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MessagePosté le: Mar 6 Oct - 21:50 (2009) Répondre en citant Back to top

Story Triggers

Story Triggers are an extension of the idea of Twists. They’re intended for three purposes: to help GMs plan out their storylines, to involve players more deeply in the game, and to create a framework wherein Twists can affect the game in a long-term way. In some respects they’re the Theme equivalent to extended conflicts, but they’re intended to be much more cooperative in nature and have no randomness involved.

Each Story Trigger revolves around a possible event, what might cause it to occur, and its immediate reprecussions. The details of the Trigger are visible to the players, though not necessarily all at once. They can decide to involve their characters, who probably know nothing about these things, by taking certain in-game actions. They can also choose to avoid the Trigger entirely, going in a different direction.

Some Triggers will be visible from the beginning of the game, in all their detail. Others (“slow-reveal” Triggers) will be unveiled one piece at a time as the GM puts them together. It might help if you think of Story Triggers as a legal way of bringing out-of-game knowledge into the game. The players will know significant portions of the Story Triggers when they are created, but their characters don’t yet have this knowledge.

Both players and the GM can create Story Triggers. The GM can do it whenever he or she likes, though he can only make one active if the right level of Complication comes up. Players have to use Twists to create their Triggers, but are then able to activate the Triggers much more easily.

GMs shouldn’t feel like Story Triggers take all the power away, though. First, it is important to remember that not everything has to be a Story Trigger. GMs can still spring surprises on both the characters and players in the usual way. Second, Story Triggers can be a very useful tool for game control. While they do allow players to steer the story to a great extent, they also allow GMs to create the road map. By creating a Trigger the GM is saying, “Here is where you can go and what you can do. I have planned for these things, at least a little bit.” When given the choice between a confusing wilderness of choices and a few specific options, most people go for the specific options.

Player-created Triggers also give you a heads-up on where your group plans on taking the story. It’s unlikely that one will be created and activated in the same single session, and that gives you some time to plan for the effect that the players dictate. If you need more time before your players activate a particular Trigger, you can use some of their more severe Complications to switch the effect around, stalling the players until they can switch it back.

Parts of a Trigger

Triggers always have four parts: the Secret, the Reveal, the Lever, and the Effect.

The Secret is just that: an important fact that few people know. Sometimes it’s something known only by those in power in a particular civilization or society. Other times it’s a piece of scientific knowledge waiting to be discovered, or a seeminly innocuous fact that combines with other truths in unforeseen ways. The important part is that the Secret is not commonly known, and whose revelation would have significant importance for the main characters.

The Reveal is the method by which the characters can find out the Secret. This is what makes the Trigger a useful tool for players: you as a player can decide whether your character gets involved in a particular story, because you know the Secret and what will uncover it, even if your character doesn’t. Activating the Reveal shows characters both the Secret and the Lever, but not the Effect. They have to guess at that on their own, though certain Professions or the Comprehension Theme could certainly be used to figure it out.

The Lever is the part of the Trigger that makes the Effect happen. That’s all it’s for. Activating the Lever is typically referred to as “pulling” it.

The Effect is what happens when the Lever is pulled. This could be a major event that impacts all of the civilizations, or it could be something specific to the inspectors’ current mission. The strength of the Effect will vary from one Trigger to another.

Each element of the Trigger has a level associated with it, from 1-5. This is the level of the Theme needed to alter or create it, or the Complication needed to alter, create, or activate it. Note that Themes can activate parts of a Trigger without needing the proper Level, while Complications must be of a particular strength in order to work. Elements ranked at level 5 can thus only be created or changed by players, and even then they’ll have to spend two Twists at once.

Activating Story Triggers

There are three methods for getting your character involved with a Trigger. First, your character could have a particular background or skillset. We call this the “mundane” approach. Second, you can use a Theme. Comprehension is almost always appropriate, but Empathy and Romance also apply. Third, the GM can use one of your Complications to activate or reveal part of a Trigger.

The mundane approach often requires something that you could only reasonably pick up at character creation, such as high standing in a particular Civilization. Sadly, not all Story Triggers are for all characters. Don’t worry, your chance to shine will come.

The Theme approach is far more accessible, because you don’t have to figure out a good way for your character to sensibly stumble across or reveal a particular piece of information. If you have Themes such as Intrigue (Stumble Across) or Comprehension (Pieces of the Puzzle), you’re just one Twist away from a whole lot of different Reveals.

Players will often find that the Complication approach is not the way they prefer. As described in the next section, when players take Complications the GM can use them to create Story Triggers that make life harder for the characters. They won’t suffer the usual instantaneous ill effects from that Complication; instead the GM will be creating a kind of Sword of Damocles that hangs over your character, just waiting for the final Complication to bring it into play.

The advantage of the Complication approach is that you don’t need the right approach — any Complication of the proper level can activate any part of any Trigger. The down side is that the GM makes the decisions rather than you, and also that Complications can be used to alter parts of Triggers. If you’ve spent a lot of time putting together Story Triggers of your own (see “player-created triggers” below), it can all turn sour when a Complication changes the Effect from beneficial to detrimental.

Story Triggers always lie latent until the characters or players interact with them. They’ll never go away or activate on their own. This might seem a little unrealistic — after all, don’t other people have an impact on the setting as well? — but the entire idea here is to empower the players and give them a way to “steer” the story. If the GM activates or destroys Story Triggers without player input, it takes that power right back, which feels worse than never having it in the first place.

We want to reiterate that Story Triggers can never be triggered by GMs, except through the use of Complications. Only the PCs’ actions (or Twists) and the Complications they willingly take can pull a Lever. Levers should never, ever be thrown by NPCs unless the players’ characters have the opportunity to stop them.

It is impossible to activate an incomplete Story Trigger. Triggers must have all four components visible to the players before the Lever can be thrown. Characters can still make progress towards activating a Trigger mundanely before the players know the Effect, but they can’t finish the deed until everything is in place.

Crafting Story Triggers

Creating a good Story Trigger takes a little practice and inspiration. Here are a few methods we suggest for creating interesting Triggers.

Characters’ Core Values are always a good place to start. The more you can do that hooks into these, the more you’ll be pulling the characters (and thus the players) into the game. Look for high-rated CVs that large-scale events can link into. We’re not just talking about threatening the Life CV with a new bio-weapon, but seriously challenging it with a new alien species that might or might not really count as “being alive.” Engage the Roamer’s Secrecy CV by bringing in a new form of unbreakable encryption. Make characters pick a side and defend it.

Another place to look is Civilizations and Societies. A Story Trigger that threatens, changes, or empowers a particular group will get more attention if that group is one that a character belongs to. Players often get quite attached to their Societies, identifying with them even more than they do with their character’s Civilization, so if you’re looking to make smaller-scale changes in the setting, Societies are a good place to start. Groups that are the character’s enemies — Replicants for the Stored, the Union for the Masquerade, and so forth — also make excellent fodder if the characters are at all vindictive.

Interesting slow-reveal Triggers often have a certain element of surprise to them. Timing the pieces of your triggers is key to making them entertaining. Sometimes the Effect is the first thing you want to make public, making the players wonder what could possibly cause such a thing. Other times it’s the Reveal, making players wonder what Secret could be found out by such unusual actions. In general, we suggest going to extremes. Show either the most audacious or most innocuous part of the Story Trigger first, and you’ll leave people wanting to hear more.

You can also create Triggers that are contingent on other Triggers. For instance, you could have one Trigger that starts a war between the Stardwellers and Union, with other triggers bringing diffferent civilizations in on different sides. The later Triggers depend on the first one — if there’s no war, then there are no sides to join.

Picking the levels for a Trigger is mostly a matter of eyeballing. Is a particular element a low-impact sort of thing? Does it balance on a knife edge? Are you ok with it being easily changed? Then give it a low rating. On the other hand, if there’s a particularly high-impact element, or one that seems very stable to you, give it a higher rating. It’s not incredibly important.

A lot of our advice has centered around the characters in your game. This isn’t to say that those characters should always be at the center of the Story Trigger, but they should always be in the right place to make a significant change. If you write an Effect that doesn’t significantly impact the characters, that’s really ok. It can still make for a good story. However, if you create a Lever that no one in the group can pull, it’s sort of a waste.

Player-Created Triggers

Players can use Twists to create Story Triggers of their own. We highly recommend this as a good use for leftover Twists at the end of a session.

Each Twist spent can create a Secret and a Reveal together, create a Lever, or create an Effect. Note that the Effect doesn’t actually come into play yet; you just create the possibility for it through your Twist use. Once the entire Trigger is in place, you can activate it through whatever means the Lever allows The strength of the Theme used, and its Descriptor, should fit the portion of the Trigger that’s being created.

Let’s use the Trojan War as an example here. The initial Trigger is what makes everyone go to war in the first place. A good way to create the Effect of this Trigger would be using Romance (Incredible Beauty), preferably at level 4 or even 5. The Lever — Helen being taken away to Troy — might be created using either Magnetism or Intrigue, and thrown with one of those or through ordinary gameplay. Comprehension would be a terrible Theme to use for a Trigger that starts the war, regardless of the descriptor. However, Comprehension (Sneaky Tricks) would be an excellent way to create the Secret portion of the Trojan Horse Trigger.

Players should always talk with the GM and other players when they create a Trigger or elements of it. Player-created Triggers aren’t intended as a way for one person to railroad the game; they’re a way for everyone to influence the plot.

Sample Triggers

Here are a few sample triggers, which you could use as inspiration or bring directly into your own game.

The numbers before each item indicate what level of Complication or Theme are necessary to alter that portion of the Trigger. As mentioned earlier, one needs a proper Theme with an appropriate descriptor to change a Trigger, but any Complication of the right level will do. Remember also that Complications must meet this minimum level to activate a Reveal or Lever, but any level of Theme is sufficient. Note that there are no level-5 Complications, so certain very wide-reaching Triggers can only be activated or altered by the players.

One of the elements in each trigger is marked with an asterisk. If you’re taking the “gradual reveal” method, showing more and more of the Trigger as Complications are spent, we highly recommend revealing that particular element of the trigger first.

The Logicians Explore Emotion
*(2)The Secret: The Logician hierarchy is doubting the effectiveness and efficiency of pure logic, and considering a return to emotion. Some of the nobles are even performing experiments to this end.
(1)The Reveals: Any of the following: One of the characters is a trusted member of the Logician nobility (Civ: Logician, Society: High Society, Profession: Political or Spy). The characters are on missions in Logician space at least three times, and have professions such as Political, Spy, or Metatech Engineer/Researcher. The characters are involved in black-ops missions in Logician headquarters.
(2)The Lever: A powerful and brilliant member of the monarchy makes the matter public, and casts his or her opinion one direction or the other. (Can be accomplished through political means, blackmail, well-reasoned psychohistorical arguments, even impersonation. Empathy, Magnetism, and Intrigue Themes are appropriate.)
(3)The Effects: The Rationalist League fragments, with the majority following a path of slowly returning emotion. A minority of Logicians will refuse this path, becoming a Society dedicated to the value of Logic. They will be particularly common in the Stardwellers and Union. Other fragments will attempt a faster return to emotion, with varying levels of success or disaster.

The Tao Fall Inward
(3)The Secret: The Tao are approaching a critical mass of citizens with DOSD (see page 135), beyond which a sort of sociological “phase change” occurs. A major change in one milieu would be sufficient to tip the balance.
(2)The Reveals: Any of the following: Three missions in Tao space that involve interaction with both actors and stagehands. Standing in the Tao stagehand’s union (Tao citizen with Engineering or Mediatype skills without any High Society connections or acting skills). Being a spy from one of the Tao’s high-Meta enemy or ally civilizations (Spy profession and preferably Intrigue Theme, and from Masquerade, Stardwellers, Roamers, Union, or Replicants). Detailed analysis of Tao society (Metatech Researcher) may pick this up, but not without accurate data.
*(3)The Lever: A major disaster in an actor-heavy milieu of Tao space, something sufficient to require nearly all citizens in the area to rely on crisis control lenses. (Stringtech-related disasters are encouraged, since the Tao have less ability to deal with those.)
(3)The Effects: DOSD becomes the norm in Tao space. The civ loses many of its outside ties, and revenue plummets. Actors begin viewing the various levels of DOSD as differing levels of reality, and some even learn how to “switch” between them. The civilization as a whole remains, but becomes much more insular. For those in some stages of DOSD it is more fragmented, while those in other stages see it as more unified than ever. The civilization as a whole switches its focus from portraying the past to exploration of human mental conditions.

Second Contact
*(2)The Secret: Many known Cargo Cults are receiving outside aid from the League of Independent Worlds.
(1)The Reveals: Any of the following: Spending a year undercover in a Cargo Cult. High ranking in the Independents’ unified military force (Military profession), or on one of the committees that oversees them (Political profession). Contacts with said people (easily achieved through the use of various Themes). Rulership status in an affected Cult.
(2)The Lever: Make the fact public, forcing the Independents to admit their actions. (Almost any Metatech-based profession will work, or the Magnetism Theme.)
(4)The Effects: The Independents grow almost continuously and quickly for the next few hundred years, becoming the largest civilization in terms of number of worlds and citizens. While they will struggle with integrating all these widely varying groups (as everyone else treats them as a Cargo Cult “dumping ground”), their expanded population base will eventually bring them into parity with the Stardwellers and Union as one of the most technologically advanced groups in the universe.

Mechanican Unity
(2)The Secret: Mechanica’s psychohistorical instability is coming to a head. Those who lead the it are interested in consolidating their power and need to stabilize the civilization in order to do so. They’re going to attempt to add another Core Value to Mechanica: Profit.
(1)The Reveals: Any of the following: One of the characters is a Mechanican high official (Civ: Mechanica, Profession: Political or Financial). One of the characters is in a partially economic struggle against someone high up in Mechanica (Conflict: a Cold War, a Research Blitz, an Ad Campaign, or Psychohistorical Maneuvering.)
(2)The Lever: A character gives a boost to the Mechanicans in question (Using money from High Society, joining them in one of the conflicts above, or use of the Intrigue, Magnetism, or Comprehension plot scores)
*(2)The Effects: The Mechanicans begin to sell their high-level Stringtech to the highest bidders, eventually breaking ties with the Patent Office and becoming a civilization of high-tech traders, engineers, and mercenaries.

Cutting Ties
*(4)The Secret: The Union is ready to be done with with the Transcendentals as a whole. It’ll only take one more event to send them over the edge.
(3)The Reveals: Any of the following: A detailed Psychohistorical analysis of the Union’s relationship with the Patent Office. At least two public missions into Union space with someone trained to read others’ reactions (the Media or Political professions are good choices here). One secret, high-profile mission into Union space involving a spy mesh that disguises someone as a Union member.
(3)The Lever: Botch a mission in Union space, in a way that both makes Transcendental involvement obvious and causes loss of life or rebellion.
(5)The Effects: The Union, Logicians, and Replicants sever all diplomatic, economic, and communications ties with the rest of the civilizations. The Union warns the Patent Office that attempting to reestablish communications will be seen as an act of war. Other civilizations are invited to join them in their new set of civilizations, but they must renounce the Patent Office and the influence of the Transcendentals. War with the Transcendentals seems unlikely — the Union is smarter than that — but there may be rumors of it, or even an alliance with the Aia.

Outmaneuvered
(5)The Secret: The Skotadi have their own equivalent to the Transcendentals — a way by which information from the future can be used in the present.
*(3)The Reveals: Any of the following: At least three missions involving the Skotadi. Specifically questioning the Transcendentals on the matter. Use of the Intrigue or Comprehension Themes. Psychohistorical analysis of the interaction between Skotadi civilizations.
(2)The Lever: One mission that heavily antagonizes a major faction in the Skotadi, or the creation of a major new weapon that uses or disturbs dark matter as part of its operation.
(3)The Effects: The Skotadi technological singularity and the Transcendentals come into direct conflict, taking both off the scene for a significant amount of time — years or more. During this time the Patent Office will be on its own, without guidance from the future. Which side wins, or whether there is a compromise or merger of some sort, depends on future Triggers.

< ENCADRE >

No Metaplot Here

None of these triggers are “canon,” by which we mean that none represent any sort of official future for the game. Some seem more likely than others to us, but whether they officially happen or not depends on whether you decide to use them in your game.

< /ENCADRE >
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MessagePosté le: Mar 6 Oct - 21:50 (2009) Back to top

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MessagePosté le: Sam 6 Fév - 14:18 (2010) Répondre en citant Back to top

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MessagePosté le: Dim 28 Mar - 22:30 (2010) Répondre en citant Back to top

Story Triggers
Amorces d'histoire

Story Triggers are an extension of the idea of Twists. They’re intended for three purposes: to help GMs plan out their storylines, to involve players more deeply in the game, and to create a framework wherein Twists can affect the game in a long-term way. In some respects they’re the Theme equivalent to extended conflicts, but they’re intended to be much more cooperative in nature and have no randomness involved.
Les Amorces d'histoire sont une extension du principe de Twist. Ils sont conçus pour trois raisons : [...], impliquer plus fortement les joueurs dans le jeu et créer un cadre dans lequel les Twists peuvent affecter le jeu sur du long terme. [...]

Each Story Trigger revolves around a possible event, what might cause it to occur, and its immediate reprecussions. The details of the Trigger are visible to the players, though not necessarily all at once. They can decide to involve their characters, who probably know nothing about these things, by taking certain in-game actions. They can also choose to avoid the Trigger entirely, going in a different direction.

Some Triggers will be visible from the beginning of the game, in all their detail. Others (“slow-reveal” Triggers) will be unveiled one piece at a time as the GM puts them together. It might help if you think of Story Triggers as a legal way of bringing out-of-game knowledge into the game. The players will know significant portions of the Story Triggers when they are created, but their characters don’t yet have this knowledge.
Certaines Amorces seront visibles dès le début du jeu, dans leurs moindres détails. D'autres (les Amorces "lentes") seront révélées petit à petit selon les besoins du MJ. Cela peut vous aider si vous considérez l'Amorce d'histoire comme un moyen hors-jeu de donner des informations sur le jeu. Les joueurs auront accès à une part conséquente des Amorces d'histoire lors de leur création mais leur personnage n'auront pas autant d'informations.

Both players and the GM can create Story Triggers. The GM can do it whenever he or she likes, though he can only make one active if the right level of Complication comes up. Players have to use Twists to create their Triggers, but are then able to activate the Triggers much more easily.

GMs shouldn’t feel like Story Triggers take all the power away, though. First, it is important to remember that not everything has to be a Story Trigger. GMs can still spring surprises on both the characters and players in the usual way. Second, Story Triggers can be a very useful tool for game control. While they do allow players to steer the story to a great extent, they also allow GMs to create the road map. By creating a Trigger the GM is saying, “Here is where you can go and what you can do. I have planned for these things, at least a little bit.” When given the choice between a confusing wilderness of choices and a few specific options, most people go for the specific options.

Player-created Triggers also give you a heads-up on where your group plans on taking the story. It’s unlikely that one will be created and activated in the same single session, and that gives you some time to plan for the effect that the players dictate. If you need more time before your players activate a particular Trigger, you can use some of their more severe Complications to switch the effect around, stalling the players until they can switch it back.

Parts of a Trigger

Triggers always have four parts: the Secret, the Reveal, the Lever, and the Effect.

The Secret is just that: an important fact that few people know. Sometimes it’s something known only by those in power in a particular civilization or society. Other times it’s a piece of scientific knowledge waiting to be discovered, or a seeminly innocuous fact that combines with other truths in unforeseen ways. The important part is that the Secret is not commonly known, and whose revelation would have significant importance for the main characters.

The Reveal is the method by which the characters can find out the Secret. This is what makes the Trigger a useful tool for players: you as a player can decide whether your character gets involved in a particular story, because you know the Secret and what will uncover it, even if your character doesn’t. Activating the Reveal shows characters both the Secret and the Lever, but not the Effect. They have to guess at that on their own, though certain Professions or the Comprehension Theme could certainly be used to figure it out.

The Lever is the part of the Trigger that makes the Effect happen. That’s all it’s for. Activating the Lever is typically referred to as “pulling” it.

The Effect is what happens when the Lever is pulled. This could be a major event that impacts all of the civilizations, or it could be something specific to the inspectors’ current mission. The strength of the Effect will vary from one Trigger to another.

Each element of the Trigger has a level associated with it, from 1-5. This is the level of the Theme needed to alter or create it, or the Complication needed to alter, create, or activate it. Note that Themes can activate parts of a Trigger without needing the proper Level, while Complications must be of a particular strength in order to work. Elements ranked at level 5 can thus only be created or changed by players, and even then they’ll have to spend two Twists at once.

Activating Story Triggers

There are three methods for getting your character involved with a Trigger. First, your character could have a particular background or skillset. We call this the “mundane” approach. Second, you can use a Theme. Comprehension is almost always appropriate, but Empathy and Romance also apply. Third, the GM can use one of your Complications to activate or reveal part of a Trigger.

The mundane approach often requires something that you could only reasonably pick up at character creation, such as high standing in a particular Civilization. Sadly, not all Story Triggers are for all characters. Don’t worry, your chance to shine will come.

The Theme approach is far more accessible, because you don’t have to figure out a good way for your character to sensibly stumble across or reveal a particular piece of information. If you have Themes such as Intrigue (Stumble Across) or Comprehension (Pieces of the Puzzle), you’re just one Twist away from a whole lot of different Reveals.

Players will often find that the Complication approach is not the way they prefer. As described in the next section, when players take Complications the GM can use them to create Story Triggers that make life harder for the characters. They won’t suffer the usual instantaneous ill effects from that Complication; instead the GM will be creating a kind of Sword of Damocles that hangs over your character, just waiting for the final Complication to bring it into play.

The advantage of the Complication approach is that you don’t need the right approach — any Complication of the proper level can activate any part of any Trigger. The down side is that the GM makes the decisions rather than you, and also that Complications can be used to alter parts of Triggers. If you’ve spent a lot of time putting together Story Triggers of your own (see “player-created triggers” below), it can all turn sour when a Complication changes the Effect from beneficial to detrimental.

Story Triggers always lie latent until the characters or players interact with them. They’ll never go away or activate on their own. This might seem a little unrealistic — after all, don’t other people have an impact on the setting as well? — but the entire idea here is to empower the players and give them a way to “steer” the story. If the GM activates or destroys Story Triggers without player input, it takes that power right back, which feels worse than never having it in the first place.

We want to reiterate that Story Triggers can never be triggered by GMs, except through the use of Complications. Only the PCs’ actions (or Twists) and the Complications they willingly take can pull a Lever. Levers should never, ever be thrown by NPCs unless the players’ characters have the opportunity to stop them.

It is impossible to activate an incomplete Story Trigger. Triggers must have all four components visible to the players before the Lever can be thrown. Characters can still make progress towards activating a Trigger mundanely before the players know the Effect, but they can’t finish the deed until everything is in place.

Crafting Story Triggers

Creating a good Story Trigger takes a little practice and inspiration. Here are a few methods we suggest for creating interesting Triggers.

Characters’ Core Values are always a good place to start. The more you can do that hooks into these, the more you’ll be pulling the characters (and thus the players) into the game. Look for high-rated CVs that large-scale events can link into. We’re not just talking about threatening the Life CV with a new bio-weapon, but seriously challenging it with a new alien species that might or might not really count as “being alive.” Engage the Roamer’s Secrecy CV by bringing in a new form of unbreakable encryption. Make characters pick a side and defend it.

Another place to look is Civilizations and Societies. A Story Trigger that threatens, changes, or empowers a particular group will get more attention if that group is one that a character belongs to. Players often get quite attached to their Societies, identifying with them even more than they do with their character’s Civilization, so if you’re looking to make smaller-scale changes in the setting, Societies are a good place to start. Groups that are the character’s enemies — Replicants for the Stored, the Union for the Masquerade, and so forth — also make excellent fodder if the characters are at all vindictive.

Interesting slow-reveal Triggers often have a certain element of surprise to them. Timing the pieces of your triggers is key to making them entertaining. Sometimes the Effect is the first thing you want to make public, making the players wonder what could possibly cause such a thing. Other times it’s the Reveal, making players wonder what Secret could be found out by such unusual actions. In general, we suggest going to extremes. Show either the most audacious or most innocuous part of the Story Trigger first, and you’ll leave people wanting to hear more.

You can also create Triggers that are contingent on other Triggers. For instance, you could have one Trigger that starts a war between the Stardwellers and Union, with other triggers bringing diffferent civilizations in on different sides. The later Triggers depend on the first one — if there’s no war, then there are no sides to join.

Picking the levels for a Trigger is mostly a matter of eyeballing. Is a particular element a low-impact sort of thing? Does it balance on a knife edge? Are you ok with it being easily changed? Then give it a low rating. On the other hand, if there’s a particularly high-impact element, or one that seems very stable to you, give it a higher rating. It’s not incredibly important.

A lot of our advice has centered around the characters in your game. This isn’t to say that those characters should always be at the center of the Story Trigger, but they should always be in the right place to make a significant change. If you write an Effect that doesn’t significantly impact the characters, that’s really ok. It can still make for a good story. However, if you create a Lever that no one in the group can pull, it’s sort of a waste.

Player-Created Triggers

Players can use Twists to create Story Triggers of their own. We highly recommend this as a good use for leftover Twists at the end of a session.

Each Twist spent can create a Secret and a Reveal together, create a Lever, or create an Effect. Note that the Effect doesn’t actually come into play yet; you just create the possibility for it through your Twist use. Once the entire Trigger is in place, you can activate it through whatever means the Lever allows The strength of the Theme used, and its Descriptor, should fit the portion of the Trigger that’s being created.

Let’s use the Trojan War as an example here. The initial Trigger is what makes everyone go to war in the first place. A good way to create the Effect of this Trigger would be using Romance (Incredible Beauty), preferably at level 4 or even 5. The Lever — Helen being taken away to Troy — might be created using either Magnetism or Intrigue, and thrown with one of those or through ordinary gameplay. Comprehension would be a terrible Theme to use for a Trigger that starts the war, regardless of the descriptor. However, Comprehension (Sneaky Tricks) would be an excellent way to create the Secret portion of the Trojan Horse Trigger.

Players should always talk with the GM and other players when they create a Trigger or elements of it. Player-created Triggers aren’t intended as a way for one person to railroad the game; they’re a way for everyone to influence the plot.

Sample Triggers

Here are a few sample triggers, which you could use as inspiration or bring directly into your own game.

The numbers before each item indicate what level of Complication or Theme are necessary to alter that portion of the Trigger. As mentioned earlier, one needs a proper Theme with an appropriate descriptor to change a Trigger, but any Complication of the right level will do. Remember also that Complications must meet this minimum level to activate a Reveal or Lever, but any level of Theme is sufficient. Note that there are no level-5 Complications, so certain very wide-reaching Triggers can only be activated or altered by the players.

One of the elements in each trigger is marked with an asterisk. If you’re taking the “gradual reveal” method, showing more and more of the Trigger as Complications are spent, we highly recommend revealing that particular element of the trigger first.

The Logicians Explore Emotion
*(2)The Secret: The Logician hierarchy is doubting the effectiveness and efficiency of pure logic, and considering a return to emotion. Some of the nobles are even performing experiments to this end.
(1)The Reveals: Any of the following: One of the characters is a trusted member of the Logician nobility (Civ: Logician, Society: High Society, Profession: Political or Spy). The characters are on missions in Logician space at least three times, and have professions such as Political, Spy, or Metatech Engineer/Researcher. The characters are involved in black-ops missions in Logician headquarters.
(2)The Lever: A powerful and brilliant member of the monarchy makes the matter public, and casts his or her opinion one direction or the other. (Can be accomplished through political means, blackmail, well-reasoned psychohistorical arguments, even impersonation. Empathy, Magnetism, and Intrigue Themes are appropriate.)
(3)The Effects: The Rationalist League fragments, with the majority following a path of slowly returning emotion. A minority of Logicians will refuse this path, becoming a Society dedicated to the value of Logic. They will be particularly common in the Stardwellers and Union. Other fragments will attempt a faster return to emotion, with varying levels of success or disaster.

The Tao Fall Inward
(3)The Secret: The Tao are approaching a critical mass of citizens with DOSD (see page 135), beyond which a sort of sociological “phase change” occurs. A major change in one milieu would be sufficient to tip the balance.
(2)The Reveals: Any of the following: Three missions in Tao space that involve interaction with both actors and stagehands. Standing in the Tao stagehand’s union (Tao citizen with Engineering or Mediatype skills without any High Society connections or acting skills). Being a spy from one of the Tao’s high-Meta enemy or ally civilizations (Spy profession and preferably Intrigue Theme, and from Masquerade, Stardwellers, Roamers, Union, or Replicants). Detailed analysis of Tao society (Metatech Researcher) may pick this up, but not without accurate data.
*(3)The Lever: A major disaster in an actor-heavy milieu of Tao space, something sufficient to require nearly all citizens in the area to rely on crisis control lenses. (Stringtech-related disasters are encouraged, since the Tao have less ability to deal with those.)
(3)The Effects: DOSD becomes the norm in Tao space. The civ loses many of its outside ties, and revenue plummets. Actors begin viewing the various levels of DOSD as differing levels of reality, and some even learn how to “switch” between them. The civilization as a whole remains, but becomes much more insular. For those in some stages of DOSD it is more fragmented, while those in other stages see it as more unified than ever. The civilization as a whole switches its focus from portraying the past to exploration of human mental conditions.

Second Contact
*(2)The Secret: Many known Cargo Cults are receiving outside aid from the League of Independent Worlds.
(1)The Reveals: Any of the following: Spending a year undercover in a Cargo Cult. High ranking in the Independents’ unified military force (Military profession), or on one of the committees that oversees them (Political profession). Contacts with said people (easily achieved through the use of various Themes). Rulership status in an affected Cult.
(2)The Lever: Make the fact public, forcing the Independents to admit their actions. (Almost any Metatech-based profession will work, or the Magnetism Theme.)
(4)The Effects: The Independents grow almost continuously and quickly for the next few hundred years, becoming the largest civilization in terms of number of worlds and citizens. While they will struggle with integrating all these widely varying groups (as everyone else treats them as a Cargo Cult “dumping ground”), their expanded population base will eventually bring them into parity with the Stardwellers and Union as one of the most technologically advanced groups in the universe.

Mechanican Unity
(2)The Secret: Mechanica’s psychohistorical instability is coming to a head. Those who lead the it are interested in consolidating their power and need to stabilize the civilization in order to do so. They’re going to attempt to add another Core Value to Mechanica: Profit.
(1)The Reveals: Any of the following: One of the characters is a Mechanican high official (Civ: Mechanica, Profession: Political or Financial). One of the characters is in a partially economic struggle against someone high up in Mechanica (Conflict: a Cold War, a Research Blitz, an Ad Campaign, or Psychohistorical Maneuvering.)
(2)The Lever: A character gives a boost to the Mechanicans in question (Using money from High Society, joining them in one of the conflicts above, or use of the Intrigue, Magnetism, or Comprehension plot scores)
*(2)The Effects: The Mechanicans begin to sell their high-level Stringtech to the highest bidders, eventually breaking ties with the Patent Office and becoming a civilization of high-tech traders, engineers, and mercenaries.

Cutting Ties
*(4)The Secret: The Union is ready to be done with with the Transcendentals as a whole. It’ll only take one more event to send them over the edge.
(3)The Reveals: Any of the following: A detailed Psychohistorical analysis of the Union’s relationship with the Patent Office. At least two public missions into Union space with someone trained to read others’ reactions (the Media or Political professions are good choices here). One secret, high-profile mission into Union space involving a spy mesh that disguises someone as a Union member.
(3)The Lever: Botch a mission in Union space, in a way that both makes Transcendental involvement obvious and causes loss of life or rebellion.
(5)The Effects: The Union, Logicians, and Replicants sever all diplomatic, economic, and communications ties with the rest of the civilizations. The Union warns the Patent Office that attempting to reestablish communications will be seen as an act of war. Other civilizations are invited to join them in their new set of civilizations, but they must renounce the Patent Office and the influence of the Transcendentals. War with the Transcendentals seems unlikely — the Union is smarter than that — but there may be rumors of it, or even an alliance with the Aia.

Outmaneuvered
(5)The Secret: The Skotadi have their own equivalent to the Transcendentals — a way by which information from the future can be used in the present.
*(3)The Reveals: Any of the following: At least three missions involving the Skotadi. Specifically questioning the Transcendentals on the matter. Use of the Intrigue or Comprehension Themes. Psychohistorical analysis of the interaction between Skotadi civilizations.
(2)The Lever: One mission that heavily antagonizes a major faction in the Skotadi, or the creation of a major new weapon that uses or disturbs dark matter as part of its operation.
(3)The Effects: The Skotadi technological singularity and the Transcendentals come into direct conflict, taking both off the scene for a significant amount of time — years or more. During this time the Patent Office will be on its own, without guidance from the future. Which side wins, or whether there is a compromise or merger of some sort, depends on future Triggers.

< ENCADRE >

No Metaplot Here

None of these triggers are “canon,” by which we mean that none represent any sort of official future for the game. Some seem more likely than others to us, but whether they officially happen or not depends on whether you decide to use them in your game.

< /ENCADRE >
suffisamment
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MessagePosté le: Mer 31 Mar - 16:30 (2010) Répondre en citant Back to top

Dans le document de découverte (j'y reviens bientôt, si, si !), on a choisi péripétie pour traduire twist.
Au départ, j'avais songé à "entorse", mais c'est un peu trop tordu (haha).
syzia


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MessagePosté le: Mer 31 Mar - 16:31 (2010) Répondre en citant Back to top

ça roule, on va rectifier !
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MessagePosté le: Aujourd’hui à 02:09 (2017) Back to top

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