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 Prisma's Essential Guide for RP Creation & Management II

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Prisma*Illya
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PostSubject: Prisma's Essential Guide for RP Creation & Management II   Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:19 am

Prisma's Essential Guide for RP Creation & Management II



This time, we'll be getting into more technical aspects of creating rps, which can have a sizable effect on the rp experience.

4. Systems and Stats: The mechanics of the author’s work~



So you have your story all planned out brilliantly, and your cast of characters is looking good. Now you have to decide exactly what the mechanics of your rp will be. Will it be completely story based, riddled with stats, statistics, and rules, or somewhere in between?

Now, I have rather strong opinions on rps heavily invested in their systems. If you notice people planning an rp where all they're discussing is how stats work and what the market will involve, you can see they're not discussing the story. That's because stat systems are an easy way to bypass the story and character steps and fill that space in with mechanics. This isn't to say that mechanics are bad. Based on your setting, it might even be essential to set the mood. But the key is to keep it simple.

The issue with stats and mechanics is that they will always distract from the story if not kept in check. Rather than wondering where the plot is taking them, all your participants will focus on is how fast they can increase their abilities to dominate everyone else, and with everyone's attention fixated on the mechanics they will pull you away from focusing on your plot and events. If you want to use a system, use one that rewards the players for moving through the story and not just running around and fighting everything they can find. This will allow you to utilize a system but also get your participants invested in the plot.

I won't usually self-insert, but my one rp, Fantasy Zero, had a tasteful way of accomplishing this. The rp was based on a game that took players' consciousness inside a virtual world. Each character had a "class" from the game that gave them a broad choice of magic or abilities to chose from, making a list of five. As the story progressed, each player would be awarded a certain number of stars to increase the power of that ability. There wasn't a system of stats and experience and all those things that get you lost and confused. The reward was based on progression through the story so that players were invested in keeping the story going, not just buffing out their characters. Best of all, the mechanics were not there just as an unecessary addition, but rather something that added to the overall feel of the rp so they would feel like characters in a virtual world.

In the end, however, if your rp has a great story and can live without a system, then leave it out. A good rp doesn't need a system of mechanics to function.

5. Aesthetics and Ambience: The flavor of the author’s work~



When GM’ing, it’s important to entice your audience, not only with your story but the way you present it. To this effect, I encourage GMs to try using ways to set the mood for your posts. One way is to use images. If a character is appearing for the first time, particularly an enemy, it’s effective to throw up an intimidating or imposing picture in the post so your readers are reminded exactly who they’re dealing with. Slightly more difficult, you can use images for a key moment to really make a particular moment stand out. One minute your character is praying in a pool of holy reflection -

Spoiler:
 

BAM! Next second she’s got a sword through her back and is sleeping with the fish. It can be hard to find the right images for all the scenes you want, but it’s better that this is used sparingly, as it makes the moments where it is used stand out even more. But hey, if you really just want to set the mood for that romantic moment under the moon, just a simple image will do it.

Another way that is both easier and often more powerful, is the use of soundtracks. It’s very easy to find soundtracks from video games or animes that you’re familiar with on youtube and insert them into your post. If you really want to make your post sad, find a track that really touches you and put it in there. It can really make the moment come to life. To prove that I'm not just making this up, here's a little exercise for you. Read the paragraph alone, then read it with the picture, then read it with the picture and the soundtrack playing and see how each adds to the moment more than the previous (yeah, I was too lazy to write up a whole fake post for this, so I just grabbed one from one of my rps).

Example:

Spoiler:
 

It gets progressively better as you add more and more to the atmosphere, right? Remember, highlighting key moments like this really make them jump out.

6. Originality: The marketing of the author's work~



Although this is inherently tied to the "concept" (mentioned in my last guide), I've decided to list it as a separate point because of the amount I can say here.

Originality is sorely lacking in the rp world. The most obvious place is in original rp ideas. Not enough people have either the inspiration or courage to put out their own ideas to share with others. The original rp is obviously the most difficult to make and run, but the most rewarding. Creating your own story from scratch and carrying it from start to finish is immensely satisfying. It gives a sense of accomplishment that others don't, and is the most enjoyable. You write the laws of your world, and the very world itself. This is the creative type's ideal choice. It can be a bit overwhelming for beginning rp creators, but as you try your hand at a few rps, consider this. We need more of them.

Now this isn't to say that every rp needs to be an original concept. Sometimes it's fun to simply journey through unexplored possibilities of a familiar world. But even here, originality can hold true. You can use an existing show or book or game, but why not try one no one's attempted before? A Final Fantasy rp, or a Persona rp, or an Armored Core rp. I want to see more rps like this. They are familiar enough to people to get their attention, but novel in their approach. This is a good way to appeal to people who want to rp but are hesitant to try original works.

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