The New Member Guide
Volume 1: The New Member Guide
Education is the best provision for a journey.
Welcome to the new member guide!
This guide is designed to help acclimatize new members to PBP rpgcrossing.com as seamlessly as possible by introducing you to concepts in the order that you will need to discover them. It presents only the fundamentals of being a user at rpgcrossing.com but is not considered official site policy, these are only guides. Later guides will help you with more advanced concepts and take your rpgcrossing.com experience to the next level.
Tip: ''If you always read a chapter ahead of what you are doing, you'll usually be ahead of the game.''
So what is RPG Crossing?
Although many frequently asked questions (FAQs) are covered in the FAQ Area, most of these answers are more technical and don't offer much perspective to new users who don't even know what questions to ask.
This guide covers some of the most basic concepts in both abridged and lengthy versions, and is intended for users of varied backgrounds and levels of experience. Even for a PbP veteran of other sites, this guide offers useful, site-specific information.
Joining the site
If you haven't already, you are probably ready to join being that you are interested enough to look at this guide.
To join rpgcrossing.com, choose "register" from the top right hand side of the screen on the rpgcrossing.com forums and follow the prompts. To do this, you will require an email address and be asked to verify a "captcha" puzzle. If you don't get your verification email shortly, check your spam folder.
Site Rules and Posting Guidelines
The rules for rpgcrossing.com can be summed up as "be excellent to each other". For the specifics, review the Site Rules. A few parts of the site have special rules, so take the time to check before taking an action that leads to infractions, not after.
Introduction to Forums
What is a forum?
An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are archived.
Forums have a specific set of jargon associated with them; e.g. a single conversation is called a "thread".
A forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of sub-forums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum's topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as wish to.
What is a forum lurker?
In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chat rooms, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates actively. Research indicates that "lurkers make up over 90% of online groups". Most people tend to lurk before participating in forum discussions because they wish to learn the culture and behavioral patterns of the forum to prevent them from asking redundant questions or questions with answers that are generally readily apparent to the average user. One of the goals of this very guide and the others in the series is to ease the transition from lurker to user and beyond as easily as possible, because we want everyone to have fun gaming here with others.
What is rpgcrossing.com?
rpgcrossing.com is an online community that focuses on play by post (PbP) role playing games(RPG). The site was founded by gamers for gamers and everyone here works on the project solely on a volunteer basis to bring you the best PbPRPG site on the internet.
rpgcrossing.com is dedicated to a spirit of equality, niceness, quality role playing, and making all of the above easy. Even though rpgcrossing.com is already an incredibly advanced play-by-post site on the web, we're constantly working to develop new tools for making gaming online even more fun and to continue to grow our strong, tight-knit community that welcomes games and gamers of all varieties.
rpgcrossing.com seeks to embody the vibrancy and friendliness of a personal gaming group with the breadth of options and smoothness of play that modern web technology can provide. However, RPG Crossing and PbP RPG's are also somewhat of an anomaly on the internet and acclimating to the culture of PbP can be difficult, but thankfully for you we have these guides!
Most forums are anonymous and impersonal, while PbP at its best requires commitment and personal involvement. Patience is also at a premium, and that's not something usually demanded by the internet. Here you will be joining a community, not taking part in an internet business transaction. There are obligations as well as rewards, and everyone is answerable to the group at large for their behavior.
What is an RPG?
A role-playing game (RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making or character development. Actions taken within the game succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
There are several forms of RPG, but here we focus on Play by Post (PBP).
The game master (GM) usually decides on the rules and setting to be used and acts as referee, while each of the other players play the role of a single character. Generally, if you are new, it is highly recommended that you start as a player under an experienced GM, consider trying out one of our solo games. For more about becoming a GM, visit here.
Why Role Play?
Most forms of story-based entertainment - movies, TV, and books - are passive. That is, the audience has no say in the story or the outcome. An RPG is an active collaborative storytelling endeavor. One undertaken by a group to tell a story together; the audience, the writers, and the actors are the same people. Interactivity is the crucial difference between RPGs and traditional fiction.
While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional children's games of make believe, RPGs add a level of sophistication to this basic idea with rules to govern conflict resolution. It's those rules that make it an RPG and not just a writing, or acting experiment. The rules of a given RPG system may be simple or complex, but their purpose is always to remove the age-old argument about who hit whom and when by replacing it with die rolls, statistic comparison, or the judgment of a referee (the GM).
What is a PbP game?
A Play-by-Post (PbP) game is any game played through posting on an internet forum. rpgcrossing.com hosts PbP games, and generally only of the RPG variety.
How does a Play by Post Game Work?
There are two basic variants of PbP games, free-form and rules-guided. Free-form games lack formal rulesets - the GM (Game Master) of the game determines what is possible and what is not depending on the situation and what the players tell him. In short, free-form PbP is collaborative storytelling.
A PbP game that uses a rule set is the second form of PbP, and is more common on rpgcrossing.com. These games also involve collaborative storytelling, but are guided by a set of rules for resolving in-game issues. Some examples of these types of systems are D20, D&D, GURPS, StoryTeller, Pathfinder, and more.
For more about game system choices, please see System Choices.
In a PbP game, the GM explains what is going on to the players, and then players post to the game thread explaining what their characters are doing. PbP gaming is different from Table Top gaming, but only because of the difference in medium. Thus, D&D in PbP is still D&D and functions with the same rule set, but with a few noticeable differences...
Differences Between PbP and Table Top Gaming
Familiarity with Table Top gaming can be both a benefit and a hindrance when a person first begins PbP gaming. Some find it stifles them, while others find it unleashes them.
Players post whenever they are available to check the boards. This necessarily extends the time it takes to work through adventures quite a bit. It could take several hours, or even days, for every player to post during a single combat round. Getting used to the slower progression rate of the game is sometimes a challenge for players that have exclusively experienced table top. Arguably, play by post games can equal out in progression to a game that might meet for a few hours every two weeks, though this is not always the case.
Players should be concerned with meeting the posting requirements they have agreed to while GM's are given a lot of advice in the GM Guide about how to deal with this issue.
The previous section brings up another potential problem of the expanded time span of PbP - player absences. Players might have to leave for a week or more due to vacations, family concerns, work, school, or anything else. Generally, if the player contacts the GM, that player should be able to return to the game when they get back, without penalty. If the absence is going to be especially long, though, it might be better for the player to leave the game altogether.
When the GM is going to be away for a while, it’s a good idea to post in a noticeable location (the group OOC thread, for example) to let everyone know how long s/he'll be gone. More than two weeks of unannounced absence will usually have players assuming the game is dead.
Dropping and Adding Players
It's the internet. People disappear without warning. The polite way to leave a game is to drop a note to the GM, but not everyone can or will do this. If the GM doesn't know someone will never post again, s/he may wait and wait and forget about the game, until it runs out of momentum and dies. It takes a special kind of effort to get past this problem.
Likewise, when players leave a game, the GM may decide to re-recruit and add more. This process can be smooth and clean with new players dropping right in and settling without issue, but it can also be a problematic and bumpy road if not done with the highest care.
PbP is a written medium. This means every little thing has to be explained in writing. It can be time consuming to get across everything necessary to understand what a character is doing. For those who don’t enjoy writing as much as they do gaming, this can be a major barrier to the enjoyment of PbP. It can also be a major enhancer of enjoyment for those that enjoy story-driven play.
Getting to know fellow players isn't as simple as turning to one and asking what he's up to later while the GM is in the bathroom. In PbP, becoming acquainted with people takes more effort. Posting in the game's OOC thread is the most common way to get a sense of group from everyone.
PbP games lack a formal meeting time for games, and don't require setting aside a block of several hours at a time. Instead, a single game might require only 10-20 minutes out of your day to deal with as a player. This allows you to play many more games at once than is possible with table top and allows you to play with people all around the world, perhaps even old table top gaming friends that now live far away and have busy lives.
Before committing to a game, be sure you will be able to meet the posting requirement, and be aware that everyone's maximum game load will vary. While some members post fifty times a day, others post twice a week. It will be up to you to determine what kind of posting load works for you; and generally it's a good idea to start with just one game, gradually increasing your load.
If you're a gamer that likes character interaction, growth, and development as well as epic plotlines, PbP is for you. The nature of PbP tends to promote games with an emphasis on role playing over combat, though both are feasible. The players have longer to compose their thoughts and responses, and "roll-heavy" games tend to go more slowly, so planning a game to include sufficient "role"-playing helps keep things interesting.
Though a few GMs may prefer to make all the rolls themselves at home, rpgcrossing.com has an integrated dice roller available that most games make use of. The dice roller tags are easy to use by both players and GMs as additions to their posts, and are '''cheat-proof'''. The method to be used for including dice in the game should be established when the game starts by the GM.
Lots of Players!
On rpgcrossing.com, you have the opportunity to play with literally thousands of regularly active members from all over the world. You can find groups of people playing niche and less known games, as well as unusual premises. The unique, exotic and exciting possibilities are endless!
In all likelihood, you're going to want to dive right in and get started on your first role-playing adventure, and that enthusiasm is great! This next section is designed to give you the skills to do just that - we want you having fun gaming as soon as possible.
Filling out your profile
It may seem like a chore, but filling out some of your profile information is the very first thing you should do. Share as much as you're comfortable with about yourself to give the community a sense of who you are. Consider at least putting in your gender, time zone, and gaming system preferences for others to see. Do this by going to your User Control Panel in the main navigation bar (My Account), then clicking on Edit Your Details. Once there, you will also find links for adding an avatar and a signature.
An Avatar is a small image that appears to the left of your username every time you post. For many people, it's a place to display something they find amusing, interesting, or descriptive of themselves. Most users don't use a personal photo of their face, but don't be afraid to if that's what you want to put there.
Many people use their signature to store handy links, advertise their recruiting games, or show a quote they find personally relevant or amusing. Avoid making it especially distracting, as this text will appear at the bottom of every post you make. Some also use the signature to offer a reminder of times they won't be available to post. It has a 256 character limit, excluding formatting tags, and can only be four lines long.
These are some general posting guidelines to help you determine what's what...
Before things get weird...
Some things are just inappropriate. Don't post them. Keep explicit content implicit, and to a minimum.
Don't be a hater.
C'mon now. Don't post defamatory, abusive, bullying, harassing, racist, hateful, or violent material. Refrain from ethnic slurs, religious intolerance, homophobia, and personal attacks when here. This is the kind of thing that should go without saying.
Report, Don't respond
If someone is being a jerk, report, don't respond, and wait for the cavalry to arrive. If you disagree intrinsically with a thread’s premise, refrain from posting in that thread. It clearly wasn't meant for you.
Be excellent to each other.
The greatest of all golden rules.
We're all here to play, talk, and enjoy ourselves. Remember these guidelines and we can all have a good time.
Use of Quotes
Do not quote whole posts where the quoted post is more than a few lines as a solid block. Quote only that part to which your own post relates. It is often sufficient to address the previous poster by name if the post is close to your own.
Reference by Page Number
Don't! It's meaningless. Page counts are dependent on each members personal settings ranging from 10 posts per page to 30 per page.
Never post large images with [img] tags in a post in a manner which clutters the thread and forces the image to be viewed. Always use spoiler tags for large images, especially in public forums. You can also resize images. Generally anything more than 600x600 is enough to disrupt the flow of a thread.
Our staff and members love to answer questions. If you need to know something this Guide doesn't cover, post your question where everyone can see it.
If you're having trouble wrapping your head around some basic notion, or perhaps you can't find the data you are looking for that you're pretty sure is there, create a thread in this forum clearly stating your question and someone will be along to help you.
If you have a question about operating the site that can't be answered by one of the Guides, the site Help, or FAQ, or have encountered a bug, this is the place to post about it. This forum is monitored closely, and you can expect to get some kind of answer from someone fairly quickly. Make sure to double-check help articles on the topic before asking your question. Also take a minute to skim the titles of the other threads on the first page of the forum, in case someone else has asked the same question or reported the same problem recently.
Note: All forums will be detailed extensively later in the guide.
Using the Report Button
The rpgcrossing.com staff works hard to remove spam and other objectionable materials, but they can't be everywhere, all the time. This community works because the members are involved. One of the easiest ways to be involved as a site member is to report problems to the moderators. If you encounter posts that violate site rules, use the report function button at the top right of the offending post, then leave the thread. Posting to warn about possible infractions in the offending thread is called Vigilante Moderation, which is against the site rules.
As a rule, if you enter a thread and have a volatile objection to something that isn't a specific offense covered in the site rules, it is your responsibility to refrain from engaging the offending subject. Remember, spirited debate is O.K., hostility and fighting is not. When in doubt, just walk away. This site has members from all over the world, and everyone brings a different experience with them, and a different opinion along with that experience. It's okay for people on the internet to disagree and if you want to convince a person you're right, you need to be calm, courteous, and reasonable in your attempt.
Blocking posts, emails and messages from specific users
If there are particular members that bother you and you do not want to see their posts or receive Private Messages and Emails from them, then you can add these members to your 'Ignore List'.
To do this, enter your User Control Panel: and on the left hand side you will see a link to "Edit Ignore List". Simply follow the link and write the name of the user you wish to block. You can later edit this list further if needed.
Contacting the rpgcrossing.com Staff
If for some reason you need to contact one of the staff, a list of the staff members can be seen here. Staff usernames appear in red on the forums.
Being a good poster is essential to making a good impression on other players. This section discusses the 'how' of posting.
How do I roll dice?
Although not all games utilize dice on rpgcrossing.com, most do. This makes learning to use the built-in dice roller an essential skill.
Number of Dice +(d)+ Number of Sides + Modifier
* (Number of Dice) – This represents the number of dice being rolled of the same type. For example, if you are rolling two standard 6-sided dice, the number placed at the beginning of the sequence will be 2. Note: It is always necessary to include a number of dice being rolled, even if that number is "1". This number must be an integer.
* d – The letter “dee” is simply an abbreviation that represents the word die/dice. It is always necessary to include "d" in any dice roll.
* (Number of Sides) – This represents the number of sides on each of the dice being rolled. For example: if you’re rolling a 20-sided die, 20 would be the number you place here, after "d". Including the number of sides of the dice rolled is always necessary.
* (+ Modifier) – A modifier is optional. This is where you can add or subtract a number from the result of the dice rolled. Only "+" or "-" can be used, and no spaces are necessary. You can only have one modifier per online dice roll. If your ‘actual’ roll has several bonuses and penalties, sum them up and put the resulting modifier here.
Here are few examples of what you’ve just learned:
* 1d6 ... means... "Roll one six-sided die."
* 3d20 ... means... "Roll three twenty-sided dice."
* 2d12+6 ... means... "Roll two twelve-sided dice and then add 6 to the result."
* 5d4-3 ... means... "Roll five four-sided dice and then subtract three from the result."
To code this effectively, dice tags must be used. The most basic of these is:
. The output looks like this:
Dice * Roll:
|1d20+1 | (11)+1 Total = 12|
Try using the dice on the Dice Testing Thread.
When a post is previewed, any dice tags present will show results so you know they are typed correctly, but the results will be rerolled when you submit the post. This prevents cheating in the form of previewing until you get a desired result. Posts with die rolls can be edited normally after initial submitting, and new die rolls can be added at that time. When editing, do not modify existing rolls, and always add new rolls after existing rolls, not before. Doing otherwise will flag the existing rolls. Try it out to see what happens!
Text can be edited in anywhere except inside existing die rolls, and existing rolls can be put inside spoilers or other formatting tags.
What is BBCode?
BBcode was initially designed to allow html formatting on bulletin boards. It allows the owner of the forum to control what html tags can be used versus those that are not. This is very important in preventing site hacking. This site has numerous custom codes that go beyond formatting, such as dice rolling and making posted data private to specific users, posting pictures of your character and more!
Don't worry about memorizing which codes do what, because every posting window has a series of buttons to insert the code for you. Highlight the text you want to apply the formatting to - like bold or italic -, then click the button. Each button has a popup text helper, so hover your mouse over it if you aren't sure which one does what. If you don't see what you're looking for, try the Go Advanced button, which has more options than the basic window.
Do note that not all BBCodes appear in the advanced options.
More Posting Help
Simple formatting for most basic games includes using "bold with quotes" for text, italics for thoughts or emphasis, however, making posts that are attractive and readable can greatly positively affect your games. Learn more about advanced post formatting here. Ask your Game Master about their preferred formatting methods.
PbP RPGs on RPGX (as you may have noticed), have a lot of acronyms. Worse still, different games may use the same abbreviations to mean different things. Thankfully, there is a handy guide that will introduce you to most of the generic acronym definitions on rpgcrossing.com. See the D&D Common Acronyms List. While this won't help you as much for games systems that are not D&D, you will find many of the abbreviations are the same or similar such HP and XP, and many games using GM instead of DM.
The rpgcrossing.com community is made up of a diverse group of people from all over the world, united by a love for gaming. As such, we strive to support a variety of standard games, provide opportunity for homebrew and unique systems, and also form a place where we as gamers can get together to discuss things relevant to us. Each of the forums is linked below with a brief description of their purpose. Most of these forums have wiki resources available as well. We welcome you to participate in ongoing discussions and post new topics for discussion as well.
The Introductions Forum
This is where new members post their introductions and older members greet the newcomers and help them find their way around. Once you understand the site enough to help others, don't hesitate to extend the same spirited, warm welcome and helpful direction you received to new members and direct them to any information they might be looking for, including these guides!
Site Discussion Forum
This area is reserved for site issues such as bugs, feature suggestions, and other site related activity.
This is where you will find the game planning threads and game advertisement threads. If you have an idea for a game, but can't decide what system or setting to use for it, aren't sure anyone would actually want to play that kind of game, or want to use an obscure/niche game system, creating a thread asking for an interest check can help you.
Before creating your own game, be sure to be familiar with this guide as well as the GM Guide. It is also highly recommended that even experienced tabletop role players gain some experience as a PbP player before attempting to run a game of their own. You will also need to have five posts before you can request a game forum, and even then it's a good idea to have a plan and also check for interest first.
This forum is where you'll find posts on varied topics such as video games, music, and other topics that don't generally fit in the other forums.
As you might suspect, gamers are generally highly imaginative people, and many members of the community are especially talented. As such, people post their various artistic works to share them with others here. Examples are things like drawings, music, poetry and other things of that nature.
The DM Screen
Play-by-Post is the heart of what we do here. However, beyond playing in games, many GMs have found it helpful to come together to discuss all the quirks and quandaries of the unique games in which we play. The DM Screen is a community-created and maintained place for Game Masters of all systems to bounce ideas around. It's a place for inspiration and sharing tips as well as a place to mentor others or find a mentor.
Now that your profile is ready and you understand the forum basics, introduce yourself by making your first post in the Introductions Forum
Some key bullet points to address are:
Once you have entered your post, read over it to check your spelling and grammar (remember, first impressions are important), then click "Post New Thread" and be sure to check back a few times over the next day to read and respond to the responses to your thread. In all likelihood, our community will have expert directions and advice for you in a short amount of time, in most cases linking you directly to exactly where you need to be.
Thanks a lot for your first bit of community participation! We look forward to seeing great and interesting posts from you in the future.
...and now for a bit of sage wisdom to help you on your journey...
Never Lose a Post!
If you've been on forums for any length of time, you've probably written at least one great post and then lost it. This can be especially frustrating on rpgcrossing.com, as often you'll write elaborate stories, sometimes several well crafted paragraphs only to lose them to a timed out session, lost/severed connection, or other error.
Thankfully, there is a preventative cure to this problem. Most people use either the Firefox Browser or Google Chrome Browser to view rpgcrossing.com. Both browsers offer extensions or add-ons to save whatever you type into any text box. One commonly used extension for each browser is listed here, but by searching, you can find others:
Firefox Post Save Extention
Google Chrome Post Save Extension
These extensions allows you to craft a post with use of the quick coding tool bar with something like a word document cannot do, saving you many keystrokes when you craft a well presented post.
Many people prefer use the old "write it down in a word document first" but this is folly. If you don't trust the extensions for whatever reason (some people have trouble operating them), at least use a google drive document, as this will save your work to the cloud, which not only solves time outs and other issues, but also keeps your post in case you lose power suddenly, making it superior to a word document.
Learn from Others
Acclimating to the PbP RPG culture can be difficult, even for experienced table top players. To help get acclimated, it's a great idea to view some successful games and see how they flow. This will help instill certain good practices in yourself as a gamer and give you a sense of how it all works.
A great place to start is the Hall of Fame Games.
Try a New Player Solo Game!
Newbie solo games are an excellent opportunity for you to try out PBP and RPG systems as a whole. If this is your first time trying such endeavors, applying for one of these games is highly recommended. These games are short, sweet and to the point and are run by experienced site GMs that are here just to help you get an idea of what it means to enjoy PBP RPGs! They'll go over things like core rules and core PBP skills with you, much of which you can get a head start on by reading the Player and GM Guides.
Apply for a newbie solo game here and welcome to RPGX!
Last edited by WoLT; 05-08-2013 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Updated EE Links
Now that you've learned about the rules and functions of the forum, as well as basic posting techniques, it's time to learn how to become a player. Continue your journey with the PBP Player's Guide. Remember, even if you are an experienced player, there will likely be a whole lot of information that will be useful to you, so be sure to at least give this next section a good skimming.
Last edited by Quori; 02-07-2013 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Updated EE Links