Why RPG's Ultimately Fail

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Why RPG's Ultimately Fail




This is more or less my personal rant on the reason why some RPG's fall on their ass, dead. I have thought long and hard on the possibilities of why they do, and maybe I will come up with some answers as to how the creator of a game can make the game like Wrigley's Gum... long lasting!


Why do our games die?

That question, as simple as it seems, is actually quite complex. To answer such a thing, one must look into many elements from game play mechanics, the plot, and to the players psyche.

The largest factor governing whether the game lasts long or not, is the players mentality on the game. If they find the game interesting, new, original, and exciting, they will continue to go back for more. That means the creator should stop and think. Does my game differ from all the others in its genre, or does it not? Try not to be biased toward yourself, you might think your game is the greatest thing since wonder bread, but others might find it bland and unoriginal. Always take into account what the players want in the game. The plot and setting should be your own, but initially you work to please the players. OOC topics are made for friendly suggestions... players, never hesitate to say what you would like in a game. The creator should take it all into account.

Another factor is similar to what is known in film as the Internal Running Time. Essentially, what that means is: "How long does this FEEL like it's taking?" If the game FEELS drawn out, it will get boring very very fast. If things are fast paced, players might be overwhelmed because events are transpiring faster than they can pump out a post. GM's should strive to have their Internal Running Time as a quick, but not too quick pace. Events should happen regularly, but not every day. A friendly suggestion is that you name a day of the week have have a major event happen then, while minor events continually occur every other day. The rest is the meat of a game, what happens in between the "scenes".

The GM is the lifeline to the game. If they fail to post regularly, they are asking for their game to fall dead. If the only people posting are players, how does one expect the plot line to proceed? The setting and storyline will essentially halt there unless the players know what is happening and the GM allows full creative freedom to them. That, is rare. The GM's job is to create the plot and setting and progress the game with their own setting. Of course, there are games that are "make up as you go" but those tend to die more often than a game that loosely has a plot set up. No one is asking you to create the entire plot and strictly follow it, but it is best that you have "ideas" on what to do for the story to continue. Players cannot have this job, as surprise and suspense in a game is best. If the players know what will happen in the story from beginning to end, the game is stale.

Here is a tip to all GM's who create a game. If the idea seems to you "half-assed" or not the best that you have ever done.. don't host it. If you have that feeling that will fall dead at some point, don't host it. If the plot escapes you entirely and you start to make things up on the go... don't host it. GM's, your interest in your game is key. If the interest in progression is NOT there, then all the game is to you is a chore. Every game you make should be something you WANT to do. You should want to put your all in making it work. You should want to post in it, and want others to post it in. Laziness or procrastination in posting in your own game is a BAD SIGN. That means to you, the game is either stale or not working out. This doesn't necessarily mean you should scrap the game, players may love the game or want to play it. Fix your mistakes. Post more often, progress the story faster than you had before. Stop beating a dead horse, revitalize it.. bring it back from the dead through any means necessary.

Some easy ways to bring a game from the dead are the following:
  • Allow for more players to join.
  • Allow for players to create more than one or two characters.
  • Make events original and exciting.
  • HAVE A AGM, they can help a lot. Two heads are better than one when it comes to imagination and creativity.
  • Make the games plot a bit faster.
  • Double post if you must, although it isn't recommended.


GM's, if you suddenly find that a game no longer interests you. MAKE IT INTERESTING. You are not the be all and end all to a game. The players might be having fun with it while you grow tired. If you really don't want to participate anymore, name someone else the GM of the game. That is much much better than just deleting the game and giving all your players grief over your boredom. If it is the exact inverse of the latter situation, GM's have the responsibility to the players to make things less boring.

RPG making and playing is like the food business. It should stay fresh, and expiration dates should be hindered. In this case... be crooked and try to push that expiration date as long as you can... in fact, rip the label off and throw it in the trash. With all of what I said above, GM's and players should understand how hard it is to keep their game afloat. But, with all of the tips I gave, it should be easier for you now.


Last edited by BleachKing on Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Why RPG's Ultimately Fail :: Comments

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Post on Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:43 pm by Chef

Good article, Bleach. These tips are things that all of us should consider at one point or another.

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Post on Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:17 pm by Golden Time Lover

It made me consider how to keep my rp running thanks!

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Post on Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:56 pm by Oberon

Following your points has been what has made Sacred Dawn the longest-running and most active RP on RPGF... Very Happy

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Post on Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:38 pm by Kamikaze_X

Glad I could help guys. =D

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