on BF we are happy to host all styles. We generally encourage GMs to keep their characters out of the spotlight, though tangential involvement is perfectly fine -- a GM's character might originate the plan that sparked the scene, or need rescue, or simply be knocked out of the fight in the very first round.
But in those cases where a GM's character is wholly uninvolved, staff offers a small incentive called a Cream Puff. Cream puffs can be used to unlock special rewards, each worth five Character Points. Most, but not all, are Special Attacks. Before a fight, a character can decide which reward they want to assign to their henshin forms. Accumulating Cream Puffs unlocks additional rewards with which to fill the slot, which adds fun versatility but no additional power.
Additionally, if the staff is needed to run plots for people who can't find GMs to cover them -- especially to satisfy the Master Rank Advancement Plot requirement -- they will tend to prioritize people with ample puffs, though everyone will get the GMing support they need from the staff in due course.
Staff offer Cream Puffs in the following quantities:
- 1 Cream Puff: For GMing a scene that does not involve your character.
- 1 additional Cream Puff: For GMing a scene that does not involve your cast.
- 1 more Cream Puff: For making a bulletin board rumors post about your scene. Remember that lasting collateral damage is very abnormal; the rumors should be about other elements of the scene or its wider implications.
In scenes that involve your character, roleplay -- the ultimate tender of fun in our game -- is its own reward. Even in the case of off-camera implied awesomeness, such GMs are still getting off-camera implied awesomeness for their characters! Which is perfectly fine. You just don't get a puff for it; you get awesomeness instead.
We offer an extra puff for running a scene that uses plot elements outside of your cast simply to encourage such behavior; there are far, far too many magical girl themes for all of them to have lively, played villain casts, and so a great deal of NPCing, by players, for players, is needed to cover the gap.
Note that it is perfectly fine for Sailor Moon to run a Desertrian attack for the Heartcatch Pretty Cure cast, and have Sailor Mercury show up to help the Heartcatch Precure fight; Sailor Moon still gets two puffs for running the scene. Cream Puffs are about who you NPC, the plots you're pushing with the sacrifice of your time and energy, not who attends them.
Players do not require prior permission from anyone to run a scene, unless:
1) The scene involves significant, lasting alteration to the status quo, be it blowing up an important location (permanently; quite a few battlefields are magically repaired by lovebeams at the end of every battle, so if you're going to have that happen, no worries), or having someone reveal major supernatural activity to the public that Recognition Inhibition can't squash. In other words, if the outcome of your scene involves real change to day-to-day life in Tokyo (or beyond), please get permission from the staff first.
Example of an acceptable, no-permission-required scene: Jadeite projecting his fabulous head into the thundercloud-covered skies of Tokyo to issue a challenge to the Sailor Senshi. (And then fighting them.) It's a news story, but Recognition Inhibition will make sure no one thinks much of the logistics of that 'hologram'.
Example of a scene that requires permission (and paperwork, below): Invading Southern Cross Island with helicopters and tanks.
2) The scene significantly involves the resources of an Organization. If you're going to storm Dark Fall's headquarters, you need to clear it with their Organizational Contact first (and they have every right to try to find a compromise that is a little less dismissive of Dark Fall's threat!). Organizational Contacts are listed on the the pages of each of the Organizations.
Example of an acceptable, no-permission-required scene: Youmas going on a rampage through the ice cream shop.
Example of a scene that requires permission (and paperwork, below): Youmas going on a rampage through the Tuners' ice cream shop.
3) The scene involves use of a named NPC, such as an unplayed Dark Kingdom lieutenant. For some casts, who entirely lack played villains, they might be thrilled to have you take over Nephrite for a day; others, who have, say, half their villains played, might prefer to keep their named villain GMing in-house, so to speak. Please check with the cast before you use their unplayed characters.
4) The scene involves use of a cast's major plot element. This one is pretty common, but again, pretty easy. Wanna run a Clow Card? Better ask Sakura first. Wanna run a Rainbow Crystal? Talk to the Sailor Moon cast. If you're wanting to really throw a curveball with a plot element by taking the story in an entirely new and unexpected direction -- something we encourage -- clear it with the staff first.
Example of an acceptable scene that only requires cast permission (and paperwork, below): A Desertrian is subdued by the Heartcatch Precure; afterwards, they store their newly purified Heart Seed in the Heart Pot.
Example of a scene that also requires staff permission (and paperwork, below): While the Desertrian is fighting the Heartcatch Precure, someone steals the Heart Pot!
5) The scene is one of an extended plot. If you have an entire, multi-scene plot in mind, please work it out with the staff first.
If you need to get permission under any of these five categories, please fill out the following brief paperwork and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org :
- What is the outline of your scene/plot?
- Which aspects of it require permission, and from whom?
- Who have you gotten that permission from (if the staff, please say, 'that's why I'm submitting this paperwork')?
That way we have it on record, a receipt, if you will; the staff will confirm with the cast involved, if necessary, and then get back to you ASAP.
Youma Repository System
The Battle Fantasia Youma Repository System is a set of commands to allow players and staff alike to define, edit, and transform into 'youma' -- in other words, NPC boss forms. (They don't literally have to be youma, also known as monsters of the day, though we expect this to be what are mostly made.) It exists to promote free and easy GMing of spontaneous scenes. Use of the Youma Repository System to cheat in combat, by faking a player character's henshins, is considered abuse and will be responded to accordingly.
Anyone can create NPC forms using this system, and anyone can look at and use each other's forms as well. Only the creator of a form (or the staff) can edit that form, however. Although we recommend that players in a scene don't use these commands to look at their GM's form, ultimately the only fun they're hurting is their own, and the total transparency should minimize abuse of the system.
+youmas - Lists the available youma forms and their associated form numbers.
+youma/create <youma name> - Initially creates a youma form and assigns it a form number.
+youma/wipe <youma number> - Completely wipes a youma form from existance. Can only be used by staff, or on forms a player created themselves; players cannot wipe each others' forms.
+youma/setsheet <youma number>/<field>=<entry> - Defines a field within a youma form. Valid fields include masterrank, mastertraits, rank (as in henshin rank), might, vitality, spirit, reflex, composure and henshinabilities. Can only be used by staff, or on forms a player created themselves; players cannot edit each others' forms.
+youma/setattack <youma number>=<attack entry> - Sets an attack on a youma form. Entry format is Attack Name|Tier|PL|Type|Range|Flag1|Flag2|Flag3... Can only be used by staff, or on forms a player created themselves; players cannot edit each others' forms.
+youma/delattack <youma number>=<attack name> - Deletes an attack from a youma form. Can only be used by staff, or on forms a player created themselves; players cannot edit each others' forms.
+youma/wipeattacks <youma number> - Deletes all attacks from a youma form. Can only be used by staff, or on forms a player created themselves; players cannot edit each others' forms.
+youma/sheet <youma number> - Displays a youma form's +sheet.
+youma/attacks <youma number> - Displays a youma form's +attacks.
+youma/summon <youma number> - Summons a youma form's +sheet and +attacks to your henshin slot Y, which is listed like any other henshin in +transformations if filled; one can then subsequently transform into that youma form with +transform Y.
Paperwork is not required for day-to-day use of the Youma Repository System. Let the monster attacks on the tennis tournament, science fair or takoyaki stand commence!
On a really healthy game, most scenes are not run by the staff, but by players. Most plots are originated by players, and require only minimal oversight to make sure that Tokyo isn't about to be permanently reduced to green jello or otherwise totally alter the status quo in a way the game in general isn't ready for yet. Preserving the status quo forever, however, is not our goal -- our setting can and should evolve as stories are told. (One way that this is recognized is in our advancement policy, which includes a provision to bring minimum XP up to a function of the game's average XP every six months, such that a game that begins as Battle Fantasia: Origins will, over time, transition into a second act less about how Stella got her groove, and more about what she proceeded to do with it, and onward from there.)
And yet, often only a tiny, select group of players ever take the initiative to run scenes on a MUSH.
Two common barriers to players running scenes are:
a) lack of confidence, and
b) not wanting to deal with paperwork; both to get a plot approved, and some back-and-forth with the staff is generally necessary to generate some sort of boss form, or monster form, to represent NPCs; the turn-around time on generating these forms is often long, requires a staffer to set the form up, give it to the player, and so forth. This can be rather spontaneity-crushing.
To address the latter issue, we have the Youma Repository System described above. To address the former:
The Battle Fantasia Origin Story Round Robin
Launch is a unique time for a game, and presents a unique opportunity -- it is a regular but rarely granted wish for a player to get to scene out their very first day on the Magical Girl job. Early plots generally lack the extreme personalization of Usagi getting her pen from Luna, Nanoha discovering Yuuno and Raising Heart, and so forth.
The solution is obvious: why not have everyone who wants a special origin scene each GM one for someone else?
To facilitate this, we have a questionnaire on our Application: Character Creation asking players a) if they want to participate in the Origin Story Round Robin, and b) if yes, which themes they feel comfortable storytelling in. We will then proceed to match players up with each other, pre-create all NPC forms required by the participants (unless they'd rather make their own with the Youma Repository System), and watch the fun begin, standing by to answer questions and provide further support as needed. In the event that someone doesn't fulfill their GMing responsibility, or no one feels able to GM for an obscure theme, the staff will naturally pick up the slack. We will recommend that these (presumably flashback) scenes wait to be run until after the first weekend or two, in which staff-run plots will be provided to acquaint everyone with the combat system and the flow of a usual scene (though anyone who wants to hit the ground running is welcome to!).
Every participant will receive an origin scene and run an origin scene, and hopefully this will help demystify GMing and provide some confidence to first-timers -- no prior experience will be expected by anyone, after all! If our influx of new players is remotely steady (as in, at least two within a few weeks of each other), this could go on indefinitely. We will have other "GMing Round Robin" plot events further down the line, as well.
For more information, please see: Rules