Do rule based RP prompts work for online play?
Misadventure last edited by Misadventure
Really what I am asking is does anyone have examples they really think worked well for most players, or deserve more exploration.
"Rule based" in this case means something the RPG system in use suggests or provides in some mechanical sense.
RP prompts are a vast range of things.
- The most common is a pass/fail result from a check, eg a skill check.
- A declared goal, like the setting of short and long term goals for XP
- prescriptive traits that direct how a character may or must behave (virtues in WoD/CoD/Pendragon)
- building the details of a successful action (like you can get one each of Fast, Good, low cost for each level of success rolled)
- moves that have some descriptive flavor and results for action and conflicts (like combat moves, social tactics, or resource allocation)
- public information sharing like Star Fleet Reports, or journals where its IC for a decent sized group to read and benefit (or not) from what is and isn't shared IC.
- NPC reactions to PC actions, and NPCs doing things that will change what the PCs can effectively do
There are tons. My typical concerns are does it take too much effort to use or set up the prompts, and does uneven use produce uneven power or effectiveness for a character or player.
Alternately, do people play the same "game" everywhere they go, and resent having an experience design intrude on their play?
Devrex last edited by Devrex
@Misadventure I can at least give you an example of public information sharing. On a game I was on many many years ago we set up "police files" for the law enforcement players. They had a format, they were IC info for everyone, and most players really did use them and update them. They were on livejournal, making it easy to comment on one another's cases, though the link was posted in the faction bb. To-do lists got posted which suggested RP scenes that anyone could pick up and do, and there was very little overlap (that is, I can't think of any times where two people went to do the same to-do item).
I'm not sure that would work at all times and in all cases, but it worked very well in that specific time and in that specific place.
I personally like having the pass/fail result check prompts, I know that the ST can always suggest something different or I can offer something different, but guidance sometimes really helps. And I'm goal oriented, so I know I personally like setting goals to go after too, and enjoy getting XP for doing so. But that's less "this has been really successful!" and more "I really liked it."
If I'm being honest, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but I'll answer to the best of my ability.
I run a private game that uses a modded version of the They Came From... RPG from Onyx Path. It's played on primarily by people new to MUing and are kind of intimidated by the idea of going to a full-on game. We use what I'm assuming you refer to as "ruled-based RP prompts" all the time.
They Came From The... system is pretty narrative, meaning it's lightweight and supports what it should; the RP. Most people on the game use it to help direct the flow of their RP, not just accomplish the things they want. We often go into scenes with the idea of "let's start here and see where things go" and let our imagination and the dice results guide us the rest of the way.
For such a system to work, you have to have players that respect each other and the system. I could see some of the stuff we've done being abused by certain types of players. Such as letting social rolls decide how characters felt about each other.
I don't know if that's what you mean, but I think it can work again with the right people.
Misadventure last edited by
@ZombieGenesis That's about right.
An example I alluded to in my list would be Chronicle of Darkness' short and long term Aspirations. The player states a goal for their character in one of the two time frames, and if they meet that goal, they get some bonus XP.
The idea is it helps the players (GM as well asregular players) understand a players interests, maybe make that topic a little more interesting (maybe more related detail or opportunities), and perhaps provide encouragement to stretch out in new directions via examples from other players.
I believe in MU* terms, people could put in something like a +request, state the goal, and at some point ask if a given log etc meets the criteria, and staff would give that bonus xp.
Examples might be: (short term) make a good impression at the large event tonight, or (long term) gain control of the docks for smuggling purposes.
Sometimes things like this are a way to create more coherence or to bring up thematic or setting elements more often.
@Misadventure Yeah, I definitely think something like that could work. I like the ideas of goals being stated just for the ability to help with possible plot generation. You'd just need to have the Plot Staff to make it work I guess. But I very much like the idea of goals and aspirations giving staff the ability to tailor events and RP to players. Experience aside even.
These are things that make the difference between whether something is a game or solely a writing experience, if I understand what you're discussing... and you will probably find a very wide range of preferences depending on different players.
I think you have navigators and you have storytellers. Sometimes the code tells the story by mechanical chance, as is the case in a lot of MUDs, and sometimes a GM tells the story, and you also have players who are adept at making things up and storytelling for themselves in a sense. I've always felt the most comfortable being a navigator. If my character is walking along a place where they might get pickpocketed, but there is no code that brings over a thief NPC, I will have a hard time just making up a pickpocketing event -- whereas some more storyteller-type players will think "wow, my character could be robbed here, I will imagine that this happens and change my description to have a black eye and go complain to someone that I lost all my pocket change!"
If you have mechanized events happening in the game regarding pickpockets and the storyteller does that, then you will have other players potentially questioning the legitimacy of this supposed robbery. So, players who are very comfortable as storytellers will likely feel that a game with mechanized events could be stepping on their storytelling toes. However, players like me would like the guidance of mechanized events. It feels like more to do, more to work with, more of a game, and more legitimacy in reacting organically as a character rather than writing a novel on my own.
It's all about preference and type of game...
@hobos I don't think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. On the game I play on we choose before the scene starts how we want to do it.
If we know there 's a specific place we want to get to, or specific things that need to happen, we'll stick to just telling a cooperative story involving our characters.
If we're feeling more freeform and just have an idea of what we want to happen we'll fall back on using the RPG system to guide us.
Or, and this happens often, we'll use a combination of both. There may be some "high spots" we want to hit but we'll use the system to help tell the story around those spots.
I very much enjoy using a mix of both, especially with They Came From Beyond... It has brought RP into directions none of us in the scene would have thought to go many times.
I do see what you're saying though. For some players it's a game, for others it's a storytelling experience. For me, I prefer the intersection of the two as a storytelling game.
@ZombieGenesis Yeah, it is a spectrum with a lot of overlap, probably. The intersection of gaming and creative writing is honestly so magical. I haven't found anything else like it in my life. Definitely people seem to prefer different spots on the spectrum, though. My best friend in the hobby prefers a spot more towards the imaginative storytelling side, and I am constantly in awe of their storytelling capabilities, and often feel pretty silly in comparison. At least our playstyles are similar enough to get along and play with each other happily.