Role-playing thread guidelines. UPDATE: 5 November 2010

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RP thread guidelines

The following are guidelines. You are encouraged to use common sense when interpreting them.

Guidelines for game hosts.

A role-playing game requires someone in control of the direction of the thread whether it is a storyteller, a Dungeon Master, a Keeper, or whatever you want to call it. That means there needs to be a person directing the story. You may have multiple hosts if you coordinate your efforts into a cohesive story.

Do a search before posting a new RP thread. Has this been done before? Be polite and ask people before borrowing their ideas within reason. That is to say a "Ghostbusters RP" is not copyrighted, but having two going at once is a little much, don't you think?

You should refrain from hosting too many games. Obviously, we don't know how much time you have to put into a game so we'll leave that up to you. Be sensible, if you're already pretty busy, hosting a bunch of RP threads is probably unreasonable.

Make commitments! Don't walk away from your thread for a week without saying anything. You owe it to your players to tell them what's going on. If you have bitten off more than you can chew, there is no dishonour in admitting it. Users who repeatedly make RP threads and walk away from them will be treated as spammers.

Remember that you are on a forum, not a chat program. Adjust your mechanics accordingly.

Hosts should encourage interaction over mechanics. Posts like "I try to hit him with my mace of goblin hitting +1" are not as interesting as fully-fledged interaction between players. If you're struggling for a diceless role-playing system I suggest "Amber's rule-set". There are lots of ways to provide players with mechanics without dice. Do some research, the tools are out there!

If you want your upcoming RP event listed on the community map please feel free to PM me with details about the sort of story you are telling, when it begins, and how many players you need.

Guidelines for players.

Please limit "OOC:" posts. Instead use the forum's private messaging system, IM or IRC to other players to see if they are online, convey things that shouldn't be read by other players, or communicate outside of a group. If you need to communicate with multiple people at once our private messaging system allows for up to five users to be mailed at once by separating their names with a comma. (example: Darth Mobius, Eggo, Alex_P)

Don't bite off more than you can chew. You are responsible for part of the story, if you don't show up when you say you will you are not only hurting the host of the game, but all the forum members who are participating.

Create interesting, believable, characters that aren't just badass assassins/ninjas/horny toads. Your character is not his weapons, clothes, or Gucci sunglasses.

Self-Moderation in Forum Games and RP

The issue of moderation in Role-Playing and Forum Games is a tough one. It's too difficult for a moderator to tackle an infraction without clear context (bar the very obvious stuff). As a result we encourage the GM to exercise a degree of self-moderation over his game.

Self-moderation is a neverending job, like looking after a child. When accepting players you should be familiar with their posting history in the forum before you accept them. As a GM, the screening process is the foundation of how well your RP will run, so don't be lenient when picking players. A veteran roleplayer who has a penchant for derailing threads will never be as fun to play with as the newbie who hasn't played much but delivers everytime.

In the actual RP itself it comes down to good co-operation between GM and Players to maintain a flowing storyline. If a player gets off-topic then nudge them back, if they do it consistently send them a PM before calling the Mod Squad. Having a user group set up to deal with moderation matters and OOC chat is very effective and a method used by some of the more successful roleplays we've had over the years.

If a user hijacks the RP and tries to join in then the best option is to ignore him and continue playing after messaging a moderator. The moderator will delete all posts by this person and deal with him/her appropriately.

The report button should only be used when a user comes in and starts breaking normal forum rules (flaming users, posting porn, etc.). These will be treated as normal infractions and dealt with immediately.

Maintaining a roleplaying game is not an easy job and you should be committed to it before you create it. It's a case of "What you put in, you get out." so please put some effort in from the beginning in controlling your games.

Have fun ~Sevre90210

Special thanks to Higurashi for playing consult.

Q&A

Q: Can I tack an "OOC" message onto the end of a character interaction post?
A: Sure. As long as it doesn't make the thread harder to read in general.

Q: Does this mean that I can only have one RP going at a time?
A: No, you may have as many as you can run effectively. Though we warn you strongly that having many failed RP's may result in you being treated as a spammer.

Q: Can we RP adult situations?
A: Depends on your definition of adult I suppose. There will be absolutely no NSFW content role-played here. Take that to PM if you feel you must.

These guidelines are open to suggestions and comments. Also, feel free to ask questions here or via PM. We will post them and their answers if they are pertinent.

Thank you, wilson. I'm sure these guidelines will be a huge help in preventing 4chan level immaturity.

With the OOC rule does that only apply to posts that are only OOC or if you stick in on the end of your in character post?

conqueror Kenny:
With the OOC rule does that only apply to posts that are only OOC or if you stick in on the end of your in character post?

Sounds good to me. As long as it doesn't make the thread harder to read (see: "100 is anyone here?" posts).

Woot, solid guidelines, this is what the random battles needed

It was pretty confusing, without order this whole RP thing would be clusterfuck.

Knight Templar:
It was pretty confusing, without order this whole RP thing would be clusterfuck.

Sounds kinda like what happened to my RP after I was gone for a week. I think I'll stick with just being a character in one for a while.

fat american:

Knight Templar:
It was pretty confusing, without order this whole RP thing would be clusterfuck.

Sounds kinda like what happened to my RP after I was gone for a week. I think I'll stick with just being a character in one for a while.

From the looks of it there was a mutiny in you RP. How very fun.

No offence guys, but the RP area HAS become a cluster fuck.

Jallil Vlos:
No offence guys, but the RP area HAS become a cluster fuck.

How so? Let's get a discussion going about what we can do to improve it.

wilsonscrazybed:

Jallil Vlos:
No offence guys, but the RP area HAS become a cluster fuck.

How so? Let's get a discussion going about what we can do to improve it.

A noob even giving his opinion of this forum is probably blasphemy alone, but I can kind of give a first impression;

A lot of new people do seem to be flooding into The Escapist, and they in turn jump into the RP section, without taking time to see the different style and rules of RPing - which differ everywhere, not just The Escapist of course. So they will either clog the RPs with nooby, horrible mistakes (see the people who don't even seem to understand the concept of character sheet submission and just post mid-RP, but that isn't common really) or they try to set up their own game, and this is where it gets cluster-fucky in my very, very humble opinion (please don't burn me for heresy).

A fair few RPs do not make it past a few pages, simply because the idea flops prior to the actual start, or because the creator goes on 'holiday' from The Escapist, or there is just no interest in it. So you have a fairly large number of wasted threads on the section simply because people did not read the guidelines, other RPs on the forum etc. or perhaps because their RP just didn't appeal.

In fact, on the front page right now, I can only really see 4-6 of the games as RPs AND as successful, i.e. not just started and been actively going on for over a week or more than say 5 pages. A lot of the games are of course non-RP games, which as the forum name states is fine, but there do seem to be a LOT of them, and some of them, for example the 'Random Fact' game, are apparently rehashes of old games (claims made by posters in the games, I can't really back that up myself...I hate being a noob sometimes.../cry)

So in terms of it actually being an RP area, the large influx of new people, the sheer disregard for preparation or caution, the large amount of uneventful RPs, and the seeming majority of non-RP games could all be reasons for it being a bit 'clusterfucky'.

I can't think of an easy way around it though - you could separate the two, but this in turn could lead to the contents page itself being clusterfucked as more and more categories are made, or alternatively there could be a sub-category in which people submit JUST their ideas for an RP before putting it in the actual Role-Playing section so that if it doesn't pick up it does not add to the cluster of fuck, but like I said this could lead to other demands for posters' whims regarding new categories.

I'll go and hide in my noob-corner now.

Qayin:

A fair few RPs do not make it past a few pages, simply because the idea flops prior to the actual start, or because the creator goes on 'holiday' from The Escapist, or there is just no interest in it. So you have a fairly large number of wasted threads on the section simply because people did not read the guidelines, other RPs on the forum etc. or perhaps because their RP just didn't appeal.

In fact, on the front page right now, I can only really see 4-6 of the games as RPs AND as successful, i.e. not just started and been actively going on for over a week or more than say 5 pages. A lot of the games are of course non-RP games, which as the forum name states is fine, but there do seem to be a LOT of them, and some of them, for example the 'Random Fact' game, are apparently rehashes of old games (claims made by posters in the games, I can't really back that up myself...I hate being a noob sometimes.../cry)

So in terms of it actually being an RP area, the large influx of new people, the sheer disregard for preparation or caution, the large amount of uneventful RPs, and the seeming majority of non-RP games could all be reasons for it being a bit 'clusterfucky'.

I can't think of an easy way around it though - you could separate the two, but this in turn could lead to the contents page itself being clusterfucked as more and more categories are made, or alternatively there could be a sub-category in which people submit JUST their ideas for an RP before putting it in the actual Role-Playing section so that if it doesn't pick up it does not add to the cluster of fuck, but like I said this could lead to other demands for posters' whims regarding new categories.

I'll go and hide in my noob-corner now.

You're right, we do get a lot of new users here. Many of whom do not lurk before posting. That's one of the reasons that we have some pretty basic guidelines. Demanding that would be storytellers have a plot, and players have characters seems to have removed much of the redundant role-playing sessions that people were posting before. Still there is always room for improvement. We don't plan of giving RP it's own forum though. If we did that, then we'd also have to give other kinds of gaming their own forums.

I agree with Qayin. I personally believe that a confirmation system by the moderators would be benificial. This would take place as a poster wanting to start an RP thread so first he PMs the moderator to make sure his plans are kosher. Then, if the moderator believes that the new RP would be original (or at least not a clone of another) or somehow passable, he/she would give the green light and the RP would start. I think this would cause new people to read a bit into other RPs and learn the ropes before jumping into the fray.

Fl@nked:
I agree with Qayin. I personally believe that a confirmation system by the moderators would be benificial. This would take place as a poster wanting to start an RP thread so first he PMs the moderator to make sure his plans are kosher. Then, if the moderator believes that the new RP would be original (or at least not a clone of another) or somehow passable, he/she would give the green light and the RP would start. I think this would cause new people to read a bit into other RPs and learn the ropes before jumping into the fray.

Or, as an alternative to a mod, do what I did and used the handy Escapist Tool known as Darth Mobius...that's function-performing tool, not the other kind of...vote SDP? I had an idea for a survival-horror RP based around rabies and Mobius was kind enough to help me refine it...yes an RP on rabies...it COULD be good

But yeah, mods or very experienced people could certainly fulfill that function, but these people don't even seem to read the rules, how will they wrap their mind around asking the Lords and Masterminds of the Escapist?

I realise in many ways it is impractical, but a sub-category within this forum category would serve as a very nice solution..

Oh! Thoughts with pictures/idea! Why not make a sticky? A sticked thread where people can do the aforementioned idea-presentation proccess before they put up ones that could suck?

Qayin:

Or, as an alternative to a mod, do what I did and used the handy Escapist Tool known as Darth Mobius...that's function-performing tool, not the other kind of...vote SDP? I had an idea for a survival-horror RP based around rabies and Mobius was kind enough to help me refine it...yes an RP on rabies...it COULD be good

But yeah, mods or very experienced people could certainly fulfill that function, but these people don't even seem to read the rules, how will they wrap their mind around asking the Lords and Masterminds of the Escapist?

I realise in many ways it is impractical, but a sub-category within this forum category would serve as a very nice solution..

Oh! Thoughts with pictures/idea! Why not make a sticky? A sticked thread where people can do the aforementioned idea-presentation proccess before they put up ones that could suck?

Good point, I don't think they would get their threads confirmed either. It does look like the agreed upon response is a seperate section for the testing of new threads though.

The sticky sounds good. "A RP check list would be good." You post you're idea, if the Moderator likes it they PM you the green light and you get to make one. It's hard to know if a RP will flop or go well.

I thought the Mass Effect was going to fail but that ended up doing very well.

Thanks for the confidence in me.....

I agree with this since there seem to be a lot of RPs these days and some of them aren't really going anywhere. People aren't giving enough information and not putting enough thought into them so people aren't getting interested.

Nothing personal, I just thought that not many people have played Mass Effect. I suppose I was wrong.

Anyway, I was thinking that there should be a thread for people too ask for a RP to be taken down, or a specific RP report feature. This Report feature will ban users from the RP area or maybe just a specific game if they are causing trouble.

Forum RPing is one of the most difficult to manage. Short of it becoming an improv story writing session, which is the only way I see it really working.

It's nice to see an attempt is being made to manage it more successfully, but I have yet to indulge and at present I am not going to. There's a long way to go. It's an interesting addition to the escapist forums, I was surprised to see it and I am still not sure there is a place for it here (well there is in that a lot of people like posting and playing, but the escapist has such a strong focus on intelligent discussion and information)

Why does this site need a forum games forum? It doesn't even have a movies forum or a music forum or anything else.

TheBigBrain:
Why does this site need a forum games forum? It doesn't even have a movies forum or a music forum or anything else.

Because this is primarily a gaming forum, the only real reason for this one is because there were forum games & RPs filling up the off-topic discussion.

conqueror Kenny:

TheBigBrain:
Why does this site need a forum games forum? It doesn't even have a movies forum or a music forum or anything else.

Because this is primarily a gaming forum, the only real reason for this one is because there were forum games & RPs filling up the off-topic discussion.

I suppose that makes sense.

Fl@nked:
It does look like the agreed upon response is a seperate section for the testing of new threads though.

Fire Daemon:
The sticky sounds good.

Tsurugi:

I agree with this since there seem to be a lot of RPs these days and some of them aren't really going anywhere.

Well, seeing as a sticky hasn't turned up, we could always just make one and ensure it stays on the front page - I'm more than willing to do that, but I want to check that people are okay with that option;

Should I make a thread? What kind of guidelines would we even want? Would we be able to keep it on the front page without going overboard? Would the mods even allow it?

Well the mods are sure to see that and will eventually comment. As for keeping it on the front page, for awhile I am sure people will be throwing out ideas enough to keep it there but will it last or will the thread sink and people will forget about it so we have to post constant refreshers?

Okay, I've been reading this thread, waiting for a general consensus on what we should do to make the RP forums better. So far it seems we have a few suggestions. In particular, a "RP ideas discussion sticky" and "moderators moderating for new thread content."

RP discussion sticky.

I won't make another sticky in this forum concerning RP, what I will do is approve a discussion thread for the community map, should a senior role player feel the need for one.

Thread moderation.

Moderators won't get involved in moderating RP threads. In fact the only thing moderators will do to RP threads is close them if they don't fall in-line with the guidelines we've put forward, or if people participating in the RP break general guidelines. If you have some suggestions about either of the guidelines, feel free to post them here.

wilsonscrazybed:

I won't make another sticky in this forum concerning RP, what I will do is approve a discussion thread for the community map, should a senior role player feel the need for one.

Gah, does this mean I need to find a veteran Escpaist role-player to support the idea?

Putting it on the map would remove the need to keep it bumped, which would be great, but who counts as someone senior enough to show that it isn't a lame idea?

"Moderators won't get involved in moderating RP threads. In fact the only thing moderators will do to RP threads is close them if they don't fall in-line with the guidelines we've put forward, or if people participating in the RP break general guidelines. If you have some suggestions about either of the guidelines, feel free to post them here."

While I don't care about RP's(and all I want when it comes to Escapist's fun and games is that damn TF2 server), wouldn't be possible to give specific "Gamemasters" moding rights to their respective RP-threads?And if that's not possible,you could always give moding rights of an entire forum to more sensible rp-ers (e.g.DMobius), first forcing them to promise that they won't abuse it.

...yeah, I know this won't happen.

JakubK666:

While I don't care about RP's(and all I want when it comes to Escapist's fun and games is that damn TF2 server), wouldn't be possible to give specific "Gamemasters" moding rights to their respective RP-threads?And if that's not possible,you could always give moding rights of an entire forum to more sensible rp-ers (e.g.DMobius), first forcing them to promise that they won't abuse it.

It's a thought I'll bring up with the community manager.

I don't think we should have any approval process. I set up my Escapist Election on a whim inspired by another thread, and I think it's doing alright. There are a few too many RP threads in my opinion though, so maybe we should encourage people to only run one at a time and remind noobs that they should play a game before GMing.

Larenxis:
I don't think we should have any approval process. I set up my Escapist Election on a whim inspired by another thread, and I think it's doing alright. There are a few too many RP threads in my opinion though, so maybe we should encourage people to only run one at a time and remind noobs that they should play a game before GMing.

An excellent suggestion. One per customer policy? How does everyone feel about that?

That's just for RPs though, non-RP games are much easier to run.

We just experienced a real life market effect. The Forum boomed due to extra reserves of fun and time but once that subsided, we didn't have the energy or creativity to run the overabundant threads. We have had about 4 or 5 very popular threads fall within a weeks time due to this effect, at least thats what I believe. Any other thoughts?

sounds good to me

sounds good to me

wilsonscrazybed:
An excellent suggestion. One per customer policy? How does everyone feel about that?

I like it.

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