Script System

The script system is the method of administration and planning utilized by Mystic Realms® to efficiently organize adventures for the players participants. Efficient organization in scripts is paramount as it enables adventures to be set up and executed without delay. The script system is also used to ensure that all scenes remain consistent with the rules and to the story_line.

Written Scripts: Mystic Realms® requires writers to prepare a written script which is reviewed for accuracy by his superiors in the Guild or the Producer of an event.

The written scripts form a undisputable record of all that has happened in_game. The existence of such a record is imperative, because it allows later writers to go back to previous events and research story developments.

In addition, a written scene leaves no doubt as to the writers intent. It forms a check on those cast who seek to stray form the writer's intent. Written scenes also ensure the produce of larger event knows everything which will occur during his event as only those scenes with approved scene sheets can occur.

Script Content: Scripts must be written to provide guidance for the cast, while providing freedom of action for the players. Do not confuse a Mystic Realms® script with a script for a theater or a movie as these kind of scripts dictate what the cast must do and say with a level of detail inappropriate for live roleplaying.

A Mystic Realms® script details the set_up and background information. It succinctly describes the scene and states the cast characters' knowledge, skills and motivations. This sets the stage for open interaction. So long as the cast characters stay true to their motivations the script will progress as the writer intends, but without offensively limiting the actions of the player characters in an out_of_game manner.

Elements

Scripts are outlines which give guidance to the members of the cast. Writing scripts is a mechanical process whereby a writers ideas are reduced to individual scenes and then, if necessary, grouped according to adventure types. The script contains all the information necessary to run the adventure. All scripts generally contain the following elements.

Scene: The scene is the basic building block of a script. It lists the number of cast members needed, the type, name and statistics of each cast role in the scene, the background information, known by all cast members involved (and the part which must be divulged to players participants through role playing), costumes and weapons required, and other specific information pertinent to that particular encounter.

Themes

Every script must have a theme. The best themes provoke player character interaction by causing them to discuss the scenes supporting the theme. Good themes cause conflict or raise questions of morality.

Action

All Scripts must have rising action, climax and resolution.

Scripts generally start with an initial scene that sets the stage for the action and introduces the theme. The scenes progress in such a manner as to tell a story. The information in later scenes must build on earlier scenes. This progression leads to a climax, which then leads directly to the resolution.

Rising Action:

Rising action is the progressive intensity of the scenes within the script. The writer needs to create a pace for the adventure by his scripting. Will the characters be chasing a villain who has murderer a beloved friend with little time to spare? Or will the player characters be sneaking through an enemy's picket lines to steal the opposing commander's battle plans. The pace for these scripts will be different as will the types of scenes and the player characters reactions to the scenes.

Climaxes:

Climaxes are often the toughest combat scenes in the script where player characters face off against an adversary which they have heard about throughout the script. Were the player characters quick enough to capture the villain with his henchmen or did the villain escape leaving behind only his henchmen? Were the player characters noisy and are they ambushed in the leaders tent?

Not all climaxes need to involve combat, sometimes they can involve a roleplayed triumph, the solution of a puzzle or the receipt of a sought after reward. For example, perhaps the player characters were extremely stealthy and were able to sneak in and retrieve the battle plans without alerting anyone.

The important thing is that the lead up scenes need to gradually rise the action. The climax must evoke an emotion response from the player characters and the resolution needs to clearly identify that the end has been reached.

Resolutions:

Resolutions are not scripted, but are left open for the player characters by the nature of the system. In properly executed script players will be satisfied with the adventure whether they achieved their goal or had their corpses carried back to the main play area by wandering farmers who found the noisy player characters after they were tortured and slain by their enemy.

The final scene is usually the parting of the hook with the player characters and this normally occurs in the main play area.

Types of Scenes

There are many different kinds of scenes which are used in the script system. And many ways to combine them to create adventures. A scene is the basic building block of the script system. Scenes are organized into stories by the use of a script.

Combat Scenes

Combat scenes should be challenging and fun. A successful combat encounter starts of with the selection of location. Cast members have the responsibility for selecting a safe location for combat. Cast members may never fight in an unsafe area. If they end up in an unsafe area they should just die on the next hit, thereby stopping the combat. Its better than calling a hold and stopping all they action.

Physical Challenges

Scenes containing physical challenges are important to every event. Basic physical challenges are any thing which requires physical exertion to bypass. The best physical challenges require teamwork to bypass. Often a physical challenge is combined with weaker combat monsters. Many of the basic physical challenges are too easy to stand alone, but when combine with simple monsters like goblins with bow or bats they become very challenging as characters have to divide their attention between two things.

Physical challenges on adventures cannot be too complicated because it will delay parties. Writers must be careful that every person can have a way to get through it. Four example don't make a tunnel that is only two foot wide, because there will be people who cannot get through it.

Informational Scenes

Every scene can utilize knowledge cards to provide insight into the storyline, but a specialized information scene creates a powerful tool for the writer. Knowledge cards should be interesting and of use to the participants. In some genres they are used extensively to replace a game master. If a character has a skill he may read the card to find out about the item or the effect. All knowledge cards are accurate and truthful. No card may ever mislead the characters. Care must be taken in the wording of the cards

Thinking and puzzle_solving

Thinking and puzzle_solving scenes create many of the most memorable events. They allow for interaction between the characters and development of the character's personalities. Mystic Realms® is a game of intellectual stimulation and interaction. There is no scene capable of promoting spontaneous in_game conversation as a thinking and problem solving scene. These scenes help keep quality role players and intellectual persons in the organization. If every scene was just combat the troupe will become one dimensional.

Roleplaying

A role_paying scene is a scene that requires interaction between the players and cast in a manner greater than mere introductions or a prelude to combat. It requires characters to interact at length about a specific topic and often involves some kind of joint activity which cast and player characters will perform as they converse. The key in roleplaying scenes is for each cast member to engage 2-3 player characters in individual conversations.

Adventures:

Adventures present a self-contained, interactive story designed to entertain player participants. The action moves from scene to scene and combines strong characterization, roleplaying, combat, puzzles and physical challenges to tell the story.

Adventures are the work horse of the event; they are the force pulling the story along. Player characters go on adventures and find out important information which relates to the plot of the event. This information is gathered together by the player characters and circulated through the main play area.

Adventures follow the following format: Introduction, Rising Action, Climax and Resolution. Mystic Realms® applies general techniques for writing books and movies to the live-action roleplaying game. This format will produce good results every time and as long as the stories retain strong characterization, interesting plots and good action player participants will never tire of this format. This format is used in every form of entertainment; every book or movie made goes through the same four steps. All fiction writers apply the same principles of introduction, characterization, rising action and climax with resolution to their works. These are the tools of the trade of writing, just as the hammer and nails are the tools of a carpenter's trade.

Introduction: The first scene must introduce the Hook. The Hook must be a character with personality and depth. The Hook gives the characters their first impression of the adventure and helps to set the tone.

The purpose for the adventure must be clearly defined during the introduction. The purpose sets the characters goals and provides a reward if they are successful.

When deciding a purpose a new writer often resorts to the simple formula, "Something bad happened and the player characters are asked to help and for their services they will be payed a stated amount." These simple premise adventures often have no connection to the event story-line and provide

More experienced writers will tie the purpose of their adventures into the event plot or the long-term storyline. These adventures provide the same basic entertainment as the simple premise adventures, but they provide the added benefit of bringing the world to life.

Rising Action: Developing rising action is part of the artistry of linear adventure writing. Any hack can write a series of encounters, but only a writer can put them together to create rising action.

At a basic level scenes must appear as connected to the common story. A simple way to connected the scenes is by a cast members comments to previous or forthcoming scenes. For example, they meet a friendly merchant who after being rescued by the party warns them that the bridge is out and that he saw eels in the water.

The next step in creating rising action is to give the feel of progression through a gradually unfolding story_line. For example, the player characters find a book in the second scene. They use information in the book in a later scene to open a puzzle lock, which gives them clues to achieving the goal of the adventure in the final scene.

In creating rising action the writer must be careful not to use contingency scripting or to place critical information in locations which the players may not gain access. A good example of this mistake is: The player characters did not find the key to the locked box in scene 2 so they could not open the box to get the map which lead them to scene 3. This kind of writing leads to deadlocks in the forward progression of the adventure and must be avoided.

Rising action is best created by using a series of nonessential points of which any one could be missed and would not harm the adventure. Rising action is found in the subtle details.

Climax: The climax is achieved when the rising action cumulates in the pivotal ending scene. It is the scene which resolves the action which has been building throughout the adventures.

A simple example is seen in the occasion of the bandit leader who is finally cornered. The rising action has been a series of investigations and minor combats with his henchmen. The bandit leader stands with his remaining men and makes a passionate aggressive speech threatening the player characters.

A more complicated climax involves the use of special effects and mood enhancing music. The player characters have been searching for a lost cabin where a renegade necromancer lives. The rising action has been the observation of a brutal killing caused by the undead, an interrogation of one of the necromancers disciples, a combat scene in the graveyard, and the tracking of the necromancer trail to his home. At his home fog role across the ground (from a fog machine) and erry music plays. As the character approach, the necromancer stands in his doorway and after a passionate speech, calls for his undead. The undead arise from piles of leaves around the player characters.

Parting: The parting scene should not be overlooked a a chance for quality roleplaying. The Hook should pay the characters and send them back to the play area. He should not accompany the characters back, but should as soon as they are gone from his site, step out of game and provide an after action review to the cast members on his adventure.

Characters

Every adventure must have strong characters. Strong characters are defined in Mystic Realms® as those characters with clear personalities and motivations who are properly roleplayed so as to convey them to the players. This does not only mean intelligent characters, but also includes beast and other monsters which the characters meet. Every being in Mystic Realms® has a specific way of acting. Cast members must not give their own interpretations to these characters, but rather must roleplay them within their defined parameters. This type of understanding creates strong characterization and contributes to the roleplaying atmosphere needed to truly bring the imaginary world to life.

Mistakes

A mistake in writing or execution occurs when players walk off of the adventure annoyed and/or frustrated. This develops because of either a fault in the writing or a fault in the execution of the adventure. Pay careful attention to these writing guidelines. They have been tested over time and will produce excellent adventures. A troupe cannot afford mistakes, because every mistake in an adventure will cause a number of players not to have a good time. Players who do not enjoy themselves will not return. Remember, the cast members set the tone for the event.

Memorable Adventures

What makes a really memorable adventure is not some powerful villain, but a powerful story line conveyed through a strong performances by cast character's. Add in a well_balanced combination of combat, strategically placed physical challenges and special effects, such as music and lighting, and the players will talk about the adventure for years to come. The best adventures of Mystic Realms® have followed the simple linear format. These have adventures have really brought the world to life for the characters who went on them. They had no powerful or new monsters, they did not rely on complicated stories, but had a good mix of combat and some great roleplaying, supported by a simple story with lots of mood and atmosphere.

Adventure Check List

  • Is there a charismatic hook?
  • Is there a roleplaying scene?
  • Is there a puzzle or problem solving scene?
  • Is there at least three knowledge cards?
  • Do scenes support rising action which achieves climax?
  • Is there at least one scene which contains mood enhancement music?
  • Is there at least one scene with special effects?
  • Is there a balance of combat and roleplaying?

Preparation

Weekend Event Preparation

Mystic Realms® Weekend Events require significant amount of pre-event planning and writing. Every Adventure is carefully scripted by a Writer and approved by various persons before the weekend even starts. This process ensures events are as good as they can be.

The manager of a troupes Writers Guild assigns the weekends to producers.

Weekends should be assigned at least four months out to a Rank III writer who has developed the Story he is supervising to a point where a climax will be reached.

At Least Two Months before event
  • Producer gives Manager of the WG an outline for the weekend.
  • The outline describes all adventures pertaining to their story-line.
  • A producer is assigned by the Manager of the WG.
  • The producer is announced to the player base.
Four weeks before the event
  • Other Story Supervisors contact Producer to get adventure slots for their stories
  • Producer assigns remaining adventure slots to Story Supervisors
  • Participants who want to be part of the cast contact the Producer.
Three weeks before the event
  • Producer assigns slotted adventures to writers (Story Supervisors should have input)
  • Two Module Crews and Three Standing Crews for a 100 person Weekend Event
  • Writers begin filling their crews and keep producer appraised of progress
  • Producer sends a complete outline of the weekend to the Manager of the WG.
Two weeks before the event
  • Writers writing adventures for the Producer are supervised by producer
  • Writers writing adventures for Story Supervisors are supervised by the Story Supervisors
  • Writers fill their crews by mid week.
  • Final staffing is set by Producers. Crews stay together for entire weekend.
  • Finished adventures are sent to the Manager of the WG for review as they are completed
One week before the event
  • Weekend outline and adventures are sent to the troupe president for review.
  • Writers E-Mail Approved Scenes to Cast Members on their crew
  • Cast Members show up to Event