The X Steps to Survivalist GMing
From the writer of Mostly Stupid Questions comes a new and helpful guide for all you budding GMs. This guide is a way to keep RPs alive at all costs! The only thing this guide is worried about is that RPers stay and RPs are active, anything else has been deemed irrelevant (because it is). This guide is also here to help avoid (or at least allow for) some of the most common reasons for RP death.
1) No Assholes Allowed - Be Friendly, be approachable; be lenient and be understanding; people like it when the person they are indirectly putting in charge of their own piece of personal fiction (Hence further known as “RPers” with their “Character”) is calm and willing to listen no matter what is happening. People like this person to be their friend, or even a family member. People want the GM to be someone they can trust. No one can trust a tyrannical dictator who commands over all.
2) No Pussies Allowed Either - Being someone’s friend, family member, lover or spouse does not mean they are allowed to step on anyone (especially the GM) and it is the GMs job to keep order, so they need to do so. When a GM is weak, RPers begin to grow trust issues and have trouble in following their GM without issue. Be just, but be fair and, above all, remain calm. The more calm and cool you are, the more likely you are to keep what remains of those who are left after an issue has been raised.
3) Leave Ideals at the Door - Whatever you think is, or is not, good or bad writing/RPing should be shoved from your brain and ignored. If you want your RP to remain alive, you must allow all types of people into your RP. Being a GM is about numbers, allowing more people increases your chances. (See: Understand the Numbers)
4) Remain Excited - This is your idea, it is your baby, and it is your RP to run so try your best at not growing bored with your own concept. If you do not think you can stay motivated about your own RP, then do not even post an IntChk.
Invite Your Friends - Creating an RP is always a numbers game, so you must be a good little whore and put yourself out there. Slap a link in your signature, link your friends in a tasteful and respectful manner, make new friends and invite them too, create an IntChk for your idea and keep it active (without pointless bumps).
Presentation - Show your idea, but make it flashy and appealing. Do not text-wall, do not info dump, do not offer detailed reasons why your RP is the best at what it does. First, post a hook like any good writer would, then state what your RP is generally about and what you are at least sort of looking for out of the RP. Do not post RP level. If you want the RP’s level (Basic/Casual/Advance) post in that particular IntChk section, however note you will get less hits.
Sell Yourself - You are not only selling an RP idea, you are selling other people on the possibility you can run this idea and keep things moving as well as be entertaining. Most do this by posting a faux intro to the RP. (Do not use the same intro for your IC, it comes across as lazy.) Be clean, organized, friendly (but firm) and remember to answer any and all questions that are given to you. IntChk time is usually the time for the big questions, if not already covered in the OCC.
Information - Give only what is needed to understand the basics of the RP and then, only further, if anything is asked for specifically. (See: Simplicity)
Understand the Numbers - The ideal number of people to poke an IntChk is 3 or 4 times as many RPers as you actually want attending the RP. No more than half those people will not move to the OOC and a little less than half of those who do make it to the OOC will not bother posting. What is left with your original is a little over what you want, and you will lose 1-3 of those RPers within the first week, no matter what you do to stop this.
Know Your Audience - Remember who you are trying to catch, and realize who you actually caught. Each RPer has a profile page, and on that page is a personal search function for them. Search both their posts and threads created to try and get a vague idea of where they tend to post. Do not hold up your RP to high expectations if those who join are Casual, or Basic, RPers and have thus tagged your idea as something they like. If they do, remember Rule #1. There is no need to 100% screen RPers outside of paranoia.
Have No/Low Expectations - Just because there was a ton of interest in your thread and you have done everything listed so far, does not mean the idea will make it past the IntChk stage. Most RPs die at this stage and the next, never even getting on the field to try out for the team. Be excited about your idea, yes, but do not be surprised if it dies before it starts. Want for 30, but expect 5 and you will be happy with your result.
Post Rules - In order to keep trust, be fair and just all at the same time one needs rules and guidelines which are not only easily viewable but easily copy-pasted when RPers start to stir up shit. Trust is nice, and what everyone wants, but there is no honest trust without some form of consequence for breaking that trust. Make your RPers well aware of what is and is not allowed, and what the possible consequences of it are.
Simplicity - RPers are people and people are stupid, so you must treat them as such while also not breaking Rule #1. RPers like things cut from places they have already seen, nothing is truly an original idea and the more you are able to quickly identify your RPers with your idea, the better chance you are to hold them. Even if one creates a highly detailed world with their own races and religions, one must put notes and marks of identification. Make it aware, via real world things, what your world/race/religion is most like. When in doubt, however, simply use canon material for ease on all involved. (See: Information)
Organization - Be clean, be organized, and be easy to read. There is nothing worse than a great idea going down the toilet because someone did not know how to properly use spoilers, hiders, or headers. Keep like-minded information in the same spot, and make sure it is clear and concise. This also means that, should text coloring or type-facing of any type be used, that it be done in good taste and be pleasing to the eye. It is, generally, safer to not use such things but if done correctly the rewards can be great in keeping RPer attentions.
Be Speedy or Be Honest - If the RP will be slow, remember to inform your RPers. If you do not tell them this, they will expect instant gratification and be annoyed with your lack of response time as a GM. No one expects a speed poster, but daily information (unless told otherwise) is always appreciated by everyone involved.
No Post Standards - Do not have any post standards. Your RPers will tell you what level of RP they want by giving you X or Y amount of paragraphs, where X can be as low as 0 and Y can be as high as RPGuild’s character-limit will allow. Your RP will not be pulled down a section, or bumped up; RPGuild is too big for this unless RPers (or you the GM) report the first post of the thread and request it to be moved to a more fitting location. Your RP and the RPers in it will set the standards for you, do not make arbitrary ones not already set by on-site rules.
Character Sheets - Like information, you will want simplicity and quickness. People like to think about their characters, sure, but they do not want to dive deep into them (either at all or right at this moment) so asking for detailed histories, bios, descriptions, or whatever will simply hold the RP back and slow it down.
Images & Photos - Allow them. Do not only just allow the use of images (be they Anime or no) but encourage their use while offering up some, yourself. Pictures draw the eye and encourage one to pay attention, this is a good thing and what you ultimately want.
Cliche (And Mary) is Okay - Not everyone is an expert novelist (in fact few are or ever will be) and they will make cliche or, otherwise, possible Mary/Gary Sue/Stu characters. This is not a bad thing, and should be encouraged to a degree provided no one is being destructive. Remember Rule #1 & #2, be their friend but don’t be an asshole. In most cases, these characters are those that drop the RP, anyway, so fighting with them is beyond pointless.
Interactivity - Be active in your thread, keep RPers interacting with you and everyone else. It is your job to keep things running, it is your job to keep things interesting and it is your job to push things forward. Many an RPer will toss in their own thing, but if left to their own devices they will derail any story into only two possible outcomes: Sex and violence. Unless this is the point of your thread, make sure to keep your RPers attentions at every turn.
Player Reward - When a RPer, or several RPers, do something you want them to do, offer them an in game reward of some type. Be creative in what this is, but remember to make a note in the OOC of why this event has happened. It will encourage other RPers to follow suit and somewhat prevent tangenting storylines.
Don’t Punish - RPers are usually underage girls or emo boys, or they act like it regardless of who they actually are. Punishing such people is like pouring gasoline onto an open fire, it might look neat for a couple minutes but eventually everything explodes and everyone gets burned. Let small stuff slide (Be Fair) and unless a plot idea was destroyed or a RPer complained, ignore the infraction altogether.
Avoid Stalls - No one likes it when things get long, boring or drawn out, so avoid that no matter what. If things have gone stagnant, toss some a Ninja or 30 at everyone, kill off a character. Keep things interesting, and move shit along if your RPers have found themselves diddling in the corner.
Don’t Character Centralize - As much as you are the GM, you are that much not an RPer. It is your job to tell the story, not be a part of it, so either remove yourself as a character completely or make your character plot-unimportant. Better yet, make no one and nothing all that plot important. This way, if you lose anyone, it wont really matter and you can move along with the RP.
Remember to RP - Not everyone is, or can be, a GM. There are plenty on-site already and if you are having trouble, join a few RPs and see how other GMs do their work. This should, at the very least, keep you RPing while you slowly start to understand the culture you wondered into.
Make Friends - A direct consequence of RPing, or even interacting elsewhere on-site, is getting to know people. When you do know people, you can invite them to your next attempt at an RP.
Try Again Later - Giving up is only an option if you always break Rule #4, otherwise you should keep trying to get things moving.
For relevant information about this topic, see also:
Why RPs Die by Contra Fates
RPers No One Wants to Play With by Mikodite
A beginner's Guide to Running an RP or What I Have Learned in 263 Posts by Bosch