Thursday, April 21, 2016

Story Shards and How to Use Them by Ryan "Orion" Welch



From the website for Clan Rua Thar Cinn’s Event Series:
“In Rua Thar Cinn, we believe that the Realms is a living, breathing world that extends beyond the OOC end-times of events. We also recognize that real people have only limited time in their lives to play as fantasy alter-egos. To reconcile these ideas, our plot implements a system of actions, called Story Shards, in between events which allow for any level of participation, including none at all, without requiring a player to choose between engagement in the plot and their real life.”


By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Story Shard” thrown around quite a bit. There’s an even better chance that you’ve heard that phrase as part of a statement that goes something like: “How the heck do I use a Story Shard?” Well, the View From Valehaven is here to answer your most frequently asked questions!

How do I get Story Shards?

Story Shards are not items that you collect. Any individual is eligible to submit up to one Story Shard between Rua Thar Cinn (RTC) events. You may submit a Story Shard even if you did not attend their last event as a PC.

How do I submit a Story Shard?

RTC plot staff has a nifty website with an easy-to-use form for submitting Story Shards: https://sites.google.com/site/rtcplot/story-shards/story-shards-submissions. You can also email ruatharcinn@googlegroups.com. RTC will stop accepting submissions two weeks prior to their next event so that they they have enough time to address all of the Story Shards.

What can I do with my Story Shard?

You can use your Story Shard to interact with RTC’s plot in any number of ways, including (but not limited to) talking to NPCs, casting divination magic, conducting research, or experimenting with magic or magic items. Basically, you can use a Story Shard to perform actions that would be available to your PC between events (so long as those actions are relevant to this particular plot). After you submit your Story Shard, the RTC staff will review your actions and come up with the results of your actions. In rare cases, a role-playing encounter might occur, but you are much more likely to get a packet of information shortly before or at the next RTC event.

If I don’t submit a Story Shard, will I fall behind in the plot?

Absolutely not! RTC recognizes that we all have real-life responsibilities, so while Story Shards can be used to interact with the plot, they are entirely optional. The effects of a Story Shard is usually limited to the PC who submitted it.  Sometimes the outcome might also ripple through parts of the plot, but Story Shards will never result in a huge change in the plot between events. RTC does a very good job of maintaining continuity between their quests, so the only thing you need to do to stay involved with the plot is hit their events.

Are Story Shards the same thing as e-questing?

Not really. Most of the time, the results of your submission will be given to you at the next RTC event, although in some infrequent cases, Story Shards might be resolved with an IC encounter (online or even in person, depending on the wishes of the player submitting the Story Shard and the availability of staff to accommodate requests).

What’s all this talk about Story Shards and Trappings of Civilization?

“Trappings of Civilization” are in-game mechanics utilized by RTC that is independent from Story Shards. Trappings are minor abilities that represent PC specializations  that they may develop as a result of living in civilized society(ie near a city instead of deep in a forest). You choose a trapping for your PC when you check in at an event (you don’t have to choose the same trapping as you did last time, and some characters may qualify for two). Some trappings are available to everybody, others are limited to members of specific organizations and knighthoods. However, if your PC submitted a Story Shard after the most recent RTC event, you are required to take the “Career Adventurer” trapping. This does not convey any bonus because your PC has been busy being, well, a career adventurer.

How many times does the phrase “Story Shard” appear in this article?

Including the title, 26.

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