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Good Guys and Bad Guys

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Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Mac the Impaler on Mon May 27, 2013 9:19 pm

Hey there everyone. I was just pondering something and decided to get your thoughts on it.

In many of the RPs I've played, there are two opposing factions. In fact that could probably describe almost all of the RPs ever. When there are Players on both sides of the conflict, be it GoodvsEvil, LightvsDark, AngelsvsDemons etc, how do you keep the plot moving along when the supposed 'masterminds' on each side couldn't scheme their way out of a wet paper bag?
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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ViceVersus on Mon May 27, 2013 10:43 pm

Hey there, Mac the Impaler! Thanks for posting in this forum, it's always great to discuss these issues with fellow writers.

If I understand your question correctly, you're wondering how to keep the action up when the leaders of each faction may or may not be qualified for their role? Could you maybe go into a little more depth on what you mean, maybe give some examples?

I'll try and hazard an answer. Look at something like, I don't know, Harry Potter. Dumbledore and Voldemort were arguably the opposing masterminds. But think about how many other major players there were, how many other interactions there were. Just create other networks and have the movers and shakers always be doing stuff. Busyness!
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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Kestrel on Tue May 28, 2013 2:15 am

Also, you have to deal with moving armies, which is very time-consuming. Strategic positioning is tough; defending a fortress is better than camping outside (which puts you at a significant disadvantage.) It's not like every war goes "Hey lets gather all our men and meet on those plains over there." I mean if you do that, one guy could dispatch one unit to the king's castle and kill the king, steal magical artefact, etc. whatever. They could not show up at all and attack different places. Especially when you're dealing with good vs. evil or angels vs. demons, guess which side has no issues with using deception as a tactic. You don't have to be a mastermind to figure that out. Guide your players to fight for territory first (or perhaps a handful of troops to save from a siege, a minor magic artefact, etc.) and punish stupid decisions. Like. If a player goes straight for the big magical artefact from post one, you just kill them because they prepared poorly and one man vs. a royal guard or something will be a pretty one-sided match (also ninja weren't half as succesful as popular media would like you to believe.)

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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby shadowty on Tue May 28, 2013 12:30 pm

I love to see alliances out of necesaty. Joining sides with factions that are not particularly considerred honorable by yours. It is just the best option at the time. Or scraficing old allies simply because it would be too costly for your faction to send aid.
As for good and evil, well that's relative. Each side considers the other evil because of their difrent set of values.

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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Shi-chan on Tue May 28, 2013 3:30 pm

My guess is that there's multiple reasons why the leaders or masterminds of the different factions almost always come off as completely incompetent.

Firstly, the lack of evil masterminds.

It's almost certain that when you go to look at a roleplay with two opposing sides, one is described as good, and probably given lots of detail. The 'bad' ones, however, are only noticeable by having the opposite views on things. Of course, the 'good' side fills up fast, since there's a lot to work with, and like that the bad guys end up being a group of three characters where no one will take control, or they're all just fighting because they're so badass. Plot moves nowhere, and then we fall into the second trap: love interests.

As the political side of the story falls apart, people go to the first option they have to keep the roleplay alive, starting and establishing a romance with the first person they encounter. It doesn't matter if the two characters even fit together, if they have compatible traits or worldviews, as long as they're there, they're fine. If it's not a romance, it's a fight that never ends, preferably with some godmodding thrown in there too. Mix in some brooding, too, and you're good to go.

Then the third problem arises, because someone remembered that there was once a conflict hidden somewhere in the intro. This mostly ends up being resolved by someone turning the 'villain' into an npc and the murder of aforementioned npc. This is, obviously, only if the story ever gets to this point. It rarely does, as it seems to play itself to death within the romance section most often.

To really answer your question, I think the problem is that most people treat the politics as something you can just tag on, and tactics and strategies are non-existent.

Example: "The princess is young and beautiful, and her parents are so, so cruel to her, and she only wishes to get out and live like a wild child, will she find love with a foreign prince or a boy from the streets? ... Also the king is dead and war is brewing."

It's never given the weight and respect it deserves, seeing as politics have always been a huge part of daily life. The 'good' guys are given so much attention that it's no wonder why no one wants to play the evil mastermind, all you get for your motivation is that you're evil and probably also ugly, and that's that. You can't have a story without conflict, but dammit, people try anyway.

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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby VitaminHeart on Wed May 29, 2013 8:44 am

Surprise antagonist perhaps? Someone/something more subtle that has been playing a long game and has been using all the preceding chaos to its advantage?

Recently I've started pulling this on an RP that I'm doing in which an entity has appeared offering to 'help' the protagonists avert the control and manipulation of the current big bad, but only through things marked with their own crest. Suspicious? Quite possibly. They may become an antagonist in the future when all this generous help comes to bite the good guys in the behind, depending on how the current arc cuts off, as we don't want the big bad to get taken down and the characters to be left wondering what to do next.


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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby angelwolf123 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:45 am

Eh, since I'm pretty much an evil-person roleplayer I've never really had this problem on the "bad side". However, sometimes the "good side" gets caught up in the trap that Shi-chan described, and they can't represent. Which totally sucks.

If you're the GM I'd either recruit some new blood or start using your GM powers to alter the roleplay a bit. If nobody is very strategic how about you make the focus of the roleplay less about strategy and more about... fighting? I guess. That actually sounds really horrible.

Have you tried to talk to these "masterminds"? Maybe you could just tell them what to do/plan in the OOC, and then let them play it out IC.
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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Patcharoo on Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:17 am

Don't let the players play the people in charge. Let them work beneath the leaders, and if they have the guts and pro-activeness to take over, let them if they pull it off.

A good evil mastermind needs to be constantly doing stuff. Involving themself in all the places. Fingers in every pie. A good villain makes enemies and openings for their enemies just by actively doing evil. Their ongoing operations should be plenty enough for the good guys to get involved and try to stop.
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Re: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Odinson on Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:22 pm

Patcharoo wrote:Don't let the players play the people in charge. Let them work beneath the leaders, and if they have the guts and pro-activeness to take over, let them if they pull it off.

A good evil mastermind needs to be constantly doing stuff. Involving themself in all the places. Fingers in every pie. A good villain makes enemies and openings for their enemies just by actively doing evil. Their ongoing operations should be plenty enough for the good guys to get involved and try to stop.


To this I must concur to a degree. When dealing with faction based RPs unless the leader RPers are people who are trusted to have the capacity to or have a good history of GMing then problems are likely to arise. Leader PCs have to be able to organize their faction, either through loyalty, fear, or whatever means works, and if they clearly can't then they have to be NPCs. If both leaders are NPCs then you will always know what they are planning with some predictability, while also maintaining a flexibility to alter the plot based on input from the PCs.

This however is not specifically Good Vs Evil, but an assessment of factions in general, so lets take a look at this shall we? Factions in general, and especially in real life just about never think of themselves as evil, so is it really surprising that people hop in the good guy train so quick while the bad guys turn into a party of maybe three or four? You must then have to ask the legitimate question of "Why do you want to be evil?" and if the answer is anything like, "I want to be able screw with anything for the fun of it," then don't let them in, trust me.

And "Evil" factions only work if its lawful evil, nazi-like, which is to say well organized under a single banner for a certain goal, usually domination. This sort of evil has rules, or some sort of conduct which must be adhered to if one wants to be in Evil Club, otherwise Evil Club cannot exist.

First rule of Evil Club, don't talk about Evil Club.

Good Club should be run on a similar manner, although perhaps less likely to tear itself apart due to those of looser morals, but again, if it is to be organised, it needs rules that the PCs must be aware of, lines they won't cross and even consequences for their actions.

Now I know that may seem a little boring if everyone did the same thing the same way, and by all rights, go ahead and have characters whose interests and motivations conflict. What I'm saying is, if characters have infighting or disagreements it should't get in the way of their overall goal, at least to the point where they can't even reach it, and if they break a rule of their faction which is observed by the other PCs of it, then there should be consequences.

If your RPs are becoming divided and leaderless, then in some cases you will have to force organization on them, IC that is. Show them that there are consequences for not working together, give them something to loose, they need motivation. Or if they simply can't do it, then take the reigns and guide the story yourself. Before letting any PC become leader, even if the leader is flawed as a character (there are no perfect leaders anyway), you need to ask them what kind of leader they will be and why they want to do it.

In short, there needs to be clear and present definition in these roles, and it needs to be shown that these definitions affect the outcome of the story line, because they should.
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