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RPR Archive Tips/Advice Articles: Etiquette for Creating and Playing RPGs

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by NaboosPrincess, Mar 12, 2006.

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  1. NaboosPrincess

    NaboosPrincess Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 14, 2001
    Please use this thread to post tips and advice on the best way to create new RPGs, and the proper way to post in existing RPGs. Remember to refrain from any personal attacks or potentially inflammatory advice. Remember, everyone has a different style...but there are some unofficial "rules" and conventions worth knowing!
  2. NaboosPrincess

    NaboosPrincess Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 14, 2001
    Here are some tips from the old "Training Grounds and Informational Thread" to start us off!
    [ul][li]English As She Is Spoke[/li]
    [li]Why We Don't Play In Your RPGs[/li]
    [li]Thoughts on Role Playing[/li]
    [li]What To Post In The First Post[/li]
    [li]Fleet and Infantry RPGs[/li][/ul]
    English As She Is Spoke - An Essay on Our (Potentially) Beautiful Language, by AdmiralZaarin use the old witticism. I'd like to use this little opportunity for rantage as a means for expounding the benefits of actually spelling properly and constructing complex sentences.

    Over the last decade, a decade that has seen the rise of cyberspace, of SMS messaging, mobile phones and IM programmes, all of which can be utilised for instantaneous communication across borders and oceans, a curious new cant amongst the technology savvy has occurred. The lovechild of laziness and illiteracy, this global threat remains nameless, so I shall call it "Internetese".

    Internetese features, among other things, a distinct lack of capitalisation. You or I would write "I think that this new game is really quite good". A cybercitizen whose mode of speech is Internetese would write "lol d00d, dis new game is rilly l337! it pwnz!".

    Now I realise that most people on the RPF aren't going to use "1337" or "d00d" in actual roleplaying. But all too often I see "u", and "rilly" (you shouldn't be using "really" anyway, but I'll explain that in a bit), along with offenders such as sentences that don't begin with a capital letter. If you are not confident in your ability to spell, please run your roleplays through some form of spellchecker. Microsoft Word can also emend your grammar, to a certain degree.

    Let's assume that you have typed out a grammatically sound post that contains minimal errors in spelling. Now, is your post refreshing and stimulating from a linguistic point of view? Has your inner auteur thrown a terminological rainbow over your post?

    Did you see that last sentence? It's an allegory. I could've said "use big words", but instead I spiced it up with the bollocks we writers call rhetorical devices. A metaphor is when you say something is something ("he was a boiling kettle of rage"), a similie is when you say something is like something (similar to a metaphor; "he was like a boiling kettle of rage"). A more comprehensive list is available [link=]here[/link], courtesy of New York state's Nazareth College.

    Rhetorical devices can turn a drab, uninspiring RP into an interesting one that stokes the fires of imagination. I mean, with the help of these little devices, you can turn a post where nothing actually happens into a deep, pondersome and intellectual romp through your character's mind. Sprinkle them on a dull RP whenever you feel like it, but using them to excess can just make you sound pretentious and full of hot air.

    I could write far more, but that would simply bore you all. I'll sign off with a reminder that all writers of fiction (including roleplayers!) must heed:

    Good writing does not make up for vapid, lifeless and one dimensional characters and situations!
    Why we dont play in your RPG's, by Ktala

    Strange title?
    Not really.

    As I hang around the boards, I have noticed a slew of new RPG's that have come into play. Normally, I would LOVE it, and happily jump at the chance of being offered so many games to play. But as I read some of them, my enthusiasm wanes a bit, when I read some of them.


    There are several reason, that many players will lose interest in games. Of course, those that just dont appeal to them, are not the ones Im talking about. Im talking about the warning signs that some of us will see, and make us instantly shy away from a game. I present these warning signs to all.

    Things that make us as players cringe:

    TOO MUCH INFORMATION in opening post.

    Okay, we've all seen it. You click on the rpg to read the first po
  3. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    So, are we supposed to just look at this thing, or can we post comments and observations as well?

  4. LightSide_Apprentice

    LightSide_Apprentice Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 22, 2001
    In the case of this thread, I believe you're encouraged to use it as a resource for 'creating and playing' RPGs. If you so choose, my understanding is that you may wish to add some comments and observations of your own. Whether you'd like to do so in a similar format to the ones shown above, or just by offering general comments is for you to decide.
  5. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002

    On the last section, re. Fleet-based rpgs, where it says that they can last longer if scope is given outside of the warship versus warship central theme, I thought I'd point out that although not Fleet-based, the Podracer: Life in the Fast Line game is a good example of this.

    The central theme is for players to compete against one another in the pods, but since that would get repetititve, scope is given for extra-curricular activities in and around the racetrack if you don't feel like competing, and it adds a more full and realistic dimension to the game as well.
  6. SephyCloneNo15

    SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 9, 2005
    Although it is, of course, a fine line, I would have liked to have seen a balanced CS example, rather than just the simple vs. complex. As such, here would be my example that I've used in all my recent attempts at GMing, although I'm certain it won't meet everyone's standards:

    Appearance: (pictures are encouraged)
    -Outstanding features: (tatoos, scars, etc)
    Personal Ship:
    -Class: (T-65 X-wing, Z-95 Headhunter, Modified YT-1300)
    -Customizations: (how it's different from other ships of that type)

    And I like to stress that personal changes to the CS are acceptable, along with RP-based variations. For example, an RP set in a real-world situation (like those WWII RPs) wouldn't really have much use for the species category. A superhero RP may need a column for superpowers, and likewise, the Force may be a factor. The ship category is't always necessary.

    And, on another note, I like to add "Be creative/avoid cliches" as a rule. If there's one thing I hate in an RP it's "So-and-so doesn't remember his past" Every once in a while, it's acceptable, but amnesiac characters are so much less interesting.
  7. NaboosPrincess

    NaboosPrincess Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 14, 2001
    Upping for more tips. :)
  8. Penguinator

    Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    May 23, 2005
    Amnesiac Characers

    Just don't do them.
  9. SephyCloneNo15

    SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 9, 2005
  10. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    Or accept that amnesia is pretty much a signed submission to the GM. Don't complain if you were the stableboy for some minor lordling before a horse kicked you in the head (and not the crown prince you resemble). I did warn you after all.
  11. SephyCloneNo15

    SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 9, 2005
    Bravo! That'll stop 'em from going amnesiac.
  12. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    So what, specifically, do people have against amnesia as a character trait?
  13. SephyCloneNo15

    SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 9, 2005
    I haven't seen it too much lately, but back when I first started RPing, it was extremely ubiquitous among 'n00bs' (I'm not referring to anyone here, since I haven't seen any really n00bish RPing here, but over at UFF :_| [face_skull] there were some hardcore n00bs in their RPF)

    Nowadays, the trend seems to be angsty gray characters.

    And amnesia could be seen as a trait of those who are too lazy to create a good backstory.
  14. The Great No One

    The Great No One Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Jun 4, 2005
    for me, using amnesia would be something to make the backstory more fun. never done it myself, but the lone reason i would, would be in a situation that i had a story, had shared it with the GM, but was playing something of a major character and the way the amnesia would affect him down the road when it cleared.

    if it's used in a manor similar to that, then, and only then, would i not be bothered by it.
  15. Penguinator

    Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    May 23, 2005
    I have used Amnesia as a trait, but I made a backstory to explain it all.
  16. SephyCloneNo15

    SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 9, 2005
    Just a wee li'l formatting thing I noticed while browsing the ol' RPF.

    It's rather hard on the eyes if you start an RP and the whole opening post is bolded and in a really bright color. I saw one like this and tried to read it, but after a few moments, it was so painful I had to call it quits. Just imagine trying to read a whole post like this.

    A more subdued color and non-bolded text is a little easier on the eyes, although default black is my preference.

    Bright, boldness also makes it tougher to emphasize the really important stuff.
  17. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    A piece of advice borrowed from the indomitable livejournal of one wadewilson, on the subject of "Avoiding Internet Drama". Something we all need to be reminded of some times (myself certainly included).

    [blockquote]PRETENDY FUN TIME GAMES.

    You are playing a game where you use the impersonal magic of the Internets to pretend to be superheroes or fantasy characters or characters on a television show or goofy anime movie. YOU CANNOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

    "I can't believe she said that, she's attacking me for no reason!"
    "Pretendy fun time games."
    "I know, but seriously, she's undermining me in front of other people!"
    "Pretendy Fun Time Games."
    "I know, I know, but she's trying to sabotage me and seize power over -"
    "Come on, I'm serious!"

    You cannot make a situation more than it is. No one is out to GET you, no one is constructing elaborate schemes to muscle you out, no one is fostering a conspiracy to turn the entire game against you, and there is no power of any sort to be seized. Do not completely devalue the word power by assigning it to someone who decides whether or not Rotundus The Lard Sloth is allowed to steal the Wand of Watoomb. Don't devalue the word attack by assigning it to someone who doesn't like the way you play Flabalanche The Goober-Grape Monster. Don't devalue the word sabotage by assigning it to people who pretend to be The Norwegian Sweatmonger Brigade saying negative things behind your back about how you managed to get the character of The Navel Master. The worst things they could possibly say about that are still not important at all, because it's about pretendy fun time games.

    No matter how upset you get, no matter how irrational the initial reaction to getting your nose a little out of joint is, you are not allowed to lose sight of the fact that there is no possible way anything that happens in pretendy fun time games can actually be important. It is not, nor will it ever be, a big deal.

    Control your emotions, or wait until they're under control before you start debates or discussions. Hurt feelings can happen, but you have to realize what they're hurting over. It may help to say the things you're upset about out loud.

    "I am angry because the guy pretending to be Snapper Carr on the Internet is being too flippant."
    "I am angry because the girl pretending to be Rocket **** told me I rape dogs."
    "I am hurt because the person pretending to be Snatchella The Fetching thinks I don't pretend to be The Galloping Gremlin correctly."

    You cannot take things on a pretendy fun time game seriously if you actually say them aloud.

    I could say "it's only a game," but people start riots over Detroit Tigers games, so that's not enough. It's one of the 3 Ps, so you have to say 'Pretendy Fun Time Game.' Aloud, if necessary. You cannot take something seriously when the word 'pretendy' is in it.
  18. SephyCloneNo15

    SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 9, 2005
  19. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
  20. Black-Pearl

    Black-Pearl Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jun 5, 2007
    Excellent Guide, NaboosPrincess. =D=
  21. LightWarden

    LightWarden Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 11, 2001
    It's a pretendy fun-time game, so sometimes you have to make sacrifices so that everyone can have fun. But if everyone else has to make sacrifices so that you're having fun... you just might be doing it wrong.
  22. Randy1012

    Randy1012 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jan 26, 2007
    Thank you for this guide. I'm kind of brainstorming my first game and the information here is really helping me figure out how to present it.

    Now I just need to figure out a storyline and all that. :p
  23. Beta-Commando

    Beta-Commando Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 4, 2007
    No more tips?

    Come on people, surely you're not brain dead. ;)
  24. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Immortal Mod-King of the EUC, RPF and SWC star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 15, 2004
    QFT and sigged too.

    The essence of a good roleplayer, and the mantra of a good GM.

    Nice thread, we do need more GM-support around here, so much appreciated.
  25. Ktala

    Ktala Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Sep 7, 2002
    OOC: since you asked....

    Etiquette for GM's

    Well, since folks asked for some input, I will put forth a tiny comment.

    When you are hapily running your game, and some non-player just jumps in with
    something, I suggest that you handle it with as much tact as possible. It is so
    easy, to send out a long list of reasons of why the person should not have done
    what they did, but ask youself this first...

    Is it really NECESSARY to blast it to everyone in the entire game thread?

    What if the person is really just some excited new player, who just really wanted
    to join it? To get blasted publicly, is enought to send some new players running,
    never to venture into the world of RPG'ing again. Dont assume everone who bursts
    into your game actually has a clue on the right and wrong way of doing things.

    For first offenders, I tend to PM the player directly, and tell them CALMLY what
    it was they did wrong. I offer suggestions on how they can correctly the problem
    in question. And in game, if it is necessary, I simply post that the previous post
    was voided out. And continue posting for the game. It lets the game run smoothly,
    without too many interruptions. The new person, is corrected, without feeling like
    an idiot, for something they simply didnt know, and with any luck, is encouraged
    to try again. With a little guidence, they could come to be a good player.

    Now, we all know, that this is not always the case. Sometimes we get those players
    who just DONT quite know HOW TO TAKE A HINT. If you have a player, after
    sending multiple PM's to, asking them not to do certain things, and they continue,
    or turn hostile to both you and the game, then it is time to both respond to them,
    in the game. AND, it is time to possibly ask the Mod for assistance as well. But
    the important part, is to NOT let them ruin the game, both for yourself, and your
    players. Dont be afraid to ask a Moderator for help. That is what they are there

    And players, let the GM handle the errant post. Dont jump in, and blast the poor
    player-to-be. Unless you are giving helpful comments, let the GM handle it. If the
    post involves your character, then send them a PM, and direct them towards the GM.
    Even if you know the person is doing it on purpose, blasting them just gives them
    more ammo.

    Just remember that first impressions count. You never know if that is a potential
    new player out there. Not burining them on their first mistake, might be the first
    step in turning them into a great player to be. And we would be nothing, without
    new players.

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