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[color=#b0000b][size=1]If you had your druthers, what would your ultimate RPG be? What's the setting? What's the tone? What number of players, for you, would be perfect?

I'm not asking for your general preferences, here. I don't want to hear "anywhere from four to seven players, depending on who they are." I don't care if you're interested in "anything with a good story." I don't want a summary of your RPG history.

This isn't about what you'll [i]settle[/i] for.

This is about you?dreaming, designing, and describing your [i]perfect[/i] RPG.

Think about it?what's your the genre of your ideal game? Fantasy? Noir? Steampunk? Science Fiction? Normal fiction? Mafia? Horror? Mystery? Comedy? Post-apocalyptic? Dystopian? Parody?

What's the setting? Another planet? Ships in space? Feudal Japan? Feudal Europe? The Digital World? Meteo City? Island, labyrinth, haunted house, carnival, boarding school, the year 3100?

Who are the characters? Humans? Monsters? Mutants? Cyborgs? Animals? Anthros? Werewolves, vampires, zombies, pirates, smugglers, Egyptians, aliens, angels, demons, thieves, soldiers, assassins, a motley crew of travelers?

What is the goal? Revenge? Survival? Adventure? Escape? Saving the world?

What is the perfect number of people to tell this story? Why?

Is it fast-paced? Slow and easy? Chapter system? Is it linear? Are there flashbacks? Parallel stories?

Tell me. Be specific. Remember: this is [i]perfection[/i]. There are no grey areas.[/color][/size]
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I've been trying to create [I]my[/I] favorite type of RPG a few times, but it always falls down to other people not sharing my ideals for it - which is of course only natural.

My ultimate game would of course be influenced by Final Fantasy (gawd I'm such a pathetic fanboy!), sharing it's mythical elements of crystals, summons and color magic, and including references to the games.

The setting would be familiar from the games as well: part medieval, part advanced technology. It could very well be dystopian as well, like FF VII's Midgar. The world would be full of imaginative places, and all of us players would create it together as the story progressed.

The plot would be full of twists (I like 'em twists!) and it would deepen as the characters got more attention. It wouldn't center around just one main character, but all the player -created characters would have an equal part in the plot. I'd want the plot to break the barrier between good and evil, and step into the "grey zone", where the characters would be driven by other motives than just saving the world from the impending doom.

Now that I think of it, it wouldn't necessarily include an impending doom at all.

As for the players, I'd like to see six dedicated, active and creative people (all familiar with the FF-games, of course) join me in the adventure. I wouldn't be the sole person responsible for advancing the story, but all the players would courageously imput their own ideas to it.

The game would most definitely be linear with flashbacks of each character to deepen them. With all the twists included, I wouldn't describe the plot as one straight line, but rather a zig-zag of sorts.

The ending is always the problematic one. I wouldn't want the game to go on for too long, because eventually people will lose interest. The game should end right after it's peak, the climax of the story, so that everybody would have a great feeling left inside them for making this magnificent RPG together. ;D
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[size=3]Ooo, awesome. The ultimate RP. Well, for starters, it'd not be a "RPGame", but a "RPStory" (or just a �RP�). I want to have the feeling that we, the players, are writing one awesome and intriguing story together. The term RPG sounds more as if you�re just in the story to spend your time, instead of that you�re in it so you can work on that awesome and intriguing story. Woosh.

Okay, there�s a lot of different perfect RP�s in my book, but what I at least find important is that there�s not a low limit on sign-ups. All of the good writers get in. The bad ones don�t, unless they get some awesome training soon. What I�d ask for in the sign-ups would be mainly originality. No clich� characters, unless they�re [i]perfectly[/i] clich� and thereby add to the story. The more good players, the merrier. There�s no fun in having a small number of players in your RP, unless nobody else signs up and then you should just not close the sign-ups.

The setting may vary a lot per RP. I don�t have a precise setting that would be the ultimate setting. Just as long as it�s not one of those school RP�s. I can�t stand school RP�s. I want the setting to be exciting and have great possibilities. It shouldn�t be exactly based on the real world of 2007 either. There should be some twist, at least. Maybe a small alteration like a big nuclear war that�s scorched the whole planet except for Australia. Who knows?

What I do know for sure is that I absolutely adore epic situations and such. There should be a major climax somewhere in the RP. A climax that makes even the players themselves go �woooow�. This climax should come along with a story that makes the players [i]want[/i] to write and read posts. That they sit at their desks at school waiting for the bell to ring so that they can go home and check on the RP. Enthusiasm from both the starter and the participants is key to a great RP.

Right now I�m thinking of creating a massive steam punk influenced RP that plays in the future of this world. Thus, it�s still based on a bit of realism. It�d involve settings that, after actually making up the story, reminded me a tiny bit of Final Fantasy VII. There would probably be no post order or anything in this story.

At the same time I�m thinking over the possibilities of having the OtakuBoards community rewrite great plays like [i]Romeo and Juliet[/i]. Each participant would have their very own style of rewriting it (comedic, sci-fi, fantasy, present, etc. Anything [i]but[/i] the original style, which only the storyteller will use) and here counts the: �the most original get in�-rule. This would probably need a chapter system to work things out well. Or well, in this case it�d be an �Act� system. It�s not really an RP, but it does belong in the same line.

As you can see, these ideas don�t look anything like each other, but both are incredibly appealing to me. The first one because it probably will have incredible clich�s, but it�d also involve anarchism and all sorts of mind games. The second idea because I think it�d be original and lot�s of fun to create it. Therefore it�s sort of hard to actually what the ultimate RP would look like, but I�ve got enough points that I�ll look at.

I like stories of RPs when they run deep and are detailed. A story developing is one of the most awesome thing � if not [i]the[/i] most awesome thing � about writing, reading and such.

Euh, and now I�m losing track of myself. Well, if I think of anything else to write, I�ll edit this post. Great idea to post this thread. It might prove very useful for future RPs.[/size] Edited by Boo
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  • 2 months later...
[QUOTE=Sandy]I've been trying to create [I]my[/I] favorite type of RPG a few times, but it always falls down to other people not sharing my ideals for it - which is of course only natural.

The ending is always the problematic one. I wouldn't want the game to go on for too long, because eventually people will lose interest. The game should end right after it's peak, the climax of the story, so that everybody would have a great feeling left inside them for making this magnificent RPG together. ;D[/QUOTE][color=#b0000b][size=1][b]What do you think is the best way to end an RPG?[/b] When you create a game, do you usually have the ending (in some form) in mind from the beginning, or do you just create a setting and let the characters themselves define the goals and outcome of things/

This is something I'm really interested in, because it seems like something a lot of creators/players have problems with. If you define an end goal at the beginning, I think you lose a lot of creative input from the players (especially in recent years, when it seems like creators have been taking much more control over the stories). If you [i]don't[/i] specify a goal, though, you risk getting bogged down and lost along the way.

Maybe the best way to finish after you [i]reach[/i] a climax is simply to allow every player one or two "wrap up" posts and then call the whole thing done. [b]But how do you get to the climax in the first place? Do you think it's something that [i]should[/i] be defined from the get-go by the creator, or is it something that the players should collaborate and agree on?[/b][/color][/size]
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[COLOR=DarkOrange]I only settle for perfection, and that's what I've been going for with my latest 2 rps. First of all, the entire system of the death-card game series is by far my favorite out there (thanks you [B]Sandy[/B]) so I consider it perfection. Working the kinks out of the system is difficult, but I'm sure the perfect death-card game will appear at some point (my turn is already over, but I least I got things to be more experimental.)

For me, the perfect rp in this system would have 8 players who have 3 characters each. All would have to be good posters of course, and there'd have to be a good amount of boogie people (such as [B]Allamorph [/B] of [B]Indifference [/B] ^_~) Really, I could just point over at the [B]Panopticon [/B] - other than a few failures of my own in trying to make the system work, it really is perfect in my eyes.

And for my second idea, I'm already starting it up in [B]Esper Jam[/B]. I'm a huge fan of the genre of slice-of-life where basically you live your everyday life - but I also want to make that life freakishly abnormal. A school-like setting is always nice because it creates a thorough community - but I want these people to all be equal unlike a school - it's a more democratic environment.

As for the players, this time all of them must absolutely be good and extremely creative. Creating this sort of team is not easy in the slightest, but the only way I could get my intentions to prevail is like this. They say great minds think alike, and from my rp experience, the most creative people always seem to know exactly what to do in the coolest way.

Naturally, my characters have to have special powers since I'm toying in the ethereal here. I've always hated the classic X-men moveset though - I want my characters to be able to bend reality itself to their very whim. Naturally, there's a chain-of-command for this sort of thing - I can't have the word exploding every five minutes or something, which is why the characters start out weak and as their powers mature, so do their personalities.

As for my place in all this -- naturally I'll be an uber god-mod, since that happens to be my specialty. My character has to be near to omnipresence, and yet keep away from the affairs of the group. This isn't easy to do - like in the Panopticon where I messed up by interfering with the characters. If you're going to be god-like you must be like god himself - creating where necessary and leaving the rest to human will. So my god-mod character will only serve to be informant - like Postino from King of Bandits Jing who seems to be everywhere at once dropping little parcels of information.

I think I'd like to have 6 characters. Too little and you have to deal with faults in group dynamics, too many and you loose yourself. It would be 7 including myself, but for the most part I want to see their escapades. My duty would only be to create the environment, which brings me to another key in my rp.

The environment must change a lot, but still have a base of operations to return to. the very nature of my rp is to make it feel like life, not like an adventure. There would be journeys into entirely other worlds, but there would be returns, too. Anyone who's seen [B]the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy [/B] can tell you what I mean.

this is where the school-like setting comes in handy again because there are always trips for learning and stuff. One of my biggest influences with Esper Jam was the game [B]Psychonauts[/B]. i feel this game pulled off the school-like system almost perfectly. At first it's a sort of everyday life situation as you learn the ropes with missions thrown in. In Psychonauts, you take a journey into the mind of the camp counselor, you thoroughly explore the camp, you find out all sorts of interesting things about the environment. that's my ideal first chapter for an rp.

Also like psychonauts, I want things to build into a story where something starts to unfold and your characters become a part of it. I don't want it to be the whole six-man-group that runs into battle, talks, rinse, repeat, though. Different characters would have different roles - someone might get kidnapped by the bad guys, someone might end up in a coma where they start traversing the astral plane with their mind - anything can happen!

Of course, the ending would have to be flashy and epic. Whether an ultimate sacrifice would be involved is beyond my knowledge at this time, but i know there would have to be a definitive final boss and the sort of explosion that always follows. Each survivor would of course get their own little afterward.[/COLOR]
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[size=1]My vision for an 'ultimate' RPG is something that changes with every new project that I do. At the time I thought things like 'hero' and 'Vignette' were the most I could ever possibly want to do, and then down the line I ended up creating something else entirely. At the moment I'm leaning towards doing something fantasy-based. Let me try to elaborate.

The genre for this would most definitely be fantasy, but would contain a lot of elements of science-fiction, steampunk and history as well. My story would take place at the dawn of the 20th Century in a dystopian vision of New York inspired by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis.' This is a city where submarine voyages, journeys to the Moon and machine men are not only possible, but happen on a regular basis. Anything can (and does) happen. I only hope that the world within the RPG captures the sense of adventure and freedom that writing and films from this period did.

Having said that, New York is a very dark place. Crime, poverty and disease run rampant throughout the city, and everything is seemingly run by a corrupt ruling class of the rich and powerful elite. This is no place for a poor child, but as luck would have it that is what our story centers around.

This is the simple story of a young boy, his dog, and their journey to find a family for themselves in this crazy world. Along the way they would make new friends, explore the city of New York, and perhaps stop an invasion from Mars. The other characters would be the diverse and eccentric friends our main character makes along the way.

While the story would have a lot of dark themes and ideas in it, I definitely want an [E] rating for this project. I don't think that an [E] rating neccessarily means 'Care Bears.' The Narnia and Oz stories can be very dark at times, but are something that people of all ages can enjoy.

While this is a very straightforward story, there would be a lot of room for exploration and creative freedom by the players. I want an RPG where players don't feel confined by the story, and genuinely want to post and contribute. The pace would probably be slow, since I imagine players might want to put a little more thought and effort into their posts than they might normally.

I would choose the number of players based off of the quality of my sign-ups, but I doubt I would have more than five or six active players at any given time. The story would most likely be broken up into three self-contained sections, and each section would have a different sign-up and thread.

So um, that's it.

-Shy[/size]
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[quote name='Boo][size=1']Ooo, awesome. The ultimate RP. Well, for starters, it'd not be a "RPGame", but a "RPStory" (or just a ?RP?). I want to have the feeling that we, the players, are writing one awesome and intriguing story together. The term RPG sounds more as if you?re just in the story to spend your time, instead of that you?re in it so you can work on that awesome and intriguing story. Woosh. [/size][/quote][color=#b0000b]Heh, yeah. I tried to get the term "dynamic story" to catch on, but it never really stuck.[/color]

[quote name='Boo][size=1]Okay, there?s a lot of different perfect RP?s in my book, but what I at least find important is that [b]there?s not a low limit on sign-ups. All of the good writers get in. [/b']The bad ones don?t, unless they get some awesome training soon. [/size][/quote][color=#b0000b]I know in the early days of the board, you were automatically "in" just by posting a sign-up; there often weren't seperate sign-up threads, and your first post was just giving all the stats on your character before the story started. Of course, a lot of people were weeded out simply because they didn't post?you signed up for anything and everything that looked interesting, but most people probably ended up focusing on no more than four stories at a time.

I think, over more than six or so characters, I have a hard time keeping track of who people are and what they're doing, especially when everyone is in one big group. Breaking the story up into two or more settings helps that, but there needs to be a way for the two (or more) groups to interact.[/color]

[quote name='Boo][size=1]What I do know for sure is that I absolutely adore epic situations and such. There should be a major climax somewhere in the RP. A climax that makes even the players themselves go ?woooow?. This climax should come along with a story that makes the players [i]want[/i'] to write and read posts. That they sit at their desks at school waiting for the bell to ring so that they can go home and check on the RP. Enthusiasm from both the starter and the participants is key to a great RP. [/size][/quote][color=#b0000b]Haha, yeah. That's just a great feeling. I love it when I've found something to [i]really[/i] be excited about in a story. What do you think is the best way to get that kind of intensity? Is it something that should be planned by the creator beforehand, or should all the players collectively make it up and build toward it as the story progresses?[/color]
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[QUOTE=Sara]

[color=#b0000b]Haha, yeah. That's just a great feeling. I love it when I've found something to [i]really[/i] be excited about in a story. What do you think is the best way to get that kind of intensity? Is it something that should be planned by the creator beforehand, or should all the players collectively make it up and build toward it as the story progresses?[/color][/QUOTE]
[color=darkred][size=1]

To have a concept that makes me excited personally, it'd have to do something new and original, something undone before that really freshens up things in style and story.

I remember a less successful RP, [b]Hybrid Vigor[/b], which despite it's failing, had me very excited to be a part of it. Usually, I can tell when an RPG is new and original when I am enjoying writing the actual sign up process as much as I am posting in the actual RP. It helps to create that feeling of enjoyment and excitement when someone uses deep originality in either they story line it's self (alá [b]Hybrid Vigor[/b]) or has originality in the way the story is told (the still premature [b]Bounty[/b] series by myself and DW).

In recent times, I've tried to keep those factors in mind in creating a new RP. I guess those are key.[/color][/size]
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[QUOTE=Sara][color=#b0000b]I know in the early days of the board, you were automatically "in" just by posting a sign-up; there often weren't seperate sign-up threads, and your first post was just giving all the stats on your character before the story started. Of course, a lot of people were weeded out simply because they didn't post?you signed up for anything and everything that looked interesting, but most people probably ended up focusing on no more than four stories at a time

I think, over more than six or so characters, I have a hard time keeping track of who people are and what they're doing, especially when everyone is in one big group. Breaking the story up into two or more settings helps that, but there needs to be a way for the two (or more) groups to interact.[/color][/quote][size=1]Yeah, my wording wasn't quite perfect. :x

I remember those times quite clearly and know of myself that I sometimes even joined ... dynamic stories, that I later forgot all about. The kind of sign-ups I'd want in my story would be the sign-ups that have effort put into them. Outstanding and original sign-ups, so the characters are fun to follow.

I know of myself that I easily lose track of a dynamic story (I'm intergrating the term in my head, so I'll be using it a lot in the future) if it doesn't keep my attention. I often end up ... just not posting, if I read at all. For example when people start seperate stories within the main story, I'm not too fond of that. A lot of the time, those seperate stories are just not interesting for someone who's not in them. But I hate to have a small limit (I consider anything below 7, at least, small) on players because I don't want the story to go too slow. It has to push itself, I don't want it to be dragged by six people, who eventually might just give up (one by one, or all together).

But yeah... Good, original, interesting character sign-ups are key in my eyes. If the seperate characters can keep my attention, the story can. If someone posts with a standard character, I couldn't care less and tend to ignore the post.

What happened a lot in the past, when I played in dynamic stories, was that I let my imagination run free on people's characters. I'd get to make up and get to know them myself, as I couldn't tell much of the sign-up with it's lack of detail. :P[/size]

[quote name='Sara][color=#b0000b]Haha, yeah. That's just a great feeling. I love it when I've found something to [i]really[/i'] be excited about in a story. What do you think is the best way to get that kind of intensity? Is it something that should be planned by the creator beforehand, or should all the players collectively make it up and build toward it as the story progresses?[/color][/quote][size=1]I'll get back to you at this, I need to run. I'll also check my post again, because I rushed it a bit. :p[/size]
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I think that my favorite RPGs have always been slightly epic in some form or another, and those are the stories that I always love the most, too. It's like Zelda and Final Fantasy - huge adventures stories with a bunch of little subplots and cameo characters, and a cast that you really grow to adore. I love big ideas. The problem is always the execution of these things, and as a creator that's where things get iffy for me. Too much control over a story really limits the creativity of the players, which I hate, but too little results in a bunch of posts that go nowhere. I often don't know how to tread that thin line, which is why I like signing up for RPGs more than creating them.

I've wanted to try to create a story with one or two other people in such a way that we outline a lot of what we want to happen, major ideas and plots and so forth, before we actually start writing. It would take a lot of brainstorming before hand, but I think that once the project actually begins it might really benefit the progress of the RPG. Those two or three major players would have a firm grasp on a very general story line, and then from there other people can sign-up and create characters to fit the story. They would form a kind of supporting cast, I guess, but through their characters and their actions they would create subplots and help add details to the broader picture.

I don't know how to end it, though, which I guess is very common since it's already been mentioned. I'd hate to outline a story completely, right down to who dies and who kills who and who gets the girl because I don't think it would be nearly as fun to be a part of. But I also think that you should have some feeling of what will eventually happen.

I guess that's the nature of story-telling, though. You begin with one idea and then through the course of the story, it changes and the plot directs itself accordingly. It's an aspect of story-telling that I love, so in the end a perfect RPG is a flexible one, as well.
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[color=#606060]For me the best kind of RPG is one that is very much in the hands of each writer but where there is a general understanding of where the plot will go (I do [i]really[/i] prefer the term "dynamic stories" - RPG is an old-fashioned term that covers something we used to do but don't anymore).

What I mean is, a lot of RPGs are written where players are in their own vaccuum. Their characters interact now and then but for the most part, everyone is almost writing a different story. My favourite RPGs - and my ideal RPG - are the ones where each person contributes equally (where each person is capable of surprising the others with new revelations and so on), but where everyone is "on the same page" - not in a particularly obvious way, but in generally understanding the RPG's universe and building off each other's posts.

What I really love is when I post something and someone takes an element of my post and expands on it in their own way - it might be something I hadn't even thought of. It makes you feel like your posts are all really tied together; that you are [i]truly[/i] in the same world. Few RPGs seem to achieve this in a significant way.

In terms of an ending...I think that an ending should happen naturally. By this I mean, you may all have a very vague idea of how the story may end, but it's about the journey and not the destination. The [i]way[/i] the story ends and what leads up to that point can be a total mystery - it's more fun that way. And that's the whole point of building a dynamic story in the first place, I guess.

Also I think it's good to end an RPG at the right time, rather than just continually posting without any point. I mean, it's better to end an RPG when it's still fun and where you can tie up most of the story (or the key points) and then still have some leftover material for the future. I like that idea. It means you have a cohesive story that anyone can read but it also means that you have a lot of material to build on in the future.

As far as my ideal RPG goes, I suppose what I've said above are elements of what I'd ideally want to see. In terms of setting? I don't really know. I have to say that my tastes as far as setting and characters change constantly.

But for me the perfect RPG is more about those elements I described above - the things that make the universe feel cohesive, where everyone is incredibly absorbed in each other's characters. I think that when you are eager to read posts by other participants, you know you have a really fun RPG. If reading other posts is a chore or annoying...then that's probably a sign the RPG is less than ideal.

At the moment I have some RPG ideas that I really want to make happen but they are hard to convey - I feel I'd almost need images to do this. If these ideas could "work", I think they would end up being my favourite RPGs. I've shared a lot of ideas with Shy and Sandy lately and some of those ideas would make brilliant RPGs if done properly.

I think Hybrid Vigor could have been my own personal "ultimate" RPG but it wasn't quite planned properly. It didn't need an Underground thread as such - it should have done without Revelations/Artifacts and so on, that stuff just convoluted the whole experience. I don't know if I'd do another attempt at it, but the entire concept was one of my favourites back when Rico was involved.

[b]Edit:[/b] Recently I saw Fantastic Four and I started thinking about my own type of superhero RPG where the superheroes would basically come to work at an office - it would be a corporation/company that would hire and fire superheroes. They'd have advertising deals and things like that. It would be like a superhero in the real world type of situation.

Unfortunately this idea has been used before in various ways - though none I've personally liked. [/color]
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[SIZE=1] I just recently relaunched Project: Liberation Transmission but no one had really signed up for it.

The setting was all over the world, the tone was pretty much an uphill struggle type thing, basically I took the plot of Half Life II and retweaked it to fit in with the [URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_coffee][B][U] hot coffee[/U][/B][/URL] mould that was the basis of the entire thing in first place, and it turned the controversy into dystopian / post apocalyptic thing.

There were to be at least seven characters [including myself] then I realized that seven was too many so [the next time I plan to reopen it] I'd cut it down to five, and when I asked for people to sign up, I wanted not only firearms and wits to be used to fight back, so I gave them the choice of being vampires, werewolves, telepaths, demons, angels, Halflings and whatever our minds could have come up with.

For my Rp to work out the way I want it to, I wanted them [the players] to actually discover that they have the right of saying something, and putting it into action, cos I was sick of hearing that someone no favoured won an election cos no one did anything about it.

It was also planned to be a multi chaptered story, with new villains, allies and some parallels to a managa that I am in the process of writing, along with massive plot twists and alot of " [B][U]HOLY [I] CRAP[/I], I JUST DID NOT BELIVE THAT HAPPENED[/B][/U]" type of moments.

In the end, I guess only a few [by a few I mean only one other person] OB'ers is interested in a dark [and violent] satire about politics.[/SIZE]
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[quote name='Felix Santiago'][SIZE=1]The best RPG, I think, would be an RPG about [b]Bloc Party[/b], with [b]Bloc Party[/b] music on every page. It could be called [b]Silent Alarm[/b], for example.[/SIZE][/QUOTE]
[size=1]You don't say?

Seriously now, as soon as I saw the title of your RP I thought 'Lost Prophets', so I was frightened already. But the given storyline wasn't really drawing my attention either. Perhaps if you would've brought your story differently, more people would've joined, just an idea. Besides, was it meant to be dark and violent or was it meant to be a comedy? Or all three?

Of course a good given storyline is very important for the Ultimate RPG. :P[/size]
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[SIZE=1] I've seen my storyline, and, I was like: wow. it's weird, no wonder no one liked it. so I have no plans to reopen it, or start a new one period.

oh, Boo, by the way, I'm working on two new projects, the first half: [B][U] Project: Silent Alarm[/B][/U] and no, it wont be a rp.

and on the lost half of my post: I honestly have no clue where it came from. [was I on something?][/SIZE]
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[size="1"][FONT="Trebuchet MS"]
I'm simply going to say I agree with James' statements in his post, rather than repeating him. Let me just say that, to a writer, having your work fluidly expanded upon...such things can only be described as [i]delicious[/i].

I've always had issues with creating the perfect RPG. Anyone who is familiar with my writing styles of yesteryear [don't look, trust me if you value your eyes] will probably understand now why I seek for near perfection in plot, character development and good, solid, posts.

My perfect RPG would be one that actually [i]gets finished[/i].

Jokes aside, I feel that my perfect RPG would be one that is truly inspired by the reality I live in. I generally incorporate some aspect of my life into every story that I have ever suggested or toyed with. SYF is the earliest example of this, being initially inspired by the children's move [b]Spy Kids[/b], and a bizarre thought that lead to me conceptualise it in an appropriate reality. Obviously at the time of SYF1, I was still in the "liek I totally shoots mah gun and this is cool I love haveing teen hormones and things go boom" age, but I can still pinpoint that RPG as the start of what because ultimately more serious.

As SYF developed and was reincarnated, I put in nods to current affairs and world issues, the story evolved and people worked with it beautifully. [An example of this was a reference in SYF3, a mention of an Australian Defence Force budget deficit of AU$400, no-one knew where the money went. Fun.]

[URL="http://www.otakuboards.com/showthread.php?t=52188"][b]Peace Hangs Them[/b][/URL] was inspired by current affairs yet again, this time via my Human Rights and Ethics Class, as was [URL="http://www.otakuboards.com/showthread.php?t=55825"][b]One Per Minute [/b][/URL].

My point is, I like to take things that really hit home to me and expand that snapshot to show the emotions and attitudes of those trying to survive through trying times. I've learned now that you don't need an end of the world situation to explore the fragilities of human emotion and psyche. I mean, it depends on the skills of a writer to keep an audience interested in the growth of a character. I have found a niche in the realm of what I give the general RPG realm of "Guns." Things explode, people get threatened, but it's all getting toned down. Espionage is my thing and political undertones are starting to become my medium.

My ultimate RPG is a brainchild that has been floating around inside of my head for quite a while now. Like most fathers, I really don't want to let other people work on my baby, so it'll probably stay in my head for a long time. [A number of other RPG's I have done, notably a techno-fantasy, are being written up privately for my own amusement simply because the story could not be contained]. Basically I was musing over the events in Iraq and the accusations flying about on the subject of unlawful imprisonment, torture, and terrorism. My contribution [or rather, my interpretation] of such events, was to develop an RPG revolving around the capture of an individual in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I had planned for an Iraqi taxi driver to be called in to pick up a passenger in the Baghdad Green-Zone, only to park directly opposite a bombing attempt. Eye-witnesses show him to be making a call at the precise moment a bomb was remotely detonated in the lobby of a hotel frequented by international journalists. A snatch-and-grab wolf hunt follows where the unfortunate gentleman finds himself in the hands of the US military and subsequently treated as a "known terrorist." Players would take the role of journalists, family, military personnel, etc, all expanding on this man's new life.

Depending on the players, this man could be found guilty or innocent, despite or proved by evidence that comes forward. I'd personally find it to be an interesting psychological exercise on the players, where the OBer's knowledge or beliefs could very well undermine the role they have to play in the saga. There would definitely be high potential for clashes of ideals and risk for hearsay and rumour to become fact.

Personally I would choose to write the Iraqi Taxi driver's development, physical and emotional trauma coupled with harsh treatment and the ultimate of mistaken identity, with 100% potential for never having a life again...writing the scapegoat or saviour would be definitely a powerful and moving experience for me.

I'm a research type of person who would most probably [to get this done properly] get in touch with those afflicted by similar situations, or find autobiographies of similar experiences. Truth and falsities wouldn't really matter as the RPG is being forged from people's perspective.

Of course, with huge potential for something to be amazing, there's also huge potential for it to explode into something childish or off topic...

Hence why I lock it all away upstairs...

[/FONT][/size]
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  • 4 years later...
[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif]I like this thread. I just don't like that I have to ctrl+scroll to read stuff, but still. I find this thread fascinating.

[b]DYNAMIC STORIES[/b]. I still think that's an amazing name to describe what I think would be the ultimate "rpgs". My opinion has only slightly changed over the last five years. I still think the Ultimate Dynamic Story would have the best writers working on it, and I will want to quote the line by LiamC (omfg, old times) "Let me just say that, to a writer, having your work fluidly expanded upon...such things can only be described as [i]delicious[/i]." This is so amazingly true. I think the best feeling in the world is to be utterly impressed by something, and it's even more delicious if you are utterly impressed by what others can do with [i]your [/i]work. However, hardly anything sucks more for a writer than having [i]your[/i] work, your blisters, sweat and tears, be butchered by a next person who picks up your character or story completely wrongly, and messes your thing up.

So [i]best writers[/i] does not necessarily refer to your control of grammar or spelling (though it helps), but mainly on your creative input and empathetic ability to feel the story and characters and help guide them to a story of amazingness. Unless the right click is there, I will either not want to participate in the story at all, or at the most have a mainly individual story thing going on, the kind stories such as Korey's [b]Otaku Sin City [/b]allowed.

I have learned as well over time that the [i]epic climax [/i]I was preferably looking for in my old post is not necessarily epic in the regular sense, that it is big or anything. Epic climaxes can very well be tiny, even purely psychological, or a single small gesture.

One thing I have noticed I do not enjoy at all in [b]DYNAMIC STORIES[/b] is when the one who started the thing wants ultimate control over where the story's headed, unless they run the story by the rest of the crew, but that would make it a democratic thing after all. It pisses me off at several levels when people say "This is a bit of the story, but the rest is in my head and you will find out what happens during the story." The best thing that can happen is a collaborate flow of creative energies and stuff, not some steered thing when people who join can just show off their writing skills, but have no control whatsoever over any bit of the story except for the character background. That's even less than an RPG. I joined an RP like that this year and did not enjoy the lack of freedom at all, even though the setting, the world, of the RP was inspiring.

so yeah. I think a way to prevent yourself from being a control freak over your [b]DYNAMIC STORIES[/b] would be to not use a story that you have already completely cooked up for everyone in your head, preferably one without given characters that you thought up, and only a hunch of where you want to lead the story. HOWEVER, some people can have huge ideas already and still be chill about what people do to their stories. I think it's a lot easier when you feel the story is in good hands anyway. Hence the [i]best writers[/i] part.

Other people who posted here still active enough to reflect? Any others? Plz. I have picked up writing again and would very much like to know people's thoughts and experiences, and maybe we'll even create some amazing new story as a result of this. [/font] Edited by Boo
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[quote name='Boo' timestamp='1337610456' post='711840'][font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif]Other people who posted here still active enough to reflect? Any others? Plz. I have picked up writing again and would very much like to know people's thoughts and experiences, and maybe we'll even create some amazing new story as a result of this. [/font]
[/quote]
Anything for my Lady Shy. Always.

Over the years I have leaned more on structure and pre-planning the story than not. For me, I think that shows my insecurities as a writer, and a fear of my core idea for the story becoming transformed by someone else's vision. Almagest worked because Sandy and I had a very clear vision for the world we wanted to create, and we were more interested in the major overarching story of Czenovia than the personal stories of those living there. We didn't care a lot about the individual characters, and aside from the important NPCs we had created we had no clear vision for what role everyone would play in the story. This gave the other writers some freedom to tell more personal stories against an epic backdrop, which was really ******* cool. At the end it all tied together pretty nicely, and I thought we had such a well-oiled machine running that we could do Almagest stories indefinitely. That [i]was[/i] my ultimate RPG.

The issue with the sequel RPG is that we overplanned things too much. Players weren't given the same freedom to go where they wanted in the story, because the story hinged on collecting these plot devices that were located in unusual fantasy locales. This turned off players, and killed interest. If we were to revisit Almagest, it would be very important to give every writer back the freedom to do whatever the heck they wanted.

In Ye Olden OB days the RPGs all had the same central premise: You are a dude or dudette with powers in some fantasy locale and you explore the city/fight one another until you get bored and sign-up for something else. A lot of us hated that and we made a point that our own RPGs would be idea-driven and have a defined endpoint. There isn't the same spirit of collaboration when you are force other people to write about your own ideas. The plotting is tighter, sure, but they're also lacking any fun and spontaneity.

The fear of having your ideas trampled over by the next post is also intense, though. Most of the 'work' I do in these stories is communicating with the other writers and trying to figure out where everything is going. That allows me to create threads between the work of others and give the story a better sense of cohesion. It's great to have that in a collaborative story, but if my effort is put towards supporting the posts of others I never get to chance to introduce my own ideas. Shrug.

- Shy
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... I thought the Almagest was just one thing that went on for too long, but the latest one is a sequel? Wow.

What would you do differently next time to hand back the freedom? And would you give more or less freedom still than the first episode? Edited by Boo
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[quote name='Boo' timestamp='1337808616' post='711864']What would you do differently next time to hand back the freedom? And would you give more or less freedom still than the first episode?[/quote]
I would be more careful about when I exerted control over the story, I suppose. In the case of Almagest Expedition, I should have given the returning players more freedom to tell the kinds of stories they wanted with the characters they had previously created. A lot of the time I would contact players to get an idea of what they had in mind for a story, but there was only so much leeway when [i]my[/i] story demanded that everyone hop into an airship and go on a treasure hunt around the globe.

I think writers want to know there is a strong central idea behind an RPG before joining. If your sign-up is too vague on the plot points then the initial posts always seem to suffer. Conversely you don't want to have everything planned out in complete detail because you're denying the other writers a chance to make their mark on the story. The structure of Almagest worked the first time because Sandy and I wrote about the major events happening in the world, while everyone else was free to interpret how those events impacted their own characters (if they did at all.)

Someone needs to steer the ship, but that doesn't mean everyone needs to be rowing at the same time?

- Shy
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[quote name='Shy' timestamp='1337880346' post='711870']
I think writers want to know there is a strong central idea behind an RPG before joining. If your sign-up is too vague on the plot points then the initial posts always seem to suffer. Conversely you don't want to have everything planned out in complete detail because you're denying the other writers a chance to make their mark on the story. [...]

Someone needs to steer the ship, but that doesn't mean everyone needs to be rowing at the same time?[/quote]I think that's all pretty much true for most people, 'cept those who do not like it when others are in control too much.

Different topic altogether. How long do you usually take to write a [b]DYNAMIC STORY[/b] post? And a thread? I remember quite vividly how my last posts in all [b]DYNAMIC STORIES [/b]I was in probably took me a few hours, even when the post was tiny. Writing my opening post for Bomber in Oceanus was great because I tuned the writing exactly to the song and my own reading speed, and then I needed a background picture that would fit exactly, so I needed to tune that too. Lots of tuning. I like tuning. I had a character that inspired me, and a concept I loved. Combination of music and kick-ass. The only problem is that after that first post, I could not think of something quite as epic, so I wanted to start from 0 again to give me some time for a next big music break, but for some reason all anyone could come up with was that we were under attack constantly, lololololol. I feel like continuing that now.
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Yeah, I was really disappointed with my first post in Oceanus. I'm Action posts work best with music, which is probably why we kept getting attacked so often. I figured the strength of concept of the RPG would be enough to justify me posting, but I kept getting writer's block. There are two or three half-finished posts for Oceanus... I'm sure I'll get around to finishing them when I feel inspired.

To answer your question about how long it takes to write posts, that varies wildly with me. Some posts sit on word documents for months or years before I end up posting them. Kill Adam is an RPG that James and I still continue to post in periodically (although I believe that the recent software changes ended up wrecking all of the elaborate formatting we did on those posts.) Other posts I pop out in an hour. Some stories are much easier to tell than others, but I do notice that the more I write the easier it is to writer. It's definitely a muscle that needs to be exercised now and again.

- Shy
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[font=palatino linotype]For me, the biggest issue I've had with RPGs has also been a symptom of an element that I always prefer - freedom, and true dynamic storytelling.

Ideally, there should be some basic structure and direction for the sake of consistency and ease, but the best RPGs (I think) are the ones that take unpredictable turns because people are individually moulding the plot and it progresses very organically. I really like it when that works out well.

But there's a big down-side with that - as the RPG progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to follow. An increasing number of tangents develop. Characters start to spread out, and more and more parallel events begin to occur. And then, eventually, the writers have to start sitting down and taking stock about which character is doing what and what the chronology really is. It can get very unwieldy and messy.

I think that many of us have tried to find ways to solve this, like using the chapter system, where you set a "milestone" which has key parameters and then the writers fill in the blanks. That can work, but getting the balance right is mostly a matter of luck and context.

Personally, I prefer RPGs to have less central planning. But how do you effectively track everyone's whereabouts and the chronology of events?

What used to happen to me is that if I didn't post for a few days, maybe half a dozen big posts would appear and I'd have to not only read them all (which is fine), but I'd have to also try to work out where everything is at before I begin writing my reply. It can get so onerous that when you write a post, you have to really go through and edit it a few times to make sure that it doesn't contradict what others have written.

So I'm not sure how you get around that problem without having [i]some[/i] type of structure or rule to keep things relatively tidy. I remember that years ago, a lot of RPGs died for this very reason - they just grew out of proportion and were spread all over the place. It became really difficult to manage.[/font]
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[font=Calibri]I confess I find myself somewhat puzzled at the latest posts in this thread. Not so much in the way of content, really, but rather how it seems as if there seems to be a continual focus on the more negative aspects of these stories. (I hesitate to call them "role-playing games" because the better ones focus not so much on a single player playing a single role, but portraying multiple roles continuously and consistently in tandem with other players, and thus become less game and more story.) Like, I don't see much in the way of answering the question [i]"What makes a good RPG?"[/i] as much as I see examples of how good stories can run aground.

Which, to be fair, is still due consideration. You can't really learn from success, except in a general sense, but failure grants you the opportunity to find poor choices or bad circumstances and make adjustments for next time. But I think saying only that making a good community-driven story is difficult and leaving it at that sells the discussion rather a bit short.

I also see a lot of dancing around a tenent on which it seems we all agree, but which no one really wants to come out and say. So here's my best summary: [i]a good RPG requires careful balance[/i].

Obviously a story won't work if everyone is granted [i]carte blanch[/i][i]e[/i] to write as they please, with only the setting and scenery as guidelines. There exists then almost an infinite potential for sheer unbounded creativity, and as a writer that's really enticing, but such endeavors quickly degenerate into a big steaming mess, as [color=DarkRed]Shy[/color] previously noted. And then the participants get bored with their sandbox and move to the next one, and the cycle restarts. But this extreme is at least entertaining while it lasts; the other, where the leader offers players no creative freedom as he tells his story, essentially using their characters as premade imaginary friends for his own creation, is arguably worse. No one wants to be part of a story where they're constantly told that they don't know their own creation as well as someone else and are denied input on the matter at all.

So the issue becomes one of balance. Without any sort of leadership or direction, a story like this can't survive. But in the immortal words of Leia Organa, "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

And this is where everyone seems to be content to stop. We all seem to understand the basic problem, but we don't appear all that eager to proffer any possible solutions. For my own part, since being here I have been a player in both successes and failures, and I have been a leader in both successes and failures. So I'll try to disseminate what I can.

As I see it, a good, successful story [i]requires[/i] leadership. Not necessarily a strong oneâ??in fact, I think it might be a mistake to think of it in terms of firmness or laxness at all, but rather in terms of [i]presence[/i], or involvement. A story leader must, I feel, be able to provide direction, so that all that chaotic creativity has some common goals on which to focus, and they must be able to make this direction enticing. I mean, point somebody at a garbage heap and tell them to have at it, and they're most likely not going to go anywhere [i]near[/i] it unless they think there's a pile of ******* diamonds underneath. This means that a good story leader must be willing to drive, and take control, however briefly. Direction won't provide itself; the leader must actively add it to the story.

Examples of both good and bad directional leadership can be seen just by browsing the Auditions forum. Ideas that sold well typically made it at least to the main Theatre, while ideas that weren't enticing enough died there on the Audition floor. While this isn't the only example, it's the most readily observable, and serves the purpose well.

But just providing direction doesn't necessarily mean the leader can't incorporate creative input. Rather, a leader with good presence can back off of the control throttle and still remain solidly involved in his story, assuming the important role of Final Sounding Board. But to explain what I mean, let me expound a little first.


As a player (not a leader), I find the lack of boundaries somewhat irritating. Sure, there's boundless creative freedom, but my pleasure comes from the challenge of seeing the rules that limit my ideas and finding a way to make them work for me. I like to toy with rules, actually. I like to take a preexisting concept and play it up, waiting to subvert it. I like to look for unseen implications of existing boundaries. I like to compound rules together to achieve an end result that indivudually was impossible. In essence, I like to create what I want out of what I [i]can't do[/i].

This is probably why I like science fiction so much. At core, if you'll allow me to temporarily oversimplify (I know how well that usually goes over =P ), science fiction and fantasy are basically identical. The only discernable caveat between them, as I see it, is that in science fiction you are required to at least partially explain your craziness with something at least partially believable, other than "it's magic". For example, both fantasy and science fiction allow people to breathe underwater without limit; science fiction fills its characters lungs with Freon, or some similar fluid. Both fantasy and science fiction allow beams of light to be shot from one place to another; science fiction uses charged particle emitters. Both fantasy and science fiction allow for instantaneous travel between two places; science fiction uses wormholes, the Tesseract, or some other multidimensional concept revolving around folding space-time.

Fantasy simply says that with magic anything is possible. Science fiction says that there's a whole lot of impossible, but with science anything is possible, within reason, and with enough time and finances to do the R&D. And they're both fun in their own right, but sci-fi is more challenging in its approach, so I tend to gravitate more readily to it.

On the flip side, as a leader (and a player), I find it interesting to remove some of those boundaries and see how players react. Just recentlyâ??well, relatively, looking postwiseâ??I tasked a couple of players in a game of mine with a meeting with a new character, where the only constraints were his appearance, his actions at the moment of meeting, the general type of implement he was using at the time, and a healthy dose of batshit-insanity. I must have fielded nearly two-dozen questions relating to those couple of posts, and aside from one or two, my typical answer was "It's completely up to you". I wanted to see what the players would do with the situation, and how they would interpret it. Reacting to that willing loss of control as a leader is just as interesting to me as reacting to those same control boundaries I came up against as a player.


An involved, present leader, then, is one who isn't content to settle into a comfortable vein of control or lack of control, but instead continually shifts around boundaries and limitations. That's really the core of being involved with one's game. A good leader should always view outside creative input with the attitude of [i]how can I make this work and still keep the story headed where I want it to go[/i]. Sometimes this might require a slight alteration of the end goal. Generally, I've noticed, it instead feeds into another avenue to work towards something the leader has already set in placeâ??or, failing that, can be cleverly and carefully manipulated towards that end.

But a good leader also has to possess the willingness to say [i]no, this isn't going to work[/i]. That can be a hard thing to say to somebody, especially when one isn't sure how the specific player will take the rejection. The sign of a poor leader is an over-reliance on this particular Ban Hammer, but if it's abandoned entirely for fear of someone's hurt feelings, the story will eventually go the way of the Freeform City Fight. (Or, as it were, those silly Finish The Paragraph games.)

All this requires that a good leader stay active with his game. And, again, that isn't necessarily saying they need to be constantly posting. The Death Card series is a perfect example of a relaxed leadership role that was still intrinsically involved and constantly providing needed direction. The majority of the posts were made by the individual players, who created and destroyed their world within the minimal confines set out for them. But the leader kept the game moving with occasional motivational posts and with the creation and distribution of clever twists that players were required to somehow incorporate, whether it be a character's death, a location swap, a fate-binding, or what have you.


What I want to know now is this: are there any other games or stories which you think qualify as good, successful endeavors, and what in particular do you think gave them this distinction?[/font]
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[quote=Allamorph][color=#282828][font=Calibri]I also see a lot of dancing around a tenent on which it seems we all agree, but which no one really wants to come out and say. So here's my best summary: [/font][/color][i]a good RPG requires careful balance[/i][color=#282828][font=Calibri].[/quote][/font][/color]

[size=3][font=tahoma, geneva, sans-serif][color=#282828]Well, this is pretty much how I summarised my overall feeling about RPGs:

[i][color=#282828]Ideally, there should be some basic structure and direction for the sake of consistency and ease, but the best RPGs (I think) are the ones that take unpredictable turns because people are individually moulding the plot and it progresses very organically. I really like it when that works out well.[/color][/i][/color][/font][/size]

[quote=Allamorph][color=#282828][font=Calibri]And this is where everyone seems to be content to stop. We all seem to understand the basic problem, but we don't appear all that eager to proffer any possible solutions.[/quote][/font][/color]

[size=3][font=tahoma, geneva, sans-serif][color=#282828]I can't speak for others more broadly, but in terms of the people who have regularly collaborated with me (especially Shy), I can say that there have been almost countless attempts to solve the problem.

[color=#282828]We introduced the "chapter system" and its variants (including highly coordinated forms at one end, as with [i]The Von Braun Odyssey[/i] and significantly looser forms as well (I am thinking of a particular RPG and I can't remember the actual title of it at the moment...)[/color]

[color=#282828]These systems work to different degrees, but even when these organisational systems work well, the RPG still ultimately relies on the ongoing interest of its participants (and, in the case of an RPG highly-directed by the creator(s), it is also heavily reliant on their continual support and active nurturing).[/color][/color][/font][/size]

[color=#282828][font=Calibri][quote=Allamorph][/font][/color][color=#282828][font=Calibri]At core, if you'll allow me to temporarily oversimplify (I know how well that usually goes over =P ), science fiction and fantasy are basically identical. The only discernable caveat between them, as I see it, is that in science fiction you are required to at least partially explain your craziness with something at least partially believable, other than "it's magic".[/quote][/font][/color]

[size=3][font=tahoma, geneva, sans-serif][color=#282828]Interesting point - I think that this might be one reason why I usually prefer science fiction, as well. Sometimes I really enjoy digging into the mechanics of "how things work" and coming up with new ideas that have at least some basis in scientific reality. I do think that sci-fi has a way of applying some sort of constraints that help to keep things roughly consistent.

[color=#282828]Having said that, one of my favourite RPGs has been [i]The Almagest[/i] series, and it is largely a fantasy story. But I suppose the steampunk nature of it does have a slightly grounding effect - also, it is fairly centrally-directed, and the universe is now quite well established so massive, crazy inconsistencies are pretty unlikely to occur.[/color][/color][/font][/size]

[font=Calibri][color=#282828][quote=Allamorph][/color][/font][color=#282828][font=Calibri]What I want to know now is this: are there any other games or stories which you think qualify as good, successful endeavors, and what in particular do you think gave them this distinction?[/font][/color][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif] [/quote][/font][/color]

[size=3][font=tahoma, geneva, sans-serif][color=#282828]Having been out of RPGs for so long on OB, it's honestly very hard for me to remember many of the titles that have stood out to me. But I do think that we generally have a particular group of individuals who - in whatever collaborative teams they form - have a tendency to manage and contribute to successful RPGs. Part of that success comes from good writing and creativity, but a big part of it also just comes from effort.

[color=#282828]Due to my lack of involvement in recent times, the RPG series that really come to mind are probably a) the [i]Almagest[/i] series and b) the [i]Maverick Hunters[/i] series.[/color]

[color=#282828]The former has been among my favourite RPGs as a participant and co-creator. And the latter has been not only a favourite, but also one of the longest (if not [i]the[/i] longest) running RPG series on OtakuBoards. [/color]

[color=#282828]I think the success of the former is derived from a genuinely interesting premise, great characters, all-round excellent writing and a combination of good central planning and reasonable flexibility for participants. We did a lot of work in terms of building up the world via the Backstage topic, as well - and I think that also helped. A great deal of care and attention was paid to the foundational elements of the RPGs.[/color]

[color=#282828]As for the latter... it wasn't very centrally planned at all, and is one of the most elaborate "free-form" RPGs on the site I think. It really did well due to a story that was genuinely fun to read, and a small group of extremely dedicated participants. I think that, put simply, it was just a labour of love and that really showed.[/color]

[color=#282828]Anyway, I am keenly aware of the effort required - especially when creating an RPG - and that has stopped me from launching a couple of RPGs that I've wanted to get off the ground. Maybe I'm being too conservative, but if I don't really think I can contribute the required time to running an RPG or being an active participant... I tend not to get involved at all. I'd rather not get involved than disappoint others.[/color]

[color=#282828]Having said that, if I could just be a participant and post occasionally, I might give it another go. I just haven't seen anything new that has really grabbed my attention.[/color][/color][/font][/size]
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