- On Neverwinter Nights
- Next Generation
Terms and Methods Used
Now that you know what tools you have to work with, let's talk about some of the terms and methods used in Layonara to create stories through role play. Layonara sees all kinds of players, from former/current PnP (pen-and-paper) players, to those that have only played video game RPGs (role-playing games), to those that have not played much or any of either. Maybe you haven't even played through the single player client of Neverwinter Nights. Or maybe you're wondering why you're even bothering to read this with the fifteen years of role playing you already have under your belt. Either way, Layonara is both for experienced players as well as people brand new to role playing, and we strive to utilize the mix of experience to teach the new players about story telling and role play in an interactive and safe environment. And if you haven't read the Role Players Guide to NWN, you should.
If you have any gaming experience at all, you have likely heard of the term GM, or Gamemaster (also called a DM, or Dungeonmaster). A Gamemaster is someone who plays the part of the world with which the player characters interact. Without a Gamemaster, the world would be a static, predictable, and rather boring place. The Gamemaster's job is to offer dynamic responses on behalf of the world, perhaps in the form of an NPC, to the words and deeds of the PCs. Here at Layonara, our GMs are integral parts of a Team that does more than just interact with players in the game, however. Our GMs act as administrators, designers, clerks, developers, and most spend time as players as well. On top of that, the GMs here also provide catalysts for the many stories created in Layonara. We call these GM-initiated stories Quests.
The Player Character, or PC for short, is the character played by you. It's not just your avatar; it's an entity much like the character from a book, with quirks and emotion, ambition and history. In fact, it's not you at all, but rather an entity controlled and given life by you, and while that inherently means at least some of who you are will be infused in your characters, your PC should not be you turned into a pointy-eared archer. When playing your PC, try to imagine what someone with your character's personality and background would do in response to a given situation; don't just have your PC do what you would do.
The Non-player Character, or NPC for short, is every other entity with some level of intelligence that roams around the world and in some way interacts with the PCs. NPCs are always present and outnumber the PCs a million to one. NPCs are as unique in personality and goals as any PC might be, so don't just assume they will respond favorably or predictably to your PCs actions. NPCs are usually given life by GMs, as they are part of the world that the GM represents, part of the world with which your PC interacts. The king whose castle you defended is an NPC, and so is the yawning cat who won't stop sneaking into your PCs house at night.
Quests are the bread and butter of Layonara. The most intense action, the most heart wrenching tragedies, the absolutely hilarious moments, and the most world-changing actions occur during quests. In many ways, the whole game of Layonara is centered around quests, and those things that are done outside of quests often happen solely to affect something happening or something that will happen on a quest. So what exactly is a quest? A quest is a story centered around a given conflict. A GM provides the conflict as the catalyst for the story, and it is through resolving this conflict that the story unfolds. The unique characters involved, PCs and NPCs alike, determine the course of action that leads to the resolution. Quests are therefore dynamic and fluid, meaning that the end of the story is not determined from the beginning, but rather through the overall set of choices made by the participating group of PCs. The best quests present you and your character with tough choices that challenge who the character believes he/she is and who you believe your character to be.
You can find new and ongoing quest series on the GM Calendar. Note the start time, as we have GMs from around the world, and what may be 10:00 (10AM) for him/her could be 4:00 (4AM) for you. Also, players are granted experience (XP) simply for participating in quests. The experience granted is based on level (a standard amount) and participation (subjective according to the GMs observation of your role play). This means that regular participation in quests guarantees character advancement in worldly recognition, in mechanical ability and level, and in personal goals. Quests typically last anywhere from two to five hours, with the average being somewhere closer to four hours. Most players schedule to be part of one or two quests a week.
A particularly long series of quests is often referred to as a Campaign. Campaigns usually last for at least a year, and tell an over-arching story in an episodic manner via the quests. Playing a campaign quest on a weekly basis can be compared to watching your favorite television series each week, except that you get to make a difference in how the story goes.