Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

6 August, 2019

Forum RP
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:49 PM

Today, I want to look at forum RP, where people post on forums or forum-like sites in character.

I don’t have a whole lot of experience with it, but I’ve talked to some people who do. So, let’s take a look!

Wait… what?

If you’re like me, you might not have heard of forum RP. Don’t worry, There’s a whole subreddit for that you can peruse.

But basically, people use forum software to RP. Threads are scenes, and individual posts are a character’s actions. Then other people reply. Similar to a “VtM RP by email” I did back in university, but a bit less nerdy. But people use forum RP between two people, between a small group, or even in a larger group of people participating in a larger society and interacting.

And it’s relatively popular. You can find plenty of active sites, and many RPers on FFXIV got their start in forums. One person even said they RPed in YouTube comments before!

A focus on writing

What’s interesting is that the pace of forum RP encourages a certain writing style. Since you don’t know how quickly someone might respond, it’s encouraged to put a lot into each post. A single post can not only include a characters actions, but also flashbacks, internal monologues, and other writing devices to give more impact and weight to each post. And then the other person responds with such.

In MMO RP, people will say they are a “para” or “para+” RPer, meaning they like longer posts. This is interesting in a game where you have a limited number of characters per say/emote. But someone has created a tool to let really long posters break up their posts into chunks that are suitable for pasting into the game.

Discord as the new medium

Discord, the chat for gamers, has become a place for forum-type RP. Almost every RP group in FFXIV has a Discord server with channels you can RP in. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people and do some RP when you’re not able to get into the game. Or for doing scenes that might not be suitable for the game, such as an extended scene on an airship.

There are even whole servers dedicated to RP. I joined one server that was a fantasy town set in the Forgotten Realms. You created a character sheet, and they had people who ran modules with your characters in between RP scenes. It was fun while I had time to pay attention to it; but just like an MMO, the world goes on without you even if you don’t have time.

Influencing MMO RP

As I said, I think the focus on writing is a big part of forum RP, and translates well to MMO RP. Since you do most of your actions via /say or /emote instead of verbally like in tabletop. This focus on writing encourages the RPer to think in more visual terms, describing the scene. You can also throw in actual action emotes to add to to the scene. The physicality of a MMO space also adds to the RP, as one can sit on a couch, be standing close to someone, or even turn a walk away if needed.

What do you thin? I’d love to hear from more forum RPers about what you think about MMO RP and how forum RP influences it.

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1 Comment »

  1. Back in 1989, on a DLX multi-line dialup BBS, I played in a Cyberpunk 2013 game in a forum. I imagine this was pretty common back in the day. The nerd percentage on a late 80s/early 90s BBS was very high, so of course you RPG fans in that sort of place. Actually, now that I think about it, earlier that year I’d seen an AD&D game being run on CompuServe, but I forget the details.

    It is certainly true that the wall of text you tend to get in play-by-post/email games is…problematic in a mud/mush/mmo. At a game table if someone spends 5 minutes straight talking you can interrupt or at least roll your eyes. In real time-ish text based communication, you sit there wondering whether someone lost their connection, or got a phone call…or what if they’re really spending five minutes describing how the light reflects off their armor.

    But hey, different mediums and different styles for role-playing are great.

    Comment by The Alien — 7 August, 2019 @ 12:01 PM

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