What's the Difference: Plot and Lore

Discussion in 'Role-Play Discussion' started by Trinket, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. Some might think they're the same thing. Others might have site lore but its not called lore. What is the difference to you? And do you prefer a plot based game, a character driven game or a lore driven game or a combination thereof?
  2. RaWolfe

    RaWolfe Resident Game Owner

    On same additions it can be the same, a site that is not big enough can see it as the same I mean. But on those sites it is called a plot. But when you look at sites that got 250+ members then you see a difference. You see that they got a Lore that is the blood line of their board and plots as little stories that add towards that Lore. This is my experience in this case....also Lore is also sometimes called an Arc.
  3. Also depends if it's a canon RP or not, and how far history goes back.
  4. I would say that for me, they are entirely different things. To my mind:

    Lore is background information. History, geography, society, politics, law, economics, biology... In other words, worldbuilding.

    Plot is the sequence of events specifically related to roleplay. This overlaps a little bit with lore because it can include the events immediately leading up to the current situation, but it also includes the story that emerges in the course of play as well as (sometimes) the direction in which things are supposed to head.

    This basically covers what I personally mean when I use these words. I actually had no idea that others used them differently. I guess I should try to be more clear on what I mean in the future.

    As for what I prefer? I like having the ability to impact and build upon both, but I strongly prefer lots of pre-defined lore to a pre-defined plot. Simply put, my favorite thing is a big, well-established sandbox to play in and shape. Funnily, that's the opposite of what I like in video games.
    Star Army, Elena, Shriker and 3 others like this.
  5. Claire

    Claire Resident

    This is pretty much my take on it too. Even with smaller sites the lore is the information of the world and the plot is the active story.
    Elena likes this.
  6. Lore is the framework upon which your character can lean and be fleshed out. Plot, to me, consists of the events that move the overall storyline forward.
    Star Army likes this.
  7. DJVoxel

    DJVoxel Newcomer Game Owner

    Lore is the events that transpired before any character joined the storyline, and plot is anything that happened after.
  8. BlueSalix

    BlueSalix Fresh Blood

    My interpretation:

    Plot is the overall driving point of the IC world. The plot centers around events and provides a backdrop for the IC storylines.

    Lore is the actual background information of the IC world, explaining culture, history and peoples/ species.

    I love both honestly! I think they work as companions when used to explain the setting and give players an overall grasp of the game world.
  9. Nen

    Nen Newcomer

    I agree with most that Lore is the background information that enriches the world that you've built, information pertaining to history, culture, predefined hierarchies, etc. Whereas plot is the current meddling of characters, the path that they currently follow.

    I believe that plot stems from lore-- and if a game goes on long enough, and the plots affect the way that the world functions, current plot can become future lore without a lot of hassle.
    lyrebird likes this.
  10. varos

    varos Newcomer

    Personally, I prefer character-driven roleplays.

    Using my site as an example, we have lots of lore, but no plot. The lore is to give a depth to the world in which we are roleplaying, and our lore covers things like species and their histories, as well as Gods. But for plot, we have nothing. We didn't want the constraints of a site-wide plot, meaning characters can do whatever they like. We offer a variety of activities such as quests for them to participate in, but these are controlled by the characters and their actions.
    lyrebird likes this.
  11. Artemis

    Artemis Newcomer

    To me, Lore is the background of the setting. This is stuff characters and players cannot change or have any affect on. Plot is a direction set in motion by the creator of the rp but filled in by the players. The plot can be fully effected by the characters and players.
  12. I don't agree that players can't affect lore. Maybe what's already been defined should be set in stone, but who's to say that a character can't, for example, refer to a heretofore unmentioned historical event, thus expanding on what's already there? I can see why that would be a scary thing for plenty of game masters, and it obviously won't work in some circumstances, but I love seeing it happen in a group of creative and trustworthy roleplayers who understand the world as it has been established.
    Elena likes this.
  13. Star Army

    Star Army Resident Game Owner

    My site has a system for how lore and plot interact with each other.

    First let me define them:
    • Lore is information about the setting. When you're worldbuilding, you're adding to the site's lore.
    • Plots are the stories and continuity of what's happening. When you're roleplaying, you're adding to the plot.
    On my site:
    • All of the "mainstream" plots are considered "soft canon." You can base other RPs on them and they generally don't change, but you probably won't see it unless you read someone else's RP threads.
    • All of the approved lore is considered "firm canon." This is the information that's on the wiki that our RP community shares, and is the common basis for our setting. Changing it should be avoided because people make RP plans based on this stuff.
    • When they combine, that's our "hard canon." If something happened in the RP and the wiki has that written up, that's the absolute reality of the setting. The only way this can change is with a retcon and that isn't taken lightly because it would invalidate people's RP.
    We aim to turn all plot events into site lore.

    The two flows toward hard canon are:
    1. Setting/lore idea > WIP Wiki article > Staff Approval (becomes firm canon) > RP about that (add soft canon) > Update article (becomes hard canon)
    2. RP about something (soft canon) > Write a wiki about what happened (add the firm canon) > Staff Approval (becomes hard canon)
    I have a thread on this and a wiki article that discusses this in more detail if you're curious how I handle this in my community.
    lyrebird likes this.
  14. Archaeon

    Archaeon Resident Game Owner

    I know that other people have already said this but I have to agree. Lore is the setting and all of the background information. The site may not call 'lore' specifically it could be setting or information or something else altogether.

    I would say that the plot or plots are the story. Most sites have several going on at the same time. The main plot that is the premise of the game, smaller character driven plots revoloving around interpersonal relationships and sometimes big set pieces for people to get involved with if they want to.
    Elena likes this.
  15. TheDarkHour

    TheDarkHour Newcomer

    I always saw the lore as a guide book or lexicon.
  16. Icewolf

    Icewolf Newcomer Game Owner

    I wouldn't consider them to be the same thing. Lore is the setting of the game, the races, geography, history, politics, the magic system, stats, (if the game is like DnD or World of Darkness.)

    Plot is what happens to individual characters in the role-play. There might be some over-lap because some games might have a brief starter plot to explain the site's setting and you go from there. Plot might become the lore of a game if the game lasts long enough and individual plots have an effect on other characters.
  17. Sage

    Sage Newcomer

    I agree with everything that's been said. Lore consists of the building blocks - it's the individual pieces that fit together to build the larger world/setting that you're writing in. Whereas plot is the active story. When a plot moves forward into something new, the old plot then becomes lore as it becomes a solid piece of the world you've built together.

    I go inbetween preferring one over the other. Right now, I prefer plot-heavy games with heavy involvement from all parties. In the past, I've preferred lore-heavy games that are more of a sandbox, where you're given the setting and the world mechanics and then it's up to you to interact with it and make a plot of your own.
  18. Marin

    Marin Newcomer Game Owner

    It's sort of weird to compare the two, in my eyes.

    Lore serves the function of world building and a plot serves the function of adding structure and direction. I can spend hours writing tons of lore, but without a plot to give it direction people might just be lost amongst it all. It would just be one big sandbox to play in without any readily apparent goals in mind. Similarly, a plot without any lore may come off as lacking depth and people participating may feel railroaded because of it. They have nothing but the big arrow pointing them where they need to go, after all. It's like an action game where you just follow a trail of bad dudes to the final bad dude, beating them all up to advance.

    A plot is relevant to the lore and the lore is relevant to a plot, but only in the sense that two puzzle pieces combine to form a greater picture. Or at least, that's where I draw the line.
  19. benarndtbb

    benarndtbb Fresh Blood

    A few people have made this distinction between liking plot/lore in role-playing games vs. video games. It raises a good point to keep in mind when running role-playing games, and one of their biggest strengths. In role-playing games, (table-top games at least) the players can influence and help create the lore. Video games are a one-way medium. You can create lore in your head, certain games revolve around that act (Journey, Overwatch) but there is no way of influencing the canon.

    Tabletop roleplaying does something really cool, where a player can shape the history of a world, and of other players through developing their own.
  20. FriedKilamari

    FriedKilamari Newcomer Game Owner

    These are the definitions I use as well, and will be using while throw in my .02 cents.

    I love sites with rich lore, but not so rich that it feels like you'll never, ever be able to fit in. This can definitely be the downfall of a site, especially if people feel like they're forced to read and know every tiny detail.

    When sites give me enough lore that I can start to make up my own plots and get others involved? Count me in. Nothing's better, in my book! And when a site does have a site wide plot, I enjoy it even more, especially when I can choose whether or not I want to participate in it.

    Plot can also create new lore, which is even better. It lets me as a member feel involved!