The RPG Consortium Free Form Roleplaying Forums Archives
Forums > The Training Grounds > RPing on this site (OOC/Recruitment)

07/19/2007 3:08 PM

These are not rules for RPing in this site, but more general conventions/preferences that are followed here.
They are made by people who RP on this site.

*Taken from the thread "RP no-no's" in the RPer Talk Lounge

[i]suggested by nanuk[/i]

[b]This is not meant to be an attacking, air-your-grudges thread, and is not aimed at particular people.[/b]

But I've found myself gritting my teeth and tsking lately a lot when I've read posts, and never really stopped to think (until it was pointed out to me) that people could be coming from different backgrounds and RP experiences.

I first joined the RPGC in 2001 or '02: it was my first free form RPing experience and I loved it. When I was- due to circumstances without my control- offline for quite a while I never forgot it, and once I was hooked up with lovely wireless broadband it was one of the first places I returned to: so I'm not trying to bitch, but it always had a thriving and good quality RP section, and I'd love to see that continue.

So, for here, as well as the forum rules which obviously people should have read, how about putting down some of the common errors that can happen easily, just so that we're all aware of how we want out RPing here to go?

Again, not rules- we have those already- but just hints or tips you can think of to make it easier for people to know what to do to be able to enjoy RPing here without getting shouted at, lol.

So it could be things that peeve you, or just common sense when it comes to RP practice and etiquette.

My few:

[b][u]- DM is God.[/u][/b]

There are different DMing styles here but I always held the belief, and it was always the way since I first started here years ago, that the 'DM' has ownership of the thread.
People have different styles- input from players is great, and can really help bring the story interesting places, but for big things, like the worls, the rules, overall how the author of the thread wants the story to progress, are the DMs call.
Each thread will be different depending on the style of the DM, the style of the game, its progression, and your familiarity with each other (for example, if I'm playing with people I've played with here before, and am familiar with their styles, I'll trust them to control my character if I'm not there, and I'll give them leave to do it)
If you disagree you disagree, and if you genuinely feel it would improve the thread state your case, but please remember ultimately it's the call of the one who started the thread.
If you don't like it, just bow out gracefully- if you didn't like how a book was going you wouldn't keep reading.

[b][u]- Spelling and Grammar are important.[/u][/b]

It is.
We're not all expected to be walking linguists, and mistakes are easy to make; but sloppy and careless spelling, punctuation and grammar not only can appear disrespectful- like you couldn't be arsed to do it properly- but can also make it really, really hard to understand what's being written.
And if I need to read something four or five times to get the meaning because there are no commas and full stops it just irritates me and makes me likely to skip that person's posts- and potentially miss out on great ideas- or even not join a thread they're in.
Firefox has dictionary plug-ins- and even though I, for some reason, currently only have a hated Webster one installed, it's incredibly handy.
Commas, full stops, inverted commas- we're all familiar with them, they're not too difficult to use. Ellipses ('...') are not the only way to punctuate!


I feel like a Granny for saying this but it feels like there's been a lot of 'this isn't interesting's and 'meh, I might be interested in your story if you improve it's and 'I want to join but can't be bothered to actually read your threads's.
If you don't find something interesting, fair enough, but everyone has a different style and others might find it interesting.
If you are rude (inadvertently or not) how inclined is that person going to be to want to RP with you in the future?
A little point, and one I almost regret having to make, but nuance can be lost in text, so try to be careful.
If you think something's boring, don't join.
If you're interested in a thread but aren't sure ask for more details.
If you want to join a thread but there are a lot of posts take your time- it can be worth it. Being up to speed properly can really help with character creation and introduction.

[b][u]- Bunnying/Puppeting/Controlling other people's character[/u][/b]

This is a big one and generally the one that raises people's hackles the most.
It can be in the form of speaking for a character, physically moving them, or putting a trait on them that the player hadn't mentioned e.g. having them say something that makes them religious (? I know, it's happened to
me), or fearful/arrogant/ditzy etc.

The temptation can be there to move the story line along but unless you've checked with the person, or are very familiar with them and know they won't mind, please don't do it.
If you're impatient just IM them or post in the OOC section to check wen they think they'll be able to post.

Again, these aren't aimed at people- it's just sometimes we can take for granted that people know things when they actually don't (I know I do) so this could help all of us have a better, and less frustrating RP experience here.

[Edited by nanuk on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:27 PM]

07/19/2007 3:11 PM

[i]suggested by Damien[/i]

[b][u]If you aren't certain that you will have time to participate[/u][/b] -- be certain before joining! Things can come up unexpectedly, that's true. But if you know you're prone to laziness or getting bored easily, or just prone to losing your computer priviledges often, or whatever the relatively common case is -- don't join a thread. It's rude. Most GMs will close their RP to new characters once they've reached a point where they think they have all the characters that the story can easily handle.

That means that the character you created, when you decide you just don't feel like participating, took up a spot from someone that might have actually been involved. And there's nothing more frustrating than having a player (or two) that don't post. It puts the whole RP on hold waiting for you. And by the time everyone figures out you aren't going to post anymore, or aren't going to post often enough for the pacing of the story, the thread is likely already in its death throes and the thread-starter's idea is ruined. When I see someone who has a strong tendency toward this behaviour, I won't allow them to join my RPs, and I won't join RPs they are in. It's simple logic. I only have so much time, and I'm not going to waste it waiting for you to post when clearly you cannot be bothered.

Another thing that apparently needs to be said:

[b][u]Add description.[/u][/b]
Perusing the RP section here, I see a whole lot of "I walk over there." Or "I go across the river." Would you read a book if the first paragraph read like this:

saw enemies in the distance. He walked to them. He fought them. They all died under his sword. So he walked somewhere else.

It's pure crap. You can say the exact same thing with far more words, thus making whatever you are trying to say a whole lot more entertaining. RP isn't about getting there, it's about how you got there. If you can't make the journey interesting, no one is going to care where you end up.

[Edited by nanuk on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:28 PM]

07/19/2007 3:16 PM

[i]suggested by nanuk[/i]

[b][u]One word posts[/u][/b]

Here's a word-No!
They're not helpful!

If expressing interest in a thread "maybe" alone is not good enough!
Give the person some idea why it is only maybe and not yes: do you need more details? Do you need to see a character outline? Do you need clarification on something?

It's lazy and, again, comes off as being rude.

[b][u]OOC posts IC[/u][/b]

We've all done it- it's acceptable if it's accompanied by an IC post, or if there's something urgent that needs to be addressed, but lately there's been a proliferation of it.
It ruins the flow of a story and also is considered spamming because it bumps up your post count, so please try to refrain.

Also, and OOC posts should go at the start or end of an IC post, not mid sentence- again, very distracting.

[i]amended by Max[/i]

I agree. We have an OOC section for a reason, and it should be utilized. In my eyes, there shouldn't be any OOC posts at all in the RP.

An OOC comment is acceptable. Sometimes you need to relay information to people, or need to put a translation, or sometimes just want to congratulate someone on an excellent post. As you said, it should be at the beginning (usually if it relates to something outside of the post or about the entire post as a whole) or at the end (if it relates to something specific in the post) of the post. Most of the post should still be RP.

[i]amended by Lich_Nexus[/i]

The OCC should be editted out, after the point was stressed and received.

[i]suggested by CandlestickJay[/i]

Here's something that has lately begun to tick me off a bit -

[b][u]Please use capital letters![/u][/b]

To quote nanuk, they are your friends! Be nice to them! Or it was something like that anyway.

[i]suggested by TheCritch[/i]

Also.... Here's a pet peeve of mine that I myself am guilty of commiting and I shall never again commit (so sorry all you GM/DMs out there!):
[b][u]Making posts in the RP section without the permission of the GM/DM[/u][/b]... Man I will never do that again. I hadn't realised how detrimental that can be to an RP until I started GMing my own... But yeah that really pisses me off now... SO DON'T DO IT!!!!! Good job Nanuk, this is a great topic!

[i]suggested by Vampire_Chaos[/i]

One of my biggest peeves out there has to be [b][u]posting an RP thread when you know NOTHING about the subject[/u][/b] you are posting. I'm alright with someone knowing the subject quite a bit or a lot, but for example.

"hei, i are watchin one eppisod of dis show. wanna mak an R P aboot it? LAWL!"

Not only is this disrespectful towards the show or subject, usually the grammar is atrocious too. But i'm almost too close to pointing fingers, so i'll just trail off now...

And one MORE thing. RP Spam. It does not ever leave the OOC.

"Let's start an RP."
"Now let's start 3 RPs."

ARRRRRRGGGGGH! Sorry to bitch, but this just PISSES ME OFF. I try to be as civil as possible with these kinds of people, but I usually just end up smashing my head off of my monitor.

[Edited by nanuk on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:30 PM]

07/19/2007 3:19 PM

[i]suggested by Avenging_Angel[/i]

And to keep this on topic at least somewhat:

[b][u]Mary Sue/ Gary Stu / Anachronistic Characters[/u][/b]

This has been a long time pet peeve of mine. For those who don't know, a Mary Sue/ Gary Stu character is a character that is intended to be more or less perfect. You know. The stunningly beautiful Elven/Dragon/Angel/Demon/Phoenix/Unicorn/Centaur/Toaster/God crossbreed with magic powers to whisk the group out of any bad situation. Usually with unnaturally colored hair and/or eyes.
Frequently drips angst with a tragic past and will often attempt to hijack the thread for their own tragic tale, and will throw a tantrum OOC if ignored.
Don't do it. Burning will result.

Anachronistic characters, on the other hand, while similar, are different. For example, someone starts a Call of Cthulhu RP.... and someone wants to play a half-elven half-kitsune extraplanar warrior woman. (probably with technicolor hair) Or the person trying to play a half-orc in the Dragonlance setting. Ignoring the fact that orcs don't, y'know, exist on Krynn. These characters frequently are ALSO a lesser level Mary Sue.

And when describing your character, try to avoid making them look exactly like a popular anime/videogame/book character, or describing them as such, ie. "Sephiroth but wiht black hair". (Yes, I really did have someone use that description)

Read the [url:http://www.kalime.com/burn/profiles.html]Burning Dumpster[/url] for more on what NOT to do.

[i]suggested by WhizKid7[/i]

[b][u]Rule Whoring(pardon the language):[/u][/b]

Rules are nice, and they should be followed, of course. But if a DM chooses to bend a rule or make a common sense judgement without a rule, don't go citing the rules on him. The DM has final say, and if he says "This is what's going to happen.", please, please, PLEASE don't respond with, "But the rules say..." It's the DM's call; not yours. There's no need to argue or contest the point unless it's a severe rule violation, which a good DM should never do to you. Starting an argument over rules makes the DM angry, the other players angry, and generally always ends bad.

[i]suggested by Damien[/i]

[b][u]In regards to the whole 'DM is God' scenario[/u][/b], I do want to point something out: DMs are not infallible. Never were. Aren't. Never gonna be. There's absolutely nothing wrong with questioning a DM's call, especially if it seems contrary to a rule or if it ignores a particularly important point (a character ability, etc etc).

The problem comes from when the DM says "this is what I'm going to do though" and you KEEP pointing out the apparent error in his judgement. Nothing wrong with challenging him. It's wrong when you keep trying to point it out, as if he's going to change his mind just because you don't shut up. DMs can make bad calls, for any number of reasons. Players should feel, because it's THEIR game too, that they have the right to comment if something seems wrong.

The DM is God not because he cannot be questioned, but because when he makes a decision, he can also say that his decision is final.

NEVER questioning the DM, even when he makes poor calls, is not being a good player. It's detrimental to the whole group, and simply makes you a sycophantic assclown.

Suck on that a one time.

[i]suggested by Recko_glyph[/i]

But then should we not conclude that the DM must be experienced or at least have some kind of knowledge of how RPing works and sure they have the last call, but if they rule with an iron fist they'll crush the thread itself and destroy the work of the participants.

The only lenience I would have with this is if the DM is planning a specific event in which he needs or wants all characters present. Which I guess brings me back to another topic on whether or not you should always post a thread in the Ideas forum or to simply post it and pray

I've seen that some of the threads with more potential seem to post in the ideas forum first and if the new pirates thread is any indication of its effect on the actual RP then maybe we should always post there first

[Edited by nanuk on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:31 PM]

07/19/2007 3:22 PM

[i]suggested by Damien[/i]

[b][u] Can you overthrow the DM?[/u][/b]

Absolutely, and it happens more often than you'd think.

If the entire group comes to the agreement that the GM is not running the game in a way that is pleasing to the group, the group can choose to leave. That is overthrowing the GM. At a tabletop game, this can mean throwing him out of the game entirely, or just making him a player and electing a new GM from the group.

Online, this usually takes the form of players just not posting anymore and letting the thread die (although thread-death can happen even with a good GM). The GM is God of his game - not of your life. If you don't enjoy his game, don't play. But it's HIS game and while you are playing HIS game, you play it according to HIS rules and abjudications.

Other complications arrive which should be considered, though. For instance, it is generally considered EXTREMELY bad form to start a new RP, due to poor GMing, which uses the plotline and/or setting created by the GM. That's his hard work and you have no right to steal it just because you 'played in a game with him using it.' The only time it should be acceptable to usurp his work is if the GM himself actually is not overthrown, but simply stops posting himself. Then it is certainly the right of the players to elect a new GM and carry on (since it is supposed to be the GM's job to make sure everyone is involved and has fun - if he abdicates that responsibility, his setting and plotline is up for grabs).

This is especially pertinent in online-based games. If you don't like the way your GM is running his game, you should NOT feel entitled to start a new thread with a different GM, using the same plotline and/or setting (depending on whether the setting was homebrewed or published/known). The amount you can take from the previous game is directly (and inversely) proportional to the amount of it that was his own creation.

Which I guess brings me back to another topic on whether or not you should always [b][u]post a thread in the Ideas forum[/u][/b] or to simply post it and pray

It is my firm opinion that the Ideas forum should -always- be used. It tends to garner more interest that way, as people see it and you can 'collect' players before you actually start. People tend to be less likely to try to jump into a game in progress than to jump in before it starts. Plus, if your players are all interested STILL by the time you go from Interest thread to Roleplay, then you know you have a pretty good chance of lasting awhile. Those are the kind of players that will stick with it.

Players that jump into your game without an Interest thread too often are the types that lose interest and disappear within a week or two -- about the same length of time it would take to get from Interest Thread to Roleplay Thread. So, use the Interest thread if for nothing else than to weed out the ones that won't stick around.

The Interest Forum also has one other vital role to play which, in my opinion, is imperative to good gaming: Idea critique.

It's virtually impossible to critique a thread-in-progress without pissing someone off. . you know - like those pesky 'Sages' that think they're Moderators. This results in a lot of threads posted (without an Interest thread first) that have the stupidest plotlines, worst-written opening posts, and thread-masters that know nothing about being GMs, nor about the setting they're writing it.

Look at some of the threads in the Middle-earth section for examples. Crap writing, crap plotlines, and characters in MIDDLE-EARTH with names like 'Wayne' and 'Jonathan.' Names that belong in homo-erotic emo RPs.

But when you post a thread to the Interest forum, you can get actual feedback. You can fine-tune your idea until it is likely to attract GOOD roleplayers instead of shitheels with four-line posts that would encompass about 5 paragraphs worth of actions in a novel. And that's the important thing right there - getting feedback before presenting your idea for actual 'use.' This is especially important to people who are not veteran GMs or talented writers.

Let's say you really love Dragonlance, but don't really know much about it. You could, if you wanted, start a half-assed Dragonlance Roleplay where anyone reading can see you know nothing about the setting (most of whom will simply ignore your thread because it sucks). But instead, how about making an Interest thread where people who know the setting will feel free to give you tips, advice, or even offer to co-GM to take some of the burden off you. The resulting final version of your concept will be much better, and therefore way more likely to attract members to join.

There is no downside at all to using the Interest forum, and every reason there is to NOT post RPs without an Interest thread. Frankly, I don't see why more people don't use the Interest Forum. Although looking at the threads started by those people, I guess I'm really not so confused by that fact.
Most RPs that were made without an Interest thread are exactly the kind that would have been ripped apart and/or ignored in the Interest forum. Craptacular with a side order of suck.

[Edited by nanuk on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:32 PM]

07/25/2007 5:49 PM

-[b][u]Just proposing an idea does not make you a good DM/TM/GM[/u][/b]

Saying 'hey! let's have a *insert computer game/film with little or no storyline name* game does not count as DMing.
Posting one or two line posts in this thread does not count as DMing.
Think a bit before you propose a thread- can you be bothered to be a decent DM? Are you [i]able[/i] to be a DM or would you simply get more out of just playing the goddammed game for another half an hour?

-[b][u]Try introducing yourself on the site[/u][/b]

I'm a lurker by nature. Back in the Amethyst Alliance days I hung around the RP section for quite a while before posting. I was new to RPing and wanted to make sure I knew what the hell was going on. You do not have to jump straight into posting. I'm not saying make a specific introduction thread, but maybe post in the interest forum, see about joining a few games, before setting up your own. I don't know what it is- and I'm not the only one, surely?- but seeing a game thread posted by someone I've never seen on the site before makes my hackles raise.
Maybe it's a territorial thing, I don't know.

I just think it's quite rude to come to a site and start a game up- I'm sure it's not meant this way but I see it as a big 'all of your ideas suck/I can't be bothered to read them'.
Introducing yourself isn't just polite (and who cares about politeness nowadays), and it's not about making buddies- it has benefits.
There are certain names that, if I see they've put up a thread, I'll jump immediately to have a look at it because I know it'll be good (and others, of course, not so much). Even if I'm not really mad about the idea itself if I'm familiar with the poster I'll be more willing to give it a try- if I see they've been on regularly and I'm not just going to be wasting my time, if I know they can string a half-way decent sentence together etc.

If I see a name I haven't seen before I won't dismiss the idea out of hand but I'll be less inclined to join because, firstly, I don't know if they're going to bother sticking around, and secondly I don't know if they'll be decent DMs- and frankly, will be inclined to assume they're not because of the above.

Which could be a pity, because I've seen some good ideas die that way.

The RPG Consortium - http://www.rpgconsortium.com