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Introduction to Role Playing (PbP)

Started by Kokoro, Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 05:41

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Kokoro

Hi all!  So, some of you may be familiar with role playing games, and playing Table Top, where a group of four or five of you sit around a table and scream at dice while eating chips and dip.  But this post will describe how to Play by Post (PbP)  Please note that in the examples below, I have not included any role playing system.  So there are no dice rolls being made.  Think of this particular game example as more of a multi-authored fan-fiction.

There are many benefits to playing in this way.  First, there's no spotlight.  You don't have to be distracted with dreaming up what your character(s) will be doing for their turn while somebody else currently has their turn.  In fact, there are no "turns" with this style.  Anyway, here's how to play.

First you need to design a character.  Usually, there will be a separate place to post your characters, and usually there will be a predefined template that you can copy and paste and just fill in the specific character information with.  Something like this will define  your character:

QuoteName:  Fate Testarossa
Anime: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (TOS)
Class: Mage (Lighting)
Race:  Human
Home-world: Midchilda
Personality: Shy, but fierce.  Has social anxiety, is determined, especially to please her Mother, she craves love and longs for her Mother to smile at her.
Appearance: Long blond pigtails, black, skin tight body suit, thigh high leggings and a black cape with red interior.  Ruby red eyes.

The next thing you need to do is talk with the Game Master about how to integrate your character into the current story.  Please do everybody a favor and hopefully by this time, you've actually read the history of the game up to the current post. It will help you come up with possible ways to enter the game.  Please remember that the Game Master has the final authority.

Playing is very simple.  Think of this as if you're writing a story.  You're responsible for only what your character(s) can do or say.  I have included a couple of different writing styles.  There is no one perfect way to play.  Try to stay in character as much as possible:

(In third person POV)
QuoteFate walked into the room and spotted a binder with the her name written on the front in her mother's handwriting in all capital letters. "FATE".  Curious, she stepped closer to her mother's desk and carefully opened the binder by the corner and peeked at the notes carefully written on page three:

"...The body is forming as expected with expedited growth results.  I anticipate full developmental growth with a week.

I have carefully extracted several protein stands from the original subject's brain matter in an attempt to graft specific memories to populate the target mind with.  My hope is that the memories will remain permanent and that the subject will not question her existence..."

Just then Fate heard foot steps echoing down the hallway, approaching the room.  She quickly shut the binder and glanced around for a hiding spot.

The closet!


(In first person POV)
QuoteI quietly walked the room and spotted a binder with Mother's handwriting scrawled on the cover, and my name written in all capital letters: "FATE".  Curiosity took hold of me and I stepped closer to the desk.  My hands were trembling for some reason as I carefully opened the binder by the corner and slowly read the notes written on page three:

"...The body is forming as expected with expedited growth results.  I anticipate full developmental growth with a week.

I have carefully extracted several protein stands from the original subject's brain matter in an attempt to graft specific memories to populate the target mind with.  My hope is that the memories will remain permanent and that the subject will not question her existence..."

Hearing foot steps approaching down the echoing hallway, I quickly shut the binder and glanced around for a hiding spot.

The closet, I thought, I might be safe in there.

If I have two characters for example I may have some dialog between the two characters:

(Third person POV, player has both Fate and her mother Percia under their control.)
QuoteFate walked into the room and spotted a binder with the her name written on the front in her mother's handwriting in all capital letters. "FATE".  Curious, she stepped closer to her mother's desk and carefully opened the binder by the corner and peeked at the notes carefully written on page three:

"...The body is forming as expected with expedited growth results.  I anticipate full developmental growth with a week.

I have carefully extracted several protein stands from the original subject's brain matter in an attempt to graft specific memories to populate the target mind with.  My hope is that the memories will remain permanent and that the subject will not question her existence..."

Just then Fate heard foot steps echoing down the hallway, approaching the room.  She quickly shut the binder and glanced around for a hiding spot.

The closet!

Percia opened the door and narrowed her eyes.  She could smell the distinct scent of her fake daughter.  A wicked smile crept upon her face as she decided to have some fun with her daughter.

"Where did I put that thing..." Percia said to herself as she started looking through some of the drawers of her desk.  Every so often she'd peek out of the corner of her eye, giving a quick glance around the room, identifying what may have been disturbed.

She closed the drawers and paced the room a bit, and her eyes settled on the closet.

"Did I put it in here?"  She asked herself, and walked toward the closet.

Fate clenched her teeth as she heard footsteps getting louder.  She could only hope that the tarp she hid under would protect her.  She heard the door open and the light flip on.

Percia paused for a moment and said, "There you are."  She reached up and grabbed something off of the shelf and flipped the light off, then shut the door.  She waited a few seconds in silence.

Fate relaxed as she let out the breath she was holding.  She had dodged what was sure to be a violent lecture later.

Percia turned around, opened the door again, and inhaled deeply through her nose.

"Fate.... sweetie...", Percia paused, "When you're finished playing hide and seek please come see me in the Grand room, okay, darling, Fate?"

Percia shut the door quietly and silently chuckled as she walked away.

Meanwhile Fate audibly gulped and she began to perspire as her body turned cold.

"Oh no.", she said.

The next person to read this passage would respond as their character(s), and so on with the next player.

However, if the next player isn't in the scene yet, then they would "cut away" into their scene for a brief action-beat.  This is useful if a character is detached from the main group, for example, if a new player is entering the game, this is a good way to make that happen.  It is highly frowned upon to purposely split the characters up, unless a well thought up plan has been discussed.  The cut-scene is a good mechanic for the Game Master to create background story action for the plot, for example a rival upcoming in the game.

(A cut away scene, the player's character is Chrono.  Amy and Lindy are not being played by anybody... yet. Therefore, anybody can use unclaimed cannon-characters in their own action-beat.)
QuoteMeanwhile on the Bridge of the Arthra, Chrono was looking over Amy's shoulder at the data regarding the mysterious Fate girl.

"She's so powerful."  Amy said.
"Yes.  She has slightly less mana potential than Nanoha, however, her spells seem to be more potent." Chrono said.

"We should attempt to apprehend her the next time she is spotted.", Admiral Lindy said, now standing in front of her Captain's chair.

Also, it's important to try to give other player's "hooks" so that it makes it easier to write an action or dialog for their character(s).  This can be difficult to do,  however, so when you're writing your character's actions or dialog, try to keep in mind how other player's may be able to work with what your character has done.  Using dialog is an excellent way to engage other players.  However, be careful with this method.  If the player's character you're trying to interact with isn't available regularly, your action-beats may get ignored, and worse, the game itself could die, if other players are waiting for your action-beat sequence to complete.

One final note.  It doesn't matter how good of a writer you think you.  You don't have to be a well-written person to succeed at role playing (by post).  All that matters is that you try your best to get your ideas out there for other people to read and react to.  In time, you'll get better.  Having the Creative Imagination, is critical to any role playing game.  And lastly, but most importantly, be sure you're having fun!  After all, that's why we play RPG's.  To have fun!