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Guide to making your RPG a Success

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Joined: March 15th, 2005, 12:44 am

March 13th, 2008, 11:45 am #1

The Guide to making your RPG a Success, for GMs & Players
By Scrivener and Silas

Skaven roleplaying: The roleplaying section is intended for those who come here for their skaven needs and wouldn't mind some RPG fun while they're here. It's not an exclusive "skaven only" clubhouse, but since this is after all the "Skaven Roleplaying" board in a Skaven-oriented forum, you get the idea what sort of games the members are usually after when they visit this place ;). So if you have a fantastic new idea for an RPG revolving around the high elves of Ulthuan, you might be able to get more interest and support for the game if it was run in, than if it was run in here - unless you're considering a significant skaven adversarial involvement in the campaign, or you're after high elves who occasionally yell out "Neek-neek!" and stab each other in the back…

Pinning up your game on the forum: As of 2010, GMs can now pin their own RPGs on the RP forum, as they will be in the unique ‘GM’ member group, allowing them to do so. If a game falls inactive for a month, it will be unpinned to make way for active games. Also, if this game that had to be unpinned was your only RPG, you will be taken out of the GM member group.

GMs: One of the first things you need to do upon deciding to run an RPG is check how many are already running. This may seem like it will not affect your game but it will. If there are already lots of games going then it may be an idea to wait and run your game later since players may already be busy participating in other games.

Decide on your setting. As mentioned above, this is a Skaven board and thus most games will be set in the Warhammer universe, but you still need to decide where in the universe you plan to run your game.

Come up with a basic plot. This may seem like a no brainer but you need a basic idea of how the game will progress. Do not plan too much, players love to run off in a random direction and if you have planned on things going one specific way you may be tempted to railroad them into following your plan.

Plan your world. Make sure you have a basic idea of what is happening outside the main story. Players love to explore the world around them (and are very good at getting lost) so it is useful to have a basic idea of what the world around them contains.

Be flexible. As I said above players love to rush off in completely the opposite direction than the one you intended. While it is annoying when they do this, simply nudge them back towards the main plot and resist the temptation to railroad them.

When organizing your game, it helps to let your players know how often you plan on updating the game: will it be based on player activity, or weekly, or fortnightly. This way your players will know when to expect an update, and this in turn helps them get accustomed to the flow of the game.

Set a deadline for posting. One player forcing the entire group to wait is no fun. When you decide on your deadline check how many other games are running, if your players are already participating in other games you may want to make the posting deadline longer than normal so they can post properly in not only your game but in the other ones they are playing.

Don’t get carried away. You may end up with one player posting a lot more than others, however if you reply immediately you run the risk of leaving the other players behind. If you having a posting deadline try not to post an update before the deadline has passed unless everyone has posted (or it’s one that will not affect the people who have not posted)

Pre-write posts. While you are waiting for some people to post you can pre-write your update, while their actions will likely affect the update it’s useful to have to only tweak the update instead of start it from scratch when it’s time.

Think of a system. You will likely be running quite a bit of combat and other situations where it helps to have an established system. Try and come up with one in advance so that you are not caught off guard trying to work out how to decide if an attack hits or not.

Lastly, don’t take it too seriously. This is a game and it’s meant to be fun for both the players and the GM, so try to avoid taking things too seriously.

If for any reason you, the GM, find you can no longer keep the game going, post and let your players know. Your players do deserve to know if the game is cancelled so they won't be left waiting and wondering when the next update will be. Don't leave your players hanging! You might even be able to find a player who will be willing to keep the game going as a GM.

Players: A successful RPG also depends as much on the players as it does on the GM. As much as the players may expect that the GM runs the game appropriately, the GM also hopes that the players will participate in and enjoy the game that he or she has put a lot of time and effort into creating and running for the players. Some games have player limits, and it is unfortunate if a spot is taken by a player who ends up not playing, while there were others who really wanted to play but were unable to because there was no more place for them.

Joining a game. Before joining a game check how often is will update and think seriously about whether you will have to time to meet the update schedule. Try not to join to many games (unless you are Silas ) since if you do you may find yourself overstretched and the quality of your posts may drop.

Learn about the universe. While most of the games here will be Skaven based, some will not. It is useful not only for you but also for the GM and other players for you to possess at least a passing familiarity with the setting you’re playing in.

Try and stick to the plot. The GM has (hopefully) spent a lot of time planning the plot, and it can be very frustrating if the players rush off in the other direction. While the GM should allow you plenty of freedom, you will likely have a better game if follow the plot at least loosely.

As mentioned in context to the GMs, don’t take it too seriously. This is a game and it’s meant to be fun for both the players and the GM, so try to avoid taking things too seriously. In the same vein try and avoid turning what is meant to be a serious game into a joke fest.

Post regularly. It can be extremely annoying for both the GM and other players if they are waiting on you to post, so try and post regularly. But don’t just shove in filler; try and make sure that your post is of good quality. If you are unable to post regularly it may be time to PM the GM and see if they can take over your character.

Don’t get carried away. Try and avoid over-posting since it can result in the other players being overwhelmed while trying to catch up with what has happened since they last logged on.

Think ahead. It is useful for both the players and the GM if you have a vague idea of what you character is going to do next. If you have the time you could even pre-write your next post before the update. This will help keep the gaming running fast. Even if you have to change your post before posting it, it helps to have a basic framework so you’re not rushing to post ten minutes before the deadline.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Quite often you will encounter things that your character should know but you do not. Do not be afraid to PM the GM to find out if your character knows stuff you don’t.

If you're unable to participate temporarily, be it because you're busy with real life, or your internet access went down, or you went on a vacation, but you do intend to return once you can, it helps to make a post or PM notifying your fellows of this, so that they can make arrangements to cover for you in your absence, and more importantly so that the GM doesn't inadvertently replace you! For instance, in adventure games you could put your character in an auto-pilot mode, or put it in the control of the GM or a fellow player until you return.

Tips & Tricks: Here are a few things you could do to ensure you game keeps on going.

Set for yourself how often you will be updating the game, and allocated some time where you know you will be free to do the updates, e.g. every saturday evening. If players can rely on knowing when an update will be, it will be more convenient for them to keep themselves up-to-date on the game's happenings.

Set a minimum limit on activity/posting for your players and let them know what it is. Lurking players are no fun, and if a player falls inactive, you'll be able to remove them to make way for any new players who are interested and may be more active.

Bookmark and/or track the game thread. This works for both GM and players. Bookmarking it keeps the game a click away, and tracking the game thread means you will be notified via email whenever a new post is made, so you'll be kept up-to-date on everything that happens in the game. The "Track this Topic" button is at the top of each page of the thread, right below the Reply button.

We hope you found this useful for the next time you GM or participate in an RPG. Remember: the most important rule of all for GMs and players is… HAVE FUN
hannanibal wrote:*Angry mob assembles*