Chapterhouse: Mallorca, roll call.

I think I need to step down from running the Chapterhouse. As cool as Mark's individual sets of boons and hooks for each individual magus is, I can't thread half a dozen sets of individual Story Flaws AND half a dozen individual sets of Boons and Hooks AND a common shared set of Boons and Hooks (that don't even make any sense because the magi don't even live together so they don't HAVE shared common interest) within any kind of cohesive narrative structure.

It also bothers me that I'm in a position of trying to run stories for the chapterhouse but I don't have any say in how many players will be involved. There's already more than I can comfortably manage and Mark is still taking on more and more and dumping them here.

In short, I'd be happy to run a Chapterhouse, but it would have to be in a separate forum, where I can put a limit on how many people I'm running stories for (I can't manage more than five, and do everyone justice), and where no one is going to drop House Rules on me that make major changes to how I have to build and weave stories. I don't think that there's enough interest in Mallorca for that to happen, so I'm just going to leave the whole thing to Mark, as I should have done in the first place.

But the bottom line is, I can't storyguide in a situation where I have no say in how I storyguide.

I have thought deeply upon the matter, and think we need to come to a group consensus on what we want to do. I have some thoughts and options I would like to toss out there.
First of all, for Ryu, maybe you fear taking on a larger responsibility than you have to. I will worry about the big picture and micro managing individuals. You would only have to worry about individual stories one at a time. But maybe you wanted something more than that. And I am not dumping new players here. We have one new guy, and maybe he is better off at the main covenant as a Journeyman, under the guidance of senior magi and the alpha storyguide. I also lost track of how many people are participating in this, that is my bad. Sorry :blush:
There is another new guy, forgot about him. I don't know if he stuck around. I think the individual boon/hook idea scared him off because he had no idea what I was doing. I finally did write an explanatory procedure, but I think he faded off before that. And I should stop fiddling with stuff.
I blame Fixer for encouraging me whenever I start fiddling with stuff.

That as may be. Do people want to keep the scattered idea, or go with a central location idea? I can go either way and will adapt to the realities that manifest as a result of your decision.
We can also do scattered locations without any personal Boons & Hooks. We have one small spot with an aura and take turns using the lab there or suffer as do urban magi.
We can also scrap all boons and hooks. This is the covenant of Andorra, these should be our boons & hooks.
More drastic still, we could scrap the idea of a chapter house. We can still have interests in the region and maybe hold properties and such, a few magi may reside here and have to travel to Andorra regularly, and/or Andorra magi might make frequent visits to the area.
But in any case, I do want to explore stories in this region.

Ryu, for what it's worth, I don't think the individual boons and hooks are gonna be a of a problem... once it is complete, and if people help you.
The problem here, as you've accurately noted, is that they're scattered over different threads, just like the characters, so it's a pain to track everything. Otherwise, it's not different from having players select boons and hooks for the covenant.
=> IMO, the boons can usually be ignored unless/until you take particular interest in a given player, so you just need a hook list, which probably won't be long. People can easily do that for you. Hell, I can, once everyone has done it, since I was gonna put them on the wiki anyway :wink:

The number of players is another problem, and I can understand that. Yet, I'm not sure there are that many people interested. Marko, PoB, Xavi, Scarecrow and the new guy (The youth maga), although I'm not sure scarecrow is still in it. That's 4 to 5 people. Maybe, like marko says, we could take the new guy in Andorra? That's make another young magus besides vibria, which is good IMO, and you'd be down to 3-4 players?
I do agree, though, that you should be able to say yes or no to new players there, that's a problem.

:blush: Guilty :blush:

I'm also willing to pitch in to help and/or play. I'm dancing around a concept and can't settle. PoB has his Bjornaer shark, so I'm not going to come in with another apex predator (that eats sharks for breakfast :mrgreen:).

Part of me is considering playing a deranged Tytalus. :laughing:

The characters' geographical scatter is the bigger problem. Any time a situation comes up at one location or another, it's only going to be handled by the character who's geographically closest. There's no reason to get multiple characters involved in anything, and there's a lot of reason not to (like, opportunity costs).

As a SG, adventures are the most fun for me when there are two primary PCs involved (2 magi, though sometimes a magus and a companion can be just as dynamic), and 1-2 players with grogs, for color.

But even aside from adventures being tough to scale, I tend to take all the story bits going on (individual story flaws and covenant hooks, and whatever messes the PCs have managed to get themselves into on their own :slight_smile:) and weave them all together in an overarching tapestry. I like things to be related and interrelated, to the point that having every story aspect be isolated and independent would be really unfulfilling. If Roberto is Plagued by a Faerie and the covenant has a nearby Monster, it makes for a better overall story when that Faerie has some connection to that Monster. In my opinion, anyway. (I don't mean that they would be in cahoots or that different story/hook aspects would gang up on anyone, just that there would be connections between various aspects.) With individual sanctum hooks it'd be an improbable challenge to tie the PCs' stories together, and even if I could manage it, it wouldn't be believable, and thus not good stories.

That's why we would need a Bat-Signal. Batman isn't everywhere. Xavi's character could be the glue that binds the magi together. I like that he's invested with the temporal power. His character can be the decide which magi to call upon. And he can have agents, or his men, scattered throughout the covenant proper. It's not an insurmountable challenge to create believable stories, IMO.

Sure. I am certain the challenges it presents would be things many people could handle fine. But I am not one of them. I would need a central location, shared common interest between characters, and a single, manageably small set of shared hooks in common among all (or most of) the PCs. If that means I'm just not as creative or as flexible a storyguide than the rest of you, well, I can live with that. It's just an untenable situation for me to work in.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you're not a creative or flexible storyguide. Believe me, I understand what you're saying. Some characters don't fit in a saga. A big question is what is the character of the covenant Sa Dragonera? I can't actually see the character, either.

Working together we can achieve this, and create something monumental and inspiring.
And I just had an idea. What if you cross combined hooks & flaws? Thalassa has a Supernatural Enemy type flaw, Roberto has a sea serpent monster near his tower. They happen to be the same creature and they wind up cooperating. I am also viewing the entirety of the islands as one big location. I imagine we will often have cause to visit each other, or maybe that is something we need to engineer into the design of things, and stories can kick off when two magi walk into a bar and the third...

Every Ars Magica saga I've run in the past 24 years (...has it really been that long? wow) has ended up the same way: magi hole up in their towers, studying, and eventually it gets to where they never come out. Story Flaws have done a lot towards addressing that problem, but even in 5th edition, it still happens, it just takes a little longer.

The stories have to come to the players. Usually that means showing up on their doorstep. So one doorstep is much more conducive to hooking PCs into stories, than five.

As to the covenant character, I picture the covenant as being fiercely independent, chafing a bit at the yoke of their overlords, but having chosen one form of servitude in lieu of having a different form of servitude assigned to them. They want to prove themselves, and they want to be left alone, but due to their unique situation they will never be left in peace. No amount of triumph over adversity will prove their independence-worthiness to the Tribunals that want them to capitulate to their rule, and no amount of heroism will prove to Andorra that Mallorca is her equal in valor or strength. But that doesn't prevent them from fighting the good fight, or from loving it. (A lot of this stems from the circumstances under which I'd planned to have the covenant form.)

I suppose the covenant's character aligns with my personal view of House Flambeau, in contrast to Mark's or Andrew's. I have always envisioned the Flambeau as the sort that thrive within chaos, and either seek it out or create it... That somewhat self-destructive problem of not knowing how to be content in peacetime, because it's too much like resting on one's laurels. Like the Martin Freeman version of Dr Watson-- drawn to trouble (Sherlock) because he's overdeveloped his ability to stay cool under pressure and no longer knows how to NOT be under pressure.

I came here to live with you, or die with you. Dying's easy for men like you and me, it's living that's hard. When everything you ever cared about has been raped or butchered.

Contemplating further...
The Island and vis source of Sa Dragonera is a doorstep we all have in common, and is probably the single biggest Hook/McGuffin in the design. I just can't see it as a good sight for a covenant. Otherwise there would already be a covenant here.
Or perhaps there was? :smiling_imp:
But I do believe that if we work on creating ties that bind us together, we can minimize the problem. And you won't have to worry about being the only SG. I will help out and I am hoping to try to talk Jonathan Link to help out. You guys have never played together before, but he has often been a commenter and member of our peanut gallery. And I can handle what you cannot. My main concern is that I do not want to play Roberto as a storyguide character. I need someone else to storguide threads he is involved in, with me rolling dice under my registered Invisible Castle account, subject to the rules we have all agreed upon.

I just thought of another idea. Everyone has their scattered homes. But there is one main location that we all will have to be at frequently, such as a meeting place or shared lab or our own library and study (books cannot be removed). Or we can use magic to hand-wave distance and separation. What if we discover an ancient portal network built by the old Roman Cult of Mercury? There are ancient ruins and buildings all over these islands.

Keep the discussion flowing. Toss out counter ideas and alternative concepts. Brainstorm away. Don't give me problems. Give me solutions.

Also, I had posted the whole chapterhouse boon/hook deal in the covenant main description thread here. We can keep this, change this, or scrap this. Whatever is needed.

In a forum where Mark calls the shots, Roberto will always be a Storyguide-PC. The flaming mess that is the Evissa thread should have made that obvious.

I can either storyguide Mallorca, or not storyguide it. But I can't both provide interesting stories and have zero ability to determine how or when I can do it.

You are pointing out problems instead of presenting solutions. Show me your vision. Tell me what you want to do. How would it be set up differently? Not just vague ideas. Top to bottom, how would it work? And how do other players feel about it?
As for Roberto, are you actually saying you are agitating for a separate forum? I am woe to do that. I would rather make space and cede more authority to you. But I am also worried about how well you can handle it and of the potential of you having a firecracker moment and dropping it all back in my lap. I want you to prove my fears unfounded though, so I am willing to compromise much with you.
The mess in Evissa is the result of there being no third party present, and me having to sg the background anyway.
Which brings me to a different concern.
I have adapted Jonathan Link's muti-thread storytelling style in this saga, and the results have been fantastic. Rolling with the single thread old style, things were stagnating and slow and on the verge of dying. With the multi-thread style, there may be chaos and some confusion, but the stories are rich and the game thrives like never before. That means individual stories and perhaps letting other people tell stories. I would also advocate against the grand tapestry weave style. It is inflexible. Let stories grow organically. Because as sure as Murphy, once you hinge a plot on a specific player, that player wanders off and the whole unified tapestry unravels. You need to be like water, able to shift and flow as needed.

Jeez, I don't respond for a couple days and it's like I'm not even here... :slight_smile:

Pere has (as yet undefined) Informants and Local Ally boons. Either (or both) of those could be connected to Xavi or his band of brothers. I'm also willing to swap out for other boons that would link Pere to other PCs. I'm almost tapped out on hooks, though.

For what it's worth, I'm switching out Pere's story flaw for Enemies, probably a rival shipping consortium. He'll also travel around the Mediterranean at least once a year.

What if the islands are linked by regio networks that old sahirs used? In addition to giving us ways to travel to each other, it would make bringing stories to our doorsteps easier.

So many complains about the Brothers and we will end up being what ties you all together. Tsk. Those hermetics, they never learn.... :mrgreen: :laughing:

I HAD a plan. I kept it under wraps because I don't like giving spoilers. But when I told you I couldn't make my plan work with your house rule stuff, you said tough cookies and told me to call for a vote. Sorry, but no.

This is a classic example of what I'm talking about. I have a storyguide style and it works for me. If it works for others, great. If it doesn't, well, they're welcome to game with storyguides whose styles work for them.

But don't ask me to storyguide and then tell me HOW to do it.

To be honest, I haven't followed all of the debate about the Brothers. I assume some appropriate force size will eventually be decided and your character concept will remain, but Arnau and Roberto will remain at odds for a while. Pere's the political type that all the Masters assume Vocis is, so he can act as a go-between when needed.

Btw, question for you regarding Catalan naming conventions. Wiki tells me Catalan follows the pattern for Spanish names, with a structure of [given name] [father's surname] [mother's surname]. Is that accurate?

Then I release you from your promises and obligations, and apologize for any frustration I caused you. I am not going to blame anyone except myself, and I am forgiving of myself :mrgreen: , so it is what it is and I will find a way to deal with it accordingly.