POSTING GUIDELINES.   Posted by il Vapore-Padrone.Group: public
il Vapore-Padrone
 GM, 6 posts
 Maestro del Mistero
 Direttore dei Destini
Sun 17 Feb 2019
at 05:24

WARNING!  You will soon come to find that I am one of those people that cannot say something in 10 words if I can use 100, instead  ^_^  Please continue reading...

or "Know your Emily Post-ings"

          The Golden Rule of Posting:  Post!
     It really is that simple.

          The Two-Day Rule--Heard Of It?:
     Over the years, Iíve found that the generally accepted rule for how often folks should post on a play-by-post (PbP) game to be: Every Other Day ... or once every two days ... or four times per week ... or when the cheese starts to stink.  Of course, many players can post more often than that, and thatís great, but, schedules or time zone differences or other IRL (In Real Life) difficulties can sometimes prevent players from posting responses more frequently.

     It's usually been the case that if you donít post in at least two days--or whatever the accepted, GM-set time interval is--then the GM has the responsibility to post for you if actions are needed from your Character to move things along.  Now, as mentioned, IRL issues can keep a player--even the GM!--from posting as often as he should, and thatís okay.  Even if that's happening frequently, it's still okay as long as you let the GM know that you are having "issues" (no specifics, you keep your Privacy--but I am an incorrigible gossip) and that you really want to stay involved.  GMs are usually good about it.
     Of course, the real reason you should try to post as often as you can is to let the other players know that you are still interested in the game, which, in turn, helps keep them interested.  So post as often as you can, and let us--specifically me--know when you can't, and all shall be well in the Empire upon which the Sun Never Sets.

     Now...having said that, also keep in mind that there are some GMs out there who may want/require a more frequent posting rate, while others may opt for requiring only 2 posts a week, or even 1 post per week.  Thereís nothing wrong with either of those.  For myself, my schedule usually works out that I do the majority of my Posting over the Weekends, usually in the evening hours.  Mid-Week--Tuesday thru Thursday--is my slow period.  So, while I hope we all achieve a much higher posting rate, all that is required is 1 Post per week, on or before Sunday.  But do not count on that slow a rate, expect faster, and don't be surprised if the Character you posted for on Tuesday has been NPC'd three times by Saturday--I'm Obsessive-Compulsive, okay?!  Check this board every day!  Check five times per day!  In fact, never sign off this Board!  You must ... *SMACK!*  Ahem ... Thank you.  Right, moving on, then ... ^_^

     However, if you donít, or can't, post all that often--even if something comes up and you just aren't posting at all!--Iím not likely to boot you out of the game.  Real Life happens--that's the Unofficial Motto of the State I live in, only "Real Life" is replaced with "Defecation".  Normally, if you havenít posted in about two weeks, Iíll send you a PM to see if you are still interested.  I may NPC your character during those absent days, and I may or may not keep your character around, depending on how interesting you've made your character (particularly through posting) or how interesting it is in the current situation.  Iíll almost never kill off your character (usually only if you request it), but, if you have disappeared, your character will leave the group when itís convenient.  For example, if your character is aboard a ship at sea, I wonít have him just jump overboardóheíll leave when the ship reaches port.  That way, if your situation changes and you want to get back in the game at a later date with that same Character, it is still "out there", ready to make a dramatic comeback.

          Proactive vs. Reactive:

     Other than the Golden Rule, this might be the most important guideline for posting.

     If all you are is Reactiveóthat is, you post only in response to when someone else posts something involving your character, but otherwise you wait around for someone/something to come and initiate an interaction with you--you never start anything, you never ask a question unless someone else starts the discussion, you never search a chest unless someone first finds the chest, you never enter the bar until everyone else has already sat down in it--well then, chances are youíll have a rough time with the game and wonít find it particularly entertaining or satisfying, because your Character will keep getting left behind or forgotten about.  This is PbP, we're not sitting around a table where we can see your silent, smiling mug just siting there.  Remember--Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

     Put simply, donít wait for someone else to post something which you then just respond to and sit back, agian.  When you check the board, if you havenít posted in a week, or two days, or whatever, then itís time for you to post! Donít keep waiting!  Even if everyone is actively posting about what they are doing/saying/whatever, alone or with other Players--they may all still be waiting on you to clue them in on what you are doing, or not doing.  I/we are not going to lead your character around by the nose, and you donít have to be the leader of the group to put up a post.  Not everything has to be a post concerning the group activities, you can post just about you--it's not considered selfish or self-centered--and there are any number of alternative things that you can post about.  Such asÖ


     The general rule for what to post usually starts out with: avoid one-liners.  I'm not talking Comedy, here, folks!  I'll handle the yukkity-yuks, thank you.

     No, what this means is that putting up a post thatís only one-line long (even if it is a really long line) is discouraged.  However...sometimes there are reasons for doing so.  In particular, some players post using their cell phone, and sometimes that makes typing long posts hard and more time-consuming than they might have the opportunity for.  Generally, if you let the GM--that's me, again, remember?--know thatís what you do, itís not going to be a problem.  I got a metal baseball bat and lots of places to hide the body...

     Another 'common excuse, bitch, pout, whine, bluster, claim reasoní for a player not posting often enough is that heís either waiting on a response from another player (or, more often, that lazy-assed GM) or else he doesnít know what to post.  Well, then...

     Waiting for another player: Keeping the Two-Day Rule in mind--or whatever time interval is being used--if the other player doesnít post in the required amount of time, you could move on and post as if he did.  In general, though, you shouldnít put (too many) words in the other PCís mouth.  Donít post what he says; but if you are just waiting for a response to something simple--"You want more coffee, Stan?"--you can post that he agreed, or you thought that he agreed, and then move your character on based on your interpretation.  Just keep your narrative of their actions on the vague side, so that, when the Player does, finally, put up a post, they have an option to go in another direction with it.  A couple of examples...

   Post from a few days ago:  Amy (you) approached Stan, she had the tea pot in her hands.
                                                 "More tea, Stan?" Amy asked, holding the tea pot over Stan's tin cup, on the edge of the
                                                     camp table.

   Days later, no response, so you write:  Stan gave a small shrug of his shoulders and a vague hand gesture towards his
                                                                        cup, as he stared at something on the other side of the camp.
                                                                      With a smile, Amy (you) filled his tin cup, then set the porcellain pot down on the
                                                                        table, "Stan, I'm worried about Arthur..."

     Amy (you) just wrote actions for Stan (somebody not you) in your post.  But, what "actions" did you really write Stan making?  He shrugged his shoulders--so?  People do that, y'know, nothing to object to there (unless it had been previously stated that Stan was in a full-body cast).  Stan "gestured" at the cup--what does that mean?  Since Stan says nothing, the gesture is open for interpretation, he could be indicating "Yes, please" just as easily as he could mean "No, take it away, please".  In this instance Amy (you) choose to interpret the gesture as "fill it up"--later, Stan (somebody not you) can either say "Thanks" or he can object "Dammit, Amy, I didn't want any more tea!".  You leave that vague enough that the other player has options.  You did write that Stan was taking the definitive action of staring at something--so?  What is he staring at?  Is it important?  Is it significant?  Will the act of "staring" preclude any other action that Stan's Player might want to take, when he finally does post?  No.  Now, if you'd said Stan picked up his pistol with the other hand and shot a bird out of the sky...congratulations, you just Hijacked Stan and determined the outcome of a combat action, both without input from either Stan's Player or the GM.  Bad Show, old sport.

     Waiting for the GM: the same mostly applies for the GM or GM-controlled NPCs.  However, you have to keep in mind that the GM may have a direction in mind for the way he wants the encounter, scene or adventure to go, so posting for the GM can be a bit tricky in that sense.

     Just remember, if you feel the need to post for/with another persons Character or NPC, use the KISS principle--Keep It Simple, Stupid.  If you write "Charlie follows me through the door" that's good, Charlie is just following, he isn't (necessarilly) in danger, and you are in front of him.  If you write "After hearing the animal-like sounds, Charlie goes through the door first.", that's just wrong.  You know it is.
     Another way to think of this is--when writing for someone else's Character/NPC, consider what you have them do or say like this, if someone wrote a post where they had your character doing & saying the things you want to write, would you object?  "If you would object it being done to you, do not do it to others."

     Finally, another thing to keep in mind about waiting on others to post is that they may have gotten busy IRL and just forgotten to post--yeah, yeah, I know, "This shit is my life!  How could anyone forget to post?"  Well, it happens--or they may have thought they did post ... or they may have written a big, really cool post that got swallowed by the Internet and then they were too bummed out to rewrite it right away (this happens to me way too frelling often) ... so if you think you've been waiting long enough, or the scene is so important that you don't feel comfortable writing for someone else's Character in your post, well, it never hurts for you to send a quick reminder, either in the OOC thread or in a PM.  You can do that, y'know.  Or poke the the fat man napping in the corner--uh, I mean, let the GM know about your concerns.

     Also keep in mind that things happen IRL even to GMs.  This includes changes in schedules,  emotional time-outs (like when I run out of Happy Pills and start running around the neighborhood half-naked, screaming chapters from my Manifesto on Benevolent Fascism, and then get chased by guys in medical scrubs--I then have to go away for a few days.  Just sayin), or illness.  GM's can also have Internet problems (I was without power for 10 days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida in late-2017), computer problems (it didnít happen to me, but I knew a player whose cat peed on his keyboard!)  Plus--I admit it!  I'm a blue-collar American Male, and I check out a few ... risque ... websites, where I'm prone pick up Computer STDs (the things I've seen Care Bears do *shudder*), and I'm then without a computer for a few days while my laptop gets it's processor washed out with soap).

So have a little patients, and leave the maniacle rantings to me.  I'm what you call an Expert at those ^_^

What you could post if you canít think of anything to post:

1. Go OOC: ask the GM for more details or further explanation about something.  Ask about the details/rules about some piece of your gear (OOC: How do Shotguns work, again?), or you could post more details about it yourself.

2. Look around: re-examine the scene, the other PCs, etc. Speculate a little bit on what you see with an Inner Monologue.  Which leads straight to...

3. Character thoughts: post what your character thinks about the scene, or a PC or NPC, or some esoteric topic that came up (fighting ogres, hunting wild turkeys, mountain climbing, etc.). Note: there are some GMs who donít like to see material in a post that others canít directly react to--like Inner Monologue--the writing out of your thoughts for others to read, which they can't acknowledge, because they can't read your Character's mind.  Yeah, Iím not one of those GMs.
     PbP is a writing mediumócharacter thoughts and introspection is a significant aspect of writing, so donít be afraid to write it.  While the other Players cannot/should not react directly to what you write in Inner Monologue, at the very least, others can say they pick up on inflections, movement, gestures, facial expressions, body language, etcÖdetails that you might not put into your post in the first place, but can be used by other players to infer things about what your character is thinking (which may or may not be accurate, but thatís part of the fun!).

4. Character memories/flashbacks: something your character sees/notices now reminds him of an event he experienced in his past.  Possible ideas: a broken item triggers memory of a practical joke played on you or by you in your youth, someone seen on the street reminds you of an impressive and memorable character you once saw, an NPCís wound reminds you of a similar wound you or a friend/relative once received, etc.

5. Biding his time: post some action that your character is doing that simply takes up a bit of time, such as sharpening his sword or knife, whittling on a piece of wood, cleaning his boots, mending an article of clothing (sewing on a button), bird-watching, day-dreaming, trying to see shapes in clouds, etc.  Note:  this is a good time to play up your Quirks, if you have any.  Remember that most Quirks are small personality traits that you use/perform several times a day, which gives depth to your character and annoys the hell out of everyone--nevermind also earning you some Bennies!  Have fun.

6. Anything: whatever your warped, twisted, perverse little mind can think of.  This board is rated Mature, but try not to push it.  If I get yelled at by Moderators from Higher Up, well...remember that I live in Florida and I have a closet full of (supposedly) fully legal armaments...and only so many Moderators.


Colors: My preference is to select a text color for your characterís speech--like this <yourColor>"Your text"</yourColor>--as I think it makes posts easier to read, understand, and keep track of when/who's talking, but try to pick a color that no other character is using. Obviously, though, if there are a lot of characters, that may not be possible--but don't forget that there are also the options of Serif Font, Cursive Font, and Mono Font.  So if you wanted to use Blue, but someone else is already using Blue, consider using Blue with Cursive, or something.

Reserved Color: Orange is generally reserved for OOCs within in a post, as opposed to in the separate OOC Thread, and also for the GM posting game mechanics (Notice details, dice rolls, etc.).

Thoughts/telepathy/mindreading: In terms of writing format, treat anything like this as normal speech except, instead of starting and ending your dialogue with "quote marks", begin and end it with a ~~double-tilde~~, instead.  Still use your characters speech color, though. While most PC/Laptop/Tablet keyboards have a key for the tilde, donít worry if you use a cell phone (smart or other) and canít do this all the time...just don't always forget to do this.
     An example would be: ~~I can't believe I did that again!~~ Frank thought to himself.  Or...
     ~~Bow before Me, lowly Pig-People!~~ the words echoed within Greg's skull.

Communication devices/radios/speaking tubes: Though means of truly long distance remote communications is rare in SS1889, they do exist--and sometimes in forms you may not have realized.  For example, if you shout really loud across a mile-wide canyon, does that not count as "long distance" comunication?  It is certainly not "normal" face-to-face speech, yes?  Therefore, whenever you feel you are using some method to "project" your voice or "send" your words by means other than a casual face-to-face conversation or a written letter (and I suppose, technically, you could even consider "mail" as a valid form of communication device, for these purposes), please preface your statements like this--
[COMMS> Method] <yourColor>"Your message"</yourColor>
Possible examples:
   [COMMS> Shout]                   [COMMS> Speaking Tube]
   [COMMS> Megaphone]           [COMMS> Telegraph]
   [COMMS> Semaphore Flags]   [COMMS> Telephone]
   [COMMS> Heliograph]            [COMMS> Hertzian Wave Transmitter]

Note from il Vapore-Padrone:  Perdonami, my friends, but there is a point to this suggestioni that I feel must be brought up, here.  This point is, if you will see, the very nature of the long distance communication.  This is to be saying, that la gente talking to one another are, obviosamente, not in the same location, which, for our purposes, may mean that they are not, how you say, Posting inna the same Threads.  So, while you may Post your communications with all the proper bells and whistles, so to speak, in the Thread you are supposed to be posting in, the person to which you are sending the communication may be posting in a different Thread, and thus may not immediately read your Thread, and does not immediately get your communication.
     This needs to be adressed, no?  And since it is you who is making for me the extra difficulty, then as your GM, I hand the work back to you!  So.  Whenever you use such methods of communication, you not only put the [COMMS> Method] infront of your words where you are posting, but you must also copy these statements over into the location of the posts for the person to whom you are sending the message (that's assuming they are posting in a different thread than you).

Location: if your group splits up into more than 2 locations, but the GM determines that they are still close enough to "support" each other, both groups will continue to post in the same Thread, but in order to avaoid confusion--both for you, the other players and the GM--begin your post with your current location, written in all caps, inside brackets, like this-- [AT THE WATERFALL].  The place where this will most often take place will likely be aboard a ship.  For example, the Thread that everyone is posting in is called "Aboard the Martian Kite"--everyone has boarded a Martian flying ship.  Once aboard, a few of the group go to meet the Martian Captain at the Ship's Helm, while the rest go to that part of the Hold where they've been told all crew and passengers are billeted.
     Thus, one handful of the group would start their posts in this Thread with [AT THE SHIP'S HELM] or maybe [ON THE BRIDGE] or even [WITH THE CAPTAIN], while the other members of the group might start with [IN THE HOLD] or [IN QUARTERS] or even [THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT].  Boldface this if you want, or even make it Your Color--that's up to your personal preferrence, just as long as it's clear where your character is. This helps to eliminate possible confusion about where you are, but at the same time recognizes that you're not so far away from the others that a shout or loud noise wouldn't draw their attention.


     If the game doesnít seem to be going in a direction or way that suits your preference or gaming style, talk to the GM!  You may not be the only one who's feeling that way.  Iím not too proud to admit I can sometimes go off on really boring tangents, so just let me know.  I'm usually open to suggestions and requests.  I try to be flexible, but without any input from the players, I just keep plodding along in a way that Iíve been doing for many, many years.  Remember, too, that PbP gaming has a different dynamic than sitting around the table in an FtF game--I cannot look over at you and see your eyes rolled back in your head, and the drool down your chin, in total boredomYou have to let me know if I am not entertaining you.

     Really.  If you send me a note saying you are bored out of your skull while everyone else is trying to un-puzzle the ancient Martian Tomb entrance and you want some action!  I will drop a T-Rex on you so fast it'll make your head spin ^_^  heh-heh-heh-heh...

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:31, Sun 24 Feb 2019.