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2D8HP
2017-11-13, 03:28 AM
FWLIW, less than one-in-nine of the PbP games that I've been privileged to play at this Forum have lasted more than two months (most less than that), and out of about 20, other than being required to play, only once has of any of the back-stories that I've written, have had any relevance, and it netted my PC the opposite of what I had hoped for the PC (the DM dropped out, and the game was short-lived).

My preference would be:


Instead of getting a "slush pile" of a bunch of nearly randon PC back-stories, GM's would start communicating what kinds of PC's would be appropriate.

When GM's request back-stories, they actually use them as something besides an "entrance exam essay".

They actually read the damn things instead of going by highest word count.


To pad out a "back-story", I actually included song lyrics.

In Latin.

The acceptance rate increased, which showed me that word count mattered more than content (I had decided to tests this after noticing which PC's were selected for a Lost Mine of Phandelver that flamed out very shortly after it started).

If I have to write a back-story in order to play, I'd like it to have more meaning than just seeing how much I may type.

Earlier this week there was a PbP recruitment in which the recruiting DM posted:

"I'd like you all to start at level 1, medium-power stat rolls (4d6b3), and with a backstory"

Since I was clueless as to what types of PC"s he wanted, I just sent him a couple of BS''s that other GM's liked, but today, inspired by GM's who posted in a thread that they actually bother to communicate with their players about what PC's are appropriate, I posted:

Now I can keep flinging "back-story" after "back-story" at you in the hope thaf one pleases you, and perhaps you'd enjoy reading them, but after a while I would find reading them almost as tedious as writing them, so here's an alternative idea:

Just say what kind of PC's you want.

How about that?

Or would you prefer some more Batman/Mad Max claptrap?

I can do that easy.

No?

Then just say what types of PC's you want.

Please.[/QUOTE]

(I probably shot myself in the foot, but I'm weary of the ritual)

Many of the GM's recruiting for players in this Forum, give clues about what sort of PC's are appropriate to their game, while many others just ask for "back-stories" and "sheets".

Why?

Is getting a bunch of submissions fun?

Is it hard to describe what sorts of PC's that you'll accept?

Have you even considered giving some clues?

Spore
2017-11-13, 04:55 AM
I DM a short chapter of 5e CoS since July and it is going relatively well, since I am a complete newbie at DMing. I intentionally filled 6 slots (so invited everyone except the last guy who was simply too late) and I feel it is a LOT about pacing. No matter "whose" turn it is. A DM should not wait for anyone's submission. If they cannot post (and do not say they are out of town or something), they do nothing of value in the meantime. Can't have a game waiting for a single player for 4-6 days.

I am playing in another PF game since June where we are almost at level 2. Levelling is slow, and people should know beforehand. We use the fastest progression and we still took 4 months for a level. If that is too slow for you, you might prefer playing by voice chat than by posting.

I only join fully fledged threads, with big 16, where I can see the DM took some effort. I only join when the actual character building process appeals to me. And I know my limits. I play a voice chat group every to every other week. I have 2 PbP groups and DM a group and I am not sure I can keep enough output to DM my group past the chapter finale. I intentionally chaptered the game so that people can join and leave.

Things I hate - and even players I like do regularly is throwing their standard fantasy ideas into. every. damn. thread. Now, the usual DM doesn't recognize this but knowing the players here I see it (probs. because I spend entirely too much time in these forums). One player always wants to play a knight. The other player always plays an archer monk. It's tedious to see those high effort copypastes get picked over me.

Not because the characters suck but as they are played in what I assume are 2-3 games under other names.

2D8HP
2017-11-13, 08:51 AM
....Things I hate - and even players I like do regularly is throwing their standard fantasy ideas into. every. damn. thread. Now, the usual DM doesn't recognize this but knowing the players here I see it (probs. because I spend entirely too much time in these forums). One player always wants to play a knight. The other player always plays an archer monk. It's tedious to see those high effort copypastes get picked over me.

Not because the characters suck but as they are played in what I assume are 2-3 games under other names.


I'm definitely guilty of "copy and paste" PC's.

I play one 5e D&D PbP game, and one Pendragon PbP game.

The 5e game is the longest lasting PbP that I've had the privilege to play, but the character itself was copied from two dead games.

I've found that the key to getting accepted to play is to submit a sheet fast, and to have a long word count back-story.

Only one DM has rejected a PC of mine because the backstory was a "poor fit" (which indicates that he actually bothered to read the damn thing), most just seem to go by counting letters.

Even when I've presented two back-stories, and one was selected as "more" compelling, once the adventure was underway it was clear to me that the DM couldn't possible have read it given the "hooks".

I went back, counted, and say that indeed, it was the longer word count back-story that was accepted.

Another time, in a PbP game that hardly lasted at all, the DM said "no evil", this has resulted in an acceptance of a player that wrote a very long back-story, with a snazzy PC illustration, that had it actually been read by the GM, indicated an evil PC, he even put "Chaotic Neutral" in quotation marks!
Very shortly after play began the DM quit after what was mostly IC bickering amongst the PC's. Had the DM bothered to read the actual descriptions of the PC's, he could have foretold that!

This is all in mind, because I'm down to two PbP's the pace of which is slowing down, so I looked into the "Recruitment" thread, and I see the same pattern: requests for "back-stories" w/o much guidance of what kind of PC's would best fit, and then a mad scramble to submit, a deluge of text, and then PC's accepted based on selecting the five highest word count back-stories amongst the first seven or eight that submitted.

I've been around the block enough to have a "stable" of PC's to copy and paste, and I've previously written paded out long "back-stories" that I may quickly submit, and I've also sussed out that the b.s. doesn't matter, you figure out in-play who the character is, my beef is how this "system" effects new players, who haven't the experience to know that it's largely an empty ritual.

Aa for GM's?

They wind up with the players who can copy or type the fastest.

Judging by how quickly most PbP's flameout, this "system" doesn't work well.

I haven't been "around the block" long enough to see if an alternative system would work better, but it seems to me that longer lasting games may result if GM's and players worked together so that PC's fit the game. A start could be by GM's posting what kinds of PC'S fit, instead of the "first-past-the-post" deluge that is the dominant model now.

Westhart
2017-11-13, 09:11 AM
As a DM I'd ask that you don't make too many generalizations mate :smalltongue:. I can see what you are talking about, although I read all backgrounds submitted to me (yes, even when they are crossed out and a new one has been written) but then I tend not to run too many adventure modules, where it seems your problems lie. (yeah, I'll be running one... starting today, that is, but I read the backgrounds :smalltongue:). honestly i find that when I DM a huge backstory is kind of annoying because I DM with large groups (for example, I am starting one with ~8 players, and have another in the works with at least 10 players).

So, for what it's worth if you play 3.5e you can always jump into one of my games [/shameless advertising] :smallwink:

Lazymancer
2017-11-13, 12:59 PM
http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/674/944/72c.jpg


Many of the GM's recruiting for players in this Forum, give clues about what sort of PC's are appropriate to their game, while many others just ask for "back-stories" and "sheets".

Why?

Is getting a bunch of submissions fun?
Did you consider that this itself is already a role-playing game? After all, if story-telling is what role-playing is, then it already commences when people post their backstories.

Fodder for thought, yes. :smallbiggrin:

Snark aside, as an experiment you might want to consider radically changing your approach: agree to play only with GMs who'll accept only backstories of no more than two sentences.

No, I have no idea if this will work, but it might filter out story-tellers who aren't actually there to roleplay (in a narrow, old-school meaning of the word).

dascarletm
2017-11-13, 01:08 PM
I tend to write short backstories myself, hardly ever past a paragraph or two. My thought is, I want to tell why this character is interesting/relevant, not their entire life history. If I were ever to DM a game, I'd probably pick based off how interesting a backstory is, not length.

2D8HP
2017-11-13, 02:13 PM
As a DM I'd ask that you don't make too many generalizations mate :smalltongue:.....


Good point.

I was feeling Dark o'clock in the morning cranky when I wrote the OP.

:redface:

Hopefully besides bringing shame upon myself, someone was amused by it.


...So, for what it's worth if you play 3.5e you can always jump into one of my games [/shameless advertising] :smallwink:


:smile:

Wow thanks!

Um... I know where all my OeD&D, 1e AD&D, and 5e D&D rules are, but what boxes my 3e PHB, and Pathfinder "Core" rulebook is, I have no idea, and I never did get a 3.5 PHB.

I'll go get it..


...Fodder for thought, yes. :smallbiggrin:

Snark aside, as an experiment you might want to consider radically changing your approach: agree to play only with GMs who'll accept only backstories of no more than two sentences.

No, I have no idea if this will work, but it might filter out story-tellers who aren't actually there to roleplay (in a narrow, old-school meaning of the word).

Perhaps I'll start submitting a clearly labeled two part "character concept", one part is a core of what kind of character I hope to play, the other a lengthy writing sample "backstory" that many GM's seem to favor, for some reason

For the record I've had two back-stories that I submitted that I've gotten feedback beyond "This one is compelling", and both of them are the ones that lasted longest among games I've applied to (one my PC was rejected as "a bad fit", the other my PC was accepted to).

Which leads me to conclude that inviting 2D8HP (me) to play is bad luck for a games longevity, and/or GM's that bother to read (instead of just seeing that it's long enough) and give feedback to their players about the PC concepts have longer games.

Unfortunately, such GM's seem to be a small minority.

And something that puzzles me is when I've posted similar whining, I get responses of "I'm a DM, and I don't like long back-stories", yet time after time the PC' s that I see accepted, it mostly seems to be by word count.

I've already mentioned that my throwing in useless filler ups my acceptance rate, so does my writing a parody of a back-story, such as:


Lokela Makani (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=1050883)
Curses cruel fate:
CURSE YOU, CRUEL FATE!
His misanthropic nature is simply the outward manifestation of a deep-seated insecurity, resulting from the internalization of the notion that he is apart from others and always will be, that he somehow stands alone, and that no one will ever truly understand the incredible, titanic struggle within himself, nor will he ever truly be able to relate this to another person, no matter how close they become.

His behavior and affectations are, in large part, due to this deep-seated need for understanding and acceptance. And yet, who can truly claim to understand or know him? Of course, he does what he must do to survive, but there will always be that shadow of self-doubt. The kind that can usually only be expressed during brooding internal monologues while he crouches, hunched and ready to leap at a moment's notice, as the rain pours down his hooded and implacable face.

THERE WILL BE A RECKONING!

You gotta' have the rain. That makes the whole scene.


The scars run too deep in one such as Mournedge Dark Blade Lokela Makani (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=1050883)

Though he'd "lived", if you could call it "living" for years, growing soft begging for scraps outside the new village, Lokela remembered the forest.

Lokela loved the forest.

The sound of the wind, the river, the birds.
And foot steps.
He loved his family as well, but he always felt the call of the forest, where he could live without speaking, and be still.
And listen.
And wait.
For his prey.
He told himself he hunted to feed his family and neighbors, but deep inside he knew that wasn't true.
He needed the sounds of the woods, as well as the quiet.
And to watch
And to listen.

He heard the woods burning.

He had lived through forest-fires before, but this was different. There had been no lighting. And he heard screaming. His kin's screams!
In an instant from so still he would appear to be part of the woods, he became quick as a deer running from a couger, and he ran towards home.
Towards his family.
Towards everyone he knew.
He saw the burned bodies.
And the arrows.
And something else.

A scale.

A dragon's scale.

Lokela knew then that he would leave the woods.

He had a new prey

Yes that PC was accepted instead of outright rejected.

I've re-used that back-story at least three times (The last time I used it the PC thankfully died but I was allowed a new PC, and it's been the longest PbP game I've played so far).

?????

Westhart
2017-11-13, 02:28 PM
Some 3.5 stuff can be found on the d20 srd, and for what it is worth I think the second background is lovely (I'm not a big fan of the long drawn out backgrounds :smallsmile:)

theasl
2017-11-13, 02:32 PM
The backstory that you write and submit doesn't have to be the only backstory that you come up with for the character. I prefer to keep mine fairly concise, but I generally have a bigger idea beyond what I actually write out. I don't seem to have trouble getting accepted with a comparatively tiny backstory either - I don't think there's been a game in the past...well, very long time that I've been rejected from, and the backstory I come up with ranges from 2-3 sentences to 4 short (3-4 sentence) paragraphs, depending on GM preference. No gimmicks, just boring ol' prose.

Then again, I generally play only Pathfinder APs, which presuppose a lot about the character, so I guess backstory isn't quite as important in those cases. And I'm very picky about GM style and which fellow players apply, so that could be a factor too.

Lazymancer
2017-11-13, 02:41 PM
Hopefully besides bringing shame upon myself, someone was amused by it.
Well, I've had lot of very similar experiences (outside of giantitp) - which are partially responsible for my certainty that not all "role-playing" is actually "role-playing" (the rest is based on experiments with narrativism).


the other a lengthy writing sample "backstory" that many GM's seem to favor, for some reason
The question here is if the games those GMs hold are good (or are happening at all).

2D8HP
2017-11-13, 02:50 PM
...The question here is if the games those GMs hold are good (or are happening at all).


Some were, some weren't, all but one were short lived.

"Beggars can't be choosers" so I really don't have the luxury of holding out for only the better games, but that doesn't stop my from whinging.

Dr.Samurai
2017-11-13, 02:55 PM
I was feeling Dark o'clock in the morning cranky when I wrote the OP.
Lol, I was thinking as I read your responses "Hmm... 2D8 seems less pleasant than usual...".

It is a strange OP though. Almost like daring you to submit a character that you think is realistic, without any other parameters set. No campaign setting information, no Big 16, no indication about what is "realistic".

That said, I like my games a little more realistic, so I'll give it a shot.

Hemnon
2017-11-13, 02:58 PM
I know that feeling 2D8HP.

Although i do hope as a GM of the Pendragon Game you're in, im at least doing a relatively alright job keeping you interested. :smallbiggrin:

I also think that, since DnD is a game where you do not craft a backstory (compared to Pendragon, where you literally create the backstory of your Great Grandfather, Grandfather AND father), you end up with characters that people want to play, but no real good way to 'fit them in'. often i see wildly mismatched team-ups that ends up dying off quickly, gamewise.
What i see at least quite a few GMs forget all about is: 'why are the player characters together'. How long have they been travelling together? why are they adventuring?
To give a good reasoning right here, and it's a funny hook to explain why people go adventuring:
Adventure Guilds! Great guilds in all major towns and cities, where Adventures are ranked by skill and ability (with chance to improve their rank via tests and trials). It's literally a way to make adventure parties feel 'explainable and casual' enough for the world itself.
Yes i shamelessly took this concept RIGHT from the Overlord Anime/Light Novel/Manga. But it works! :smallcool:

theasl
2017-11-13, 03:40 PM
Lol, I was thinking as I read your responses "Hmm... 2D8 seems less pleasant than usual...".

It is a strange OP though. Almost like daring you to submit a character that you think is realistic, without any other parameters set. No campaign setting information, no Big 16, no indication about what is "realistic".

That said, I like my games a little more realistic, so I'll give it a shot.

This...isn't a recruitment thread for a game.

Ichneumon
2017-11-13, 03:59 PM
When I first started to DM in online games, I used to ask for long backstories or short scenes written, mostly because I wanted to get a feeling for who the people were I'd be playing with. This is years ago though and I now my thoughts have changed. I think a long selection proces is unfair for potential players who don't get chosen, without there being something objectively wrong with their characters.

In future games, if I might start another game as a DM, I might just ask players to write a 150-word character background, max, and recruit on a first-come, first serve type deal. Maybe that's just more fair and fun for everyone.

Also, it's very important to have an agreement on posting frequency and behaviour, if you want to keep the game going.

2D8HP
2017-11-13, 04:02 PM
I know that feeling 2D8HP.

Although i do hope as a GM of the Pendragon Game you're in, im at least doing a relatively alright job keeping you interested. :smallbiggrin:


Most definitely @Hemnon, Thanks!



This...isn't a recruitment thread for a game.

I'm guessing that @Dr.Samurai found the Recruitment thread that inspired my latest whining outburst.

No I won't link to it, I'd rather not single it out, as it's the ongoing pattern, not just one DM that's got me bugged.

Besides, presumably other methods have been tried and found wanting, so while the model bugs me, it may still be the best way.

Any GM's try other ways?

Thanqol
2017-11-13, 04:42 PM
I personally don't get why people ask for character submissions at all. That's, like... like the worst way to do it. You're asking a bunch of people to character into a void, unable to build meaningful relationships with the other potential players because you don't know which of them are making the cut. You can't play someone's brother in this system, or two characters in a co-dependent relationship, or the bitter younger sister, or so many other things. You can't adjust on the fly or respond to other people. You're forced to make an entirely self-contained character and then awkwardly tie it into a bunch of other characters after the fact.

And for all that process you've learned nothing of value about the people responsible and if they can hold down a game mid-long term!

When I recruit, I do it like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?507761-Mage-The-Awakening-God-is-Spanish-(Recruitment)). None of this solipsistic character writing stuff, I try to start a conversation and ask some meaningful questions that give me an idea of who the people I'm talking to actually are. As a result, and because of gaming primarily with people I trust and have vetted, my games tend to last a minimum of 6 months. I'm in at least three that are over a year old at this point and are kicking ass.

The variable in a PBP is the player. Characters aren't isolated pillars, sitting pure and untouched in waiting silos. Gameplay is in the dynamic and the interplay of the characters, in people influencing and feeding into each other. My advice to all these failed games, these endless two-month start-stop PBPs that burn people out, is stop asking for characters. It's objectively the worst way to recruit. You gain no useful information with regards to the player's mental stability, ability to work with others, long term commitment or self awareness. You only gain a glimpse into someone's writing skill and system mastery and those are the least important qualities in a PBPer in my opinion.

E: Also while I'm ranting, I don't get why coloured speech text is a thing. It makes you look like a four year old and half the time it's illegible to boot. Black on white has been the standard for all of written history for a damn good reason.

Hemnon
2017-11-13, 04:45 PM
Well i actually forgot to give a good idea on how to make recruitment work and make the game actually function post-recruitment.

here's a short list of things I personally do when being a GM for whatever-game:

1) Outline the world beyond just saying 'Forgotten Realms', or 'It is Shadowrun 5e'. the Big 16 is a good consolidating tool, but it shouldn't be used to just outline the recruitment with no other info before it.

2) Ask for enough backstory to get a feel that the submitted characters feel alive, not to the point that they are giving a life-story or so short that all you know is that they are an elf ranger that likes to Fish. Make sure the PCs ALL mesh well into the campaign and with each other as well. A party that is awkward tends to kill the game FAST, since no one know s what to do or where to go or what to talk bout.

3) Look over the recruitment and make sure to comment and respond often and regularly to questions and concepts tossed out. A lot of players already got in mind what they want to play, even before posting interest or reading the thread, and if they aren't willing to budge or discuss ideas with other players, then it makes it very hard to make the group mesh, along with fit the world the game it gonna be set in.

4) If you're unsure if a request or concept would fit your idea: Better to tell the player to detail their concept a bit further, and if still unsure, say no. Better the concept feels comfortably functional and fitting for the game and setting, rather than saying yes for the sake of making a player happy and willing to stick around and play in the game.

5) If a concept surprises you and a prior rule you said as 'this is not allowed' would halt that as being part of the game: mention it to the recruitment as a whole that you're making an exception (cuz, duh, you're the Game Master and can do that). If people get miffed, explain to them why you did what you did. if they ask why you allow this and not that, then tell them that the concept or idea was fitting enough and interesting enough to be allowed.

6) If you're a new GM: stick to the rules. follow the guideline (at least for the most part) and do not try to be overtly artistic. Rather that the game get going and is a bit heavy-handed with rolls and waiving of specific rulings if it feels that it's still a bit complicated to deal with all the rules.

7) Also, if you make a mistake as a GM, then admit it and retcon what was in error if it recently happened in-game. if not, then just call it a fluke and get onward and maybe let said character that got unfairly wounded find a potion to heal him/her, or, hell, divine intervention of a death occured that was not meant to happen due to a faulty rolls or damage modifier. Or send a Devil to resurrect the dead person and do not explain why, only having the devil leave with an evil grin and a snicker before vanishing in a rush of hellfire.
Why did the devil do it? who knows, what is the price, if any? who knows! but it lets the error be fixed IN-game and it fits the lore In-game that such a thing CAN happen and that even if it's a correction, a price might be needed to be paid, or it was just done to balance the planar realities.

8) For players: be wary of recruitments set up by another PLAYER who wants a certain type of game and seeks a GM and other players. This means the up-coming GM will be taking on someone else's campaign idea without having set up their own world and ideas. It works once in a while, a lot of the time it never gets past recruitment or more than a few pages of IC events.


------------------

And that's it. All my experiences are pretty much up there and thus why it's a guideline i personally follow.

Westhart
2017-11-13, 04:57 PM
E: Also while I'm ranting, I don't get why coloured speech text is a thing. It makes you look like a four year old and half the time it's illegible to boot. Black on white has been the standard for all of written history for a damn good reason.

I feel that it is to make text stand out... which encourages skimming IMO. I also think it is one of those "everyone does it" things, and I do as a DM because my players prefer it and sometimes a player will just jump in without a "said X, exclaimed X etc" so it isn't 100% its supposed to be dialogue (a mistake I've made with a couple of players :smallbiggrin:) so I can see its uses, although I usually just highlight what's being said so I can read it :smallcool:

Hemnon
2017-11-13, 05:03 PM
I feel that it is to make text stand out... which encourages skimming IMO. I also think it is one of those "everyone does it" things, and I do as a DM because my players prefer it and sometimes a player will just jump in without a "said X, exclaimed X etc" so it isn't 100% its supposed to be dialogue (a mistake I've made with a couple of players :smallbiggrin:) so I can see its uses, although I usually just highlight what's being said so I can read it :smallcool:

It also personalizes the color as 'that character' and gives a feeling that the Dark Blue color means that our Waterbending Monk is talking. Makes each speech unique to the character that uses that specific color. Rather than a mash of text that's Black... black... more black.

Westhart
2017-11-13, 05:12 PM
It also personalizes the color as 'that character' and gives a feeling that the Dark Blue color means that our Waterbending Monk is talking. Makes each speech unique to the character that uses that specific color. Rather than a mash of text that's Black... black... more black.

Well yeah, there's that too :smalltongue:

Lazymancer
2017-11-13, 05:16 PM
The variable in a PBP is the player. ... My advice to all these failed games, these endless two-month start-stop PBPs that burn people out, is stop asking for characters.
This I can get behind. Get a group first, decide on characters later.

The problem is, of course, the decision-making process of choosing players. Asking for backstories is easy.

Thanqol
2017-11-13, 05:17 PM
and I do as a DM because my players prefer it and sometimes a player will just jump in without a "said X, exclaimed X etc" so it isn't 100% its supposed to be dialogue (a mistake I've made with a couple of players :smallbiggrin:)

But that's surely fixed by being a slightly better writer? Using coloured text instead of proper quotation marks and attribution is a crutch that sticks you in a novice rut forever. When you're writing in black on white your writing is what it is and has nowhere to hide; if it sucks then your only solution is to get better, and from my perspective that's why I'm PBP'ing in the first place.


so I can see its uses, although I usually just highlight what's being said so I can read it :smallcool:

I personally am not super keen on reading white text on neon blue highlights! That seems unnecessary and time consuming, which is doubly wasteful if someone is going through all the effort of BB coding every single sentence. In the past when I was doing it that could double the time it took to post something if the dialogue was particularly complex and it didn't add anything for the reader.


I also think it is one of those "everyone does it" things,

And this is what's nuts to me! It's a weird mass habit that adds nothing and eventually gets codified as ritual. Down this path lies the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Thanqol
2017-11-13, 05:20 PM
It also personalizes the color as 'that character' and gives a feeling that the Dark Blue color means that our Waterbending Monk is talking. Makes each speech unique to the character that uses that specific color. Rather than a mash of text that's Black... black... more black.

Oh yea, because when Sir Terry Pratchett was writing all I could think of 'man, this is a big mash of black... black... more black'. Granny Weatherwax would have been so much more compelling as a character if she was writing in hot fuchsia. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between Sam Vimes and Rincewind half the time until I went through all my books with a highlighter!


This I can get behind. Get a group first, decide on characters later.

The problem is, of course, the decision-making process of choosing players. Asking for backstories is easy.

I find asking weird and meaningful questions is a super cool technique. Test for people's independence of thought, self awareness and tastes.

Suicune
2017-11-13, 05:53 PM
Well, guilty as charged, I guess. I just dumped a whole bunch of backstory in a thread after posting interest, and I canít even post my sheet since I donít have permission to link things. Either way, yeah, I did this.

I actually enjoy writing long backstories. I donít believe itís necessary, or even good practice - conciseness is definitely better, especially for someone who may just have to parse - but I enjoy showing how a character got where they are. Picking based on this is - in my mind - a bit arbitrary, but also necessary. Now, it would be nice if a DM could pick regardless of the personís writing, but I think thatís idealistic at best.

Seeing a backstory and character sheet automatically tells you if the person knows how to write and if theyíve been reading your setting and trying to connect to it. Basically, it lets you know if the person is trying to shove their character into the setting as opposed to making their character to the setting. But if you pick excusively based on the person applying? Well, since Iím new, whether I was picked or not would be due completely to chance, or maybe not at all - no one knows you, no one has a benchmark of how well you can write and play. A well-written character immediately indicates you know what youíre doing.

In any case, Iím new to GiTP PbPs, so I donít know what to expect, but Iíve played a few (even GMing one) and thatís what Iíve seen.

Hemnon
2017-11-13, 06:07 PM
Well, guilty as charged, I guess. I just dumped a whole bunch of backstory in a thread after posting interest, and I canít even post my sheet since I donít have permission to link things. Either way, yeah, I did this.

I actually enjoy writing long backstories. I donít believe itís necessary, or even good practice - conciseness is definitely better, especially for someone who may just have to parse - but I enjoy showing how a character got where they are. Picking based on this is - in my mind - a bit arbitrary, but also necessary. Now, it would be nice if a DM could pick regardless of the personís writing, but I think thatís idealistic at best.

Seeing a backstory and character sheet automatically tells you if the person knows how to write and if theyíve been reading your setting and trying to connect to it. Basically, it lets you know if the person is trying to shove their character into the setting as opposed to making their character to the setting. But if you pick excusively based on the person applying? Well, since Iím new, whether I was picked or not would be due completely to chance, or maybe not at all - no one knows you, no one has a benchmark of how well you can write and play. A well-written character immediately indicates you know what youíre doing.

In any case, Iím new to GiTP PbPs, so I donít know what to expect, but Iíve played a few (even GMing one) and thatís what Iíve seen.

When i do a GMing for a game i prefer to go for a round of 'Concepts' before anything is rolled, statted or otherwise written down on a charactersheet.

This way the current interests can voice out what they would like to play, everyone can be a part of the event and if something doesn't fit, it can be voiced out in a civil and constructive manner.

THEN comes the rolls/PB/other, along with choosing the race and class conceptualized earlier. And if something feels off for a player, they can easily say so and ask what would fit better.
One should not make a Wizard, cuz no one did and the party feels they need a Wizard. If you would rather play a Fighter going minor Magic buffs for themselves, well then someone else can make a wizard if they want a wizard in the group. If no one want to make and play a wizard, then no need for a wizard was there to begin with. :smallsmile:


Finally, you can do the character-selection, and ask the chosen players to give a 'why do i travel with this group and what do i think/feel about the party members'. It helps avoid the 'you were all called to the king by your various guilds/colleges/divine patrons/etc./etc. They group is already together and they are possibly already at the doorstep of the Dungeon/Zombie-fied Village/etc.

dascarletm
2017-11-13, 06:18 PM
Oh yea, because when Sir Terry Pratchett was writing all I could think of 'man, this is a big mash of black... black... more black'. Granny Weatherwax would have been so much more compelling as a character if she was writing in hot fuchsia. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between Sam Vimes and Rincewind half the time until I went through all my books with a highlighter!



I find asking weird and meaningful questions is a super cool technique. Test for people's independence of thought, self awareness and tastes.

I enjoy how you find players. I think I will adopt that style should I DM a game on here. Though, comparing novice writers on the message board to Sir Terry Pratchett is a bit silly. The standards for gaming enthusiasts on a message board and a professional writer should be different.

2D8HP
2017-11-13, 06:21 PM
This I can get behind. Get a group first, decide on characters later.

The problem is, of course, the decision-making process of choosing players. Asking for backstories is easy.


FWLIW, while I don't much care for the homework of writing the B. S. (Back-story), especially when they don't seem to involve much in-game use by the GM, for two out of three of the longest lasting PbP's that I've played, the GM's had communicated with the players about the B. S. and C. C.'s (character concept) before play started, but in the short-lived games (by far most of them), the pre-game communication didn't have much beyond, "Submit your PC's back-stories", and "These are who have been selected".

I'm guessing that the real key is some pre-game communication and the B. S.'s may provide a basis for that.

Mind you, I've only played about 20 PbP games (depending on how long merits being called playing), over the last two years (and none before), so my sample size. is limited.

Suicune
2017-11-13, 06:23 PM
When i do a GMing for a game i prefer to go for a round of 'Concepts' before anything is rolled, statted or otherwise written down on a charactersheet.

This way the current interests can voice out what they would like to play, everyone can be a part of the event and if something doesn't fit, it can be voiced out in a civil and constructive manner.

THEN comes the rolls/PB/other, along with choosing the race and class conceptualized earlier. And if something feels off for a player, they can easily say so and ask what would fit better.
One should not make a Wizard, cuz no one did and the party feels they need a Wizard. If you would rather play a Fighter going minor Magic buffs for themselves, well then someone else can make a wizard if they want a wizard in the group. If no one want to make and play a wizard, then no need for a wizard was there to begin with. :smallsmile:


Finally, you can do the character-selection, and ask the chosen players to give a 'why do i travel with this group and what do i think/feel about the party members'. It helps avoid the 'you were all called to the king by your various guilds/colleges/divine patrons/etc./etc. They group is already together and they are possibly already at the doorstep of the Dungeon/Zombie-fied Village/etc.

I agree, but again, it isnít always feasible. Iíd love to play in such a campaign, but in a PbP game itís way more difficult to coordinate everything.

Would be cool if that became a standard, though.

Thanqol
2017-11-13, 06:25 PM
I enjoy how you find players. I think I will adopt that style should I DM a game on here.

Cool and good!


Though, comparing novice writers on the message board to Sir Terry Pratchett is a bit silly. The standards for gaming enthusiasts on a message board and a professional writer should be different.

My entire philosophy is derived from the concept 'Be the best version of yourself'. If you're not capable of differentiating between different characters' speaking patterns in a compelling way without resorting to formatting tricks... learn how to do that. What better place is there to practice your writing skills than a play by post on an obscure gaming message board?

Identify your flaws and work on them. If you're not capable of writing at Sir Terry Pratchett's level that shouldn't be for lack of trying.

~Corvus~
2017-11-13, 08:48 PM
I have found an excellent and winning formula for getting acceptance into a game. It helps me get into character and gets me into roughly 3/4 of any game I apply for.

Story:
I create a fun character for myself that evokes humility and humour; if not this, it involves a (called for) tragedy that also gives the character room to grow. Either way, I dont put down the story until its distilled to 12 sentences tops. This ensures a good retention.

By starting humbly, it gives the GM room and space to challenge the character with meams to grow.

Quotes:
I select 3 conversation bits that show snippets from the story. Each gives a different angle of character: demonstrate a means of thinking, problem-solving/causing, and then social tendency.

This give a GM concrete means to be drawn in to the character.

Highlights:
Brief summary of crunchy skills, powers and playstyle objectives.

These can change, but it shows a GM to see what they're getting. More importantly, it gives you a final check to ensure that the design you are thinking of will meet the GMs desires becore you crunch the sheet.

sheet
Since you have a feel for character, their story, strengths and weaknesses, the crunch is quite a bit easier, and it gives YOU direction of powers, advantages, feats, etc you'll pursue.

If you want concrete examples, let me know amd ill expand this.

heretic
2017-11-13, 10:48 PM
I agree, but again, it isnít always feasible. Iíd love to play in such a campaign, but in a PbP game itís way more difficult to coordinate everything.

Would be cool if that became a standard, though.

It's almost as if we need a Big Sixteen that covers the attitudes, goals, emotions, and personalities of the players, rather than the characters.

Dexam
2017-11-14, 01:41 AM
Oh yea, because when Sir Terry Pratchett was writing all I could think of 'man, this is a big mash of black... black... more black'. Granny Weatherwax would have been so much more compelling as a character if she was writing in hot fuchsia. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between Sam Vimes and Rincewind half the time until I went through all my books with a highlighter!



My entire philosophy is derived from the concept 'Be the best version of yourself'. If you're not capable of differentiating between different characters' speaking patterns in a compelling way without resorting to formatting tricks... learn how to do that. What better place is there to practice your writing skills than a play by post on an obscure gaming message board?

Identify your flaws and work on them. If you're not capable of writing at Sir Terry Pratchett's level that shouldn't be for lack of trying.

The works of Sir Terry Pratchett also feature a character who ALWAYS TALKS LIKE THIS, and he is the only one1 who does, thereby making that character's voice somewhat more distinctive; so, one could argue that Sir Terry is just as guilty of resorting to formatting tricks2 as any forum-dweller...

When it comes to colourisation (or not) of character voice and thought text, mileages may vary from game to game, and usually do.


1 = On a regular basis, that is; Mort does, and so does Susan, but only when emulating him.

2 = Do footnotes count as a formatting trick?

ChrisAsmadi
2017-11-14, 08:54 AM
In order to aid group cohesion at the start of a game, I think taking a page from the Dresden Files RPG/FATE can be a helpful idea - as a part of a session 0-esque practice, do Guest Stars (short crossover stories between smaller subsets of the group), so that characters have existing in-game bonds. It won't work for every game (it won't work if the game starts in media res or has an odd start like the Strange Aeons AP, for instance), but it can be a useful tool.

Personally, I think the whole "write a backstory" has both good and bad sides - for instance, I find it much harder to handle it on a game where a character is just starting out as a hero, because they've not really done anything of note, but I've also found that if you experiment a little, you can still use it to make something interesting (for instance, I've done backstory in the form of an FBI Dossier on a character, a scene where a character is bragging to a group of youths about his (mis)deeds and, in one very dark case, a scene where a character is letting loose about all the horrid stuff he's done and how it's gotten worse, all to a prisoner before he shoots him).

Whiskeyjack
2017-11-14, 10:17 AM
In order to aid group cohesion at the start of a game, I think taking a page from the Dresden Files RPG/FATE can be a helpful idea - as a part of a session 0-esque practice, do Guest Stars (short crossover stories between smaller subsets of the group), so that characters have existing in-game bonds.
This is a great idea but unfortunately, like most GM-ing or group-building advice in RPG books, is almost entirely oriented to the notion that most if not all games happen with the players physically sitting together in the same room and gameplay advancing via talking instead of text or the like (minimal adjustment needed here if the group is playing over voice chat). Which certainly was accurate for decades but is less and less accurate in the past decade let alone now.

Implementing ideas like this gets harder when it's through text instead of verbal, exponentially more so in an inherently slower medium like PbP versus a scheduled Skype/Discord text chat. I wish more systems provided even a small blurb of advice for other play styles, i.e., PbP, to show the designers are thinking of people enjoying their games in a "nontraditional" medium, but that is neither here nor there with regard to this thread.

Thanqol
2017-11-14, 04:46 PM
The works of Sir Terry Pratchett also feature a character who ALWAYS TALKS LIKE THIS, and he is the only one1 who does, thereby making that character's voice somewhat more distinctive; so, one could argue that Sir Terry is just as guilty of resorting to formatting tricks2 as any forum-dweller...

When it comes to colourisation (or not) of character voice and thought text, mileages may vary from game to game, and usually do.


1 = On a regular basis, that is; Mort does, and so does Susan, but only when emulating him.

2 = Do footnotes count as a formatting trick?

Ha! Good point! You're right that there is a time and a place for formatting tricks - but it's certainly not 'every character, all the time'.

lacco36
2017-11-16, 07:42 AM
FWLIW, while I don't much care for the homework of writing the B. S. (Back-story), especially when they don't seem to involve much in-game use by the GM, for two out of three of the longest lasting PbP's that I've played, the GM's had communicated with the players about the B. S. and C. C.'s (character concept) before play started, but in the short-lived games (by far most of them), the pre-game communication didn't have much beyond, "Submit your PC's back-stories", and "These are who have been selected".

I'm guessing that the real key is some pre-game communication and the B. S.'s may provide a basis for that.

Mind you, I've only played about 20 PbP games (depending on how long merits being called playing), over the last two years (and none before), so my sample size. is limited.

Just for my overview: can you give a short breakdown of these games by system?

2D8HP
2017-11-16, 07:49 AM
Just for my overview: can you give a short breakdown of these games by system?


The majority have been WotC 5e Dungeons z & Dragons (two long-term, one ongoing), one TSR D&D, a sprinkling of "free form", or custom, one Pendragon (on-going), and a couple of 7th Sea that didn't really last beyond recruitment.

Bounty Hunter
2017-11-16, 12:34 PM
On Life Expectancy

There seems to be a common theme--not just on GitP but all forum games--that folks are excited and active during the recruitment and initial push but quickly things begin to slow to the rate of one or two posts per player, per week. There are a lot of ways people try to combat this with post rate requirements and other rules but I've found the best way to go about it keeping people engaged and getting reliable players to start with.

How to find reliable players though? Well, before you sign up for Storm King's Thunder or some other monster module that would take almost a year with regular sessions... run shorter games. I do the same thing with in-person and Roll20 games: before I get a group together for a 30-week endeavor, I run a one shot or a short arc to make sure the group meshes, people have decent mics, folks are reliable etc. Set your sights lower at first and run some small games that would equate to a one shot and use these to build a network of players you know to have meshing styles and reliable posting habits.

Players need to realize what they're signing up for. If you're jumping into an SKT game because you have a cool new homebrew you want to try... that's cool... but you're signing up for a long game. If you're not going to be in it for the long haul and you're not going to be active let the slot go to someone else. Test your homebrew or your cool character concept in a voice or in person one-shot. You'll get balancing results faster that way anyway. At this point I have a blacklist of players who join games only to drop before month three and then you see them posting in a dozen new recruiting threads even though they've not bothered to at least say "Hey, I'm dropping, I'm sorry" in your game.

Everyone is responsible for keeping the game moving forward and for facilitating that it do so quickly--not just the GM. When you post as a player don't just put forth the minimum amount of effort required to not be booted for inactivity. Do stuff. Talk to your party members, include things in your post that the other players can respond to and play off of instead of everyone responding to GM posts, and post in the out-of-character often. Also try to posture your posts to include as many possibilities as possible: If you say "I open the door" then the game waits for the GM to come back and tell you its locked which means you must now post "I use my lockpicks". Conversely had you posted "I try to open the door, but if it's locked I try my lockpicks" then things move along much quicker. Faster games live longer, slower games see characters stop showing up at all.

Personally, I've found that having a chat outside the forums keeps folks interacting and drives them to post in the game more. You mileage may vary mind you... but a hangouts chat or a Discord server for chatter has always seen faster, longer living games for me.


On Character Meshing

Several folks were discussing above about characters being built in a vacuum because you never know who's going to get picked. I combat this two ways for my games:

1) See above where I vet players through smaller games and then build a closed recruitment game where we already know who's playing and can build characters together.

2) If I run a random game, once I've made selections I allow a revision period before the game starts proper so that folks may tweak both mechanics and fluff to the group that made the cut.


On Text Colors

I'm for them. Sure, every once in a while some jerk tries to use Goldenrod or Cyan or some other silliness for whatever reason, but overall I've seen two major benefits from it.

1) I do a lot of scrolling back up in PBP games to see what someone said while writing my responses but I also read back over things a lot to piece things together. Being able to separate spoken words from a description about how dirty someone's boots were does wonders. All the cute analogies about how novels don't use it are cool and all, but at the end of the day they're hardly relevant.

2) I've found that people get excited about picking colors that fit their character and that folks are more inclined to talk in-character more when using them.

If you don't like colored text in your games then, by all means, forbid it.. but forcing folks to type in black isn't going to make them somehow become better writers or roleplayers. Proper formatting and a little color to a post makes it less of a text wall to slog through, makes things neater and easy to read, and makes looking up what the mayor told you about the orcs (four months later when you've forgotten it) much, much, easier.

theasl
2017-11-16, 02:47 PM
I also don't see how colors affect writing at all. I do all the writing beforehand, then hit two buttons on the text to make it bold and colored just before I hit submit. Does that magically make my writing less creative or whatever? Would it if I hit the buttons beforehand, so i'm typing between two BBcode tags?

Gwynfrid
2017-11-16, 05:19 PM
On game longevity, I suggest you look at this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?405811-Need-additional-data-Theory-of-Game-Longevity). It's got some good insight and a few ideas that should help.

On group selection, I agree that the selection of players is a much bigger deal than the selection of characters. Asking folks to submit a character is a proxy for getting to know things about them, as players:
- How elaborate their submission is tells you how much effort they're prepared to put into making the game a success. This is a fairly poor proxy, though, because creating a character isn't the same as playing it. You have players that take a lot more pleasure in creating than running their character, especially when play becomes sluggish. However, a cursory submission is a strong indication of cursory play.
- How imaginative and interesting their submission is provides a hint on how surprising, original and fun their play is going to be.
- Character sheet clarity, cleanliness and adherence to the rules shows how well they know the rules and how likely it is that they might waste time in rules discussions. This one is more applicable in games that are rules-heavy.
- The quality of their writing, of course, is reflected in the submission.
- In addition, the type of questions they ask in the recruitment thread, and how they react to the DM's responses tells you a lot about what behavior to expect during play.

So, while not perfect, the traditional character selection process has its value.


When I recruit, I do it like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?507761-Mage-The-Awakening-God-is-Spanish-(Recruitment)). None of this solipsistic character writing stuff, I try to start a conversation and ask some meaningful questions that give me an idea of who the people I'm talking to actually are. As a result, and because of gaming primarily with people I trust and have vetted, my games tend to last a minimum of 6 months. I'm in at least three that are over a year old at this point and are kicking ass.

I looked at your recruitment thread, very interesting. I'll see if I can borrow some of your method in the future. I suspect it is particularly suitable for the sort of game you're playing, though. I'm less sure about something like D&D.

On speech colors: I agree they're a crutch. I find them useful, though, to quickly browse through the IC thread and track who said what. This is especially the case during the first few weeks of a game when I haven't completely memorized what players is playing what character and what their names are. Of course, after a month or two, it's no longer necessary. Later in the game, I use them to go back in history, like Bounty Hunter mentioned. It's especially useful when you want to check what an important NPC said at some point in the past.

For writing purposes, colors are not necessary if you're writing a novel, yes. But what we're doing here is different from a novel in a fundamental way: We're reading it a couple of paragraphs at a time. Then we go do something else for a few hours, or days. Then we come back. This disjointed interaction with the material means that a crutch, like these color conventions, can be useful.

Bounty Hunter
2017-11-16, 06:34 PM
On Group Selection

See my previous post for how I vet players before inviting them to my longer running games.

For my shorter games, when I run a recruiting thread I always recruit players--not characters.

Factors In Selection:

Formatting - both in their posts and their character sheet
Spelling and grammar.
Is the user interactive with the recruit process or did the simply post a sheet?
Willingness to work with other users on shared backstory, character ideas, etc
Unique, interesting, and elaborate submissions - not always a garneted, but a good sign.
Did the user read my 'Big 16' or did they use unallowed content or immediately ask for homebrew etc.
Posting rate - not as important as the above, but a factor.
Has this user flaked from previous games? If so why?


Not A Factor:

Group cohesion. I'll take a group of five good rogues before I take a bad user because they made a cleric.
"I've not been selected by the last X games I applied for"
Length of time user has been on the forums.
Length of time user has been playing RPGs.
Did the user already have a character concept ready to go?

Zergrinch
2017-11-17, 04:16 AM
I don't care for long back stories myself. What comes later is more important. And anyway, having a detailed backstory can hamper your flexibility. I don't know if that's a factor in not getting chosen in games, but it is a possibility since I never submit more than 2 paragraph biographies.

It probably doesn't help that I'm very choosy myself, keeping away from DMs who in my experience bailed out of a game too often.

Plus, although I know it's only a marginal mechanical improvement (Max benefit of +2 in 3-4 skills) over 27 point buy, but I always like to roll for stats (and then kit out a slightly overpowered character compared to AL-legal ones. I also like shiny stuff, e.g. Unearthed Arcana, and so often do not apply if the DM wishes to stick to core rules only.

Dacia Brabant
2017-11-17, 10:39 PM
For my part, when I make a character submission I try to craft a backstory that's in a style or genre of writing that fits the character, not necessarily just to get picked (though there is that) but also because I enjoy the challenge. Now it would be nice if that material gets picked up and used in game by the GM, but if it's not I don't mind, having that piece of writing still gives me a template to work off of when I post, so in that sense it still gets used.

Of much greater concern is the number of games that die soon after launch, or are dead on arrival. I have over a hundred subscribed IC/OOC threads that haven't been active in months or years, so it's a huge problem, and it's one that can't be laid solely at the feet of GMs. I don't know, maybe the 16 is part of the problem, maybe the focus should be on recruiting the right players rather than characters for the game, but maybe people need to be clear about their expectations going in as well--and not offer games or offer themselves as players if they can't meet those expectations. And yes, I'm pointing three fingers back at myself as well. :smalltongue:

As far as colored text goes, that's a pretty petty thing to complain about. As someone who works in publishing, I can tell you that the barriers to printing in colored text are that it's 1) extremely expensive, 2) difficult to print consistently, and 3) difficult to read. Online forums don't have those problems (well, unless someone decides to be a jerk about their color choices), so if people find that it enhances the experience, so be it.

Kalirren
2017-11-18, 01:28 AM
On alternatives to the big 16:

I think the one good idea I had when I ran a game that lasted several months was to make a thread for the game and invite people to post IC before selecting the final group. That way I knew I ended up with a group of characters that had developed some rapport with each other whose players were interested in those relationships and capable of exploring them further.

The group did eventually die, but it was because:

1) 1 player died iRL
2) 1 player was in the Philippines when Haiyan hit
3) 1 player faced a housing crisis iRL
4) 1 player I managed to alienate and was my own fault
5) 1 lone player managed to stick the game through but I couldn't really continue the whole weight of the game on his shoulders alone...

So overall I still consider it a success given the circumstances. My main lesson learned is that players' circumstances -will- eventually build up. If the players think a new game is more interesting than their current one, their attention will go elsewhere. As a GM, a good defense for your game lies in the relationships between the players' characters, because even if they take a character elsewhere, they usually can't take the character's friends along with.

Bennosuke
2017-11-18, 12:06 PM
Not that I am a great GM, but I do have multiple games going longer than 6 months right now, but I just want to add two cents on one thing that hasnít been emphasized nearly enough IMHO; is as the GM managing expectations clearly when setting up recruitment and the big 16.

I make it clear that the game will be slow. I often work 12-16 hour days, and so I strive for a post rate of at least once a day. I make this clear to my players ahead of time.

I make it very clear what sort of a game it will be. Usually, I find combat slows PbP games down, so I tend to run low combat games. The WoD/CofD settings work well for this anyways. So I tend to run Investigation/Social intrude games, and make this clear to manage expectations.

I emphasize the importance of playing nicely with other players, and flexibility in the rules. For example, I have seen a lot of VtM/VtR/werewolf games go under because one or more players feels like they have to play a violent or emotionally troubled loner. I make it clear that even if your character is antisocial, and wouldnít normally befriend strangers, they should be willing to be flexible with this concept in the context of moving the game forward. I mean, even in real life the most shy person may find themselves opening up to someone they feel a connection with.

Lastly, and this does not fit as much with the above, I tend to let my players do things independently from each other. It leads to a kind of solo game for multiple players, but it slows things down less, in that we are all waiting for each other to respond less. Not that this is something I necessarily recommend, but I do find this makes things run smoothly.

Sahe
2017-11-18, 01:12 PM
Not that I am a great GM, but I do have multiple games going longer than 6 months right now, but I just want to add two cents on one thing that hasnít been emphasized nearly enough IMHO; is as the GM managing expectations clearly when setting up recruitment and the big 16.

I make it clear that the game will be slow. I often work 12-16 hour days, and so I strive for a post rate of at least once a day. I make this clear to my players ahead of time.

I make it very clear what sort of a game it will be. Usually, I find combat slows PbP games down, so I tend to run low combat games. The WoD/CofD settings work well for this anyways. So I tend to run Investigation/Social intrude games, and make this clear to manage expectations.

I emphasize the importance of playing nicely with other players, and flexibility in the rules. For example, I have seen a lot of VtM/VtR/werewolf games go under because one or more players feels like they have to play a violent or emotionally troubled loner. I make it clear that even if your character is antisocial, and wouldnít normally befriend strangers, they should be willing to be flexible with this concept in the context of moving the game forward. I mean, even in real life the most shy person may find themselves opening up to someone they feel a connection with.

Lastly, and this does not fit as much with the above, I tend to let my players do things independently from each other. It leads to a kind of solo game for multiple players, but it slows things down less, in that we are all waiting for each other to respond less. Not that this is something I necessarily recommend, but I do find this makes things run smoothly.

Actually, I think splitting up the group or letting players run around solo works better in PbP than it does at a table or via voice chat, because no one has to "sit around and do nothing" until the solo fling is done.

Roland St. Jude
2017-11-20, 02:07 AM
Sheriff: Moved from Recruitment because this isn't a recruitment.

Dimers
2017-11-20, 02:37 AM
I'll take a group of five good rogues before I take a bad user because they made a cleric.

Five rogues would be a great game in most systems anyway. :smallsmile:

Koo Rehtorb
2017-11-20, 03:00 AM
It's almost like PbP is a terrible format to run an RPG in unless it's an RPG that has been specifically designed for that format.

Alcore
2017-11-20, 07:24 AM
I love backstories, when their short. Three little sentences is all i need. Just three, no less (i have seen some try) but more tends to run into problems. Three paragraphs is, enough, to get a life story but i tend to forget how it started when i finish. A wall of text? Or several? My eyes glase over and your chances of getting in drop to single digits.


A bunch of submissions are never fun. It's a chore as good writers are not always good RPers and some RPers can't write a backstory. So you have to pick people and it's aweful; 'hey, you just spent a few hours of your life. You wasted it.'


I do provide clues. I run Kingmaker and ask for explorers to journey into the Stolen Lands. What do i get? Wannabie kings with god complexes, other various people tailored for administration roles, conan the barbarian, special snowflakes (enough to make a party).


Who gets in?

Conan

most of the others have no business leaving their corporate offices or being trusted with the job. People don't take hints, they often don't read.

If i asked for a knight, a ranger, a durable mage and a holy man i would have gotten better tailored PCs but Conan would not of come. It stifles creativity.

noob
2017-11-20, 08:11 AM
Conan is a quite cool character(and I definitively see it working in an exploration adventure).
There is nothing wrong with playing a character that already exists.
However it seems that according to what you wrote most people who gave application did not knew the adventure would not be about managing a kingdom but rather about exploring.
The title probably did mislead them: they did read the title and thought:"I can play my cool intrigue character or my cool kingdom administrator or my cool dramatic king wannabe" without reading the description.(it is not your fault: it is a module and not everybody have module omniscience(you know that power that makes you know by heart each and every module) and not everybody reads descriptions)
For the special snowflakes it is probably players who already had made their special snowflake and try to use it everywhere.
All that is probably not linked to play by post but rather to how people are way less responsible on internet than in real life.

Alcore
2017-11-20, 10:04 AM
Conan is a quite cool character(and I definitively see it working in an exploration adventure).
There is nothing wrong with playing a character that already exists.mmmm.... Your missing the metaphor. :smallconfused:

Don't get me wrong. Conan, the barbarian, could definitely survive the Stolen Lands and if someone showed up with him i would be inclined to accept him as Conan. Conan (the character) is a rather deep compelling character that fits perfectly in his stories (admittedly not a hard feat when story revolves around him).

(Though i will say that Conan was an off model and not quite metaphorical, like hobbits and halflings. I admired his attempt at passing him off as not-conan.)

However it seems that according to what you wrote most people who gave application did not knew the adventure would not be about managing a kingdom but rather about exploring.
The title probably did mislead them: they did read the title and thought:"I can play my cool intrigue character or my cool kingdom administrator or my cool dramatic king wannabe" without reading the description.(it is not your fault: it is a module and not everybody have module omniscience(you know that power that makes you know by heart each and every module) and not everybody reads descriptions)it seems to me your trying to help me fix what went wrong. Thank you :smallbiggrin:
(Two years too late, still scratching my head over some of the crap they pulled to get in. How i miss it.)


I linked the player's guide. They saw the words: "survival is important", " your going into the wild", "having four legs under you might help", " your a pioneer" and yet i got what i got. They didn't care about that or book 1, they were thinking book 2. Or rather they did not place as much value on it as ruling efficiently. Metagame :smallsigh:


My favorite artwork was in book 6. Amiri (the canon barbarian with low CHA) was seated on the throne. That was awesome!



For the special snowflakes it is probably players who already had made their special snowflake and try to use it everywhere.
All that is probably not linked to play by post but rather to how people are way less responsible on internet than in real life.
One fit vary well; a centuar from the Noman tribe next door. Fully integrated character? Check. Proof of reading setting material? Check. Turned out to be a good RPer too. :smallamused:

Max_Killjoy
2017-11-20, 10:16 AM
Instead of getting a "slush pile" of a bunch of nearly randon PC back-stories, GM's would start communicating what kinds of PC's would be appropriate.



I've found this issue in both online and in-person... GMs who don't give enough up-front indication as to what kind of game it is, what sort of characters they're expecting, what sort of builds are acceptable, etc. And then make it a big ordeal to get it lined up, or demand to know why you even want to be in their game if you're not going to bring a "good" character, or whatever.

Lazymancer
2017-11-20, 11:14 AM
Who gets in?

Conan
So, the single worst archetype for colonization game (literally, no motive) is chosen because of some artwork and ability to handle the very first challenges (which he - again - has no business dealing with in the first place, unless someone who has is hiring him).

And this is presented as an example people should follow.

I knew this thread would be fascinating, but my expectations were surpassed.


... or demand to know why you even want to be in their game ...
This might seem surreal, but I'd say that's just IRL stuff leaking in. Today even wannabe-dishwashers might get asked on job interviews what motivated them to choose this line of work - and be expected to answer with something about life-long dreams.

That's just supply-and-demand. If you know you will get applications anyway, there isn't any reason to make any actual effort.

Gwynfrid
2017-11-20, 11:21 AM
I linked the player's guide. They saw the words: "survival is important", " your going into the wild", "having four legs under you might help", " your a pioneer" and yet i got what i got. They didn't care about that or book 1, they were thinking book 2. Or rather they did not place as much value on it as ruling efficiently. Metagame :smallsigh:

Looks like your would-be players wanted to play a different game than the one you wished to offer. Kingmaker is one of the most popular and discussed APs out there, so it's not too surprising that everyone knew (or hoped for) way more than what its very basic player's guide says. And even if you just go by player's guide, the roles in the future kingdom government (councilor, high priest, warden, general etc) are all laid out, complete with recommended character abilities to match the positions. So, I don't find it shocking that your candidates went for that and ignored the requirements for exploring. This was a mistake on their part, though, because Kingmaker characters need to be able to do both.

Scripten
2017-11-20, 11:29 AM
I've played in two games so far and, while I don't write long, I tend to write backstories that I, as a DM, would appreciate. That is, backstories that contain the following:


At least one or two story hooks with enough ambiguity that the DM can fit them in
Some sort of motivation for the character to stick with just about any party that could be assembled
One or two traits that will generate intra-party interaction but not outright PvP


So far, it's worked but for the DMs flaking on every game after a couple encounters. The worst part being that both DMs were very good at their craft and had worked hard to build compelling settings and encounters up to that point.

Alcore
2017-11-20, 12:33 PM
Looks like your would-be players wanted to play a different game than the one you wished to offer. Kingmaker is one of the most popular and discussed APs out there, so it's not too surprising that everyone knew (or hoped for) way more than what its very basic player's guide says. And even if you just go by player's guide, the roles in the future kingdom government (councilor, high priest, warden, general etc) are all laid out, complete with recommended character abilities to match the positions. So, I don't find it shocking that your candidates went for that and ignored the requirements for exploring. This was a mistake on their part, though, because Kingmaker characters need to be able to do both.
Want to hear something funny?

3 games in Kingmaker, another i played in as PC. Not one App had a character that could make a map.


First time i thought it was poor thinking but now i roll my eyes, grin and elect the one with knowledge nature or geography ranks for a map ass pull. A tedious detail but it should seem important.



So, the single worst archetype for colonization game (literally, no motive) is chosen because of some artwork and ability to handle the very first challenges (which he - again - has no business dealing with in the first place, unless someone who has is hiring him).

And this is presented as an example people should follow.

I knew this thread would be fascinating, but my expectations were surpassed.Why, yes your right! The Sword Lords have nothing at all to tempt Conan to escort a map maker and tracker into the wild. Not Conan, who spends a lot of his youth questing for his own kingdom, or gold. Five thousand gold to kill one bandit lord couldn't tempt him.


Of course he can't be a good pioneer; the Arnold version was only a slave, a gladiator (fighter archtype), a thief (rouge), and able to survive in the wild (rage, as a feature, doesn't come up so ranger with more gladiator sprinkled in) and a more accurate version of him has pirate experience. Three movies and pleanty of books have so far pointed to absolutely no leadership skills or talent what so ever.

This is why Conan fits; he has depth. A thing that is hard to role play.

Knaight
2017-11-20, 12:40 PM
The works of Sir Terry Pratchett also feature a character who ALWAYS TALKS LIKE THIS, and he is the only one1 who does, thereby making that character's voice somewhat more distinctive; so, one could argue that Sir Terry is just as guilty of resorting to formatting tricks2 as any forum-dweller...
This works largely because it's one character plus those imitating him. A different style for every character is just noise.


It's almost like PbP is a terrible format to run an RPG in unless it's an RPG that has been specifically designed for that format.
Preach it.

Max_Killjoy
2017-11-20, 12:44 PM
It's almost like PbP is a terrible format to run an RPG in unless it's an RPG that has been specifically designed for that format.


My experience would tend to support that conclusion, sadly.

Alcore
2017-11-20, 12:47 PM
My experience would tend to support that conclusion, sadly.

Agreed but a keyboard does allow quick, large, back stories.

exelsisxax
2017-11-20, 12:52 PM
Agreed but a keyboard does allow quick, large, back stories.

How does a keyboard help at all? The keyboard should be the rate-limiting step. Your finders do not contain your imagination and creativity.

Unless, of course, there is a sentient keyboard involved, or keyboards with insect icon key labels supplied to groups of ground-dwelling birds.

Alcore
2017-11-20, 01:04 PM
How does a keyboard help at all? The keyboard should be the rate-limiting step. Your finders do not contain your imagination and creativity.

Unless, of course, there is a sentient keyboard involved, or keyboards with insect icon key labels supplied to groups of ground-dwelling birds.

Let me rate my speeds from fastest to slowest;

1. My imagination
2. Keyboard
3. Pen and paper

It's nice your a fast writer but truly i would get nothing done as i keep backtracking my thoughts to where my hand is. Until we can put thoughts onto screen everthing is slower than imagination.

2D8HP
2017-11-20, 01:11 PM
...Who gets in?....
...a keyboard does allow quick, large, back stories..

OP here.

I can think of a notable exception, who did indeed read my back-story submission, provided feedback, and ultimately rejected my PC and went on to host a long game, mostly though it has worked for me like this:


1) See and briefly skim recruitment.

2) Quickly find pre-written PC and long back-story that seems like they may fit.

3) Copy, paste, and lightly edit.

4) Submit application

5) Play game for a week to a few months.


Now if everyone started fresh, and GM's intently read submissions, than the "model" would work okay (a GM could see how quickly potential players may come up with content on the fly), but....

....I have to assume that I'm not the only veteran who's "spamming" recruitments (I don't even have to do that many anymore, I'm usually accepted) and I've found that how fast and how long my submissions are is more important than thoroughly reading the recruitment and crafting a custom character. Speed is the mosr important factor, length second, actually bothering to carefully read the recruitment is a far distant third.



It's almost like PbP is a terrible format to run an RPG in unless it's an RPG that has been specifically designed for that format..
True but I'd rather actually play a game than wait for a better game in vain.

Lazymancer
2017-11-20, 01:21 PM
Why, yes your right! The Sword Lords have nothing at all to tempt Conan to escort a map maker and tracker into the wild. Not Conan, who spends a lot of his youth questing for his own kingdom, or gold. Five thousand gold to kill one bandit lord couldn't tempt him.
Exactly. Conan needs to be paid to do the job. He has no personal interest in the implied reward for exploration (colonization charter), nor in the overarching goal of the party (colonization of the frontier). He is a goddamn barbarian, if you didn't notice.

As for bandit lord - he appears later, when the party is already formed and had avdentured for some time. It's a sidequest and primary reward is not gold, but the colonization charter.


Of course he can't be a good pioneer
He says so himself:

I'm a mercenary. I sell my sword to the highest bidder. I never planted wheat and never will, so long as there are other harvests to be reaped with the sword.
"Beyond the Black River" in basically failed Kingmaker campaign - and Conan has no interest in it. In fact, he calls it "mad business" and there was a bit about civilization being unnatural which is silently approved by him.


Three movies and pleanty of books have so far pointed to absolutely no leadership skills or talent what so ever.
Conan does not like statecraft - which is repeated quite enough times. He is annoyed by it. He does not like bureacracy, nor intrigues.

His kingdom (Aquilonia) was not created by him. He ended up on the throne only because he had overthrown the existing king. If not for deus ex machina keeping him alive, he would've ended up being one of those soldier Emperors, most of whom didn't last a year.


This is why Conan fits; he has depth. A thing that is hard to role play.
The only sentence that should've to been blue.

Bounty Hunter
2017-11-20, 02:31 PM
I can think of a notable exception, who did indeed read my back-story submission, provided feedback, and ultimately rejected my PC and went on to host a long game, mostly though it has worked for me like this:


1) See and briefly skim recruitment.

2) Quickly find pre-written PC and long back-story that seems like they may fit.

3) Copy, paste, and lightly edit.

4) Submit application

5) Play game for a week to a few months.


Now if everyone started fresh, and GM's intently read submissions, than the "model" would work okay (a GM could see how quickly potential players may come up with content on the fly), but....

....I have to assume that I'm not the only veteran who's "spamming" recruitments (I don't even have to do that many anymore, I'm usually accepted) and I've found that how fast and how long my submissions are is more important than thoroughly reading the recruitment and crafting a custom character. Speed is the most important factor, length second, actually bothering to carefully read the recruitment is a far distant third.

As a GM, I must echo the sentiments of others in this thread and ask that you stop making such broad generalizations. Just because you feel that GMs aren't intently reading submissions doesn't mean that's the case.

If you want a culture to change you have to facilitate the change instead of going along with what you disagree with and then grumbling about how much it sucks.

You want people to submit characters tied into the game, with good backstories, and who work with the GM to get the best possible results? Then be the sort of player taking those steps instead of the copy paste applications and other low effort submission techniques.

You want more GMs who read, provide feedback, and pick the best players from the application lists rather than the four sheets with the most text? Be the sort of player who drives that interaction or step up and be that sort of GM yourself. Be the example that people want to emulate.


One of the glorious hypocrisies when it comes to complaints about game life expectancy is how folks lower themselves to levels they despise to get into games and then wonder why games they made it into with those strategies suck and/or died.

You're bolding bragging about changing your tactics to be word count fluff and copy paste character applications while simultaneously complaining that games you got into using those tactics didn't last for the long run.

Gwynfrid
2017-11-20, 02:32 PM
My experience would tend to support that conclusion, sadly.

I can understand why one would reach this conclusion. But in this case, there is no reason to continue browsing the recruitment subforum, right? :smallwink:

In my experience, PbP is a very different form of play. It fails if you try to replicate 100% of the tabletop experience. Just as a minor example, as a GM I drop at least 1/3 of the encounters from the scenario. Otherwise it's just too slow.

On the other hand, PbP allows for cool things that aren't possible around a table. You can do elaborate RP, including something to reflect a character's thoughts. You can take the time to describe action in a more vivid way. And you can replace acting skills with writing skills (I'm not a great writer, but I'm a much worse actor).

PbP isn't for everybody, but I like it, not just as a substitute to RL play.


..

OP here.

I can think of a notable exception, who did indeed read my back-story submission, provided feedback, and ultimately rejected my PC and went on to host a long game, mostly though it has worked for me like this:


1) See and briefly skim recruitment.

2) Quickly find pre-written PC and long back-story that seems like they may fit.

3) Copy, paste, and lightly edit.

4) Submit application

5) Play game for a week to a few months.


Now if everyone started fresh, and GM's intently read submissions, than the "model" would work okay (a GM could see how quickly potential players may come up with content on the fly), but....

......I have to assume that I'm not the only veteran who's "spamming" recruitments (I don't even have to do that many anymore, I'm usually accepted) and I've found that how fast and how long my submissions are is more important than thoroughly reading the recruitment and crafting a custom character. Speed is the mosr important factor, length second, actually bothering to carefully read the recruitment is a far distant third.

I don't think it's a fair characterization. As a player, I have submitted characters in the last couple of hours before the submission deadline, and got them accepted. As a GM, I always read all submissions in full (unless I dislike them enough right out of the gate that I know I won't take them), and I don't look at length. I'll admit that I usually find the well-thought out characters among those submissions that have a minimum of length (not sure what that minimum is, maybe 10-12 sentences?), but it doesn't mean the longest has the highest chance.

As a player, I do reuse characters from games that didn't work out. I usually give them at least a touch-up. This is not just because it saves me time, but because I like those characters and would like to play them again.


..True but I'd rather actually play a game than wait for a better game in vain.

That's what I used to think. But then, I ended up in games that died very quickly, and even in games that I quickly wished I hadn't joined (and died anyway, shortly after I had reached that point). Nowadays I'm more picky. I feel no need to invest time in a character, even if just to adjust it a little, if the game isn't worth the effort.

2D8HP
2017-11-20, 02:52 PM
PbP allows for cool things that aren't possible around a table. You can do elaborate RP, including something to reflect a character's thoughts. ..
True, some players and GM's are really good writers, and if it was face-to-face they may not have had time to craft statements of the quality they have.

Also, as has been mentioned up-thread, splitting the party works better with PbP.


I don't think it's a fair characterization...
My experience may be atypical.

Frankly, based on my experience, they best way to extend game longevity may be to not let me play!

Knaight
2017-11-20, 02:53 PM
I can understand why one would reach this conclusion. But in this case, there is no reason to continue browsing the recruitment subforum, right? :smallwink:
The recruitment forum that this thread isn't in?

Beyond that, there are games made for PbP. They tend to be niche, but they're worth looking into so that the game doesn't die the moment you get into your first subsystem which moves quickly enough at the table and gets horribly bogged down in PbP format.


On the other hand, PbP allows for cool things that aren't possible around a table. You can do elaborate RP, including something to reflect a character's thoughts. You can take the time to describe action in a more vivid way. And you can replace acting skills with writing skills (I'm not a great writer, but I'm a much worse actor).
It does all of this better when not straddled with a system fundamentally made for something else.


Also, as has been mentioned up-thread, splitting the party works better with PbP.
I'll admit to a truly disproportionate level of practice with split parties (and some of my players know exactly why I have that disproportionate level of practice), but they're really not that hard to run in face to face games.

Bounty Hunter
2017-11-20, 03:29 PM
The recruitment forum that this thread isn't in?.

It was originally and was moved late last night for not being a recruitment game.

Ironically though now less of the folks who it applies to will see. :smallconfused:

Malimar
2017-11-20, 03:37 PM
It's almost like PbP is a terrible format to run an RPG in unless it's an RPG that has been specifically designed for that format.
I always chuckle and scoff when people say this. I have plenty of fun on long-running 3.5e PbP games with only minor rule tweaks to accommodate the medium.

If your experience doing a thing always sucks, but other people have plenty of fun doing that thing, consider the possibility that the common thread in the sucky experience might be you, not the thing. (Though yes, the flip-side of that is also true: if most people have a sucky experience, and I have a good experience, it might just be that I'm awesome enough at it to overcome the thing's inherent suckitude. But I'm more willing to believe other people are bad than I am to believe I'm good.)


In my experience, PbP is a very different form of play. It fails if you try to replicate 100% of the tabletop experience. Just as a minor example, as a GM I drop at least 1/3 of the encounters from the scenario. Otherwise it's just too slow.

On the other hand, PbP allows for cool things that aren't possible around a table. You can do elaborate RP, including something to reflect a character's thoughts. You can take the time to describe action in a more vivid way. And you can replace acting skills with writing skills (I'm not a great writer, but I'm a much worse actor).

PbP isn't for everybody, but I like it, not just as a substitute to RL play.

PbP is also much better if the party insists on splitting. You can handle both sides of a split party on PbP without having half the players twiddling their thumbs. (EDIT: I see now this has been mentioned upthread.)

Gonna reiterate the point that PbP is also much better for getting into the meat of things like characterization and location descriptions. (Sure, many players will skim lengthy descriptions, but even more will have their eyes glaze over and stop paying attention altogether if you try to blocktext at them over a table.)

PbP also lends itself well to fiddly systems with lots of ever-shifting numbers you have to keep track of. D&D3.5 and PF are prime examples of this. Keeping a dozen bonuses straight in your head slows down combat to a slog over a table, but in PbP you have much more time to sort through everything every round. Also I was looking at PF's kingdom building rules the other week, and one of my main reactions was "this is ungodly complicated, I would heck of not want to play this around a table, but I'd like to try it on PbP".

EDIT: Oh, and drawing battlemaps. This occupies a huge amount of time over a table, but taking time to draw a map doesn't drag the game down over PbP like it does over a table. (DMs often have trouble if they're, say, editing and uploading a new image every round, but I've got a system that makes it pretty quick and easy on me.)

There are a lot of things PbP does better than tabletop play, and some things tabletop play does better than PbP. I might even say I prefer PbP; the main reason I still bother to play over a table is hanging out with friends and having pizza, not the game.

In the end, Gwynfrid's point that the two are not the same is very key. PbP is like a veggie burger: a complete failure as an imitation of hamburger, but it can be a pretty decent food in its own right if you aren't comparing it to something it's not.

MintyNinja
2017-11-20, 03:39 PM
Personally, I've found that having a chat outside the forums keeps folks interacting and drives them to post in the game more. You mileage may vary mind you... but a hangouts chat or a Discord server for chatter has always seen faster, longer living games for me.

One of the first games I ran was a Pokemon Tabletop game on these forums and I can guarantee that one of the reasons it ran for so long (almost a year? I can't remember) was because we had a small Chatroom to hang out in. This meant we'd RP out several pages of content over the course of a day. It was as close to a real live tabletop game as I've ever seen, without ever being one.

As for backstories, I ran an unusual version of D&D 5e last year and I chose people out of recruitment that had adjusted to the setting. I was able to work together with my players to tie threads of their backstories into the game. One of the most poignant scenes of this game was when one of the characters was leading a hunting party in a new land with their little sister in tow. The hunting party was ambushed by wolves and all but one of the NPCs was slain in the fight. The PC had a down and out struggle for her life to survive and save her sister. It lead to one of the most dramatic bleeding out scenes I've ever seen in D&D. In the aftermath, the PC and their unconscious little sister were hunkered down amidst the wolf corpses for warmth as they tried to rest before the long, gruelling trek back to their settlement. This happened because of that PC's backstory. Because she wanted to follow in her own grandmother's footsteps and be a heroic hunter. Because her little sister wanted to follow in her footsteps. Hell, it was such an important scene for the character that when they made it back to safety I offered them the opportunity to start being trained (taking levels) as a Barbarian, a cultural practice that was not her own.

I think my point is that Backstory should always be used to help give context to the character's present, and weight to their decisions.

2D8HP
2017-11-20, 03:39 PM
It was originally and was moved late last night for not being a recruitment game.

Ironically though now less of the folks who it applies to will see. :smallconfused:.
The OP at least got invited to some extra games through this thread when it was in "recruitment", oh well there's more views of the General "Role-playing" Forum, so maybe some more insights will be posted, so far some of the "How I do things" posts have been interesting to me (and hopefully others).

Bounty Hunter
2017-11-20, 05:59 PM
Personally, I've found that having a chat outside the forums keeps folks interacting and drives them to post in the game more. You mileage may vary mind you... but a hangouts chat or a Discord server for chatter has always seen faster, longer living games for me.


One of the first games I ran was a Pokťmon Tabletop game on these forums and I can guarantee that one of the reasons it ran for so long (almost a year? I can't remember) was because we had a small Chatroom to hang out in. This meant we'd RP out several pages of content over the course of a day. It was as close to a real live tabletop game as I've ever seen, without ever being one.


Well, as it turns out, the benefit of a on-forum means of communication is two-fold:

Discord, Hangouts, or other clients allow for faster and easier responses and usually folks also use them from mobile. Conversation that would take hours/days on the forum can happen in minutes.
The more, and the more often, you talk to more likely bonds will start to form. People are less likely to bail on folks they 'kinda know' rather than total internet strangers.

Piedmon_Sama
2017-11-20, 06:09 PM
Lol, I was thinking as I read your responses "Hmm... 2D8 seems less pleasant than usual...".

It is a strange OP though. Almost like daring you to submit a character that you think is realistic, without any other parameters set. No campaign setting information, no Big 16, no indication about what is "realistic".

That said, I like my games a little more realistic, so I'll give it a shot.

You're not the only person I've seen refer to this but I've never run across the term before. What are the "Big 16" ?

Sir Chuckles
2017-11-20, 09:11 PM
Coming in as someone who has been using PbP on others sites for years, I wholeheartedly agree. I, honestly, hate the process of having to sift through 3-30 paragraphs per player just to find the one that isn't another "dead family, burned village, mysterious adoptive mentor" story. Many players burn out on applying because of this, and, DMs don't want to admit it, but we hate reading them.

Most backstory hooks end up being unusable tosh even when they're good. Doubly so for really anything that isn't a sandbox. And ten times that for APs and Modules. I can't use your connection to a local lord who wronged you when the first chapters sees you traveling a thousand miles away.

That's why I am actively doing something about it. I'm currently running the application process for a Red Hand of Doom campaign over on Mythweavers and am not asking for a backstory or personality. Instead, I've given everyone the same questionnaire that they are to answer in-character. The questions are things like "Where are you from?" and a few hypothetical situations. Sorta took inspiration from the Fallout GOAT test, but with a free response format.

Since this is the first run of the idea, I'm still hitting snags, like people still insisting on writing their 20 paragraph backstory when I will not be reading them, or people giving half-sentence responses. Plus I need to trim questions and make them make more sense.

This has ended up giving setting-appropriate hooks like "My ex-wife lives in X town" and "Well, I don't have any friends." without needing four paragraphs of wind-up to that point. It gives me their personality since it's multiple in-character responses. Someone angry at being asked all these prying questions is a different character than the one dancing around them teasingly. It also lets me see how a prospective player writes.

So far, it's been much more concise than a full backstory. Witha direct comparison from one of those who did write a full backstory, it turned a 24 paragraph backstory into a 7 paragraph set of responses to nine questions. And I get more workable material out of the responses than I do the backstory. Mostly because I'm not actually reading the backstory.

DataNinja
2017-11-21, 03:40 AM
One of the first games I ran was a Pokemon Tabletop game on these forums and I can guarantee that one of the reasons it ran for so long (almost a year? I can't remember) was because we had a small Chatroom to hang out in. This meant we'd RP out several pages of content over the course of a day. It was as close to a real live tabletop game as I've ever seen, without ever being one.


Well, as it turns out, the benefit of a on-forum means of communication is two-fold:

Discord, Hangouts, or other clients allow for faster and easier responses and usually folks also use them from mobile. Conversation that would take hours/days on the forum can happen in minutes.
The more, and the more often, you talk to more likely bonds will start to form. People are less likely to bail on folks they 'kinda know' rather than total internet strangers.


Yeah, I can first-hand say that I've seen evidence of off-site Real-time chats drastically increasing game lifespan. I Admin in a Play by Post community, and when we popularized and spread the use of Skype chats, the lifespan of games that used them skyrocketed.

Basically, it's what Bounty Hunter said. Being able to talk about things just casually with people, even not about the game, helps keep engagement. You get to know people as... well, people.

I know that I've been doing this for several years, now, and some of the people from my first games where we used Skype, I count them as amongst my closest friends. (As a side note, the nice thing about an offsite OOC, is you can talk about things you'd never reveal to the world, for posterity in an OOC thread.)

Dimers
2017-11-21, 04:11 AM
Speed is the mosr important factor, length second, actually bothering to carefully read the recruitment is a far distant third.

It boggles my mind that a GM can have little enough homebrew/houseruling that that's even possible. When I GM, I try to fix things that are wrong with the system or that don't fit the gameworld. Characters being submitted that ignore the changes would just annoy me.


You're not the only person I've seen refer to this but I've never run across the term before. What are the "Big 16" ?

A list of points about the nature of the game. I don't find it a great way to describe a game, but it's better than nothing, and it's kinda expected here on GitP.

1. What game system are you running (D&D, Call of Cthulu, Palladium, GURPS, etc.), and if applicable what edition (Original, Classic, Revised, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 10th, etc.)?

2. What 'type' or variant of game will it be (i.e. "Shadow Chasers" or "Agents of Psi" for d20 Modern)? What is the setting for the game (eg. historic period, published or homebrewed campaign setting, alternate reality, modern world, etc.)?

3. How many Players are you looking for? Will you be taking alternates, and if so, how many?

4. What's the gaming medium (OOTS, chat, e-mail etc.)?

5. What is the characters' starting status (i.e. experience level)?

6. How much gold or other starting funds will the characters begin with?

7. Are there any particular character classes, professions, orders, etc. that you want... or do not want? What are your rules on 'prestige' and/or homebrewed classes?

8. What races, subraces, species, etc. are allowed for your game? Will you allow homebrewed races or species? 'Prestige' races or species?

9. By what method should Players generate their attributes/ability scores and Hit Points?

10. Does your game use alignment? What are your restrictions, if so?

11. Do you allow multi-classing, or have any particular rules in regards to it?

12. Will you be doing all of the die rolling during the course of the game? Will die rolls be altered, or left to the honor system? If players can make die rolls, which ones do they make, how should they make the rolls, and how should they report them?

13. Are there any homebrewed or optional/variant rules that your Players should know about? If so, list and explain them, or provide relevant links to learn about these new rules.

14. Is a character background required? If so, how big? Are you looking for anything in particular (i.e. the backgrounds all ending up with the characters in the same city)?

15. Does your game involve a lot of hack & slash, puzzle solving, roleplaying, or a combination of the above?

16. Are your Players restricted to particular rulebooks and supplements, or will you be allowing access to non-standard material? What sources can Players use for their characters?

Grek
2017-11-21, 03:35 PM
...I have to assume that I'm not the only veteran who's "spamming" recruitments (I don't even have to do that many anymore, I'm usually accepted) and I've found that how fast and how long my submissions are is more important than thoroughly reading the recruitment and crafting a custom character. Speed is the mosr important factor, length second, actually bothering to carefully read the recruitment is a far distant third.

When I am recruiting, I refuse to consider anyone who I see doing this.

2D8HP
2017-11-21, 04:44 PM
...if you want a culture to change you have to facilitate the change instead of going along with what you disagree with and then grumbling about how much it sucks..
That's fair, and hearing from GM's helps me facilitate that change


...Then be the sort of player taking those steps instead of the copy paste applications and other low effort submission techniques..
Unfortunately, in my experience, I'd seldom get to play without the copy/paste ASAP technique.

My hope is that GM's will slow down enough so that a better meeting of players and GM's may happen.


...You want more GMs who read, provide feedback, and pick the best players from the application lists rather than the four sheets with the most text? Be the sort of player who drives that interaction... .
I asked the GM of the most recent game that I applied to for feedback on what sort of characters he wanted.

The response wasn't feedback, it was being told I was accepted (I also got some very nice invitations from this thread, which I've had to decline because of time constraints).


...You're bolding bragging about changing your tactics to be word count fluff and copy paste character applications while simultaneously complaining that games you got into using those tactics didn't last for the long run..
I wouldn't call it "bragging", I'd call it confessing and explaining.


It boggles my mind that a GM can have little enough homebrew/houseruling that that's even possible.... .
My experience may be atypical (I hope it is), but I have found that the very brief skim - copy - quick edit (If even that) - and paste method to be far more effective than a more considered approach.


When I am recruiting, I refuse to consider anyone who I see doing this..
I'm sorry that I didn't see your
last recruitment (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?504534-Grek-s-5e-Ravenloft-Invitational)

I played one Ravenloft PbP, in which I was

the last remaining player when the DM quit (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?492640-D-amp-D-5E-Ghost-Nappa-s-Novice-Curse-of-Strahd-(IC))

and another in which the DM bailed before play really started (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?499374-TechnOkami-Tries-DM-ing-Curse-of-Strahd-IC)

Both those DM's were very nice and gave a heads up, but there many others (that I won't link to), in which the game just ends.

Anyway, I'm in a quandary, the most effective method of my getting to play (copy and paste ASAP) gets me into games that (not surprisingly) don't usually last, while more considered approaches don't work for me to get invited to play.

They only solution that I can think of is to convince enough potential GM's to decide on their players based on more than speed, word count, and pictures submitted, unfortunately I'm doubtful that the GM's for whom copy/paste ASAP is the most effective way to secute an invite would even read a thread like this.

Another quandry.

:frown:

Westhart
2017-11-21, 04:49 PM
Well, 2d8 if you don't mind 3.5 You could drop in over here :smalltongue: (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?542153-Civilzation-Building-Campaign-OOC), as more characters won't be a problem. Not sure if that fits what you're looking for, but it is an option :smallsmile: [/ruthless self advertising :smallwink:]

Lazymancer
2017-11-22, 05:20 PM
They only solution that I can think of is to convince enough potential GM's to decide on their players based on more than speed, word count, and pictures submitted, unfortunately I'm doubtful that the GM's for whom copy/paste ASAP is the most effective way to secute an invite would even read a thread like this.

Another quandry.

:frown:
Well, you can also unionize. :smallbiggrin:

Find enough GMs/players that support your position (which you should define), and organize them to have games that adhere to this position: accepting or rejecting members that do not follow The Code (which should also be defined).

Westhart
2017-11-22, 05:38 PM
Well, you can also unionize. :smallbiggrin:

Find enough GMs/players that support your position (which you should define), and organize them to have games that adhere to this position: accepting or rejecting members that do not follow The Code (which should also be defined).

Isn't the code more like guidelines though? :smalltongue::smallwink:

LordEntrails
2017-11-22, 08:18 PM
I haven't played PbP in a decade. But if you want higher quality PbP players (and writing skills), I suggest you search out a PbP game site rather than a general forum. Years ago I played at Rondak's Portal. Last I knew it was still around, and the players there were all dedicated to PbP and many of them were very good writers.

Solaris
2017-11-26, 08:24 PM
I am reminded of someone observing that while good groups seem to be pretty stable, bad players and bad groups often metastasize and infect other groups. Perhaps the same is true of GMs.
That, and I don't think it's any more reasonable to expect GMs to read player backstories than it is for players to read setting information.


FWLIW, less than one-in-nine of the PbP games that I've been privileged to play at this Forum have lasted more than two months (most less than that), and out of about 20, other than being required to play, only once has of any of the back-stories that I've written, have had any relevance, and it netted my PC the opposite of what I had hoped for the PC (the DM dropped out, and the game was short-lived).

My preference would be:


Instead of getting a "slush pile" of a bunch of nearly randon PC back-stories, GM's would start communicating what kinds of PC's would be appropriate.

When GM's request back-stories, they actually use them as something besides an "entrance exam essay".

They actually read the damn things instead of going by highest word count.


To pad out a "back-story", I actually included song lyrics.

In Latin.

The acceptance rate increased, which showed me that word count mattered more than content (I had decided to tests this after noticing which PC's were selected for a Lost Mine of Phandelver that flamed out very shortly after it started).

If I have to write a back-story in order to play, I'd like it to have more meaning than just seeing how much I may type.

Earlier this week there was a PbP recruitment in which the recruiting DM posted:

"I'd like you all to start at level 1, medium-power stat rolls (4d6b3), and with a backstory"

Since I was clueless as to what types of PC"s he wanted, I just sent him a couple of BS''s that other GM's liked, but today, inspired by GM's who posted in a thread that they actually bother to communicate with their players about what PC's are appropriate, I posted:

Now I can keep flinging "back-story" after "back-story" at you in the hope thaf one pleases you, and perhaps you'd enjoy reading them, but after a while I would find reading them almost as tedious as writing them, so here's an alternative idea:

Just say what kind of PC's you want.

How about that?

Or would you prefer some more Batman/Mad Max claptrap?

I can do that easy.

No?

Then just say what types of PC's you want.

Please.

(I probably shot myself in the foot, but I'm weary of the ritual)

Many of the GM's recruiting for players in this Forum, give clues about what sort of PC's are appropriate to their game, while many others just ask for "back-stories" and "sheets".

Why?

Is getting a bunch of submissions fun?

Is it hard to describe what sorts of PC's that you'll accept?

Have you even considered giving some clues?

What's funny is I've done all that, and still had players ghost.
It's difficult to describe just how irritating it is to have that happen. To spend days, weeks working on a campaign, integrating their characters' backgrounds and histories into the setting, and then have them go 'poof' because, y'know, I'm not a human, I'm an entity composed entirely of pixels that exists solely for their ****witted amusement!
Y'know why I quit running PbP games?
Because they kept dying from players ghosting even after I'd put the effort into picking out characters using several different methods. I was getting better at it; my first one lasted barely a month, and from there I worked it up to maybe three-four months as I got more and more selective with the players. It usually took me at least an hour per full application to decide, and that's on top of all the other GMing stuff. I do not have an infinite amount of time on this Earth. Years later, I'm still bitter because short, hairy men with beards are nothing if not good at holding grudges.
Now, if I run a game, I do something somewhat like Thanqol: I look for the people who are willing to get into a chat room and interact with the other players*. If someone can't be bothered to do that, it strongly suggests things about their interest level and willingness to commit to the game, something more than the length of their backstory or whatever would really indicate. From the general reactions I've seen the few times I've suggested it in public, I'm probably not going to be running PbP games any time soon. Apparently, installing a chat client is too much work.
Make of that what you will.

*Also has the added advantage of weeding out most of the potential problem children. Not all, but most.

I really do suggest that method, though, even if you're not going to carry gaming into the chat. The couple of times I've pulled it off, it worked out rather well and both games lasted until I was quite literally unable to run them anymore; had I continued to have a roof over my head and internet connection, I would likely have run them to completion. One game was fantastic, and the other game was good until it demonstrated just why it's really important to filter players before letting them in.


It also personalizes the color as 'that character' and gives a feeling that the Dark Blue color means that our Waterbending Monk is talking. Makes each speech unique to the character that uses that specific color. Rather than a mash of text that's Black... black... more black.

I post slower when I have to use colored text. It's a pain to dig out the coding and enter it into the speech.


This might seem surreal, but I'd say that's just IRL stuff leaking in. Today even wannabe-dishwashers might get asked on job interviews what motivated them to choose this line of work - and be expected to answer with something about life-long dreams.

That's just supply-and-demand. If you know you will get applications anyway, there isn't any reason to make any actual effort.

Somewhat off-topic, but I do find that hilarious in a "Idiocracy was a documentary" kind of way. Fortunately, when I'm running interviews I'm not forced to ask the peon candidates why they want to be peons. I just ask them if they can work the job, work the schedule, and usually check to see if they've been flaking out of a lot of jobs beforehand. It actually gets a little annoying when they try and tell me the whole speech they've worked out about how awesome a candidate they are for a no-skill position.

I mean, really, could there ever be an answer to the question of "Why do you want this job?" other than "I want money" when we're talking about low-to-no-skill labor positions?

2D8HP
2017-11-27, 12:58 AM
...What's funny is I've done all that, and still had players ghost.
Sorry to learn that. My own experience is that out of about 20 PbP games, 3 are ongoing, for 3 I was the last player when the GM quit, for the rest the GM quit stopped posting when they were other players as well, and only for two of them did the GM bother to tell the players the game was over, but yes almost all of them had players who "ghosted".


Now, if I run a game, I do something somewhat like Thanqol: I look for the people who are willing to get into a chat room and interact with the other players.
Sorry, I'm not familiar with "chat rooms", how are they different from this Forum?

Dimers
2017-11-27, 01:09 AM
Sorry, I'm not familiar with "chat rooms", how are they different from this Forum?

They're quite alike in that multiple people leave text (and possibly pics, files or other stuff) in a string that all participants can see. And chats typically have some way to send a message to someone privately, like GitP's PMs. But chats are quicker and have less overhead, making interactive conversation a lot more likely ... back-and-forth, ya know? Chats can also be exclusive so that the messages aren't seen by thousands of people, removing most need to censor or moderate.

2D8HP
2017-11-27, 01:31 AM
They're....
Thanks for that.

Alcore
2017-11-27, 09:10 AM
1. They're quite alike in that multiple people leave text (and possibly pics, files or other stuff) in a string that all participants can see.

2. And chats typically have some way to send a message to someone privately, like GitP's PMs.

3. But chats are quicker and have less overhead, making interactive conversation a lot more likely ... back-and-forth, ya know?

4.Chats can also be exclusive so that the messages aren't seen by thousands of people, removing most need to censor or moderate.mind you i use discord when i must....

1. You mean just like this forum?

2. You mean just like this forum?

3. You mean just like this forum? I'm serious here. I've used chatrooms for games, mainly MMOs that lack a forum feature, and it can take days to relay messages or communicate. All i have to do here is hit refresh, which is an extra step others might not want to do. I was once in a PBP game that managed a single battle in one day over the forum.

It's not about the medium; it's about keeping people logged in for an hour. A chat room will function just like a forum if they can't or won't stay on.

4. It is actually a good point. Harder to share the game with others once done.

Solaris
2017-11-28, 09:24 AM
They're quite alike in that multiple people leave text (and possibly pics, files or other stuff) in a string that all participants can see. And chats typically have some way to send a message to someone privately, like GitP's PMs. But chats are quicker and have less overhead, making interactive conversation a lot more likely ... back-and-forth, ya know? Chats can also be exclusive so that the messages aren't seen by thousands of people, removing most need to censor or moderate.

It also has the effect of making the other participants in the game seem more human to all of the involved, and it's difficult to understate how important that is.
Another important aspect to it is, because there's less time between responses, you get a better sense of who the people you're talking to are. One of the major things I look for is how the players interact with me and each other, after all; while sycophancy seems pretty much the norm in recruitment threads it often falls away with a bit more familiarity and conversation in the chatroom. I, personally, find that last bit important because I have run across a great many more players who are rather difficult to get along with and would much rather play with people I like than with people I can only barely tolerate.

If you don't believe me on the import of looking at how well players get along, just look at just about any thread on this forum. I can't think of more than a handful that went more than a few pages before someone starts getting passive aggressive and the thread started to degenerate into pointless sniping. Clearly, a semi-random sampling of players isn't going to have a good chance.


mind you i use discord when i must....

1. You mean just like this forum?

2. You mean just like this forum?

3. You mean just like this forum? I'm serious here. I've used chatrooms for games, mainly MMOs that lack a forum feature, and it can take days to relay messages or communicate. All i have to do here is hit refresh, which is an extra step others might not want to do. I was once in a PBP game that managed a single battle in one day over the forum.

It's not about the medium; it's about keeping people logged in for an hour. A chat room will function just like a forum if they can't or won't stay on.

4. It is actually a good point. Harder to share the game with others once done.

Clearly, you are a superior being to all of us. Teach us your ways, oh Great One. We are unworthy, unthinking worms before the might of your wisdom!

If forums were really that good a way to get people online and interacting with one another in the way you're talking about, would we have the problems we do? You were once in a PbP game that managed a single battle in one day - good for you. It's the norm when you play with a chat client and prearranged times. You don't even really have to try to pull it off. Yes, it's possible with a forum; I've done it, too, after all. That doesn't make forums a good medium for it, because medium does matter.

Just because you can force the square peg into the round hole doesn't mean you're clever for doing so, much less cleverer than the people who've figured out that you can just get a round peg to fit the hole.

Alcore
2017-11-28, 12:19 PM
.
If forums were really that good a way to get people online and interacting with one another in the way you're talking about, would we have the problems we do? You were once in a PbP game that managed a single battle in one day - good for you. It's the norm when you play with a chat client and prearranged times. You don't even really have to try to pull it off. Yes, it's possible with a forum; I've done it, too, after all. That doesn't make forums a good medium for it, because medium does matter.

Just because you can force the square peg into the round hole doesn't mean you're clever for doing so, much less cleverer than the people who've figured out that you can just get a round peg to fit the hole.what i am saying is most of the points made for it are redundant. Prearranged times? Great. Now it's a mad scramble to get a post in (in either medium) and GM has to play catchup or think quickly on his feet. One slows the game down the other tries to imitate the table. Still no faces so no way to know if you've confused them, or upset them or entertained them; which means you don't know how well your doing they blow up. You lose PBP main strength; unless you wait for DM to type long strings of text.



The peg is unlikely to be square or round yet we all still shove; you, me that random guy over there. As i agreed with others; forum is not the best medium but chat isn't best either; heck tabletop wouldn't be best for everyone. Medium might matter but it is not at the top. A beer and pretzel group will be bored to tears on a forum while a lore heavy group would find the forum a blessing.

Knaight
2017-11-28, 06:07 PM
what i am saying is most of the points made for it are redundant. Prearranged times? Great. Now it's a mad scramble to get a post in (in either medium) and GM has to play catchup or think quickly on his feet. One slows the game down the other tries to imitate the table. Still no faces so no way to know if you've confused them, or upset them or entertained them; which means you don't know how well your doing they blow up. You lose PBP main strength; unless you wait for DM to type long strings of text.

You do lose the main strength of play by post; you also jettison most of the weaknesses. I've run a number of games over IRC, and they're very much a hybrid of the in person and PBP styles. They're a bit slower than in person games and the GM gets to think a bit slower and do a bit more editing because of differences in the mediums of text and voice, and in my experience you get more roleplaying. The absence of faces and voices leaving you with just text on a page both helps avoid some of the intrinsic awkwardness of roleplaying and lowers the barrier of things that have to be ignored in terms of player-character differences*.

*Although I will say that this is probably a smaller factor than the differences in player groups between local friends and people who go to RPG IRC channels, which is at least partially born out by similar experiences with VOIP programs.

Solaris
2017-11-28, 07:07 PM
what i am saying is most of the points made for it are redundant. Prearranged times? Great. Now it's a mad scramble to get a post in (in either medium) and GM has to play catchup or think quickly on his feet. One slows the game down the other tries to imitate the table. Still no faces so no way to know if you've confused them, or upset them or entertained them; which means you don't know how well your doing they blow up. You lose PBP main strength; unless you wait for DM to type long strings of text.

You haven't used Skype lately.
Do note that you're retaining the strength of PbP; I made no mention of playing in the chat room (although I'd recommend doing battles that way). The chat room largely replaces the OOC. It's a small difference, but in my experience it's a significant one.


The peg is unlikely to be square or round yet we all still shove; you, me that random guy over there. As i agreed with others; forum is not the best medium but chat isn't best either; heck tabletop wouldn't be best for everyone. Medium might matter but it is not at the top. A beer and pretzel group will be bored to tears on a forum while a lore heavy group would find the forum a blessing.

Your argument is orthogonal to the point, due largely to the fact that you seem to be misinterpreting mine. I'm using the chats to interact (and rollplay, if it's feasible with the group), not roleplay.

MintyNinja
2017-11-29, 03:31 AM
The chat room largely replaces the OOC. It's a small difference, but in my experience it's a significant one.

Just chiming in to add another +1 to this part. Our OOC Thread became individual links to our character sheets, with color claiming, abd then a link to the chat room where we really hashed things out or shot the sh** between posts. I've been looking for the old site we used to use, but I don't think it exists anymore. It was a dutch thing with instructions none of us could read but it served well. It would generate a chat pad, or room, and we'd talk in there. In each pad was also a central collaborative space where we left important links. Good times.

DataNinja
2017-11-29, 04:08 AM
I've been looking for the old site we used to use, but I don't think it exists anymore. It was a dutch thing with instructions none of us could read but it served well. It would generate a chat pad, or room, and we'd talk in there. In each pad was also a central collaborative space where we left important links. Good times.

Sounds like https://edupad.ch/[whateversuffix]. Yeah, unfortunately, inactive links are (understandably) purged occasionally, so old chatlogs don't tend to be preserved. It's a pretty nifty site, and at least one forum I'm on tends to use them for OOCs. I prefer Skype when available, though.

MintyNinja
2017-11-29, 04:22 AM
Sounds like https://edupad.ch/[whateversuffix]. Yeah, unfortunately, inactive links are (understandably) purged occasionally, so old chatlogs don't tend to be preserved. It's a pretty nifty site, and at least one forum I'm on tends to use them for OOCs. I prefer Skype when available, though.

Oh my god you found it!!! Thank you! I forgot about the "edu" part and the ".ch" does not jive with my memories as cleanly as ".de" but that's the place! Thank you.

Bounty Hunter
2017-12-01, 10:27 AM
1. You mean just like this forum?

2. You mean just like this forum?

3. You mean just like this forum? I'm serious here. I've used chatrooms for games, mainly MMOs that lack a forum feature, and it can take days to relay messages or communicate. All i have to do here is hit refresh, which is an extra step others might not want to do. I was once in a PBP game that managed a single battle in one day over the forum.

It's not about the medium; it's about keeping people logged in for an hour. A chat room will function just like a forum if they can't or won't stay on.

4. It is actually a good point. Harder to share the game with others once done.I'm unsure whether you actually misunderstand the point being made about instant messengers or whether you honestly think that the forums are on equal footing to a chat on all the points made--they're not.

The point isn't to move the entire game, in character, to a chat--though I assure you many games are played via chat clients like Discord and Skype--the conversation was about having the out of character chatter be an instant message service.

With a program like Discord or Hangouts or even Skype there is instant notification, usually to mobile, and the ability for people to exchange the information much faster and with much less bother. Additionally, I've found that folks are just outright more likely to chime into a group chat conversation than to bother with logging onto the forum just for some watercooler talk. Most people have a time or a couple of times a day they devote to jumping on the forum and updating all the threads they're in... whereas they're much more likely to be active and involved in the chatter when they can do so from the bus stop, while standing in line, during a commercial break, etc etc.

Easy of access means people likely talk more.

People talking more means they're more likely to also be active in the game.

People being active in the game is more likely to keep other people active in the game.

When more people are active in a game a game is likely to survive longer.

DataNinja
2017-12-01, 10:09 PM
Oh my god you found it!!! Thank you! I forgot about the "edu" part and the ".ch" does not jive with my memories as cleanly as ".de" but that's the place! Thank you.

No problem. Always happy when there's something that I can actually help with. :smallbiggrin:

SaintRidley
2017-12-11, 04:52 AM
One of the first games I ran was a Pokemon Tabletop game on these forums and I can guarantee that one of the reasons it ran for so long (almost a year? I can't remember) was because we had a small Chatroom to hang out in. This meant we'd RP out several pages of content over the course of a day. It was as close to a real live tabletop game as I've ever seen, without ever being one.

As for backstories, I ran an unusual version of D&D 5e last year and I chose people out of recruitment that had adjusted to the setting. I was able to work together with my players to tie threads of their backstories into the game. One of the most poignant scenes of this game was when one of the characters was leading a hunting party in a new land with their little sister in tow. The hunting party was ambushed by wolves and all but one of the NPCs was slain in the fight. The PC had a down and out struggle for her life to survive and save her sister. It lead to one of the most dramatic bleeding out scenes I've ever seen in D&D. In the aftermath, the PC and their unconscious little sister were hunkered down amidst the wolf corpses for warmth as they tried to rest before the long, gruelling trek back to their settlement. This happened because of that PC's backstory. Because she wanted to follow in her own grandmother's footsteps and be a heroic hunter. Because her little sister wanted to follow in her footsteps. Hell, it was such an important scene for the character that when they made it back to safety I offered them the opportunity to start being trained (taking levels) as a Barbarian, a cultural practice that was not her own.

I think my point is that Backstory should always be used to help give context to the character's present, and weight to their decisions.

That was me! Still holds the honor of being the best D&D experience I've ever had. A couple reasons it worked so well in that case, I think, were timing and the care I put in as a player. That hunt thread really came together because we happened to catch each other in the climactic moments of the combat online at the same time. We were able, as much as a forum-based game experience can allow, to role play that out in real time.

What pushed that to the level it reached, though, was how much I was invested in that character. Everything she did was rooted in her family. She wanted to be like her grandmother, she wanted to provide for her mother and sister, and after this experience she began to develop feelings for another hunter who had endured a similar devastating loss of her hunting party. The combination of having created for the character so many reasons to care about these NPCs and being able to play out such a pivotal scene fast heightened the emotion. If that scene is dramatic, MintyNinja, itís because I was fully immersed and allowing myself to simply feel Gerūrís feelings in the moment. I still go back and read that thread sometimes when I feel the need to just feel something. I almost cry reading it, and not because the gameís over, but because of how raw and pure the game was at that moment. And it could never have happened at all without you doing the best DM work Iíve ever seen.

MintyNinja
2017-12-11, 07:07 PM
SNIP

Hey Saint, good to see you. I just did a binge and read through most of the game, including the Side Thread. Just one year ago, eh? It was pretty intense, but it's still my go to example for an intense scene. And if I do ever start another game on these threads, I'll be contacting you first.