Script Writing"To hear their laughter ring, to hear their voices tight with fear or to see them tremble with enthusiasm is all the reward I need. For them I will spend the countless hours to create the greatest adventure of all."
Mystic Realms® seeks to create a world of intricate, well_developed story lines capable of evoking emotional responses from participants while maintaining an environment where player character action impacts story development. When done right Mystic Realms® will produce true interactive entertainment by combining roleplaying, combat, special effects and scripting techniques to produce a level of seamless realism that removes the stigma of reality.
Learning the intricacies of the system is not an easy task and may take many years of practice. Anyone can place costumed participants in the woods and call it a live roleplaying event, but Mystic Realms® demands much more from its writers and cast.
A writer in Mystic Realms® is both the person puts ink on the page and also the person that transforms the ink into reality. Thus, being a member of the Writers Guild is not only about writing. A writer has to be able describe scenes accurately and succinctly, but this skill is easy to learn. Far more difficult to master are the organizational and leadership skills required to prepare cast members to execute an adventure for the player characters. A writer must possess the interpersonal skills to work with and lead others.
The most creative table_top game masters often fail miserably when writing in the live medium because they do not understand the story they are writing takes second place to the physical considerations of location, the roleplaying abilities of their actors and their own organizational and leadership skills.
Live gaming requires a writer not only to think of an idea and write it down, but to organize the ideas in a manner that will allow others to bring the scene to life. Normally this would require an individual to possess a tremendous amount of organizational knowledge, creative energy and leadership skill. However, the Mystic Realms® writing system places the possibility of producing amazing scenes into the hands of the average person who may not possess all of the talents necessary to produce an event and allows those who develop those skills to create events that will be remembered forever.
"The greatest adventures are those which come closest to reality. Obscure the out_of_game, take care to decorate the play area, coach your cast to play their roles; it's the attention to these details that make adventures great."
Writers must learn to create meaningful stories that develop and grow over a series of events. They must learn to manage plots and characters so they can respond to the actions of player characters.
Efficiency: Writers must learn to efficiently manage their time. Every moment during an event not spent actively entertaining the player participants as a character is a moment that could be better spent. Set_up time at events must be minimized by using the standardized procedures outlined herein.
Emotion: Writers must learn to create stories which provoke emotional responses. Stories that cause excitement, horror, joy and sorrow for the player convey legitimacy to a scene and allow the game to become real. Without positive emotional overtures the game will lack true depth and be less interesting for mature roleplayers who look for a good story.
Economy: Writers must learn to maximize the resources available to them. Limitations of manpower, costumes, physical representations and stage properties all affect the writer. Good writers learn to economize and produce maximum entertainment within the limits of their resources.
Fairness: Writers must learn to create balanced stories that are both challenging and entertaining. The power of cast characters should be on an equal level with the power of the player characters. The stories should fairly challenge the player characters, and should never overwhelm them.
Confidentiality:Writers do not share Writer's Guild business with those outside of the Writer's Guild. Writers are not allowed to discuss plots or techniques with those outside of the guild. Writers never criticize other writers in public, but will address their concerns in private.
Privilege:Any participant is allowed to be a cast member so long as they follow the rules and contribute to the roleplaying environment, but advancement in the Writer's Guild is a privilege. Participants will not advance within the guild unless they master the required skills and membership can be revoked for failing to follow these guidelines.
The Mystic Realms® script writing is unique in all regards. Organization, standardization and repetition are the hallmarks of the system. They are used to quickly produce a multitude of variant scenes which both entertain and challenge the player characters.
Training:Every writer does not have charisma to motivate cast members, a great imagination to invent powerful storyline that illicit emotions from player characters or good organizational skills which is the primary stumbling block for many writers. Mystic Realms® has created general principles and specific formats for writing adventures and events so writer and producers don't have to worry about how to entertain. They just need to worry about entertaining.
Scenes Not Plot: A writer must write scenes that build plots based on player action. They must not write predetermined plots supported by scenes with defined outcomes. In the latter case the writer has an agenda, whereas in the former he allows the story to develop as it happens, scene by scene based on player character action.
Scripts should give cast members goals and a general course of action to complete their goals. Good scripts focus on the backgrounds and motivations of the characters in the scene and not the outcome of that scene. This kind of writing assures that player characters actions determine the conclusion of the scene and gives players the maximum amount of freedom. It prevents writers from trying to force a particular long_term outcome or objective.
Poor scripts do not describe a cast character's goals, motivations and background. Instead they often present a laundry list of contingencies which the cast will do in response to player actions. This requires cast members to memorize the list of contingencies within the scene and reduces spontaneity. Players character actions are limited by cast character scripting. Further, without clear cast character goals, motivations and backgrounds cast members cannot properly respond to unlisted player actions.
Separation of Power: A writer's guild is never composed of those who run the club. Officers of the club may review storylines to ensure they are consistent with the principle herein, however, should they desire to writer they must work their way through the writer's guild and when writing they must wear a different hat. They are not game administrators, they are mere members of the writer's guild serving the players.
Care must be taken so that game administrators, never take over the writer's guild and use it to control the game for their own gain. A writer's Guild is responsible to the player base at large and does not cater to anyone one group, especially the game administrators who must avoid all indications of impropriety. Generally, game administrators, other than the Master of the Writer Guild, are never allowed to play long term plot characters with a permanent presence in the town.
Supervision: The leaders of the writer's guild are responsible for training the members of his guild and teaching them how to develop their own individual storylines which are interlinked with each other under his supervision. The leader of the writer's guild does not set or control the "plot" but guides journeyman members of his guild to create stories. It is the members of the writer's guild who create and follow storylines over the course of years.
"In a shared game world all ideas must be possible under the published game rules and be derived from the source materials of the realm."
ConsistencyConsistency is the fundamental cornerstone of the Mystic Realms® system. The Mystic Realms® system requires that rules remain constant between all Troupes. No house rules or special play considerations are allowed. The system was created so that participants could interact with others on fair and equal footing and not require the services of an out_of_game participant to resolve rules issues during play.
Mystic Realms® also requires that the history remain constant between official troupes playing in the same realms. Without this consistency the game will degenerate into a confusing muddle of conflicting game rules and disjointed storylines which will prevent the seamless play environment sought by Mystic Realms® participants.
RulesTo be a successful writer in Mystic Realms® one must learn to create their ideas from the rules, instead of creating rules for their ideas. The hardest thing about being a writer for a Mystic Realms® game is accepting ones ideas must be derived solely from the rules. Writers are not writing for themselves, but are writing as part of a very large organization. Their goal is to entertain others who have paid money to attend events and who deserve to have a fair, consistent and balanced game environment.
Creating monsters, skills, magic items and such things are not within the power of a writer, nor is changing or adjusting the rules. In a live-action game with a shared world concept where people pay money to play, the official rule books become the standard and all writers must conform their scenes to the letter and spirit of the rules. Mystic Realms® prohibits official troupes from making additions or changes to the rules.
The Mystic Realms® system has been play tested to ensure that it as playable, as fair and as fun and interesting as possible. If a skill is not in the rule book its absence is not because Mystic Realms® has not considered it, but rather the skill has some flaw impeding roleplaying or creates some problem that is too difficult to overcome in a true live_action game.
In many roleplaying games the rules specifically state, keep the rules you want and throw away the rest. This may work with ten friends sitting around a table or in a live system that stops the action and uses an out_of_game arbitrator to interpret every rule, but it does not work for Mystic Realms® where there may be two hundred people in a fast moving mass battle.
If different groups played with different versions of the rules it would be impossible for individual groups to get everyone to understand their version of the rules. Therefore, there is only one version used by everyone and that is the official rules published by Mystic Realms, Ltd.
Also in Mystic Realms® writers and cast members play by the same rule book as players. They may never modify or invent skills, trades, monsters, special abilities or other things that are not in official Mystic Realms® publications. All participants have a right to know the rules and what they will face in_game and by mandating consistency through all Official Troupes is the only way the system will work without an out_of_game arbitrator interrupting in_game play.
HistoryAll stories within a specific realm must be consistent with what has gone before. Mystic Realms® allows people to create their own worlds, however, since most worlds are created by many person working together they must be very careful not to overwrite each others history. If care is not taken to ensure consistency good role players will not continue to play with the troupe.
Although many people combine together to create the world, it must remain a consistent flowing story. The past must be recorded in written record and all those who decide to write must take great care not to overwrite. This is not to say that new characters and stories cannot be introduced but one must be very careful to follow the proper methodology which will be outlined later. All new story lines must be carefully examined.
Many roleplaying games allow writers to make up their own history and/or add to what already exists. Again this works great for small groups, but participants playing in the official Mystic Realms® worlds are confined to those published histories. Stories that mislead or conflict with official histories cannot be written as this would cause confusion.
While participants are free to make up their own realms and have complete freedom, participants who choose to play in one of the Mystic Realms® worlds will find themselves confined to the history found in the source book for that realm as it is written.
Mystic Realms. Ltd. publishes a series of guidelines for each official realm which describes the how consistency of storylines are maintained. Generally each troupe is given a defined geographic area in which to create their own stories. In small Modern Earth games it may be the town in which most of the troupe participants live, however, for fantasy troupes, such as the Realm of the Five, each troupe is assigned a fifty mile radius in which they create their own local story which is appropriate for the part of the realm in which they choose to play.
The story which each trope follows is limited to affecting only their town and not to any degree that will effect the world at large. For example, A Modern Earth troupe organized and controlling the town of New Brunswick, New Jersey would write stories affecting that town. Focus may be on fighting criminal elements, negotiating with other world creatures who enter into New Brunswick directly via portals, concealing arcane activities from mundanes and so forth. Stories that they could not write who be things that would affect other parts f the world. They could not write that the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC was firebombed, however, they could write that the local branch of the FBI was firebombed.
Ensuring ConsistencyAll Official Troupes are confined by published Mystic Realms® rules and history for all official realms of play. If every writer were allowed to make up new monsters or change history to their liking, the worlds of Mystic Realms® would lose their consistency. Players would be adrift in a confusing, disjointed mush of half finished story lines with ever changing rules.
Mystic Realms® seeks to bring a consistent world to life. Participants cannot rely on cheap gimmicks and powerful monsters to carry their events. They must rely on good quality role playing and extensive story preparation to create a life like world filled with passion and intrigue.
Official troupes use the Writer's Guild to train their members to write within the Mystic Realms® format. This format requires all scenes to be consistent with the history, consistent with the rules, and consistent with the spirit of Mystic Realms. The job of the writer's guild is to insure consistency and it's the task of its members to enforce it.
In short, if one wishes to write stories for official Mystic Realms® games they must write all scenes in accordance to the rules and written history. No additional effects, special powers or inconsistencies with the current story line are allowed. The task of a producer, writer or director is to create a really interesting and fun scenario for the players that they will talk about for months without cheap gimmicks and far flung story lines.
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