No more interactives

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This is a direct question for Chris Tulach or any campaign staffer in the know.Will there be interactives in LFR? I have heard that there will not be. If there are not I do not see how local cons can survive. At our cons there are twice as many people present when there is an interactive and a lot of people make the decision to attend because of the interactive. I want LFR to succeed but the more you abandon what made LG work the harder it will be to retain old players. Without older players to recruit for you how will you build a new player base? Please don't get rid of the interactives.
It's probably to early to say one way or another but I would say it is likely that show specific run only once interactives are dead and I won't miss them. They are way to much work and would put way to much of a burden on the campaign to continue to do them. The midwest region alone would get a request for 30 of them a year easily. Regardless of manpower provided or not a region set in Waterdeep that is producing 4-5 adventures a year cannot turn around and put out 30 more special one time events. It makes no sense. A special everybody can play is just another adventure so once again goes against what we've been told so far.
I agree that putting out a one time interactive at each currently existing con would be a burden. However if each region had a few( spring, summer, fall winter) interactives a year that could be replayed at any " administrator approved" con in the region I think that would be enough for most players.

That would be 4 mods being done by the same pool of talent that is currently doing 60+ mods. 30 interactives, 30 specials, intro mods, and special missions. I think it could be done and the players would appreciate it. I think each region should at least have the option of doing it. If they can not get the volunteers to pull it then that would be the players in the regions own fault. At least give us the option.
No decision has been made yet about interactives in LFR; still being discussed. There are certain endeavors which are better played out in an interactive than a traditional table, and they would offer some unique regional elements to LFR.

While I would hesitate to bet against Dave Christ, it may be that given the physical size of the real world regions, that if we can design an interactive to run 2-3 times in the region, and we can produce them without degrading the quality and number of LFR adventures, that will be acceptable. The tradeoff is offering something unique for a con to draw more players versus possibly a less efficient use of floorspace and judges for the period of time. I do not think we will see interactives at DDXP or Gencon.

I personally would advocate at least 2 interactives per region per year, certainly no more than 4. I agree though, if the volunteers/authors cannot be found to design, develop and pull it off, then it does not happen.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
Interactives are obviously very popular to players, and they were a mainstay of the LG campaign. Interactives will not be as widespread as they were in LG for all of the reasons already described and a few more. RPGA content is going to be better integrated with the rest of WotC's offerings and stories, which is a good thing. Along with that comes the necessity to better control the material--both in terms of quality and content. That means you will not be seeing material thrown together at the last minute and offered as an "interactive" with only the slightest bit of oversight by the campaign staff.

In lieu of this, the staff is actively and enthusiastically running through many ideas that will offer special material to players. So things are going to be much different than they were in LG. But that does not mean that other things won't be offered instead.

Shawn
LFR - Admin
That means you will not be seeing material thrown together at the last minute and offered as an "interactive" with only the slightest bit of oversight by the campaign staff.

I know you've never been to one of my events, so I gotta ask: how long have you had people spying on me? The above is an exact description of almost every one of the roughly 15 interactives I've been responsible for over the years. lol

Mike

(Although, some of the most cobbled together ones have seemed the most polished, for some reason.)
I know you've never been to one of my events, so I gotta ask: how long have you had people spying on me? The above is an exact description of almost every one of the roughly 15 interactives I've been responsible for over the years. lol

Mike

(Although, some of the most cobbled together ones have seemed the most polished, for some reason.)

Heh, yeah. I've been to a few conventions where the material for the interactive is submitted late or unfinished and then the campaign staff are essentially emotionally blackmailed to approve it. "...but if you can't approve it in the next ten minutes, 60 people will be ****** off and the con will be a disaster."

To be fair, I have submitted late material for interactives, so I'm not throwing stones here...

Joe
Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
I know you've never been to one of my events, so I gotta ask: how long have you had people spying on me? The above is an exact description of almost every one of the roughly 15 interactives I've been responsible for over the years. lol

Mike

(Although, some of the most cobbled together ones have seemed the most polished, for some reason.)

That was not meant to cast aspersions in any direction. I think anyone who has worked in the LG campaign (Keoland triad here!) has been in this situation. A lot of people worked very hard to create a vast amount of material. It's just that the price the RPGA is going to pay for more support from WotC is more oversight and stricter schedules. It is a price I have been begging to pay since LG started, so I am happy. The admins for LFR want to provide as many memorable play opportunities as we can, so for every change from previous campaigns we make, we hope to add some fun and exciting new opportunities.

Shawn

LFR - Global Admin
It's just that the price the RPGA is going to pay for more support from WotC is more oversight and stricter schedules.

I agree whole-heartedly that this is worthwhile.

I think that, for me, the biggest reason why I was so... ill-prepared I guess, for my events was simply because I knew I could get away with it.

Mike
I agree whole-heartedly that this is worthwhile.

I think that, for me, the biggest reason why I was so... ill-prepared I guess, for my events was simply because I knew I could get away with it.

Mike



I haven't been to all that many cons, but I've been in several situations where I've missed an interactive due to beer, and later been told I should be glad I wasn't there. That should never happen, even if it means fewer interactives.
I am fine with a few interactives a year being replayed at a couple of cons each but, all-together doing away with them would be a major diappointment to me. I like the larger format that takes advantage of how many players show at a con versus a home game or small game-day.

I like the idea of better kept schedules and deadlines but, I'd hate to see fewer or no interactives even if, they ended up being a bit more of a cookie cutter design.
There are interactives and there are battle interactives. I don't mind some intereactives being large-scale battles that go beyond table limits, but I would also like to see the return of peaceful interactives, like festivals, with other forms of inter-character interaction beyond the limits of a table.

Tom Bollis
Speaking personally, the interactives were the only reason I stuck around LG.

Now, don't get me wrong here - I loved the campaign setting, and many of the adventures were top notch (Dorakaa comes to mind); however, all in all, other than the interactives there was nothing LG offered that couldn't be found in a home game.

The opportunity to interact with 100+ PCs simultaneously in a structured setting was the draw that kept me coming back. All of my best experiences in LG were from interactives.

This doesn't mean that LFR won't be able to succeed without them; however, I strongly feel that in order to make the campaign successful, there needs to be something unique to it which sets it aside from the everyday home campaign. Even if every module produced for the campaign is exceptional, unless there's something that can pull the world and the players together and make it feel like a truly "living" campaign, and not just a sequence of adventures, then I don't see a purpose to this expenditure of effort.

For LG, the modules may have provided the story, but it was the interactives that were the glue that held it together.
The opportunity to interact with 100+ PCs simultaneously in a structured setting was the draw that kept me coming back. All of my best experiences in LG were from interactives.


For LG, the modules may have provided the story, but it was the interactives that were the glue that held it together.

I agree 100%. Without the interactives it will feel more like Xendrick and less like LG.
I agree 100%. Without the interactives it will feel more like Xendrick and less like LG.

But it's NOT LG. It's LFR. It's its own thing and should different instead of just LG for 4e.

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But it's NOT LG. It's LFR. It's its own thing and should different instead of just LG for 4e.

Why should it be different? Why should being different be a goal? I agree that when something doesn't work you should to change. I agree that LFR should have its own feel. However the first letter in LFR is L, living. Most of the actual influence the characters had on LG was through interactives and special missions. Thats what made it a living campaign. Without a chance for characters to influence the game world there is nothing living about it. It is just another D&D campaigns setting like Xendrick or Green Regent.
Why should it be different?

Because they're different things and different games.

Why should being different be a goal?

Why should being the same be a goal?

I agree that when something doesn't work you should to change.

And it's pretty clear from the discussion here that interactives DON'T work as intended .

I agree that LFR should have its own feel.

As long as that feel mirrors LG and not XE, right?

However the first letter in LFR is L, living. Most of the actual influence the characters had on LG was through interactives and special missions.

There will still be special missions and con-specific adventures.

Thats what made it a living campaign. Without a chance for characters to influence the game world there is nothing living about it. It is just another D&D campaigns setting like Xendrick or Green Regent.

Quick, name ten things that changed in the Greyhawk campaign setting during the Living Campaign.
And how many were influenced by players and how many will show up in a new edition of the campaign setting?

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Quick, name ten things that changed in the Greyhawk campaign setting during the Living Campaign.
And how many were influenced by players and how many will show up in a new edition of the campaign setting?

Ooh, one of my favourite topics! Changes from the status quo as presented in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer that I'm aware of...

1. Tenh being eaten. Not a player-influenced thing as such.
2. Duke Labahlah rose to power in Tenh as a result of the campaign consequences from War of the Dust - though, admittedly, it was pretty obvious it was going to go that way.
3. Scarlet Brotherhood got kicked out of Onnwal. Result of some four years of regional modules and campaign consequences.
4. The Brotherhood blew up Scant in retaliation. I understand this was the result of a single, high-level table failing in an interactive.
5. The ruler of one of the Urnst states got killed, and to my knowledge, stayed dead. I've no further knowledge of how, by whom, and what happened then.
6. In Nyrond, there was a bit of a coup d'etat for a moment, resulting in their long-time BBEG, Prince Sewarndt, being killed. Despite appearances, it is subject to some debate whether the players actually had anything to do with it.
7. King Hazendel I stepped down in Sunndi recently. I do not know the precise circumstances, but there was an interactive involved.
8. The ruler of Hardby, Ilena Norbelos, died and was replaced by her daughter. Considering the details in the Bright Lands arc summary don't bear the slightest resemblance to the situation described in the module, I've no idea what, if any, effect the players had on this.
9. The module Immortal Longings must have resulted in something, though I'm not entirely certain what that is. Player-influenced campaign results.
10. The Icespire, overlooking Dunhead Bay, is melting, as per the campaign consequences of The Frozen Spire.

It seems to me that the most player influence on events happened on the regional level, with the Cores being written so despite an illusion of choice, there was only one outcome that was actually possible. Despite it being possible to side with Rary in the Bright Sands arc, I don't think anyone actually expected him to win in the end. The summary has that Hardby weirdness, though.

The campaign setting book question can only be answered by the person who may or may not end up writing it.
Why should being the same be a goal?

The null hypothesis for any system is "no change." That is to say, lacking a substantive reason for change, leave things alone. "It's new, so it should be different!" is not a substantive reason for change.

And it's pretty clear from the discussion here that interactives DON'T work as intended .

Er, no. No, that's not clear at all.

/Some/ interactives did not work as intended. That is not the same thing.
Ooh, one of my favourite topics! Changes from the status quo as presented in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer that I'm aware of...

11. The Viscount in Verbobonc has changed, with the legitimacy of Langard's claim to the position brought into doubt (and then Langard himself vanishing while en route to Veluna).

12. The heads of most of the noble houses in Verbobonc were assassinated, at least in part due to player choice and failure of several tables at a recent interactive.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
And it's pretty clear from the discussion here that interactives DON'T work as intended .

Actually, they work fairly well as intended. They can offer a large format adventure that takes advantage of the large groups of players at conventions. They are a content that act as a convention draw because of there exclusivity and most importantly, they give players a more direct conection to the changes to the plot based on there actions.

The downsides of interactives lie within the logistical effort of producing them on time for each individual event not, whether they work as intended once offered.

Even if it meant a more generic adventure where some of its parts or encounters could be swapped in and out to make it a "new" interactive for the next con, I think they would be worth the effort and inclusion.
Because they're different things and different games.

Old saying...maybe you have heard it. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Why should being the same be a goal?

As mentioned in a previous post sameness is desirable when the results were good and undesirables when the results were bad.

And it's pretty clear from the discussion here that interactives DON'T work as intended .

Interactives work exactly as they are supposed to. They are a big con draw and they allow players to influence their regions. the only negative disscussed in this forum has been the amount of extra work involved in setting them up and running them.


As long as that feel mirrors LG and not XE, right?

No, I am all for free inter region play. I look forward to the game table. Guests cards and the quests sound like a cool idea. I can live without TU's if they go that way. I am all for a better access system.The setting is completely different and the world is completely different and we are going to be playing 4th ed so I doubt it will feel much like LG no matter how much LG we bring along and thats ok.
There will still be special missions and con-specific adventures.


Quick, name ten things that changed in the Greyhawk campaign setting during the Living Campaign.


And how many were influenced by players and how many will show up in a new edition of the campaign setting?

Technically nothing they never updated the gazetteer. In region we saw changes in local government, retired players becoming the heads of meta orgs and story NPC's, we organized treaties, defended towns, failed to defend towns and saw them burn( Flameflower is gone....sorry elves). Lots of things in each region are different now than when the gazetteer was published and many of those changes were dependent on the outcome of the interactives

For legal reasons I don't think any of the changes in each region are likely to show up in a future setting since WOTC doesn't own the rights to a lot of that material. I think the stuff written for cores will end up in the new LGG but that was never influenced by players.

Bottom line the things we did in interactives changed the story in the world in which we played and thats what I care about. I doubt if anyone care if it makes it into the new book, we don't need to read about it......we lived it!!
For legal reasons I don't think any of the changes in each region are likely to show up in a future setting since WOTC doesn't own the rights to a lot of that material. I think the stuff written for cores will end up in the new LGG but that was never influenced by players.

Which is a pretty damn good reason not to have them identically done in LFR.

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Quick, name ten things that changed in the Greyhawk campaign setting during the Living Campaign.
And how many were influenced by players and how many will show up in a new edition of the campaign setting?

The Pale began with a unique interactive that determined the relationships among the important NPCs.
Oh, I'm sure there have been some *amazing* interactive over the 8 years of LG. But for them to be valid they cannot continue as they currently do (hastily done with little warning given to the campaign staff).

Interactives would need to be professionally done modules of quality equal to that of the best of the yearly modules.

And while I'm sure there have been some great mods done it the past, most of my experiences with them (three battle, one RP and one pseudo interactive that was really a mini-mod) amounted to being at mixed tables of 3/4 low and 1/4 high where you'd take a single swing, miss, and then spend ten minutes waiting for the remaining 4-5 tables to finish their round.

I can see some excellent convention specials which shape the campaign in the same was as interactives, only not localized to a single location. If handled well they could be region-wide.

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Which is a pretty damn good reason not to have them identically done in LFR.

In LFR all authors will be paid a token amount so that material is owned by WOTC so this will not be a problem. Also I did not say interactives should be done identically. We should change them so they are better. My point is that we should keep them not just dump them.
Oh, I'm sure there have been some *amazing* interactive over the 8 years of LG. But for them to be valid they cannot continue as they currently do (hastily done with little warning given to the campaign staff).

Interactives would need to be professionally done modules of quality equal to that of the best of the yearly modules.

I agree!

I can see some excellent convention specials which shape the campaign in the same {way} as interactives, only not localized to a single location. If handled well they could be region-wide.
My suggestion is that they be run at all campaign staff approved cons in the region for a limited time( a few months). The results at each con could be reported to the writing staff so we can still have an influence on the plot in our area. I suggest 2-4 a year.
I agree!

I can see some excellent convention specials which shape the campaign in the same {way} as interactives, only not localized to a single location. If handled well they could be region-wide.

My suggestion is that they be run at all campaign staff approved cons in the region for a limited time( a few months). The results at each con could be reported to the writing staff so we can still have an influence on the plot in our area. I suggest 2-4 a year.
!!
I think at least Keith "I agree though, if the volunteers/authors cannot be found to design, develop and pull it off, then it does not happen" is underestimating the productive resources available in his North Central region.

It is my understanding that the NC region contains the whole of the former Furyondy, Veluna, Highfolk and Verbobonc regions, plus some of the Shield Lands and Dyvers regions. A lot of good work has come out of those regions.

There were certainly issues about interactives being unfinished/problematic/whatever. That is not to say that there were no problems with regional mods (as folks from the Gran March can attest) or core material (some mod about a bridge comes to mind) as well, however. Certainly there was a huge gap between most of the regions, which are functional, versus the few in places like Greece or Hawaii that didn't work so well due to a small player base, in terms of what their regions were able to produce.

What I think is clear to everyone is, shrinking the number of mods by so much will result in the community expecting a _much_ higher standard of qality (sic) than was previously seen. Otherwise there will be a lot of writers left over from when you assign writers, and they will be unhappy if the mods they didn't write are of poor quality. They will feel they have been overlooked versus what will be perceived as favored people.

My personal suggestion is find a way to include as many authors as possible, otherwise they will have ready-made excuses to quit when the admins make mistakes (as they will, no doubt, Mr. Christ's thoughts notwithstanding). This loss will be a small percentage of the overall player base but a much larger proportion of the active players. Wizards may not care so much about the active players (after all, their books are already pre-ordered and sold) but the Regional Admins will, because who else will they turn to when their chosen authors and judges fall through on their commitments?

Brayden Glad,
back to the nameless, thankless task of statting out underpowered obligatory thug encounters as a short-notice fill-in...
Dealing with WotC customer service is like milking an emu... You might get scratched, bitten or kicked, or might simply be ignored, but you won't be successful... and people will think you odd for trying.
Many good points. If my posts read like I thought the North Central region did not have many creative authors and volunteers, then I worded my thoughts poorly. It was more of a general truism rather than my belief about actual available support.

As Shawn indicated, the RPGA is setting high bars for LFR and any type of activity (interactive, module, etc.) will have a major review before approval.

Yes, I suspect all regions will need a few highly reliable, quick writers to help pick up the pieces when some author blows their deadline (even if due to no fault of their own).

On the topic of LFR adventures and interactives being canon, I don't know the official answer. Certainly there will be a mechanism for recording the results within the campaign and that will determine the outcome for the campaign. Will the campaign affect future published products on the Forgotten Realms? I think there is interest, but it may be that only the Epic Tier core adventures have RSE which are picked up in future novels or such.

We shall see. :-)

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
Quick, name ten things that changed in the Greyhawk campaign setting during the Living Campaign.

Canon Hazen of Veluna -- arguably one of the most powerful clerics in the Flanaess -- is dead (killed during a battle in 594 CY against a former canon/now lich). His replacement has just been impeached.

(Player influence over the first is questionable; the second, however, is q direct result of player action at Veluna's most recent interactive.)

I seem to recall that there is also a big portal/vortex/something to the plane of Shadow centered over the Gnome Vale in the Yatil Mountains -- also the result of players' actions during the GenCon special in 2006 (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgdc/20061212a).
While we're going on about player actions affecting regional plotlines in LG, I thought I'd name my favorite from the BK:

Due to a really /dumb/ mistake at a high level table during an interactive, That Which Sleeps is now That Which Slept. And she's a .

On the up side, though, the module that deals with the consequences is a blast.
May I temporarily threadcap and ask: What is an "Interactive" ?

As a newcomer to the RPGA I want to follow the discussions to learn more
but from the postings in this thread I was not able to deduct the meaning
of this adventure type.
May I temporarily threadcap and ask: What is an "Interactive" ?

As a newcomer to the RPGA I want to follow the discussions to learn more
but from the postings in this thread I was not able to deduct the meaning
of this adventure type.

It is an event at a convention where more than one table interact together. Often large battles, defense or invation of a city, a festival, etc. which has a large impact on a region or the campaign world, Usually everyone playing in the event act in multi-table units, move from table to table, etc. and the outcome resulting from player choices and degree of success affect subsequent story lines. They are often exclusive to the particular con, or only the con where they premier affects the story lines.

Tom Bollis
Which is almost an argument against interactives.
Why have the coolest, most important bits of the campaign at a con miles away from people were only a fraction of people can play?

When I say this, of course, I'm speaking as a Canadian with the knowledge that the best cons will inevitably be held in the east coast, likely Toronto, which could be as much as 4500km (For the Yanks on the MB, Seattle to NY is less than 3900km).

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Which is almost an argument against interactives.
Why have the coolest, most important bits of the campaign at a con miles away from people were only a fraction of people can play?

Part of the answer is that they are designed for a large group of players. That's only going to occur at a con. It would be difficult to allow many seperate tables across a region to have that same immediate impact on the storyline.

Because there are many who can't make convention interactives, they should never be the focus of the campaign but, I think they make for a nice change of pace worthy of the effort for a one shot run at larger cons or several smaller cons at once.
There's no technical reason I can think of why you couldn't have online interactives, given the right level of organisation...

Just a thought!

Running D&D Adventurers League events in Sheffield, UK from August. Contact me for more details.

There's no technical reason I can think of why you couldn't have online interactives, given the right level of organisation...

Just a thought!

Just thinking about what the right level of organisation was to make an online interactive successful made my eyelid start to twitch.

It's a great idea, as long as 'the other guy' is the organiser! :P

Joe
Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
Just thinking about what the right level of organisation was to make an online interactive successful made my eyelid start to twitch.

It's a great idea, as long as 'the other guy' is the organiser! :P

No kidding...I've been in a few online LARP-style interactives for Legends of the Shining Jewel, with only 25 or 30 participants, and it was like herding cats.

With the ability to play out-of-region in LFR, I could easily see an online interactive attracting dozens of players. Lordy, I wouldn't want to be the guy trying to run that.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
No kidding...I've been in a few online LARP-style interactives for Legends of the Shining Jewel, with only 25 or 30 participants, and it was like herding cats.

With the ability to play out-of-region in LFR, I could easily see an online interactive attracting dozens of players. Lordy, I wouldn't want to be the guy trying to run that.

Yeah, big groups of people chatting online is one of those things where the problems involved scale up exponentially with each person added.

I can't even imagine trying to coordinate something like that. Well, not these days anyway. Maybe ten years ago when I could keep track of four or five chat threads at once.