I've made two RPs so far and this is what I think I've learned about how to make one successful:
#1: Player interaction is key. The game is usually the most interesting when the player characters interact, when they're simply talking. Or doing intrigue or romance. That's where players have a chance to show off their characters and do some goddamn roleplaying. Following the GMs plot is less interesting than playing your character, so such a plot should be designed as to give players opportunities to interact and 'do their own thing'. How exactly you do that, I'm not sure. Or, if your don't make a plot as I do, simply drive towards opportunities and actions in general.
#2: PvP is tricky. On one hand, it's a good turbo-charger for a game, because you have to fight other players instead of following a boring plot. On the other, it makes it hard for players to interact in a constructive manner, see #1. In my current RP, I made the mistake of making everyone hostile per default, which means you a lot of internal monologue to get any roleplaying done, because you have a hard time talking with the other characters now. Some allying have been done, so it's better now, but it was a tough start.
#3: Action is easy, but not great. Again referring to #1, flowery descriptions of combat isn't really the most interesting part of a game, dialogue is, in this medium. At least I think so. If you base a game around action, they always have something to do, because you can simply present a foe and players can spend pages fighting it, but it does get samey after a while. Putting some action in your game is fine, because it also implies drama when people risk their lives and get hurt and such, and it can feed into the rest of your game. Basing it on it and nothing else is a game that gets boring after the first fight.
#4: Keep energy high, at all times. 'Energy' refers to the general sense of "something is going on in the game", of people being invested, but perhaps it could be 'tension' instead. I think 90% of the time, people don't drop out of RPs because they're actually too busy, they drop out because there was a dip in the tension or energy and they lost interest in posting. When a player is put into a situation where they don't have anything interesting to post, because the action they need to take is too obvious, there's nothing at stake, or they no opportunity for roleplaying, they often put off doing that post, and then eventually don't. Like say, GM goes "There's a big black door barring your path". Obviously, someone has to open the door, but no one wants to do it, because there's no way to do it that's not boring. "My character grabs the handle and opens the doors." is a boring-ass post, and I've seen RPs die simply on account of players having to do one, very obvious, but boring thing. Even if there's tension in 'what's behind the door', there's no tension in that post the player is forced to post. Don't give players levers to pull, give them choices or opportunities for interaction or roleplaying.
#5: Resolution systems is sort-of a good idea. This is my thing, a personal pet-peeve. I hate that challenges are arbitrarily decided, that the player who posts most aggressively or made his character the most OP is the one who wins a fight. Plus, I have seen it lead to drama and a dead RP. So I made dice-systems for resolving "who wins" in both my RPs and they worked... Sorta. They're very hard to make non-intrusive, but I think in my current RP, it does add to the game. It just have to be super, super simple. I have an idea for a new diceless resolution system for my next game, I still think they're good to have, they're just tricky.
Apart from some specific stuff about how to structure a CS or the OOC, that's it. But that's just me, trying to sieve some knowledge out of a measly two data-points, plus however little I've played. Does anyone else have tips to contribute with?
Last edited by Vegedus
on Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.