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Old Oct 18th, 2015, 05:44 PM
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The Anatomy of a Post and Action Scenes

In this area I will describe what makes up a good post and what gaming conventions we will use while working out the mechanics of the game.

One of the big things you have to understand is that I (the GM) am not in control of all that much. I'll be as surprised as you will be in most of the situations that come up and what happens.

Don't worry, I have a 'default' script work out - this is what happens if your characters just wait it out and see what happens. (Want to sit in the bar and wait it out?! That's not very exciting or interesting to read.) I prefer characters in PbP games to be competent, proactive, and interesting.

YOU will be writing A LOT of what is usually written by a GM in other games. For example, in other games when you attack a evil creature, after your rolls, you'd have to wait until I as the GM would let you know what the result was, and what you 'saw' happen to him. Was he dead? In Descent, when you take out a character, you say what happened, and in what manner the creature was taken out of the scene. If there is a REAL REASON for me to change things, its only because there was another story-element in play or a hidden attribute you didn't know of as yet.

There will be world, scene, zone, and character (NPC) game statistics in play, including their consequences. Though you won't know 'everything' about a creature you face (it is a game after all), much of what you really need to know in that moment of conflict is out on the page for you to see. For YOU THE PLAYER, and to a lesser extent, you the character.

Its important you keep the two perspectives straight.

What comes next is how we will do that purposely in the PbP format.
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Old Oct 18th, 2015, 05:59 PM
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The Writing Style and Posting Frequency

You'd be surprised how many folks besides our 'team' read our games!

This means you write your posts as if you are writing a novel, first or third person, limited (your character's) perspective. In other words, we want the game threads to MOSTLY read like a book. You can write about what your feeling, do flashbacks (esp. nice if you missed an opportunity to post before someone else moved the story along), explore possibilities, etc. but all in our "novel" format.

Post FrequencyFast Paced - 1/3+ One post every three days or better. (This means on the third day, I'll move on without your post unless you contacted me, or we've decided to take a break due to Holidays, etc.)

Battles are notoriously draggy so a 1 post per 3 day posting rate for this game, just means I'll make every effort to do a GM update every third day. If a player misses a post during around in a battle (action scene) their characters will delay their actions. On the third consecutive delay due to inactivity, those characters will be removed from the action. Delayed characters can still be targets.

The acception to that is that some lets me know they are on travel, sick, etc. and they give me permission to NPC them during the battle or have asked to withdraw from the battle while they are out. My preference is NOT TO NPC PCs in scenes when there could be a big loss of resources, character death or severe maiming can happen.


Out of character (OOC) comments should be clearly hidden using the [SPOILERBUTTON] BUT USED minimally in the game thread. Good examples of these are dice rolls, SHORT explanations of game mechanics related to the current post, and so on. ALL OTHER OOC comments should go in the players coffee room (the OOC room).

I will usually try to clean up the current thread as I go if you miss some of these, this includes marking out unrelated OOC comments.

 


If this going to be a long line of OOC text (usually an explanation of a dice mechanic),
Dice * Roll:
4dF 0, 0, -1, 1 Total = 0
the use the TT option. Bottom line, we really just want to see the story
This is a nice option too.

Other WRITING conventions for postings are:
BOLD or SAYfor direct character quotes,
italics for ‘internal thoughts’,
and the tilde (~) as brackets for telepathic thoughts. ~Can you hear my thoughts?~

Is Descent: A dragon's tale, we are going to use color for dragon's dialog (internal or otherwise). The choice of color is up to you, for example a red dragon might want to use 'red' color, but that is not required. Since we'll be writing for two characters (a person and a dragon), we want to have a visual queue for who is doing the talking
Postings like,

Quote:
My character picks up his gun and shoots the Sesheyan.’
...Are better written like this:

Quote:
Brutus sees the Sesheyan swoop down from the high ledge, curved katana in hand. Reflexes honed from thousands of practice sessions kicked into gear, as his laser pistol seemingly appears in his hand having been drawn from its holster. He aims and fires between its six set of eyes.
PLEASE notice, your character's name is used in all the posts. There is no problem using the first-person pronouns ("I" for example, but use your character's name first - see the example above).
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Last edited by savoylen; Feb 10th, 2018 at 10:29 AM.
  #3  
Old Oct 18th, 2015, 06:02 PM
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The Action Scene

An Action scene is a time in our story that there is a reasonable chance that your character may fail at something they are attempting. This can be a traditional combat (fight), an argument with someone, or some barrier such as a wall, etc. When this happens, anyone (but frankly, usually the GM) will call for an action scene like this:

[Action Scene]

When this happens, there will be a narrative setting the stage for the conflict. I'll usually post as few mechanics with the aspects, and difficulty ratings that will help you decide what your character will do.

You can also go ahead an roll your surprise and initiative if it is not obvious.

Combat Posts

For all combat posts, please include the following stats block and action summary in a spoiler at the end of your post. You may wish to store this example in the Notes section of your character sheet.

Like this:

 


INITIATIVE and posting order

As usual, you can take what ever actions you wish for your character during free-play (FP) - non combat/challenge scenes.

During a challenge scene, the most common of which is the Combat Scene, we use the formal, round by round format with which we are all familiar. In my experience, PbP games can get CRAZY slow during combat so I have been using this approach to posting... and so far its been working very well.

Now this is how it will work during combat... we will move round by round (one round at a time) but PLEASE GO AHEAD AND POST YOUR INTENDED ACTIONS regardless of your INI for the current round (DO INCLUDE YOUR INI IN THE HEADER OF THE POST OR IN THE FIRST LINE). Remember, you DO NOT HAVE TO POST IN INI ORDER, but they will play out in the correct order. You might ask, what if I what to change my post based on what happened just before me?

Well, if there is an obvious reason, like your target dies, a teammate dies and you decide its best to provide aid, just "post again" in the same round with an update of what you know and decide to do... You'll need to think of a way to work it out storywise, but that isn't too hard. I'll adjust too. In most cases this is no problem at all... and keeps things moving for all of us.

If you are REALLY NOT sure what you'll do until another player goes and you see the result, then by all means, don't post until your turn/INI (you might drop a breadcrumb (note) to let us know that is what you doing... if its just one of two or three actions, then use a few if.thens if that will do the trick).

The key to all this is simple, if you can, POST YOUR ACTIONS RIGHT AWAY and then they will play-out in the game INI order. From my past experience, if we can get good at this, and keep a sense of humor about a few 'reality edits' from me from time to time, we might actually be able to finish an adventure in a reasonable time compared to OTB adventures.

Where to you put your rolls in your post?? Use this post as an example (thanks Still_Pond).

Put your rolls right in your DASHBOARD with your action summery.
I like this for two reasons:
1. This keeps the narrative clean by hidden mechanics away from the story
2. In VERY busy scenes, this gives me 1 standard place to look for your important rolls
3. I'm less likely (just less likely) to make a mistake interpreting your wishes/vision for your narrative.

If awarded Inspiration, please include that in your DASHBOARD so I don't award to you again until you use the first one (you can only have 1 inspiration at a time).

A special note on Bonded-Pairs: To try to keep things manageable in combat, Dragons and Bonded People will share an INI. CHOOSE one that makes sense in the situation (and assuming they are both in the action of course), and roll the INI which ever adjustment you like. THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS ROLLING FOR BOTH and taking the best . As you can imagine, having 8 characters and 16 individual INI scores before I even count the enemies would just be a layer of complication that just isn't needed and may slow down tying up the scene at the end.
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Last edited by savoylen; Feb 10th, 2018 at 10:32 AM.
  #4  
Old Oct 18th, 2015, 09:23 PM
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Whats a breadcrumb?

Sometimes you'll see a "*" as a post from me... you may be wondering, "what is that?" Its there to let you know that I've been to the thread and haven't found anything to do other than to keep enjoying reading your story!

Or, I'm leaving some secret text for somebody.

Why to you care... I can think of two reasons.

1. If you're waiting for something from me and you see a breadcrumb... better hit me up again because, "I" think that I've got some time on my hands!

2. You know that I'm waiting for something to react too. If its been a couple of days, and you see three of these in a row from me. I'll kill the scene and bump the group to the next most logical point in the story. If I have a series of bumps (meaning I'm playing with myself), then the adventure is over.

This is NOT a way to pressure people... its just a low-key way to let you know that "I'm here, and I'm excited to see what happens next!" :-)
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Last edited by savoylen; Feb 10th, 2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old Oct 18th, 2015, 09:33 PM
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The Silent DM effect (yes, your important to me! but...)

Explore! A lot. I've seen a lot of parties run through adventures over the years, and there are two issues to try and keep in balance. Going too fast and NOT exploring all the options in a particular place - so you miss important facts.

Of course, the other side of this is the 'crawl to a halt' effect by exploring every crevice, leaving no stone unturned, checked for magic, traps, spirits, etc. Take all the possible ways to look at an area, device, or object times the number of players in an active game - that's A LOT of replies and waiting around for people to read and reply. Of course in a OTB game, that's not a big deal at all, I just takes seconds to reply "you don't sense evil in the room based on your experience." but it might take a whole day for someone to get that message in a PbP game while everyone else waits at their computer for the result.

To save A LOT of time... I won't always respond to every character check unless new information is available. Checks that fail or do not add to the information at hand will normally 'ride' with little to no response from me. You can 'nudge' me, if you think I missed something (it happens) or if you think your negative/failed result would help you garnish some info. (which will normally NOT be the case). That DOESN'T MEAN that you shouldn't try anything that comes to your mind - I'm just going to focus on what advances the storyline rather than any failed or unproductive (at the moment) results.

Game on! You're doing great.
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Last edited by savoylen; Feb 10th, 2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old Jul 18th, 2017, 08:45 PM
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Dice Information

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Old Feb 13th, 2019, 01:59 AM
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Cut-A-Way Scene ("B" Scenes)

Hi guys, you might notice that there is an off-your-character, cut-way scene posted from time to time - these are usually going to be "B" scenes.

I'll do this sometimes to fill in storylines that didn't get to be played out some other way, Foreshadowing, or to provide the 'missing' chapter that could of appeared if this were a net novel/book.

I do this from time to time so I can write something longer, or to help build feelings of success or loss into the story. You can use them several ways... but mostly they are there for story filler.

If there are some of you are not seeing the other active threads (perhaps your character isn't playing in a particular thread)... when the scene closes, I'll open them for all to see and unstick them. Your welcome to read them - I hope you'll find them enjoyable.

Remember, much of what happens in those threads can't be used as character information - there may be times characters may choose to 'hold back' data and events from each other. So be careful to track what your character knows versus what you will know - and write from 'that' perspective. All authors go through the same thing.

I did want you, the people, to see all the threads and even my little cut-away-scenes so the overall novel feeling can come out in YOUR experience. (The only thread I don't eventually open are the GM notepads and GM workrooms. If you are seeing those threads, please stay clear.)

Many of you are doing the same thing of course, when you let us see inside the characters head through internal narration. It makes the overall feeling more effective and enjoyable.

Take care! Savoy
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Last edited by savoylen; Feb 13th, 2019 at 02:04 AM.
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