It is vital to the success of Mass Effect: Legends that non-staffers run plots. You are all encouraged to contribute to the story not only by roleplaying your individual characters but by crafting plots, whether one-shots or multi-scene arcs, that enrich the setting. This policy page explains how to go about running those plots and lays out a framework which connects these plots to the major storylines of Mass Effect: Legends.
Each "season" features a primary storyline and several secondary storylines. The storylines page gives an overview of the current storylines and their status.
The primary storyline provides the backdrop for other roleplay. In the first season, the primary storyline is the Eden Prime War, which began with the geth attacks on the idyllic human colony of Eden Prime.
For plot purposes, we condense the complexities of interstellar conflict into a numerical measure of the balance of power between the Council and the Geth. This value, Council Strength, which can range from 0 to 200. A Council Strength of 100 represents parity with the Geth. Higher numbers represent Council superiority, while lower numbers represent a Geth advantage. The storyline launched with a Council Strength of 50. Different levels of plot (see below) can have different impacts on Council Strength.
The current primary storyline, the Eden Prime War, will culminate in the Battle of the Citadel. To add some suspense, we're leaving the timing partially up to chance. Beginning about two months after opening (i.e. beginning May 9), we'll roll a d10 every Friday. If the result is a 10, the Battle of the Citadel will occur within the next two weeks. When that happens, the current Council Strength will play a significant role in determining the kinds of situations the PCs face.
We also have several featured secondary storylines for roleplayers to explore and advance via plots. These are:
- The Genophage: Long ago, the Krogan began a war of conquest against the Council. As the war turned against them, the Council deployed a biogenetic weapon, the "genophage", which rendered most Krogans infertile. The Krogan population drastically declined, and they soon lost the war. Many years have passed, and there is now debate about whether or not the Council owes it to the Krogan to cure the genophage.
- Artificial Intelligence: Technology has progressed to the point where it is possible, though difficult, to create conscious synthetic life: not simple "Virtual Intelligences" (VIs) but true Artificial Intelligences. The Council has banned AI research, but it continues here and there nonetheless. Some believe these rogue experiments must be stamped out; others believe that these restrictions are holding the galaxy back.
- Human Biotics: Human civilization is relatively new to the concept of biotics. Biotics live tightly regulated lives and are widely feared by the non-biotic population. As a result, most are forced into military service. There is also a significant population of unlucky "pioneer" biotics, who were implanted with primitive early biotic amps and now suffer serious complications, ranging from migraines to disabling insanity.
Types of Plot
Plots are categorized based upon their potential effects upon the storylines. The more impact a plot could have on storylines, the more staff oversight is required.
Self-contained plots (SCPs) are plots that do not have the potential to directly impact the main storylines. Their impact is focused on plot-specific settings and the characters involved. Examples: Systems Alliance soldiers intercept a pirate attack on a freighter, smugglers try to sneak an especially valuable shipment past C-Sec, intelligence operatives foment revolution to destabilize a planet's government.
Anyone can run an SCP anytime without the need for approval. However, if the plot might affect the setting itself in some way (e.g. by revealing the Reapers, blowing up Earth, killing a Council member) you should talk to staff first.
Miniplots can affect a storyline (primary or secondary) in a small but significant way.
In the Eden Prime War storyline, a miniplot has the potential to change Council Strength by up to 5 points in either direction. For example: defending a small outpost from a geth raid, rescuing a scientist, investigating some ancient ruins on a world the geth just attacked, or convincing an independent faction to lend its assistance to the Alliance.
As for secondary storylines, miniplots cannot significantly alter the course of the storyline, but can (e.g.) reveal new leads or make a difference in a localized area. For example: stealing classified information on the genophage, freeing an AI from a research facility.
Miniplots require prior approval by staff.
Major plots represent pivotal moments that can have a large impact on a storyline. Major plots can be staff run or player run. If player-run, they require staff approval and will likely be run with staff supervision.
In the Eden Prime War storyline, a major plot has the potential to change Council Strength by up to 15 points in either direction. For example: repelling a large-scale Geth attack on a major colony, delivering evidence of Saren's involvement to the Council.
As for secondary storylines, a major plot can make a significant difference in the current status of that storyline. For example: discovering part of a cure for the genophage, exposing a major cover-up of illegal experiments on human biotics.
Critical Plots represent major turning points, where major changes to the setting could occur. These are invariably staff-run. The Battle of the Citadel would be one example of a Critical Plot. The discovery of a cure for the genophage would be another.
How To Run A Plot
Here is a basic checklist for putting a plot together.
- Review the dramatis personae of Mass Effect: Legends and figure out how to hook some of them into a storyline.
- Decide whether you want this to be a self-contained plot or something that impacts the storylines.
- Draft up an outline of the plot. Put together stats for NPCs, outline what might happen.
- If you're running a miniplot or a major plot, explain what's at stake and set out a basic win condition (e.g. "they bring the artifact back to the Alliance for analysis") and a basic loss condition (e.g. "the researcher they're trying to rescue is killed").
- Discuss with staff and get pre-approval.
- Advertise the plot. Ask staff if you want some help drumming up characters.
- Run the plot.
- After the plot concludes, report to staff with the outcome.