....Why I Hate Metaplots....
Eric's Rant #1! Collect them all!
I really hate the metaplots that are creeping into many role-playing games these days. I really, really, really hate them on a deep philosophical level. Granted, my biggest grief comes with White Wolf's metaplot, but I don't like any of them, really.
What's a metaplot? If you don't know by now, consider yourself lucky. I really can't give a good definition of "metaplot," (gee, it's not in my dictionary) but I'll try.
Okay, first of all, the prefix "meta-" is often used, in a clinical sense, with the name of a scholarly discipline to designate a new but related discipline designed to deal critically with the original discipline. For example, "metaphysics" is a discipline that deals with regular physics, metamathematics is the critical study of mathematics itself, metapsychology deals with the critical study of psychology, and so on. "Meta-" has also gained a secondary, non-scholarly meaning. This second definition of "meta-" is used to indicate that something is more important or affects another thing. It's this second meaning that gets used in "metaplot." ("Plot," incidentally, is "the plan or main story of a dramatic work," according to Merriam-Webster.)
So... A metaplot is a plot that is more important than other plots. A metaplot is a grand, over-reaching plot that affects and controls all other plots. A metaplot is the master of all subservient plots.
Now you know what a metaplot is. Why don't I like them? Well, let me first tell you what White Wolf's being doing with their metaplot.... (Oh, and I'm only going to focus on the Vampire metaplot. Sure, it intersects with the Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Hunter and Wraith metaplots, but let's just focus on one thing, shall we?)
Simply put, White Wolf is bringing about Gehenna, the fabled last days of Vampires in which the world ends and all that jazz. (Of course, they probably will never actually bring about the end of the world - after all, it's not fun to play a game set after everything is dead.....) How are they doing this? Metaplot!
Here is a small list, in no particular order, of the things that have happened in the White Wolf "canon" between Second Edition and the Revised Edition. Please, do your best not to laugh too much, but remember.... According to White Wolf, all of this has happened in the game world!
Where to begin....
I'm certain there are more things, I think that's enough for now, right? I haven't even talked about the other game's metaplots (which impact all of this stuff), but I figured this was enough.
See, the problem is, no matter what your players do, this stuff will happen. You have no way of preventing or affecting any of this! (Except for the bombing NYC stuff, I guess). No matter what your GM wants to do, according to White Wolf, all of this stuff must happen, will happen and has happened! You have no choice! A number of the rules in Third Edition incorporate these changes (such as the new version of certain Disciplines, such as Quietus). As more and more Third Edition supplements come out, it's getting harder and harder to separate the metaplot from the rules....
Now, I don't know about you, but I like choices. I like being able to have my game affect the world, instead of having the world affect my game.... I want to have my players, my characters, my game affect the world around it, instead of the world around the game affecting my players.... I could go on and on, finding ways to state this, but it all boils down to one thing: I want to have active players, not reactive players.
So, what's a person to do? Well, what I've decided to do is simple.
I like 99% of the reworked rules, so we're using them. We're just ignoring every single bit of metaplot we can! Heh! It's a simple plan, really....
And there isn't really any more to say on that topic, is there?