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Thread: New Rules for the Arena: Now Hosting RPGs

  1. #1
    Sinking, falling, fallen Lord of the Arena Dynawing's Avatar
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    New Rules for the Arena: Now Hosting RPGs

    The Arena NEXT: D&Dedede


    It’s the new edition of The Arena you didn’t know you were waiting for! Long story short, RPGs are now allowed in The Arena. Beforehand, submitted RPGs involving statistics and the like would have been sent to Castle Lololo, to say nothing of running an actual tabletop-style RPG in The Arena, but now such things can very well work here. Adding one letter to “RP” actually changes a whole lot, and so the rules thread and Proving Grounds intro have been updated accordingly. For your convenience, the addendums to the aforementioned threads will be listed below.

    RPGs will undergo the same approval process as RPs, and everything from an RP with numerical systems to established full-scale tabletops such as Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, and Dark Heresy will be allowed. Due to their varied nature, submitted RPGs will be ruled on in more of a case-by-case basis than the typical RP, which usually just has to fit a few guidelines. Some things will be better off in Castle Lololo than The Arena, but a good rule of thumb is that this forum is still for roleplaying, so any RPGs here should still include plenty of that.

    An important note is that unlike in RPs, posts in RPGs won’t have to strictly follow the Five-Sentence Rule, which was already somewhat lax to begin with, for reasons explained below. Posts are still expected to have some description for even the most basic things, and detailed writing is definitely encouraged for things outside the likes of rolling for a simple attack. You’re still playing a role in an RPG, after all. An RP(G) might not be exempt from the rule just because it has a few number systems and not much else, but such cases will have to be examined individually during approval.

    Everything else you need to know about RPGs in the Arena are displayed below, but if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask in this thread or elsewhere.


    From Arena Rules and Guidelines

    Table of Contents:

    Section 5. RPGs in the Arena
    - 5-A. How RPs and RPGs differ
    - 5-B. RPGs in The Arena as Opposed to Castle Lololo
    - 5-C. RPG-specific Rules
    Section 6. Guidelines for RPGs
    - 6-A. Rule Zero
    - 6-B. GM and Player Interaction
    - 6-C. Keeping Rolls Interesting

    Section 5. RPGs in the Arena

    5-A. How RPs and RPGs Differ

    As mentioned above, the roleplays we’ve previously allowed in the Arena have conventionally been focused on the story rather than the statistics. And here’s the split: RPGs usually have some sort of reliance on numbers, whether it’s as simple as assigning attributes or as complex as a full character sheet complete with combat modifiers, skills, and animal companion.

    It should be noted, though, that this in no way detracts from the overall narrative focus. Both RPs and RPGs are still primarily about telling a story; in the latter’s case, however, it’s augmented by other mechanics.

    5-B. RPGs in The Arena as Opposed to Castle Lololo

    That being said, it’s just as important to bear in mind the difference between an RPG which belongs in The Arena, and a straight-up game which might be more at home in a different board such as Castle Lololo. There’s no real hard and fast guide about this, but a general rule of thumb would be to consider the formatting of posts in your proposed thread. If posts follow more of a prose style that wouldn’t look out of place in an ordinary Arena roleplay, then congratulations, you have an RPG. If, however, they’re likely to follow a shorter action-and-reaction template, then this particular board probably isn’t quite the place for that.

    Regardless of this addendum to the rules of The Arena, the purpose of this subforum is still primarily for roleplay, which is the key thing to keep in mind when submitting a proposal to the Proving Grounds.

    5-C. RPG-specific Rules

    RPGs in the Arena should follow the rules of BitForums in general as well as the rule about out-of-character posts detailed in Section 2-B. One thing of note is that the Arena’s Five Sentence Rule (Section 2-A) won’t be enforced within RPGs as a strict rule. This is due to the fact that RPGs are very dependent on the response of the GM or other players, far more than RPs.

    To put this in perspective, a lot of RPGs use combat systems where everyone takes turns to declare their actions and perhaps rolls dice and add up some numbers. Characters often do incredible things worthy of blow-by-blow narration, and vivid descriptions of what the character is doing, thinking, and feeling is always encouraged. However, sometimes what a character is doing frankly isn’t that interesting, or is done on a very routine basis. It wouldn’t be very fun for someone to think up of five sentences each time Barkley the Barbarian wants to hit a goblin’s head with a B-Ball.

    So what this means is that RPG participants won’t have to write five sentences for every mundane action they take, which there may be a lot of. However, posts are still expected to contain at least some description instead of simply a dice roll – see section 6-C for details on this.


    Section 6. Guidelines for RPGs

    6-A. Rule Zero

    At the end of the day, the Game Master’s decision stands.
    RPGs come in all manner of different systems and formats. Every system has its own rules, and even RPGs that use the exact same system often are subject to “house rules,” rules that the GM installs so that the system matches the RPG they envision.

    One rule that tends to pop up, applicable to almost any RPG, is what some call “Rule Zero,” which is basically what is quoted above. The GM is the Game Master, after all, the one who makes the rules and final decisions.

    Something very important to note, however, is that just because the GM makes the rules, it doesn’t mean they are always right – which brings us to the next section.

    6-B. GM and Player Interaction

    The term ”Game Master” signifies the GM’s authority, but the term has “Game” in it for a reason – this part is just as important than the “Master” part, if not moreso. Without players there is no game, and with no game there’s no GM, or anything at all, for that matter.

    The GM is playing with the players, not against them. The GM is obligated to present challenges, but not to be cruel and spiteful. The GM isn’t always right, and players are always able to question something the GM says, or make a complaint on how the RPG is being run.

    However, the players aren’t always right, either. The GM can run the RPG in a way that players disagree with, but players can do things within the game that the GM doesn’t like either.

    Let’s say, for example, a GM suddenly declares that a storm brews up and lightning instantly smites one of the player characters out of nowhere. Cruel and unreasonable for the players, of course. But on the other hand, perhaps a player ignores parts of the setting, tries to sabotage their fellow players, or tries to destroy whatever plot threads the GM has set up, completely disrespectful of the game as a whole. Either case of misdemeanor can lead to another – maybe the GM is smiting the player because they’re being completely uncooperative in the first place, or the player is only acting out because they dislike the way the GM continually rules against them.

    The GM can make decisions, including simply stopping the RPG. Players can simply leave the figurative table. The way to prevent the RPG from collapsing when controversy arises is simply civil communication.

    Subjective things such as a person being cruel, or someone being right and the other wrong, can only be solved if the GM and players discuss it and reach a compromise. Responsibility goes both ways. The GM as well as the players need to be receptive to each others’ complaints as well as assertive enough to make them in the first place, and finally be able to understand and make compromises.

    A game is meant to be fun for everyone. so if anyone isn’t enjoying themselves in some way that person deserves to voice his or her opinions. Before kicking someone out or leaving voluntarily, it’s best to try talking things over. In any case, giving the GM and other players feedback, coming up with plans, or simply discussing the RPG is always a good thing.

    6-C. Keeping Rolls Interesting

    The sentence rule may be relaxed for RPGs, but there are still some guidelines that you should try and follow in order to keep posts at a consistently high quality. There’s a definite temptation to make posts which go along the lines of “declare action, roll dice”, especially in the context of combat or a skill roll where the numbers speak for you. This isn’t very good roleplaying and it’s easy to fall prey to, but luckily the solution is simple!

    Quote Originally Posted by flibbyjibbits
    can you please phrase it instead of walking up and bouncing a dice off his head
    In short, try to keep your posts a good mixture of RP and G. If in doubt, remember that the balance should always tip in favor of the former.


    ]From Proving Grounds Intro

    Section 4. Additional Rules for RPGs

    Submitted RPGs will need the same basic things RPs need, which include descriptions for the story and setting, and instructions on how to sign up. In addition, an explanation of the RPG’s mechanics and rules will be needed. If you’re using an established system, links to a rulebook or online SRD (system reference document) would be very much appreciated by players and Lords alike.

    The rules should also establish a post format for RPGs, if applicable. An example post format might run along the lines of “prose first, rolls at the end”, which would look a little like this:

    Example

    The heroic Barkley stared down the Lichnomancer, body tensed and ready for battle. This was the man who had singlehandedly burnt down his entire village, killed his family, and ran off with his girlfriend. The first fingers of dawn dyed the warrior’s face orange as he took a deliberate step forward.

    “Nothing to say for yourself, I see?” he asked coldly, raising his weapon. “Good. No words can defend your actions, blackheart. Now… come on and slam!”

    ((Rolling to attack Lichnomancer, with base attack bonus of 7 and dexterity bonus of 3: !roll 1 20 + 10))

    Of course, how dice rolls are actually done in your RPG, if it even has them, is up to you. There are numerous sites out there to help with dice rolls and all sorts of character sheets, a few of which will be listed at the end of the section.

    Finally, RPGs should be played with the message board format in mind. Having maps, precise distances, and other visuals on a message board may be impractical, so using abstract distances or a more rudimentary system might work better. If a game mechanic refers to a session, perhaps a session could be taken to mean a long period of rest, since RPGs on message boards are essentially continuous. Above all, keep in mind that the RPG’s events and actions won’t be moving as fast as it would if everyone was around a real table.

    Signups for RPGs should play out similarly to normal RP applications, with a sign-up sheet like the example in the above section. This way people can be admitted based on character concepts and nobody will have to go through the painstaking process of filling out a character sheet, only to have it turned down.


    Resources:
    Orokos Dice Roller: This site lets people roll dice and easily detail and link the results, and only needs a simple, free sign up. The site also has a few resources for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, which might be applicable to some other things as well.
    Myth Weavers: This site, with a free signup, has character sheet templates for over 20 game systems that are easily accessible and edited online. If you need a place to organize character sheets and track all sorts of things, this one is a good choice.

  2. #2
    Internet Wanderer Inx's Avatar
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    Re: New Rules for the Arena: Now Hosting RPGs

    ah, I was gonna ask if this meant we might see a built in dice roller integrated into the forum. guess not.

    also what brought about the change exactly?

  3. #3
    romance option Lady of the Arena Lenore's Avatar
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    Re: New Rules for the Arena: Now Hosting RPGs

    We were pretty keen to get a dice script for the forum, but unfortunately only Bun and Kisai have access to the actual code which would allow us to do that, and neither of them have been especially responsive on that front. (At least to the best of my knowledge).

    And as for the reasons behind the change - some members pointed out that it was pretty silly that it was impossible to run an actual RPG in the Arena under the current rules, which seemed worth fixing up.

  4. #4
    Clobberin Monster The Kirbinator's Avatar
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    Re: New Rules for the Arena: Now Hosting RPGs

    Here is one website I use for dice rolls: http://random.org

    Unlike most other dice-rolling websites, random.org is actually random, as it uses atmospheric noise to determine randomness, rather than a mathematical formula used for most "random" number generators.
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