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    The New Players' Guide

    Discussion in 'Archive' started by Teele, Dec 4, 2008.

    The New Players' Guide

    Hello there! Welcome to our guide! The purpose of this document is to help new players learn the ropes of how things work around here, and to help make their experience as fun and interactive as possible. Let's get started!

    Table of Contents
    Introduction - 2
    Finding a Game - 3
    Building Your Character - 4
    The First Post - 5
    Keeping It Going - 6
    Finishing Up - 7
    To Infinity And Beyond - 8
    Back Matter - 9

     
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    Introduction

    Introduction

    Welcome to the RPG section of the forums! For all who are unsure, RPG is an abbreviation for Role-Playing Game. Exactly as the name implies, it is a game in which real people take on the roles of imaginary characters.

    Here's how it works: a person (let's call him Greg) gets an idea for a story that he thinks would make a really cool game. Greg puts together a bunch of background information, and assembles a basic plot. He then puts some of this introductory material into a new thread on the RPG forum, and submits it. Once the game is approved by the Moderators, it is opened up. Other people then see it and then think up a character that would fit the story's background well, and that they think would be fun to write about. Once they have their character's basic info, they post it. When enough characters are added, the game begins! Greg will present situations, allies, and enemies for the characters to interact with, and together, a story is built!

    Greg is known as the Gamemaster (GM): he controls the overall direction of the story, and also keeps track of all the non-player characters (NPCs) that the players will interact with. If you're looking to be a Gamemaster, check out The New Gamemasters' Guide.

    The people running the main characters of the game are called the Players. They control the aspects of the character they create; what they look like, how they feel about themselves and others, and what special skills and abilities they have. If you're looking to be a player, you've come to the right place! This guide will show you what's involved in being a player, and give you some tips for creating memorable characters and interactions.

    Welcome to the Games...

     
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    Finding A Game

    Finding a Game

    Upon entering the RPG forum, you will see a list of threads with strange (and hopefully very interesting) names. These are the games that are currently up and running. They may be in different stages of development; just starting, halfway through, or just finishing up. Most of the time, you're going to want to look for one that's just starting. To find out which games are where, check out the stickied Current and Future RPGs thread. It has a listing of all the games that are currently in progress, as well as the new ones to come.

    When you find a game whose status is given as Starting; Open for Profiles, you can go check out that game thread on the RPG forum page. Once there, you will find an opening post by the Gamemaster explaining the background information of the game. Read this information carefully, and if you think this is something you'd like to try, you can go ahead and create a character!

    Note that some RPGs listed only as Starting may also have openings for new players. It is a general RPG forum rule that a game should have twelve players at most (though this rule can be overwritten if a moderator okays the addition of further players). Even if the game is full, however, some players may have dropped out before or during the start of the game, leaving an empty spot. If you just missed the profile creation, PM the Gamemaster and see if he/she has room for another character.

    This can also happen in RPGs that have matured into their middle stages. Players can be inactive, and their characters might be killed off. This, too, can open up slots for new players who'd like to jump into the story. Note that this approach means more work for you, since you'll have to read the thread to get an idea of what's happened so far. And, of course, PM the Gamemaster first to see if there's a possibility of joining.

    Once you get on board, its time to create a character!

     
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    Building Your Character

    Building Your Character

    This is where the fun begins! Before you start this step it is crucial that you've read all of the Gamemaster's background information on the game. In the midst of this background information, you should find a heading entitled Character Sheet or Character Template or something like that. This lists the different attributes that your character will have. There are a few obvious ones that will usually be present in every RPG:

    • Name:
    • Age:
    • Gender:
    These are pretty self-explanatory: a name for your character, how old he/she is, and whether he/she is, well, a he or a she! After this, we get into a few more specifics.

    • Appearance:
    • Background:
    • Personality:
    • Weapons/Gear:
    Some games may call these things by different names, and not all games will contain all of them. Some may be divided up into further categories. For instance, instead of a generic Appearance category, a GM may choose to write:

    • Height:
    • Weight:
    • Apparel:
    • Eye Color:
    • Hair Color:
    • Hair Style:
    The distinction is mainly stylistic in nature, and depends on the way the GM would prefer to do things.

    Appearance, as mentioned, it what your character looks like: height and weight, clothing, eye, hair, and skin color, complexion, relative attractiveness, distinctive markings and so on and so forth.

    Background will detail what your character's past was like. This will be heavily dependent on the backstory of the RPG, so its important to make sure that you've read everything carefully.

    Personality is how your character acts around others, and how he/she views others and him/her self. Is he reserved and quiet? Is she popular and outgoing? Is he bitter and violent? Is she gentle and compassionate? The possibilities are endless.

    Weapons/Gear may not be included in every RPG, and if they are, again, exactly what is available depends on the GM's backstory (if you haven't read it yet, go read it now. :)). This details the offensive weaponry and gadgetry that your character carries and probably will use. If you're wondering about using a particular weapon, and you're not sure it will fit, make sure you ask the GM about it.

    In addition to these, the GM may have several additional categories for you to fill out as well.

    If you have any questions for the Gamemaster about the game, the story, or something you'd like your character to have/do, look for the games discussion thread in the RPG Discussion forum.

    Once you have all this info filled out, your character is done! Time to make a post to the game's thread with all the character information attached. You can find plenty of examples of created characters over in the Archives, which list RPGs that have come and gone.

    Once the game has acquired a good batch of characters, its time to start!

     
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    The First Post

    The First Post

    Once enough players (usually 12) have joined up, its time to get started! The Gamemaster will make his First Post, which will set the stage for your own post. It is important, as always, that you read this first post carefully, and if you have any questions to post them on the game's discussion thread.

    Once you've read and understand the Gamemaster's First Post, you get to make your own! Describe your character in the midst of the setting. You can tell what is he/she doing to get involved in the tale, what he/she looks like, and reveal a bit of your character's past and personality.

    Your first post should be appropriately descriptive. It isn't expected that you write a short story describing your life up to that point, but your post should certainly give everyone a good idea of what to expect from your character.

    Here's a few basic rules to follow:

    • Do not control, or attempt to introduce somebody else's character (or major GM characters) unless you have their explicit permission to do so.
    • Make your First Post a decent length.
    • Remember, your character will probably have extraordinary abilities, but he/she should NOT be indestructible. Writing in this way is what we call god-moding. All this really does is make the story boring. Your character have real strengths, and real weaknesses.
    Once most everybody has their First Posts up, the game has officially begun! Some players may be late in getting their posts up, and some may drop out right at the beginning. In any case, when enough people are ready, it's time to start keeping it going!

     
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    Keeping It Going

    Keeping It Going

    Now that your character has been introduced the game will begin! The GM will begin to present situations and obstacles for your character to overcome, and usually, you will be grouped up with one or more other player characters. This is one of the greatest joys of roleplaying; interacting with these other players' characters. Your own character will talk to them, get to know them, develop friendships and maybe rivalries with them, and perhaps deepen the relationships with them as time goes on.

    There are a few rules to follow when having your character act, react, and interact. A few of these will look familiar, from the last section of the Guide. You can also find these and similar rules on the Roleplaying Forum Rules thread. Here they are, the obvious ones first:

    • No god-moding: no invincibility or abilities that allow you to accomplish monumental tasks with little or no effort. This is just plain no fun.
    • No controlling other players' characters: Unless you have permission to do so, don't make another players' character do anything, especially something major.
    • Read all posts: Read everything done by all players and the GM, so that you can obey the next two rules.
    • The GM's word is Law: Read every GM post VERY CAREFULLY, and do not contradict the GMs ruling. Also, if you make a post that has your character do something, and the GM didn't want it done, and he/she asks you to fix it, fix it.
    • Refrain from post-stomping: if someone said in a previous post that something happened, it happened. You can't override it with your own post. Sometimes, stomping on another post happens accidentally, when two people post at close to the same time. In this case, it is best to work out on the discussion thread whose version of the truth will be used, and who will edit their post to compensate.
    • Advance the plot: your posts should advance the plot of the story in a meaningful way. Your character should be doing something in every post you make.
    • Give other players time to react: Don't solve all the game's problems by yourself. Allow some time between posts for other players to have their own characters to add to the tale.
    • Make your posts a decent length: No one-liners, and no essays. Keep your word count within a good range: 40 to 300 words is fine. If you're at a loss for more to write, think about what your character is getting from all his/her senses, not just sight. Also, giving your character some interesting mannerisms can help add a bit to your posts.
    • Limit fighting amongst characters: Unless it is the point of the game in question, players should generally refrain from having their characters fight amongst themselves. If it is done, the two players should work out a result via PM, so that both players are satisfied with it.
    • NPCing inactive characters: if a player is away, his character can be temporarily made into an non-player-character, controlled by the GM. The GM may also allow the player characters to use the character in minor ways.
    • Be active and contribute: If you weren't planning on participating, you shouldn't have joined. Try to be active in the RPG as much as possible, and make sure to tell everyone when you'll be away for a while.
    • Stay in-character: Your character should stick to the nature you have given him or her unless he or she has a valid reason to do otherwise. Don't have the character be cruel and heartless one second, and then gentle and compassionate the next (unless schyzophrenia was part of your character concept. ;)). Note, however, that it is understood that your character is dynamic, and will probably change as the story unfolds. This is excellent, and is certainly encouraged, but the change should generally not happen in an instant.
    If you stick to these rules, you'll do just fine! Note that the GM may have special rules concerning some story aspects of the game. Within the constraints of the rules, you can do pretty much whatever you wish with your character.

    A few additional rules apply to the fraternization in the discussion thread:

    • No nastiness: there shall be no name-calling, insulting, or flaming of any kind directed at fellow players. This is a general forum rule, and will be enforced by the mods, and can result in a ban.
    • Stay on-topic: the discussion thread is to be used for discussion the RPG. A few minor variations and rabbit trails can be fine, but try to keep things focused on the subject at hand: the game!
    • Your questions go here! If you have a question about the game, post it in the discussion thread. If you're hatching a secret and twisted plot that involves your character, and you'd prefer the other players not to know, you may PM the GM directly.
    The GM will continue posting situations and obstacles, and the players will continue to post their characters actions, reactions, and interactions until the game draws to an appropriate close...

    ...which happens to be the subject of the next section!

     
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    Finishing Up

    Finishing Up

    You've done well. Your character has fought and struggled against tremendous odds and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He or she has formed deep bond with the other characters in the group: agreements, friendships, perhaps even romances. But now is the time for the game to draw to a close.

    This can be handled in many different ways. In some RPGs, the GM may have your character die in a heroic way. Or he/she might live on to enjoy the rewards of his or her exploits.

    The ending may be simple, or elaborate, depending on the game and the GM. You may be contacted by PM some time before the end so that you can work with the GM to formulate the perfect ending for your character. Other times, this won't happen. In either case, what happens to your character is largely up to the GM.

    Sometimes, the GM will bring out a sequel to the game you're now finishing, and your character might make a comeback when the new game appears!

    Also, every now and then (only rarely so far here on WF.org), an RPG will continue indefinitely, as long as the GM is willing to continue to add situations for the characters, and as long as the characters are having fun.

    Once your game is tied up and ended, its time to move on! On behalf of all your future GMs, thank you for playing!

     
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    To Infinity And Beyond

    To Infinity And Beyond

    So.........

    Now what?

    Go find another game, of course! There are many more settings to explore, more interesting characters to be and interact with, and many more adventures to be had! We almost always have one game or another up and running, and its usually not too long before the next one begins!

    Or, if you're feeling bold, and the game you've played has inspired you to do one of your own, go check out The New Gamemasters' Guide, and begin your own adventure for others to enjoy!

    We hope that you enjoy your stay here in the RPG Forum, and we also hope that you have as much fun playing as we do!

     
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    Back Matter

    Back Matter

    This guide was written by me (Teele). But I would certainly be an ungrateful worm if I tried to claim the credit for the entire content of this guide. So, here, I shall place the credit where credit is due:

    First of all, I would like to thank Oasis Writer for the original guide from which I got my own introduction to WF.org RPGs. Though he and I never worked together in any games, or had any major dealings, I am still indebted to him for the ideas he had that I have adopted.

    Secondly, I would like to thank Raven for being an excellent Moderator, and for promoting me to like status. Under his excellent Gamemastermanship, I got a great deal of the experience that has made me the roleplayer I am today. He also gets a piece of the credit for the rulings he has made that I have repeated here.

    Thirdly, I would like to thank Foxee, for her Ten RPG Commandments, which formed the basis for my own rules. But more importantly, I am most grateful for her friendship and guidance as I was learning my way about over here. May we have many more excellent games together, Foxee!

    Fourth, I would like to thank the other GMs that I've been privileged to play under, both past and present: Blossom, Darkthought, Jade, Chad, and FlakeandFins. You guys are amazing.

    Finally, I would like to thank the innumerable players I've worked with in the past, certainly too many to name them all here, but certainly none are forgotten in my mind. Thanks to all.

     
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