This is topic What makes a good RP? in forum The Green Dragon at Minas Tirith Forums.

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Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
Character, storyline, expanding on JRRT's concept of Middle-earth, lots of mindless violence?

What are your opinions?

Posted by The Laurenendôrian (Citizen # 106) on :
Personally, I am in favour of a good storyline above and beyond almost anything else.

Having a group of people who all enjoy the story is near-essential. I don't think that an RP needs any violence at all to be good, though it almost invariably seems to arrive sooner or later. Hour of Darkness managed to get onto its sixth page before there there was any violence proper, though it was threatened and hinted at much earlier. Good characters are helpful, but soon fall into the same pattern of talking to one another if there is no story to guide them onwards. Personally, I find that RPs can be very frustrating to read when the authors have not used correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Middle-Earth is always a nice back-drop, and can be used very well and incorporated into the story, but I don't think that this is what makes or breaks an RP.


Why do you ask?

[ 11-26-2001: Message edited by: The Laurenendôrian ]


Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
Some excellent points, Ldn.

I was just curious as to what people wd say.

Posted by The Laurenendôrian (Citizen # 106) on :
Would you then be so kind as to grace us with your own opinion?
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
As it happens, they coincide almost exactly with yr own! Story and character rather than mindless slashing. I have a liking for being as true to ME as JRRT described as possible also. I appreciate yr comment about spelling! Of course anyone can make a mistake, but I think folk shd get into the habit of at least reading over their posts to check this before they add them. Some are so badly spelled that it seems a number of people do not do this.
Posted by The Laurenendôrian (Citizen # 106) on :
Would you like to join Hour of Darkness?

We have not been moving that fast of late, and you might bring new impetus to the story.

Posted by Mandin (Citizen # 415) on :
I like a good story line.
I like people to proof-read their stuff. A spelling mistake here or there is alright. Also, people write the most improbably junk. The cool thing about Tolkien is that he's totally fantasy but also totally believable. Also, modern slang is not good.
Yes, Cernunnos, if you see an oportunity please jump in the O of D.
Posted by Elberas (Citizen # 1092) on :
What makes a good RP? I would have to say that the people involved in the Role-Play is quite crucial. Without actors and actresses there wouldn't be much of a plot and no one would really bother! Of course, a good storyline always plays an essential role within the Role-Play thread. As Madin said, I believe proofing your post beforehand is very beneficial and overall makes you look good. There's nothing worse than seeing a post riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, though we all are human and we do make me mistakes! Sometimes I wonder if all of us here are Human but that's just my opinion.
Posted by Gandalf the Grey (Citizen # 1090) on :
* enters, nods a friendly greeting *

Hullo Cernunnos,

What makes a good adventure? Why, living happily ever after, of course. Can't have the dragon or other forces of darkness winning, you know. But I take it what you're actually looking for is insight regarding how best to reach a successful conclusion, taking into consideration that the journey itself in large measure determines the journey's end.

* lights a fresh bowl of pipeweed and settles in for a conversational smoke *

One factor which I always hope for and try to encourage, is for each adventurer to rely on and bring to the party the best efforts of their character, rather than relying on mere name or reputation. This combined contribution of self allows in turn for each one to rely on the rest, which inner harmony enables the group to work together with proper focus on the quest.

Yes, being the Utmost High So-and-So (fill in the blank here with various assorted royal or other important-sounding titles), or the son or daughter of the Utmost High So-and-So, and having slain an uncountable number of foul monsters while having hung upside-down and blindfolded over a cliff makes for an excellent story around the campfire during the night watch or while sharing drinks in the comfort of an Inn ... and such tales can provide much merriment.

But in order for great deeds to be done, Men (Elves, Dwarves, or any other race you care to name) must be humble.

Thank you for the opportunity to add my two pieces of mithril to your fine discussion.

At your Service,

Gandalf the Grey

Posted by Hae (Citizen # 1005) on :
I think i agree with all the opinions above,

Having a storyline is the most important thing IMHO, as without a story, however hard the characters try, it will just turn into a conversation. I think having an interesting first post encourages more people to join. Although storyline is important, It should not be laid out in stone beforehand, as this makes the point of the input of other people pretty pointless, except just to fill up the roles.
With a good storyline i then think you also need strong characters aswell. Without these the story won't go anywhere. Obviously, with no-one to play the parts, than how can the story get anywhere.
I think storyline, and sensible, RELEVANT, postings are the most important to making a good roleplay. I don't roleplay much myself (except live action roleplay, which is different) but i enjoy reading a lot of them. I'm still yet to read Hour of Darkness, But i'm sure i'll get round to it sometime soon.

Posted by Nyneve (Citizen # 847) on :
Mmmm good question.

Through everyone may have their own opinion of what makes a good RP story, I like a well thought out story line and well rounded characters. Stories need a sense of direction or soon they may wind up going in too many directions with each character wanting to fulfil their own agenda. A story line helps to guide a writer and with well thought out characters even if they stray for a while from the main purpose of the story, a writer always has something to go back to. Side plots, character interaction, humor, suspense, even throwing a loop into the story all make it more fun. Violence may have its place also, but mindless violence can get boring after awhile.

Posted by Raine (Citizen # 28) on :
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
I think this is turning into a valuable discussion. Particularly appreciate someone's point about not using modern slang! Stands out like a sore thumb, at least to my eyes. Away with OK, yeah, alright etc, etc! These are not inhabitants of Middle-earth!

I've written this before in more than one thread, but I'll mention again an excellent (and funny) article on getting the 'high' style of fantasy right by Ursula le Guin (like JRRT, a master stylist) called 'From Elfland to Poughkeepsie'. Read it if you can.

[ 07-10-2002, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: Cernunnos ]
Posted by Nyneve (Citizen # 847) on :
Cernunnos, in reference to the article by LeGuin (love her books btw), where can it be found? It sounds like something I might like to read. Thanks.
Posted by Vegeta (Citizen # 887) on :
Come check out either the Travel or the Travel: As the Evil, you might get an idea of something?? Or even you could join
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
It's in a collection of her essays, Nyneve. There are two. One is called Dancing at the Edge of the World. Can't remember the other one. Don't have the books with me. There are several le Guin websites: you'd get the info from them.
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
Btw (probably) the same collection has a very gd article on LotR called 'The Staring Eye'.
Posted by Nyneve (Citizen # 847) on :
Vegeta, since your invitation sounded like it was addressed to no one in particular, I will respond. At this moment I am involved in, mmm…let’s see, Nyneve thinks to herself counting with her fingers…5 different RP’s. My plate is full at the moment even though some of the stories move slowly. But I like to read different RP’s when I have the time; I will read yours as it goes along.
Posted by Nyneve (Citizen # 847) on :
Thanks Cernunnos, I will look for them.
Posted by The Laurenendôrian (Citizen # 106) on :
Cernunnos; since you have replied to this thread several times since I posed it, may I take this to mean that you do not wish to take me up on the above offer? I hold no problem with this, and would not begrudge it, but should, if possible, like an answer, that we may know where we stand.
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
I wanted to read the story before saying - rather busy at the moment. Will get back to you on that . . .
Posted by The Laurenendôrian (Citizen # 106) on :
Aha - makes sense.

If you start reading it, I'd just like to ask you to ignore the third post - Aragorn186 replied without asking and we never got him to delete it.

Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
There's another RP question I'm interested in: what sorts of numbers of people read the stories but don't contribute to them? It wd be nice if the people contributing to a tale are not, as it were, just talking to each other, but are having their contribs appreciated by many . . .

Any insights?

Posted by Nyneve (Citizen # 847) on :
I read quite a few stories that I am not involved in, some here and some on other boards.

If a story is interesting, I follow it for as long as people posting, learning from them how changes are brought about by the various viewpoints. I appreciate all of the work and thought that goes into their writing, for I know how hard it can sometimes be to write in an RP story.

Posted by Gandalf the Grey (Citizen # 1090) on :
* looks in on Cernunnos's second RP question but decides to simply read and not to contribute an answer just yet *

Gandalf the Grey

Posted by Roland (Citizen # 218) on :
Cernunnos, I (and hopefully others) read RP threads that I don't, myself, participate in. It can be quite entertaining, so long as it is well done.
Posted by Lugbúrz (Citizen # 867) on :
There's another RP question I'm interested in: what sorts of numbers of people read the stories but don't contribute to them? It wd be nice if the people contributing to a tale are not, as it were, just talking to each other, but are having their contribs appreciated by many . . .
Any insights?

Now you know one more. []

Apart from the storyline, I think the flow in the story and the consistency in the posting makes a rather big difference.


Nice thread. Never knew of it, until now. []
Posted by Sauron's Secret Agent (Citizen # 1891) on :
I read RPs as well. I'm working my way through the Green Dragon, rather slowly, and finding some of the posts really impressive! If rather daunting for those of us new to RPs.
Posted by The Swordmaster (Citizen # 1302) on :
The only disagreement I have with all the wonderful comments people have made here is the suggestion that for it to be a good RP it must be based on ME.
I do love JRRT's work but I also believe that an RP set in a different world can show great imagination. (says the girl who has started two RP's both not ME based).
Both of them are adimtedly based on two of my own (unpublished) novels and so I know the worlds as well as ME. I think prahaps it is that, that makes a goog RP. The knowledge of a world and the abitlity to draw both the readers and the other players into that world! (on that note its possible my RP's aren't that good! opps)
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
I think there shd certainly be room for non-ME stories, Swordmaster, tho' I wd say that if they are to be set in JRRT's world, then I prefer those stories that stick to the parameters Tolkien himself created. This will hopefully make the contributors more careful, while still leaving a huge creative space (for I find it easier for the imagination to work with something to invent from).
Posted by Nacilwen Ostrocundo (Citizen # 2858) on :
What makes a good RP... all the things you said... but also the best RPG i've ever participated i think had a few things that made it so

None of the participants knew anything about the other characters... so your constantly learning and reacting with your own charcter, it makes it more interesting

Relationships are essential... it's so much more fun to build relationships with the other charcters as you go... be it mistrustful or totally in love with... i like seeing the characters grow

plot line, plot line, plot line... but at the same time i don't like having a set plot line before you begin... it's more fun if you have no idea what's going to happen

commitment... i absolutley HATE it when people give up on RPG's after three days... my philosephy is don't start anything that you aren't prepared to finish

make your characters REAL and diverse... it's no fun at all if every girl character was brought up fighting and is insanely good at it... not to mention their drop dead gorgeous and have magic powers... same thing goes for the guys

secrets are fun... this one character in the RPG decided in the beginning that she knew a secret about my character... and i had no idea what it was... come to think of it i still don't know what it is [] haven't gotten it out of her yet... but it made it more interesting

finally... RP's with 5 characters or less are always the most fun and less confusing

those things in my opinion make a good RP
Posted by Lady Lilli (Citizen # 1843) on :
*applauds Nacilwen*

Yes, very good points. I would concur with alot of them. I would also agree with many of the other citizens who have posted their ideas.

For me, I think that characters make or break a story. Sure, a plot line is equally as important, but when you have really vivid characters, the story comes alive and will shape itself. You see through their eyes, and experience what they are going through and then I think it's easier to let the storyline flow.

Of course, participation is a key thing. One cannot do an RPG solo, but to me, I think characters are what make an RPG truly memorable. []

I have strived to make mine different and varying, and it has been great fun to create them. []
Posted by Mandin (Citizen # 415) on :

Sorry for this entirely useless post, but I deserve one every now and again. I would just like to quickly say I am happy to see this thread come to the top again. I think it is evidence that the Green Dragon Sticky Thread is doing its job, and it is good threads like this that have spent so long in the depths of the mire that made the sticky thread so desireable.
Posted by Orofacion of the Vanyar (Citizen # 1166) on :
What makes a good RP?

Story of course is the most essential aspect of any written endeavor. But one must not overlook the players themselves. I believe to two should coincide with each other, balancing and accentuating the other.

Some of the minor, yet equally important factors would be the very first post itself. Some find it necessary to "set up" the RP with the first post in a way, others simply go straight into the plot. Either way, the first post is crucial for grabbing the attention of the reader. No offense, but I've seen so many, "The sun was low in the evening sky as [main character] rode down the lane." Blah...

My last bit of opinion on good RPing is the ultimate outcome. RPs need to have something to strive for at the end, whether it be a meeting, a rescue, whatever. Alot of RPs trail off without ending, but that's often due to players leaving, and/or no further development in the story. This is the Doom of RPs it seems. I've only seen two through fruition, one Tolkien oriented, the other a different genre.

"The Theft of Umbar" will end, at some point. I say that as "creator" but I honestly believe it will, whether it be only myself writing the last posts (which I doubt) or the whole cast finishing strong (I tend to lean toward that idea myself), it will end. A good end is just as essential as a good beginning.

Basically you get a great storyline going, fill that story with some choice players, keep your head on tight, be patient with the posting, and end strong. The RP will be great.

[ 02-17-2003, 12:01 AM: Message edited by: Orofacion of the Vanyar ]
Posted by Lara Croft (Citizen # 1301) on :
Either way, the first post is crucial for grabbing the attention of the reader. No offense, but I've seen so many, "The sun was low in the evening sky as [main character] rode down the lane." Blah...
~Orofacion o the Vanyar

I disagree w/ your "blah..." I don't know about anyone else, but I feel an introductory sentances like that one are important. Then again, I write seriously outside of RP's, and intro sentances, or even paragraphs, set up many things.

I agree with just about everything else that would make a good RPG. I think it's a great idea to start with no real plot, just a vague outline of who's going somewhere, and maybe why they are going. I also think that RP's not based in ME show expansive imagination and creativity. I've tried to start a few RP's, and specifically say not to use Tolkiens works(as awesome as they are!), but inevitably, they are turned Tolkien by some immature RP'er or newbie. I'm as diehard Tolkien as they come, but variety is the name of my game!

Another thing that makes a good RPG is variety(there it is again!) of characters. A ditz, a football dummy, a clever thief, and a Xena-type would make an interesting RPG no?
Posted by Jango Fett (Citizen # 891) on :
No one has yet said a thing about setting. How does the scenery or locale of the RP effect the players in a positive way?
Posted by Mandin (Citizen # 415) on :
A lot of RPing has occurred by RPers that I do not know since June 2004. I would be curious to hear from people these days what they consider important to them about the RPs in which they participate.
Posted by Snowdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Scenery and locale is very important in a good RP. The lack of a setting really turns many RPs into a generic swords and journey with no real anchor. I myself like to use subtle setting descriptions, where the scene is described throughout a post, not just narrated off at the beginning. The trouble is this requires others to actually read the post and be able to pick up on that which is written.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Any of these people still around?

nearly 9 years since it was asked and 5 years after it was asked again, let's ask the question again.

What makes a good RP?
Posted by Hamfast Gamgee (Citizen # 5528) on :
Well, I suppose the primary purpose of a role-play is to have fun and to interact with others! And it's better than watching TV! As far as a Tolkien one is concerned it is nice to learn more about his world, one cannot always write everything by oneself! and it is also nice if a Tolkien roleplay can remain true in spirit at least to the world that he created!
Posted by Altarial (Citizen # 1103) on :
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: character development. []

Good to see you still visit, Snowdog.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Yeah i was around in the beginning, and I'm still around.
Good to see you visit Altarial!
I agree, character development is critical, but so is a writer leaving a hook for the next writer. []
Posted by Vahndel (Citizen # 5110) on :
I think the most crucial part of keeping an RP alive and healthy, if not starting one, is communication between the participants. What makes an RP so unique is that it's an active collaboration, where one writer's foundation is built upon by the efforts of all involved.

However, at the same time there should be a semi-concrete story arc or goal considered by the lead writer/creator to prevent the plot from "losing itself" and having the RP fade out before reaching any real conclusion. Clear communication between the writers can help sustain the story by making sure people won't disappear in the middle of a story arc, or knowing ahead of time if someone plans to drop out, in order to properly write off that person's character.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
It's been my experience that people suddenly disappear from an RP story for a myriad of reasons.
Posted by Varnafindë (Citizen # 4097) on :
Indeed. And when enough people have disappeared that there are only two people left playing - that's usually bad news for the RPG in question.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Yes, quite true. It becomes more a writing project when that happens.
Posted by Cernunnos (Citizen # 652) on :
Very true.

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