View Full Version : Starting An RP

21-09-2005, 00:07
I've noticed that most RP seem to fail to take off or seem to die off slowly, now this thread is a place for everyone to discuss what works and what doesnt work so well when starting up an RP, so that us less experienced GM's will have an idea on what to do next time we decide to try.

21-09-2005, 00:33
Make sure your posters are committed to making a certain number of posts per week.

Have a plan, where things are going to go plot wise.

I'm not a fan of the open games, where anyone can do anything, nor am I am fan of GMs having thier own characters. They (IMO) should control the world, and NPCs, and not concentrate on one person.

21-09-2005, 09:52
Maybe set some house rules. Keep momentum -don't be afraid to fast forward slow parts where nothing's really happening.
A PBP (Play By Post) board I've been playing at, has a pretty strict outline where the GM strictly controls the environment (ie: players are allowed to only declare their own actions) -this possibly could keep a certain level of suspense for all.


21-09-2005, 10:10
I've run two incredibly long games since I was a kid.. one spanned nearly a decade, the other about seven or eight years. I like getting games up and running and then making them last.

There are several factors I think contribute towards an rpg getting beyond the initial enthusiastic first few sessions ( I'm assuming you're talking about pen & paper game played together with your mates, not pbm or random threads on warseer?):

* Play regularly. This is probably the most important one. If the same people turn up on the same day for long enough, everything else will more or less sort itself out.

* Don't get too carried away before you start. I've seen a load of games fail because people have five hundred pages of background and characters of staggering complexity before a session's even been played. I'm not saying you shouldn't put some though into your characters and the world, but you can seriously over do things. When I'm starting a new game, I'll have a local area worked out, a few NPC's and I'll ask the characters for minimal background. I prefer them to grow and develop within the game, rather than turning up on session one with fully realised personalities.

* Play. This may sound silly, but getting actual session done is the best way to get things going. This kind of relates to what I said above, but lots of people spend the first few evenings with their groups making up characters and chatting about background. You, as the GM, want to have sorted all this in the week before your group gaming day comes round. Nobody wants to sit for hours doing nothing while characters are sorted one by one.

Was going to write more, but have just reread the previous posts and realised you probably are on about the sort of rpg's you guys do here. Oops. Well, it's a decent rant so I'm gonna post what I've written anyway.... :o :p

21-09-2005, 12:53
Our group regularly plays on a monday and we have been doing this for nearly a year and i know what you mean but i believe that at least a page of background is essential for goals and motivations and story for you as the dm to utilise. With this you can keep the players gripped and make them feel involved. Ive found it useful and in my homebrew one at the moment. I sat down before hand with each of the characters and talked about what their character wants to do and where they want o see they are going.

Commitance is a key issue at the mo i'm looking at dropping one of my players because he is becoming irregular and not turning up with no good reason and when we try to contact him he has his phone switched off or it keeps wringing and i can't play his character as a NPC any longer because its greating on the other PC's character so essentially i need someone else otherwise i only have two players.

Never ever I mean ever take the PC's in the direction you want because at the end of the day there playing and your umpiring and painting the picture. This doesn't mean that you as a DM needn't have fun. Me personally i have fun creating plots weaving them together and creating NPC's that are evil. I have fun playing them as well. This should be rule No1 No Railroading. Let the players make their own choices and then bend the campaign around them and their actions. Explain to them their choices will effect the world around them and they shall experience the consequences. This makes sure that they feel involved and not distanced.

Keep it moving at the appropriate times there is nothing worse than a PC who becomes bored or loses attention. They always seem to absorb all your attention as a DM or they ruin the mood and the session.
Not everyone is the same, try and find the middle ground. If one PC wants a hack and slash campaign don't say "no, were doing a political one with much roleplaying not rollplaying" Introduce elements that the PC's want so that they all have a moment to shine for example I find a murder mystery with different approaches of solving it all achievable by the PC's by their own methods is entertaining for both them and you as a DM. I know that i felt a great sense of achievement after this.

Expect the unexpected. As simple as it sounds don't plan for everything because the PC's are going to do something you don't expect. Be open to new ideas and above all be flexible.
Don't punish the PC's for bad rolling but punish them for bad decisions. Don't take this as an excuse to kill the PC or keep them alive in fact. e.g you roll the dice for an attack from a gobbo at level 1. Ooops you rolled a crit thats "rolls" max damage. Their now at minus 10.
You either fluff it to something alot better for them, but if you keep on doing it the players develop an invulnerability complex...trust me.

I have lots more ideas but i think i have rambled for too long sorry

21-09-2005, 13:14
Excellent post, spot on.

I totally agree that railroading gets you nowhere... at best your campaign will evolve into you turning up and telling a story for 4 hours with only the occasional dice roll coming from the players.

I also totally agree that you have to tailor the feel, pace, and content of the campaign to suit the players you have. There has to be something in there for each of them to keep them interested... there's no point a guy getting really excited about his uber-killy fighter character and then not having any combat for weeks. In many ways I find writing the campaign round the characters to be an advantage, as it's a great source of inspiration and means the PC's are automatically going to feel involved. Typically I'll start off with a low key and narrow setting, and then when I've got a feel for the characters they've got a feel for the world I'll write more background and potential future plots based around what they're enjoying.

I also think that, for the first few months at least, you have to have a very good and watertight group dynamic on the go.. ie: the PC's need a cast iron reason to be working together. There's nothing worse than trying to start a game where everybody is off doing their own thing... this can work well later on in a campaign but really at the start you want people pulling in the same direction.

Flexibility is also key. Most of the momentus events in my campaign(s) occured through moments of inspiraiton, disaster, or completely sideways thinking from one of the players... they weren't in any way planned by me. I love this, and it keeps me interested in running the game.

21-09-2005, 15:24
A big one is establish what type of campaign you are playing is it high magic or low magic are the gods active or inactive etc

In my homebrew there is an average magic level sorcery and wizardry are powers that any pc's can obtain through training and self discovery.
There are no clerics at the moment this is due to the gods being imprisoned in my campaign (which the pc's don't know of yet) All the little quirks that contribute to the feel of the campaign. Healing is scarce this has tempered my pc's usual rashness. Especially one individual who at 18th level monk decided to charge 4 fire giants on his own with no support because his comrades are not combat characters :WTF: