A (hopefully) helpful Guide on how to GM!

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A (hopefully) helpful Guide on how to GM!

Post by Trandafir » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:17 pm

By Trandafir and UmbraSight

It occurred to me that RPF has great roleplays. Amazing ideas, worlds, plots, the only problem is that many times, these ideas won’t leave the ground. Or they will, but won’t last for long enough to build a beginning/half/ending cycle. It’ll die so fast that people aren’t given an opportunity to develop their characters, and the annoying habit of building instant relationships will continue being a trend.

First of all, I must explicit that when a RP dies, a huge amount of the blame belongs to the GM but not all. If you are a roleplayer and you barely engage in OOC talk, drops the RP without a notice or simply gives up on a good idea because you can’t commit, then you’re a part of the problem. No one is obligated to be a part of a RP they don’t enjoy, but informing your fellow RPers that you’re leaving is the polite thing to do, and if you do enjoy it, there are a few things you can do to help your GM out. So if you’re interested, keep reading!

DISCLAIMER: Every tip written below is based on personal experience and mustn’t by any means be considered the undeniable truth.


1. Accepting CS: the importance of saying no.

So you put up your request, everyone loved it and the storm of CSs is coming at you. Telling someone their character isn’t good enough is difficult, especially when you’re roleplaying with friends, but something you, person writing a cs, have to have in mind is: A character who doesn’t fit the plot doesn’t equal a bad character.

If as a GM you accept anything that’s thrown at you, you’re showing negligence towards the team that’s willing to rp with you. An unfitting character can kill a story. If a character seems like they have too many skills, or powers which are over powered to a silly degree, it is on you as the GM to start the discussion if your potential participant about any issue you might have.

Remember, you as a GM has the power to decline or accept a character, and that part of the roleplaying process is very important. No one can judge what’s best for the rp better than the GM, you know where you want the story to go and which character would be good or bad for it. Saying No is important, and is not a bad thing to do. Have that in mind, it’ll be important for the other tips as well.

2. Out of Character: The importance of maintaining an active, friendly OOC.

Roleplays have different paces, especially when they are in sections such as Intermediate or Advanced, where people usually take a few days to get a polished post up. Even though not all rps get posts everyday, consistency is important in roleplaying, and communication is key. It’s easy to lose interest in a rp when you barely remember it exists. Having a friendly OOC as a base is important to build the story and keep the hype alive!

It’s true, keeping a fun and involving OOC demands from every member of the RP, but you, the GM, are the leader. Things have been quiet for a while? Ask how everyone is doing. Discuss something that is going to happen in a near future. What are your character’s star signs? What would they wear for Halloween? Topics that have nothing to do with the RP can be included as well! Your RPing group is a community, and that sort of relationship will build an even greater bond with each other and the roleplay you’re a part of.

3. Time Management: Moving the plot along.

So, you finally started the RP. You have all the characters you need, everyone is excited and posting like crazy! At first. The introduction part of a RP is the most active and where most RPs die. That’s where the GM comes along, with the good old, very famous Plot Button.

The plot button exists, whether you’re having a plot heavy rp going on or not. It’s what makes things happen, and time go by. It’s up to the GM to move the RP through its different stages so the other players can follow along, otherwise it won’t go anywhere, and it’ll inevitably die.

Now, when is it time to hit the plot button? It’s up to the GM to decide. The communication in OOC can be helpful to prepare your team of players for what’s about to come, but what I don’t recommend is to wait for all interactions to be over. It’s impossible for everyone to finish their interactions at the same time, and being kept waiting is a huge turn off for the roleplaying process. So yes, sometimes interactions will have to be interrupted for the ‘greater good’, but I assure you, no one will take it personally if you follow through the second tip.

4. Breaking rules and misreading posts: The power of Edit.

For this one, you’ll have to remember the importance of saying No, or in this case, saying things people will sometimes not like to hear. It’s a common thing that some errors will occur in a rp. Maybe someone didn’t read a post and missed someone interacting with them, or did something that is against the lore you have built. For those things, you have to take your RP seriously and tell them the following words: Please, edit your post.

Being ignored or suffering an injustice in a battle can be a buzzkill for a roleplayer, and make them lose interest in your RP. It’s the GM’s responsibility to keep those things from happening. Which brings us to our fifth tip:

5. Drama, drama, drama: Keep it in IC.

Everyone loves dramatic turns (I know I do) but I’ve seen it more often than not kill a RP. People sometimes don’t get along, and that’s a fact. Maybe it has nothing to do with the RP, maybe it does, it doesn’t matter. Your goal as a GM is to keep drama away from the OOC as best as you can.

Which brings us to the famous: Take it to PM. If two users have personal problems with each other that’s what I’d recommend you to do, but if it’s about your RP, you need to take the lead.

For me, solving this sort of issue in private is the best way to go. It’s easier to solve the problem this way, and it keeps people from going through unnecessary (juicy) embarrassment. Encourage your players to go to you first if something is bothering them, then go straight to the source of the problem. No one has to know, and the story can move forward peacefully after it’s been taken care of.

6. Commitment: Keeping the hype alive!

Anyone who has RPed with me before must be tired of hearing this word: Commitment. I ask for it from everyone, but it’s useless if I don’t present myself as an example. I’ve said it before, the GM is the leader and the person who must love the RP the most.

I’ve lost interest in RPs before because the GM was too lazy to post on their own RP. Or the GM forgot of the RP’s existence. I know it’s difficult to be hyped over something at all times, but the GM is the example everyone is going to follow. You can’t expect anyone to take your RP seriously if you don’t do it yourself, and believe me, excitement is contagious.

BONUS POINTS: Getting rid of/adding new members.

If you’ve read it this far, I must congratulate you. Anyway, this topic is also meant for GMs, but it should be important for regular players as well. For starters, let’s talk about letting people go.

Sometimes the GM is left wondering: is this person still in my RP? That happens quite often after the first stage of the RP, when people rudely drop without saying a word. Anyway. That situation is always difficult, especially if their character is important for the plot. My advice is DON’T LET IT GET YOU DOWN! It’s always awkward to get rid of characters, but it’s very unlikely you’re going to take the original cast of the RP until it’s end; unless of course, it dies prematurely. Don’t be afraid to take new users! Use your imagination to figure out a way to get them into the story and keep going, I’m sure it’ll be more rewarding than restarting the RP from scratch every time it gets low on people.

Also, if people have been inactive it may be a good idea for the GM to reach them. Especially if they’ve been keeping people stuck for a long time.

Any questions? Other tips you may think I forgot to bring up? I’ll do my best to answer and/or comment on them asap!
Hey! Isn't it funny we all want what isn't right?

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Re: A (hopefully) helpful Guide on how to GM!

Post by Psi-Bear » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:10 pm

Helpful, indeed, friendo! Never seen such a comprehensive and well-written guide before. Thank you, very much.

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