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 Post subject: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Red text is Face's, Green is mine.
~~~~~

OK, so we've all agreed that the RS Plot needs a slight injection into it. We're all busy with 'real life', but we've been busy before.

Could it be that after 15 plots and almost 10 years of writing, the plot is feeling slightly stale?? Well, if this IS the case, then it's pretty darned impressive it's taken this long!

So, Dru, Ran and myself have been kicking some ideas around, and thought we'd put them here to see what people think. Not just plot storylines, but HOW the Plot is written.

Firstly, I think we all like the idea of the Empire taking over once more. Dru has some pretty good starting ideas about this, so I'll let him take over (we're writing this post in a GoogleDoc! Don't worry, we'll change the colours so you know who's who!)


    Zak's defection to the New Republic was a ruse all along. He used his time to buy/blackmail some agents on Coruscant, right up to the Chief of State's office. We're not clear on who the CoS is in our continuity, but in canon its Leia, so the general plan is for her to get ousted by force. Zak's new agents on Coruscant have been busy; they've got their fingers deep in significant factions of the military and government.

    For a general order of events, I'm thinking something like this:

    The plague hits every civilized world in the Republic at the same time. Every planet is sent scrambling for a cure. Simultaneously, Coruscant erupts in revolution. Significant military and government leaders that can't be turned are killed, or forced into hiding if they manage to escape. If Leia is CoS, she probably gets away.

    All of the "good people" in the military leadership (Ackbar, Kre'fey, whoever else we like these days) are dead or fleeing. The Empire seizes enough main holonet hubs to start sniffing any and all holonet transmissions. Only pre-determined secure channels remain secure, so anyone on the run is probably out of contact. Wedge gets a "disaster" recording from Ackbar's office that basically says "If you're seeing this, I'm either dead or something like it, and something has gone seriously wrong. Stay low, and go save the galaxy."

    At this point the Valour is ambushed and Wedge fights, then runs to come find us. He makes it to the station just before it crashes (which is likely to be accelerated now that COMPNOR knows we're here). He rescues us all and tells us what's happened. We escape with our ships and the station crashes, releasing its plague.

OK, so now we're on the back foot, Wedge and the rest of Taskforce Renegade, are basically on their own. They have an awesome array of tools at their disposal, with Rogue, Wraith, High Flight, Firestorm and the Razorcats, but no real back-up and no real plan. Now, rather than save the galaxy (again) we've got to think smaller, and so should our plot.

So far, most of the plots have been epic. And by epic we mean AWESOMELY HUGE. With multiple plot strands leading towards a final battle, they seem to take some time, and people kinda lose themselves. To use an analogy, we've been writing feature films. Now, perhaps we should change our tact, and instead write a TV series?

Let's take Plot 17 for example.

TFR (Taskforce Renegade, it's just easier this way) are now cut off and adrift. They've been giving vague instructions from what might eventually be Rebel High Command to basically cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war. Translation, be as much of a nuisance as possible. So, we've decided to operate in the Blah System. This system is somewhere in the midrim, and has been taken over by Moff Whotsit by the Empire. Moff Whotsit USED to be Senator Whotsit, but after the coup is now happily in the Empire's employ. He now runs the system like his own personal piggy bank, and there's no-one around to stop him... or IS there!

That's our storyline, or season arc. To use Buffy terminology (sorry, but it's easier) Moff Whotsit is the "Big Bad" Now, we can't go up against him and win immediately (if at all) as that would kinda ruin the whole point of plotting. So, we'll break this 'season' into Episodes.

So, the first episode (17a) will be the first step. So TFR taking on a supply station, or infiltrating a rally, or assassinating an officer. You get the general idea. Each 'episode' is self contained, so 17a will 'finish' like any TV Episode. There just needs to be a rough plan as to how it fits in with the 'season' as a whole.

Now, here's where it gets slightly complicated, so I shall keep it simple, and be prepared to field a few questions.

Each 'episode' has a 'Director'. So, in this example, I will be the director for 17a. I'll set out what I think should happen in this plot, and give a few storyline ideas, maybe a few prompts. If it needs a shake up, I can 'order' something to happen (like any Director would - i.e. Corran gets shot!). Once 17a has been written to it's conclusion (could take anything from a week to several months) and that episode is complete, we move onto 17b, and a NEW Director takes over, so now Dru will be calling the shots (with as much or little input as required).

This isn't meant to stifle creativity, quite the opposite. Each Director will be able to shape the flow of the episode by giving plot ideas whilst writing their own plots. If someone (i.e. Az) has a GREAT idea for his plot, but thinks it might effect the story, he now knows who to go to (in the case of this 17b example, Dru). Az approaches Dru, and tells him of his awesome idea. Dru really likes it, and thus Az writes his plot, and Dru changes the direction for THIS episode (17b). This way, the plot isn't 'controlled' by a select few who knows what's happening. And the opposite is also true. Those used to shaping the whole plot have a chance to simply write to someone else's tune!

And the real beauty of it... Plot 17 might only be a few plots long. If we're bored of the scenario, then we can 'wrap it up quickly' and move on. Also, there's no guarantee that we can defeat the "Big Bad", so we don't always walk away the victors.

This will hopefully mean quicker, more enjoyable plotting. It also means we can jump straight into an Episode if we want. Don't want to write the mission briefing? Don't! Start the 'episode' in mid firefight, and explain later!

Also, just to clarify, don't take the TV Episode analogy too far. Plots aren't meant to be 45mins long (with advert breaks). For example... Plot 17a can be 13 plots long, Plot 17b can be 26 but Plot 17c is only 7... so we're not pressurised to always plot an exact amount.

So, comments? Thoughts? Questions?

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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:53 pm 
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I really like the idea of us going back to a "Rebel Alliance" type of deal. It would completely change the dynamic of the plot. Right now we have nearly unlimited resources, but this would mean we would have to think much smaller in terms of battles and missions or risk losing all of High Flight or Firestorm or something in 17a. No replacements would magically come in 17b.

I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical of the "director" aspect, but that could just be more fear of the unknown than actual doubts about it being able to work. My feeling is it could be a bit restricting if the person in charge insists a plot go a certain way. This fear is probably unfounded though, since I can't imagine anyone here being so hard-nosed about a plot that they wouldn't allow proposed ideas to come to fruition. I would definitely be willing to give this proposition a shot. I honestly just want to get back to writing whenever the mood strikes instead of being afraid of messing with someone's plans and feeling stuck with my character's situation as I feel is the current problem with Plot 16.

I think that as we've grown up over the last decade, we've applied more and more realism to the plot. Plot 1 was a rip-roaring good time and it didn't matter if it didn't make perfect sense. Plot 16 represents the other side of the spectrum in my mind. Everything has to make sense. We can't have any continuity errors. We tackle really adult concepts because most of us are adults now. Every few years I think we go through something like this where we decide to completely rethink how the plot is done. Really all we need to do is come up with a good scenario and just go and have fun with it. That's usually what happens every time anyway.

Let's go back and be more like the OT: a great swashbuckling adventure where good and evil is clearly defined. We don't need to be like the prequels and get bogged down with the politics of it all.

*Gets off of soap box*

Sorry to get so preachy. RS just means a lot to me. You all helped me survive high school and remained some of my best friends throughout college.

Basically, count me in. Let's get to writin'!

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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:21 pm 
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The idea of a Director has its risks, but if you think about it, it's basically the tag/gat system on a much larger scale. However, with a few ground rules (no killing off main characters, etc), it has the potential to force people to have their characters deal with obstacles or problems that they otherwise wouldn't encounter. ("Gav, you're going to suffer a horrible injury." "What? why? I don't want to get hurt!" "Because it's realistic.")

Actually... after talking with Face, I'm starting to realize that the plot is evolving into closer to a D&D-type system... which I'm all for trying out.


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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:10 pm 
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I really, really, REALLY like this idea.

The whole "Rebel Alliance" thing is awesome...it will force more creativity, really. Our dear characters would essentially be fighting a much bigger battle with a much smaller pool of resources.

It makes it much cooler that we can't just say, "We'll just call in the fleet and take care of it." Now there <i>is</i> no fleet.

I LOVE THIS.


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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:34 pm 
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Halley, in my own mind, I see the director as most likely being a bit more of an oversight position than a literal director, picking the tone and setting of each post. I suspect it'll wind up in between a lot, and sometimes it'll vary to either extreme a bit, but as I mentioned in the "what if" thread, we've all grown up a bit, and I think the sort of staunch "it'll happen my way or it won't happen at all" tantrums will be pretty rare.

I really like the idea of getting more people involved in the "big plan" sort of ideas, and I think this is definitely worth a shot. The nice thing is that as long as we have a setting going on, if the whole thing falls apart we won't be in a situation like we are right now in 16 where the end goal is so fixed and the scenario so limited that we're practically out of ideas just a few chapters in.

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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:55 am 
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Bowman Gavin wrote:
Actually... after talking with Face, I'm starting to realize that the plot is evolving into closer to a D&D-type system... which I'm all for trying out.


Actually Gav, the RPG system is only there for people who want to use it. If people have no interest in characters 'stats' they can always write them as they see fit. As long as it fits with how the character is usually written, and for those who need prompting, that what we have the wiki for!

Personally, because I'm a bit geeky (shocking I know) but I like 'knowing' that without the Force, Gav is about 3 combat points below Face, but when he gets his 'Force on', they're pretty much on par! But I like systems, so that's me!


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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:53 am 
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Let's do it. We can even start the directing idea right away in Plot 16 to kick us into gear so we can actually get to Plot 17 in this decade.

And here's an idea I came up with for how the Empire gets big and powerful again:
One of the things that has hamstrung the Empire is their human supremacy. Cutting out the non-human part of the galaxy is really shooting yourself in the foot. So perhaps they find some greedy species of non-human and give them stuff (fix up their war-torn planets, give them some small positions of power,allow them in the military) in order to win them to their side. That would give them a lot more man-power and expendable soldiers to run at us (and if they're humanoid enough, they could still wear stormtrooper armor). This is especially plausible if those particular non-human groups were disenfranchised by the New Republic somehow and thus willing to switch sides.


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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:56 pm 
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I like that idea a lot, GH. It makes a lot of sense for the Empire to let in non-human species to gain support. Then the New Republic will seem like jerks for trying to say the Empire has a hidden agenda in all this.

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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:50 pm 
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It wouldn't be all that hard to make Alien stormtrooper armors, Resize them and mod. the helmets to work. They had T'SyriƩl Stormtroopers during Palpatine's reign. Plus imagine some of the larger and stronger races as stormtroopers... can anyone say Kaleesh? or maybe a platoon of Talz stormies...

I like the Idea BTW.

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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:02 pm 
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There is a precedence for non-human species within the Empire, several precedences actually.

During the post Dark Empire era, the Empire was headed by a ruling Council which included a Givan, a Devaronian, a Defal and a Whiphid.

Following her assinnation of the Warlords and her seizure of the Imperial Remnant. Admiral Daala relaxed the No-huMAN rules of the Imperial military and allowed members of other species to take up various roles within the forces.

The novel Outbound Flight features the members of a reconstituted 501st which includes several non-humans.

And of course, there's the alliance between the Chiss and the Empire that led to the creation of the Empire of the Hand, the Imperial holdings within the Unknown Regions.

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 Post subject: Re: The New RS Plot?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:30 am 
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Let me finish up with what I have planned for Zak before we push too far with it. I want to establish Zak as the big scary villain that I intend for him to before things go south. I have an idea for a very violent story arc up and coming for the Empire to establish one of the ways they come back to power. Remember, the problem with the remnant is their being fractured, and Zak tends to be a very patient man.

The New Republic ruse is a really good idea, however it does not fit with what I've cultivated for the character. It's one of those comic foils that gets kinda abused. Zak's reason for siding with the Republic as long as he had was because he didn't want to be executed, not because he was some sort of glorious hero seeking retribution. It was a cowardly act.

And sorry for my lack of plottitude. I've been working almost non-stop.


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