Patrons of the Underground,
There are a few questions the Board of Directors hears often, and after seeing this asked today on a patron’s Facebook, I’d like to try to answer one of them today:
How do I get my character involved in Larger Than Local play?
To answer this, we first need to agree that there are, loosely, two types of LTL play.
The first type of LTL play simply involves characters outside of your game knowing who you are, or it means having the actions your character takes or opinions your character makes have an affect on characters outside of your local game. This is a sort of notoriety and reputation thing, and is not always simple to foster.
Success at playing this kind of LTL game is generally self-made organically by the player and the momentum of the game. Achieving an influential position such as Harpy, Prince or Sept Leader; posting regularly in clan, sect, tribal or other national Facebook groups; playing at convention, regional and national event games; and pursuing high-visibility plots or opportunities are some of the things players can do.
The second type of LTL play involves being part of Larger Than Local plot that the Underground Theater Content Team is running, including holding an LTL position such as Archon.
Periodically, the OST or the Vice President posts to the Storyteller groups asking STs if there are any characters they believe would fit open LTL positions or would be good to involve in or help spread LTL plots. Very rarely do any storytellers respond to these requests. Tell your local storytellers you want to be more involved!
Success at playing this kind of LTL game can also involve a little Out of Character work by you, the player. Send an email to the OST of your appropriate genre/venue and ask if there is anything your character might become involved with. Tell the OST a small bit about your character and remember to tell them which game your character is based in. You can do this to pursue a rumor the OST may have posted in a Facebook IC group, you can do this to put your character into consideration for LTL positions, or you can even do this just to ask if there is a plot going on you could somehow get roped into.
The OSTs’ job is to help you become more involved and be part of LTL plot, and they will, but they can’t involve you if they have no idea who you are or that you want to be involved!
The first step to being involved in LTL in any way is nearly always, “be visible in and out of character.”
Finally, let’s address some barriers for becoming involved in LTL:
- I’m a Storyteller: Storytellers and administrators are never chosen by the Content Team to hold Larger Than Local positions. This is to help maintain fairness and avoid instances in which conflicts of interest can occur.
- I’m a brand new character: A brand new character has no reputation and no visibility. One way to help overcome this is to email the OST. Just because you are a brand new character does not mean the vampire or werewolf you are playing didn’t exist in the past or have their own reputation. Another way to overcome this is using the Character Ties Facebook groups to network connections between your new character and established ones, and being active on IC Facebook groups also helps.
- I’m a brand new player: This is a legitimate concern. The OST is unlikely to hand a regional leadership position to a person that no one knows – you may decide you don’t like the game and quit in two months, you may not have the knowledge necessary about Vampire or Werewolf to manage the position within genre expectations, or maybe you might be insane 🙂 . Begin with following the advice from above in “I’m a brand new character.” Additionally, participate in conversations on the OOC groups so that others can get to know you. Traveling to nearby games and attending event games can also help (if you are able).
- I can’t travel: This is only a partial barrier. Certainly, if you hold an LTL position, your character will benefit from the ability to be at non-local games, especially National Event games, but not all positions require physical travel, and becoming involved in national plot might not require travel at all if your local storyteller staff is willing to help. Talk to your OST and there may be something appropriate for you.
- I’m a poo-fart: The simple truth is that, for the game to be fun for everyone, the Content Team is pretty unlikely going to give an LTL position to a character that is played by a player who is just a jerk OOC. If you have a bad reputation as a player who treats others poorly, who cheats, who is difficult for other players to get along with – you probably won’t be chosen to become King of the Garou Nation. Content looks for players who are active, friendly, kind and who try to involve others (regardless of if their character is nice or evil). If that’s not the kind of player you are, begin working toward changing how you approach game and those who play around you.
Hopefully, this helps some of you out when considering Larger Than Local opportunities!
For those of you interested, here are the emails for the OSTs:
Best of luck to all of you, and I hope your game keeps getting better and better. Remember, the only way to win is to have fun!
Director of Communications
[Being a better player and building better characters are themes from my book on better storytelling, better playing and better culture, On A Roll: Level Up Your RPG.]