GMing and You or So you’ve decided to play God.

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GMing and You or So you’ve decided to play God.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Bosch on Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:19 am

Hi I’m Bosch and I’ve been GMing for quite a while although not here, over this time I’ve developed a few ideas and pointers to help me stagger through an RP and hopefully give everyone a good time (much like a good brothel owner). In this article I’m going to share my thoughts on RPing. I’m not saying I’m totally right or that my tips will work all the time but just what’s worked for me.

Before we begin though I’d like to clear up a few definitions.

An RP.

A Role Play, which is the whole reason we are here. Notice that it’s not a RPG as in a Role Playing Game. I draw a distinction because “Game” implies competition which I feel it not the point of an RP. To me an RP is about a group of people telling a story from the point of view of multiple characters. You can disagree with me but I believe that good RPs are more about cooperation than competition.

A GM.

This stands for Game Master and I wish there was another term for this like “story leader” or “coordinator” as it fits the role better. The name is a nod to the world of Table Top RPGs where one person would present situations for the other characters to react to. For our uses it’s the person running the show, who comes up with the world and administrates the RP.

Should I be a GM?

Yes, GMing is fun and a great way to meet lots of RPers, I think everyone should give it a go at least once, if only to see what it’s like.

Being a GM takes three things an Idea, Dedication and Communication. Much like a tripod if you’re missing one the whole thing is guaranteed to fall over.

World Building

Without a doubt this is the most important thing you will do as a GM because it’s what attracts people to your RP and what keeps them there. I find it helps to think in terms of Genres and where they overlap. So maybe you want to do a crime RP but in a Sci-Fi Setting or a Modern Fantasy RP with comedy elements. The reason thinking in terms of genre is a good thing is it makes it easier to explain your RP quickly to potential RPers.

Once you have settled on a general theme it’s time to put your mark on it. You need to work out the politics, history, groups technology, magic, races and everything else that goes into your world. It is impossible to cover everything though so take a best stab it and have an open door policy when RPers have questions. You may spend a long time coming up complex lore but neglect to mention the preferred mode of transport. This is the start of the collaboration I mentioned earlier.

For the purposes of this Guide we’re going to use an example RP that I’m literally making up as we go along. It’s a Sci-FI Vampire Hunter RP called BloodCell. See just in that sentence you already have an idea what’s going on.

Plot

The Plot is very important but secondary to world building as the plot can vary wildly from what you planned to what happens, this is because of RPer involvement. In my opinion the RP should start with a big event, a murder or an attack or a wedding, something dramatic that immediately gives the RPers something to do. Nothing kills an RP faster than the “getting to know you phase” where characters just parrot the information on their CS. Start strong and kick off the RP with a bang.

The second important thing to note is as the GM the plot is your character and all other concerns are secondary. It’s your job to get the RP through and finished. That means you must be willing to sacrifice characters for the good of the story. Sometimes you can have fun with this. For example write a full CS for a character, big them up in you first three or four posts and then kill them. I mean really kill them dramatically and brutally, this is often a good way to introduce an antagonist, who odds are you will be playing.

The Third most important thing is that you have a plot that is an ensemble thing. Do not have a main character. Firstly if the main person leaves your screwed, secondly it will give too much control to a single RPer, you’re the GM so you are in control. Thirdly it means the other RPers are bored and reduced to glorfied NPCs. Nobody likes this.

So subplots are important. That basically means making sure everybody has something to do. We’ll come back to this below.
Ok so if we return to our example RP BloodCell we know we’re going to have Vampires. But I don’t really like the sparkly kind of Vamps, I like the pure evil variety. So maybe Vampirism has become an epidemic which has led to the founding of evil Vampire extremist groups. So we need something to fight these terrorist Vampires.

Werewolves?

Too clichéd.

It’s a Sci-Fi setting so why not Cyborgs or robots like Ghost in the Shell?

This could work as both groups will have impressive strength which will led to impressive fight scenes while neither are entirely human which could give the more philosophical RPers something to sink their teeth into (Ha Ha.. sink their teeth into.. see it’s about vampires and they bite people you know, with their teeth... nevermind). Additionally maybe the vampires are genuinely discriminated against adding another layer for thoughtful RPers to explore.

Thinking about how people are going to approach your RP is key to developing a good plot and World.

Drumming up some business.

The Interest Check (Int Chk) should give a brief outline of the RP’s world, plot and comparable works.

So the Int Chk for BloodCell could read like this.

In the Year 2051 Vampirism has become an epidemic with afflicted individuals forming their own subculture and feeding off the living. Faced with a disaster the government forms the AVUs or Anti Vampirism Units to seek out and destroy Vampiric activity. The members of the AVU ex humans turned into Cyborgs designed to hunt and kill Vampires.

This RP will follow a unit of AVU called the BloodCell as they track down a groupl of Vampires believed to have taken part in a terrorist action.

The RP will be similar in nature to Ghost in the Shell, Day Breakers and Blade Runner.
Please ask questions about the world and plot that will get the creative vibes flowing!


The Title for the Int Chk topic should be a briefer description.

Sci-Fi Vampire Hunter RP


Remember to bump it when you want more RPers.

What about Roleplayers Wanted?

In my experience you get less hits with the Roleplayers Wanted section but every little helps.

Remember to frame to topic title in terms of Role Players wanted.

Looking for RPers to play Cyborg Agents in a Vampire Hunting Agency.


Then provide a link to the Int Check.

Remember to bump it whenever you need more RPers.

Kestrel who was kind enough to critique this guide also offered this gem.
Kestrel wrote:Much more effective however, is to put a link to your RP in your sig (if you're active on discussion boards or participate in a few other RP's) or to do some more aggressive advertising and ask people you've played with before if they might be interested. It's not something everyone appreciates, but highly effective if you want more players (just make sure the RP doesn't depend on them to stay running because that's demotivating for all players.) You yourself are your most effective advertising tool.

All points are fantastic and should be utilised in your marketing strategy.


Time to Make an RP?


Unfortunately I can’t tell you what the magic group size is as it varies depending on RP type. What I would suggest is take on at least two more RPers than you feel you need. This is because RPers are possibly the biggest flakes you will meet in any walk of life at least a few will disappear in the first few posts. If you have more than you need the drop outs won’t be felt as keenly.

Once you’ve a good size group it’s time to Click the create new Roleplay button.

Creating an RP.

Hells horses that’s a lot of little boxes. In this section I’ll give a brief run through of those boxes.

To help we’re going to use our fictional RP BloodCell. Anything in italics is what goes into the field.

Name
BloodCell

Descprition
The RP is set in 2051 and the planet is facing an epidemic of Vampirism and terrorist actions. The Vampires are treated as second class citizens and have formed their own subcultures. While most are peaceful some have begun feeding off the living and fighting for Vampire control of the planet. Faced with a potential war against an undead foe the government forms the AVUs or Anti Vampirism Units the seeks out and destroys Anti-Human Vampiric activity. The members of the AVU ex humans turned into Cyborgs designed to hunt and kill Vampires.

The RP group will be playing the members of a AVU called BloodCell that has been tasked to investigate some disturbing reports...

(A rehash of the Int check is acceptable)

Tags
Original, Vampire, Sci-Fi. Put whatever you feel is relevant just make sure you stand over your decisions for example If I was use the word Magic that would be wrong because magic doesn’t feature in the RP and will lead to confusion.

Setting
The BoodCell Universe. I always had trouble with this question but I guess it’s if you have a successful RP setting you can set other RPs in the same setting but tell a different story.

Character approval.
I always say yes to approval because you don’t want any random asshole rocking up and getting their sticky mitts on your RP.

Is this role play original?
The answer should always be yes, but sadly some people make fanfiction RPs, if your RP is a fanfiction deal (this includes RPs set in the same universe but featuring none of the characters) you need to tick no. I’ll discuss my feelings on Non Original RPs below.

Rules.
In this section you lay out the laws. Things to consider are what is acceptable sexual and violent content, what is the minimum number of posts per week, is there a post word count (you should never have a word count on posts, sometimes a post needs to be a one liner), grammatical standards (remember not everyone received the same level of education as you, speaks the same language as you or has the same mental facilities as you. So long as they can write a good understandable story then live and let live.) etc.

Introduction.
In this section you want to introduce the RP in much the same way as you did in the Int Chk. Provide a brief description for people just browsing.

Press submit and you’re done.

First steps.

The way this site is set up you must have an active character in an RP to be able to create OOC topic. So go create your character. Keep in mind your character is really the Plot or the RP it’s self, that’s your baby so ensure the character you create is important enough to drive the plot in the opening posts, the “big bad” and “quest giver” are often good choices. Odds are you’ll have multiple characters but you just need this one so you can make topics and get to administrating.

Once you have created your character go make a new topic in the OOC title like “The World Of BloodCell” or “The BloodCell Primer” or “The BloodCell Bible”. You want to get across that this is where the World is explained.

In this topic you describe the world, groups technology social structure of the world you constructed, before you were trying to entice people by providing enough info without overloading them. Now is the time for sensory overload, include everything you came up with during the World Building phase.

Now you need to go back to the Introduction of your RP and ensure this “Bible” topic is linked to the introduction so people browsing will know you put in the time world building. There is nothing worse than an RP that the GM put no thought into especially when it’s high concept.

You could also put your world building on the intro page but I feel it looks cluttered. That’s just personal taste.

Bible maintenance will become very important in the opening days as RPers join and ask questions you never considered. A popular one is post apocalyptic currencies because nobody every thinks about it, freaks out trying to do something original and inevitably winds up using bottle caps.

Character Sheets

The character sheet system here is pretty comprehensive but if you require additional information just request it in the introduction.
You should view character sheets as tryouts, if an RPer can’t write a good CS odds are they won’t be able to write a good post. Additionally if they make no mention of the world you built or use very generic terms maybe you should question how closely they are going to read the posts of others. Your RP needs players to be successful but one good RPer is worth twenty poor ones.
Additionally try to take a chance on Newbies, if they have a quality CS give them a shot.

If you do refuse a CS it’s always nice to say way and offer constructive criticism. You don’t have to be harsh but be honest and let people know it’s nothing personal.

First posts.

These are all about setting the scene and letting people establish their characters. Here is where you want to describe your big event that will kick off the RP. Excitement will be high at this point so you want to capitalise on that.

For Example BloodCell could start off with a group of Vampires taking hostages including an AVU member (perhaps you could take this character and make them a bit of a Billy Badass). The RPers are scrambled to take care of it but before they can get there the Vamps detonate an explosive device killing all inside. Including your Billy Badass character in an “opening episode” plot twist.

Oh no. The RP kicks off and the characters have to chase down leads across your Sci-Fi world, maybe mop up some surviving Vamps or provide first aid to survivors. The important thing is everyone has something to do.

You could also set up a couple of throw backs. Maybe Billy Badass survives the explosion, gets turned and comes back later as a Vampire Cyborg with a grudge. This is something good GMs are able to do, they leave little lose threads that can be picked up later in the story, sometimes they come off, other times they don’t. People tend to remember the ones that work out though and it can give the impression you have a grand masterplan when you actually got lucky. Given the interactivity of RPing and quality of the story, credibility can be somewhat stretched and your RPers won’t call bullshit if plots get dropped or merged into others. Often these things develop organically, maybe a one shot character turns out to be popular with RPers so next time you were going to use a faceless NPC use the popular one.

Another thing you want to do (if you are this way inclined) is try to set the theme in your first few posts if you going mega happy RP crack a lot of Jokes in the opening posts or if you want the opposite write like a depressed Raymond Chandler.

So that’s setting up an RP, now we’ll look at keeping one going.

The OOC

If you view this as hosting a party I find it makes more sense. It’s your job to make sure everyone is having a good time, getting introduced to each other and feel they can drop into the OOC just for a chat or to shoot the shat. You can do a couple of forum games here, discuss the plot, talk about whatever. The point is you’re trying to make friends (which is kind of the point) a group of RPers that can do this are more likely to stick together through the lean times. Its your job to provide the initial spark but pretty soon people will just be interacting normally.

The other purpose is announcements. Maybe there has been a pretty dramatic development in one of the posts. Make sure to point out something big has happened as some people only skim and might miss out. You should also praise people have wrote particularly well as the RPers deserve it. To you the whole thing is planned in your head, to them they have to get inside your head and then translate that into a post. It also gives other RPers an idea what you looking for.
Again Kestrel made a great point.
Kestrel wrote:Also use it to announce absences and stuff and answer questions about the RP. Possibly plot together with players if you're into that.


PMs

I like mysteries and I like surprises as I assume others do as well. Therefore if I have an important plot point to drop on someone I do it via PM and collaborate with other RPers in an effort to surprise other RPers. I also encourage RPers to do this amongst themselves as I like being shocked when a Plot takes an unexpected turn. For example when an RPer makes their character fail to complete a goal is a beautifully awesome moment for me as I have to adapt the story on the fly. It keeps things interesting. Unfortunately few RPers get this and will often be worried it makes their character look weak. I never understood this “Prison Yard” mentality, we’re playing make believe on the internet at the end of the day, it’s ok to take chance.

The other side of PMs is keeping the rabble in line. I’ve found a PM is way more effective method of pulling someone up than going public on the OOC. Publicity just leads to bruised egos and toys being thrown out of the pram it’s much easier to drop a quick PM and keep things nice and civil.
Kestrel has a rule that I’m going to pinch as it’s one sentence and one sentence rules are often the best. [quote=”kestrel”] My rule of thumb is; if it's going to take more than one exchange, it might be better to keep private. [/quote]

In this last section I’m going address some General Questions.

Nobody is joining my Amazing RP?

First off keep the Int Chk and Roleplayers wanted sections active by bumping them. Secondly ensure they are neatly designed and well written. A poorly written block of text is sure to put people off.

If you have friends on the site, PM them to see if they fancy getting involved, if you have RPers signed up get them to recruit their friends.

If none of this works maybe it’s time to look at your idea, is it original ? Have you made it clear what is happening? Have you made it seem like there is something to do?

What’s the deal with originality?

My RPs are always original, sure they may be influenced by other works but most times they are a amalgamation of lots of influences. Using the BloodCell example it’s pretty obvious where I picked up ideas (Van Helsing in Blade Runner after making a quick stop at Deus Ex) the advantage to having my own setting is I’m not constrained by cannon or existing characters. Consider why there are no James Bond RPs, the chaos over who plays Bond would be crazy. Instead we have spy RPs that are heavy on Women and Tuxedos, James bond in everything but name.

In addition Original RPs are better because it means the GM has taken time to invest in something they believe in. This indicates a certain level of motivation and Dedication.

Any tips and tricks for GMing?

GMs love giving people choices but sometimes wuss out on consequences. Lets say in our example RP an RPer has a choice between saving two RPers, only one can be saved. Some would see this as a binary choice. A or B. Good RPers will see many more. Maybe their character says “Screw this, I hate both these jerks.” And leaves the room. Maybe the character says take me instead. Maybe they try to save both and everyone dies. The point is you have got to be brutal with the consequences of these decisions.

It’s vital you make it clear from the get go that you plan to have situations like this where one character can completely screw over another (in the name of drama) and that death is very likely. Some people might get annoyed their character dies but always keep in mind your allegiance is to the story, if that pisses some people off along the way so be it, but when it’s all said and done and you’ve run an awesome RP people will want to be involved with your next one.

Of course it’s only fair to allow RPers to come back with another character.

Another Idea is to take a break from traditional types of RPs maybe fantasy has become stale why not try something else. Additionally you could try RPing in different ways. An example of this would be an RP I’m running where instead of traditional posts I give people jobs and they write how the job is completed in the form of a short story. Creativity is number one here, if you can imagine it give it a go.

So that’s it, maybe it was all stuff you knew or maybe you think I’m full of BS or maybe it helped out and you have more questions. Whatever your thoughts please post below and I’ll try to answer.

Oh, BloodCell isn’t an RP I ever intend to make so if anyone thinks they can make it work feel free to take it. I’m just not sure the world is ready for Cyborg Vampires.

Your Pal Bosch.
Last edited by VindicatedPurpose on Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bosch
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Re: GMing and You or So you’ve decided to play God.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Kestrel on Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:43 am

Bosch wrote:Hi I’m Bosch


Hi Bosch. I'm Kestrel.

Bosch wrote:In this article I’m going to share my thoughts on RPing. I’m not saying I’m totally right or that my tips will work all the time but just whats worked for me.


I like your guide already. What I'ma do is this; read your guide and comment on it as I go. Assuming I'm some kind of peer review guy who knows what he's talking about. Maybe I'm full of BS. Maybe I'm not. Up to you :P

Bosch wrote:Yes, GMing is fun and a great way to meet lots of RPers, I think everyone should give it a go at least once if just to see what it’s like.
Being a GM takes three things an Idea, Dedication and Communication. Much like a tripod if you’re missing one the whole thing is guaranteed to fall over.

+1 on both statements. Having people who have GM'd playing in your game, on top of that, may make them more opinionated, but also more understanding.

Bosch wrote:World Building

Without a doubt this is the most important thing you will do as a GM because it’s what attracts people to your RP and what keeps them there.

No.

While we're bound to disagree on things and I'll not touch most of the plot=god parts, this is inaccurate. The main attraction to an RP is it's potential. It's not the world; it is what the players can create in it. Or rather; in the RP. Most of the time, players will love how the game gives them the opportunity to play a drunk Dwarven king that rides a bear into battle. Or the opportunity to have a dark past with the corrupt church, which will come in during key moments and bring morality difficulties to their character to play with. Or maybe the mercenary company is an ideal place for their orphan character to grow up in.

It may seem a silly distinction, but it's all important. A world needs to be accessible and encourage certain elements that a significant proportion of your audience takes interest in. If you make this awesome sci-fi world at war and you're only allowing people to be common civilians, some people may think your world is awesome, but will not be interested because they want to play a soldier, or freaky alien invader, or a politician wrapped up in the bureaucratic problems that come along. And you've lost them because they can't play that. That's not to say the choice to focus on civilians is bad (far from, it'd be an interesting niché) but it does illustrate why the world isn't what makes the sale.

Keeping RP'rs, on the other hand, is a case of keeping them entertained, making them feel significant in the IC and interactions in both IC and OOC with other players/characters and the GM. Plot, world, etc. is secondary to that. This understanding stems from 'lower level RP's' and what the surviving ones have in common with what you're advocating; the 'advanced RP's.' Significance and interaction are key. They're just disguised as 'the world' in 'advanced RP's'.

Bosch wrote:You follow this up very well with genre

I find it helps to think in terms of Genres and where they overlap. So maybe you want to do a crime RP but in a Sci-Fi Setting or a Modern Fantasy RP with comedy elements. The reason thinking in terms of genre is a good thing is it makes it easier to explain your RP quickly to potential RPers.

Brilliant. Very important to know what you're doing.

Bosch wrote:Once you have settled on a general theme it’s time to put your mark on it. You need to work out the politics, history, groups technology, magic, races and everything else that goes into your world.

No you don't. This again, is geared towards a very specific type of RP. Don't get me wrong, I do a lot of world-building, but most important for an RP is to be flexible and allow for players to make significant impacts on the game. Giving people the advice to work out as much of this is possible is counter-productive. How flexible depends on what batch of players you're going for. The 'advanced' crowd typically needs less flexibility and will show more appreciation to your world building skillz, but even they want to be a part of the game and not a GM's pawn. Which is really easy to happen if you're too strict on your history, groups and politics.

Bosch wrote:For the purposes of this Guide we’re going to use an example RP that I’m literally making up as we go along. It’s a Sci-FI Vampire Hunter RP called BloodCell. See just in that sentence you already have an idea what’s going on.

Plot

The Plot is very important but secondary to world building as the plot can vary wildly from what you planned to what happens, this is because of RPer involvement. In my opinion the RP should start with a big event, a murder or an attack or a wedding, something dramatic that immediately gives the RPers something to do. Nothing kills an RP faster than the “getting to know you phase” where characters just parrot the information on their CS. Start strong and kick off the RP with a bang.


No plot is I mean, yes. Give players something to do. I agree this is bloody fantastic. It's something I often try to apply myself. A meeting, bar conversation or a lunchbreak or whatever is a boring way to start a game off and I learned that the hard way. Give players direction from the get-go. Without that direction they don't really know what they're doing in the RP to start with. It makes their posts insignificant to... Well, anything.

Bosch wrote:The second important thing to note is as the GM the plot is your character and all other concerns are secondary. It’s your job to get the RP through and finished. That means you must be willing to sacrifice characters for the good of the story. Sometimes you can have fun with this. For example write a full CS for a character, big them up in you first three or four posts and then kill them. I mean really kill them dramatically and brutally, this is often a good way to introduce an antagonist, who odds are you will be playing.


This is also fantastic advice. As the GM you've chosen to lead players through your game, not to compete with them for main character status. While I wouldn't word it as 'sacrifice for the story' I also believe consequences should not be ignored and plot armour should not be unlimited.

Bosch wrote:The Third most important thing is that you have a plot that is an ensemble thing. Do not have a main character. Firstly if the main person leaves your screwed, secondly it will give too much control to a single RPer, you’re the GM so you are in control. Thirdly it means the other RPers are bored and reduced to glorfied NPCs. Nobody likes this.

So subplots are important. That basically means making sure everybody has something to do. We’ll come back to this below.


While it's true you must completely avoid this as a GM, players do tend to compete for main character-status. That's not a bad thing, you just have to accommodate to giving people a little more spotlight than others (as the others will likely take it for their selves.) Someone who leads or unites other characters is often going to contribute more significance to your roleplay. Reward them for this, but also give others plenty opportunities. The medic might be a shy woman who prefers to stay in the background, but if you come across a potentially fatally injured person whose survival is crucial; she is making all the calls and as such; gets her share of the spotlight.

Bosch wrote:This could work as both groups will have impressive strength which will led to impressive fight scenes while neither are entirely human which could give the more philosophical RPers something to sink their teeth into (Ha Ha.. sink their teeth into.. see it’s about vampires and they bite people you know, with their teeth... nevermind). Additionally maybe the vampires are genuinely discriminated against adding another layer for thoughtful RPers to explore.

Thinking about how people are going to approach your RP is key to developing a good plot and World.


Awesome! I bitched about this up above, because I'm commenting on this as I read through it, but this is indeed what makes that RP.

Bosch wrote:Drumming up some business.

The Interest Check (Int Chk) should give a brief outline of the RP’s world, plot and comparable works.

So the Int Chk for BloodCell could read like this.

In the Year 2051 Vampirism has become an epidemic with afflicted individuals forming their own subculture and feeding off the living. Faced with a disaster the government forms the AVUs or Anti Vampirism Units to seek out and destroy Vampiric activity. The members of the AVU ex humans turned into Cyborgs designed to hunt and kill Vampires.

This RP will follow a unit of AVU called the BloodCell as they track down a groupl of Vampires believed to have taken part in a terrorist action.

The RP will be similar in nature to Ghost in the Shell, Day Breakers and Blade Runner.


The Title for the Int Chk topic should be a briefer description.

Sci-Fi Vampire Hunter RP


Remember to bump it when you want more RPers.


Looks like a fine premise to me, but give your potential players something to do or think about, don't limit them to saying "I'm interested." and tapping backspace. This boots up the interaction.

Bosch wrote:What about Roleplayers Wanted?

In my experience you get less hits with the Roleplayers Wanted section but every little helps.

Remember to frame to topic title in terms of Role Players wanted.

Looking for RPers to play Cyborg Agents in a Vampire Hunting Agency.


Then provide a link to the Int Check.

Remember to bump it whenever you need more RPers.


Much more effective however, is to put a link to your RP in your sig (if you're active on discussion boards or participate in a few other RP's) or to do some more aggressive advertising and ask people you've played with before if they might be interested. It's not something everyone appreciates, but highly effective if you want more players (just make sure the RP doesn't depend on them to stay running because that's demotivating for all players.) You yourself are your most effective advertising tool.

Bosch wrote:Time to Make an RP?

Unfortunately I can’t tell you what the magic group size is as it varies depending on RP type. What I would suggest is take on at least two more RPers than you feel you need. This is because RPers are possibly the biggest flakes you will meet in any walk of life at a few will disappear in the first few posts. At least if you have more than you need the drop outs won’t be felt as keenly.


On average, you lose at least a third of the people who expressed interest in your check. The first few weeks are the most fragile and you can count on it for players to drop here as well. That one or two, most likely, if you're doing everything right.

The magic number is 8, but I don't have an argument to back that up :P

Bosch wrote:First steps.

The way this site is set up you must have an active character in an RP to be able to create OOC topic. So go create your character. Keep in mind your character is really the Plot or the RP it’s self, that’s your baby so ensure the character you create is important enough to drive the plot in the opening posts, the “big bad” and “quest giver” are often good choices. Odds are you’ll have multiple characters but you just need this one so you can make topics and get to administrating.


To be honest I argue this is a flaw on gateway. As a GM I've found it most effective to RP as the world. Though using the obligatory CS as a reminder to others of what your role is helps circumvent this. Alas.

Bosch wrote:In this topic you describe the world, groups technology social structure of the world you constructed, before you were trying to entice people by providing enough info without overloading them. Now is the time for sensory overload, include everything you came up with during the World Building phase.


Must not argue, must not argue, must not argue I argue that this is better done over the course of the IC. Include info when it becomes relevant or when people ask about it.

Bosch wrote:Bible maintenance will become very important in the opening days as RPers join and ask questions you never considered. A popular one is post apocalyptic currencies because nobody every thinks about it, freaks out trying to do something original and inevitably winds up using bottle caps.


Yup, if you use an encyclopaedia; keep it updated. Encourage players to ask questions. Good shit.

Bosch wrote:Character Sheets

The character sheet system here is pretty comprehensive but if you require additional information just request it in the introduction.
You should view character sheets as tryouts, if an RPer can’t write a good CS odds are they won’t be able to write a good post. Additionally if they make no mention of the world you built or use very generic terms maybe you should question how closely they are going to read the posts of others. Your RP needs players to be successful but one good RPer is worth twenty poor ones.
Additionally try to take a chance on Newbies, if they have a quality CS give them a shot.

If you do refuse a CS it’s always nice to say way and offer constructive criticism. You don’t have to be harsh but be honest and let people know it’s nothing personal.

As much as I dislike character sheets, this is entirely true. Even good RP'rs may misread or misinterpret something in your 'world bible' and the faster you're all on one line the better.

Bosch wrote:First posts.

These are all about setting the scene and letting people establish their characters. Here is where you want to describe your big event that will kick off the RP. Excitement will be high at this point so you want to capitalise on that.

For Example BloodCell could start off with a group of Vampires taking hostages including an AVU member (perhaps you could take this character and make them a bit of a Billy Badass). The RPers are scrambled to take care of it but before they can get there the Vamps detonate an explosive device killing all inside. Including your Billy Badass character in an “opening episode” plot twist.

Oh no. The RP kicks off and the characters have to chase down leads across your Sci-Fi world, maybe mop up some surviving Vamps or provide first aid to survivors. The important thing is everyone has something to do.


+1

Bosch wrote:You could also set up a couple of throw backs. Maybe Billy Badass survives the explosion, gets turned and comes back later as a Vampire Cyborg with a grudge. This is something good GMs are able to do, they leave little lose threads that can be picked up later in the story, sometimes they come off, other times they don’t. People tend to remember the ones that work out though and it can give the impression you have a grand masterplan when you actually got lucky. Given the interactivity of RPing and quality of the story, credibility can be somewhat stretched and your RPers won’t call bullshit if plots get dropped or merged into others. Often these things develop organically, maybe a one shot character turns out to be popular with RPers so next time you were going to use a faceless NPC use the popular one.


+2

Bosch wrote:The OOC

If you view this as hosting a party I find it makes more sense. It’s your job to make sure everyone is having a good time, getting introduced to each other and feel they can drop into the OOC just for a chat or to shoot the shat. You can do a couple of forum games here, discuss the plot, talk about whatever. The point is you’re trying to make friends (which is kind of the point) a group of RPers that can do this are more likely to stick together through the lean times. Its your job to provide the initial spark but pretty soon people will just be interacting normally.


+3

Bosch wrote:The other purpose is announcements. Maybe there has been a pretty dramatic development in one of the posts. Make sure to point out something big has happened as some people only skim and might miss out. You should also praise people have wrote particularly well as the RPers deserve it. To you the whole thing is planned in your head, to them they have to get inside your head and then translate that into a post. It also gives other RPers an idea what you looking for.


c-c-c-combo breaker. Yeah, this is good. Also use it to announce absences and stuff and answer questions about the RP. Possibly plot together with players if you're into that.

Bosch wrote:PMs

I like mysteries and I like surprises as I assume others do as well. Therefore if I have an important plot point to drop on someone I do it via PM and collaborate with other RPers in an effort to surprise other RPers. I also encourage RPers to do this amongst themselves as I like being shocked when a Plot takes an unexpected turn. For example when an RPer makes their character fail to complete a goal is a beautifully awesome for me as I have to adapt the story on the fly. It keeps things interesting. Unfortunately few RPers get this and will often be worried it makes their character look weak. I never understood this “Prison Yard” mentality, we’re playing make believe on the internet at the end of the day, it’s ok to take chance.


Something I really want to point out here is that how you encourage a dynamic plot. That you're also willing to adapt as the GM. Lots of people don't get this but it's extremely important. It ties in with player significance.

But yeah PM's are awesome for this. I use them quite a bit, especially for subplots or tying characters their backgrounds into some arc of the story somehow.

Bosch wrote:The other side of PMs is keeping the rabble in line. I’ve found a PM is way more effective method of pulling someone up than going public on the OOC. Publicity just leads to bruised egos and toys being thrown out of the pram it’s much easier to drop a quick PM and keep things nice and civil.


For me this depends. Something simple is easily pointed out in the OOC. Like "Ah hey mate, just noticed something quick about your post. that dude's name is Luke, not Anakin :P Good post otherwise though, carry on soldier!" has yet to offend anyone and might also answer confusion others have and give a good, open atmosphere.

A more elaborate... Errr... Issue with an RP'r is best taken to the PM. My rule of thumb is; if it's going to take more than one exchange, it might be better to keep private.

Bosch wrote:What’s the deal with originality?

My RPs are always original, sure they may be influenced by other works but most times they are a amalgamation of lots of influences. Using the BloodCell example it’s pretty obvious where I picked up ideas (Van Helsing in Blade Runner after making a quick stop at Deus Ex) the advantage to having my own setting is I’m not constrained by cannon or existing characters. Consider why there are no James Bond RPs, the chaos over who plays Bond would be crazy. Instead we have spy RPs that are heavy on Women and Tuxedos, James bond in everything but name.

In addition Original RPs are better because it means the GM has taken time to invest in something they believe in. This indicates a certain level of motivation and Dedication.


Fandom RP's are, actually, very easy eye-catchers. You could have an RP inspired by Naruto, but it's going to attract a lot more attention if you just make it a Naruto RP. People won't have to read into your world as much and your RP Bible will be smaller. The 'advanced crowd' may shun this, but if you're not especially looking for them... Well, why not?

I agree with using canon-characters though. People making others play in a world where all the canon of a movie/book/game/etc. exists is limiting everyone to the extreme. Non-canon worlds can also be given a whole lot of new background info, should the GM want to do that.

Personally I avoid creating fan-RP's because they don't keep me excited as much and being excited about your own idea makes or breaks your RP. However, if someone can get all the core principles right and maintains interest, it doesn't really matter much whether the RP is a fan-RP or not.

Bosch wrote:Any tips and tricks for GMing?

GMs love giving people choices but sometimes wuss out on consequences. Lets say in our example RP an RPer has a choice between saving two RPers, only one can be saved. Some would see this as a binary choice. A or B. Good RPers will see many more. Maybe their character says “Screw this, I hate both these jerks.” And leaves the room. Maybe the character says take me instead. Maybe they try to save both and everyone dies. The point is you have got to be brutal with the consequences of these decisions.

It’s vital you make it clear from the get go that you plan to have situations like this where one character can completely screw over another (in the name of drama) and that death is very likely. Some people might get annoyed their character dies but always keep in mind your allegiance is to the story, if that pisses some people off along the way so be it, but when it’s all said and done and you’ve run an awesome RP people will want to be involved with your next one.


I like it.

Bosch wrote:Of course it’s only fair to allow RPers to come back with another character.


I agree with this too. Kicking them off the RP for no good reason is silly :P

All in all, the guide has some very good principles and advice, although some of the best things are too hidden. In my own, meandering experience, of course :P
Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

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Kestrel
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Re: GMing and You or So you’ve decided to play God.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Bosch on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:40 am

Hey Kestrel thanks for taking the time to read and critique I agree with a lot of what you said. I feel that the guide could use some editing and I’ll take on board your critique when making my edits. I was going to make this my response but you put too much time to get two sentences.
When it comes to the world building/ plot thing I get where you are coming from by saying it’s the plot potential that attracts people and not the world but the way I see it the world is what constrains (for lack of a better word) the potential. Using the Sci Fi example the world is what constrains the RPers in terms of technology, like is there FTL travel, human augmentation technology or AI?

Nevertheless I think this highlights the relationship between world and plot. In my edits I’m going underline this more clearly than saying one is more important than the other which addmittely is overly simplistic. I think this happened becuase I flipping love world building.

The Bible.

Odds are the Bible created in the world building phase will be incomplete and will be added to as time goes on as RPers change the landscape through IC actions or OOC questions. I agree the bible will ultimately be an organic thing that will develop over time. It’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to come out of your RPers and keeping lose is key. So initially the Bible is your best guess at what RPers will need to know to get started.

The main character.

I always think in general people tend to view their character as “the main character” and given the amount of work an RPer puts in its understandable why this happens. This is why I try to play into this quirk by giving them little subplots to accomplish that when taken individually don’t seem important to anyone but that character involved but when they all add up create the plot. In the TV show 24, because of the constraints of the style, actions have to be taken by lots of different characters. These individual actions all join together to make a plot or to put it another way each subplot is another brick in the plot wall.

I agree that RPers are different though and if someone is creating action and drama they should be rewarded. Either through OOC praise or IC plot lines.

Int Checks

Yep I agree usually I’d get people to ask a question about the world or plot to hopefully engage them more. I just forgot to include this in the guide.

Originality vs Fandom

I agree the fan RPs grab attention but I just dont think they have legs, especially if they are a flavour of the month kind of thing. For example a Mass Effect RP being created the same week a Mass Effect game comes out.

I guess this comes down to personal taste. I’d rather take my time and come up with something I like and work hard on it. It’s a matter of GM preference I guess.

Thanks for the critique and like I said above I’ll take on board what you suggested in my edits.

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Bosch
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