Shannara
 moderator, 3857 posts
 When in doubt,
 frolic!
Sat 13 Jun 2020
at 20:52
Re: RTJ request RANT
Akarui:
Concerning the RTJ, before the site automatically showed that you have access, it was required for the GM to get an age statement from players and I guess for many, like myself, that have kind of stuck. I see the GRANTED but as far as I know it is still required that the GM confirms it.


GMs do not need to confirm ages now that the system handles that when anyone requests access to an adult game.  GMs still can, if they wish, but it is not necessary by RPoL's rules.
Brianna
 member, 2218 posts
Sun 14 Jun 2020
at 11:04
Re: RTJ request RANT
I would tend to avoid a game where the GM doesn't want some form of writing sample.  It could be as much as a detailed character history (though I probably wouldn't apply to that one, if only because it takes me so long to write one the game would be full before I got there) or as simple as a sample post.  I've played (or tried to) too often with people who can't spell, know nothing about grammar, can't make a coherent sentence, or the like.  It's too much work and not fun.  I remember a scene once where neither my character nor I could figure out what the guy was talking about, except that he wanted her to meet him in the morning to go together to the ship that would take us where we needed to go.  Finally she nodded, got up and left, and didn't go back.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15901 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 14 Jun 2020
at 12:37
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to OceanLake (msg # 36):

Wait... I thought a flock of mallards was a cluster-duck.  :)
ShootingStar
 member, 49 posts
 So very brief and bright;
 meteor and lifetime alike
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 02:47
Re: RTJ request RANT
All things being equal, I'm usually heartened when a GM wants a concise character concept + a writing sample, but is willing to accept something you've written in the past.

In general, I'm leery of GMs who ask for a heavily detailed concept and/or want a multi-paragraph sample written about your proposed character (though a single paragraph is fine).   I get sometimes it may be seen as necessary -  and if I'm smitten enough with the game in question, I will do it.    But I do feel asking for a lot of writing up front, when there's a good chance of not making it, is kind of crappy.   I believe in most cases it really isn't necessary, and a GM can discover what they need to know via less work intensive means.

But I'm also really not a fan of games that don't screen at all, or barely do, and operate on a first come, first serve basis (excepting games that are just simple, straightforward D&D style adventures). Almost every time I've made an exception and joined one, I've been sorry.   Players who are not very literate, and don't like to write and role play, tend to resent those who are and do, I've found.
facemaker329
 member, 7216 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 05:57
Re: RTJ request RANT
I've never worried much about that, because I tend to write character backgrounds that are generally a few paragraphs, anyway.  I won't nail down every detail in a character background, initially...but I'll get detailed enough that it helps me decide what would or would not fit if I'm exposed to it later, like how much family a character has back home or whether or not there's any logical reason he would have been trained in some unorthodox combat technique, stuff along those lines.

Even at that, I have seen RTJs that asked for so much information that even I was like, "Seriously?  You want all of that for a 'maybe' chance to get into the game?"  But I've also seen games where the GM should really have nailed down more details about a character background before adding them (and one game I'm in has definitely seen the GMs acceptance level of characters get more exclusive as the game has gone on, largely because so many new players, early in the game, had ideas for characters that sounded cool, initially, but there was no thought that went into how that character became involved in the situation that the game was revolving around, or how characters from enemy races (it's a sci-fi war game) managed to become involved with allied forces of the rest of the PCs.

It's hard to say how much is 'right', because I think it depends largely on the game.  I do feel like there are games which rightfully demand more attention to developing a character background because of the potential complexity of relationships between characters...and I think it's more efficient for a GM to ask for it either up front or very early in the process, because I know my GM has had a lot of people RTJ and then just drift away in the process of actually developing a character that will fit in the game...and a lot of the people who've joined and stuck with the game were the ones who RTJd with a pretty comprehensive character profile.
OceanLake
 supporter, 1119 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 08:00
Re: RTJ request RANT
I've noticed that some players prefer to create exotic characters. I wonder sometimes if far-outedness correlates negatively with smooth game play.
NowhereMan
 member, 371 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 08:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
I don't think so. Some of my most outlandish PCs have come from highly-cooperative and character-driven players. On the other hand, you occasionally get a whacko who's more nuts than their teleporting half-demon catgirl concept. I don't think there's really a whole lot of easily quantifiable traits that can signal good or bad players.

The long character backgrounds are another good example. Sometimes, huge, in-depth characters come from dedicated players wanting to give their GMs plenty of material to work with and want to show the amount of effort they're willing to put forward in-game. Other times, it means you've got an RTJ of someone's very special snowflake whose will they'll want to impose on all those around them, PC, NPC, and GMs alike.

Really, the only one that I've found to be a consistent warning-sign is the "canned RTJ", the one that completely ignores everything in the RTJ requirements, from formatting to character requirements. In the few times I've been desperate enough for figurative butts in chairs to take such characters, they never last more than a week or two.
donsr
 member, 1960 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 13:58
Re: RTJ request RANT
Ocean...

  I do try to keep my players have  having   'out there' charcters... in my  fantasy game  i allowed  a few 'odd' charcters..3  quit.. 2 others  who are in another game of mind  are on the shelf, but make if hard to fit them in...

 In the space game, I found that folks who  what to  be   aliens..or an enemy alien that turned coat?...Don't last long.. i think its either, the players  just like making odd charcters , then get tired of the  interactions, because of what they are

and lets  face it.. some people like to create the  charcters.. then get  bored and move on. I like  to have solid  charcters, that  the players  can grow  through the  RP along with the story, i do have one player..he had to leave  for a couple years  buy  came back..he is the only  alien  character , that has  stood the Test of time ( not counting NPCs...)
facemaker329
 member, 7217 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 16:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to OceanLake (msg # 43):

That depends entirely on the player.  Some of my favorite characters have been some off-the-wall concepts (like a Chadra-Fan pilot with a borderline death wish, or a Troll monk...), but when I created those characters, part of the appeal was knowing they would not be accepted by society at large and possibly not even by the party members, initially.  The fun of playing them was getting them to be competent enough at what they did to be accepted in spite of their 'otherness'.  And I always, ALWAYS built in a backstory that made their presence plausible, even if it was highly unlikely.

That said, most of my current characters are very 'bread and butter' types, very typical of what would be widely expected in material of the genre/setting.  I could have gone outlandish with the concepts...but it felt, to me, like the game needed 'typical' characters.

That said, I've seen a lot of out-there characters that had really implausible back stories...if they bothered with any kind of back story at all beyond "I want to play a monster that's become one of the good guys".  I think a lot of people gravitate to the outrageous characters because they want a spotlight, of sorts...they're not sure they can make a 'regular' character noteworthy, so they latch onto some kind of highly unusual concept and ride it for all it's worth...

Except they don't anticipate that, being an highly irregular character, they're destined to be an outsider from the get-go, and the same...well, laziness, basically, that led many of them to pick a highly unusual character also leads them to give up quickly when they discover that their enemy-soldier-turned-double-agent isgoing to have to win over peoples' trust and won't necessarily be welcomed into the party with open arms.  They like the one end of the stick...but they aren't willing to carry the other end, as well.

It can be done.  It has been done.  A lot.  There's a character in one of the games I'm in who is a defector, from a branch of the ruling house of the alien race that is the primary enemy.  His character spent his first two weeks of in-game time sitting in a brig and being threatened with execution multiple times a day.  When he was finally let out and entrusted with a weapon, he spent another year (in-game) with people watching him closely and ready to gun him down at the first hint of betrayal...and they weren't subtle about their intentions.  He played it to the hilt, it was an integral part of the character...he's now been in-game for close to five years (I think close to eight or nine years, in reality), is a Sergeant in the allied forces, and just got engaged to another character.  Oddball concepts can work...but they require a LOT of work, some vague degree of plausibility (same game, we had a guy who wanted to be a child prodigy that could sling computer code in his sleep but was also a highly experienced fighter pilot...despite the fact that, for him to have as much fighter experience as he was claiming, he would have had to start flying fighters before he was even a teenager, and would have been too short to reach all the controls unless someone paid an insane amount of money to modify his trainer craft...several times, as he grew up.  He pitched a fit when the GM told him that his character had to be several years older than he was saying...)

I'll admit, when I see unlikely character types enter a game, my first impulse is, "Wonder how long THIS one lasts."  But 'unlikely' doesn't necessarily equate to 'unplayable' or even 'doomed to fail.'  It just takes more thought, more work, and more patience.
donsr
 member, 1961 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 16:39
Re: RTJ request RANT
::chuckles::   yep  some of them work at making the people fit, just as if they would have to fit in , in real life..or a movie..TV  ect ect...

 Its very nice when the  player  puts the work in to  make  that 'odd ball' charcter to work.... But , i am rather  fond of  'mainstream' types   living thier  lives  while fighting a war!

This message was last edited by the user at 19:13, Mon 15 June.

Dream Sequence
 member, 59 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 16:41
Re: RTJ request RANT
facemaker329:
Except they don't anticipate that, being an highly irregular character, they're destined to be an outsider from the get-go, and the same...well, laziness, basically, that led many of them to pick a highly unusual character also leads them to give up quickly when they discover that their enemy-soldier-turned-double-agent isgoing to have to win over peoples' trust and won't necessarily be welcomed into the party with open arms.  They like the one end of the stick...but they aren't willing to carry the other end, as well.

My experience with this sort of thing is often the opposite, actually!  Just as likely as what you describe is when someone tries to bring an oddball outsider character concept into a game (the Sith apprentice trying to return to the Light side in a party of Jedi padawans is one I remember well), most of the rest of the party just shrugs like, "eh, whatever," and just brushes aside the thing that's supposed to make the character a square peg and proceeds as if there was nothing odd about the oddball at all.  I don't know if that's because people feel like paying attention to someone else's specialness makes them feel like their own specialness is minimized, or because they couldn't really care less about backstory and character drama and just want to push forward into the plot or the combats or whatever?  But I've encountered it more than a few times.
Kagekiri
 member, 187 posts
Tue 16 Jun 2020
at 01:39
Re: RTJ request RANT
L0st S0ul:
There is nothing like building a great backstory for a character and writing up a great post and then getting rejected because the 'character' isn't what they are looking for.


I hear ya. I've totally done this. It can be very disheartening.

I try to save whatever I came up with and view it as a character concepting exercise rather than a loss. Even if I don't use what I created as is, it can sometimes turn into a seed for future character or an NPC for a game I GM later. It's like when a plant dies and you turn it into compost or something like that.

On the bright side, it sounds like you are putting a lot of thought and effort into your character write-ups and how they pertain to the game rather than just pulling a character concept off the shelf and shoehorning it into the game (which I can't say I've never done!), so credit to you.

EDIT: Dyslexia.

This message was last edited by the user at 01:42, Tue 16 June.

truemane
 member, 2143 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 12:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
When I run games, I try to keep the amount of work down to an absolute minimum, because I know putting a lot of effort into something only be told "Thanks but no thanks" is the worst.

But I recruit players, not characters. Good Party Chemistry is the single most important factor in a game taking off, and it's the least predictable and the least controllable. A balanced mix of classes matters not at all to me, so long as the players are getting along and having fun.

So I need more than a character concept. I need some sense of who the player is and how they'll conduct themselves IC and OC. If they're likely to do the "I did that horrifically disruptive thing because it's what my character would do" thing.

I've found that asking for a very short (usually no more than 500 words) backstory tells me a lot. It tells me who's likely to bristle at restrictions. It tells me who can follow rules and who can't, who reads directions and who doesn't. And, perhaps most importantly, if you have to boil your character's history down to a very small amount of material, what's left needs to be the important stuff. And so this tells me what kinds of stories you like, and what kinds of things you think are important.

(I am also painfully verbose on what sort of game I want to run, theme, mood, tone, etc, so everyone should know what I'm looking for).

I also like to add in a couple of 'contentious' short answer questions. Just to see if any of the most obvious red flags pop up.

But, and I can only answer for myself, I would never not issue an invitation over a character. That drives me crazy too. Good players tend to be fountains of good characters. I'm looking for people.
NowhereMan
 member, 376 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 16:25
Re: RTJ request RANT
truemane:
I also like to add in a couple of 'contentious' short answer questions. Just to see if any of the most obvious red flags pop up.


I'm interested to know what kind of questions those might be, and what red flags they might throw.
donsr
 member, 1967 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 16:41
Re: RTJ request RANT
Most of the 'problems' are resloved  for me, when someomne answers   my ads... U give them a breief  rundown of how the game is, and what is expected of the player.. then aske them

" If this sounds  good to you, let me know and we'll get the CS goign and drop you into the game. pelase let me know  either way"

 The Good  ones, of course , stay.

 The ones  who 'may have' been good, might decide that  heavy RP games  might not  be what they wat

 the Bad ones  , just never  answer again.
warjoski
 member, 118 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 22:13
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to NowhereMan (msg # 51):

quote:
I'm interested to know what kind of questions those might be, and what red flags they might throw.



One I have used in the past is to ask the player to give me a short response, in character, to a certain situation. I specify nothing longer than a paragraph.  Can be dialog or narrative.  Just let me know how your character would handle it.

For example, I gave a scenario where the PC would be on guard duty.  And their fellow guard was slacking off.  I asked the player to tell me how their PC would handle the other guard's laziness.

Their answer gave me an idea of how the player thought their PC would handle: teamwork, responsibility, failure on someone else's part to perform, and how fast they would resort to lethal force (you would be surprised how many answered that scenario with 'I kill him')

This message was last edited by the user at 22:13, Wed 24 June.

DaCuseFrog
 member, 98 posts
 SW Florida
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 22:46
Re: RTJ request RANT
warjoski:
(you would be surprised how many answered that scenario with 'I kill him')


No, no I wouldn't. (:-D)



I've learned my lesson about RTJs that are too long.  For a while I thought that it might be the only way for me to get into some of these games, since I don't like the first-come first-serve style, but I've had worse luck with some of the longer ones.  A nice medium works best.  Something that gives you a way to demonstrate that you know how to write, but not looking for chapter one of the next great novel.
truemane
 member, 2144 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 18:37
Re: RTJ request RANT
NowhereMan:
truemane:
I also like to add in a couple of 'contentious' short answer questions. Just to see if any of the most obvious red flags pop up.


I'm interested to know what kind of questions those might be, and what red flags they might throw.


I almost always ask how someone is likely to handle conflict with the GM. And I do so by slanting the wording 'against' me as hard as I can (something like "What if I just ignore a rule and make a call that wrecks your plan on purpose just to be mean?"). I do this to try and ferret out an actual reaction (because everyone who fights over a rule feels that way, regardless of circumstance). And I figure, even if they lie to me (because no one ever says, "Oh I pitch a massive fit like a big giant baby and ragequit amid a flurry of racial slurs."), at least they're at primed to act that way if it comes up.

Another is, I often ask people if female PC's should get a strength penalty or not. And, if they say yes, what they would give female PC's to balance that penalty.

In both cases, I'm less concerned about the their answer as I am about how they answer. I just want the person to talk about themselves for a little while.

There's a particular kind of player that's there to have their kind of fun regardless of what's happening, and/or are there to use the rules and/or 'realism' as a bully pulpit to enforce a certain kind of order and worldview on the narrative. Someone more concerned with Being Correct than anything else. The kind of person who's always some variation of a Special Forces Tech Ninja no matter the game and whose own games have seventeen pages of house rules and who always specifies that their character never sits with their back to a door. I don't tend to get along with those people. We're not a good match. And I've gotten really good at spotting them over the years so long as I can keep them talking for a few minutes.
RosstoFalstaff
 member, 190 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 18:48
Re: RTJ request RANT
I mean . . . am I aware in this scenario you're doing it deliberately? 100% you've confirmed it's deliberated targeted at me?

"I leave. Like an adult, goodbye and have fun we're not a good match, use my character or don't but I'd prefer you not fob it off on another player because that's just uncreative."

If you mean "that I think is targetted at me to be mean" I'd first ask "hey man can I get your reasoning on the ruling?" after the fact, moving forward. Unless my character is dead because a DM deliberately ignored the rules in which case I'm asking that immediately but still in PM.

I'd get a little worried that this is a scenario a GM encounters often enough to find it likely but I can definitely see why you're asking about it. Fiery rants and complaining about rulings are AWFUL to sit through
truemane
 member, 2145 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:05
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to RosstoFalstaff (msg # 56):

Well, the thing is, when you ask someone "What do you do when there's a disagreement?" everyone says "Talk about it calmly." But when you think 'conflict' you think of a situation where everyone is being reasonable. But I'm not worried about those. I want to know what someone does when they think they're being reasonable and the other person isn't. Right? When someone makes a call and it seems so dumb and so contrary that you can't even 'agree to disagree.'

Because even a little bit of bickering sours a game faster than anything.
evileeyore
 member, 351 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:15
Re: RTJ request RANT
truemane:
... because everyone who fights over a rule feels that way, regardless of circumstance...

That's some heavy nonsense.  However... to answer the ridiculous question (the presumption of upset and heavy bias, *sigh*):

If I build a character to take advantage of a set of rules, it's because I'm interested in having the Character either be "really good/the best" at what they do, or the worst (or so-so, like whateves).  If you're the sort to heavily modify, or toss out the rules, please advise in advance and put the changes in your house rules, so I can build the Character to fit your house rules.

If you're the sort of GM who cannot maintain consistency in the rules, thank you for prewarning me to avoid your games.

quote:
Another is, I often ask people if female PC's should get a strength penalty or not. And, if they say yes, what they would give female PC's to balance that penalty.

It's your campaign world, build races however you want.  But if you're aiming for sexual dimorphism, it should be reflected in the culture of the race (for verisimilitude if nothing else).



Those would literally be my answers to those sorts of gotcha questions.
truemane
 member, 2146 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:35
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 58):

I find it odd that's your takeaway from that post.

But anyway, as I said, I'm looking for how they're answered more than any specific answer. There's no way to tell for sure if a given player will be a good fit, of course. But the goal is to try to figure it out while requiring the least amount of work on the applicant's part that I can manage.

If you see that as a gotcha, I guess that's within your rights.
evileeyore
 member, 353 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 00:51
Re: RTJ request RANT
truemane:
If you see that as a gotcha, I guess that's within your rights.

You pose extreme questions looking for extreme answers.  That's a 'gotcha'.
truemane
 member, 2147 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 01:02
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 60):

Well, regardless, I can only do what works for me. It's all anyone can do.
donsr
 member, 1973 posts
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 01:23
Re: RTJ request RANT
this is all real simple..really.. as a GM yu ask for what you want... as a player  you see if the game is what you want.

 if the GM is a jerk?  you elave

 if the player is a jerk..you cut them

 as a GM..you run the game to have fun.. and to have players have fun..if a player isn't having  fun..they should leave

 if the  Player is causing other  folks  to not have..you shoudl cut them?

 it all starts witht eh RTJ and the interview.. after that, its  all on the GM.