ISRP on ENWorld

ISRP | Essentials | Settings | Forums | Who's Online?

Let's talk about what truly puts life into the ISRP Area: storylines. Storylines are what draw patrons again and again to the ISRP Area. Quite like a play or movie, characters may be essential, but it is the story behind it all that makes it flow together. Storylines are essential to this area as they keep things from simply becoming stagnant. We all can remember the major storylines. Storylines can involve one to three to three dozen to as many players and characters as you wish. They can have far-reaching effects, or be forgotten within a week. And yet, theses are all what gives the ISRP Area its sense of adventure. Storylines are the mad scientists screaming, "It's alive! ALIVE!" over the dynamic environment of this site's ISRP Area.

Creating Storylines

Storylines vary greatly, but always contains certain necessary parts. First and foremost is an idea. All storylines start as someone's idea that they wish to see carried out. The trick for creating a dynamic storyline must start at the root. Like a good novel, the same old stuff just doesn't cut it. Ideas are where it all begins. There are several formal storylines and informal storylines running concurrently on this site, reacting to each other as per their style.

The root of a good storyline is a good idea. In a setting such as this, however, you are lucky if your original idea survives your entire storyline. Often, when a storyline gets so sidetracked and turned around that not even its creator can trace its way back, returning to the first, core ideas and concepts behind can help put everything back into focus.

The second step to creating a dynamic storyline is an understanding of the general plot. You should have a plan of sorts for the entire storyline, with a distinct beginning and distinct end. Open-ended storylines have a tendency just to drag themselves out until everyone involved simply becomes utterly sick of it, and it is killed. This is generally where the main characters of a storyline become involved. Often, it is helpful to take the characters that are going to be involved and discuss vaguely OOC about the storyline, and determine what is best for each player. Remember, in ISRP, every player is the DM of his or her own character. NOTHING affects them that they do not choose. Discussing the storyline OOC beforehand can avoid several sticky matters later on. Remember to keep it vague. There's a fine line between getting permission and spoiling the secrets.

Most storylines in the ISRP Area are character-driven. They are based on a series of actions involving a single or a group of PC's. Like a good adventure story or RPG, storylines should strive to develop and flesh out the characters involved. And never, ever forget just how far a good villain can go to motivate PC's.

For good examples of storylines, browse this site further. There is a list of several major storylines that currently have webpages. Also the histories of The CrossRoads Tavern and The Meeting Place have involved several major storylines. Also, more happens in a storyline than just what is done through chat. Always check the message boards, for often-key parts of a storyline manage to find their way there, as well as reactions to these storylines.

If you wish to start a storyline that involves alterations to the current setting, or requires official assistance, contact us at We'll assign you a Magi Coordinator to give you the assistance you require and help get you started.

Common Mistakes

First and by far the most common error: Overpowered Characters. Simply put, if a storyline isn't challenging, then it rarely is interesting. However, when the power level gets onto the such that entire universes and planes are created and destroyed at whim, people often forget that ISRP is 100% voluntary. Just because you say that you can make me cease to be doesn't mean you can if I don't want you to.

Next is the case of the storyline in stasis. If nothing ever happens in the storyline, than it simply does not draw people in. A balance of power, with a sort of arms race between the two factions may seem dangerous and exciting. However, it rarely is so for those involved.

The third most common error is exposure. A good storyline is there if you are looking for one or have some clue of what is involved. It does not overstep its bounds. A common mistake of these storylines is assuming simply that everyone cares, and filling an outlet with information that just really annoys people.

Lastly, remember one of the golden rules of gaming: to each their own. Some people WILL NOT like your storyline. Some people will hunt you down and belittle you about it. When this happens, turn to a Magi. DO NOT take matters into your own hands. Flame Wars on message boards often start this way. Skirting the edge of what is acceptable on this site is often let pass, just so long as you don't break the rules outright. And always remember, a player is sovereign over their character. You can do NOTHING to the PC without the player's permission.

Getting Involved in a Storyline

On the subject of existing storylines, getting involved can easily be likened nto trying to break into the "Popular" crowd in High School. It's very hard until you learn the tricks of it. Storylines have a tendency to be somewhat cliquey, which is understandable. Those running the storyline have no clue just how your PC or anyone else's may affect their storyline. It might change things radically. If you wish to get involved in a storyline, taking a stance that ally yourself with a "side" rarely works. Also, some storylines actually are out there and recruiting. The infamous example of Edena's Alliance vs. the Viyach Lemarg is a classic example of the recruiting storyline. In a way, these storylines are essential. Because of these storylines, a player may get the opportunity to make the friends to allow themselves more participation in other storylines.

Generally, however, entering a pre-existing storyline can be rather hard. Often, the most effective way is to just approach people involved with it and tell them you want to participate. Some may say no, but most people are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Any official storyline will have a Magi placed in charge of it. Since it is part of our job, we also notice just about everything. If you truly wish to get involved with a storyline, a Magi might be able to refer you, but it is doubtful that they will be able to do anything directly. After all, we can't FORCE people to involve anyone in their storylines.

EN World ISRP is powered by FlashChat and vBulletin®. Greyhawk, Planescape and the Forgotten Realms are copyright Wizards of the Coast. Individual characters and specific additions to setting are copyrighted by their creators and used with permission.