Member No.: 1
Joined: 19-April 09
Beat to Quarters is a text-based RP that relies heavily on the honor system, and quality writing. Unlike some RPs, we have no point system, no stats, and no rolls of chance. All the chance and unpredictability you'd like comes from your fellow players. The way this works? Everybody makes a character. Or characters, if they have time on their hands. As that character you interact with other people in game by writing your character's thoughts, actions, and reactions in the third person past tense. The result will be that any given thread will read like an actual story, switching perspectives every few paragraphs. This means players need to be descriptive, detailed, and interesting. An example of a not-so-good post would be:
Jeremiah walked into the tavern and sat down at the bar. He ordered a drink and looked around.
The grammar and spelling are both fine, but it's boring. See how easy it is to spice it up:
Jeremiah swaggered into the tavern with his thumbs looped about his belt, looking for all the world as if he owned the place. In truth, he'd never set foot there before in his life, and from the smell of it, hopefully never would again. Keeping his chin high he wound between tables and stepped over drunken bodies until he reached the bar. Seating himself at a wobbly stool, he snapped his fingers to get the bartender's attention. "Irish Whiskey," he pronounced, raising his voice slightly above the hubbub, before turning and surveying the chaotic scene.
The same exact thing happens, but it tells so much more. We know that Jeremiah is a confident guy, and that the joint he's in is very seedy. The setting and the character are both described, and the post has a mood or atmosphere to it. A good RP post should rarely be less than five sentences.
We've now covered the quality of writing. Equally important, however, is how you interact with your peers. In theatrical improvisation, the biggest rule is to never say 'no' - the same rule applies very often to RP. If someone approaches you with a plot, dive in, get involved! Saying no kills a plot faster than anything else. Interact with people, throw in elements to advance a plot. You won't overly screw anything up - most of what we do is made up as it goes anyway. That way, everyone is kept on their toes.
The important thing to remember when interacting with your fellow RPers is not to god-mode. God-moding occurs when one player hijacks another character's action/reactions/injuries, or tries to be omniscient. If Jeremiah walks up to Murphy in a bar, and he's never met Murphy before, he won't know that his name is Murphy, nor that he's a wanted thief. For Jeremiah to assume that information and act on it would be god-moding. If Jeremiah noticed, however, the brands on Murphy's hands that marked him as a thief, and pieced together their meaning to understand that Murphy was an outlaw of some sort, that would be acceptable.
Posting another character's actions is not acceptable. That includes their reactions. For Jeremiah to say he threatens Murphy and watches as the criminal cringes in fear would be hijacking Murphy's character. Maybe Murphy would be afraid, and maybe he wouldn't - that is up to his player to decide, not Jeremiah.
So how does this apply to RP combat? The way fighting works is that each player posts attacking, but not whether or not the blow strikes. This would be an illegal post:
Murphy pointed his pistol at Jeremiah's chest and pulled the trigger, firing a bullet into the other man's heart.
The only context in which such a post would be permitted would be if Jeremiah and Murphy discussed Jeremiah's maiming and/or death OOG prior to the post. Since we're assuming this is not a special case, the post is illegal because it posts an attack landing. Murphy can post pointing and firing, but it is up to Jeremiah to post if the bullet hits him or not. This is where the honor system comes in - nobody wants to kill off their character when they've worked really hard to develop them. Invincible characters, however, are no fun. You cannot dodge every bullet - this is not the matrix. Characters who take no damage at all are also God-moders. This doesn't mean you can't post evading an attack, but evading every single hit is ridiculous. This is where compromising comes in handy. Jeremiah could, in response to Murphy's shot, post:
Jeremiah gasped as the bullet struck him, falling back against the wall and slumping to the ground, blood pooling from the mortal wound as his eyes glazed over…
But then he'd be dead. Alternatively, he could post:
Jeremiah leapt aside as the bullet sliced through the air, shattering the door jamb behind him into splinters.
This is acceptable, but if he keeps doing it, it becomes totally implausible. A compromise would be:
Jeremiah, seeing Murphy's finger cocked on the trigger, tried to leap aside. He could not outrun a bullet, but he managed to avoid and instant death; the shot tore through his shoulder, ripping a chunk of flesh away and leaving him in considerable pain.
Jeremiah is alive, but injured. Getting injured does not mean a character is weak. It means the role-player behind them can be reasonable and make concessions, and that the character has flaws, which makes them interesting. It also gives Jeremiah fodder for pursuing a grudge against Murphy and chasing him across the seven seas for revenge. Fun, no?
If you feel daunted by any of this, don't. Nobody will attack you if you make a beginner's mistake. If you have any questions about what would or wouldn't be acceptable, ask! That's what the admins are here for. Write well, interact, and most importantly, have fun!