Yearly Plot Theme
What's this yearly theme thing?
In early 2016, a chat discussion spawned the idea (originally by Dex), of having a yearly theme for the game in much the same way television dramas have a recurring theme for a season. For example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's seasons had themes such as "coming to a new place and adjusting to things" (season 1), "accepting responsibility" (season 2), "rebuilding trust after betrayal" (season 3) and so on. The concept was accepted by by the players via mailing list discussion, and adopted in March 2017.
The theme applies for a "season" of nine months (usually March through to December-ish) with three months 'off' where there are no official theme events planned.
Who suggests the theme? The mods?
Anyone can suggest a topic for the memes. Suggestions are definitely encouraged from everyone.
How does the theme idea work?
Over the "season", various events specific to the theme will be announced by the mods. The events can be suggested by players or the mods, and will be roughly once a month. Plots which fit within the theme will also be encouraged. A 'finale' plot will also be planned the signal the end of the plot. Players will be encouraged to react IC to the events and participate in the plots, and to come up with their own plots which fit within the theme.
Does every plot has to be connected to the theme?
NO. While the theme is in place to guide players and spawn ideas, it's not meant to restrict play. As always, X-Project is about the players doing their thing, and if you have a plot, go for it.
Does every 'season' need a villain attached?
Nope. The aim of the theme idea is to have something fairly broad which can incorporate a number of ideas. Having one specific villain might be too limiting.
What counts as a plot?
For general gameplay, there are Events, and there are Plots:
An Event is precisely that - an event that is arranged to happen on a certain day, and to which various characters can react, but without there being a specific loglist or storyline beyond the event. Past Events have included field trips (without the Field Trip Curse), Parents' Day(s), rebuilding the treehouse, Possession Night at Harry's, and the X-Force group getting quarantined in the brownstone over Christmas 2006. Events don't need official approval, but ought to be run past the mods as a courtesy and for possible scheduling conflicts.
A Plot is more organised. There is usually a set beginning and outcome, and play within the plotline for the most part is run past the plotrunner. Not all plots are sprawling, action-packed spectaculars with a cast of thousands - a plot can involve just the two PCs and run quietly over a period of time - but the requirement for all plots that any ground-breaking additions to the plot need to be run past the plotrunner, who in turn may need to clear it through the mods. Plots must be approved by the mods - the policy regarding plots can be found here.
For the purposes of the Wiki, a plot is any significant occurrence involving two or more characters, and/or recurring NPCs and thus warranting a write-up.
There's a lot of plots. Does this mean you don't like character development/relationship stuff?
On the contrary. X-Project is about balance. Sometimes we're a little weighted in one direction, but we always welcome people wanting to shift the balance back. Some players like to do a lot of big action plots. Others like complicated political thrillers. Others prefer romance and relationships. Others like to play out the character development opportunities of being a mutant student within a school for others like them - there's something for everyone.
I'm just doing a character arc - should I submit that as a plot?
As a rule of thumb, based on the policy, you should submit something to the mods if you're planning to include any of the following:
- Creating any major detail of the gameworld (government actions, organizations, past events, etc.).
- Any significant change (their physical or mental state, what they can do with their powers, etc.) for a character. This includes things like pregnancy.
- Any significant consequences on the gameworld as a whole, especially those that may elicit reactions from the majority of characters.
- Any significant involvement of the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Corps, Generation X or X-Force.
- Any involvement of Gods, demons, or other Things Beyond Mortal Ken.
- Any significant involvement of NPCs not specific to your character (not parents, relatives, etc) or mod-controlled NPCs.
- Any new science or technology.
- Any use of 'unrealistic' concepts (cloning, alternate dimensions, time travel, etc).
Even if it seems minor, it's better to ping the mods and double-check, rather than go ahead and find you've got a series of snowballing consequences impacting the game that you didn't expect from your 'small' scene.
How do I submit a plot for approval? What plots need approving?
The plot policy guidelines are available here, or on XPP. There is also a Plot Submission Guidelines document created by the mods to lend a hand. If you want more information, you can contact the mods.
Is there a sample plot I can use to get an idea?
Sure thing! You'll find that here.
What’s with this monthy discussion post?
Back on July 28, 2014, the players voted on and agreed on the following (along with the whole relaunch idea):
- More scheduled activities and events - a variety of events scheduled on a regular basis, including big gamewide plots, more open call events, and scheduled plotting/brainstorming/interactive discussions on the journal and the mailing list.
In order to make this happen, the mods post a monthly discussion to XPP and encourage everyone to make suggestions and share what they’re planning, for the purposes of Activity. In cases where no-one has anything, the mods will brainstorm an open call Event and toss it up for people to react to in-game.
How do I run a plot?
There is a handy "How to Run a Plot – XP Style" document, created by Azzy, but we also strongly recommend talking to other players, especially those experienced at running plots, to give you ideas. You can also recruit other players as sub-plotrunners to help you, especially if you have a large plot to run.
Do I have to participate in plots?
Plots are a fundamental part of X-Project's gameplay, and often there are world-shaking events that impact on the game as a whole. Whilst it's not required that everyone participate in a plot, you will need to explain IC why your character isn't involved if it's something they would be. For example, if there's a major X-Men mission and your X-Man isn't there, you need to explain why. It can be as simple as being elsewhere at the time.
Plots also give players chances to interact in combinations they wouldn't normally, and develop their characters in different situations to the norm, so participation is encouraged. Besides, it's fun!
Can I be in every plot my character is eligible for? I love to play!
We can appreciate (and encourage!) enthusiasm, but sometimes people can over-expose their characters by having them in every single plot that comes along. A good rule of thumb is to look at how many plots one of your characters is in during a month, and how spaced out those plots are - if you're in a plot every week over three weeks, you might want to ease off a bit, otherwise you may not get the response you want/need to your character's development. Unless, of course, you're wanting to explore the effects of burn out on your character. ;)
I'm not very good at coming up with plots. Is that a problem?
You wouldn't be the only one - not everyone can plot. There are plenty who can, however, and they're more than willing to bounce ideas around and see what they can come up with you. There's also the song title plot ideas chart, based on various meme responses. If you want to work on one, just contact the person who had the original idea as a courtesy. Just keep in mind these are simply ideas based on various inspirations and are in no way officially endorsed or pre-approved by the mods - you'll still have to go through the approval process as usual.
There's also open call casting for plots, where you can sign your character(s) up or ask for help in developing an idea. Those tend to appear on the closed player comm, XPP, under the 'Plots' tag.
I have an idea, but I see the concept was used back in Phase 1. Doesn't that mean I can't do it?
Not at all. The relaunch means a clean slate for a lot of things, and that includes plots. If the plot hasn't been carried over to Phase 2 (meaning, it doesn't have a yellow Phase 2 label), you're welcome to revisit the ideas. You might be more successful if you avoid duplicating things exactly, but you can certainly check the specific plot's Wiki page to avoid doing that.
Do plots have to be comics canon? I don't know it very well.
Not at all - over the years XP has seen just as many original ideas become plots as adaptations of comics canon. Inspiration can come from anywhere - television, movies, books, song lyrics, music videos, comics that aren't Marvel, the dream you had last night after eating too much cheese... All we ask is that it fits into the gameworld.
Can I use real world politics/events for XP?
- Unless game canon or an upcoming plot directly contradicts RL, for the most part real-world politics should be considered as being the same for XP. There are some exceptions: game-shaking events that would have major impact on a large number of characters or gameworld institutions and structures should always be approved by the mods before being referred to. Political events can always be redefined or invented for the sake of a plot (in other words, everyone is free to diverge from RL), so long as they do not contradict previous game canon.
- In the case of minor fictional political events, if it doesn't break game canon, impact on a significant number of characters, or feature worldbuilding in terms of determining a government's policies, it is not necessary to get approval. If you wish to establish a country's political structure outside of the RL situation, or its policies towards mutants, that will need approval.
- Where an event, political, climate-related or historical, contradicts or makes impossible game canon already established, that event will be considered not to have happened, or to have happened to a lesser degree. For example, Hurricane Katrina did happen, but was not as severe, as a plot happened in New Orleans the following week. If in doubt, ask.
- For certain RL events of a traumatic nature that might impact directly on players (such as mass shootings), we would ask for a certain level of sensitivity before reacting in-game. Some things are too close for people, and it's always better to ask before making such references, or avoid using such events at all.
Do I have to tell everyone all the details of my plot or what I'm planning?
No. However, it is considered courteous and good gaming etiquette to give your fellow players a head's-up of things that might impact on their character, or that they personally might not be comfortable with. We all have different comfort levels and different triggers for things and not everyone is going to know everyone's personal issues. Therefore, if you're planning something more confrontational - rape, pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, torture, death - you must put warnings on those logs, and preferably give the list a warning that there is content some people may not be comfortable with. See the page on Disturbing Content Warnings for a sample warning, an explanation of why we warn and a chart of existing topics requiring warnings and the degree of warning needed.
It also works in the reverse - more people are likely to respond to your plot IC if they know what they are and aren't allowed to do and what's planned. Communication is a good way of enabling everyone has a good time.
I'm in a plot, and my character's powers are such that the plot can't happen. What do we do?
Finding reasons why your character doesn't just save the day from the outset and stop the plot from happening is your responsibility if you want to be in the plot. Work with the plot runner to brainstorm ideas as to how to prevent it.
What's the difference between an Operation, a Mission or a Case File, and a regular plot?
Operations are plots involving most/all of X-Force. X-Men Missions are plots that involve most/all of the X-Men. Case Files are plots involving most/all of X-Factor. If your plot only has a small group from a team and isn't an open all-call to the characters on a team, it's a regular plot and not an official team plot.