So, you’re sitting there and wondering to yourself, “How did this to me, again?” That’s right, another role play has died at your fingertips. It was fun, exciting; it had an amazing story and a developing plot, right? Maybe to you, but it seems your players didn’t think so. If they did, they’d still be playing after all. So, how the heck can you prevent one of your epic stories from crumbling to dust and being scattered across the vast ocean of role plays? The answer is simpler than you think.
Most people fear that the only way you can keep a role play going is by never leaving it, and also being the most popular person on a site. The simple fact is, both of those excuses are beyond wrong. First off, role plays can be left to develop over time, that’s why the players play! Secondly, role playing is not a popularity contest, don’t assume things like post count are even considered. It’s all on quality!
The first thing you need to consider is how did you make the role play? I am not talking about ideas and story, but literally, how did you make the post? Did you take the time to pop it into a word processor, perhaps you use Firefox (There you can just right click the misspelled word and correct it!) Many people leave the role play before posting, because of simple errors like that.
The next big thing is rules — don’t overbear role players with a massive onslaught of rules. Most roleplaying websites, like Role Play Gateway, already have rules on the site. Those rules apply site-wide and to be a member you must agree to those rules. So why should you throw them in your role play? There is no need. Sure, minimum amounts of lines and the likes can deter a certain audience, but that also deters a new role player! Don’t be intimidating, be welcoming!
You need to also make sure you’ve got content, lots of it, but not in the first post! There is such thing as too much in the first post. So how the heck do you put lots of content without too much in a post? Very easy, just make note of it; hid it away in your room and bring it up when needed. If players have questions they will ask. The first post needs to be intriguing and leaving out certain content can suck a player in to ask those questions; and that leaves them wanting to play by already getting involved. Role plays are role plays, not tryouts to the Olympics. Try to be accepting of new players, they tend to have some rather fresh ideas! Make character making simple and fun. If you decide to use a character sheet ask for very basic information, and let the players flesh out the details in game. If you don’t use a character sheet, just have the players write up a small description, perhaps ask them a question about the character!
Now that you’ve got the game started with a few players, how do you keep things going? It’s really simple, just keep things moving along. If you start seeing nothing but the passing of dialogue, you know you’re in a slow spot. So, as the Game Master, get in there and let them know you are skipping time forward and spicing things up! Time skips are a key element to making a game last; they prevent the drudging on of staying the night in a forest or waiting in a hallway for an ambush. Instead of waiting in the night, perhaps some beast stumbled onto the party? Or, instead of waiting on the ambush, make the ambush happen! You just have to remember that players are there to play, not ask each other what they want to do at the bar. This doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any dialogue; it just means that the dialogue should be active with the game and not overtaking it.
Keep in mind those notes on your role play, or any ideas that were tossed about, because even after the key elements of the role play are done; the players may still want to play! That’s where you finish that part of the role play and start a new one off the old history and new ideas! Role plays are games, so you do need and ending. So it’s best to think of them in chapters, open and close them and then start a new one. However, even books have endings! There are times where all of the above is useless information, you’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked. What do you do then? That’s probably the toughest question to answer, but still a simple solution. Play, get in someone else’s game and play. That will get your mind going and keep you aware of other people from a player’s stand point. With that kind of mindset you should be able to get back into game making and really wow the crowd.
One final tip I would like to add, players dislike seen OOC (Out of character) sprawled throughout a role play. So always make sure to make an OOC thread for players to talk and chat about the game in, it’s a great way to answer questions in an area where all of the players can see it without any further inquiry. I hope this guide proves useful to all of you, and I can’t wait to see all of those new ideas come to life! If this was useful, comment with a link to the role play. I’d love to see how well you’ve done!