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Discuss New approach to OB RPGs? [E]


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This thought came to me just today, as I was thinking about roleplaying here at OtakuBoards. In the olden days, all the games worked practically as "create a character and post at will", i.e. the [B]traditional way[/B]. In the few past years a new system has arisen, kudos to the likes of James and Shy (although who did it first is kind of hard to tell...). It implemented pre-determined [B]chapters[/B] to RPGs, where the characters post in a specific order about very specific events.

Now that James's Hybrid Vigor is starting, we'll see what James means with his new franchise, [B]"freeflowing chapters"[/B]. I got the idea that James created this system as a compromise between the traditional system and chapters, which both have their own advantages and disanvantages.

But the reason I created this thread is to reintroduce yet another possible system that hasn't been used in an RPG (at least to my knowledge) since the collective Digipeeps project [url=http://www.otakuboards.com/showthread.php?t=12335&highlight=digimon+tamers][COLOR=red]Tamers: v2[/COLOR][/url], started up by Sara (but later dominated by me *evil laughter* and after that, Takuya).

The thread was much like modern RPGs, but with one big difference: there were no characters preset to specific players, all roles were fair game to all who wrote in. Sara had a nifty name for this style, but it escapes me now... *checks the thread* Oh yeah, [B]dynamic story[/B]. And boy, was there plenty of story included! Practically dozens of sideplots crisscrossed throughout the lifespan of the thread, until in the end everybody kind of lost the "big picture" along with motivation, and the thread died.

Now I want to ask you guys, what do you think about this type of roleplaying. What are it's pros and cons in your opinions? What does it require for a game to use this type of system? Would you be interested in doing a bit of experimentation with this thing?

I'd also like some overall discussion about the different systems, since they clearly divide people's opinions. [I]What's the future of OB roleplaying?[/I]
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[COLOR=Purple][SIZE=1]Personally, I believe that Dynamic Story, as you call it, is a good idea to have some experimentation with. I think that if you have a few people at least willing to do this, then it is definitely a fine idea. It would certainly add some "spice" to the rp storytelling methods we see. And as we all know, change is almost always good. We need the diversity. I think that it's good to have different kinds of roleplaying methods. I am all for experimenting with new ways.
I think that the freeflowing chapters idea is definitely interesting. I really like it, and plan to use it in one of my upcoming rps one day to see how I like it. The traditional way, I believe, is the average way right now, and there is really nothing wrong with it. I think that we do need to try new things though. [/SIZE] [/COLOR]
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[SIZE=1][COLOR=DarkRed]Yes change is good, but how much change is the question. Small things are okay, but when you bring in the big changes thats when problems arise. That's one of the things you need to be careful with when trying to bring in new styles of rping. Bring it one little by little instead of one big change.

To me freeflowing chapters is a good way to lead to confusion and get off track of the rp. I personally don't like it but who knows with some modifications it could become the next traditional way.[/COLOR][/SIZE]
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To me freeflowing chapters is a good way to lead to confusion and get off track of the rp. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/QUOTE]

How can you say that when Hybrid Vigor hasn't even started yet?! But yes, it may have it's risks, but I believe with just a right amount of management it will be a success. The main idea is to give players more liberty than chapter system, but at the same time keeping things in control with posting order.

I'm intrigued to be a part of that experiment...

Also, I just wanted to add to the discussion about [B]dynamic storytelling[/B] that I'm not sure if it can be done without predetermined characters that all the players know (Digimon Tamers: v2, for example, was a sequel with the same characters than in the original). What do you think? Can it be done with player-created characters?
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[COLOR=Navy][SIZE=1]I'll answer the latest question, Sandy.

I think that dynamic storytelling can be done with player-made characters, but only if there's a little management from the creator, and organization between the players.

Here's my idea, taken from Ezekiel's old RP baised on Naruto:

First, have sign-ups done as usual. Then, the creator posts who's accepted, what teams, factions, groups, locations, etc. they'll be in and whatever other info that's relevant to the RP.

After that, each player, baised on who's with who, etc, puts a new post in either the same thread, or the underground thread, their relations between characters and a basic example of how they would react to [i]each[/i] character...concentrating on the characters in their group/whatever, but also including all the other characters. This would be done via PMs, as well as random improvisations.

That way, everyone knows how the different characters would interact, and minimize any confusion. Also, to minimize confusion even further, the personality portion would be ~extreamly~ important, seeing as it shows the characters, well, personality. Adding a disposition area, a maybe a "stock" reaction area, in the sign-ups would help alot, as well.

Basically, alot of planning, and a good, well-thought sign-up would make it, or break it. I think the deciding factor is the sign-ups, but I guess it's really up to the creator how he or she wants to go through with it.

*gasps for air* Damn long-windedness...heh.

Anyways, you wanted oppinions? PUT THAT IN YER PIPE AN' SMOKE IT! haha...well, there's mine.

Who knows if this is the next step in the RP "evolution," but it's worth a shot, right?

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[SIZE=1]It's a good question, as one of the veritable dinosaurs of role-playing on OtakuBoards, I've frequently found myself cursing at the fact I can't seem to attract any players to my more recent RPGs. I genuinely don't understand why, but I suppose that's a question for another thread. I think the style of role-playing changes continuously over time, from the traditional, or first-come-first-post system that has been in play since the very beginning, to James' chapter system introduced in Kill Adam, to the free chapter or Episodic system introduced way back ages ago, well before Hybrid. I must admit I think Sara's Dynamic Storytelling style is a fascinating method of RPing and works very much like genuine multi-writer story writing.

Honestly I don't know which of the styles is genuinely the best, I think each have their pros and cons, and each work best in certain situations. Overall however I think the free chapter, or Episodic style has the edge in terms of versatility, as it combines the traditional with the chapter while losing neither of the two styles strengths. [/SIZE]
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[size=1]I was under the assumption that James' "new" system of this "dynamic story" really has existed for quite a while under different names. I know that I independently created freeflowing chapters, where the creator of the RPG sets an objective for the characters to reach before the chapter closes, so that the story has cohesiveness.

I still highly doubt that chapters will become the new way any time soon. OB has many more new RPers who gravitate towards the traditional ways, and I think the entire internet is the same way. I certainly prefer chapters, but different styles work for different RPs -- one isn't necessarily better than the other.

Sorry if I only rehashed other people's posts. To be honest, I didn't really read them.[/size]
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I think I'd enjoy an RPG in which each player would have one or two characters that they'd be solely responsible for, along with a cast of multiple characters who wouldn't be assigned to a particular player and could be used by anyone, so long as it made sense in the story. Or a player could eventually trade his personal character for one of the free agent characters, if he so desired.

I feel as if I just explained that idea in a way which made it seem a lot more complicated than it really is, but oh well. To put it more simply, it'd be a hybrid of the usual system and the dynamic story thing Sandy described.

I also like being told what to do. Go chapters!

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[font=franklin gothic medium]The freestyle chapter system is new in the sense that while there [i]are[/i] chapters, they are purely opt-in. So therefore, people can join the main spine of the story or they can largely ignore it and go their own way. That's the idea behind it anyway.

The idea mentioned in the original post has existed for a long time in OB Anthology, but nobody has made much use of it. If you go and look at my Return to Wonderland thread in OB Anthology, you will see an example of dynamic story. It has my own little spin on it (to keep it organized), but in that thread, [i]everyone[/i] essentially plays whatever character they want - it's less about "role-playing" and more about "collaborative storytelling".

I have tried to incorporate dynamic storytelling in projects in the past (the most obvious was Return to Wonderland), but it doesn't always work. Although there's a certain structure, it's a type of system that requires people to thoroughly read the thread and to basically think on their feet. It also demands that players are in-tune with each other to some extent; while it's good to have plot-twists and stuff, you obviously don't want a post that completely derails the entire story off its general intended course.

I think that a combination of systems is good. Some RPGs require chapters, some don't. The Maverick Hunter series [i]never[/i] used chapters, for example, yet it was always very cohesive and it moved along very well. This was because there were only a few participants who really read each other's posts and who tried to keep their posts in-tune with each other.

In terms of the future of OB RPGs...that's up to the players. Some things might change because of the way OB itself changes, but generally I think the only thing RPGs lack is imagination. Imagination is what will push them forward, both in terms of their concepts as well as their execution. For instance, Shy mentioned not long ago that we always use the default Linear Mode view for threads in RPGs. Why not try the Hybrid or Threaded Modes? These modes provide a potentially new structure for RPGs in the future, but nobody has ever attempted to use them. So as I said, we are still only really scratching the surface of what RPGs can do on OB - we aren't even fully utilizing the features that OB provides so far.

So there's plenty of room for change, improvement and experimentation, I'd say.[/font]
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[size=1]It's really interesting to see how far OtakuBoards' RPGs have evolved in general over the years, not only in format but in quality as well. There was once a time when almost every RP post was written in psuedo-script format, and it took a lot of experimentation to get us to where we are now.

Most RPGs read more like short stories than scripts, which has forced writers to spend more time on their posts, but cuts down the number of [i]overall[/i] posts quite a bit. There is a fine line between having an well-organized RPG and a dead one, so that's something anyone concerned about quality has to think about. I keep attempting to push the the comfort zone a little bit with each project I'm involved with. Everything from Hero to Legionnaires have had something new to offer, but they don't all succeed. It's more important for me to try something new, whether it be a spin-off blog, or multiple threads, or whatever.

Tamers v2.0 was a great little story, and in my own RPG posts I tend to focus on everyone's characters, as opposed to just my own. Part of the fun of Legionnaires for me so far has been thinking of missions and challenges that can tie into everyone's individual stories, and the larger overarching plot as a whole. Even in Kill Adam or Project Gamer I made it a point to include as many other characters as possible. It's more interesting for me to write that way, and I personally love it when someone writes using my own characters -- if I wanted to write a story only by myself I would, you know?

Moving on, I'd be more than willing to do something with dynamic storytelling, or new posting systems as a whole. The future of these RPGS is obviously up to the membership base as a whole. Although the chapter system may be critically acclaimed, it's the stuff that hardly seems to have any organization at all which keeps the forum active.

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[color=#555555][FONT=Tahoma]I'd rather have an RPG where the plot is very open-ended and I'm free to be as creative as I like (with restrictions). The whole chapter system just never caught my interest as I don't enjoy being told exactly what my character should be doing.

On that same note, however, I do like chapter RPG's when I'm not feeling original and can't think of anything to post. It gives me a great idea of what my post should be about and thus makes it easier to post in general.

All in all, I'd prefer something like the Freestyle Chapter System. Best of both worlds, really.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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  • 2 weeks later...
[quote name='Sandy]Also, I just wanted to add to the discussion about [B]dynamic storytelling[/B'] that I'm not sure if it can be done without predetermined characters that all the players know (Digimon Tamers: v2, for example, was a sequel with the same characters than in the original). What do you think? Can it be done with player-created characters?[/quote][color=#b0000b][size=1]I think it definitely can. It would be best with a smaller group?three to five people, probably, just so everyone can stay in tune with things.

Tamers v2 was really nice because even in a large grooup, everyone was on the same level--we all knew the main characters, were familiar with the universe and what sorts of strange things were likely to happen, and we had an entire world of pre-made characters to choose from if we needed a throwaway, a plot device, or even a character who unexpectedly because a huge part of the story. The shared knowledge base was intregral, because while the writers didn't necessarily know [i]each other[/i] well, they did know what they were writing about.[/size][/color]
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