RPG Tech Talk (Walks out with large soapbox, put it down, next to the microphone, and steps up.) *Tap, tap...is this thing on...?* So, first I will say welcome, to those brave or adventurous enough who took the time to take a peek and see what this is all about. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.. No wait, wrong intro.. *ahem* Back in the day.. (DANG I SOUND OLD!) in the days of the old boards, we had a forum called: "How We Play Our Games." Several GM's of the day, and plenty of players put in there input on how various games, systems and other ideas about Role Playing Online. Well, now its years later, and different styles and video games have come and gone. New generation of players and their ideas have come out. I think it's time for an update. Well, not so much of an update, as an addition. The old stuff is still out there, and most of the information if still quite valid. Im going to give some ideas of my take on online RPG's (Role playing games), and feel free to jump in with yours. Hopefully, it will give new people an idea on the different ideas that float out there in the net, and what they might look forward to. For one, I will state that on-line style of RPGing is NOTHING like the tabletop version. And I think many people do forget that. When your playing with friends at someone's house, you might role play some character to character interactions and such, or with an NPC, but most of the time, its your group, taking stock of a situation, or getting ready for battle, or dealing with the treasure. But online, you are not in a constant state of preparing for battle, getting to the battle, THE BATTLE, and getting back so you can spend yer loot. On a table, you can see where everyone is, and where everyone is going. When you are online, you must actually ROLE-PLAY those things, so that others in your group know whats going on. Moving around, there is much more downtime between battles. So you have a chance to do something you dont usually do on tabletop games. You actually get a chance to TALK between the other player character. To develop your character, so that other readers and players can learn more about them, just like reading a good novel. So you're not just a 9th level dwarf, who can knock down a wall with a sneeze, but your also a fellow who hates trees and forests, and has whats in his mind, valid reasons for distrusting certain beings. Online RPG requires you to put in a little bit more depth into your characters, since in most games, you are not just a simple stat of numbers. In this instance, online is more like being a writer. The more you put into both your character, the more you will get back, and most likely enjoy the game. Which brings me to another point. Other players want and NEED your feedback. Except for RL (Real Life) issues and emergencies, there should NEVER be a reason for a one line post. EVER. Your character might say one line, but there is so much more to write about. The look on your characters face. Anything physical. Their THOUGHTS. That is another difference on playing online various playing tabletop. As a GM I HATE it when I go through the effort to sit there, and write up a lengthy post, with as much as information as I can come up, for the situation on hand, and I get a two line response. Really? As a GM AND a writer, I would like more feedback and information. The more information I am given to work with, the better my response to the other players. Even if the character dosent say anything, YOU as the writer can. Its not like across the table, where I can SEE if you act out your character, turn your back to the person, snort, scratch your butt, whatever. I cant guess if your character is mad, disgusted, bored, too scared to speak, or whatever. I cant see your face. I cant guess whats going on. Neither than the other people who might be reading the game, trying to decide if they want to play or not. Now I know, that sometimes, writers block is a horrible thing. Sometimes, the words just dont want to come. Everything you write dosent have to be epic. But sometimes, just adding a bit to the basic can help your writers block. Also, remember this is all for a game. For a chance to write and interact with other people. Being that we CANT see each others face, remember that what actions a character does to you, are NOT the same as doing them TO YOU, the PLAYER. If another players character attacks you...they are attacking YOUR CHARACTER, either verbally or physically..or maybe even both. DONT take it personal. It is most likely not personal. It some games, characters can die and will die, depending on the GM. If you cant get out of it, then make it believable. Every character is important in a game. But not ALL of us can be Luke Skywalker, or Princess Leia. Or related to them 20 generations down. Or the babysitter of them. They are people, thrust into a situation, just like anyone else. What made them a hero is how they reacted to the situation. So what, that your character dosent have a last name that is instantly familiar in the 12 quadrants? That dosent mean they are not a hero, or can become one. Usually, when I read that someone is playing a distant cousin, or relative of, and 'borrows' the last name of say a Skywalker, Solo, Organa, etc., the first reaction usually is.. 'Really?' Unless the game is specifically set up in such a way, that the GM is asking for such.. yeah, automatic turn off. Why? Cause you name dropping. 'Gee, look at me, look at who Im related to. 'whoever'. So what? Just because you have the last name of a famous person, dosent mean your any more or less special than anyone else. Course, as a GM, I might LOVE this, because you have automatically set yourself for every venedetta, and attack for any being that has every had the reason to curse your family name! (hehehe) And if that was your intent, then I say good luck. Course, if your character uses a different last name, but is a distance relative, those I accept more readily, but that is just my first impression and opinion. Just be aware, I might not be the ONLY person who thinks the same way. To new players, I say, even if the game looks a little daunting at first, then try PMing the GM (Person who's running the game) before you submit a character sheet. Look at the info the GM wants for his game. Obviously, you like the general idea of the game, if you're thinking of joining. The worse that can happen, is that you dont like it, and you can then simply drop out. If your not sure, ask the GM questions. They might be able to help you out, or steer you towards others who might be able to help you as well. We were ALL beginners at one time. And most of us are a forgiving bunch, understanding that you are new to the RPG. We've all had our rabies shots! There is only one thing I can think of immediately that tends to tick off ALL players, and is the one thing you should be careful NOT to do. And that is: GODMODDING! (Boos and Hisses, thunder and lighting) Godmodding - The act of moving another persons player character around, and/or doing several reactions at once, not giving the other player character or GM that you are interacting with enough time to respond. Let's face it. We can get intense into a game. Especially when the action is going full tilt. This is when this is most likely to happen. Unless you have PM'd someone in advance, and asked them about an idea or action you have had in mind, most game play is done in a turn round. 1: You character does its action, pick up sword and swing, turn on lightsaber and glare, whatever... then you must WAIT... So that the other person has a chance to react, defend, throw up a middle finger, whatever they have deemed as an appropriate response. Why? Because you have no idea WHAT kind of automatic defenses/magic/technology that they have in place, that would stop your attack, or possibly aid it. Whatever the action may be, you MUST give them the opportunity to respond to it. 2: THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS. In some games, the GM has given prior permissions for a player character to interact with, NPC's (Non Player characters) characters that are run by the GM, or another player. In certain things, the GM will allow you to fight off, kill, maim, talk to, or bargain with those characters without having to wait for a response from a GM. Usually, it is for other things, off the main storyline, or perhaps your own back-story that you are exploring, besides the main one the GM is running. If you are not sure.. ask. I have many times, worked on combination posts with other players, so that we didnt have to wait for each other to respond, and we do one large post together. Well, now that I've hit that subject, then I will go to another favorite: PET PEEVES!! of Both Players and GM's What? you say? Common. You know what I am talking about. Things that have burnt out MANY a player and GM. Things that make you grind your teeth when you see it. Everyone is different. Im NOT going to add spelling to the list, because Im not an English teacher. People make mistakes. And not everyone here on the board speaks English as their first language. So I am not going to nit pick. I've had friends who were sight impaired, and when they posted, were BLASTED, because of the spelling mistakes. Spell-check does NOT catch everything. The only thing I ask, is DO NOT USE TEXT SPEAK. This is not a license plate. You are NOT here to save space, by not spelling out the correct word. If everyone ignores you, it MIGHT be because no one can UNDERSTAND you. I do not want to have to try and decipher your post. I do this for fun, not for headaches. So, with that being said. I will add a few more. PLEASE, feel to chime in with a few of your own. Some of these, are things noticed. Not all of these are my own. ENTIRE POST IN CAPS! NUFF SAID! Jedi are NOT Omnipotent. If that was the case, Order 99 would have never happened. They do NOT SEE EVERYTHING in the FORCE. THEY CANT SIMPLY JUST READ SOMEONE'S MIND in an instant. ESPECIALLY against another FORCE USER. That, I posted in caps for a reason. I see it far too much. I think a Jedi, if scanning a being, touches on a thought that is current, and in the forefront of their mind or memories, yes the Jedi could possibly read that. If the person is planning to slit their throat in the near future, then yes, I could see the Jedi picking up on that as well. But, as a character, if Im not actively doing anything evil, not thinking of any certain act, or anything else that might telegraph my intentions, then no Jedi should suddenly point at me and yell out - "YOU'RE A SITH!" To do something that in-depth into a beings mind, is something that is NOT done 3 seconds after meeting them. And if Im a Force User, better believe I have SOME skills, against casual readings. It will take time and effort. Neither are you going to SCAN my equipment with the Force in 30 seconds or less, and know what I have. And unless you character is a mechanic or builder, they DARN SURE not going to figure out how it works instantly as well! The Force can give a player a general 'something is very wrong here' feeling, a general direction, and you know that your well being is being endangered. Your fast reflexes and perception are what usually keep Jedi safe. The Force does NOT scream out at you, that "HEY, there is a guy on the 3rd floor, 2 blocks away, who is about to shoot you in the head!" Jedi got killed. Jedi got killed by ordinary people. Its not EASY, but it can be done. REMEMBER THAT. Guess what? Sith are not omnipotent either. Same rules apply. They all do not stomp around, growling at everything that moves. Their eyes are not always glowing red, nor do they have an aura, that sucks life out of everything in a ten foot radius. They dont glow red. If they did, this would be a rather constant energy drain on their bodies, and it would show. Why would you want to constantly spending out energies, just so you can 'LOOK' evil? Also draws the Jedi straight to you. Again, why? Also, the Sith for the most part, do not do cheap villains parlor tricks. Notice I said for the most part. Some do. Just be prepared for the consequences. Not everyone in the universe knows what a Sith is in MOST time periods. They just think some are rogue Jedi gone bad. The name does not INSTANTLY have folks cowering in fear. Also, not all Sith throw lighting. Its a rather rare skill. Because it's power is drawn from the USER, using their hate and rage. So it drains them. Even Sidious was careful in its use. Emo Characters Okay. Emotional issue characters. I will be the first one, to say, that yes, a character with a turbulent past can make for interesting reason. Especially if they can escape from their past, or use that past to build up a believable character. Not every evil person had a bad upbringing. Some came from rather privileged homes. Angry characters are fine. But have a real reason for them to be angry. If done right, they can be used to an advantage. Overpowered This is for any character..not just Force users, but any game systems. Everyone has a weakness. Most have more than one! In a superhero world, a being who can walk around without consequences, is a very BORING CHARACTER, and not fun to read at all. "Oh gee look, I can bounce bullets off my chest, walk thru a burning burning, and my teeth sparkle when I smile." YAWN. What makes a story is drama. Conflict. how a being deals with what is happening to them, while dealing with the fun of staying alive as well. If there is no danger, no intrigue, why are you here? Go stroke your ego someplace else. Write fan fiction. This is NOT a console game! This one I see a lot. Characters in a game, that seem to have powers WAAAAY over what is usually considered normal from the regular gaming system rules. Especially if your character is just starting out at as a beginner. You know what I mean. Player: "Can I yank a starship outta the sky?" GM: "No." Player: "Can I rip off the top of that mountain, and toss it at my enemy?" Gm: Growling. "Are you superman?" (Looks at sheet) "No. and No." Player: "Well, can I at least cast a fireball spell, that takes the entire town, so I can just walk in and grab the treasure?" GM: *Resists the urge to strangle..* NO! And no tactical nukes, death stars, and dont you dare mention creating a black hole..! Player: . . . Again, check with your GM first! It will save you lots of trouble, and your GM's sanity! Posting, posting, all around a posting... Okay. We all know we do this for fun. And as such, real life, takes precedence over everything. Sith happens. We all must take time away from the keyboard. Out of respect for the other players, however, it is considered VERY NICE, and very appreciated, if you would at least let the GM know that you must leave. Of course, is something happens, like sudden net loss, we understand those types of things. But if you KNOW you are leaving, please let us know. You could be holding up other players as well. (Heheh...what do you know.. My router died as I was writing this up. It must be Karma, wanting to make sure I add it in.) But what is REALLY annoying, is when you are waiting for someone to post, and you notice that person is posting EVERYWHERE else on the boards... but not the game. They can chat lengthy about a new game that has come out, or another game, or even work on a fan group or contest. But you cant come and post SOMETHING to the game that YOU joined, so that others in the group are not left stuck, while waiting for a post? Even if you post, OOC to say something, is better than simply acting like the game you asked to join does not exist. Im not saying you cant post to all those other fun places on the boards, of course not. Thats what they are their for. But to ignore.. for DAYS on end a game, is just rude. Especially if the game has ground to a halt, as the GM tries to wait for others to respond. Im sure many a GM has burned out from gaming, because they got tired of waiting...and waiting..and waiting. A GM should not have to NAG their players, if the GM has posted information for them to work with. Enough on THAT subject. And enough of this for now. Time for something fun now. ======================================== So now, I will hit you (Looks up to see everyone has ducked behind their chairs...) Come one, guys! Questions! Hit you with some questions. (Sheesh, you use a pike staff just ONE time...) 1. Do you prefer a 'hands on' style of game, or a 'freestyle' type of play? To explain, a hand-on type of game is one that closely monitored by the GM. The GM sets up the intro of the game, and gets them started. Players and GM then interact with each other as their characters move about, and they get their cues from the GM. Most (but not ALL) interactions exist between the players and the GM who describes the world around them. You play in rounds, TAGGING the other players and GM in turn. This is more like a tabletop game. Freestyle, is when the GM sets up the game, gets the players started, and then the rest is totally up to the players to run. The game is loosely structured, with the GM only stepping in, when they players ask specific questions to them, or when a situation comes up that the GM needs to step in, in order to steer the game in the direction he wants it to take, or to introduce new scenarios. Many people enjoy this type of play. Only issue I see with this scenario, is that sometimes, it is more difficult for a new player to jump into. Especially, if they dont know any of the players already in the game, or if players are spread out in various places. 2. Next question, as either a GM or a player..what is your number one pet peeve? Be nice. Do NOT call out anyone specific. Just give us an idea of the issue. Sometimes, we all like to stretch ourselves, and play games in other things besides Star Wars. Nothing wrong with that. So, besides Star Wars, (Which Im guessing in number one, being on a Star Wars board and all.. ) What other types of games do you like? Example: Other Science Fiction /Star Trek/Stargate Superheroes Apocalypse/Mad Max setting Zombies Horror Mystery Harry Potter DnD/ADnD/Fantsy Crossovers Anything else I havent mentioned. Rate them in order of what you would prefer, with one being the highest. Might be useful for those trying to plan that next big game. ---- Just trying to start a discussion here. NO FLAMEWARS. Just discussions. I'll put on the asbestos suit now, just in case. Hopefully, this will start some USEFUL discussions about gaming in general. Would especially like to hear from folks new to RPG. Laters!