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Roleplay Dynamics – Hooks and Entry Points

Hooks and Entry Points are a tool for RP creators to use to give players an easier time joining an RP.

Many times an RP author will have a spark of ingenuity, yielding a great character, an exotic setting, an exciting plot. An RP will be created, but, unfortunately, will flop. While there are many reasons for an RP to fail before it gets off the ground, there are some preventative measures that creators should take right in the intro post. One of these measures is the inclusion of hooks for entry points. (For more info about keeping an RP alive, read Vexar’s article “How to prevent your roleplay from dying“)

Back to Hooks and Entry Points. Lets start at the end: What is an entry point? When a player creates a character and drops that character into an RP, where ever that character appears is, intuitively, the entry point. The problem with entry points is that not every player can immediately think of a good one. So, no matter how good the ideas behind that RP were, if players can’t think of ways to join it, then they wont!

The remedy then, is a hook. While terminology may vary, here a hook is any extra detail included that may help foster an entry point. More specifically, it is a detail designed to do just that: a logical conclusion to a hooking detail is the presence of another character, meaning that any player may “grab” that hook to “pull” themselves into the RP.

This might all seem fine and dandy, except when it comes to actually writing hooks, some authors’ minds go blank. So, here are some examples of hooks, and possible resulting entry points.

Scenario – A boy runs away from the authorities. He now stands at the side of a highway. This scenario is based off a roleplay by WaddleDee.

  • Hook – There are cars driving past, but none even slow as they pass him.
  • Entry Point – Then, to break the pattern, a man pulls his car over to let the boy hitch a ride.
  • Hook – Across the six lane highway is a heavily wooded area. Not far into the woods, there is a faint column of smoke rising.
  • Entry Point – A hunter has started a fire in preparation for the night.
  • Entry Point – A woman is preparing dinner in a brick oven in her cabin.
  • Hook – The authorities widen the search, and contact neighboring towns. Officers are dispatched all over the area.
  • Entry Point – One officer is told to watch for a boy crossing the highway.

As in evident, a hook may have a variety of easy-to-imagine entry points, or it might serve to spawn some obscure ones (if the joining play is creative enough!). Regardless, the hooks give interested players immediate chances to join.

It is necessary to note that hooks can be employed by other players as well. If each player drops one or two hooks in their introductions, the desired number of roleplayers will accumulate quickly enough. Adding hooks later on can in the roleplay can be a good way to introduce NPCs to keep the RP moving.

It is also possible to use hooks to revive dying roleplays where one or more players have left and their characters were left behind to create spots for new players looking to join.

To clarify, whoever is using this technique would only write the hook. The entry points are up to the players joining to imagine and employ, should they choose to do so. Good luck, and be sure to comment (or email me) with your successful (or not-so-successful) attempts at hooking!


3 comments for “Roleplay Dynamics – Hooks and Entry Points”

  1. This is a very good point and also useful as a general principle in all roleplay: Always give other participants the opportunity to do things.

    If possible, include other people in the actions and interests of your character. (This may not work as well in online play, though.)

    Posted by Tommi | September 16, 2008, 3:59 pm
  2. [...] actual work done to “push” something is akin to “hooking“: the player pushing writes a series of details that at the present moment are unused. It is [...]

    Posted by Roleplay Dynamics - Metagaming and Advanced Control | The Role Play Academy | December 3, 2008, 9:48 am
  3. [...] but has by now too large a barrier to entry (even though I’ve tried my best to provide ample hooks and entry points) to ward of stagnation. The 1024 character limit does help, forcing me to remember an overflow of [...]

    Posted by Collaborative Writing, Authoring, Writer’s Block « Thick with Issues | June 16, 2010, 10:13 pm

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