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Reference The RPF Rules Discussion - Now Discussing: Writing Violence

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by Imperial_Hammer, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    Alright... here's the game plan.

    - Gonna lock the old awards
    - Gonna lower the 100 post limit to 50 for this time only. This is a provisional solution and we (this has been discussed w/ Saintheart) hope during and after the awards, we can come up with better one. We recognize the need to have something here, for as the last awards showed, nominating games in the character sheet submitting phase is nothing but arbitrary hype. However, we, along with you guys, cannot easily peg when the true merits of an RPG begin to show themselves. And as this thread shows, this is a hot topic for discussion. We believe 50 posts is a good temporary neutral point that both acknowledges the need for some level, yet recognizes both the position we are currently in when it comes to activity here, as well as the arguments from the "potential-at-1st-post" side. I am confident by the winter awards, we'll have a better standard to go by.
    - Gonna make sure the do-not-nominate list has the right games upon for nomination, consistent w/ NP's old standard.
    - Gonna add a "Best Opening" to the RPF All Stars
    - Gonna make a little more specific some of the language in the awards rules

    When the new thread comes up, probably sometime tonight, people may re-nominate. Also, because of this confusion, any people who do not renominate but did vote in the other thread will not have their votes disqualified if they do not re-vote. I would prefer that you did, but you don't have to.

    I am also going to launch a new thread here. I've seen a few posts drifting around recently saying how activity is so low now. In order to get some objective measure of this, I will be launching a tracking thread to monitor each board's number of posts clocked over some regular interval of time. I hope this will be able to dispel some fears in this community of collapse (or cataclysmic slowdown), as well as maybe allow us to see some seasonal and long term trends.

    -I_H
  2. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Sweet Smoking Conan, I leave you guys alone for 12 hours and look what you did to Hammer! :D

    Just a minor note on the slowdown issue: it's purely anecdotal, but I think I was reading somewhere that board traffic (I mean the entire board system, not just our domain) is down about 70% or so on normal levels, which probably contributes. Having said that Hammer's exercise is going to be *very* interesting, methinks.

    From my personal point of view, my guitar gently weeps to watch Boba and Wings debating this subject ... because they both have very good and valid points of view. I'd also like to acclaim LightWarden's thought as a really good one, and hopefully a decent solution to the problem.

    From my perspective (for which I'm happy to be shouted down or hit with e-tomatoes) I don't think you can acclaim a game as Best RPG just because it has a really good opening. There's something more to an RPG (IMHHO) than that. Summarising what would otherwise be a long and pointless rant on the issue of game abandonment, it comes down to this: if you're not running the game properly, you aren't fulfilling the two big criteria (IMHO) for a successful game: a good startup and good maintenance. Arbitrary game abandonment for no good reason immediately after CSes have been submitted offends the rule of good maintenance, because it does nothing but annoy those people who've spent the time building up a good/bad character for inclusion in your game. It's mistreating your guests, and good hosting is as important as a good venue in my mind.
  3. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    *readies the e-tomatoes* :p

    I totally agree with what you say...but only when it comes to 'Best RPG'.

    'Best New RPG', however...I feel you can't prioritise good maintenance when some of the games won't have had the chance to display it. A few games will be the maximum age of three months old and will be well maintained, sure. But then others will be just a few weeks old. They can't really display the same consistent GM involvement, as they haven't been around long enough to do so. But this is their one and only chance to win Best New RPG...

    So I figure that good maintenance is necessarily much less of a consideration when judging Best New RPG, if only to keep an even playing field. As a consequence, other factors, such as the opening or the creativity of the concept, become more important.
  4. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    Well Winged_Jedi, I guess the heart of my disagreement with you stems from the fact that nobody who joined Titanomachy did so for the experience of creating character sheets and getting excited about the abortive attempt at creating a game. The games are intended to make it to IC posts and players join with the aim of making IC posts. The game never made it that far, and so, despite its brilliant opening post, completely and utterly failed at what it was supposed to do. It didn't fulfill, for its prospective players, the bare minimum requirement, the absolute least that they can expect from a game - that is, that it get off the ground.

    Presentation is valuable, but the hope of the players is that they will then be able to Play Roles within that world. Titanomachy did not deliver this. The reasoning behind the 100 post requirement seems to be to ensure that there is a reasonable basis upon which to form an opinion of whether or not the game is not only functioning as a game, but is in fact the best one. The award is for Best Game, not for I-Assume-This-Will-Prove-to-be-a-Good-Game, or-Would-Have-Been.
  5. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    I just don't think ICing is the bare minimum. I think an opening post is the bare minimum. But yes- it was still a failure. I don't deny it.

    I just think it should be recognised for the things it did do well...and in my opinion those things were enough for it to be eligible for Best New RPG- not that it should win, just that if a crappy concept with 100 posts can be nominated, so should a great concept with few posts.

    But I'm more than happy with IH's solutions of a) dropping the minimum posts to 50 and b) putting in place a Best Opening/Most Potential award.
  6. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    Nice compromise.

    And sweet Jeebus I was going stir crazy with the forums down.
  7. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    Bumped for Lightwarden

    -I_H
  8. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Question: Are we beginning a discussion here regarding our opinions, or is this a general notice to direct attention to Comms if we have an opinion on the matter?
  9. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Yay.

    So, we have rules in the RPF regarding what you can and cannot do in a romantic relationship. They're pretty short. There are also rules in the fanfiction forum for what you can and cannot do in a romantic relationship. They're significantly longer.

    This Valentine's day, I figured it would be interesting to examine those rules and ask any questions you might have regarding pairings, since I think there's a lot of things it's not too clear on regarding reasoning and such. So I made a thread over in the Communications forum.

    If you have any thoughts or questions regarding the romance rules of either board, GO THERE and let your voice be heard. Don't just post here because we want to be able to see what lots of people have to say and not remain insular.
  10. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    A note specifically regarding the length of fanfic's rules vs the RPF's:

    I have been vaguely meaning to adapt the Fan Fiction FAQ to a more RPF-specific set of guidelines for a few months now - we follow the same general rules, but some of their specifications (like "only one screenful of text on torture per story" or something, I forget what the wording is exactly) are obviously difficult to judge and enforce in a game, and we have RPF-specific guidelines that aren't covered there either. The issues it covers are however rare enough that it's easier to simply link to said FAQ and say "PM if there are any questions" so I haven't gotten around to doing it yet. :p

    After the Comms discussion resolves, perhaps I'll bump it to the top of the priority list.
  11. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    I would like to see a rules section about violence and what is allowed and what not. With the forbidding of ANY content that is not PG-15 I think the huge part of the whole romance thing is limited anyway. But concerning violence I recently came up with several scene where I thought what the limits actually are. Usually we cut them to a "bareble" amount of cruelty, also sometimes the worst was only hinted etc. In general we asked our GM. And he advised. None of us knew if there were actually any rules against what we wanted to do in the first place . . .
  12. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Hmm. We can do that next, seeing as the romance discussion is going on in Comms and not here. Give us a few days to work up a draft based on what we already have... :D
  13. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Violence, Torture, and You

    So the RPF Rules are rather silent on this matter. That's because in the past we have linked to the Fanfic guidelines rather than write our own. Here's the Fan Fiction FAQ's word on the matter (NB: NSWFF rules are identical):

  14. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Wow, that example is a lot more violent then I thought was acceptable. Huh.[face_thinking]

    As far as the whole torture thing goes, I think changing it to a 3 per character rule would be the best angle from which to approach it, if only because (In some strange hypothetical game) someone who wants to take a stab at torture (No pun intended) wouldn't be able to because someone else had used up all three scenes.
  15. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    N instances per X seems ridiculously arbitrary.
  16. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Well the logical alternative would be some kind of fuzzy "Not too often" where "too often" becomes "I know it when I see it" and it becomes difficult for the players to make a judgement call without mod input.

    At the other extreme end, you could prohibit all torture scenes, but that seems like a bad route to go down.
  17. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, at three instances per character, all you need to do is rotate characters and torture forever!
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Well, then, 3 per player per game including their socks. Although if someone is so keen on writing torture scenes that they have a large roster of PCs they can rotate around to continue torturing people in an exploitable loophole, I have to question why they're on these boards in the first place.
  19. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, it also says that ongoing torture should only be alluded to if it's necessary for the story, but you know, torture never is. The board forbids depicting rape, so I see no problem in forbidding depicting torture. Imply bad things are about to happen, then end scene. I'm curious as to if the ban applies to mechanical beings, since Star Wars did a cut-away from Vader torturing Leia aboard the Death Star and Han over at Cloud City, yet showed EVD-99 torturing droids (which really doesn't seem fair to the droids). A hard number limit is just silly.
  20. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    While a good writer would probably just imply the bad stuff (Much the same way Alfred Hitchcock didn't actually depict any on-screen cuts in the shower sequence), I don't think it's okay to say "A limit is arbitrary, therefore ban it all." In general, the rules should allow more creative freedom where possible, and you take the bad with the good.
  21. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    N per X makes little sense. We have the rules "Rape can be discussed but should not be graphically depicted, or, if it can be helped, depicted at all. The emotional and practical fallout is fair game" and we have the rules for violence and other graphic content which say "if you approach this limit or see someone approaching this limit, talk to a mod". We have one for drug use which says "Drug use should not be shown in great detail and certainly should not be glorified under any circumstances. It should not be used for humorous purposes" (does that include getting drunk?). None of these have a quota, because a quota will not magically make something right or wrong.
  22. Kahn_Iceay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 5
    I think the Torture thing could be made more along the lines of the drug and rape rules. Now I neither condone the use or practice of any of these three things in real life (if anything I'm against them) but in use in RPGs, Torture specifically, can add some things to a story. I specifically have a character - Darth Avarice - who makes appearances in the ABY games is a practitioner of the art, he has a room on his DeepWater-class ship dedicated specifically for its practice. Insipid, for all intents and purposes has tortured on of my characters for about 50 years via the use of Stasis, fists, and his winning personality. I think the point of it should be not to glorify it, but also allow enough freedom for it to be used in a good and proper artistic sense. The problem raised with this is, figuring out the balance of whats artistic, and whats glorifying it.
  23. Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 5
    I agree with the previous mentions in that it whoudl be more like the drug or rape rule, mainly because X times per character seems. . . unrealistic to the spontainious nature of some RPs.

    As some RPs have been 'built' on what some might call torture, like the Assylum or Halloween games that seem to be nearly a chain reaction of mild death and mental torture of existance to games like The Cold Embrace that literally begin their tale and end it in a sith torture session. In most of these not much is known except a vague knowledge of the torture that has occured or is happening, but the players and readers had enough to know that it went on.

    Leave it vague in the posts is the best I can come up with the moment, although I gotta ask this: Is there a distinction made in this between mental and physical torture or is it all wrapped up in one messing conglomeration, or are we just discussing physical torture in this instance?
  24. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    I say avoid discussion/mention/depiction of rape in the RPF entirely. It's a very intense subject with a huge amount of baggage; if you just want to add depth to a character, there are better ways.

    Anyways, yeah, violence - it's very subjective. One example won't look like the next, so how can you really police that?
  25. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    The "3 instances of torture per story" is I believe a compromise rule, historically. It's artistic freedom vs good taste - some people want no torture, some people want to be able to torture, the rule that ends up being written is one with an arbitrary limit and nobody is totally happy with it. That happens sometimes, unfortunately.

    Regarding droids: way to pick an obscure example, LW, I don't know who/what EVD-99 is and neither does Wookieepedia. :p I do not think we need to consider droids as nobody ever plays them - if someone wants, they can create a droid character and torture it to challenge this assessment, but until that happens best we stick to organics.

    Mental vs physical: it doesn't say, and that's probably something we should clarify too. The rules as written seem to imply that it refers only to physical torture, but we can expand it (and this discussion) to include mental torture.
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