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Lydil Wraps Up Echoes Storyline and Asks for Your Feedback

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GM Lydil leaves the closing and thanks for the Wihliam Storyline (he called it Echoes) at the Officials, and asks for feedback! See you in the Free Port!

Category: Towns
Topic: Solhaven

Date: 07/31/2018 10:26 PM CDT
Subj: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback
The journey to the Bleaklands where Wihliam was freed from the temporal bubble he was trapped inside marked the formal finish to the Echoes storyline. I would like to thank everyone who joined in the fun over course of things, whether it was partaking in the invasion, helping to solve the mystery, or just spending some time being involved in things that were taking place. I had intended to get this out much sooner, but was rather delayed with it due to a lot going on this past month. For that you have my apologies, to go along with my thanks for participating and hope that you will continue to do so going forward.

On this side of things I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank those who helped allow and make the Echoes storyline happen. A thank you to GMs Galene and Tamuz for their approvals and support, GM Valyrka as an ever reliable sounding board, and GM Kaikala for her ever timely QCing and help in things large and small.

Finally I would love to hear feedback from anyone who participated during the Echoes storyline as to how they felt about it – both what you enjoyed, as well as what you did not or could have been improved. While I believe many had a fun time throughout, I know there were things that could have been done better, and thus wish to hear both the good and the bad to improve for next time.

See you in the Free Port!


Date: 07/31/2018 10:55 PM CDT
Subj: Re: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback
I enjoyed the storyline tremendously. I was curious to see how things would wind up, and had fun theorizing about the causes and what should be done to resolve the problems. The mix of quiet, friendly RP and the invasions was a fun one. And it still feels as though there’s unresolved questions that could lead into an interesting future story!

For the downsides, I feel the late start (which I realize is both player and GM availability) and sometimes plodding pace of the events could both be improved on. It felt sometimes as though what was obvious to you as the author was not at all obvious to us and we were flailing, rather than purposefully dragging things out.

All in all though, I very much liked it and wish we could see more!

— Evrali’s player

Date: 08/01/2018 12:00 AM CDT
Subj: Re: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback
I enjoyed Echoes very much, and I hope that the plot hooks that were set as part of it will grow in future storylines. I finally got my fond wish for a bard to be the source of trouble rather than those limelight-hogging sorcerers and wizards 😉

Somewhat disorganized thoughts–
* The invasions were fun, challenging, and not frustrating — A+.
* I really appreciated the time you took to include everyone who turned out to play in different ways.
* I always love field trips to new locations.

Looking forward to more Solhaven tomfoolery!

/seo, wheels and skulls department/

Date: 08/01/2018 12:16 AM CDT
Subj: Re: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback
My fun this time around:

— Lots of invasions that were well paced, well spread out levelwise through our two usual stretches that support such, and had something just about perfect for me to beat on without steamrolling or (usually) being overwhelmed. The invasions were my main draw this time around, due to the confluence of apparent story topic (more on that later), my energy levels, and how well they were structured. The invasions made perfect sense in the framework of the story, not just as an add-on but as an integral part of the story pacing and content. Very cohesive, A++ would punch furry faces again.

— Seeing the threads of what happened over time get drawn together to provide a more cohesive picture, culminating in the trip to the Bleaklands, which was an excellent capstone. I like when we get to go places we don’t normally, and cool things happened there, stuff was better understood, etc.

— You are good at drawing people in who show up and take an interest and put themselves forward. It’s been clear in the scope and execution of this storyline that the enjoyment of players and the fostering of their involvement in your story has been your primary concern, not just projecting a static tale on a wall for others to admire.

— You seemed to be letting players drive the flow of information in their ways, and utilized their character inclinations and interaction circumstances to varying degrees to do it. Much of this story felt more player-driven than GM-driven, with regards to unraveling the mysteries of Wihliam, and in formulating and executing the final plan to get him out of his straits once we found him in the Bleaklands.

My turnoffs this time around:

— I’ll echo (heh) the sentiment that there were times when progress in unraveling the mystery of what was going on seemed to stall, where the people trying to glean information from or about Wihliam were basically drawing a blank and no new information seemed to be forthcoming. More positive feedback during speculation sessions where NPCs were present may have been useful, and/or more/different hints when people seemed to be hitting the wall. It made some sessions drag and feel like running in place with no apparent forward progress.

— The climax night in the Bleaklands, while really cool in general, was really REALLY long. Really long. All parts of it were long. Before wagon ride was long. Wagon rides were long. Exploration of cave was long. We had some people bail in the cave before seeing Wihliam due to running out of time. I almost did before the end, too, which would have been tragic, because then I wouldn’t have gotten to growl at Bristenn. And we all know that was the best bit of dialogue to happen in recent history.

My mixed feelings this time around:

Subject material didn’t really hook me personally. This is due in large part to my current focal character having a low opinion of entertainers in general and really not giving half a damn about this minstrel who kept popping up, despite the oddity of the different ages/presentations of the echoes. (And since the aforementioned focal character is a bard, I kinda feel bad that I didn’t immediately get hooked, but I lay that at the feet of the bard-trope-subverting character, not some failure to hook a bard with a bardy storyline. How many more times can I fit ‘bard’ into this parenthetical statement? Bard bard bard. Bard many times.)

From a storytelling standpoint and more objectively, I thought this was a very cool story. It seems so little is done with bards and music in GS storylines, outside of straight up bard-related release events. I really enjoyed how music and magic made up the core of this story and how it tied in with our changing game world re: Talador. It managed to feel localish and not a world-shaking cataclysmic event but also stretched beyond the immediate Solhaven environs and tied in the northern Empire region with the other attacks reported by Malvernus and coming from the east, us going to the source, etc. I liked how well-seated the story felt in the world around me. It enlivened the game and added depth to the environment with its perspective and progression of events.

This is one of those I felt I could best admire and appreciate as a story once the storyline ended and we had all the pieces, but as it was unraveling, mostly I was just looking forward to invasions and throwing out the occasional snarky dialogue/mychars. I think I would have been more actively engaged reading this one as a short story or a novella than I was having it unfold around me. But I think that’s very much on me and where my energy levels and my character’s personality were and are, rather than a judgment on the quality of the story or its execution.

-the mule that pulls the jackwagon

Walsor Gryhm says, “Hmm, a most impressive weapon of note. I’ll give you 16 silver coins for it.”
You think to yourself, “This deal is getting worse all the time.”

Date: 08/01/2018 06:20 AM CDT
Subj: Re: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback
I have to say I enjoyed this story very much. I loved that the invasions were grouped into areas allowing all players regardless of levels to jump in and that they made sense in context with the story.

The poor bard…the night he exclaimed something like “It’s not supposed to be happening like this!” before unravelling as Mynon attempted to stop his frantic flight caused me, the player, to shed a few tears. And for that I give you an A+++++. Been a while since I have felt deep empathy (pun intended) for an NPC. And I found it refreshing that you chose a bard to be the focus of your story. I personally enjoy a good story that chooses a class that is not the typical evil sorcerer or power hungry wizard. It allowed Dirra to grow and form opinions about bards and for that I am grateful.

Sadly the real world was terribly nasty for me during the foray into the Bleaklands but I heard good things! I will always regret that Dirra never got the chance to tell him that everything will be alright as she had promised him on two separate occasions. And that regret is now woven into her character and she will carry it always. And that is the mark of a good story when a character walks away changed by what has occurred.

I will echo the one criticism shared here that when we were gathered about speculating and a little or a whole lot off base, a nudge provided might have helped. As simple as an emote/npc wandering through the Market offering a rumour or different perspective of things to get us thinking in a different direction. But that criticism for me is small. To date this has been my favourite Solhaven experience.

In terms of length it was perfect for me. Gave me enough time to become curious, become invested and then care greatly about the outcome. I love that you included everyone, and I can imagine that is a feat as tremendous as herding a gaggle of geese So good job! I would love to see more of this! So keep it coming!

Dirra’s player

Date: 08/02/2018 06:47 PM CDT
Subj: Re: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback

-The invasions were a nice touch in that they provided a sense of urgency to the situation. It’s also always appreciated that they range in levels throughout the environs, giving almost all characters inclined the ability to participate and even use the siege towers. That sort of inclusion goes a long way, particularly for more casual or more shy/reserved players.
-Tie-ins with other storylines and hooks for future ones are always fantastic. As a player I’ve always really, really enjoyed when a GM uses existing lore/places/works within the setting rather than simply rewriting it. With familiarity (say, Wihliam being from Oire, travelling through places most of our characters are aware of or have actually been to) comes a more cohesive feeling of immersion, and lends a lot of weight to the setting lore and worldbuilding- this in turn fleshes out the RP of the game and is really just delightful. There’s a time and a place to create new lore and I feel you as a GM do it in a well thought out and mindful way that feels more ingrained than tacked on.
-Timeframes, both the length of the storyline and the usual timing of the events. While some events ran deep into the night, having storyline stuff happening in the early evenings makes it much easier to attend for a fair number of us central and eastern time zone players.

Negatives: (more like constructive criticism though)

-While it was a mystery sort of affair and of course we’re supposed to be figuring it, coming from a tabletop DM perspective here, sometimes what one might think is obvious to others is really rather obscure. Sometimes being tossed a bone or two with a little wink wink helps us push the speculation and player-driven parts along- of course, that’s not to say players just want to be handed a map and told where to go, but nudges definitely help us get more into the swing and play along.
-The pace got a little slow at times with no measurable success/progression, mostly in part to the previous criticism, but also (not a critique of the storyline and storytelling and instead just an observation) because we’re all uhh adults and have adult things to do and sometimes the town’s gonna be empty. Nothing anyone can really do about that. Unlike Wihliam, we can’t go back to the good ole days of high school and college olo

All in all I really enjoyed what I could attend. What I always find refreshing are the more personal, down to earth storylines, where even when the stakes become high, the stakes are things in which our characters have an investment. As an aside, I always like to see players that aren’t established old timers like many of us get involved and interact with the NPCs (and actually have that be reciprocated, as well), and as a GM I think you’re a fantastic example of that. It’s one of those things that can turn a more casual or more shy/reserved player onto RP and interaction with the sandbox at large, and anything that encourages that sort of creativity and community spirit is a good thing.

Keep it up my guy and keep up the good work, ’cause we all really look forward to your next storyline!

-james, bristenn’s player

You think to yourself, “FFF-“
A giant white bunny hurls a powerful lightning bolt at you!
You evade the bolt by a hair!

Date: 08/30/2018 10:57 PM CDT
Subj: Re: Echoes – Thank You and Feedback
I wanted to thank everyone who provided feedback on the Echoes storyline, whether here on the forums or in person at Simucon. I do appreciate you all taking time to go over the good and bad and what could be improved in your eyes. It is also good to hear that overall the storyline was enjoyed, and it is my hope to continue that with the next storyline to take place down the road.