This Game's Guidelines.   Posted by The Cowled One.Group: 0
The Cowled One
 GM, 42 posts
Fri 7 Jun 2013
at 18:25
This Game's Guidelines
Posting Frequency

One of the reasons I'm using this type of forum for my gaming is that it lends itself to asynchronous play.  I don't have to be online the same time as anyone else.  This means I can work around my rather full schedule and still get to write and play.  It's a bonus.

Given that, I'm not looking for folks to post 2 or 3 times a day.  I'm not even requiring 1 time a day.  What I am looking for is 3 or 4 times a week.  This seems like a reasonable requirement.  If things go faster than that then great.  If not, then that's cool too.  Let's just not slow down to slower than that.

Posting Length

Play by post (at least the way I do it) is about writing.  It doesn't matter if you're the greatest gamer the world has ever seen.  If your writing is unreadable it sucks for everyone.  So, here are a few ground rules.

Use decent spelling and grammar.  I'm not a complete Nazi about this but when I'm trying to figure out what it is your character is doing, it helps if the words are generally spelled correctly and your sentence structure isn't all over the place.  Proper punctuation and capitalization are your friends.

Limit one line posts.  Nothing completely puts a halt to a good scene like a bunch of one line posts.  One line posts just don't give your fellow players anything to latch on to.

Limit novella length posts.  On the other end of the spectrum is the post that looks like 10 type-written pages.  Try to be concise.  It makes better reading and it is easier to follow.  As a general rule, posts shouldn't be much over 250 words.  Obviously there might be exceptions.  It's a general rule not a written in stone rule.

Written in Stone Posting Rules

  • Use third person past tense when posting.  If you do a dream sequence or flashback or something and want to change to another person and tense.  That's fine.  But stick with third person past in general.
  • Don't use color highlighting.  Use quotation marks for conversation and italics for thoughts.
  • Don't affect another character unless given permission to do so.  ie.  Don't post that you "hit" them.  Post that you "take a swing" at them.
  • Keep things R rated or better.  I'm okay with "mature".  Pornographic, not so much.


If you are going to be unable to post for more than a day or two, please, let me know.  We're not going to delay the game.  I will remove folks who disappear for more than a week without notice.
The Cowled One
 GM, 43 posts
Fri 7 Jun 2013
at 18:27
Example Post
Gaerik whirled to face the oncoming rush from the ogre.  Six hundred pounds of slobbering carnage was not his typical choice in playmates but beggars can't be chooser and all that.  He angled his shield and deflected the massive club that had been aimed right for his head.

"That was right unfriendly." Gaerik said as he stepped quickly to the side and aimed a desperate swing with his longsword at the enraged ogre.  "Acrion!  A little help here!"

I know in my previous post I said no hightlighted text.  The only exception is actual game system information which should be at the bottom of the post like this in blue.

Roll to hit: 8 + 6 = 14

Any other really cool system stuff down here.  Like magic effects currently on you and such.

The Cowled One
 GM, 44 posts
Fri 7 Jun 2013
at 18:36
Authors and Audience
One of the cool things about RPGs is that they are a hybrid entertainment source.  Everyone at the table (or at the computer screen as the case may be) is both an author and part of the audience.  Most of the time we are both at the same time.  However, this same coolness also gives rise to some challenges.  One challenge is that we get stuck in either one mode or the other instead of operating in both simultaneously.  This is where we get the misguided concept of player knowledge versus character knowledge.  Without getting too much into it, let me give a quick example.

Remember the pinacle scene in Star Wars: The Emipire Strikes Back where Vader confronts Luke and says, "Luke, I am your father!"?  It's the central, big reveal of the entire trilogy.  That reveal drives the entire plot in Return of the Jedi.  But Lucas had it easy.  He was the sole Author and we were the Audience.  Nobody was doing two of the roles.  Let's view that scene from two different perspectives as if we were a group of role-players playing that game instead of seeing it at the movies.

In the first group, everyone keeps their character secrets to themselves and doesn't let any of the other players peak behind the curtain.  They are staying in their Author role and waiting to reveal everything to the other players as the Audience.  Only Luke's player (or perhaps just the DM) knows that Vader is Luke's father.  They play far into the campaign and then when the right moment pops up, the player in the know makes the big reveal... and it is awesome.  Everyone is "Whoa...  that was cool.  Didn't see that coming."  The obvious upside is that everyone is surprised and the reveal really drives some excellent play from that point on.

The downside is, with only the one player knowing about the reveal it might never actually take place.  The one player as Author is waiting for her moment.  It may never come.  Nobody else knows about the big secret so they don't know to make room for it in the fiction.  Also, the revealed information can only drive play AFTER it takes place.  All the play that takes place beforehand is totally uninformed by the information.

In the second group, all the players know that Vader is Luke's father.  They know it and they know that the information needs to come out at some point but not too soon.  During play they come to a spot where it would be perfect for the reveal to take place and so the players make sure all their characters are off doing perfectly logical and relevant things so Vader can confront Luke and make the big announcement.  Boom!  There it is.

The downside is that the reveal isn't a huge surprise.  The character's reaction to the reveal could be a surprise but the information itself isn't.  However, there's a huge upside to this scenario.  First, the reveal is going to happen.  Everyone wants it to happen.  This ensures that the information makes it into the fiction at a good place.  Remember, secrets that don't make it into the fiction don't really exist and are fairly useless.  Second, the secret can actually drive play BEFORE the reveal.  If you watch the Star Wars movies again knowing the big secret suddenly all the earlier scenes have some really cool subtext to them.  That's Luke's dad that Obi Wan is fighting.  Obi Wan's conversations with Luke take on a new meaning.  In a role-playing group the unrevealed secret is still known to the players and they can use it to create tension in the fiction in all the sessions leading up to the reveal and then continue to use it afterwards too.

I prefer to play more like the second group than the first.  I'm not going to keep all the information to myself as the DM and I'd prefer that as players we play rather transparently.  That isn't to say that I'm not going to pull a few surprises.  The first kind of reveal has a nice payoff and keeps the audience on their toes.  However, the second group makes being co-authors a lot easier and more rewarding as we help everyone's character (not just our own) be awesome.

I put this here so you'd know my philosophy on this kind of stuff.  It might be a bit different from what you're used to.