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Author Topic: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions  (Read 56554 times)

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Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #575 on: December 16, 2012, 04:44:57 AM »
You are welcome, dear.

Seriously, the OOC thread is an invaluable tool in any RP, but more so in free-form. Even in one-on-one RPs, it is necessary to discuss what the characters are doing, usually by PM or IM. When you have a group of people all with different ideas on how things should happen, it is an absolute MUST to discuss the story openly between the players in a thread where "anything goes" - within reason.

Obviously, if a player has a problem with another player this should be discussed via PM, but a problem with the the way the game is going or the setting, or the NPCs, should be aired openly for all to discuss, hopefully as sensible adults....

Equally, the GM needs to use the OOC thread to keep the group informed of events. "I'm going to do a time-jump in five days, please wind up any scenes you have going before that time", is a good thing to post (just as an example), rather than just suddenly posting in all the IC threads "It is now one week later"...

The OOC thread is also a good way of keeping people interested and involved. I am strongly of the opinion that an OOC thread that has a lot of "off-topic" chatter - people just popping in to say "hi" (and in some cases deliver virtual cookies), discussions of sports, hobbies and other non-game-related things, is an indication of a strong group and a game that will last beyond a couple of weeks.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #576 on: December 16, 2012, 09:54:14 AM »
The OOC thread is also a good way of keeping people interested and involved. I am strongly of the opinion that an OOC thread that has a lot of "off-topic" chatter - people just popping in to say "hi" (and in some cases deliver virtual cookies), discussions of sports, hobbies and other non-game-related things, is an indication of a strong group and a game that will last beyond a couple of weeks.
My experience confirms this. Although I have seen OOC threads that were about the game and at best tangential topics, and these were among the longest games I've seen as well. But IMO, all it means is that random chatter isn't a must, although in the general case it does help.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #577 on: December 16, 2012, 11:04:20 AM »
Okay so I has a question......

Regarding multiple threads.

If the action is generally going to follow a single line, with a few players, a group game can get sometimes by with a single IC thread, but more often people will divide the game into several threads to make life less confusing.

Most GMs I've come across tend to divide the threads geographically - one for this location, another for that. This has it's advantages but also has it's disadvantages.

Now, someone has just suggested to me having a single main thread for the story and allowing individuals to branch off into side threads for sex scenes or off-the-pace action scenes.

Again I can see advantages and disadvantages to this.

I'm curious to know what other GMs think? This is probably the last issue I need to resolve before making a start on the game.

Offline LunarSage

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #578 on: December 16, 2012, 11:23:03 AM »
I divide my threads geographically for the most part, but I also have individual threads for other things, usually like 'Private Thread' (for sexy times), 'Plot Thread #1' and Plot Thread #2' for stuff that may not necessarily take place in any of the existing threads.  They can be used for anything, including scenes in fluid time.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #579 on: December 16, 2012, 03:34:05 PM »
Okay so I has a question......

Regarding multiple threads.

If the action is generally going to follow a single line, with a few players, a group game can get sometimes by with a single IC thread, but more often people will divide the game into several threads to make life less confusing.

Most GMs I've come across tend to divide the threads geographically - one for this location, another for that. This has it's advantages but also has it's disadvantages.

Now, someone has just suggested to me having a single main thread for the story and allowing individuals to branch off into side threads for sex scenes or off-the-pace action scenes.

Again I can see advantages and disadvantages to this.

I'm curious to know what other GMs think? This is probably the last issue I need to resolve before making a start on the game.
Personally, I use the main thread method, because the game starts at the same time for every one of the characters, and roughly at the same pace. The passage of time is what binds them together, even when they aren't at the same place.
Things that take lots of posts for little time, especially sex scenes, get their own thread, one for each character.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #580 on: December 16, 2012, 03:52:14 PM »
... one for each character.

Seriously?

Doesn't that make the sex scenes rather un-interactive? Or am i not understanding you correctly...? Surely if you have a thread for each character it makes it rather hard to tell who each character is having sex with? Wouldn't it be easier to have a thread for each couple?

Or do you mean that each player has a thread for each of their characters that they invite other players to post in?

Um, either way....

I have to say I have never used a system like that, and I can see how it would work, and how it would help keep the game flowing smoothly by effectively allowing a character to "be in two places at once", and how it would remove the frustration over the inevitable part finished scene when the GM moves things forward...

But I have absolutely no idea how other players would react to it....

Offline LunarSage

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #581 on: December 16, 2012, 04:02:55 PM »
Fluid time is your friend.  In the big Hogwarts game for example, you have characters in multiple places and times, sometimes like three or four scenes at once.  You just have to tag each post as to when that scene is taking place.

Headers and tagging helps a lot, too.

Example:




Name: Alexander Oberg
House/ Year: Griffyndor/5th Year
Bloodtype: Half Blood
Wand: 13" Aspen Dragon Heartstring Core
Location: Flourish and Blots, The morning of December 5th
Tagging: Wren, Andersen


<Insert post here>

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #582 on: December 17, 2012, 11:24:46 AM »
Seriously?

Doesn't that make the sex scenes rather un-interactive? Or am i not understanding you correctly...?
You're not, although admittedly, I wasn't clear enough.

Quote
Surely if you have a thread for each character it makes it rather hard to tell who each character is having sex with? Wouldn't it be easier to have a thread for each couple?
Of course it's for each couple, or threesome, or whatever :P! When I speak as a GM, under "characters", I mean Player Characters (PCs). NPCs might be interesting, but they're not the stars even if a player develops a crush on them (it has happened, yes >:))!

Quote
Or do you mean that each player has a thread for each of their characters that they invite other players to post in?
Yeah, this, and it makes it easy if they pick up an NPC.

Quote
I have to say I have never used a system like that, and I can see how it would work, and how it would help keep the game flowing smoothly by effectively allowing a character to "be in two places at once", and how it would remove the frustration over the inevitable part finished scene when the GM moves things forward...
Yes, that's why I adopted this model. Although I admit it's better to say "moving the time forward" in this model.
I adapted it from a game with no sexual content, though, and have since seen it on E. in some random game I was reading.

Quote
But I have absolutely no idea how other players would react to it....
I'm not sure I understand. Why should they get to react in any way, unless they're participating?
I mean, the moment the PCs leave the thread, we leave a post with a link. If they want to read the action, they can. Since they're not involved, they have no grounds for other objections, IME.
Or am I misunderstanding your question this time?

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #583 on: December 17, 2012, 11:51:31 AM »
Nope, you aren't misunderstanding, Thufir. I am...!

I was worried that if I went with that idea that players who were more used to the geographical split idea might not like it, but it seems that a good number of my players actually prefer the idea of a single IC thread anyway.

So, I have decided to go with it, give it a try and see what happens.

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #584 on: December 17, 2012, 11:56:35 AM »
I'm curious to know how do you guys handle player combat with NPC's? (general system and freeform)

Example: I've got 5 players and they enter into combat with 12 NPC's

With just a couple players, I don't see much of a problem. They just take turns posting and responding to posts. It's easy to control, even with variables. However, with a big group it's complicated. In a system game you have differing number of attacks /melee round (attack rates.)

In freeform, how do you keep players from stepping on each others toes?

I'd love to see some examples.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #585 on: December 17, 2012, 12:33:42 PM »
System games are only problematic in a very small number of games, like Exalted (and maybe Palladium?) where turns are divided into segments and characters act every X segments flowing over into the next 'turn'. In most games, they just use 'Initiative', where players act from highest value to lowest value, so all you need there is to declare 'Turn 1, everyone select their actions', have every person make one post for such, then resolve them in order...some people require posts to be done in initiative order to avoid pre-empting actions, others just ask for contingencies when declaring.

A freeform game, I'd run much the same...everyone declare an action or actions, the GM then resolves the player actions and the NPC actions in whatever order is most appropriate for the situation. Repeat until the fight is over.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #586 on: December 17, 2012, 01:34:22 PM »
Generally, in freeform combat situations I've been in, the GM posts to say what the enemy is and where, and the players pick their own fights.

Offline nonniemouse

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #587 on: December 17, 2012, 04:37:45 PM »
A couple of suggestions for making combat smoother:

Like TheGlyphstone said, avoid mechanics that require players to wait for each other often.  Any mechanic that allows players to say "No wait, I do ___ before he does this" should be looked at.  If you use an initiative based system, consider simply having two phases to each round: the GM takes action for all the NPCs at once, and then the players take one action each, in whatever order they post in.

Suggestion for maintaining a steady rate of posting when some players aren't able to post regularly: In light system games, you could allow players to specify default actions or intentions for the GM to narrate in the event they are unable to post in a timely manner.  Alternatively, they could each designated another player as a "second" for such purposes.  Another option would be to allow players to "make up" for skipped turns after the fact by taking several actions at once.

In larger combat, you could consider splitting the fight up into multiple smaller fights that are adjudicated independently.  This raises its own challenges though.

If some NPCs are allied with the players, you could consider delegating control of them to some of the players.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #588 on: December 17, 2012, 07:16:22 PM »
Nope, you aren't misunderstanding, Thufir. I am...!

I was worried that if I went with that idea that players who were more used to the geographical split idea might not like it, but it seems that a good number of my players actually prefer the idea of a single IC thread anyway.

So, I have decided to go with it, give it a try and see what happens.
Glad they like it!
Give it a try, and remember, if you've got any questions, you can ask here or via PMs.

I'm curious to know how do you guys handle player combat with NPC's? (general system and freeform)

Example: I've got 5 players and they enter into combat with 12 NPC's

With just a couple players, I don't see much of a problem. They just take turns posting and responding to posts. It's easy to control, even with variables. However, with a big group it's complicated. In a system game you have differing number of attacks /melee round (attack rates.)

In freeform, how do you keep players from stepping on each others toes?

I'd love to see some examples.
In freeform, we had an implicit agreement. If you have objections to a previous post, you raised it OOC, and the player could accept to change some details, or not.
If you didn't, it was considered you don't object. And then, the rule was that whoever declared actions, was acting before you, and you shouldn't contradict them.
Yeah, I don't think you expected me to reply for freeform >:).

Now, for systems, it definitely depends on the system and on group. But in most systems, I tend to ask for OOC statement of intent for this action, followed by the player describing the IC actions. If the action's description IC is clear enough, an OOC declaration might not be necessary.
However, if some characters have more actions than others, or if the actions are resolved in initiative order, the players should probably have to write a script.
A script might be made even in the case where everyone has a single action.
Now, I agree systems with lots of back-and-forth are to be avoided. But it depends less on how complicated the system is, and more on how tactical the group is acting. (It's just that more complicated systems usually give more hard-coded options to get tactical advantage).
"I attack the big brute, unless he has moved out of range or been knocked out already by another PC. If that is the case, and the PCs have charged, I charge with them where our line it most thin. If I act before anyone has charged, I set my pike in the ground and call for them to do likewise in order to be ready to receive a charge!"
The above is from a rather simple system, but I was playing the tactically-minded mercenary that looks to exploit the situation to the maximum. Hence me having to post scripted actions.
Compare and contrast with my actions in Exalted, which has a couple score of times more rules (I'm not even exaggerating for effect here).
"I jump from the mast to attack the ship captain, almost certainly killing him. Then I turn to the crew and order them to surrender to me!"

So, no scripts are actually necessary in general. Most of the time, you just declare your actions in order of posting, and resolve them at once. It adds chaos to the fight, which might be a feature or a bug, depending on genre of the game.
Scripts are simply an useful option you might keep in mind, just in case you need them ;D!

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #589 on: December 17, 2012, 07:43:26 PM »
Thank you for the responses.

Another question:
Someone mentioned earlier about sending people off into their own threads or get people to go into PM for erotic stuff.

How do you all handle the erotic scenes? Since they can slow down posting. Are there any suggestions on that type of thing?

Any creative suggestions for adding some sort of XP or reward for erotic posting? (Not for amount of it.)

I guess overall what I'm looking for is creative ways to encourage social interaction among players. I see far to often players get tied up with only 1 or 2 friends then don't interact with the others. Any suggestions to help that out?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 07:51:56 PM by Moraline »

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #590 on: December 17, 2012, 07:57:31 PM »
I think for the most part you are going to find it hard to get people to openly do their erotic scenes in full "public". Unless the game states from the get go that its expected you're not going to have a lot of players up for it. As erotic and pervy as some of our writers can be, there are still a number who like to keep their pervs behind closed doors. There just aren't the same percentages of writers who want their smut to be orgies over one on one or two on one time. This where you run into the problems of people stalling RPs by getting their sexy on in the public view instead of in a bedroom or private area side scene area.  It all comes down to people being relatively shy about their sexuality or just not wanting to share that part so closely. They don't mind others reading it or seeing it, just don't want people to join in. The same can be said about fight scenes between two players. Some of them don't want the "help". They want their own time in the spot light and adding too many objects in that area dims the light on any one person/thing.

So as to your question.. I'd have to say that you need to state it upfront. Say in the opening, interest thread, that you want that in the game. That way you can obtain those sorts of players from the get go. Otherwise you'll have people all kinds of uncomfortable, and likely the game will die out before it gets anywhere.

Just my two pennies.

-Josi

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #591 on: December 17, 2012, 10:35:02 PM »
I think you misunderstand. I don't necessarily want sex in the game. I'm just looking for ways to make the sex that does occur to be open to be read by everyone. Or asking if I should even do that. I guess maybe the way you(Josi) put it, maybe I shouldn't encourage it - if most people wouldn't want it to be public?

Anyways, I'm looking for ideas on how to best handle that. 

Separately, I'm looking for ways to encourage players to socially interact with one another - not necessarily have sex with everyone.

Overall, I'm looking for ideas and feedback on good positive and more importantly creative ways to encourage the social side(social doesn't mean sex) of a game.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 10:36:32 PM by Moraline »

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #592 on: December 17, 2012, 10:48:59 PM »
Things to help encourage social engagement in a game is one of the hardest things to up keep in groups. That said, you could have your players do relationship sorts of things to start. Sort of like Kendra and Aiden have done in HaF and how Lunar and I have done in Classic X-Men, in our relationship threads (these include friends, enemies, lovers, acquaintances, and strangers). Also having events put in place to want people to draw together and socialize. Anything you can think of, that you'd see people socialize in IRL, you will likely find an interest in multiple characters in RPs.

I guess it all depends on the type of RP/game you have as well.

Anyone else have ideas on this?

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #593 on: December 17, 2012, 10:55:18 PM »
Can you link those examples for me or tell me what they did?

Offline nonniemouse

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #594 on: December 17, 2012, 11:47:29 PM »
Maybe allow the characters to create defining characteristics for their characters.  Every time they play well on one of these characteristics, they get a brownie point for it (and have some sort of system to allow brownie points to be spent for rerolls or dice boosts).

Fate has such a system built-in, called aspects.  You can read about it here:

http://bzr.mausdompteur.de/fate3/fate3.html

A cool element of Fate is that the brownie points can exchange hands between the players as well, as part of the negotiation process, to grease the wheel, as it were.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 11:51:12 PM by nonniemouse »

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #595 on: December 18, 2012, 12:25:50 AM »
Can you link those examples for me or tell me what they did?

Hogwarts a Future Relationship Thread

Here's the link to the HaF thread. It will give you a good idea of how those work.

Offline Moraline

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #596 on: December 18, 2012, 11:20:12 AM »
Thanks for the link. I find that an interesting idea.

I had another thought about having players keep a "Journal/Diary Thread" and each time they make an entry in it they get Journal Points (up to 1 a week or something.) That way people can peak inside their heads and see what they are thinking, and we can get a glimpse of what they do off screen in PM's with each other. 

I wonder if players would go for that or if they'd be worried to much about meta gaming? I think it'd be some interesting reading - maybe even some comical reading.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #597 on: December 19, 2012, 01:56:56 PM »
Thank you for the responses.

Another question:
Someone mentioned earlier about sending people off into their own threads or get people to go into PM for erotic stuff.

How do you all handle the erotic scenes? Since they can slow down posting. Are there any suggestions on that type of thing?
That was me, and yeah, I send people to another thread, so the game could continue. Of course, if all of them are participating in the same place, then this is the action in the game currently, until people cum around to something else >:)!

Quote
Any creative suggestions for adding some sort of XP or reward for erotic posting? (Not for amount of it.)
I tend to play games where "rewards for good description" is an expected part of play.
The trick is, I tend to prefer giving away some sort of meta-currency, like bennies in Savage Worlds, or Fortuna Points in Atomic Highway. You spend them when you need them to boost a bit your results, or to get a story development.

Quote
I guess overall what I'm looking for is creative ways to encourage social interaction among players. I see far to often players get tied up with only 1 or 2 friends then don't interact with the others. Any suggestions to help that out?
Set up the whole campaign so it wouldn't be possible. This ain't going to happen if you all are looking for the axe crazy killer in the woods... ;D

I think you misunderstand. I don't necessarily want sex in the game. I'm just looking for ways to make the sex that does occur to be open to be read by everyone. Or asking if I should even do that. I guess maybe the way you(Josi) put it, maybe I shouldn't encourage it - if most people wouldn't want it to be public?
I'd say that yes, it should be public like everything else. We sign up for a forum game knowing other people could read it.
That said, if a couple players really wanted to take it to PMs, I wouldn't be too bothered.

Quote
Separately, I'm looking for ways to encourage players to socially interact with one another - not necessarily have sex with everyone.

Overall, I'm looking for ideas and feedback on good positive and more importantly creative ways to encourage the social side(social doesn't mean sex) of a game.
Make interaction matter. This could be a relationship score, or something similar, or it could be that they have reasons to interact. Do they have superiors or friends? They might want opposite things, or one of them could be tasked to learn about the other's superiors or friends. Looking for something? It might be in another PC's possession, with no idea why it's important. Do they have dependants? They might hang out together. Are they members of the same or rival churches?
I'm sure you grasp the pattern. Give them reasons to hang out, to discuss, to collaborate, whatever!

Thanks for the link. I find that an interesting idea.

I had another thought about having players keep a "Journal/Diary Thread" and each time they make an entry in it they get Journal Points (up to 1 a week or something.) That way people can peak inside their heads and see what they are thinking, and we can get a glimpse of what they do off screen in PM's with each other. 

I wonder if players would go for that or if they'd be worried to much about meta gaming? I think it'd be some interesting reading - maybe even some comical reading.
I do that regularly with tabletop campaigns. It seems less important with PbP, where you can simply check the threads.

Offline Devil's Advocate

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #598 on: December 22, 2012, 08:58:11 PM »
One thing that I have found that helps my games is non-linear posting.  That way you're never stuck waiting for a person or two.  Of course this requires diligence on the part of the players and GM to label each post with time and date stamps so everyone knows when it happens, as well as to make sure that future and past events do not conflict or need to be modified.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #599 on: December 26, 2012, 09:08:36 AM »
I've heard this referred to as "fuzzy time." It can be very confusing because characters can be in multiple locations at once, but is doable.