Running a Game
Any RPoL user can create a game to GM (hopefully once they've planned out everything and have a decent plot), and from there start signing up players, but GMing a game is a fine art.
Once you create a game you can enter the GM Menu for the game, and from there create and rule your make-believe, virtual world.
The Character Details link will lead a GM to the Character Details for their primary character. There, they'll see a box of Character Information at the top, and below that their Character Sheet, if any is assigned (otherwise there will be a "Create Character Sheet link" provided).
To the right of this area is a drop-down list with the names of all characters in the game available. Simply select one and click the "View" button to see the details for any character in the game.
The information displayed will consist of the Character Name, the character's Game Access, the number of Posts the character has in the game, and the Character's Biography. As with the GM's character, a Character Sheet will be displayed, if there is one, otherwise a link to create a character sheet will be provided. If the character has a portrait, this will be displayed to the right of the Character Information.
Using the Character Details display, the GM can change a character's Profile (their Biography lines), their Description, and their Portrait. Their Character Sheet may also be edited from this view.
Each player and GM in a game will have a ScratchPad available to them (this is per RPoL Account, not per character in the game). This ScratchPad is a note area (limited to 10240 characters in length), where users can keep track of important reminders and details. This area is private, and cannot be read by other GMs or by any player.
The Dice Roller is available to all members of a game (but not to visitors). Using it, numbers can be generated randomly, which usually relate to a character's statistics or chances of accomplishing some task in the game. Briefly:
- Select: Here, the GM can set the number of dice they wish to roll, and how many sides the dice have. The third box is for entering any modifiers to the roll. These should be in the form of a + or - and a number, such as "+3" or "-5".
- Manual: If the GM would rather enter the rolls manually, the instructions can be typed here. The form is <# times to roll>d<# sides on die>. A + or - can be added to add or subtract a number from the roll. Multiple rolls can be made in this way by placing a comma between the rolls. For example, 3d4,1d8 would roll three four-sided dice, and then add an 8-sided die rolled once to the total; 1d20+4,2d3 would roll a twenty-sided die once, add four to that roll, then roll two three-sided dice and add them to the total.
- Then optionally select: Everything from here down to the area marked then is optional on the roll.
- General: Here, the GM can tell the roller to do a number of things. The drop-down list allows a roll to "drop" or "keep" the highest or lowest roll from a set; by filling in a number to the right, it will keep that many of the highest or lowest rolls (that is, setting this to "drop lowest" and entering "3" would cause the roller to drop the lowest three rolls from the set). Alternately, the Dice Roller can be set to re-roll the max number of the roll, or to re-roll any ones that turn up. Checking "Record Each Dice" will record the individual rolls (up to a maximum of 20 rolls in one go), and checking "Unique Die" will ensure the same number is not rolled twice in the one set.
- Game System/Special Dice: Here, the GM can select from a variety of special game or dice systems which have been pre-programmed into the roller. Any special notes on that system will appear at the lower-right side of this area when a system is selected.
- then: The GM has more information to provide in this area.
- Character or On Behalf of: Since the GM has access to all characters in their game, the Dice Roller wants to know who they're assigning the roll to. In the Character area, the GM will find any GM characters as well as any NPCs listed. In the On Behalf of area, the GM will find a list of all players in the game. Only one list can be used -- they are mutually exclusive. If the GM chooses to roll "On Behalf of" a player, it will show up that way in the Dice Log.
- Fudge (rig) the rolls: The GM has the option here to fudge, or rig, the dice rolls. They do this by entering the results they wish to see. For example, if a GM were rolling 3d6 (three six-sided dice) and wanted to ensure a roll of 12, they could enter 4,2,6 in this box and the dice results would show up as just that: 4, 2, and 6 for a total of twelve. If they wished to ensure a roll of at least twelve, they could leave one die still random: entering 6,5 would make one roll six and one roll five, but leave the third roll as random from one to six. Players can never tell by the Dice Roller when a roll has been fudged -- only GMs will see that label.
- Reason for roll: The GM can include a note here about why they are rolling the dice.
- Secret roll: This check box allows the GM to set the results to "Secret" meaning only they (and any other GM(s)) can see the roll.
As a GM, it's also possible to configure the Dice Roller to have some settings pre-selected when a player goes to roll their dice. Use the "Configure the roller" link at the bottom right of the Die Roller, then set the desired options (note: only player options will be available), and click "Set as Default". The RPoL default is a roll of 1d20.
More information on the Dice Roller may be found in its own Help file
The Game Info link takes the GM to the Game Information area. Here, any Game Introduction written by the Game Owner is visible. If the GM is also the Game Owner there will be an "Edit the game introduction" link at the bottom of this area to allow for changes. The Game Information area shows other links as well: Game Web Site (if one has been assigned), File Links (if any have been made, and The Cast.
The GM can set the Game Web Site and File Links in the GM Menu area.
The Cast area provides a list of all the characters currently in the game. Information about each includes their Character Name, their assigned Group(s), their assigned Access to the game, the date and time of their Last Logon and their Last Post, the number of posts they have in the game, and a link to rMail them.
Note that the time specified for the Last Logon is the last time that character's player visited the game (not the last time they logged on to RPoL). Players do not see exact times as the GM does, but rather see only the day of the Last Logons and Last Posts. If the GM has characters with "player" access to the game, RPoL will automatically obscure the GM's use of this character in the list for players, so that Last Logon does not always match up to the GM's own Last Logon.
The GM menu is where the GM can set their game's details, edit its players and characters, and set flags on their game. In brief, the links here are:
- Edit Players: From this link, a GM can edit existing players' access to the game, add new players, remove players, move characters from one player to another, and re-order the characters any player in the game has. Note that co-GMs will not be able to edit one another, or the Game Owner.
- Edit Characters: From here, the GM may add new characters to the game, edit existing characters, remove characters from the game, or re-order the characters on a player. Note that co-GMs will not be able to edit one anothers' characters, nor the Game Owner's characters.
- Edit Character Sheets: This provides a handy way to add a Character Sheet to a character, to edit a character's existing Sheet, or to download a character's Sheet. Using the drop-down list at the top of the area, the GM can open and edit Character Sheets one at a time or, if they store them offline in text format, they can use the "Browse" buttons to select each character's file, then use the "Mass Character Sheet Upload" button to upload them all at once.
- Edit Character Descriptions: This link provides access to a drop-down list of all the characters in the game. By selecting one and clicking the "Edit Character Description" link, the GM can change a character's description. Note that co-GMs cannot edit one another's characters, or the characters of the Game Owner.
- Edit Character Bios: Again, this link provides a list of all the game's characters and the GM can use that list to select a character then click the "Edit Character Bio" button to change the chosen character's Biography lines. As with other details, a co-GM cannot change the Biography of other GMs.
- Edit Character Portraits: Selecting a character here, then clicking, "Change Portrait" takes the GM directly to the RPoL portrait gallery so they can select an image to use with the character. Co-GMs will not be able to edit one another's portraits, or the portrait of the Game Owner.
- Edit Groups: This screen provides one place where the Groups may be assigned or changed for all characters in the game. The GM simply needs to check the box(es) for the characters they want to assign to the groups, then, at the bottom, click "Update Group Memberships". Note that there are fifteen groups available, Group 0 through Group E, and Group Z. Players can only read those groups in which their characters have membership while all GMs can read all groups. Group Z is a special case: only GMs may post to Group Z, and characters in Group Z can read that group (and no others in the game), but may not post to it.
- Edit Banned & Lurkers: The "Edit Banned & Lurkers" link takes the GM to a screen of several options. Here, they can add Lurkers (users who have access to read the game, but not to post in it), or ban users (banned users cannot read the game, and may not send Requests for Access). Additionally, lists of Lurkers and banned users are provided, so they can be removed if necessary.
- Check & Fix Access: This is an area to try out if the game seems to be having odd problems, such as characters assigned to the wrong player, or the same character assigned to a player once, or a GM with lost powers. When a GM runs this script, the RPoL will go over each game member to check their access to the game and correct anything it finds amiss.
- Update the game map: Only the Game Owner may use this link which will take them to a page which allows them to select a file from their local computer and upload it to the game as a map. Maps must be in image format (GIF, JPG, or PNG), and must be 100 kb or smaller. If a Game Map has been uploaded, the link to it will show up when a member or visitor clicks the "Game Info" link for the game.
- Edit the game introduction: Again, only the Game Owner may use this link. This allows them to set, or edit an existing, Game Introduction. Games must have an Introduction written before they can be advertised.
- Specify the game website link: Using this link the Game Owner can set the Game Website. If a Game Website has been specified, the link to it will show up when a member or visitor clicks the "Game Info" link for the game.
- Edit the external file links: Game Owners can use this area to set up links to various off-site resources to help their players. The link to this area will show up (if any external links have been set) when a game member or visitor clicks the "Game Info" link.
- Edit game details: In the Game Details area, the Game Owner can change the Game Name and its Category. They can also make someone else the Game Owner by selecting another of the game's GMs from the drop-down list here. This area has settings for the game flags, such as "Requesting New Players", Game Rating, and Sole Ownership. Only games which have their "Requesting New Players" flag on may be advertised. When the "Sole Ownership" flag is on, it indicates that the game is considered to be "owned" by the GM, and in their absence, no GMs or players may take over the game.
- Remove unwanted threads: This link allows a GM to remove multiple threads at once from the game. Threads may be removed by number (e.g., all but the ten most recent threads), by date (e.g., all threads older than six months), or by Group (e.g., all group 1 threads). Check boxes here allow the GM to preserve special threads, such as Notices, Public threads, or Archived threads. Threads removed here cannot be recovered.
- Delete this game: This link allows the Game Owner to delete the game, removing it from RPoL's active games list. Games hang around in the "Deleted" area a little while but are eventually permanently deleted from the system. It is customary on RPoL to give the players at least one week's notice before going through with the deletion.
- View raw game information: Raw, unformatted game data is here. Some may find it useful -- most won't. ;-)
More detail on these functions can be found in the Help file on the GM Menu
Inside games, GMS can send Private Messages to all other members, and all members may send Private Messages to the GM, and to other characters who are in the same Group(s) as their character.
To send a Private Message, click the link for "Private Messages", then click "Post a Private Message". On the next screen, type a subject and the message, then choose (at the bottom) who the message will be sent to, using the check boxes by the Character names there.
When new Private Messages are waiting for you, this link will appear red on the Game Menu, and on the Main Menu the link to the game will appear blue (if only Private Messages are waiting) or purple (if both game messages and Private Messages are waiting).
GMs can see all Private Messages in their games, and are responsible for ensuring the content of PMs does not violate our site rules. While the Game Owner will see the New Message indicator every time a Private Message is sent in their game, co-GMs will only see it when a new Private Message thread is started in the game, or when a reply is directed to their own characters.
When a GM clicks on a thread subject at a game's Game Menu, that thread will open for them to read it. Opening a thread will mark it as having been "read". Inside the thread, each message will show who posted it (with their Character Name linked to their Character Description there), and when they posted the message. Below this information are links which are shortcuts to Private Messaging the character (PM), rMailing the character, or the Character Information for that character (info).
GMs have the ability to edit and delete every message in the game (except those of the Game Owner and their co-GMs if they are not the Game Owner), and so will see "edit" and "delete" links at the top right of each message.
Each message written by the player will have two links at its upper right: "edit" and "delete".
GMs will also see posts which have been deleted by players (as they can delete their own posts), and can use the "undelete" link to revive the post if they wish.
Posting New Messages
Inside a game thread, each message written by someone besides the GM will have a "quote" link at its upper right which may be used to quote the message in a reply. At the bottom right corner of the screen for most threads will be a link for "Post a Reply", which will allow the GM to reply to the thread.
Threads which are closed are not be eligible for reply (they must first be opened).
GMs may also start new threads in the game, using the "Post a new Topic" link from the Game Menu (right side, top and bottom).
For help on formatting messages, see the FAQ file, RuBB Code Tips & Tricks
Last updated: 16:22, Thu 26 Apr 2007.
Direct link: http://rpol.net/help/?t=help&page=gmingagame