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Improving Your RPG Skills (Lesson III up)

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Iseijin
2005-02-28 11:22:56
Xenomorph
Iseijin here. Many of you were participants of the current RPG until the plug had been pulled on the “sick man” of the Board due to a variety of misdemeanors. Though all who were actively participating are affected by this on various levels let this not discourage you but retain it as part of your experience and I hope you focus on dwelling on the fun, the new enemies we encountered and fought, as well as the formation of new alliances and friendships; of our victories as well as our defeats. All proved to be irreplaceable experience.

Although many were overall courteous and generally respected the rules there were those who did not apply them to their posts. It would not be fair to point fingers but I’m sure you are aware of who you are. Whether your misdeeds were caused by naïveté or inexperience it does not matter. I know you were eager to involve yourself but that does not excuse you for irresponsibility.

Luckily, all is forgivable. We should all remember that we had our share of mistakes in our lifetimes so this issue is not to chastise but to teach.

I have created this topic with permission from Daveberg (again, thank you) to help both newbies and veterans alike on how to improve their RPG skills. The objects of consideration will be in session one at a time with me opening the topic with an introduction and a short explanatory/lesson essay followed by an open discussion for a few days in which you can ask questions concerning the current topic or offer you own suggestions and ideas. Remember, this is to improve the overall experience in future RPGs.

Below is the outline of what will be covered. I’ll break it down, starting with “Writing Posts”.



~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
Iseijin
2005-02-28 11:28:20
Xenomorph
IMPROVING YOUR RPG SKILLS

Topics to cover:

I. Writing posts
A. Grammar
B. Spelling
C. Content
1.Action
2.Thoughts
3.Emotions

II. Timing
A.Importance
B.How to

III. Etiquette
A.When to introduce your character
B.How to introduce your character
C.How to interact with other characters
1.Staying in character
D.Knowing your boundaries
1.Strengths
2.Weaknesses
3.Disabilities/ Natural handicaps from different characters
4.Weapons
E.Proper storyline intervening

IV. Fighting
A.Battle etiquette
1.Knowing your character’s abilities
2.When/ how to engage in a fight
3.Timing
4.Taking damage
a.How to deal with damage during/after fight
b.Healing
5.Attacking
a.Applying realism to attacks
b.How much damage?
6.Aliens/ Xenomorphs
a.Body as a weapon
7.Predators/ Yautja
a.Proper usage of weapons
8.Retreating from fights
9.Death/ dying

V. Strategies/ Interactivity
A.Going solo
1.Pros
2.Cons
B.Pairing up
1.Pros
2.Cons
C.Planning your strategy
1.Evaluating enemy
2.Best course of action for:
a.Solo
b.Pairs
D.Calling for help
E.Aiding others


VI. Other
A.Contacting others personally through RPG
B.Providing greetings and farewells
C.Miscellaneous



~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
Iseijin
2005-02-28 15:26:25
Xenomorph
WRITING POSTS (Lesson I)

Writing is a form of communication, don’t want to say primitive, but has been around long enough for certain standards to be created including grammar, spelling, and composition. Unfortunately many of these standards were not met during the RPG and have created unnecessary friction between the writer (what they intended to say) and the reader (what they interpreted).

Once again, I must stress the importance of a well thought-out post; it is NOT an IM conversation nor notes that you pass to your friend in class. Other people are reading what you have to say and it’s only polite to treat them with some eye-candy. Not only does this show that you respect your audience but it’ll be easier to grab their attention and hold it. Nothing turns off a reader more than a post that looks as if your hands were having a seizure while you were typing. Please leave your “leet” language and abbreviations for IM, class, or regular posts.

I am not an expert in grammar nor spelling but I am proud to say that I have very little of these errors in my posts; it makes the audience feel as if I have taken my time for them. It is unfortunate to see that even though some of your ideas are wonderful that your ability to communicate that understanding is weak. Although it may seem simpler I do not suggest writing the same way you talk. Nobody speaks with perfect grammar (or pronunciation), nobody.

Here’s a tip I use and highly recommend: write out your post on a blank Word document or any other writing program that offers grammar and spelling check. You would be amazed at how much it helps and you can correct and edit at your leisure. Then all you have to do is right click, copy it, and paste it on you post. I admit it takes a little more time but it allows you to check over your work (again, there’s absolutely no reason to rush) before allowing the whole Board to view it. There will be times when some words will be filtered out but that’s why the edit button and the thesaurus are my best friends. Again, this method is a bit time consuming so it’s only recommended for RPG.

From a quick overview of grammar and spelling we go to what to write in those RPG posts, or content. It is not a secret: if you want to write better, read more. Apply what you read into your posts. Books are a great source to draw out ideas and inspiration (comics, aka: “graphic novels”, will probably show how to write good conversations but it’ll do little to compose setting). And what better books to read (and so fitting for the occasion) than a few AvP novels? Not only will you get a grasp of the setting for the RPG but also you’ll be better prepared to use that writing style to your favor and get an idea on how to use your character properly. (Less than $10 in Books-A-Million people, it's a steal!)

ACTION - When writing action please include you surroundings and situation. Unless you tell the audience, no one but you will understand what’s going on and you’ll leave your readers behind. It’s not enough to write, “Y kicked X in the head.” It’s dull and monotonous. Use your senses; add sounds and smells, anything to make it more realistic; that you are actually there. Applying some imagination and flair can change that sentence to, “Y’s heel connected with his enemy’s head. The crack of the impact drowned all other sounds as X reeled from the force and howled in pain; blood dripped from his wound, a large drop of crimson blood slid next to his eyes glistening in revenge.” See how much more interesting the second sentence was? It grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to know what happens next. It’s like fishing; good bait attracts big fish, all you have to do is keep them hooked!

THOUGHTS - Even though thought is a form of action (after all, thinking is a verb), its outcome is different. It’s not only what you see and do but also how you convey it, what it means to you. People will take different situations and process its meaning to their own significance. For example: let’s pretend that an Alien and a Predator are seizing each other, one on either side of an arena. A large knife is on the floor right in the middle of the two. The knife represents two different things depending on who’s POV (point of view): for the Predator it means a chance at victory, a weapon to wield; for the Alien it could mean certain death, an item that must be disposed of. Now only one thing is certain between the two: don’t let the other grab that knife! From a situation comes thought to give it meaning.

EMOTION - Now thought and emotion go hand in hand. You can’t have an opinion on something if it’s not emotionally connected. Emotions are not limited to love, anger, or sorrow. While those are the three main types of emotions, there’s a large variety more from which to choose from. Kind of like a box of colored pencils, the three main colors are red, blue and yellow, but if you mix and match those three an entire spectrum of different colors will appear. In a way, emotions are your reasons why you think. Anything that affects you emotionally (whether positive or negative) is a motive to your thoughts, which affects your actions. I guarantee that many readers will take more liking to your character because – even though it’s fictional – you have proven that you can act, think, and feel.

(End of Lesson I)
(Questions, Comments, and Suggestions open for discussion)



~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
Iseijin
2005-02-28 15:49:18
Xenomorph
That's ok. Your post doesn't have to be something that can win a Nobel Prize in literature. As long as you get your main ideas through and make your audience understand your position then you have succeeded.

My suggestion: Take your time. Have in your mind what are the main points and write them out as they come (the whole Word document hint). Then you can rearange and edit until it reaches your satisfaction. Believe me, it's easier than it sounds. Once you get the hang of it you'll be amazed at how well it reads.

What I do sometimes is take a little notebook to class and if an inspiration for a cool-sounding sentence or a neat action scene pops in my head I just write it down and use it for later.

I guess I have to take a little bit of blame for writing too much, but it was mostly during setting not action scenes. I'll make sure to limit myself in the future. Those who like to flaunt how powerful they are just proved that they are truly weak.


~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
Iseijin
2005-02-28 16:27:48
Xenomorph
The "one post a day" rule... What about fights? The action is automatically fast-paced, it would be a bit strenous for you and your opponent to each write one post only to wait until the next day. I know there's kinks to be worked out, but in my oppinion, it's a little farfetched.

I mean, it's a good idea. I agree that people need to be limited on how much they post and to force them to add more to one post; but in the old rules it said that to be killed you have to fight for at least four consecutive posts. That's going to be hard for one a day.

How about people have a limit of at least two posts if they are not fighting and three if they are? It's still an interactive RPG, too much limitations and it takes the interactivity away.


~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
daveberg
2005-03-01 03:41:00
Xenomorph
we have to work out a way of catering for everyones needs in the RPGS. we need to develop a decent system which alows the storyline to progress smoothly without getting out of hand, i'd suggest limiting the amount of posts is a good idea but have the limitation set to around 4 posts per day, the previous RPG (THE HIVE VS HUNTERS MOON) ended up going fairly well and didnt have the abundance of pages that the recent one possesed, we need to formulate a stratagy that others will be able to stick to.

www.thorndesigns.net
darkness of acheron
daveberg
2005-03-02 03:02:30
Xenomorph
Ok, i myself think that one post a day would be a little unfair, especially to people such as myself and Topdogg who are here during the day (UK time) but we should ensure that posting is limited, when everyone posts at once there is an abundance of different storylines flowing which confuses some members and makes the RPG veer off track, we need a sensible amount of designated posts a a day to ensure the smooth running of the stories. Also we need to stipulate the rulings to members who post a few comments then never come back for days that they should not post at the start if they know they will not be able to finish up, if that makes any sense (sorry, it's early and i'm tired.)

I'd like to write more but my brain is still half asleep.

www.thorndesigns.net
darkness of acheron
D & R webz
Iseijin
2005-03-02 07:27:45
Xenomorph
Well, different storylines can't help but occur because not only are people stating from their own point of view but they could be achieving different goals or fighting.

Think of the RPG as a tree. There's the trunk being the main storyline but as the RPG continues it expands to different branches. All those sub-plots connect to the main storyline but they are taking a slightly different direction to approach it. It is not necessarily bad, many good books have more than one sub-plot, but I have to admit that if restrictions are not made then it could throw the entire flow off course.

That being said, maybe when you mods are thinking up the main storyline you can also start tinkering with sub-plot ideas. It would be a welcomed change of pace to the participants (many were left wandering around aimlessly or waiting for long periods of time) and that way they will have a lesser chance of negatively interfering with the main storyline if they are busy with another.


~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
daveberg
2005-03-02 07:56:38
Xenomorph
Point i was trying to illustrate is, the stories and sub stories in the recent RPG were set and people were totally deviating from them. The whole point of the major story was for the aliens to find a host for their superfacehugger. You blink once and people are already saying that there's a queen and they've almost killed it. Same for the little sub story with the preds and rogue preds, everyone kept on trying to bend it and interfere, it's ridiculous. Patience is definately not an attribute to most people who tried to participate last time around. The moderators should start the next one off setting a main story with four sub plots, from there, the rest of the board should be able to follow smoothly.

www.thorndesigns.net
darkness of acheron
D & R webz
Iseijin
2005-03-02 11:13:19
Xenomorph
Saw the rules for the RPG Daveberg. Nicely done. It's set without being restrictive. Four posts a day is a generous offer. Ok, seems like everything is going in a positive direction; so far, so good. Lets hope that the whole 'storyline mixup' just becomes another memory in the Board's history and that it doesn't repeat again.

I appreciate that you (and the rest of the members) enjoy my 'tutorials' for RPG skills and etiquette. I'll be done with all six lessons way before the next RPG so people can have a chance to check it over and still ask questions.

With that note, I inform that Lesson II (Timing) is ready and will be up later today.


~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
daveberg
2005-03-02 11:20:41
Xenomorph
heheh, yo go girl, definately shows something positive to everyone to use as a yard stick to follow during the RPG.

The RPG rules are basically just at a mock up state right now, i'm sure as opinions change and different ideas are grafted the rules will be adapted and even extended.

www.thorndesigns.net
darkness of acheron
D & R webz
Iseijin
2005-03-02 14:59:20
Xenomorph
(Please continue with your current discussions if they are not finished. I do not mean to abrubtly cut off.)


LESSON II – TIMING

Timing, probably one of the biggest obstacles in the RPG. Understandably it is difficult to set a good rhythm when forces beyond our control (such as school, parents, social life…) beckon us away from the computer. In this quick session I will try to help you understand the importance of timing and how to correctly apply it. Once again, I do not claim to be an expert on RPG principles so please excuse any oversight.

IMPORTANCE – There’s been times when an RPG has been thrown off course due to bad timing. Bad timing can be anything from impatience (a person thinks you take too long so they write out the next sequence without your consent), accidents (you writing your own post in response to the sequence only to later find that someone has already changed the course), to negligence (person is absent and writes out the next sequence of events right where they left off without even checking the current situation). The first two mostly happen during fights. It is extremely stressing to return to your RPG fight only to find that your opponent has taken complete control without you and turned the tables to their favor; some going as far as killing you in your absence. If this is the case, I DO NOT recommend the “don’t get mad, get even” rule. It won’t make matters better and could create unwanted aggression between you and your opponent either during the remainder of the RPG or through regular posts. The second type (accidents) is mainly due to unlucky coincidence and little can be done about it. No one takes blame for that one and if you are the one that gets stuck behind the other person then please consider using that edit button and revising your work so that it fits with the current storyline. While negligence is due to conscious irresponsibility and has not excuse. Please take the other participants into consideration when timing. It’s hard to get the hang of it but if you just be patient then this obstacle can be overcome.

HOW TO – One of the trickier sides of timing. From what I observed in the RPG people do have a general understanding of pacing but every now and then a kink develops that threatened to throw a storyline off course. Fortunately, this very rarely happened in the main storyline, it usually arose during fights (above reasons) and has a generally simple solution: patience. If your opponent was taking too long and you have an itching to impale them with your weapon, take a few steps away from the computer and calm down. There is a reasonable explanation why your opponent went AWOL in the middle of your clash and you have no right to backstab them in their absence. Most of time, your opponent will inform you beforehand that they are going to be out. Yet if you are like me and like to take your sweet little time writing novel-worthy posts (lol) then I guarantee that more than once you are going to post only to see that someone else put in their two cents on the situation and took the storyline on a different angle before you. Simple solution: edit button. Do some quick changes that fit with the plot and no one will be the wiser that you did a mistake; though I suggest you do it promptly, if you take too long then someone else could post their piece after you from what you originally posted and then cause a chain reaction.

In conclusion, timing is a problem that with tolerance and cooperation can be resolved. Be reasonable and fair, and practice patience where it is due. In battle, give your opponent a chance to defend/ attack. Don’t write more than two consecutive posts (double-posting) without allowing your opponent a chance to recuperate and strategize. It’s only fair. If you accidentally create a kink, try to fix it as soon as possible.

As a side note: I greatly suggest for all to start putting in your e-mail addresses on your profiles. That way, your opponent and/or friend can contact you with information and comments with greater ease. If you can IM each other, even better. Please consider.

(End of Lesson II)
(Questions, Comments, and Suggestions open for discussion)



~ No one is taller than the last man standing ~
~ Males conquer, females rule ~
daveberg
2005-03-03 05:22:52
Xenomorph
Very nicely done. I'm worried though that some may not take the time to read your comments out of sheer lack of motivation. Clear and concise, has been a good read so far. Keep at it iseijin.

www.thorndesigns.net
darkness of acheron
D & R webz
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