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 Prisma's Essential Guide for RP Creation & Management

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PostSubject: Prisma's Essential Guide for RP Creation & Management   Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:20 am

Prisma's Essential Guide for RP Creation & Management

Let's face it, bad rpers can make the experience painful, but it's unqualified GMs that kill rps prematurely the great majority of the time. So here's my self-help guide for those of you who are thinking of giving GMing a go or have tried and failed like so many before. As like before, those of you who just simply enjoy writing can take a lot of these tips to heart as well.

1. The Concept: The starting point of the author's journey~

Here is where the ideas begin for an rp. It hardly needs saying that this is the foundation of everything that comes after it. No matter how great your plot or characters may be, if the concept of the rp is flawed, everything else down the line is affected.

Creating a new idea can either be incredibly easy or incredibly difficult. Some of us can sit around for hours and not come around with a single original idea, and others of us can come up with a new idea at the drop of a hat. If you're one of the former, then creating rps probably isn't your thing. It might be better for you to just stick to following other rps, or perhaps simplying advising one in a capacity you might be suited for. Ideas should not be forced out - they should be spontaneous and inspired. For those of us that fall into the latter category, don't be fooled. Just because you can come up with an idea doesn't mean it's a good one. In fact, if it comes a bit too easily, it probably isn’t. Now this may sound harsh, but the simple fact is that some people are simply not suited in this creative capacity. Anyone can create a good concept, but this doesn't mean everyone should. Rather, a good concept can come from anyone (yeah, you like that Ratatouille steal?).

2. The Story: The foundation of the author's work~

The story should not be confused with the concept. The concept is the starting point of your idea; the story is where you take it. The story can be a bit overwhelming if you're new to this whole thing. It contains the most work and the most options. I'll break this down into pieces.

1) The start

This is the opening of your story. It should give a good foundation for the world that the rp will take place in and what the "ordinary" life of the typical character in it is. It should also contain the reason for why things will divulge from this ordinary scene to the events further down the road. The start is essential to have before starting an rp. Rps that are just slapped up just on concept are doomed to failure.

2) The journey

This is the only point in the story where you can be intentionally vague (to a degree). You know your heroes are journeying to stop an evil warlord from resurrecting the king of demons. That's all you really need. You want to give yourself room to create as you go along and change ideas to fit the mood or scene. Know where it's headed, but keep things fluid. A cautionary word, however. Keep things fluid for your sake, as the author, but do not mistake this with making things open for everyone to change. This is a major problem many people fall into here, and it's a terrible mistake. The simple fact is that if you’re creating the rp, then you're the creative one. The people joining have no idea how to get from the start to the end, and if you let a crowd move without a leader to guide them, they will all disperse and leave you empty-handed. To follow this, let me just say that I’ve heard way too often where people are making an rp where “there will be little to no GM work required.” Sorry, but there is no magic formula to get you out of leadership responsibilities.

3) The events

The antithesis of the journey. Where the journey is left vague, these points must be carefully planned out. They will be the focal points of the story, where the memorable and noteworthy events occur - the heartbreaking betrayal of your best friend, the plot twist where the princess you thought you were rescuing is the evil mastermind all along. The events are the step most people miss, and it's a terrible thing because they miss out on pacing. If you just suddenly decide in the middle of the rp that you want the main character's best friend to betray her and make him jump ship out of nowhere, people will be scratching their heads and wondering "where did this come from?" If you know where that should be coming into play, you can carefully script subtle hints of the best friend's change of mindset, or the breakdown of trust. For another thing, it's much easier to draw a line from your start to your end if you have dots to connect.

4) The end

This, along with your start, should be the first things you work on. A lot of people like to leave the end open, but that's a huge mistake. You need to know exactly what you're working toward in order to build up the story. Otherwise, you're moving forward without a goal in sight. This is the cause of many rp failures, as when people don't know there's a finish line to get to, they don't have a motivation to see it through to the end. Know what the final challenge will be for your heroes, know what the cost will be, and know how everything will resolve.

3. The Characters: The lifeblood of the author's work~

The characters are probably the most dynamic part of the rp. They breathe life into what is otherwise just words on paper. It's important to get your characters right because they are what will carry your story from start to end, and they are the means by which others connect to your story. A good character should be dynamic and interesting to follow, and always be changed in some way from the start of the rp to the end. Characters are also important because they are the lines that connect the dots in your story. It's the characters that inspire your events, and thus are a crucial step within making your story.

Some general rules to follow here. The happy-go-lucky, spunky hero type is incredibly dull and overdone. Avoid this. Give your character emotional depth and challenges, but don't overdo it and make them depressing or drama queens. They don't need to be experiencing their inner demons at every single moment of the rp. Finally, give them weaknesses. We can all appreciate a character that has to work to overcome their flaws. If you start off perfect, there's nowhere to go with it. We'll break this down into a few categories.

1) Your characters

As the creator of the rp, your characters will be crucial to directing the plot and nudging people in the way you want them to go. Character interactions are the foundations of the actual rping, so this is an important step to consider. They can fall into two groups:

a) Playable characters

If you are going to be an active leader in the rp, you'll probably want at least one character you control regularly throughout the plot, preferrably in the main group in order to lead them (directly or indirectly) through the story. It is probable that your character will end up being the main character, but keep in mind that this is a group activity. People will not appreciate someone getting all the best abilities and having the plot completely centered around them just because they're the creator. Keep it subtle and find ways to give others the spotlight as well.

b) NPCs (Non-playable characters)

These are going to be the bulk of characters in the rp. They can be that fish merchant that points out which road to take ahead and never appears again, or a central antagonist that bullies your group for the whole length of the rp. Because of their diversity, it's hard to give broad rules on NPCs, but there are a few tips. Try not to overload yourself with NPCs for the sake or realism. Yes, there's an entire world of people around your characters, but that doesn't mean they have to interact with them. Limit yourself to only essential characters that will further the plot. Also, unlike playable characters, it's okay to have static NPCs. You don't need to develop and explain all of their emotions and motivations. If they don't play an integral role, keep them static.

2) Your participant's characters

I could get into this a lot more, but I’ll only say it’s okay to be strict with character creation. Poorly-done character, excessively weird/creepy, or gag characters often disrupt the flow of rping and make it difficult to include them into the story. In order to avoid this, correct it at the source before it becomes an issue.


~Genius Swordsman, Okita Souji~
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