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Old 02-10-2011, 05:02 AM   #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Very well. I trust you won't be offering any more "suggestions" here then.
No, I won't. Cheers.
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:45 AM   #202
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Mithalwen (can't call you Mith, too confusing), I'm not necessarily saying no bios or anything yet. These are all issues to be decided. I would suppose that game proposals would be discussed in one thread and bios would be discussed in the RPG discussion thread.
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:12 AM   #203
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Indeed, I am aware that I don't have first dibs on the abbreviation but people will use it. And if I had realised how much time I was going to spend here I might have been more original.

I just meant that when rules are looked at it should be borne in mind what function they serve and if you eliminate them how is the function going to be fulfilled. It may be that a simple character bio is easier than saying "your first post must describe your character" and then somehow indexing that first post for the reference of othet players. I do know that some characters develop as they are played but in the inns in particular it is helpful to have something to go on.. .and to make sure the characters are in the right century.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:34 AM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piosenniel View Post
Bêthberry

While the Lonely Star was wonderful game to play, it just can't be counted in the canon oriented atmosphere of the present RP system . . .
Yes.

And no. For a non-canonical game it had some extremely canonical phases,especially if you can justify the crystal. Doggone it, we did some wild things, but we also managed to keep it pretty Tolkienish. Even if we did have a few knock-down-drag-out fistfights, Mith brought us back in order. Besides, it still amazes me as a player to be able to say "I remember the drowning of Beleriand." Makes me feel ancient.

OK, before I get chat-squerled, I'll return to the topic at hand. I'm not on page six yet obviously. But at the moment I'm getting the sense that 3/4 participants in this discussion only need a good excuse and a reason to boot, and you'd be off and running in a fine Gondorian game. Only Gondorian game-starters haven't started any lately. I suggest a compromise that could easily happen under the present "regime" without any changes at all: write up a proposal just like you would for Rohan; walk in character into the Seventh Star and discuss the venture over an ale; and ask whether there are any Gondorian game-starters interested in such a game who would be willing to start it.

I'm not trying to create anarchy (Mithadan, Sir.) Just bringing this out as a possible option.

Someone also brought up the point that not all charaters need be in the game the whole time. C7A invited me into Lonely Star when it was 3/5 done, for characters that were undreamt of when the game started. Not sure why that no longer seems to happen, but, if there is a rule to that effect, I could certainly see making room for add-in characters.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:42 AM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I don't want to be perpetually negative - really I don't, but if you scrap character bios completely you make it very hard for new people to get started since not only do they have to pick up what is going on if anything (it took me hours upon hours to get a definitive "Story so far" for the cooks disappearance in the Golden Perch when I was trying to pick up that thread. If you don't give people an easy handle on at least what people look like you make if very hard for both new people to get started and indeed existing people to welcome them.

A full life history might be unnecessary, but I do think at least a bit of a description of what a character looks like would make it easier.
Indeed. The phrase "character sketch" comes to mind. Give me enough to go on.

However, do I really need to know where your character attended primary school...? Surprise me once in a while. Please. Enough of Tolkien's characters surprised even him (Aragorn, Faramir) that I think it is perfectly canonical and in the spirit of Tolkien to discover characters as we go. The team should be free to provide guidance-- no Jedis, please-- but I agree also with [b]Bethberry[/] that unexpected twists and turns, including new people, are what make writing a pleasure. What would we have done without came-out-of-absolutely-nowhere-Kali in The Lonely Star?
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:45 AM   #206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I don't want to be perpetually negative - really I don't, but if you scrap character bios completely you make it very hard for new people to get started since not only do they have to pick up what is going on if anything (it took me hours upon hours to get a definitive "Story so far" for the cooks disappearance in the Golden Perch when I was trying to pick up that thread. If you don't give people an easy handle on at least what people look like you make if very hard for both new people to get started and indeed existing people to welcome them.

A full life history might be unnecessary, but I do think at least a bit of a description of what a character looks like would make it easier.
Perhaps surprisingly, after yesterday's rounds of pleasant disagreement, I agree with Mith here. While it might be a good idea to truncate the character bios somewhat--I agree with the point that its hard to know what a character is like before you've even met him--doing away with them altogether will make things more difficult. Character bios--especially those grouped together on a planning thread--are a convenient short-cut for other players acquainting themselves with the other people in the game, and they're also helpful for the player in terms of establishing the basics of their character. That is to say, while you may not know the full history and/or inner workings of your character, you're going to know from the get-go if your character is a Hobbit, 56 years old, skilled, unmarried, craftsman from Michel Delving, and you'll know if he's tall, ruddy-cheeked, dark-haired, well dressed, etc.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:07 AM   #207
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Question

Would this do? It's the abbreviated Character Sketch used for the Meadhall. It gives just the basics and also allows for those players who want to flesh their character out more fully:

NAME:

AGE/GENDER/RACE/WHERE FROM:

APPEARANCE (very brief physical description/or as detailed as the player wishes to be):

BITS OF CHARACTER/HISTORY YOU FEEL MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN DEFINING THE CHARACTER
(again, as brief or detailed as you wish):
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:13 AM   #208
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Pio, I like it.

Mithadan, I went hunting for your questions that you want answered-- if I missed some please let me know. I'm reposting them for your perusal and editing.

Quote:
You all are trying to convince me that: (1) we don't need as many rules; and (2) that you can not only create your own games without us looking over your shoulder and that your colleagues will demonstrate commitment, effort and a degree of skill with minimal mod involvement.

If, hypothetically (meaning no promises), we move to a system where a member can just start up a game, how do we control quantity ....

and Quality? (Quality is more obvious. Canonicity, a reasonable level of writing effort, if not skill, etc. A workable premise or story. )

It strikes me that retaining "veto" power would be more potentially embarrassing and annoying to a game facilitator/owner than some sort of simplified proposal process.

Do we set a limit on numbers of games running, at least until we understand how many gamers we have or do we trust the members to hash things out and if so how will this happen?

One thing I would like to see is a requirement that a member participate in at least a game or two here before he or she can open a game on their own.

And do we want Mod approval before starting a game or not? If a proposal is being discussed openly in a forum, realistically, how much extra work is it for someone to send PIO or whoever a PM and say "Take a look at this..."
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:19 AM   #209
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I don't want to hog the conversation here and would like to see others comment on Mithadan's request and Formy's proposal, but I also would like to address Mithalwen's concerns about character bios and the Inns (Note: not games, just inns) because I think her insecurity about posting demonstrates something important and I would hope we can address such issues so players don't have to feel so insecure about joining in.

It shouldn't matter if someone gets someone's eye colour wrong in an Inn. (After all, even Tolkien wasn't consistent on some of his.) It shouldn't matter that something a week ago is vitally relevant to a new entry--if that element is so vital, it should be in play.

Ideally, inns should be more improvisational and less structured in order to accommodate newcomers. It should be possible to drop in and run with an idea or easily pick up a theme already in progress; there should be "hooks" or things that a newcomer can pick up on in recent posts. If something is so complex that it requires extensive back reading, then that something defeats the purpose of providing an informal interactive role playing situation: the inn is already too complex for newcomers.

Character bios even for games can often become similar to police rap sheets: detailing physical characteristics enough that a felon can be apprehended, but really not saying much about how the character will interact. In an inn, it should be the action in play that garners the attention and not necessarily or particularly an all-encompassing view of a character. When we read fiction, we don't get all the details at once up front, but must read selectively to gather what is needed to follow the play. That, ideally, is how an informal inn can operate.

If a player wants to, he or she can write a bio for his character as a helpful reminder, but to ask players to post bios for an Inn sort of defeats the purpose of the improvisational play. It already makes the role playing into something formal, rather than an exploration. And it detracts from what is supposed to be the main or important writing: the actual thread. When gamers become so fixated on external documents, they lose track of how to write really interactive narrative. And that's what an inn is supposed to do: help players learn how to develop a game and action by actually practicing in a small on-going one.

This of course is just my opinion. But I would hope that the rules--necessary rules, I agree with Mithadan--don't sound so much like a reflection of what has stimied games in the past that they continue to create insecurity for newcomers. Someone on this thread referred to The Shire as a place where gamers are babysat. If that condition of being babysat (assuming that statement is valid) continues, then I would argue it will defeat attempts to help gamers become, as Firefoot said, self-regulating and more independent. At the very least, I would hope that at least one Inn would function without requiring extraneous documents like character bios.

And I would hope that in addition to the forms now used for structuring games there would also be some direction about how to develop the more interactive role playing (First, to avoid the free-fall of the Troubles. And second to avoid the appearance that only that structure is acceptable.)

Okay, I'm outta here.

EDIT: cross posted with pio and Mark.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:52 PM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan
You all are trying to convince me that: (1) we don't need as many rules; and (2) that you can not only create your own games without us looking over your shoulder and that your colleagues will demonstrate commitment, effort and a degree of skill with minimal mod involvement.

I will give you enough rope. You will either hang yourselves or make us proud. But there will be rules. What those rules will be is open to discussion. I have my own ideas, but I'm willing to be convinced.
I understand, you're an admin, you're in charge. You get to decide if we live up to your *standards.* But just remember...you do need members to have a forum.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #211
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Silmaril

Whoa, easy. Deep breath, all.

I know what a power struggle looks like. I don't see a power struggle here. Consider this statement:

Quote:
It strikes me that retaining "veto" power would be more potentially embarrassing and annoying to a game facilitator/owner than some sort of simplified proposal process.
...that is not the statement of a man obsessed with power; that is a statement from a man who doesn't like to see people hurt. That is consistent with the man I know. I have seen him battling to resolve conflicts between players several times.

We are in negotiation. Let's maintain an open attitude, and an honest effort to invigorate something we all value.

Breathe in, breathe out...
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:43 PM   #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
I don't want to hog the conversation here and would like to see others comment on Mithadan's request and Formy's proposal, but I also would like to address Mithalwen's concerns about character bios and the Inns (Note: not games, just inns) because I think her insecurity about posting demonstrates something important and I would hope we can address such issues so players don't have to feel so insecure about joining in.

It shouldn't matter if someone gets someone's eye colour wrong in an Inn. (After all, even Tolkien wasn't consistent on some of his.) It shouldn't matter that something a week ago is vitally relevant to a new entry--if that element is so vital, it should be in play.

Ideally, inns should be more improvisational and less structured in order to accommodate newcomers. It should be possible to drop in and run with an idea or easily pick up a theme already in progress; there should be "hooks" or things that a newcomer can pick up on in recent posts. If something is so complex that it requires extensive back reading, then that something defeats the purpose of providing an informal interactive role playing situation: the inn is already too complex for newcomers.

Character bios even for games can often become similar to police rap sheets: detailing physical characteristics enough that a felon can be apprehended, but really not saying much about how the character will interact. In an inn, it should be the action in play that garners the attention and not necessarily or particularly an all-encompassing view of a character. When we read fiction, we don't get all the details at once up front, but must read selectively to gather what is needed to follow the play. That, ideally, is how an informal inn can operate.

If a player wants to, he or she can write a bio for his character as a helpful reminder, but to ask players to post bios for an Inn sort of defeats the purpose of the improvisational play. It already makes the role playing into something formal, rather than an exploration. And it detracts from what is supposed to be the main or important writing: the actual thread. When gamers become so fixated on external documents, they lose track of how to write really interactive narrative. And that's what an inn is supposed to do: help players learn how to develop a game and action by actually practicing in a small on-going one..

.
I can't disagree more. I said you don't need a full life history but you seem to want people to literally stagger around in the dark, deprived even of the evidence of their own eyes which a person entering a real inn would have. Maybe I am really uptight but I like to be consistent with what others have said as much as what I have already done. I have also had my head ripped or sometimes merely bitten off by people ultra protective of their characters. Your ideal world bears no relation to the one I have tried to operate in.

I don't want to be in some freefall thing I want to have a firm foundation to build on. But now I know Ifall so far short of the ideal I at least know not to bother to take a new character to the Perch. I'll see what I have started to the end and call it a day.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:54 PM   #213
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.....Wow.

Peace???
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:00 PM   #214
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Uhh... *Parrots Mark*
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:35 PM   #215
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Pipe

Okay, we seem to be degenerating a little bit into unintentional ad hominems, and perhaps a little bit away from consideration of the rules. If I may play the nosey peacemaker, we seem to be getting a little off-course, and for all that Mithalwen is interpreting Bêthberry as advocating that inn players "stumble around in the dark," I think it's otherwise clear that neither is calling for the removal of character bios entirely. Rather, Mith is emphasizing the importance of the structure that bios provide to new players, and I think she's quite right that new players (and I mean people who haven't RPed before rather than people new to the Inn or providing new characters) want structure. Structure and rules make things make sense, and its usually when understanding the structure of something that newcomers feel safe to join in.

At the same time, however, Bêthberry is highlighting an important aspect of the Inns, which is contingent on their very nature as never-ending inns--namely the intentionally transient nature of those who are not innkeepers and the improvisational character this lends to any "story/plot" that might actually take place there. If I may play on her point that Inns are a horse of a different colour from RPs here generally, we need to be careful to keep the Inns and other RPs distinct when speaking about them--even if we decide on new/different rules for RPs generally, we still need to consider the Inns separately, since they provide a different function. However, taking Mithalwen's point, they ARE major points of entry for new players dipping their feet in the world of Downsian RPing, and I think her (their) concern for structure is important.

Okay, having possibly misrepresented everyone's point of view, may I ask the community to direct their ire towards me, and meanwhile get back to the (highly pertinent) question of structure that Mithadan is pushing us towards.

I've already given a fairly extensive proposal about how the RP forums could be revised, and there was some debate about that. While I hardly think my proposal is without flaws, I'd like to think that the response from those who engaged with it directly suggested that it had some merit. In particular, pretty much everyone seemed to agree that two gaming forums would be better than the current three, and that two would be preferable to consolidating them into one. My suggestion was to divide them between highly structured/strong owner control on the one hand and looser structure/less owner control on the other, which required some clarification. Still, once clarified it doesn't seem too hated, but the big question is: if you want two forums, how is one to distinguish between them? Is it to be acknowledged skill, as between the current forums (a system that most of us seem to feel has passed its time)? Is it to be along game-structure lines, as I'm proposing? Or what?

Or, if you think we just need one forum... well, you should speak up. While I like talking, I don't think mine's the only opinion that needs hearing.

Perhaps people could respond yea or nay (with explanations! Please! Think of it as a chance to use that finely honed WWian rhetoric) to the following questions:

1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums?
(If no, how many?)

2. Should game proposals be run by the Mods first?
If yes, to what extent?

3. Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?



These are the biggest structural questions I'm seeing at the moment... there are probably more (if so, add them to list when you reply!). In addition to these yes/no questions, I can think of the following discussion questions:

Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?

Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:48 PM   #216
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To set a good example, and maybe even to get the ball rolling, here are *my* answers to the questions--though I imagine you could guess at them already.

1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums?
(If no, how many?)
Yes. Obviously, I've already proposed a 2 forum model, and I think it has potential. I'm more than open to distinguishing between the two using different criteria than I suggested, though.

2. Should game proposals be run by the Mods first?
If yes, to what extent?
Yes. I still think it's helpful and can avoid embarassment (and given that most of us run ideas by our RPing buddies anyway, I don't think it's that hard to give the Friendly Neighbourhood Mod a shout either)... but I also think it should be a given that Mods will default towards approval rather than not. I also think it should be clarified that the Mod giving the green light doesn't mean the game will survive--but, as a corollary to that, the Mod should never turn down a proposal just because there are too many games in play. In my opinion, natural selection will take care of them.

3. Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?

Yes. I think it's excellent idea, and possibly negates the necessity of running things by the Mod first (though it doesn't obviate the possibility of that being a good idea). I also think it will help keep less "involved" RPers (those who aren't hardcore, major character types, but may only want or have time for supporting roles here and there) involved regularly.

Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?
With regard to the Scarburg Meadhall, I think it could easily survive as is. As a last-generation RPer to have set foot in the Green Dragon, I admit to not following the Golden Perch, so I really am not qualified to speak there. However, it stands to reason that two forums means room for two inns, and that one may be more "rookie friendly," so we certainly have room for two.

As for the Seventh Star, I think there's merit in what mark suggested, vis-a-vis turning it into a thinly-veiled RP version of the "Coming of Age" thread, both in terms of actually moving along a steady, if stately, pace, and in terms of fun reading. I also don't think it would be a problem to thus end up with two Inns in one forum--or even all three in one forum (I'd put them in my "Rivendell" forum, to keep using that model).

Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?

Personally, I think a month of *no* activity should be enough to merit a Mod posting on the thread with a "Question mark, people?" post, and that if another month went by (with no more progression) it could be moved to Elvenhome (which I assume throughout that we are retaining).
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:34 PM   #217
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...that is not the statement of a man obsessed with power
And that is not the statement I quoted. I thanked Mithadan more than once for opening up to/taking part in this discussion. I really do appreciate that. But his attitude as it *seems to me* is that of 'you may amuse me for the time being' or 'you're on the chopping block now -- you started it, you better finish it right.' (And by this I don't mean me personally. I didn't take it *personally*; it seems directed at everyone.) I understand that no one, admin or mod, as to change anything or even listen to complaints. But I thought he was being antagonistic to the members involved and not just the discussion. I'm sorry, I just wanted a discussion, too. Apparently I'm the only one who's reading things that way, I guess I'm crazy. Which is usually quite possible. (Some edits here to clarify, maybe?)

So some of the questions I haven't answered (if that's how we're going to do it)

Quote:
One thing I would like to see is a requirement that a member participate in at least a game or two here before he or she can open a game on their own.
A game, maybe. The problem is that's something that's easier to grandfather in once you have a bunch of players. We don't really have a bunch.

Quote:
It strikes me that retaining "veto" power would be more potentially embarrassing and annoying to a game facilitator/owner than some sort of simplified proposal process.
That depends on if the role of the moderator will be to determine if a game breaks the RULES, or if it will also be their role to determine if the game is "good enough" based on whatever standards. If someone breaks the rules, they get contacted and things get deleted/edited/whatever else. That's how it works on every other forum.

Quote:
Do we set a limit on numbers of games running, at least until we understand how many gamers we have or do we trust the members to hash things out and if so how will this happen?
I don't see the need. If you need to have rules and guidelines to babysit everyone, to make sure they don't overextend themselves...well that's going to be a lot of rules. Maybe put suggestions in the rules that players not participate in too many games at once. And encourage new players to join active games -- which means of course making it easy for games to be joined. That's really the big problem with the 'game' system rather than an open world setup (which granted only really seems to work when it's a forum dedicated entirely to RP)...it's hard to make it easy for new people to just jump in at any time.

Quote:
And do we want Mod approval before starting a game or not? If a proposal is being discussed openly in a forum, realistically, how much extra work is it for someone to send PIO or whoever a PM and say "Take a look at this..."
I think it's funny that everyone's taken the "let people start their own games" and turned it into a group approval process. A game is posted. People decide whether or not they are interested, and if so, they join and/or discuss ideas with the game initiator. If the game breaks any rules, it gets removed. That's how I see it. It's not about approval or not. The game is started; if there's something wrong with it, the mod(s) step in as necessary.

And Form's questions...

1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums? (If no, how many?)

One RP forum, one discussion forum.

2. Should game proposals be run by the Mods first? (If yes, to what extent?)

Nah. Why not moderate on the front end rather than the back end.

3. Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?

See #1.

Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?

Well there's no reason to get rid of them, but we need new inns/the inns to change to be more welcoming to newcomers. They (or it) need(s) to be less plot-oriented.

Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?

Certainly. After a few months? I dunno.

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Old 02-10-2011, 06:09 PM   #218
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I apparently have been less than clear in my intentions. All I want is to improve a forum that has become somewhat run down and shabby. I do not want to dictate from above and certainly am not taking a "this is not a democracy" approach.

Peace out, all. Let's return to being constructive please, so we can bring this bird in for a landing soon...
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:03 AM   #219
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1.) Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums? (If no, how many?)

~*~ No ~*~

I can see the RPG Forum as 3 fora.
  • The first would be the section where the Thread for general posting guidelines would be put; The Resource Threads from the present Shire and Rohan; the linked indexes for all the old games played in the Shire, Rohan, Gondor, and the new linked index for this new Forum incarnation. Any general announcements that need to be made could also be posted here.

  • The second fora would be the section for any brainstorming/planning threads for new games would go up.

  • The final fora would be the section where the RPG’s and their game-in-play discussion threads would be. I don’t think there needs to be a separation of different sorts of games. This is also where the 2 Inns and their Discussion threads would be – it might be nice to sticky the Inns and their discussion threads to the top of this fora.

2.) Should game proposals be run by the Mods first? If yes, to what extent?

I don’t know what form these proposals are going to take. I suppose if someone had a premise for a game (s)he wasn’t quite sure about, then they could run it past the Moderators first by PM. But, I think if the premise is put out on the brainstorming/planning thread, the Moderators could read along and make suggestions as needed either on the thread, or by PM depending on the tenor of the suggestion(s).

3.) Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?

See #1

4.) Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?

I don’t think we need to change the form of the Scarburg Meadhall. It might be nice, if the Meadhall and the other Inn are moved into the same fora as suggested above, for the Meadhall players to occasionally look into the other Inn and perhaps encourage/mentor a promising player to try their writing skills in the Meadhall.

I think the present Golden Perch Inn works fine as it is. There’s no ongoing plot. Players wander in and out with their characters, interact with other characters, drink, laugh, brood at a corner table . . . We could certainly move to the very abbreviated Character Sketch. I find new players like to think about their characters and get a good grip on them by writing them down. But I’m sure we could come up with a new Inn if that’s the consensus. And one more free-wheeling. Folwren is the Innkeeper at present in the Perch and has agreed to remodel the Perch or open a different sort of Inn as needed.

5.) Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?

Before being closed and moved to Elvenhome (I can’t wrap my mind around actually deleting a game – it just seems wrong.) the gamers should be put on notice that their game has ground to a halt and needs to be restarted. I think 4 weeks of inactivity is long enough to warrant a prod from the Moderators. Gamers can then use the game discussion thread to make some plan to get back on track. In the present Forum structure these periods of inactivity, discussion, and restarts often occur more than 2 or 3 times during the course of a game.

If a game has received a nudge from the Moderators and continues to be inactive for another 4 weeks, then I think it and its discussion thread can be moved to Elvenhome.

Any game in Elvenhome can be resurrected and returned to play if there is enough interest by game facilitator and game players. Though, so far, I haven’t had anyone ask to have the game returned for play.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:08 AM   #220
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1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums? (If no, how many?)

No. I think there are reasons to have 3.

My thinking was a little different from pio's and that was to have 1 forum for planning/brain-storming/ideas to help members write and construct characters. Then the "Doriath"forum and "Rivendell" forum.

Although, I think I like pio's idea better. At this point with members and RPGers slowing, there really is no reason to have two separate forums for games. Even if the games will vary between "lesser-control" and "more-control" this is something that should be explained in the planning/discussion threads by the game creator. Then gamers can figure out there whether that is there preferred RPG or not. (Also, there would be no more ground for claiming the system is elitist, with one forum for games of all varities )

2.) Should game proposals be run by the Mods first? If yes, to what extent?

As has been mentioned the planning/brainstorming threads would sort of make "running" a proposal past the forum moderator a formality. I don't know how many would spam pio's PM box with proposals, but if there's a planning/brainstorming forum, the Mods can add their input in the planning threads, as well as any other members. If a proposal is getting hammered out, and developed the game creator and all it's members, I don't see why we'd have to go through the formality of getting a Mod stamp of approval? That's adding unnecessary bureaucracy.


3.) Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?

See #1

4.) Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?

I'm not so much of an inn player. I've tried it once, and due to personal reasons just stopped posting for the character I had created. I wasn't sure how the structure of the Inns worked and whether I could just be like..."ok scrapping this character and I'm a gonna create another one here!" So, that's my winded answer to say, I'll leave the planning of the Inns to those who are, and will, participate more frequently in them.

5.) Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?

I think pio's answer sounds good.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:33 PM   #221
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I'm not going to specifically answer all the questions because I don't think I would be adding anything new... I just want to say that pio's proposal makes a lot of sense.

I've also been thinking a bit about what Durelin said about wanting to make in-progress games open to players. Maybe one function the discussion forum might serve would be for communication between people inside and outside a game... for example, if someone were to start up a game and decide halfway through they needed a new character, as a cameo or not, they could put an announcement in the discussion forum. Or if a game just wanted to be open to new players throughout its life, that could also be listed somewhere. Or, if a new player was looking for a game to join and none were opening they could post there and open a discussion with current game owners (if we're keeping game owners). I don't know if this would work best as an ongoing thread (maybe stickied) or if it would be better for people to just open up new threads as needed.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:02 PM   #222
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1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums? (If no, how many?)
&
3. Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?
I'm not sure if having the actual games and the discussion threads concerning them on different forums is a good idea. It would be easier to everyone to have the game X and the discussion thread concerning it on the same forum. So the question would become whether we feel the need to differentiate between the two different kinds of games that has been discussed here - whether they're Doriath and Rivendell, or plot oriented and character oriented, or gameowner driven and player driven games (or what not)?

There is also the question of the kind of "initial inn" and where it should go?

In a way a three-forum model (or one forum & two sub-fora model) could be argued for.

On the "basic forum" there would be all the rules & regulations -stuff, general links to important places (both as sticky-threads I suppose), as well as general discussions about the RP's... and the "starter inn" (Golden Perch) made as easy to enter as possible.

On the (sub/other)forum(s) there would be the games and their discussion threads (the latter which would begin as suggestions for a new game?). If we decide to make two different fora for the actual games then it would be easy. If we decide to put all the RP's into the same thread we probably should come up with an abbreviation as to name the games with an easy pointer as to which kind of game it is so that anyone scrolling the thread would immediately see what kind of a game it is? Like "PRP - Yavanna's Pledge" (meaning "Plot-driven Role Play") and "CRP - Fishers of Lake Rhûn" (meaning "character-driven Role Play") - or whatever.

If we could make it clear the two different game-forums were not hierarchical in status but just different ways of playing I'd strongly suggest we have two different forums for the games (and one for general issues), but if we think there is the danger there leading to an elite-forum and low-forum impressions, then let's make it just one?


2. Should game proposals be run by the Mods first?If yes, to what extent?
I'm not sure there needs to be a requirement for that, but if I was thinking of proposing a game I would really appreciate the feedback from a mod to point out for possible problems or encouraging me with the things she thinks I'm having a good idea on before suggesting the game openly on public...


4. Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?
Actually, if there would be two separate forums for RP'ing I could see Scarburg Mead Hall as an open game on the "character-driven" / "Rivendell" -forum. And there should be a clear announcement that everyone is welcomed to join the game whenever they wish. For GP see the first answer...

5. Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?
They should, after the "gameowner(s) / players have been notified about the inactivity a few times and nothing happens. A few months maybe?
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:36 PM   #223
Amanaduial the archer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post


What court do you practice in?
Oh, Mithadan. You, who have practiced for so many years, fill me with hope in my chosen profession


Anyway, good evening, chaps and chapesses. Long time no see. Durelin, excellent idea to revive this thread, as far as I'm concerned, the Downs RPGing has long been calling for a bit of a change since the Era of the Werewolf!

While stoically avoiding my rash and untempered 14 year old self on the first few pages (I really didn't want to run into her, she can be so...touchy - however much I might agree with her on some points...), I've been interested to read the more recent parts of this thread. Interesting that it was nearly a decade since the games changed, and lord knows I spent enough time around the RPGs in my misspent youth to perhaps contribute something as it all changes, as Bethberry so kindly directed me to this thread. And it's a pleasure to see so many familiar faces - Durelin, Mithalwen, Anguirel, Pio, Firefoot and of course, Mithadan, along with all the other old hands - striving to do the same

Now, obviously I haven't been very evident around the Downs for some time now; I haven't participated in a game, beyond occasional pseudonimical appearances in the Inns, for about four years. But that isn't necessarily for lack of trying: I never made any secret of the fact that I wasn't always a huge fan of the over perpetuation of rules after the 'split' in the game system and beyond, but there is no doubt, as Mithadan says, that rules are unfortunately absolutely necessary in order to run a system like this effectively. Certainly it's worked to the extent that the Downs has produced some of the best openly participatory character-based writing as far as I've seen on the internet, and my my, in the aforementioned misspent youth I certainly saw a fair bit. However, as has been remarked upon, things appear to have...stagnated, a bit. Perhaps, if I may offer my opinion, because RPGing became harder to get into: certainly I know that when I came back and attempted to piece myself into one of the Inns, I found it very difficult when there was so much rather complex backstory, so many existing characters which existed for ten pages or more back. To take Bethberry's point:

Quote:
Ideally, inns should be more improvisational and less structured in order to accommodate newcomers. It should be possible to drop in and run with an idea or easily pick up a theme already in progress; there should be "hooks" or things that a newcomer can pick up on in recent posts. If something is so complex that it requires extensive back reading, then that something defeats the purpose of providing an informal interactive role playing situation: the inn is already too complex for newcomers.
EXACTLY. I apologise for the caps, but I could not agree more. It's not to say the writing and interaction involved isn't of an excellent quality: the Inn in question was fantastically well written, and the Inn-person was really very welcoming. However, the atmosphere itself wasn't always - through no fault of any individual, I would stress that, not at all! - but it felt closed - and this not exactly from a newcomer, but from a returning 'old-timer' who's participated in....actually, I'm not sure how many games, probably around the 15-20 mark. The rules perhaps have got a bit much. I like improvisation, and I like freedom, and that's what was always so wonderful about being about to write so wonderfully here. Bios on the Inns I disagree with entirely.

Thusly. In the interests of structure, to address Form's questions:

1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums? (If no, how many?)

Er.... Excellent difference between the 'freestyle' forum and the Shire-Rohan-Gondor structure, is the chance to have a separate discussion thread, makes interaction and a feeling of unity and community on the games so much better. However, in address whether to, basically, abolish the Shire-Rohan-Gondor system...Well. I remember my pride when I was listed as a 'Gondorian': it's a badge of honour to get to Rohan and to even get beyond. Also, it has the same benefits as a 'setting' system in schools: it gives you an indication of who you're playing with, and ensures a comparable quality across the board, preventing frustration and hopefully ensuring maximum output for the players involved.
However, there is a very serious problem, the same, indeed, of that of 'setting': it becomes cliquey, and it makes people feel done-down and part of a hierarchy. Now, there ain't nothin' wrong with a good hierarchy every so often (so speaks the Brit, I suppose), but I don't think it's helpful for new players to come to RPGing and be told that, basically, they aren't good enough to play here, or in this context, or with these players. And please, before anyone jumps on me, this isn't a criticism, I'm not at all saying that that is actually what is being said by anyone in the Downs RPG world - but it's a matter of perception, and that is important if an RPG renaissance is to come about.

So I can really see it either way: one part of me would strongly advocate the removal of the Shire-Rohan-Gondor system, but then, I remember the freestyle forum, and while there is no chance that we would ever return to that chaos, some kind of structure can perhaps be helpful. Perhaps a change of the rules, and a degree of greater flexibility between the forums, then? For example, the removal of the condition that one has to run a game before one can progress to Gondor? And, please, the removal of the isolation of Gondor - it isn't helpful to see that forum beyond and above all else, for new players or for those eligible to play there, as it becomes a ghost town. Hmm.

2. Should game proposals be run by the Mods first? (If yes, to what extent?)

Ah. Now. For a while I functioned as a sort of 'demi-mod' in the Shire, with Pio and Child, helping with approving games and getting new games up to scratch. And boy, were there some duff proposals. I mean, really. They would never have got off the ground without the aid of helpful moderators. So I would say yes, game proposals should be helped along by moderators - but perhaps with less heavy handedness than currently perhaps (maybe, possibly, I'm speculating, I am not attacking) currently exists. A system of advice and help, rather than of 'running' or control? Of course, that becomes a very, very tricky balance to officiate, but...


3. Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?

Maybe that would facilitate greater openness, if there was a feeling that anyone could jump in and propose a question or an idea to the community as a whole. Obviously one can always message a moderator or an experienced gamer, but it actually might be a really good idea to make this a more open-say policy?

4. Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?

I think here I really can't do better than to quote Durelin directly:

Quote:
Well there's no reason to get rid of them, but we need new inns/the inns to change to be more welcoming to newcomers. They (or it) need(s) to be less plot-oriented.
Bang on, my love, bang on.

5. Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?

Yes. After loss of interest, attempts at resuscitation, and, perhaps as an idea, an offering of the game to other prospective players to see whether anyone else is willing to guide the ship?


Just my few cents anyway, I hope they aren't too unwelcome after so long an absence.

- Amanaduial


p.s. Lord, nearly a decade since I came to the Downs. Gracious.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:56 PM   #224
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Quote:
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If, hypothetically (meaning no promises), we move to a system where a member can just start up a game, how do we control quantity and quality.
I don't foresee a massive influx like in the days of yore. LotR has been around long enough now that it's a bastion of pop culture information. It was a game changer in terms of fantasy films, location filming (and scope of shots), length of movie, quality of special effects, casting, music, dialog... It's not a cult film, it's a multiple-award-winning masterpiece series. The eventual release of The Hobbit will likely result in a small increase of members, but no matter how fabulous TH ends up being (or not being), it's not going to turn the world from "Tolkien? He wrote those elf books, right?" to "OMGZ LEGGY SOOO HOTTTTT21!@!" because the world already saw that change.

So quantity and quality won't rely on policing new members, it will rely on the atmosphere of current writers and their beliefs. And we're all actually pretty solid at policing ourselves. In the last Werewolf game, for example, there was concern that some players might be breaking the rules set up by the game mods. The consensus ended up being, if we found out that anybody was cheating, we could shame them forever, as well as institute a Day One Lynch policy to make them feel especially awful that they did something as heinous as cheat. Now that's not entirely nice of us, threatening subversive folks with shunning, but in reality, peer pressure is one of the greatest driving forces in humanity.

Though this thread has shown a rekindled or just formally discussed interest in RPing, it hasn't attracted many people that weren't already actively involved in the website and this corner of it. Quantity can be determined by free market: if there's demand, it can be met. If there's not demand, games should be allowed to fizzle (after all, a game initiator with spunk can always beg, borrow, and steal their way into a cast of writers later on if they really desperately want THIS ONE EXACT GAME to happen). Quality can be handled by a general atmosphere of inclusiveness and openness toward constructive criticism. It's collaborative writing: if you can't handle the rest of the writers you're working with giving you feedback, you should go hole up and write in a private diary.

Which is all to say, I don't think we're going to see a massive spate of new game threads, I think we're going to see a few hesitant experiments to see how a new structure and a new atmosphere will work. Following that, I think we might see a couple games going on at any given time, but nothing overwhelming. And I think the writers of each game can control their own quality pretty effectively: Barrowdowners have a tendency, as a group, to be sticklers for quality. Maybe they didn't used to be, but in recent years? This is a pretty brainy place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formy
Personally, I think both questions of quality and quantity would be fairly well answered by the common sense of our gamers. I don't think we'd see an overabundance of games, because even if we had scores of game owners wanting to start something... they wouldn't get anywhere if they couldn't find enough recruits. There might be a flurry of threads (or posts on an announcement board -like thread), but the majority would quickly subside, and we'd only be left with those that garnered enough support--and I daresay that we could reasonably expect these to be the best of the pack. The other ideas would either have to be retooled (made better) to attract attention, or be put aside until their were more people involved.
Oh hey, he summarized my thoughts very well. This is what I get for falling behind in the discussion: my thoughts have already been verbalized!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Also Form
EDIT: In other words, the chief point of the proposal in the current form, as I understand it, is to make sure the game owner covers all the important bases. Putting the proposal out for feedback and/or to attract players would undoubtedly result in the same bases being covered--though I agree it helps keep everything in one place if a consistent form is used each time (like the rule posts in WW).
Yes. The benefits of filling out a proposal as it currently exists outweigh the annoyance some members might feel at having to fuss with details before they ever get a chance to write.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mith
I'd rather have Pio. Juries are too unpredictacble and can't think of anything worse than having something you have sweated kittens over shang-haied by a self appointed committee of people who won't do anything but criticise.
But how many trolls are really going to hover in wait for the opportunity to say WOW THIS SUCKS YOU SHUD GET A LIFE LULZ.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot
I think the hope is that the RPG fora would be able to start self-regulating itself more, like Werewolf does. I think that some sort of discussion forum would be really helpful for this (Durelin - I didn't understand that that's what you were getting at). In this case, I think it would be helpful to have entire forum/subforum rather than just one large thread like werewolf, since it would get confusing if people were trying to talk about more than one idea at once.
So the setup I'm seeing outlined here (generally, drawing from many posts) is:

Forum A (Structured Games with Defined Leaders and Plot Oriented Writing): containing game discussion threads (where one pitches one's game to the masses, and players are recruited, and discussions are held between players and/or lurkers (such as WW discussion threads) and also game threads (wherein the writing happens).

Forum B (Open Ended Games with Group Responsibility and Character Driven Writing): containing game discussion threads (where one pitches one's game to the masses, and players are recruited, and discussions are held between players and/or lurkers (such as WW discussion threads) and also game threads (wherein the writing happens).

Forum C (Discussion): in which RPGers discuss their general concerns, their achievements, etc., relating to Barrowdowns RPGing as a whole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formy
It's possible I have a somewhat rosy view of what a brainstorming forum could be, but I'd like to think (on the strength of the sort of discussion that goes on in the Scarburg Planning Thread) that the RPers on the Downs could be constructive and polite in such an environment.
Mhm. We're very nice people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
I think we can still keep guidelines for clear, correct English, Canonicity (of whatever degree), and the expectation that games/play eventually lead somewhere and have a termination.
Was this being questioned?

I really think we must have all of these. Whether writing for writers or for readers, clear English is significant. Obviously this doesn't mean we'll draw and quarter our ESL contributors. Canonicity should be adhered to because this is a Tolkien website. The last is a little more negotiable: what if the game proposal is, I have this idea that the Dwarves that move into Helm's Deep interact and we explore what's underground there, and how Dwarf relationships work! ? In this case, it's not a clear cut story with a beginning, middle, and end. Instead it's more of a literary exploration of character and setting.

I wonder if we're all a bit hung up on the nature of story.

Here's the definition of story I used in my Master's thesis: "narration of a chain of events." The definition we typically use in the creative writing workshops in my grad school: "narration of a chain of events, with a beginning, middle, and end." Without a purposeful beginning, middle, and end, you have either a scene or a series of scenes. The STORY is the Big Idea that you're trying to convey.

If you don't have a Big Idea, then you aren't writing a story, you're just writing. This is the same difference as between a portrait and a picture of somebody's face. A portrait has a motive: you're trying to get to something, some truth. A picture is just something on a page that looks like something. Stories are purposeful. Writing often isn't.

That being said, I'd like to copy/past part of a private missive between me and Bethberry:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Facebook Fea to FB BB
I'm loving the concept of two sections instead of three, with the focus not on beginner versus expert but on structured versus flexible. The game I have sketched out (and carefully outlined with Big Plot Points and writer responsibilities) fits into the structured concept: I think it would appeal more to beginning writers that are looking for somewhere to practice skills before taking responsibility for Big Ideas, but it would also appeal to anybody that flat out likes writing from an outline.

Something I'm not sure has been mentioned yet is that structure versus free play isn't just a Barrowdowns issue, and it has little to do with a writer's skill level: we discuss it a lot in my Master's program. I know a lot of writers that outline their stories before they start writing any scenes, and they take their pleasure in fleshing out the skeleton, bringing it to life. Knowing the amount of space they have available to convey certain ideas, to develop characters, to work in general, gives them a poet's eye for the significance of every word. I also know a lot of writers that don't want to know how the story is going to end until they get there: their delight is in the discovery. Neither way is right or wrong, and I work in both ways.

I think a lot of the discussion has bordered on this idea of some people liking to write with a plan and some people liking to explore. I think there's no need to choose, and I think it's possible to do both at once. But I also think it's pretty important that in collaborative writing, the expectations are made clear from the beginning in terms of what kind of writing (structured or open) will happen most frequently.
Also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dury
And just to toss this out there...if you're looking for a 100% success rate (meaning every game/thread started is completed in a reasonable amount of time or whatever)...you're never going to be happy.
Ain't that the trufe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan
Do we set a limit on numbers of games running
A limit of three or four per forum sounds fair, unless of course we find a mysteriously huge number of people dying to be in many games at once, or different games than are offered.

But I think this should be more of a guideline than a rule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Mith
One thing I would like to see is a requirement that a member participate in at least a game or two here before he or she can open a game on their own.
Yes. However instead of going on a game by game basis, it should be determined on a length of commitment basis: perhaps six months of time as a player before one becomes a game opener? I suggest this because there is a difference between a month long game and a two year game, and a very qualified and creative game owner might be manacled by how long a game they're in is taking.

Quote:
And do we want Mod approval before starting a game or not?
I'm ambiguous about this. I think it's always helpful to have someone take a quick look at your work before you turn it in, so to speak. Game Owners should be able to open their own threads, but perhaps it should be recommended (if not required) that Pio (or whoever) acts as an informal second opinion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark
Someone also brought up the point that not all charaters need be in the game the whole time. C7A invited me into Lonely Star when it was 3/5 done, for characters that were undreamt of when the game started. Not sure why that no longer seems to happen, but, if there is a rule to that effect, I could certainly see making room for add-in characters.
You guys invited me into Tapestry long after it was established. And, in fact, the game I currently have outlined has a built-in place (actually, two) for new writers to enter into the fray.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formy
That is to say, while you may not know the full history and/or inner workings of your character, you're going to know from the get-go if your character is a Hobbit, 56 years old, skilled, unmarried, craftsman from Michel Delving, and you'll know if he's tall, ruddy-cheeked, dark-haired, well dressed, etc.
Pio's abbreviated Meadhall character sketch is pretty perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
if you want two forums, how is one to distinguish between them? Is it to be acknowledged skill, as between the current forums (a system that most of us seem to feel has passed its time)? Is it to be along game-structure lines, as I'm proposing? Or what?
One discussion forum. Two writing forums, distinguished not by skill level, but by structure. Many of the most culturally well-regarded, award-winning writers I know thrive on nitpicky outlining. Literally one of the best uses a method of "This is how many pages I have, so in order to get my pacing right, this will happen in this chapter, I will introduce all major characters by this page, my climax will happen here, and I need these scenes and each scene will be approximately this long." She just likes working that way. Another writer I know writes about 2000 pages for every 200 page novel she publishes; she gets everything she could possibly need down on the page and then cherry picks the parts that tell the single cohesive Story she wants. Yet another sets every single one of his novels in the same fictional town in North Carolina: even though the plots alter and the stories are different, he is constrained by the truths of the information he is already written. Yet another advises writers to analyze the structure of a short story and - page by page - reproduce it using the craft tricks the writer used; you've got hard rules to follow, but the joy comes from finding the originality within the structure.

Then again, another one of my writer friends (who just signed the contract for her 17th novel) writes with an eye toward character interaction and surprising herself. The only 'rule' she follows is that each chapter should have a basic arc, and a memorable action event should occur in each. Another writer who works masterfully within the realm of historical fiction was asked last summer, "What is the primary motivation of your character?" She had two hundred pages written already. Her answer? "I don't know yet."

The delineation between the type of structure you want as a writer has nothing to do with experience, and I think the delineation between RPG sub-fora should reflect that: experienced writers working with inexperienced writers will provide the old hands with fresh insight, and will work toward teaching the inexperienced writers what we mean by 'quality.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
Should the Inns continue in the future in their current form?
I think the Meadhallers would lynch anybody that tried to shut them down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
Should games be deleted/moved/closed after inactivity? After how much inactivity?
Up to the mods/admins. Do we delete inactive threads in Mirth? Do we close threads in Books just because they've moldered away on page eight of the thread list?

Quote:
Originally Posted by B88
Although, I think I like pio's idea better. At this point with members and RPGers slowing, there really is no reason to have two separate forums for games. Even if the games will vary between "lesser-control" and "more-control" this is something that should be explained in the planning/discussion threads by the game creator. Then gamers can figure out there whether that is there preferred RPG or not. (Also, there would be no more ground for claiming the system is elitist, with one forum for games of all varities )
I was pretty staunchly on board with one discussion forum, one structured game forum, one loose game forum, but I like Pio's idea better.

It has all of the benefits of what we've discussed... plus some extras!
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:16 PM   #225
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Let me just say, thinking about Fea's comment on the Meadhallers lynching folks, that I think the Meadhall belongs as a game, not as an Inn. I think it is superb, wonderful, and marvellous and I am ever so impressed by the discussion thread (which intrigues me no end), but I think,if the point is to attract new gamers or provide a place for new gamers to join in, it is a wee bit daunting and difficult to join into. This isn't a criticism but a recognition that I think The Meadhall demonstrates the best of what can happen with the Inn structure: it can lead to great possibility and creativity. So whatever structures are put in place, I would humbly suggest that the Meadhall continue as a full blown game and an inn be developed that is easier for newcomers to join. jmho

Kudos to littlemanpoet, Nogrod, and everyone posting at the Meadhall for wonderful work.

EDIT: There has been some very interesting development also on The Seventh Star. Nogrod has prodded the Bethberry character in a way that she has never been prodded before on the forum--and his post is totally in keeping with the suggestions made here for The Seventh Star--and Mnemosyne has added a little twist to that prodding, so I have some challenges to answer for my next post there, unless Mark also throws something into the play before I can replay.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:22 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
So whatever structures are put in place, I would humbly suggest that the Meadhall continue as a full blown game and an inn be developed that is easier for newcomers to join.
I am in complete agreement with this and everyone else's statements to this effect. In fact it's been making the whole "open-ended" RP a lot easier for me to conceptualize.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:58 AM   #227
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I'm reading this discussion with great interest and it occurred to me that the reason for participation by only those who have RPed avidly in the past (mentioned a few posts ago) could be this: the others don't know it's going on! Really, who of the none-RPing members, or even of those who participated in Shire or Rohan games, realizes that there's such a vital discussion taking place in the Gondor forum?!

Some of those might be interested if they're alerted, so I shall post accordingly on a new thread in the Novices and Newcomers forum. Hopefully others who are interested may be attracted and drawn into this thread!
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:53 AM   #228
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Thumbs up

Thanks ESTY.

I'd like to thank all of you for your thoughts, comments and suggestions. Please feel free to continue posting, however, I'm going to spend some time reviewing the past 50 or so posts and prepare an outline for the RPG forums of the future. I'll get something posted early next week.

In the interim, we have received two offers to assist Piosenniel in her modding duties. In fairness, I want others who may be interested to also have a chance to "apply". Do so via PM to me, please.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:12 AM   #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
1. Do you think the Downs should move to having 2 forums? (If no, how many?)
&
3. Should we have (a)sub-forum(s) for brainstorming/discussion?
I'm not sure if having the actual games and the discussion threads concerning them on different forums is a good idea. It would be easier to everyone to have the game X and the discussion thread concerning it on the same forum.

Well, what I was understanding from pio's idea, is sort of the pre-game planning/brainstorming ideas/game proposals would be for one forum. Then the In-game planning/discussion threads would go in the same forums with the RPGs.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:41 AM   #230
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Right, Boro

I think the Planning threads to get a game in play should be in a separate fora. These will be the threads where somebody has a game idea/premise to offer and wants to get players together to firm up the notion of the game - how it should open, what kinds of characters, where it should be set, etc. Once the game, game title, etc., is worked through and the players feel the game is ready to start being played, the game facilitator can open 2 threads in the actual game-in-play fora - one for the RPG one for the Discussion thread for the game-in-play. Some of these Planning threads might never lead the players to actually play the game.

It doesn't seem to me that all games will have a group Planning thread.

Some game facilitators will simply want to offer their already thought out game in a Discussion thread, take on players, and then open an RPG thread.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:17 PM   #231
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I don't see the need for having a separation between 'Planning' and 'Discussion' threads. Same idea, really. Obviously the 'game owner' will decide how much planning the players will be involved in (which will have to do with how much of a plan the game owner starts out with of course)... To me it seems like over-structuring to separate the two. Kinda a waste of space, too.

It's just easier in my head to draw a line between OOC and IC rather than 'planning stages' versus 'discussion stages.' I guess that's what it boils down to.

Oh, but also RE Pio's forum organization -- I think a sort of administrative/announcement forum might be useful. Might keep more of a feeling of structure (and moderator/admin attention; as in, this isn't just a free-for-all section of the site obviously) without there actually being lots of structure. However it might also give the feeling of this being a separate area of the forum. Which it is, but...I don't know what kind of perceptions we're going for here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fea
Barrowdowners have a tendency, as a group, to be sticklers for quality. Maybe they didn't used to be, but in recent years? This is a pretty brainy place.
Yea...this is kinda what was behind my wanting to start this discussion more than once. How this manifested specifically in the RP section, anyway. Generally I just feel like people need to relax a little I guess. :x
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:29 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by Durelin View Post
I don't see the need for having a separation between 'Planning' and 'Discussion' threads. Same idea, really. Obviously the 'game owner' will decide how much planning the players will be involved in (which will have to do with how much of a plan the game owner starts out with of course)... To me it seems like over-structuring to separate the two. Kinda a waste of space, too.
I think that how the planning forum/threads are used will determine whether or not Planning and Discussion threads are essentially similar or essentially different. If a "planning" thread is only used to jumpstart a particular game idea, and leads directly into a game and so morphs into a "discussion thread," then yes--it would be redundant to have both.

However, I think that a "planning" forum has the potential to be somewhat more broadly focused. In addition to allowing players the chance to hone game ideas prior to starting a game, a planning forum might also have the leeway to delve into things like writing theory, etiquette discussions, and canonicity questions the game owners/players might want to bring up.

The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that with a "discussion thread," the only people who are liable to read it are the people involved in the game. The non-involved reader might follow the story thread, but I don't see them necessarily getting involved in the discussion thread--and even if they read it, I really don't see them replying. The clear distinction of a "planning forum," on the other hand, invites general readership and involvement to discussion about the "nuts and bolts" that they would not find in game-specific, on-going discussion threads.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:49 PM   #233
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Question

As long as we're looking to restructure the RPG Forum, perhaps we should take a look at the rules which are in place now:

SHIRE RULES: The Red Book of Westmarch

The Golden Hall: Rohan Rules/Player Lists

What needs to go, what do you think should be kept? (Note: the rule forbidding swearing, sexual conduct, and obscenity was a requirement by the Barrow-Wight.)
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:40 PM   #234
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar View Post
I'm reading this discussion with great interest and it occurred to me that the reason for participation by only those who have RPed avidly in the past (mentioned a few posts ago) could be this: the others don't know it's going on! Really, who of the none-RPing members, or even of those who participated in Shire or Rohan games, realizes that there's such a vital discussion taking place in the Gondor forum?!

Some of those might be interested if they're alerted, so I shall post accordingly on a new thread in the Novices and Newcomers forum. Hopefully others who are interested may be attracted and drawn into this thread!
Just jumping in to note that I'm one who might well start playing if some of these changes go ahead. Specifically, I'd be interested in games that are fairly plot-driven, and planned to end within a certain time– I mean as opposed to five-year epics.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:02 AM   #235
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Just jumping in to note that I'm one who might well start playing if some of these changes go ahead. Specifically, I'd be interested in games that are fairly plot-driven, and planned to end within a certain time– I mean as opposed to five-year epics.
How does two weeks of actual game-play sound?

Not plot-driven at the moment, but the plan is to steer quite clear of the five-year epic and not require much more commitment, say, than a Werewolf game.

And I might as well add here that this is an open call for players or even just discussers at this point. The proposed game is going to try to take some of the suggestions on this thread into account, in part by the shorter, more intense game, in part by a character-driven, "shared ownership" model, and in part by containing an in-plot mechanism for characters who can just wander on the set. Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:29 PM   #236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
However, I think that a "planning" forum has the potential to be somewhat more broadly focused. In addition to allowing players the chance to hone game ideas prior to starting a game, a planning forum might also have the leeway to delve into things like writing theory, etiquette discussions, and canonicity questions the game owners/players might want to bring up.

The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that with a "discussion thread," the only people who are liable to read it are the people involved in the game.
As you've said it's about how they're used. It really just comes down to terminology. And what's interesting is that, to me, the term 'planning thread' here on the Downs has often meant a closed thread where people are invited to plan a new game, then when the 'discussion thread' is posted, everyone's able to jump in and join. So I'd like to combine the two into just the discussion thread. Discussion threads would go in your 'planning forum,' and people could plan/discuss the game and continue to use the thread when the game is started (or people can choose to start the game thread and discussion thread at the same time).

Anyway, that's rather minor...


Shire Rules -- They all seem still very applicable to me, but maybe with some edits. I just wrote comments on some rules I thought might need some changing.

3. Short chat-style posts which encourage other players to post in a chatty style are also not allowed. Be descriptive, and try not to use a lot of dialog. << I'm not sure about this 'try not to use a lot of dialogue'. Might want to say 'use a mix of dialogue and description' or something.

....

5. You must tell your fellow players if you will be unavailable for a while. Any character that goes missing for a two week period of time can be "killed off" or "lost" and will be out of the game. If you have posted that you will be gone, the game owner can then decide if someone else can take over your character if need be until you get back. <<I'm really not sure if two weeks is long enough. As it is, this rule has never been acted upon in that short amount of time in my memory and experience.

....

7. Interact with the other players. Don't try to write the story yourself. An RPG is a communal effort with everyone participating. Use the discussion thread for planning. Also, don't "hijack" other player's characters. It is bad form to send another character off somewhere without the permission of the player. <<Should we perhaps expand on this considering the different ideas of people on what's acceptable regarding using other people's characters? Perhaps say *do not use another person's character at all (move them, give them dialogue, etc) unless you have express permission from the player. I mean this is pretty much a rule that will be self-policed so if two players are fine with using each other's characters, they won't complain to the mods about it and it doesn't really matter.

....

9. Follow the story line and read what the other players are posting. If your mission is to deliver a message from Bag End to Bree, you have no business wandering off to Lorien. Every RPG has a beginning, a middle and an end. Aimless wandering is not allowed. Achieve your goal, have fun doing it, and when you are done move on to the next game. <<Hmm, is this really necessary? I've never witnessed aimless wandering within a game plot. And it's a little strict on the *every RPG has a beginning, middle and end*...I don't agree with that, personally. Maybe I'm just being picky. Maybe just take out the 'middle'? Haha.

....

Simply put: Please play your character realistically and within the boundaries of Middle Earth "reality". Don't act in ways that give you unfair advantages over other players. Don't speak, act, or think for another player's character(s) without consulting them first. Concentrate on your own character and how they are reacting to what is happening around them. <<Here we go, this is more explicit about using other's characters. Of course, 'consulting' them FIRST should be emphasized, rather than consulting after the fact. And not assuming that if you ask it will be fine.

....

13. The member who starts a RPG is its "Owner" or "Founder" and is in charge of the game. That person is expected to keep the game moving, keep his/her players in character and following the rules, and guide the plot in the Discussion Thread, under the general supervision of the Shire Moderators ad Innkeepers. <<This still seems fine to me. It might want to be added to, with something about how the Owner/Founder determines the pace of the game, how much control the players have, etc. All of course still under the supervision of the mods.

....

15. Do not enter an RPG thread to ask to join a game. PM the RPG owner. Put your name on the thread for wanting to join RPG’s, so that we’ll know to give you a heads up on new games. Check the Inn thread – we always advertise new games there. In the meantime, you may always post a character in the Inn and play there until a new game comes up. <<This should maybe be tweaked. What do we want the procedure to be? PM the game owner is still a good suggestion. Perhaps say, check the discussion thread of the game and see if the game owner has left it open for new players to join or if it is 'closed.'

16. Edit out your signature for every post you do in any role playing game in the Shire, Rohan, or Gondor. Edit out your signature for the Inns in Rohan and the Shire, too. In the screen for creating your posts, there is an option to 'Show Signature'. Please uncheck this box when posting in the RPG forums. <<I still like this rule, but don't really care either way. I'm not an uber neat freak about posts so I understand that this might be annoying to some people. I mean, at least we don't have image signatures here so it's not like they're that distracting.

....

17. About quoting what other characters have said in previous posts: Please don't use the 'QUOTE' function available to you on the posts. Since the Inn and RPG's are writtien more like ongoing stories - just use quotation marks and reference the quotation from the other character as needed with a - he said . . . she said . . . etc. <<Like this too. Another neatness thing so not a big deal but...

18. Please note: A game which hasn't been posted on in 2 weeks signifies a lack of interest in the game, and the Moderator may choose to close the game and remove it. <<Do we want to expand this and set a specific (longer? or no?) time after which a game will absolutely be closed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inn Rules
Only the moderators or the Innkeeper may move the timeline forward in the Inn. And there will be a notice or discussion of it on the Inn Discussion thread.
Not sure about this. I mean it makes sense, but it also puts a lot on the innkeeper and limits the 'free flowing' nature of the inn. Having a specific timeline to things (which I don't even know how well it's ever followed) can make it a little less easy to jump in. But I don't have a good solution for this. I guess as long as the innkeeper stays flexible and lets days go on for as long as people are posting? Which I'm sure they will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serial Posting Rules
Serial posting between writers is discouraged, especially since it tends to become more dialog oriented than descriptive.
I really don't think this is necessary. A bit too *this is how you must roleplay* for me. Some people do quite well with serial posting. Obviously I don't but who's to say you can't do that? Or you won't be able to do it well enough so you're not allowed.

Saves -- I don't like Saves. I'm guessing not everyone's going to want to outlaw them and I don't really care, but perhaps that's another thing that could be left up to the game owner. Or just play it by ear. If someone posts a save and the game owner has a problem with it, they address it. (Basically Saves to me are a symptom of that very plot-oriented, step-by-step sort of RPing Bethberry was talking about and they are often unnecessary.)


Rohan Rules

Game Player Rules:

Post at a minimum two times weekly for a major character, once weekly for a minor character, or as required for a cameo character, and read both the game and discussion threads at least every two days in order to keep informed of the game's events. (Posting speed can be discussed among gamers before a game starts and a consensus on posting speed can be reached. However, once this decision is reached, gamers are expected to follow it conscientiously. Games which don't move are not fun to read or play in.) <<I think this is a little bit too standing over the shoulder sort of thing. I say keep it simple and just tell people, *Keep up with your games, try to post as regularly as possible. Keep in contact with who you're RPing with, let them know if you're going to be away.* And maybe keep as it says here that the players in a game will kind decide on their own the pace of the game.

....

It is recommended that gamers use a Word or WordPerfect processing system, a spell-checker, and an online dictionary in writing posts and to proofread posts (with the preview function) once they have been put up on the game thread. <<A dictionary?

....

Write posts which combine exposition and description, using dialogue also if needed, and which either develop character or further the plot as described in the rules for writing at Rohan. <<Why did I not sense such hostility to dialogue before this? I don't get it...

Write posts which are coordinated with previous events and posts in the game, with characters interacting as needed by the game so that the game reads smoothly and coherently. <<Oof. Characters can only interact *as needed by the game*. I value consistency, but that seems like it's crawling into that territory of your character can only do what the game allows, down to every action or interaction...which is a bit much.

Discuss with the Game Founder in advance any plot twists, turns or ideas which are not part of the general plot of the game and to use them only with the approval of the Game Founder. <<Hmm...well, if it's going to affect the whole plot or every character in the game, yes. Maybe a plug for using planning/discussion threads here!

Refer to other characters and write them in a manner consistent with the way they are written by their owners. Gamers can make major decisions only for their own characters. <<NO...NO. Do not write for other characters unless given express permission. Refer to Shire rules.

~

What a Game Founder/ Manager does:

Submits the game proposal to the reviewers using the Rohan Game Proposal Form ( found on the thread called How to Propose New RPGs for Rohan). You can see how a proposal is developed on this thread. Games can be developed independently or cooperatively on a game planning thread. If you wish to have a planning thread created for you, PM piosenniel. <<This may need to be changed obviously depending on if we have a proposal system. At least the planning thread thing, based on whatever's decided.

Chooses gamers based on the character description and first post submitted to the discussion thread. (The choice should be determined by quality of writing, depth of characterization, and suitability for the needs of the game.) <<Maybe not the 'first post' since they aren't even required under the current system and certainly shouldn't be IMO under whatever new system. Maybe make it seem less like an audition, maybe not. But of course say, it's up to the game founder who they let into their game.

Posts at a minimum two times weekly to the game. Note: Posting regularly in a game helps to keep it alive. Games that drag on become more an obligation than fun and discourage readers from following a game. <<Yes the game founder/owner has more responsibility. But I just get all weird when there's such specific numbers tossed around.

Prompts gamers who do not post regularly and guides the game to a successful conclusion following the ideas set out in the proposal. <<'Following the ideas set out in the proposal' makes it seem like you can't allow for the characters to affect what happens, etc. It sounds like *the plot must be followed out to the letter*

Notifies gamers on the discussion thread of their absences and informs at least one gamer (who will assume the responsibilities of an acting manager) of any game details which will need to be carried out in the manager's absence. <<Wasn't that one of the discussions here?

Contacts the Rohan Moderator about any gamers who are not consistently writing at the Rohan standard, so that the Moderator can offer the gamers specific help to improve their writing. <<This should really be gotten rid of. The 'standards' should be set out in the rules and people can tell on one another if they wish/everyone can help each other out.

Respects the fact that characters are owned by their writers and not controlled by the Game Founder and that the game is owned by everyone who creates it through the writing of it. Once characters have been accepted into a game, Game Founders should not make plans for them without discussing those plans with the gamer who runs the character. Gaming in Rohan is cooperative. <<Yessss...

Basically I think the Shire rules should be added to with some bits and pieces from the Rohan rules but a lot of the Rohan rules are either redundant or are based on the "meeting Rohan's standards" and "moving up to Gondor."
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:47 PM   #237
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Just a quckish comment here on Pio's question about the rules.


I'd like to see the "formal rules" stay eg. no smilies, no signatures, no OOC -stuff, no highlighting...

I just can't imagine an RP with smilies, signatures or OOC discussions. They are nice to have around in many contexts but not in the RP's.


The question of dialogue, or using other people's characters is a more challenging one - and I know it has not been just once or twice when it has been an issue.

I have both good and bad experiences on it. In Scarburg Mead Hall the active players know each others characters well enough so they can oftentimes write some dialogue between two characters - and it is quite smooth to just ask in the discussion thread whether it was okay for the other player (and everyone expects that any changes the other player wishes will be addressed). And we have all these ways of co-writing a post via PM's, MSN, what have you.

But if the players are not confident of each other, or if for any other reason there is no feeling of mutual trust, then it becomes more problematic. For those occasions there should be rules more or less like the ones we have now. I've seen these things go soo wrong as well when people think they can fulfill their personal ambitions totally disregarding other players' characters - and in the worst instance misrepresenting them badly and not willing to change what they have written after the others complain about it.

I'm not sure how any exceptions to the quite strict rules should be spelled out though, but I know how it goes in practise... When two people have written a long time enough in a game (or just feel they trust each other's judgement) they start to add comments of the other player's character into their posts - immediately checking whether it was okay (in the discussion thread), but with time even these questions become scarcer as they know what they're doing.

So how about we still kept the rule of not doing things with other player's characters but made it clear it was okay when you had the mutual ageement with someone - so only when both sides agreed? How to write that in a rules -section beats me though.


Also (and partly merged into what I said earlier) the rules about bunnying and not trying to drive the story by yourself should be kept in force - at least on any basic level of game rules.


So?

I can see a lot of these rules have been made in eye of people hoarding in not having an idea what RP'ing in the 'Downs is about (the LotR movies). At the moment the situation is a bit different and many rules feel a bit redundant. But who knows if the Hobbit-films will again create a great influx of new people who need to be told what we want from the RP's in this forum? Thus I wouldn't call for doing away with all the rules we have.

But to recognize what we all more experienced RP'rs know - should we say the strict rules can be overlooked when we have a mutual consent and trust between writers... that could be just one paraphrase in the end of one sentence?
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:18 PM   #238
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In general, my feelings about the Rules tend to echo Nogrod's, so I feel I can do little better than quote him where I feel I have a touch of difference of opinion, or maybe something to add.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
I'd like to see the "formal rules" stay eg. no smilies, no signatures, no OOC -stuff, no highlighting...

I just can't imagine an RP with smilies, signatures or OOC discussions. They are nice to have around in many contexts but not in the RP's.
I agree 100%. Granted, my ability to imagine smilied or be-signatured RPs has been strongly affected by the Downs, I think these sorts of rules are valid, and what's more, they form a major part of the Downer tradition or ethos concerning RPs, and just because we're restructuring that section doesn't mean that we're doing away with the traditions concerning it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
The question of dialogue, or using other people's characters is a more challenging one - and I know it has not been just once or twice when it has been an issue.
Once again, my feelings mirror Nogrod's: in general, the rules are far stricter than actual practice goes, and also stricter than actual practice merits. However, I tend to feel that it's better to have strict rules with lax enforcement than lax rules. Still, it might be worth rewriting them to include a clause to the effect of: "basic interaction with another player's character may include dialogue, but the other player may always ask for the dialogue to be revised, and if they feel their character has been played in an out-of-character manner, they can ask to have the entire post revised or removed. As a general rule, therefore, if you do not know another player and their character well, you should be careful not to have them say or do anything significant without having consulted the other player first."

I admit that's rather wordy...
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:38 PM   #239
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General Rules Thoughts:

Sigs have no place in games because they add irrelevant text to otherwise cohesive collaborative writing; it's more or less the same as OOC memos tacked onto the end of your creative writing.

Smilies make for lazy use of language (yes, I use them, but not in creative writing unless I'm really going for post-post-modernism) which is not what we try to encourage here, so I would vote for the rule of no-smilies to stay in effect. Emotion can be conveyed with writing style, with descriptions of appearances, actions, thoughts: smilies sort of give the effect of "hehe look how cute I am" or "just kidding!" which in both instances undermines the credibility of the text itself.

These general rules that are already in existence serve as good guidelines for making your writing clear and generous to others: it looks pretty and well organized. It's like double spacing an essay for your professor: readability matters, even if the content of the writing is otherwise brilliant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
So how about we still kept the rule of not doing things with other player's characters but made it clear it was okay when you had the mutual agreement with someone - so only when both sides agreed? How to write that in a rules -section beats me though.
The way you have spelled it out is quite clear: you may not use another player's character unless you have express permission to do so, and unless you are willing to make changes at the character owner's behest.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:44 PM   #240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
"basic interaction with another player's character may include dialogue, but the other player may always ask for the dialogue to be revised, and if they feel their character has been played in an out-of-character manner, they can ask to have the entire post revised or removed. As a general rule, therefore, if you do not know another player and their character well, you should be careful not to have them say or do anything significant without having consulted the other player first."

I admit that's rather wordy...
The many words kind of reveal the "fact" behind them that we should have the rules - but like you say
Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
It's better to have strict rules with lax enforcement than lax rules.
What I think should be underlined is that the lax enforcement should be due to trust and general two-way feeling "breaking the rules" is okay for both parties involved (without this leave many games would stall badly). But writing that into a rule is something I find a bit problematic...
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