L0st S0ul
 member, 209 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 08:30
RTJ request RANT
I am wondering what others think about what information new GMs request when starting a new game.

I often see GMs asking for background information of the character, "The more you write the better a chance to be picked," is said.  Often times NONE of the information is used in the game, so why bother asking?

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.  Oftentimes, you just get a PM back saying all slots are filled thank you for applying.  No reason why you weren't picked or talk about how you could improve your RTJ.

Does anyone have any comments about this?  Or experiences of their own?
tibiotarsus
 member, 170 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 09:02
RTJ request RANT
I think that if the GM looks at a big backstory and thinks "this character will not fit what I'm doing" then you would have had a terrible time in that game if they let you in against their judgement. I don't think they'd ever know you wanted feedback or had crafted the entire backstory for that game unless you asked them. So...ask!

I run historical games and sometimes I get pitches for people the player obviously isn't that are ill-researched to the point of disrespect or outright -ism, or they bring in themes I don't personally want to deal with, or maybe the pitch was good, but the one that filled the last remaining slot was great. Maybe you were the third half-Orc fighter named Thomas Who Tanketh they got in that round of recruitment. It's not a snub.

Keep your pitches for when they can be re-used, and hone them by quality and originality (sometimes this is as simple as gender-flipping a cliché, it needn't be a great deal of work) rather than quantity. Indeed, if you take them literally about more writing and describe the character's breakfast porridge rather than their motivations or things a GM can use (and if they don't use your backstory, they're Doing It Wrong) - that is, if the revenge quest or the desire to become a florist gets lost in a sea of porridge and boiled eggs - then the GM may have fallen asleep before being able to pick out the good bits.
sean213
 member, 8 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 09:20
RTJ request RANT
It can certainly be frustrating, especially once you get invested in a character idea and put time and effort in. I've even had GMs just start a game up without even giving a courtesy "No thank you". Its hard not to feel snubbed when that happens. I try to just tell myself that an early rejection is better than having things not work out after putting even more time into the game.

Ultimately you just have to assume that the GM made whatever decision they thought would be best for the game from their point of view. They have access to a whole lot of info that you don't. Maybe several of the other applicants had ideas that just meshed really well. Maybe the GMs vision of the game was just different than yours. Maybe your activity level didn't match up with theirs...an every day poster won't fit in with a bunch of once a week posters or vice versa. There are a limitless number of behind the screen reasons for it.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:22, Thu 11 June.

Dream Sequence
 member, 57 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 09:47
Re: RTJ request RANT
L0st S0ul:
I am wondering what others think about what information new GMs request when starting a new game.

...

Does anyone have any comments about this?  Or experiences of their own?

I've never had a problem with writing up a page or so on a new character; I actually kind of enjoy the conception process, whether the character ultimately gets accepted to the game or not.

What does really irritate me about info requested in an RTJ is when the GM starts asking for real life info about me.  That's a hard pass, 100% of the time.  You do not need to know my real-life gender, age, or location, under any circumstances.  "Yes, but..."  Nope.  No exceptions, you do not need that info and I'm not giving it.  What you need to know about me is whether I'm 18 (not how much older or younger than 18, just a plain yes or no is all you need), whether my ability to communicate in English is up to your standards, whether I'm familiar with your game system and setting, my anticipated posting rate, and possibly what general times of the day I'm likely to post in.

I'd actually even be in favor of making that a RPoL rule: GMs may not require RTJs to include any RL info about a player other than the above.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:52, Thu 11 June.

evileeyore
 member, 342 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 11:12
Re: RTJ request RANT
L0st S0ul:
I often see GMs asking for background information of the character, "The more you write the better a chance to be picked," is said.

I just skip those games straight out.  Have neither the time nor the inclination to write out a huge backstory, when as you said, 90% of the time it's ignored once game gets started or you're not picked into the game anyway.





Dream Sequence:
What you need to know about me is whether I'm 18 (not how much older or younger than 18, just a plain yes or no is all you need), whether my ability to communicate in English is up to your standards, whether I'm familiar with your game system and setting, my anticipated posting rate, and possibly what general times of the day I'm likely to post in.

Add to that posting style, and I agree with your sentiment.  I don't want a rule about it, but it's more than a little creepy if someone is a/s/l'ing right out the gate.
willvr
 member, 1120 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 11:20
Re: RTJ request RANT
Yeah, I'm more about concepts than character background. Unless the GM is homebrewing the entire game, background doesn't really fit in beyond how you start, and you can also knock something together for that.

Having said that, I have had people come to me with very detailed backgrounds - I don't require it, but it does make it harder to knock back,but I will always warn them it's unlikely the background will get much leverage in my game.
tibiotarsus
 member, 171 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 11:32
Re: RTJ request RANT
Dream Sequence:
I'd actually even be in favor of making that a RPoL rule: GMs may not require RTJs to include any RL info about a player other than the above.


I am horrified you had that experience and would like to second that call. Good grief.

@sean213 Starting a game without proper rejections is very rude, but I did that once with someone who came up with an inappropriate character and took longer than it would take me to move a character in-game to the land of Over There Somewhere for absence to get back to me with corrections...by that time the game was obviously full and running and I didn't really know why they'd finally come back, so I tried to think of a way to say "I know I asked you for this stuff but I had a start date and I assumed you gave up two weeks ago" politely and just...never got to it for running the game.

Not that I'm making excuses, I was still rude, but awkward + distraction may also be a factor, especially in well-subscribed games.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15897 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 12:25
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to Dream Sequence (msg # 4):

Our policy is that a GM is free to ask for any information  he wants in an RTJ.  The player is likewise free to decide whether or not to give that information.

We do not tell a GM how to run his game, or how to select his players.
Dream Sequence
 member, 58 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 12:45
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 8):

Yeah, I'm aware of the distance between what the policy actually is and what I'd prefer that it be.  Just wishful thinking!
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 272 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
As an aside, since the subject of GMs requesting real information came up...

I was searching through some games the other day, and encountered a game where the GM had added every player to the cast list by their RPoL User Name.

That strikes me as something shockingly unkosher, since there's the expected degree of disassociation between RPoL user and individual characters in games, and because players in games have no control over what the GM adds them as (beyond giving a character name request, obviously). There was no visible RTJ information I could see for that particular game, but I really can't imagine that many people joining it knowing it would result in being listed by user name, if it had.

Is outing peoples' user names like that in a game allowed? Because it feels like it shouldn't be.

This message was last edited by the user at 14:19, Thu 11 June.

willvr
 member, 1121 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:22
Re: RTJ request RANT
I haven't come across it as that is their permanent name in a game, but I have seen people added with their RPoL user name until characters are worked out.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 273 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:28
Re: RTJ request RANT
In this particular instance it was a deleted game with months of activity and posts, so I can't imagine that it was that case. (And obviously, the people that were posting in it were aware they were listed by user name, unless they were just REALLY inattentive.) Even then, though, that feels unkosher to me. RPoL goes to some nice lengths to keep people from having their user name revealed in a game (even giving you the warning about responding to rMail from people you play with), so to have a GM just up and out people (even temporarily) feels... wrong? I dunno.

It was just a moment that made me go 'o.O' when I saw it.