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    Default General Guides to Freeform Roleplaying

    General guides to freeform roleplaying:


    These universes obviously cater to different audiences and employ different genres, moods, tones, and themes. But they do share a few things in common, these being the rules. Now, these rules aren't absolutes. Different universes, threads, and posters might be more or less permissive than these rules, and there is always room for a little variation. If there is a conflict between these rules and the rules of a specific setting, or a specific thread within that setting, those will have priority over these general guidelines.

    Godmodding: What it is and How to Avoid it Written by Vael
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    Godmodding: Taking control of someone else's character without their expressive permission. This term applies to any extent of control, especially including any reactions to something you have done.

    Using this definition of godmodding condenses our rule ‘Do not Godmod’ to one very simple but inclusive rule: Do not control someone else’s character. This seems a simple enough thing to avoid, but in some situations (such as combat) people take control in a limited way without realizing it.
    Still using combat as our example, here are three examples of godmodding. One blatant, one general, and one subtle in successive order:
    (And yes, Vael is me. Darn my godmodding! )

    1. Vael shoots a blast of energy at (PC) and the energy rends (PC) who falls dead with a wail.
    2. Vael swings a sword at (PC) and strikes home, leaving a small angry red line of blood.
    The third example is split into two posts by two separate people to show the entire situation:
    3. Post (PC) – (PC) draws his weapon and readies himself for combat, going on the defensive.
    Post (Vael) – Vael slashes (NPC), giving him a gaping wound and reverses the attack, striking at (PC)

    The first example of godmodding is obvious, I attacked someone and killed them, usurping all of their control over their character, not even allowing them to describe how they died.
    The second example is fairly noticeable as well. I attacked and rather than allowing them control over their character, I went ahead and said that they were hit rather than giving them a chance to respond.
    The last one is a rather subtle godmod, though it is still there. I did not post a definite reaction for the PC, only saying that I attacked them. I did not kill anyone’s NPC without their permission, only using the NPC with general license. However, what I did do was presume that I hit the NPC. What if (PC), or another person nearby had wanted to prevent me from harming the NPC? I effectively denied them a chance to react to my attack, though my use of the NPC was okay.

    Godmodding in non-combat situations is just as bad as doing it within combat. Some examples of non-combat godmodding are as follows:

    1. Vael casts Heal and cures (PC)’s wounds.
    2. Stealthily Vael picks (PC)’s pocket and steals (something).
    3. Vael dodges the bouncer blocking the door and runs outside.

    In the first example I did not allow someone the chance to say how grievous their injury was, or even if they had something that would resist healing spells. In short, they lost a chance to react. You would normally assume people like getting healed, but in town people are crazy, so you never know.
    Second example. What if the character is sharp-eyed, clever, or simple lucky? Again, try to do something rather than succeed.
    Third example. Now this seems okay, and perhaps in responding to someone else’s post it would be. But if someone says “I block the door” and you run past them without letting them respond, it is godmodding. This, perhaps, is not the best example, as it could be either godmodding or a reaction statement that is fine. I include it merely so that you can see that there are different levels to godmodding, and that it is complex to determine whether some things are godmodding are not. If you aren’t sure, don’t act, try to act.

    Now that I have defined godmodding and given some examples, the question to answer is: How can I avoid godmodding by accident?
    The answer is this: You can try to do anything to someone, but they control what actually happens to themselves. Never deny someone a chance to react, no matter what you do. Before you post, consider what you have written. Do you directly affect someone with it, adversely or positively? Do you block them off from some options that someone would normally have in their situation? If the answer to either question is yes, you probably need to revise your post.
    Note, however, that the definition states that this is only godmodding if you do not have someone’s permission. If you obtain someone’s OOC permission to godmod, then feel free to godmod against them within their restraints. However, I recommend that you merely work out someone’s response before time, just in case something unexpected comes up (like another player interfering).

    However, just as bad as taking control of someone else's character is making your own never get affected by them. As Regiji says: "The counter part to an irresistible force is an immovable object." Therefore, you should let people at least achieve SOMETHING when they attempt to affect you. You don't have to all the time, but if your character is continually "immovable" you will be godmodding, and people will be extremely likely to ignore you. So don't just "I dodge" everything, okay? Let people do something to you if they try.
    Also note that there is another form of godmodding similar to the above, which will be known as ‘passive godmodding’ (kudos to Iames for the name). Passive godmodding is when a player ignores an entirely legitimate post for little to no reason. If you miss reading a post, that is one thing, but to ignore a post intentionally is very bad form. You are allowed to react to someone’s post in nearly any way you want, but ignoring it really should not be done unless they are godmodding or adversely affecting an ongoing plot without permission.


    Threads
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    As stated way back at the beginning of this guide, in FFRP, a thread represents a location in which interactions take place. In larger universes, you move your character from place to place by moving from thread to thread. Some universes may take place within a single thread.

    There are a few different types of threads.

    Out of Character threads are for discussion and banter not within the narrative of the roleplay. These should be your first stop when starting in an FFRP universe.

    Public threads constitute the majority of threads in FFRP. These threads represent IC locations that are open to all characters. You can pretty much just hop in, get to interacting, and have fun.

    Closed threads and plot threads are beasts of a different nature. Closed threads are private places, open to only a select few or only reachable only through certain IC means. Plot threads are usually created to contain the events of a plot, and are usually open only to those involved with that plot.

    To find out where you can post you should read the first post of the thread to see if it contains any relevant information (which it usually does), ask in the OOC, or ask a participant or creator of the thread via PM or some other means.


    Plot
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    Plot is a term applied to events or series of events comprising a storyline. Plots are either created by players deliberately or emerge out of natural, normal interactions. In plots, people sometimes mess around with the rules a bit. Godmodding of a limited form might be permitted if it aids the plot.

    Also, plots can also be somewhat resistant to outside interference. While I personally encourage people to be flexible, to not plan for their plots to end in a certain way, and to be open to new influence, it is true that, for the most part, plots are resistant to interaction from people who are not participating in the plot. This will vary from universe to universe, plot to plot, and from user to user.


    Deadtime
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    A deadtime is a state in which your characters cannot be harmed, but cannot interact with anything around them. You put your characters into deadtime when you are about to log off and stop roleplaying for a bit. A character in a deadtime cannot be affected by anything going on around it.

    If a character is deadtimed, and a plot or series of events would likely evoke a reaction from that character, it is polite to wait for the character to undeadtime and react before advancing the plot or events.

    Some verses might have IC explanations for deadtimes.


    The Curtain
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    The curtain is employed when two characters become physically intimate. When two or more characters decide to have sex, the curtain falls to shield the eyes of the innocent from the festivities and to give some privacy for the participants. This is to both a) abide by the forum rules and b) to keep things relatively family friendly.

    Mods have had to remind people in the past to pull the curtain early and not often, and this is possibly the issue that has caused the most mod interventions in this subforum. Remember, there are other roleplaying forums on the internet that are rated R (or X ), but this is not one of them. Keep it clean, and remember we don't need to know where everyone's hands and lips are at all times.

    Safe: "Romeo pulls Juliet into a kiss and the curtain falls."
    Potentially Problematic: "Romeo kisses Juliet passionately, his hands reaching under her bodice and..." (foreplay goes on for numerous posts before the curtain falls)

    Official Word of Mod here.


    Your first character
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    So, you're ready to make your first character. One of the hardest things to get used to in ffrp is that you don't start out in an adventuring party, and there's no DM to push characters together. You'll have to actually find people to interact with on your own. Here are some tips (not requirements!) for making that easier on your first character:
    • Don't be the quiet person in the shadowy corner. If you roleplay as someone who is outgoing and talkative, you'll find it easier to make IC friends. Someone who is curious or greedy will be more open to plot hooks and adventure opportunities. But if you roleplay someone who is shy or quiet or wary of other people, you're likely to be left alone.
    • Don't be openly evil. If you walk into the tavern and start murdering npcs, you are unlikely to make a lot of friends and likely to get jumped on by a bunch of PCs who were looking for a fight.
    • Consider starting low-powered. It's tempting in a freeform system with no scores or points to decide that your character is the best at everything, but where will they go from there? They can always gain powers or magic items or skills as they go on.
    • Don't be too needy. Remember in ffrp, you are not THE hero of the story. You are A hero, and there are many stories. The characters you meet at first are likely to be involved in their own affairs. Some players start by having their character immediately in need of rescue, healing, training, attention, etc. This can work well, but make sure you have a plan B in case there is no one willing to drop everything to devote themselves to being your rescuer! Can your character make it if they receive only a minimal amount of help, or none at all?
    • Don't be too self-sufficient. Remember in ffrp, you are not THE hero of the story. You are A hero, and there are many stories. If you are a combat powerhouse and a healer and a master of obscure lore and a spellcaster, people are likely to get weary of their characters taking a back seat to yours and decide you can do just fine without them.
    • Be aware of deadtimes and real life. Sometimes, not many people are online and active. Sometimes the people who are may only have a limited time to play and want to use it to progress their favorite storyline instead of meeting new people. Try to be patient and remember that it won't be long before you'll be the one wrapped up in your own favorite storylines. Talk to people in the ooc thread while you wait for your character to get 'stuck in'.
    • Have fun! Remember this is a game, and if it isn't fun, you aren't doing it right.


    Tips For RPing Written by Artemis97
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    Tips For RPing

    And so, let's begin. In no particular order...

    Character Speech

    When someone is speaking, we need to know who! Speech colors help to differentiate speech from normal narration, and each of our characters from each other, but if other players do not know to who each particular color belongs, all we see are disembodied words. When two or three people do this over the course of a few pages, it gets very confusing. So tell us who's talking!

    So, instead of: Hi! How's it going?

    Try: Bob says, Hi! How's it going?

    Also, I humbly suggest we all start using quotation marks. I will admit this is a pet peeve of mine, and not entirely necessary, but it is proper English and if you accidentally miss a color tag, or don't even want to use colors, your text is still understood.

    So: Bob says, "Hi! How are you?"

    New: Another thing, try to use your character's name every few posts. If all we see is 'he' or 'she' all we learn is the speaker's gender. And try and include a brief description when you enter a new place, or are talking with people who might not know who, or what, your character is. That way we don't spend ten pages having a normal conversation with what turns out to be a "Ten foot tall undead wookie."

    Next up...


    Location Tags

    Some threads in FFRP are larger locations that may have smaller locations within them. Even a single building has many rooms. Using location tags helps us all know where your characters are and where the action is at, helps us know who and what our characters can and cannot see, and keeps things organized for those of us reading through large threads and following only one storyline. They're pretty simple, just put where you are at the top of your post.

    Like so:

    Streets

    And then your post continues... blah, blah... you get the idea.

    Some of us put brackets around the location, to further seperate it.

    [Streets]

    And some bold it to make it that much more noticeable.

    Streets or [Streets]

    Location tags are handy things. Even if your characters are just upstairs in the Taverna, it keeps us all from thinking they're in the middle of the common room.

    Moving on...


    Big Scenes

    That is, scenes involving more than two or three players. Now, I know we're all bored and we all want to make our characters talk and do stuff, but we need to exercise a little patience and keep our fellow Players in mind. Especially during a big fight, give everyone a chance to respond. We all type at different speeds, and some of us might have a little more to say than others. In either case, if the situation we're responding to changes, we have to spend more time editting out posts to reflect the change. If this happens multiple times, it can make a player feel left behind and alienated.

    This brings up another topic


    Editing

    If I edit, and you edit, then he edits, but I edit again.... it gets really confusing. Again, just exercise a little patience, maybe wait until your next post to reflect the change.


    Lonely Characters

    If you see someone put a character into a thread that isn't seeing a lot of action, throw a character their way. It doesn't have to be one of your regular characters, heck it doesn't need to be a character at all. A monster suddenly popping out of nowhere make things rather interesting and can cause some fun for both parties. Anyways, my point is, don't leave your fellow players hanging. When it seems like no one wants to interact with you or your character, it alienates you. We lose players this way. I know we don't mean to be unfriendly, but it really isn't a nice thing.

    This goes double if the player in question is new to the sub-forums. Don't let us lose people before they even start to play. FFRP is a fun place, let's share it with them.


    Well, that's about all I can think of right now. Like I said before, this is meant to be a discussion. Feel free to make your own suggestions. And I want to say again that none of this is meant to hurt anyone. This is done in a hope to help all of us.

    Thanks for listening, and please do weigh in.

    ~Artemis


    On Overpoweredness by Firefox
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    This essay was written in 2008. The specific references and examples are out of date, but the general principles remain relevant.
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    On Overpoweredness in the Town, by Douglas Tudor

    Some of you may have noted the alarming tendency of Town characters to be incredibly powerful. The more observant of you may have noticed that this is by no means limited to strength of power in a fight. In this essay I intend to explore the extent of overpoweredness in the Town, the causes behind it, and possible solutions.

    I. On the Magnitude of the Problem

    Many characters in Town are just frankly overpowered; they are so strong and skilled as to defy all sense of modesty, much less realism. But what exactly is “overpowered”? For the purpose of this essay I propose to define it as a state of a character’s being that comes about through the character excelling in any given area or focus to the point of making other characters feel inadequate. Simply put: an overpowered character is too powerful. Some examples of this are a character being immortal, a character being able to beat everyone in a fight, and a character that is immune to certain nonlethal effects. What makes these examples detrimental to role-playing?

    Ia. Examples Part One


    If a character cannot die, then there is no point in fighting them; when dealing with an immortal character that is specifically against your character there are really only two options. If your character is lacking imprudent they will be killed, if your character is logical they will not even bother to attack that which they cannot kill. Either way, immortal characters who provoke in-character fights only serve to aggravate the players.
    If a character is so strong that their attacks would kill anything that was not implausibly invulnerable, they have no business fighting anybody. It is the player’s responsibility to keep these types of characters out of situations that demand in-character fighting. An example of this is Beholder1995’s characters Zealot and Bigot. These characters were incredibly hard to kill and capable of moving extremely swiftly and striking with great force. Moreover, it frequently seemed to the players that their only point was to provoke Lawful or Good characters into fighting, and subsequently losing to, these demigods.
    A more controversial form of overpoweredness is a character that is invulnerable, even to beneficial actions, outside of combat. An example of this type of overpowered character is somebody who cannot be healed, scryed, or aided in a similar matter during the course of nonviolent role-playing. The vast majority of the time this occurs the player attempts to justify it by claiming it is in the name of plot. And while it would not be fun to have a plot related injury or grievance be magicked away with ease, we must recognize that having a character cry out for succor and having one’s own character being unable to provide this aid and in fact able to do little more than stand idly by is extremely frustrating to most players. This counts as being overpowered because it makes other characters feel weak or incompetent.

    Ib. Examples Part Two


    It is important to note that the state of being overpowered is not just restricted to individual combat. The majority of main characters in the Town have another way to be the best: resources. Whether it is a ridiculous amount of money or a powerful army filled with powerful warriors eager to fight a character’s battles, nearly every player has doled out ample resources to their favorite character. I understand that, for the most part, these characters have excellent and in character reasons for their abundance of resources, but for the purpose of this essay I am putting that aside. To show the magnitude of this form of overpoweredness, I will list several players and their characters; please keep in mind that this list is by no means necessarily current.
    The whole premise of FireFox’s character Tobias is that of a cunning strategist in command of a powerful personal army and nation.
    Mee’s character Orianna had, and possibly still has, a legion of angelic soldiers under her command.
    Beholder1995’s Baron has a large estate and somehow owns a great amount of money.
    Quinsar the mage is the master of a large tower with numerous servants, a private army, powerful artifacts, and many other resources.
    Lupy’s Archbishop, while also completely inline with the very premise of the character, is also the most egregiously overpowered character in this facet. Millions of powerful soldiers, worlds full of resources, and the personal favor of an omnipotent God all contribute to Lupy’s overpoweredness.
    This is by no means a condemnation of any one player; rather, these examples are solely intended to illustrate the scope of the problem.

    II. On the Causes of the Problem

    Now, why are characters so overpowered? The answer lies in several parts. First, we cannot ignore the physical aspect of the problem: Testosterone. It is not a coincidence that our female friends have no really overpowered characters while almost every male player has at least one. The psychological need for a powerful character or persona stems from the fact that we “Townies” are, for the most part, American males. We collectively hate losing and enjoy having the strongest and toughest characters around. I believe that this is simply a result of our cultural identity. On the other hand, perhaps the answer lies in our individual faults. It is possible, and fairly likely, that any one of us creates an overpowered character as a matter of compensation for our own shortcomings. If this is true, it bears mentioning that we can avoid falling into this trap and still make a perfectly normal character despite how we feel about ourselves.
    However, I find the main cause of overpoweredness to be a direct need for powerful characters as a result of the snowball effect. One person brings in an overpowered character, and other players feel the need to match that power with their own character. This need to balance the scales of power stems from an admirable desire to keep the Town fair by keeping one character from dominating over everything. While this seems to work in the short run, it only worsens the problem over time. By making powerful characters, a player is only fostering the mistaken impression that overpowered characters are acceptable.

    III. On Solutions


    In order to correct a problem it is first necessary to know both the extent of the problem and the underlying causes. Once these are known it becomes possible to systematically attack the problem in a way that will destroy it permanently. This can be done by first stopping the problem from spreading by neutralizing its causes and then, through the intelligence of the extent of the problem, carefully eliminating ever last vestige of overpoweredness. However, every player who wishes to enjoy Town as a role-playing experience must cooperate to achieve this end. The people have at least two options. We can either attempt to eliminate overpoweredness immediately and completely, or we can ease into it by taking slow steps to end the problem.
    If we decide to try and solve this the fast way, every willing player must tend to their own characters. This can be done in any one of a least three ways: removing the character, fixing the character, or relegating the character to a lesser role. While it is a more drastic measure, one can simply stop playing an overpowered character. It is possible to fix an overpowered character by crippling it or making it less powerful through either making it weaker in a fight or losing the resources that makes it so formidable in the first place. The last option is to take a powerful character and do much less with it. Have it be more of a behind the scenes character that does not interact very much outside of plots. Then you could make a much less powerful character that interacts frequently and does not overly dominate in fights. If every player chooses an option that best suits them and their overpowered character and enacts it immediately we will all be in a suddenly better environment that is more conducive to fair role-playing.
    This option may seem to be too hasty or even drastic, so we players may decide to ease into the transition by enacting the options outlined previously at a far slower pace, giving the individual players weeks to plan how they wish to go about this, or setting time aside to develop a plot that results in an overpowered character dramatically becoming more reasonably strong or influential.

    In conclusion, characters being so powerful as to be detrimental to the overall quality of the freeform, group role-playing atmosphere are alarmingly common in Town. Regardless of why they exist, they all make things less fun and entertaining for everyone and should be eliminated as conveniently as possible. I strongly urge you all, my friends and fellow players, to reflect on my words and to consider abolishing overpowered characters. It is my belief that doing so can only prove to be extremely beneficial.


    Combat and Power Management by Darkcomet
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    Tips for Headache-Free Combat

    Power

    Power levels amongst potential combatants vary wildly. Throwing high-power characters at lower-powered ones who don't stand a chance against them is generally disliked by the players of the lower-powered characters. While high-power characters' players may feel restricted, there are several things they could do to avoid this situation.

    Scaling-A popular method for playing high-power characters smoothly is power scaling, or adjusting the power used according to the opponent's power level. To put it simply, just because you can kill everyone in the room in one shot DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD. Throwing high-power around whenever possible just annoys people, and should not be done.

    Targeting-High-power characters can also target other high-power characters instead of lower-powered ones. This is fairly obvious.

    Non-aggressiveness-Aggressive high-power characters often cause annoyance among other players. If they look for fights all the time, people will get tired of dealing with them, especially if they're powerful enough that they can't really be stopped. For example, this is pretty much why gods in the Nexus usually don't run around blasting everything they don't like. The players involved don't like fighting something they can't possibly stop. It feels pointless and wasteful.

    In addition to these factors, raw power level alone shouldn't necessarily mean that lower-powered characters are guaranteed to lose. If the lower-powered characters can play sufficiently intelligently or epicly, that should be a factor in who wins the battle. Think of it as a 'boss fight' of sorts-if the extreme raw-power of the boss meant the heroes always lost, there wouldn't be much of a game to play, would there?

    Besides that, there is another point to power management in combat.

    Avoiding Escalation

    Even when power levels are equal, when they're high, a common problem is escalation. This is when one side perpetually pulls out greater firepower when it isn't truly needed, making it seem like the player of said side is trying to force a win for them.

    The other problem with this is, when two high-powered sides are fighting, this may force the other side to escalate to greater force as well. For example:

    (C1=Combatant 1, C2=Combatant 2)

    C1: So we're around equal, huh? Well guess what? I have a tank!
    C2: Well I have an army with anti-tank weapons!
    C1: Ah, but you forget that I have a swarm of giant monsters to eat your army!
    C2: I can crush your monsters with-

    Okay, that's enough, guys, you can go home. The point is, when escalation occurs, it can make all players involved look rather unintelligent power-wavers.

    It is much better to continue to play on equal terms rather than pull out gratuitous firepower. That way neither player is forced to look bad, and the combat scene is much better to participate in and to read. Remember the core idea of this guide: Just because you can do something extremely powerful does not mean you should.

    PC Kills

    Going so far as to try to outright kill another player's character can be controversial. Some are okay with it, others are not. It is usually best to ask the other player involved if they are okay with you seriously trying to kill off their character.

    Trying to force character deaths on others who are not okay with them will often make the player trying to do so seem rather unpleasant, leading to OOC rifts between that can last for quite a long time. Dealing with these rifts is difficult, and often limits what players can do if they are, for example, trying to avoid another player's characters.

    Losing

    Losing in combat scenes is not always the horrible thing it seems like. Provided that the players involved aren't going for PC kills, it can lead to interesting roleplaying opportunities that can provide a nice change from simply stomping everything in sight all the time. At the same time, making these things work out can help to build respect among players.



    Credits for this FAQ:
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    Neon Knight for organization and writing
    happyturtle for guidelines and feedback
    Vael, Artemis97, Firefox, and Darkcomet for additional sections
    Anyone who provided feedback
    Last edited by happyturtle; 2013-09-21 at 11:23 AM. Reason: to add essay 'Combat and Power Management' by Darkcomet
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