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Why We Ask Players to Play Only One Character at Once


Bob's Lord Bothwell is an amusing example... but if gaming in several on-line games simultaneously is common-place for you, we ask you to pause a moment and consider what it's like for those attempting to game with you here. We strongly suggest basic courtesy towards all others here, and one easy way to do that is to imagine that you are a guest in your GM's house.

  • Be on time!

    If you invited your friends over to your house at a particular time for a game, it would be rather annoying to have one person show up hours late. Not only would everyone have to sit around and wait, but your limited game time would be wasted in that waiting. This issue is only exacerbated if the late person does this repeatedly, or without warning, or doesn't even bother to apologize.

    Potential Solutions for Reality Fault:

    • For the GM: set a time for everyone to meet for the game, and have the game start promptly one half an hour later. The extra half hour will give everyone time to get there -- accidents do happen, after all, and sometimes players get stuck with flat tires, no matter how much they want to be on time. During that extra half hour, players can discuss plans, compare notes, generally prepare for the game, and take a bit of time to get into character.

    • For the GM and the player: if you know you're going to be late or have to miss a game, email your gaming group on the game's mailing list as soon as possible. It's nice to be both polite, and regretful. Sometimes you can't do that, as with the above-mentioned flat tire. In situations like that, it's best to get to the game as quickly as you can. Once there, apologize briefly, tell folks you can give more information later if they wish, and then backread the log so that you can quickly and smoothly catch up.

    • For the player: if you find that you're missing or late most of the time, you might want to talk to your GM. Let your GM know that you are enjoying the game and want to continue participating, and that you are doing your best to stop this rash of lateness, or of missing games.

      Alternatively, you might want to pause and reflect if this game is really for you. Are you missing games because you've had a bit of bad luck in regards to timing? Or are you missing games because you don't really want to be there? If it's the latter, it might be most courteous to politely bow out of the game, and let someone else have your space.

  • Pay attention!

    Let us say we're still using our example of you running a game in your home. It would be disconcerting, to say the least, if one of your players periodically got up and left the room with no warning. How much more annoying would it be if you couldn't see if she was even still there?

    You might also find it frustrating if you were trying to carefully craft a scene to deliver important clues to your players... but they simply sit there, glassy-eyed and missing your clues entirely. In fact, they seem so disinterested that they only reply when you ask them direct questions -- and their replies are invariably terse and monosyllabic.

    Or let's say you're trying to run a tense fight scene -- but one of your players refuses to put down a book she's currently reading. Every time you call on that player she's always unready, always confused as to what's happening and who is where, and expects the entire game to come to a screeching halt while you re-explain the battle map to her.

    Potential Solutions for Reality Fault:

    • If you have to leave the keyboard for any reason, regardless of how trivial it may seem, type in an OOC comment to that effect. This is a terribly important courtesy that is often forgotten. If your fellow players know you're busy, they'll also know not ask your character any questions for a short while, and to simply carry the scene on their own, until you let them know you've returned.

    • Be prepared! To do so, you'll want to stay alert and focused once the game has started. If someone else is typing, plan ahead -- what might your character do next? If you know your character well then you'll have a good idea of how to react in a variety of situations. If you have time, think about your character within the game. When it's your turn to go, be ready with an idea of what you want to do -- don't make your fellow players wait while you dither.

    • Playing a character with competence and skill takes some effort, especially in a well-developed game world with other fully-fleshed-out PCs. Read carefully what your fellow players have written, and respond to those cues as if you were there also, through your character. Try to portray your character as a fully developed personality, who uses both body language and spoken cues.

    • Think about the game itself as well -- is someone in the scene trying to give you a hint or a clue? What sorts of things are happening in the game world? How might they be connected, either to each other or to your character?

    • Participate fully! If all you're doing is replying to direct questions you've been asked, it will probably be a rather dull game for you. However, if you actively participate, seeking out information and trying to put clues together, not only will the game be more engaging, but you'll be a far more interesting and enthusiastic person to game with.

In conclusion, we try to encourage serious gaming on Reality Fault. No, this doesn't mean everyone has to be dour and grim all the time -- it just means we ask folks to take their commitments here thoughtfully and seriously. You'll find there is humor in the games here on Reality Fault, but the humor arises naturally from in-game situations. We firmly believe that to game with friends in a well-designed and well-played game is both a joy and a fascinating, worthwhile hobby. You can help that happen in the games you're in, by being considerate to your fellow gamers.

Last modified: 2004-Jan-11 22:52:36

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