Big Brother
 member, 448 posts
 Who controls the past...
 ... Controls the future.
Sat 26 May 2018
at 17:12
When will you WRAITH?
Because let's face it, that's a much cooler-sounding question than "How do you Shadow Guide on RPOL?" But that's my real question.

As I see it, there are four methods of running a Shadow for a Wraith game on RPOL, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. I'd like your thoughts on these methods.

[1] Shadow Guides. As the book says, players run for each other. Benefits wise, it's the way things are done in the book, so the players won't kvetch. Added benefit, no extra work for the ST (above and beyond the usual that is) and the players get to screw one another over (which may or may not be a benefit, but they'll probably do it anyway, so...).

Drawbacks? Numerous and varied. Keeping any one player in a game on RPOL can be touch and go; trying to keep a player that is a Shadow Guide? Ri-ight. There's a good chance you're going to be switching Shadow Guides far too regularly for comfort. The set-up time for Shadow Guides on RPOL is painfully long because first you have to set up the character, then you also have to set up the Shadow. And those are just the beginning.

[2] Shadow ST. You could have a ST specially dedicated to being a Shadow Guide for all the NPCs. Down side is you have to find someone willing to do that (although you may get a PC willing to play the part). Upside is, if you can find out they can probably be fairly effective.

[3] ST as Shadow Guide. Upside? You know it all anyway, right? Downside? What, you didn't have enough to do already?

[4] Player-as-Shadow Guide. Benefit is, player knows his character better than anyone else, including you, the ST. Drawback? It depends largely on how willing the player is to screw him- or herself over. Because, ultimately, that's what the Shadow's purpose is - to screw the PC over.

Now, I've been on RPOL for 13+ years, and in that time I've played three Wraith games. Two of them used the standard Shadow Guide system (1) and one of them allowed me to Shadow Guide myself (4). A fourth would have used the ST as Shadow Guide method (3) but it never got off the ground. I personally feel like [4] works best - but that drawback really is a major drawback. So ultimately the question is: what do you feel is the best way to do things?
 forum moderator, 1899 posts
 seek to understand before
 you seek to be understood
Sun 27 May 2018
at 06:22
When will you WRAITH?
All the wraith games I've played on here had Shadow STs. They were basically co-GMs. They worked well that way in my opinion - the main ST could focus on the actual game, and the players focused on playing their own characters.
 member, 3 posts
Tue 12 Jan 2021
at 17:18
When will you WRAITH?
One of the flaws of 1) [in general] is that you need a shadow who can actually entice a player to change their mind.  It's way too easy for a player who wants to "win" to just go, "Well my shadow just said x, so that's probably a bad idea."  {a good shadow would have the same player questioning every statement or silence on the part of the shadow}  On the other hand, a shadow could easily go too far the other direction and essentially kill off the character too soon for a satisfying game.  [or at least have the ST's brain explode trying to keep the dummy alive despite making the worst decisions ever.]

3) also has the downside of increasing down time for players [ST shadow running with Bob means at that time ST is not running the campaign with everybody else]  This is more true if the RPG is in real time, but if there is a high post time, the posts with Bob can distract from the main-line campaign stuff [or vice versa] -- and from what I have seen in other forums down time at crucial moments can kill a game.

If you can get #2 it sounds like the most satisfying.