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What makes GOOD RPing...Just Thoughts..


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#1 Shalamar

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 10:44 AM

Hi every one :D

I can in no way claim to be some vastly experienced online RPer, or GM, I've been doing this less than two years over all...BUT I have been a PNP gamer and GM for over 25...and I believe that while there are some vast differences, there is also common ground....

These are only my thoughts, and not in anyway "Official"

What makes good on line RPing...or a good RPer, or a good game...

There are many facets to RPing, and many of them are as important as others, and some are less important...

The first one, to me, and it is a combination of many things that I roll into one word....I'm not tossing these out in any particular order, just as they come to mind.

Respect.... for the conventions of the particular game as well as the overall conventions that are pretty much standard in every game.

ie's..if the game standards call for a player to have their character acknowledge actions of the GM/another player, do so even if they don't make you or your character happy....

Respect for the GM...I'm not saying you have to respect the Gm as a person (though that is always nice) but the time and trouble they are taking for the enjoyment of the players deserves a little respect and appreciation.

Now different GM's run their games differently, but it's pretty easy to pick up on how your particular GM likes to run a game...-  play the game the way they run it, if they prefer a very structured, GM led style, play that way...if they don't, then don't...Trying to force a GM to play it your 'way' just makes for unhappiness all around...

The same goes for GM's, they need to respect the Players  as well, but since the game is ultimately the GM's, they are the final arbitor...

If a player (s) and a GM have widely different styles, it is not a negative thing if they don't/can't game together, it's not mean to be personal, its is simply a conflict of gameing styles...not that either are bad people or can't be friends...

Now how to show the GM respect... Pay attention to what the GM posts. Their Characters or NPC's are often the voices of 'God' so to speak...despensing clues, needed information, the setting, and more, so don't discount it ...

Now I am in no way saying that all the information they give you through their Characters or NPC's will be the truth.  A good GM keeps their individual Characters and NPC's as much in the dark about things they shouldn't/can't know as they keep the Player Characters.

The setting shouldn't be overly tampered with- much less ignored-, it's their description of what the Characters see, and have happen to them.
Personally I will say that I as a GM have never had a problem with the Player's adding in touches to make the game richer, more vibrant, more real...

example...the GM has stated that you see a hovel and knock on the door...I have never had a problem with a Character noting that the door is about to fall off it's hinges, or that the place stinks, or the shadows seem to move in disturbing ways...(unless of course I have made mention that the door looks surprizingly sturdy etc )

Respect for the other Players and Player Characters....remember that we live in many different time zones, and many if not all have RL calls on their time. There is more however than just this...respect the efforts they are putting into their character. Look at the information they 'reveal' about the Character, their likes and dislikes, history, appearance, what they have said that your Character your's could have over heard or seen or has been told by other Characters.

Take the time to spell names correctly, call the Character by what they wish (or seem to prefer) to be called.  If you give a description of the Character make it faithfull to appearance, and if actions are noted then  to what your Character could have see, heard etc.

IE: Read the posts.  Yes, I know when a game gets moving heavy it can be hard to keep up. But you owe it to the other players and to yourself.  Don't just skim looking for your Characters name. The other players have often taken considerable time to craft their posts and to just brush by them is to me just plain rude.  Besides there is good reading in them thar posts...and you can have a blast playing off it.

Interact with the others Don't ignore other Characters...some of the best gameing there is in JP's ( joint posts ) or Triple Posts, or heck even more...
you ask how?...PM it round robin style, or AIM/MSN/ICQ/Yahoo Chat, or in a chat room...then have one person tidy it up and post it  (by tidy up I mean edit spelling, typos, inserting [i]'s etc, maybe coloring different Characters parts etc )

Lastly, but in NO way leastly...

Respect yourself and your Character...you are the 'voice' of your Character, you speak for them, however much or little of 'youself' you put into them, they are still yours, and deserve your best efforts. Don't be afraid to play your character the way they are...if they are loud and obnoxious, then play them as such, and don't let the glares of the quiet and reserved get you down.  Remember this is Roleplay and just cause your Character gets yelled at does NOT mean You are.

To me the Character (s) is what the game is all about...

Tosses it out for discussion, debate,  comments, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, notions, peeves, questions...all are most welcome and valued

#2 Godeskian

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 10:49 AM

This ties back to both respect between players and DM's, and respect for the gameworld.

The DM often expends considerable time creating the world, so before a player arbitrarily changes something, or for that matter creates something major, from a new weapon up to a new planet (i have seen this happen) without discussing it with the DM, it can seriously disrupt the game.

The same is true when a player decides that his or her character has some skill or power, that they never had before that completely derails the DM's plans by providing an easy, non-roleplaying way out of a sticky situation.

The third of these 'creation' items that can cause a huge problem is the one where a PC suddenly has a bit of background they didn't ahve before where they and the big NPC suddenly have a history where they are friends/enemies/lovers, whatever, which causes a huge issue, as the NPC suddenly has to react differently.

So, going back to respect, respect your DM, talk to them, most DM's will allow a great deal if asked, but contrary to popular wisdom where it is wiser to ask for forgiveness than permission, in RPG's, especially online ones, where posted information can't be as easily removed without an edit function the reverse is often true.

#3 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:16 PM

Well, all I can add is that I agree with you, Shal and Gode, too....and I think/hope I do everything you mentioned.  I especially try to be conscious of who all is "in the room" so to speak, although I have accidently left characters out now and then.  But I try to go back and fix it.

That would be my one tail note:  Try to acknowledge those around you in some way to include then--not in every single post of course, but just to show the other characters are with you.  I don't know if that makes sense, but I really try to do that consistently.


#4 Shalamar

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:37 PM

Nikki, you do that very well and it is that sort of includeing other Characters that you do that makes playing with you so fun.
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#5 RommieSG

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 09:00 PM

I have been doing this form of online RPing for about two years now. I started out in the Roman RP back on Slipstream, and worked under a couple GMs. Each one of them had a different style of how they ran their game. So I got a pretty good feel for how things went.

I put a lot of myself into my characters. Each one of them is a facet of myself, and my personality. RPing gives me an opportunity to express those facets of myself, and let them have a bit of freedom. I get to do a lot of things in RP that I never dreamed of doing in real life. And I get to do some things that I did dream of. Like being a space-fighter pilot, in an epic drama.

RPs are meant to be fun, and allow us to let loose, and be somebody else for a while. Because in my opinion, we all need to step away from reality every once in a while. :)

Rommie :cylon:
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#6 EChatty

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 09:53 PM

I've been doing this about as long as the rest of you and like Rommie, a little piece of me is in all my characters. I'm not even sure I know what I'm doing half the time, but I'm having a blast doing it and always try to do what the GM wants.

If they pm me telling me to edit a post, it gets edited asap, no questions asked.


#7 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 12:15 AM

Awwwwwwww  :blush: ^^^^^^^ *way up* Thanks, Shal!  You make RPing a joy to do, and very relaxing for my stressful life!!

RommieSG, on Nov 23 2003, 06:00 PM, said:

I put a lot of myself into my characters. Each one of them is a facet of myself, and my personality. RPing gives me an opportunity to express those facets of myself, and let them have a bit of freedom. I get to do a lot of things in RP that I never dreamed of doing in real life. And I get to do some things that I did dream of.

RPs are meant to be fun, and allow us to let loose, and be somebody else for a while. Because in my opinion, we all need to step away from reality every once in a while. :)

Rommie :cylon:
Yes! There is something of me in all my characters, too.  Which is why Shayna didn't last....that wasn't me.  Or rather maybe it was TOO much the shy part of me who used to feel left out.  I just couldn't get into pretending that for the character.

I love all my characters, which is probably the most important thing in RPing for me: loving them and knowing them intimately even if most of what I have written about them never makes it to the RP.  Erica is the only one who doesn't have a full profile of her past yet.

That's why I love the backstory forum on MoonSpinners.  Speaking of that, Shal, still interested in what Rov said he could do ;)? If not, that's cool!!

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 24 November 2003 - 12:15 AM.


#8 Shalamar

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 12:41 AM

Yes, Nikki, very interested!! :D


I too put pieces of myself in my characters, and huge amounts of time in creating them. I try and make them as real as possible with all the quirks, foilbes and failings that any real being has.

In a PNP game Characters are very 'defined' I guess would be a good term, as Gode touched on earlier...

They, in most games, have specifics sets of skills and abilities, and this often seems lacking to me on on line games. It has always bothered me when characters can suddenly do anything needed. No one character can possibly be able to do every thing, much less be a master at it. It might limit a characters actions, but it can also allow them to improvise, use what skills they do have...be creative..or flat out get the heck out of the situation if need be. Turning and running is alwsy an option, and often the only one...

more thoughts later...

Edited by Shalamar, 24 November 2003 - 12:42 AM.


#9 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 12:57 AM

Shalamar, on Nov 23 2003, 09:41 PM, said:

Yes, Nikki, very interested!! :D

Excellent!! :D

Quote

In a PNP game Characters are very 'defined' I guess would be a good term, as Gode touched on earlier...

They, in most games, have specifics sets of skills and abilities, and this often seems lacking to me on on line games. It has always bothered me when characters can suddenly do anything needed. No one character can possibly be able to do every thing, much less be a master at it. It might limit a characters actions, but it can also allow them to improvise, use what skills they do have...be creative..or flat out get the heck out of the situation if need be. Turning and running is alwsy an option, and often the only one...

Oh yeah!! This completely floored me when I found this out.  I mean, I think I am pretty good at not making my characters "super heroes" and deciding ahead of time what they can do, but it is a completely differerent experience when you have to decide up front what your skills and abilities are, and adding to them "costs" you something--you can't just make it up as you go along.

#10 Godeskian

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 01:19 AM

one of the biggest challenges in pnp, is that you have to improvise with what you've got.

One other thing i noticed a a difference between the two is the going back to edit a post because of something.

in the PNP games, usually, once you've said it, you've done it. Most groups i know do not allow tapbacks, and once you've committed yourself you've committed your character under the premise that your character doesn't ahve days to think about things when he's knee deep in the action.

in the online RP's there is far more oppertunity to sit down and plan a response, the spontaneity is replaced with a more calculated answer.

Doesn't stop the occasional Snafu thought :D

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#11 Brit

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 08:11 AM

Nikki Peppermint, on Nov 23 2003, 08:16 PM, said:

That would be my one tail note:  Try to acknowledge those around you in some way to include then--not in every single post of course, but just to show the other characters are with you.  I don't know if that makes sense, but I really try to do that consistently.
That creased me up, Nikki and no one else seems to have noticed it.

Such an appropriate comment for a purple pixie.

I am more used to playing in Yahoo groups rps and I do a great many of them.  I try to keep my characters as human as possible with all the drawbacks that has in the Andromeda Universe.

Apart from Corin of course who is my very first fully Nietzschean character.  I do have a half breed in one rp who has only just found this out, although the potential was always there in his backstory.

I tend to forget that Corin has bone blades ;)  and it is quite hard to think like an 'uber' when you usually play a 'kludge'.

I have to say that there are some truly great writers out there and it really and honestly is a privilege to play with you all.

If I could remember any good quotes I would put one here!!!

#12 Shalamar

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 08:16 PM

Moving... :D
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#13 Shalamar

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 08:25 AM

A question of decissions, death, and one of my biggest gripes with online RP...

This is Gode's reply to my last question...

Quote

because the gamer  knows they have nothing to fear.

You and me are both tabletoppers, and as such have a healthy respect for the fact that at one point or another, we have done something incredibly, mind numbingly dumb -or I have at least- and realised it too late to change it.  I have spent a number of games biting the nails straight out of my fingers hoping the gods of dice/ luck would favour me and allow me to survive anyway.

Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't, but every time my characters lost their lives, I wised up a bit, I became more wary of foolhardy plans, of alienating allies, of kicking local rulers in the gonads.

Let me just mention the time with a lightneing bolt in an insuffecently long corridor and bounce back....yes I fried myself...and thats not the worst of my "ooppps" in gameing...so I do know full well mind numbingly dumb

Quote

The on line gamer has never known that problem, because in the online RP's a PC will never die without their consent.  The on line gamer has never known that moment of pure fear when the D20 comes up with a 1 and you watch your character perish because it would enver happen unless they agreed to it.

As a result, most of the RP's live in a sort of James Bondian world where the heroes can march into the bad guys lair and get out again, because they are the heroes, and for all intents and purposes as immortal as any highlander, because no matter how badly hurt they are, no matter how much lead/gaus rounds/APEX ammo they absorb, they can't die without their permission.

And so the survival instinct, the one that keeps tabletoppers like you and me ticking, is never developed.

A good example is the escape from downtown (in Mech Warrior). We could have stayed and kept duking it out with the thugs, and in a heroes take all sort of world, that's exactly what we should have done, however, since most of the active participants realised that they should treat people firing at you with respect we chose the tactically sensible and wise option to retreat.

it was very tabletopper thing to do, in all honesty 

The online gamer knows, not thinks, but 'knows' that final death doesn't happen to the heroes.


#14 Godeskian

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 09:15 AM

please note, as an aside, that this applies almost exclusively to folks who have only ever gamed online.

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#15 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 12:31 PM

I realize than in the online RPs, I just assume I can't die without my permission....

"May I die now?" "No, you may not die of the gash through your abdomen, I have more writing I want to do with you." "Okay, then I'll survive this major wound so you can write more as long as you realize in real life I would be dead now."  "Fine. Whatever.  But you can only die when I say so." ;)

Sorry, that just went through my head.   :o  :lol:

Aaaaaaaaaanyway.........I have to admit I have a very hard time writing "fight" or "combat" scenes, so if mine seem simple or unrealistic just know I'm not trying to minimize any danger my characters get it....I just don't know how to put down what is in my mind, fighting-wise!! :)


#16 Raeven

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 02:19 PM

Nikki Peppermint, on Dec 22 2003, 05:31 PM, said:


Aaaaaaaaaanyway.........I have to admit I have a very hard time writing "fight" or "combat" scenes, so if mine seem simple or unrealistic just know I'm not trying to minimize any danger my characters get it....I just don't know how to put down what is in my mind, fighting-wise!! :)
I know what you mean Nikki, I have to research my fight scenes as I can never find the words for the 'moves' I want my character to make - it always seems so corny somehow! :)


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#17 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 09:52 PM

Raeven, on Dec 22 2003, 11:19 AM, said:

Nikki Peppermint, on Dec 22 2003, 05:31 PM, said:


Aaaaaaaaaanyway.........I have to admit I have a very hard time writing "fight" or "combat" scenes, so if mine seem simple or unrealistic just know I'm not trying to minimize any danger my characters get it....I just don't know how to put down what is in my mind, fighting-wise!! :)
I know what you mean Nikki, I have to research my fight scenes as I can never find the words for the 'moves' I want my character to make - it always seems so corny somehow! :)
^^^^^^Heyyyyyyyy, good idea!!!  :D

#18 Shalamar

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 11:15 PM

Nikki, never feel you have to delineate every move used in a fight.  Believe me I know it is plenty hard. Alot of terms I would use are only understandable to some one who knew what the term/move was (aikido has some lovely sounding names for various throws and such but to a non practicioner it's as bad as greek :p ) . I have to stop and think how to describe them out and when you do that it can indeed be corny sounding. (or very long winded )
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#19 D'Monix

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 11:40 PM

There is something I always try to impart to players of both online and tbaletop games that i run, three simple words to remembers have live by.

Cause And Effect

Words, and deeds have consequences, for good or for ill so think through what you are about to do or say.  Although in online games I cannot normally kill characters for C&E (although it happened once because I saw no other foreseeable outcome and hated to do it.)  I can, however, make their lives much more complicated.  A player may find that he or she gets kicked out of a place, making otherwise important contacts angry at them, getting captured, interrogated, generally beaten down or having their stuff taken and destroyed.

Cause and Effect.   Remember it, live by it.  

Because that same thing can also open a lot of doors, that old begger you gave a few thrones to in the drift might also be the man who can lead to the villain/weapons dealers/shadey dives where it requires someone in the know to get in.  The person you flatter today might also be the person who awards you a contract, piece of vital information, or favor tomorrow.

I've seen a lot of characters in games that i have run take the ubertoughguy route, while every party needs a fighting machine often their attitudes can spoil contact situations for the party as well, not to mention they occasionally have the nasty habit of shooting down potentially important NPCs as well or getting the party embroiled in a fight they didn't want to necessarily get involved in.  Such as the beginning of the Mechwarrior campaign where one player killed a man in a bar that has strict (and often deadly) rules against guns, that put a tension where it could have easily turned into a firefight.

once again, Cause and Effect.


In combat: three more words: Know Your Limits.   It often happens where one player becomes the fighting machine, taking on more enemies than Neo fought in the Matrix movies while coming out without a hair out of place.

This just doesn't fly, not only is it completely implausible but it also takes away from the other players involved in the combat, after all, since one player is killing everything in sight then why shouldn't they just go play tiddlywinks or something til it's all over.

Any combat scene should be written with the tension or drama that it deserves, to echo Gode statement that some players get a daredevil attitude because they know they can't die in an online rp without their permission, diving into and taking down hordes of foes without a scratch.

To those players I have this to say: I may not be able to kill your character, but nothing was said about what I could do just short of that to them.  Take the superman route and prepare to get hurt, and hurt badly.  But a good roleplayer can just make that into more drama, hospital bed scenes of angst and tears.

An example is Mechwarrior, this game is a hard universe of towering mechanized juggernaughts and pushbutton death where human life is cheaper by the dozen.  Mechwarriors can and do have their mechs shot out from them, or are wounded in battle.  No player should expect his machine to come through without a scratch, and everyone should expect to have their mech blown out from under them or damaged beyond reapir at some point, because you can always get another mech, you may have to work your ass off for it and take some big risks.  But that makes for a good story.

Which is more exciting?  a lone mechwarrior facing down a company of enemy mechs - handily blowing them all up without breaking a sweat or so much as getting the paint scratched....  

Or that same mechwarrior standing against impossible odds to buy time for his buddies to get aboard the dropship and lift off, he goes down fighting, escaping at the last moment as his mech explodes beneath him.  Leaving his unit to wonder if he's dead and decide what to do while he is injured and must escape and evade from hostile forces all around him, possibly for days, with nothing but his shorts and the pistol or knife he carries...

Think about it.

#20 Shalamar

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Posted 23 December 2003 - 12:27 AM

Very well said D', and very true.

One other thing I would like to comment on...characters getting hurt.

You may have noticed that most of the time when I have a character throw a blow, or shoot at some one. I leave it open ended..i.e. I don't say whether or not the blow connects/the bullet hits ...that is because I am leaving it to the players to make an honest assessment of the situation and take the blow, the shot etc of your own accord.

Don't be afraid to take injury to your characters...not doing so when it is obvious that your character would deminishes your character.  Yes doing so can have your character out of the fight, out of the action but it does NOT deminish the possibilities for great role playing.  

Role playing is so much more that 'action' sequences. I have seen table top games where for from Friday evening through Sunday midnight not a blow was thrown, a shot was fired and every one playing later said it was some of the best gameing they'd ever done ( listening to drunken elves sing ah...interesting tavern songs was rather hard on the ears, and we almost couldn't get the guy playing the sleeping dwarf out from under the coffee table )
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