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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:51 AM
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How to Make a Perfect Advertisement (Essential for all GMs!)

Here are some suggestions for prospective DMs based on my first few months of reading recruiting threads.
  1. Read Krowout's note about making advertisements run smoother.
  2. Describe what the campaign is like.
    1. Include a teaser (or a link to something in the game forum) to give people an idea of your DMing and writing style and pique interest in the campaign.
    2. Make sure your opening message gives the players some kind of idea of what they're going to do -- wander the countryside, explore dungeons, fight lots of battles... I failed at this two of the three times I started recruit threads.
    3. Describe the tone -- lighthearted, moderately serious, grim and gritty...
    4. Describe your mix of role-playing, combat, exploring, and OOC elements like puzzles.
    5. If you're running a published adventure, name it, and say if you'll allow people who've already played it to join
    6. State the posting rate you want (1/day is common, but 1-2/wk, 2-3 week, and 2/day also get listed from time to time).
    7. Post the cutoff date for accepting applications from would be players.
  3. Describe character submission:
    1. List what source books (and online resources) you allow; it saves on questions.
    2. Even if you have a specific list of sources, clarify whether you'll consider requests from players for additional material.
    3. If you use Unearthed Arcana, list what you accept -- I've only met one DM who uses all of it. Think about whether you have any other restrictions for the books you list, e.g. 'no flyers' if you allow MM races (some things become real easy if a party member can fly).
    4. Be clear about how you'll select characters -- first come/first served, best background, best fit into a party, ... FCFS will get you going quickly, but you may cut out a really good latecomer that way.
    5. State how many characters you're going to accept, e.g. 4-6. If you want four active, you may need to ask for 6. Think about whether you want to keep some rejected characters as backups if some of your accepted characters drop out (they will...)
    6. State your writing standards. I've seen some DMs threaten mayhem for bad grammar, use of 'lol', etc.
    7. If you don't use FCFS, state a submission deadline and stick to it.
    8. Specify how to submit characters: post in recruit thread, private message (PM) to the DM, post a link to a full character sheet, ...
    9. Advertise a total Experience Points (XP) instead of an Effective Character Level (ECL), and give a reserve above the bare minimum for your intended ECL. This lets crafters burn some XP to create items, and (if you're using Unearthed Arcana) lets people buy off Level Adjustments (LA).
    10. When advertising a Gold Piece (GP) maximum, stick with the standard (DMG page 135); if you lower it significantly, players will be weaker than you think because so much depends on equipment. Specify also the maximum that can be spent on any one item; 1/3 and 1/2 come up reasonably often.
    11. If you want to encourage purchase of wondrous items, de-emphasize combat -- otherwise people will max out their weapons and armor and have little left over for oddities.
    12. Specify what alignment(s) you're looking for. IMHO mixed Good/Evil parties don't work -- but Law/Chaos can work OK. If you allow 'any alignment', figure out how you're going to handle inter-party conflict.
    13. Specify a rolling thread even if you don't need it for abilities, so people can roll age, height, weight, if they want to. An Out of Character (OOC) thread might be OK.

    Note that the "DMG" listings may be for a specific printing of a 3.5e system book. Many systems are welcomes here and the suggestions here are just citing one example system.

  4. Describe how to decide attribute values
    1. Remind people not to roll dice in the recruit thread. Yes, it's in Krowout's message, but players might miss that.
    2. Consider using point buy (DMG page 169) instead of rolling; rolling can result in widely different ability levels, and someone who gets the lowest legal ability set will be unhappy if someone gets something a lot higher. With point buy, everyone gets the same (lack of) chance.
    3. If you allow point buy above 18 (definitely nonstandard!), following the existing pattern gives +4 for 19 and 20 (20 and 24 points), +5 for 21 and 22, and so on.
    4. Some people use '1:1 alternate point buy' where each ability score starts at some level e.g. 4 and goes up by 1 for each point you spend. Sometimes this is accompanied by lifting the caps above 18. This can result in characters with amazing strengths and weaknesses, e.g 4 Str and 30 Int.
  5. Help the characters pick details such as background, feats, equipment:
    1. What's the climate? This affects druids and rangers, but also guides feats and equipment for everyone.
    2. Should players purchase mounts?
    3. What kind of Favored Enemies make sense for rangers?
    4. Will the Endurance feat ever be useful (or, for example, do you let everyone sleep in their armor without the feat)?
    5. Will a Ring of Sustenance ever be useful, or will you just assume everyone has enough food?
    6. For that matter, will you ever deduct GP for 'maintenance' or will you just assume people have enough expendables (food, water, arrows, torches, oil, ...)
    7. If a player picks an 'unusual' race, will there be any adverse reactions from NPCs? For example, would there be a social disadvantage in playing a bugbear, lizardman, or orc?
    8. If everyone speaks Common then most language skills are useless and no one need buy Speak Language (I expect this is standard).
    9. How important is speed? Are speed-20 characters at a significant disadvantage in combat, or do you ignore movement details?

    Again, note that only one rpg system is being referred to in these examples.

  6. Attracting people to your thread and keeping them:
    1. An interesting title and opening post go a long way towards attracting people.
    2. It's reasonable to post a "bump" every couple of days (a message whose sole purpose is to move your thread further up on the page), but better to post something with a bit of content (such as a change of rules, a bit more campaign detail, or answers to a few questions).
    3. One experienced DM started a recruiting post to which no one responded for a few days. He started posting a series of mild insults along the lines of "Post, or I shall rain imps upon your heads" (but longer, and more poetic). It worked for him. YMMV
    4. If you vanish and stop answering questions, some (many?) people will leave.
    5. People get confused by apparent contradictions. If you answer a question that affects an earlier posting (especially the critical first posting), go back and edit the earlier posting. It might be wise to use a distinctive color, such as red, for these edits.
  7. Once you get a game forum, copy all this stuff there too. Eventually you may want new or replacement characters, and it saves your time (and identifies slackers) to have people read it in the information thread(s).
  8. Format your recruitment thread so that it is easy to read and easy to find the most important information.
    1. Make use of bold and italic tags for headings and emphasis.
    2. Use color and size tags sparingly.
    3. Ask yourself: What Would Google Do? If your recruitment thread looks like it was made by the big G, you're doing okay.
    4. Press enter once in a while (line breaks). It's really hard to look at large blocks of undifferentiated text.
    5. Use the Quote button to look at people's posts and figure out how they did the fancy stuff.
  9. Check out previous recruitment threads to see what they did correctly. Some examples:
    1. Calling All Undead -- detailed and easy to read
    2. Eternal Waltz of the Ruin Obscura -- wonderful formatting
    3. The (Epic) Gauntlet of Doom -- simple
    4. The Eternal Stalkers -- short and sweet
    5. Introductory Dungeon Crawl -- nice use of the [fieldset] tag
    6. Search for the Dragon's King -- no tags but still nice
    7. The Isle of Dread -- large introductory image
    8. Warlords Wanted: Warring Provinces -- lots of formatting and detail
  10. Keep the first post updated
    1. DMs normally make several rulings, adjustments, and clarifications over the course of the application process-- this is fine.
    2. Edit the major rulings into the first post, and mark them with the [color=red] tag so that returning applicants can notice them
    3. When you select your final applicants, post a list as the last message, edit the list into the bottom of the first post, and close the thread (while editing the first post, select 'game closed').
With help from Aahz, LordOfProcrastination, Question, Securis, and ticattack.

Last edited by zevonian; Jun 19th, 2017 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Noting system usage
Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:07 AM
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State whether or not you're open to requests. For example, if someone wants to play something from Book X, will you consider it? This can be useful, because Resource Y might be perfect for your game/world, but you don't have the book. One of your players might. See?

State how you want people to apply. Some people want you to post in the thread, some ask for a PM, to keep character's backgrounds from other players. If you do ask for a PM, get them to post in the thread just saying "Sent you a PM", to keep the thread on the front page.

List what ratio of RP/Combat you're expecting.

List what posting rate you expect.

If you're running a published adventure, name it, and specify if you'll allow people who've already played it to join (Otherwise they might know the shocking plot twist).

List the climate. Useful for druids and such (If you're in the desert, then a polar bear animal companion won't fit in, nor would a bengal tiger).

If you give nonstandard race/class selection, expect that people will ignore everything you've written. For example, if you say "low magic" and "no elves", expect an elven wizard.
Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:22 AM
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All of the aforementioned is good advice to follow. If your game is up it is also good to have all the specifics in a designated place so that prospective players can access it and if you ever need to make another ad for the same game you can link to it as often as necessary.

A teaser, of sorts, is a way to display your DMing style to prospective players. It could be made up on the spot or, again, could be a link to a thread within the game.
Old Apr 18th, 2006, 11:39 AM
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My two cents on: Selecting Players...

Not as much related to your Advertisement as it is to selecting your players, but consider looking at the Profile of your applicants...

What is their current average number of posts per day? --might be handy to know...

How many posts do they have to their name total?--People with a lot of posts are more likely to be the type to stick with your game, and they tend to have a realistic understanding of the pacing and mechanics of PbP.

What was their join date? --Like above, it is an indicator to their experience and willingness to 'stick with it'.

How much reputation do they have?--Nice rough idea of their ability to play well with others.

Not all of the above are end all/be all, and we all have to start somewhere, I just think they are good things to keep in the back of your mind. My first DM'ing I was looking for other new players who were willing to learn the ropes with me, my second run, I was looking for players with a bit more expierence.

Finally, read some of their past posts. Find out what their style is and see if it fits with the tone you are looking for. Works pretty well when picking DM's or games to join as well...

Just my two cents...
DM for Death in Freeport <Finished! Gratz to Blayz, Crellen, Drnate29, and Mcdadew!>
DM for Dark Tides <Finished!>

Last edited by anoldman; Apr 18th, 2006 at 11:45 AM.
Old Aug 5th, 2006, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Question
You should put in a section on how to actually recruit people.Im talking about stuff like answering queries, PMs, etc.Oh and how to actually be a DM, but thats for another thread i think.
After my game announcement was up, I was bombarded with about 20 PMs and a few more replies to the announcement posting. I'm sure there are differing opinions on this, but my biggest piece of advice is to be courteous and make sure folks are updated on the status of your selection process in a timely fashion! If the DM isn't timely with responses, folks might begin to doubt his/her ability to run a consistently-paced game.

During the selection process, monitor your Inbox closely. If you have some saved messages, then get hit with a barrage of PMs, your saved messages (or maybe messages you haven't answered yet) might get bumped. A very good reason to be a Community Supporter, I might add: 1000 PM storage as opposed to 50

(Of course, all of this is my opinion; as someone above has said, YMMV....)
Old Apr 30th, 2014, 01:05 AM
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While this thread is several years old, there are still many good things to consider within it.

Personally, I'd like to mention that I see variations of the following questions asked regularly, in regards to D&D/Pathfinder based games, as they don't always get answered upfront in the initial ad, so potential DMs and GMs might consider them:

1. Are you allowing psionicists?
2. What's the tech level allowed, particularly in terms of guns and ship armaments?
3. Evil aligned characters allowed? (Iif you answer yes, expect considerable non-good aligned apps to come forth.)
4. Will you be giving feedback on applications a day or more before the app deadline?
5. What sourcebooks are you allowing, or not allowing?
5b. What online sources are you allowing for classes, traits, feats, etc.?

***Note: The term DM means Dungeon Master and is a DnD based term for the person that runs the game. Other RPGs use terms such as GM or Storyteller for their game runners.

Also, the above posts that deal with rules and regulations of a system do not necessarily work with all RPG systems. A reference to a 3.5e D&D book may not be the same as a 4e or 5e, for example.***

Last edited by zevonian; Sep 5th, 2020 at 01:09 AM.
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