Banner this week by: Lillian Thorne
For this latest installment of the GM Interview we chatted with Pockets who is a successful self published author and is running RPs set in the universes of his books, Against the Jade Empire: a fantasy world with an interesting take on Magic and Shattered Lines: where fantasy creatures appear after a long exile in a modern-like setting.
We really appreciate all the time that the interviewees put into these interviews, be sure to let them know if you enjoyed it. Want to re-read one of these great interviews again? They are all put into this thread for easy locating.
We are actively looking for GM's to interview (the list is getting rather small) so if you know of one you'd love to see interviewed please PM their name to Lillian Thorne.
Lillian: How long have you Been RPing?
Pockets: Some college buddies introduced me to the concept back in 2003 so nine years now off and on. We started with D&D table top games then I found the message boards a few months later.
Lillian: What inspired you to GM in the first place?
Pockets: It seemed like fun to be honest. I had a story I was working on and thought it would be a fun game so I gave it a shot.
Lillian: What do you love about GMing?
I love how different people can look at the same event and see it in different ways. Example one of my NPCs summoned another player from his bath as a demonstration of magic in an attempt to garner interest in learning from the other characters. It instead totally pissed one of them off which had NOT been my intention. I was forced to think on my feet to try to mitigate damages in game and that fascinates me.
Lillian: What, if anything, do you hate about it?
Pockets: having to ask people to leave an rp, either due to inactivity or an unwillingness to cooperate. I have a rule where I reserve judgement to kill of a character and boot a player from the game if they're behavior is not of good sportsmanship or cooperation with the other players. I dislike most having to exercise this rule.
Lillian: You are a self-published novelist, how is it using the characters and setting from your novels in a RP setting?
Pockets: Its easier I think in some ways than trying to create a separate story. Since I already have the world and characters I've been writing its easy to create side stories based in that world. Almost like writing a Fanfic.
Lillian: What do you feel is your most successful RP?
Pockets: By far 'Against the Jade Empire' is the most successful RP I have yet attempted to run. Its in its fourth month with a fairly steady rate of activity in both the OOC and IC threads.
Lillian: What do you see as the reason for its success?
Pockets: The players. If I didn't have a good group of players that enjoyed the story and their own characters it wouldn't be nearly the success it is.
Lillian: How clearly do you plot your RP, do you plan for an end?
Pockets: I basically try to get just a rough outline. Point A as the beginning and point B is the end. Everything in between I make up as I go along and frequently some of the best plot points and ideas come from reacting to or building off of ny players actions in game. For example there was a very amusing scene between my NPC Jade and a high priest played by Affili that was entirely on the fly with no previous planning. In the end I think it was one of the funniest moments in the entire RP so far.
Lillian: How much control of the story do you allow your players?
Pockets: I allow a great deal of player control. Like I said sometimes the best ideas for the story come from the players. Sometimes the story meanders away from the main plots but I drag things back when needed and everyone seems to have more fun that way.
Lillian: How have you handled the inevitable dropouts?
Pockets: Cry, rage, beak things and drown my sorrows in Monster energy drinks. After the inevitable caffeine crash I figure out a way to adjust. One character met an ugly end from some monstrous creations of mine. Others might take off on some random quest, out of sight out of mind.
Lillian: What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Pockets: Allowing any and all who wanted in the rp to join. Some peoples style of writing doesn't mesh well with others and some personalities clash. I've found that sometimes you need to be a little more choosy about who can join but that doesn't mean you have to be mean. Let them down easy whenever possible.
Lillian: How do you handle those inter-player conflicts?
Pockets: That one is a bit tricky. I try to allow people to resolve their own differences. I don't want anyone to feel as if they're being picked on by the GM and I don't wish to alienate anyone. If it comes down to it though I will speak to the individuals privately or leave a general message in the OOC. No naming names but I will leave a vague message to encourage cooperation or at the least limit direct interactions in order to avoid riffled feathers or hurt feelings. Worse comes to worst I will ask someone to leave the rp if it is required to keep a fun atmosphere.
In the end that's most important to me. I want my players to enjoy their time in my games and not to feel as if its work to go post or have to deal with someone they don't get along with. I try to be fair whenever possible.
Lillian: Do you take a hands on or hands off approach to GMing? i.e. do you have characters you run that are a little bit more than NPC's?
Pockets: Yes and no. I have in the last run RPs where I ran just a few minor NPC characters just to help direct the story along a bit. In 'Jade Empire' I have several characters that may be a little more than a simple NPC but I try not to take over the story and to let my players find their own way. Occasionally I'll do something overt just to push the story along but I try not to be too heavy handed, you'll have to ask my players for an estimate on how successful I am at that.
Lillian: What would be the best bit of advice you would give a new GM about how to run a successful RP?
Pockets: Run a story that you really like. If you have any doubts about your story and your plot the players wont be able to love it either and if your players don't really enjoy the story they will be less inclined to continue with it. End of the day did you have fun with the RP?
Role Playing News
Featured Interest Checks
Title: Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a blaster at your side
I am thinking of a starwars RP with very minimal force influence. Lets say between episode s 3 and 4 during the jedi purge. There is a substantial bounty for functional lightsabers but an even greater reward for anyone brought in alive caught using one. If you HAVE to play a force sensitive, the limit will be either 1 force power you are skilled enough to warrant the empires off-world attention from the jedi-hunters(jedi knight/sith apprentice strength) 2 skills that you are good enough to make a living but also enough to attract attention from an observant agent on the same planet as you (padawan strength) or three tricks that are weak enough to go about through life mostly ignored unless an agent is within a mile of your activity. Again, I am really aiming for a non-force using game.
As this will be taking place during the dark times, all other alien species except for the Muuns will be getting pushed back to the outer rim territories. Wookiees will most likely be enslaved at this point by the empires connection with the Trandoshians. The rebellion is on the rise.
Title: Be Careful What You Wish For
Note: This is a long term interest check, the RP will not be launched until October but I want to give people as much chance to express interest as possible, I will bump this thread every week or two. If you express interest in the early stages you will not be forgotten.
No one knows what he is. Some say a philanthropist. Others a psychic. The Internet is buzzing with rumours he is an alien. The old lady who runs the antiques shop claims he is a genie from a lamp on her shelf. Maybe he is the Devil. All that is known is he has lived in the city for as long as anyone can remember, his name is Mathus and he grants wishes.
His shop is one of a kind in that it sells the unbuyable. You want to score the winning goal for the world cup. No problem. You want to marry the girl next door. Easy peasy. You want to bring your cat back to life. Done. You want to turn everything you touch into cheese. Errr, okay. There is no limit on what you can wish for and how many wishes he will grant. So long as you give him something he considers of equal value.
You have something you want to wish for. Who doesn't? But it might be easier said than done. The Beast, a serial killer whose crimes are so savage he is thought to be a demon, is brutally murdering those who have made wishes for reasons unknown. A cult calling themselves the Disciples is building up around Mathus and they guard the wishes jealously. Meanwhile the shadowy government agency ASTRO seeks to control the mysterious Gemini and so the source of the wishes. Yet could the wishes themselves be even more dangerous?
Be Careful What You Wish For
Title: Wheel of Time: A look at the possibilities
GM: Silver Leaf
As the title suggests, this is an interest check, gauging how many other players are familiar with the book series by Robert Jordan. I would also welcome players who have not read the books since I don't plan on following the main plot from the books (it's terribly long). Much of the world is highly detailed, so it is easy to figure out what you would like if you took a little bit of time to read up on it.
I have been craving a RP dealing with this universe for awhile. Here is a list of suggestions for large-scale conflicts:
War of the Hundred Years focuses on the decay of an empire founded by a famous leader, Artur Paendrag Tanreall, who united all of the Westlands (the known world, essentially). This leaves a lot of room for the multiple nations, factions and characters that could be made.
The Trolloc Wars is a period of about 350 years which saw the Westlands being invaded by the Shadow, which is ultimately the main antagonist's forces in this world. Creatures and corrupt servants, known as Shadowspawn, serve the Dark One. Their ultimate mission is to enslave or destroy all of mankind, so this war is seen as an ultimate struggle between good and evil. There are also major points in the Trolloc Wars that could be focused on; The Fall of Manatheren or Fall of Aridhol are perfect examples where a signifcant story could be made (within the Trolloc Wars page, for reference).
War of the Second Dragon sees a large conflict that leads up to Artur Hawkwing's control of the Westlands. Large battles, many shifts in politics and allegiances are seen here.
I'm also open to suggestions for a setting within this world. With its size and scope, it is easy to place our own conflict as well. We can base it off of a known war, like the ones I mentioned, or create a new one entirely. This is the beauty of the Wheel of Time universe; there is so much in it that we can decide what we want with ease.
Just a quick list of factions or races that could be included (feel free to use the Wheel of Time wiki to learn more about them):
Aes Sedai and Warders (Tar Valon)
Children of the Light (Whitecloaks)
Borderlands (the nations and people who defend mankind along the frontiers by the Blight - which is where the Shadow's forces stem from)
Aiel (seen as savage humans from the Aiel Waste)
Darkfriends (humans who serve the Shadow)
Wolfbrothers (capable of communicating with wolves)
Band of the Red Hand (the original)
Ogier (like peaceful giants)
As I have said before, it's really easy to get a plot going in this world. I can think of at least half a dozen ideas right now that can involve several of those groups I listed as well as others. Anyone else who has knowledge of the Wheel of Time will be able to as well, I think.
We can keep it as simple as a small group of travelers being pursued and thrown into different settings or conflicts to something as grand as characters being the leaders of armies, kingdoms or cities. For now, however, I simply want to know who is interested. PM me if you have ideas for the plot, though!
If anyone has a question then let me know! Thanks.
Title: The Wild Ones: New York Edition
From all over the world, 12 people are selected to participate in a reality show known as, "The Wild Ones: New York Edition". Each participant is boarded on a plane and flies to New York City, New York to live in a home in which he/she will share with the other participants for the time being. The objective of the show is to create drama, which includes romance, heart breaks, and daring moves. Be prepared for hot weather, because it will be summer!
Title: Sun of the Sun
One day scientist recorded the largest solar flare in history. It was thought to bring chaos with it when it hit Earth. Scientist said it could wipe out technology and send people back to medieval times. They were wrong. Something else happened entirely. The flare wrapped around Earth and was torn as usual by the atmosphere. To the population of Earth nothing changed, not in the slightest. Scientist were baffled, where had all the energy in the flare gone?
Unknown to them a burst in the flare sent a figure hurdling towards Earth's surface. It crashed in the ground almost unnoticed. An eighteen year old boy who had been riding his dirt bike in the deserts of California happened upon the crater. He looked into it as smoke bellowed out and inside he saw a light. He reached out towards it and slipped. He fell in and a flame burst from the hole engulfing the boy. But instead of screams coming from the crater, the boy did unscathed. But it was not the boy who had fell in, just the body of him. Inside that body was something else. Something not quite human.
The boy had miraculous powers. He was able to form fire in his hands and engulf the land around him in flame. He could cause a human to look at him as a godly like figure and he could create life from nothing. With these powers he could rule the world, but he never used them aside from testing them out the night he arrived on Earth. Instead he kept them near dormant as he hid amongst the human population. He went to school like any other kid and had girlfriends and the like. He was normal, though he did show excellent skills both in intelligence and charm. He aced every pop quiz from every class because he knew it all. He had been there to watch over humanity it's whole existence after all.
A year passed and he graduated high school top of his class. Then one night something happened, on the anniversary of his arrival. An asteroid hit the moon sending a small piece of it towards Earth. Once again there was a crater and the boy came to see what it was. Out of it came a beautiful girl who shined in the lunar light. The boy offered her a hand and helped her out the crater. He showed her how life was like on Earth and they began to fall in love. Then they discovered they weren't alone. When the two powers came to Earth they caused an attraction of sorts. The two were watching from a balcony a meteor shower in the night sky. They noticed the meteors weren't falling like they should but instead towards Earth. One landed near them and they inspected it cautiously. Out of it came young kid.
Title: The Burning Rim
In the 21st Century there was much argument and discussion about whether there was truly life out there or was humanity alone amongst the stars. Fights were started over this question, and very likely lives were taken over it though most regarded it as too insignificant to rate a fight let alone killing a man. The Religious used the argument that we heard and saw nothing of alien races because we were gods only creation. The proponents for the other side of the argument had many reasons. The odds of there being no other life out there was impossible, that we were not worthy and so no contact was made, others argued that contact had been made and was ongoing.
They had also believed defeating the speed of light was impossible, though true it was not for reasons mankind had originally devised. And in the 22nd Century humanity finally defeated the problem with the technology known as the Hyper-Catapults. Finally mankind settled the solar system and within a decade had flung itself out of its own solar system. The dreamers and hopers took over the very heartbeat of humanity and hurled it out into space at a pace heretofore unprecedented. They wanted to search every nook and cranny of the void with a fine toothed comb hoping to prove their worth to the advanced aliens they were certain was out there to teach us the pinnacle of civilisation.
Within four centuries the dreamers had been reduced to nothing. Their hopes and deepest wishes dashed upon the rocks of reality. Oh they found other alien races readily enough, indeed, it turned out that alien life was not only possible, but remarkably common on worlds in the so-called life zone. For every ten worlds in a life zone discovered nine were capable of supporting life, and on average, seven of them already did so. And for every hundred worlds that bore life one bore intelligent sapient life.
This originally spurred hope in the dreamers early in human expansion, but as humanity forged further and further and found more and more sapient life out there the drastic fact began to surface. The dreamers threw themselves at the stars like pain on a canvass hoping to find that one advanced race who could teach them the secrets of the universe.
And for every sapient race discovered it became clearer piece by piece as if a giant puzzle board that they would not find that advanced race, that, for this galaxy at least, humanity was the first to climb from its cradle into the stars. The first to defeat the secrets science hid within the very structure of the universe itself. Humanity was the first sapient race to reach the stars and no other it came across in its centuries of expansion even came close. Most were in stone or iron ages with a rare few in the industrial ages of their world. And ruins gave way to show those races who had reached a nuclear age and not survived its ramifications.
They found, to their horror, that while the species may vary, though their looks were so different as to be beyond compare that there was no passive rise from the bosom of sapience, they found that all species struggled with disease, war and internal strife as equally as man, some lesser, some greater. But all were marked by the very nature of war. And as their dreams withered away the corporate and war-hawks that infested all governments and corporations stood forth to take the very frontiers.
Where the optimistic saw their dreams turn to ash in their mouths the pessimists saw opportunity bloom as a flower in a field of volcanic glass. They swept up behind the dreamers as a black mark on humanity, turning from the silver-tongued promises of the caring and ignoring the petty non-interferential doctrines of those who refused to intervene in alien life. They were left behind as the opportunists stood up and took their power long neglected back from those whose dreams were being torn down. They rose like a tide and within a generation humanity reverted to the nature it seemed all races possessed down at its core. Humanity became a hungry consumerism driven species. They wanted land, power... they just wanted more.
For another three centuries humanity effortlessly established themselves as the masters of the galaxy. Lessons of history past put aside for the simple expedience of taking whatever they chose and purging those races who stood in the way. Diseases, sicknesses and other maladies spread across the galaxy like veritable plagues threatening to destroy civilisations but humanity stood stalwart against the threat and contained it as it figured out how to render the body immune to the many deaths available for a careless man.
The Terran Hegemony established itself with careless ease, enslaving those who resisted, exterminating those who were too powerful to simply enslave, and those sapient species that remained in the middle willingly joined the Hegemony simply to avoid the fate of others. And so time had passed and it is now the 32nd century, the galaxy stands in the thrall of the human race without challenge, or so the Hegemony once thought.
Humans and Aliens alike grow discontented by the Hegemony’s iron fist that falls upon human and alien alike should it not conform to their rigorous and dangerous standards. Those loyal to the Hegemony were not even solely human anymore, they numbered many alien species who had elected to join the Hegemony in respect of its power and use their own influence and power to rise within both its ranks and regard and trust of those who serve it.
Skirmishes flare across a thousand borders. Battles take place without any clear sides being taken. And yet beneath the fabric of intrigue and horrors there are those in both camps who are looking for a deeper rot, a cancer deep within the ranks of both parties. Like the trackmarks of a disease eating at reason pitting cell against cell to achieve its ultimate goal.
The weakening of both parties. Humanity never found sapient life that was the match of it in our own galaxy. But those who seek deeper reasons for this sudden conflict find themselves afflicted by a single question. What about other galaxies?
You were born into this galaxy, alien or human you were no doubt born under the hand of the Hegemony. As you were raised amongst the people you showed a skill or proficiency for matters material and have over your decades of life turned to the life of a mercenary as matters in the galaxy heated up and the Hegemony finds itself increasingly stretched thin trying to protect all its holdings at once and many who consider themselves oppressed rise against their masters. And this brings you to the THN Incubuit Homines, a troop Carrier of the Terran Hegemony of the Penguin Class. Your company has been hired to suppress suspected Anti-Hegemony Terrorists on the world of Alcabina IV on the outer rim.
You are part of this relatively new mercenary company, the Orion’s Gladius, it was founded not ten years ago by a woman named Adelaide Aleid, over the years it has proven itself as a small but elite unit fighting for the highest bidder in the outer rim. And was chosen by the Hegemony due to its known ability with small unit actions.
As a member of the Orion’s Gladius you are an elite specialist trained to fight in powered armour on a battlefield with weapons of frightening power ranging from megajoule kinetic weapons for infantry combat to kiloton fusion missiles and even small personal drones. Are you willing to stand and fight for the noblest of causes.
Money.ArenaOff-Topic NewsTitle: Clans of Way: Challenge of the Agile Writer
Welcome warriors of RoleplayerGuild, famed or not so famed. I, Koto issue a challenge in pursuit of a personal project I am carrying out. For each challenger I get, I will be making a whole new character for my 'Clans of War' series of characters. So, each and every person that steps up to this challenge will be facing me, but a different and new character. Below I'll list any open slots and if there is one open, you may take it. If I have an open slot, that means I have a new character waiting to fight, and you may submit your character. I will wish to look over them first as I have just a few rules. Those familiar with Rilla's Way of the Warrior tournament will know most of these rules as I used them.
Role Playing Discussion
Interesting discussions are always going on, come join in and chat about our mutual hobby
Tempest asks how you feel about when a character you've created is killed, and just how you respond to it. Do you feel sad at the loss of your character, or do you enjoy killing off your characters to add some drama to the story? Post your thoughts!
RPG has a lovely Gallery section that doesn’t see enough encouragement and attention. If you have some scribbles lying around or some art you’d like to share start up a gallery and show people what you can do outside of an RP! While you are there take a moment to offer some encouragement and insight in another user's gallery, maybe they will return the favor. If you'd like your gallery to be featured be sure to send a PM to either Lillian Thorne or Guru.
Art Gallery: Kougma's Sig gallery
Kougma have opened up a gallery for signatures. A shop might be opened based on the feedbacks recieved. So drop by and do give your thoughts on them.
Writing Gallery: Cynder's Writing Gallery
Cynder have got some short story to share. Ever wonder what to RP next but have no idea of how or where to begin, then come and take a look at what Cynder might have for you.
Don’t forget about RPG’s Official Monthly contests: Artists of the Month & Writer of the Month, the prize is a nifty colored user title not to mention the glory. The contestants work really hard and put out some outstanding work. Stop by and check it out and while you are there don’t forget to vote and comment on the contest entries. The more votes and comments, the more satisfying the victory is! The contests could always use more people. If you want to get involved and send in an entry, please see the Contest section of the site for rules and directions. Remember the more, the merrier!
This month's theme for WOTM is Betrayal and voting is still open: Casual, Advanced.
This Month's theme for AOTM is Old School Gaming/Disney character The last day for entries is July 7th, 2012.
So head on over, peruse through mdk's examples of what to do and what not to do and then read the latest offering by Kestrel.LAPTAP stands for "Leave A Penny, Take A Penny." It's common in convenience stores to let people with a little extra change share it with the folks who are just a bit short, by "Leaving a penny" when you can, and "Taking a penny" when you need it.
We've taken that concept and applied it to the guild Gallery, in the form of reads and reviews. This is a community-run hub for the sharing of our collective work. It functions just like the title says -- you'll get a chance to read someone else's work, review and comment on it, and then share something of your own. If you find yourself eager to review but you don't have anything of your own to share, don't worry -- you can always post from someone else's gallery too, as long as you give the proper credit and get permission, etc.
What is LAPTAP? It's a chance to read and be read by your fellow members, kind of like a book club where you get to write the books that everyone reads!
All featured RPs and Linked threads have been chosen by random based on the number of responses to the thread and how active they are. If you'd like to have a IntChk, Roleplay, or Gallery featured in the next Newsletter, please send a message to Guru. Your thread may or may not be used, depending on the number of entries and random choice. We are also always looking for banners to top the newsletter.
This Newsletter is brought to you by your Comrades. Enjoy!
Guru, Lillian Thorne, Grif of Hearts, Lyzan
Next Guild News: August, 3rd 2012