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Author Topic: Forum Roleplaying Advice for GMs and Players  (Read 353 times)

Offline Mabbz

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Forum Roleplaying Advice for GMs and Players
« on: October 03, 2017, 05:51:39 PM »
So I've been looking back over previous RP threads, and the main thing I've noticed is that none of them ever reached any kind of conclusion. Most die within the first few pages, while others go on for hundreds of pages (nine out of ten of the biggest threads on the forum are RP threads). But none have ever truly ended. Most just trail off as people stop posting, while the rest have the GM be unable to continue for personal reasons.

Another thing I noticed is that I've been a part of nearly every RP on the forum, both as player and GM. So I figure I have a bit of experience with forum RPing (I've never actually roleplayed IRL) and I wanted to lay down some guidelines and advice for future roleplayers of this forum, in the hopes that one day, a story will actually reach some kind of ending.

Anyway, overly long intro written, lets get started.

RULE 1: Inactivity kills roleplays

Pretty straight forward, really. If people don't post, then the roleplay will die. Don't sign up for an RP unless you're confident you can post regularly. It doesn't have to involve constantly hitting refresh waiting for the next post (although I know I've done that before :P), but I'd say you should be able to get online at least twice a week, preferably more. And by "get online", I mean for long enough to make a post, not just thirty seconds to read other people's posts.

For obvious reasons, GMs need to be able to commit even more time, probably being able to get on every day or two, although remember that not every post needs to be an essay. Sometimes two sentences can be enough to get everyone else posting.

RULE 2: Inactivity breeds inactivity

Another straightforward one. As an example, if someone posts asking a player a question, and that player doesn't respond, no one else will want to post and risk interrupting. This is especially bad if it's the GM that goes a week without checking in. Even worse, if an RP goes long enough without a post, people will stop checking in. A GM that takes a week off could return to find half his players gone. Fortunately, paying attention to the next two rules can prevent this kind of problem...

RULE 3: Communication is key

Let's say you're a GM, and you need to take a break from the RP for a few days. You tell your players you'll post something in a week, and they say sure, and everything works out fine. If you don't say anything, a player could assume you're gone for good and stop checking in. One player down, long gaps are caused by people waiting for them, and the game dies.

Or let's say you're a player that can't continue. You tell people, and the GM can take over the character or find a way to write them out. Honestly, it's common curtesy as far as I'm concerned. Just tell people when you have problems, and they can work around it.

RULE 4: There's no such thing as a worthless post

But Mabbz, what if I have nothing to say? Surely I shouldn't post then?

Wrong! All too often I've seen Person A think they have nothing to say, while other people sit there waiting because they think Person A does have something to say. Not to mention the times when the GM makes a post, and no one thinks there character should react, meaning no one does anything until the GM prompts them. Consider the following post:

Galithir frowns uneasily, but makes no move to intervene.

Seems pointless? Maybe. But by posting that, not only have we shown that Galithir isn't going to react (which other people might otherwise be waiting for), but we even gained a small insight into Galithir's opinion on the situation. A tiny post like that can be enough to make other players take the opening.

As a secondary point, I am personally of the opinion that the normal forum rules against double-posting don't truly apply to RPs. If you post and a week goes by without any response, assume no one reacted and post again. They had ample opportunity, and they should have said if they were going to be unavailable.

Anyways, that's enough for now. There's some other stuff I wanted to talk about, but I'll post that at some other time. For now, thoughts?