RTJ guidelines (read first)   Posted by Supervisor of reality.Group: public
Supervisor of reality
 GM, 2 posts
Tue 11 Jan 2022
at 11:27
RTJ guidelines (read first)

So, if you're interested in joining this game, I'll need you to submit a request to join, obviously. Any RTJ which doesn't follow the format outlined below will be ignored; I'm only asking for things I need, I won't be able to properly evaluate a character without all the necessary information.

Here's what I'm expecting from prospective players:

1) Introduction

Just tell me why you're interested in the game, your personal reasons for wanting to play it and what you aim to get out of the experience. Nothing too personal or long, just a brief intro giving me an idea of what you plan for should work here.

Previous experience with 3.5, Pathfinder, the Spheres of Power system, or high level D&D games is neither required nor a detriment; you don't have to give me any details on the matter, although if you feel like it, knowing where you stand on the matter will certainly help me tailor the game experience to your needs better.

2) Character Concept

Here, I'd like a couple paragraphs that explains what your ideas for the character you wish to play are: what you want to accomplish with it, which narrative and strategic role you want them to play in the game, how do you plan to fit them into an adventure that will see them cooperate with fellow player under divine guidance against organized NPC teams with conflicting goals, and a general idea of what field of specialization you want for them.

You can and should give me an idea here of the kind of race/class combo you'd like to have and any other mechanical aspect of the character that you would like to play, including any questions if you want to include something particular (check the "House Rules & Character Creation" thread to see what I'm willing to allow and get a sense of my preferences), but keep in mind that nothing you say here will be set in stone - if I accept you into the game, we'll discuss the mechanical stuff in detail via PM in order to make sure we can get something that works for both of us.

Incidentally, this means that, if you only have a vague idea for your concept but are unsure how to realize that mechanically, that's not a deal-breaker: assuming you're clear on the rest of the RTJ points, just saying here what you would like your character to be able to do in a more general sense will be enough, as I can help players who have no experience with Sphere of Might & Power and/or Pathfinder itself to build something that fits their idea. In fact, Spheres of Power works better when going from a concept to a mechanical build than the other way around.

3) Physical Description

A couple of paragraphs describing what your character would look like physically to an external observer are all that's needed here - if you get accepted, we'll put this into your "character description" of your character.

Ideally, this should be split 50/50 between physical traits (eye and hair color, height, size, typical style of clothing, etc.) and non-physical descriptions (attitude, way of walking and moving, speech patterns and voice, etc.), with one paragraph for each, but that's not indispensable.

4) Personality

One or two paragraphs here explaining the way your character will normally act, why it would act that way, and any other psychological details that would be relevant to understand the character's motivations. Life goals, plans and any character flaws that somebody could potentially exploit should also go there. The more well-rounded the character is, the better.

In particular, your character should have a dream, desire or wish that, despite their incredible power and achievements, they know they have no way to accomplish on their own. This could be anything (retrieve the lost soul of a loved one that was bound in slavery to demons, make it so that food in your land will never spoil, create an artifact of unique power, grant immortality to yourself and your loved ones), so long as it makes sense that somebody with as much power as your character still couldn't obtain it. This is important because, upon being recruited as a champion, your character will be promised the achievement of this dream as a reward by the gods who are choosing you, so it need to be something that can motivate them to go above and beyond in their efforts to achieve victory.

5) Background

Once you have the character's personality, here use a couple paragraphs to explain how their life experience shaped that personality: their family, their past jobs, their previous accomplishments, and so on.

As mentioned in the Game Intro (if you haven't, you should read it), your character is an accomplished champion, somebody who achieved enough already in their life that they will be remembered as a legendary figure in their field of expertise for centuries. That's why your characters will be starting at level 15, they're already so notable, they've managed to attract the attention of a god; make yourself awesome enough for that to make sense.

I'm well aware that I've not provided setting information for you to build your background from; that's not a mistake, that's intentional. The game will take place in a divinely created pocket dimension that your characters won't leave until the game is over; as such, anything you include in your background will only affect your character personality and history, not influence the setting of the actual game.

Because of this, I'm leaving you free to pilfer elements from any setting you'd like to include in your backstory; if you want to invent a kingdom of your own for your character to have saved and whose prince they have married, you can. If you've played a PF Adventure Path in Golarion and want to say that your character has successfully completed in and gained the resulting accolades, you can. I'm freely open to anything you want to do here; so long as your character makes sense as an heroic figure the gods would pay attention to, and nothing in your backstory requires you to have abilities your class doesn't allow you to access, feel free to go wild.

The only requirement is that your character have a Good alignment. Lawful, neutral or chaotic doesn't matter, but you must be good, and it must be something your character would not easily renounce. The gods who chose you needs champions who will die to stop evil from winning if that's what it takes, and they wouldn't be taking any chances. Other than that, everything's fair game.

6) Connections

You should include brief descriptions of two characters who will be part of competing teams in the game; NPCs that you will be competing with. These can be anything: former or current allies, friends, lovers, enemies, lesser evils you had to work with, anything works. Ideally, each of the two should be connected to a different one of the eleven opposing gods listed in the Divine Knowledge Information Thread, to diversify your connections.

These NPCs you'll create will be the primary means by which social interaction will take place: as these are opposing champions who other gods brought to the pocket dimension, just like you were, they will represent my primary means I have to craft a story that is personal to your character. So, try to make them interesting, although also try to keep it short; I think three paragraphs each (a personality description, a backstory description highlighting why you're connected to them, and a physical description) should be more than enough.

7) Setting Preference

As I mentioned before, the game is going to take place in a pocket dimension created by the gods. That would allow me to either create an environment where monsters and the rival NPC teams are the only creatures present, or one where towns exist, as the gods would be the ones setting the rules and deciding if any creatures other than the champions should be allowed in or not.

There are benefits to both approaches, since the presence of towns would allow for more social play and subterfuge-based situations, while a lack of towns would shift the focus on survival and having to scavenge for anything, each of which would make for an interesting experience.

As I have no preference over which of the two approaches to take, I would like this to be a player vote; I think it's nice to let players have some say in the kind of game they want to be in. Thus, be sure to state, clearly and unambiguously, if you would like "the survival approach" without town or "the subterfuge approach" with town.

I'll reject any RTJ that expresses no preference or refuses to make a choice, as it's my experience that players who are indecisive on this sort of minor detail are also the sort who'll spend weeks dithering over what course of action they should take in game, and that's not the kind of players I need. Discussing things is perfectly fine, but sometimes decisiveness is required, so show me you can be decisive and assert clearly what you want.

You don't need to tell me why you picked what you did, although if you feel like doing so, I'll read with interest; however, the reasoning is secondary, making a clear and definite choice is the important thing.

Once I have decided who is accepted into the game, I'll tally up the votes on this matter and alter the pocket dimension accordingly to the majority's preference.

8) Writing Sample

Here, all I want is a short example (about three paragraphs would be fine, but no hard limits on this one) of how your character would read in the story when you made a post with them in it. Ideally, this should be either a scene of your character achieving their greatest victory or surpassing some meaningful hurdle mentioned in your backstory, but anything that you think would work to give me an idea of how the character will act in game posts and what your writing style and skills are like works here.

I personally don't use colored text, but I'm aware that most players prefer to use it, so if you have a preference for a specific color, put it here; my dialogue will use black. Seagreen is the color for all OOC chatter, as I'm reserving it for that specific goal.

9) If you have any questions about any of the above points, or anything in the House Rules, or anything else you would like to know to confirm about the game, just include those questions, either alongside the related points in your RTJ or at the end of it. I'll try my best to answer and clarify anything that might be confusing, and if nothing else, I imagine that being able to verify if something that would be a deal-breaker for you could be worked around will help people decide if they're interested. I like to think that I'm reasonable, and also that asking questions is never a bad idea. So, if you have doubts? Ask.

This message was last edited by the GM at 10:21, Mon 17 Jan 2022.

Supervisor of reality
 GM, 3 posts
Tue 11 Jan 2022
at 11:43
Posting Speeds
I'm putting this separate here because, while it's not really part of the RTJ, it is something I'm asking of players, so it's important that anybody planning to participate in this game know how I feel about it.

I'll begin by stating openly that I am a somewhat weird person; I am very patient and can wait forever if I'm told "please wait for me due to (reasons)", but I become antsy very quickly when I get the feeling that I'm being ignored or dismissed. It makes me feel like less of a person and more of a piece of refuse, which isn't a good sensation. When I dedicate myself to something, I put in true commitment, and I want that to be returned.

What this sums up to, is that with me, it is much better to send a one-line message saying "sorry I couldn't post, RL problems, I'll be back next month" than disappearing for random times (even if much shorter than a month) without explanation. So, here's how we're gonna be running things.

The posting speed is "one post every two or so days", and if you can't keep up with that, you shouldn't have joined; and if you suddenly find yourself unable to keep up with it after you joined for whatever reason, it is your duty to tell me immediately, so that we can brainstorm a solution to the problem, or some other way around it.

I will generally poke people if I don't see any posts from anybody in a three days span; if you think your character wouldn't have anything to contribute to a scene but nobody else has posted anything in two days, then make an OOC post stating why you're not going to be posting on the situation, and asking if perhaps somebody else could push things forward. As a GM, I've lost count of the number of times two players were waiting for each other to go first, and it annoys me to no end.

So, when in doubt, just make a post anyway, even if it's just in-character fluff about how your character is reacting with disinterest to the situation, maybe doing something quirky like petting their toad familiar or such. Even if you're not actively contributing to the scene, reminding people that you're around is important, and it helps in making them finish a scene and push it forward if they realize they're hogging the spotlight too much.

Even if the character is shy or a wallflower, they can still look around, mutter to themselves, display some character, or otherwise react to a situation. It is your responsibility as a player to keep the game going, so, if you see that the timestamp of the last post in the current main IC thread is older than 48 hours and that post wasn't made by you, take it upon yourself to change that. I'll prefer it to waiting endlessly for somebody who might not be willing to post.

If somebody goes two weeks without making a post, I will consider that a sign of disinterest in the game (and lack of politeness, since a polite player would just tell me that they're not liking the game anymore, and if also they told me why, I'd be more than willing to try and address any complaints, but I can't do that if nobody speaks to me), and move things along regardless of whether it'd make sense for their character to go along with it normally. Once we reach two months of absence, I'll just consider the player to have left, and start looking for replacements, while treating their character as an NPC from then on, including possibly killing them, if that makes sense in the situation.

On the other hand, if somebody tells me they have trouble and why, I will try to find ways to justify their limited interactions with others in-character by some means, sidelining the character until the player can come back to it, but also making sure they can then jump back into things quickly once they do show up again.

Fundamentally, remember that communication is key, and if you have a problem or disagree with me on something, tell me. Mature, adult people talk about their problems, so as to solve them; disappearing without warnings is a childish way to act. Yeah, this is just a game and not that important a thing, just a bit of silly make believe, but the other players are real and deserve a respectful treatment anyway, even if you dislike them. At least, that's what I think.

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:23, Sun 23 Jan 2022.