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Elegy

Veterans, Please Advise

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Hey all! I've only been here a little while, and remain yet inexperienced in how things really work, so I'd like to see if I could get a little advice from the local veterans, if that's ok.

 

I've been trying to run two threads for a couple of weeks now, and I wouldn't say I've been very successful. Now, I personally am sitting at home with no job and few responsibilities (though only for about a week longer), so I have to keep in mind that my posting schedule is a lot more free than most of the folks here. Yet I still get the feeling that, compared to other threads on the boards, my threads are slow and stagnant, producing little excitement. I would really like to break in here and have a character who feels like a part of the setting, but getting there has proven more difficult than I anticipated.

 

Please understand that there is no judgement in any of the above except of myself. What I would like help with is simply this: how can I do better? I want to run threads better, I want to integrate my character with the living setting better, and I want to contribute to the community better. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to join, but I feel that I need to hear some words of wisdom if I'm going to make the most of that opportunity. I will take any offer of advice or criticism gladly, without complaint or grudge.

Edited by Elegy

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Oh man, I'm sorry I haven't been offering more advice there, Elegy - I've been super-busy with IRL stuff and I just haven't been around enough to be a good help to you. 

 

My advice is keep it moving - if people don't post in a timely fashion, move on without them, and be consistent so people know you know what you're doing and that you're playing fair. Another thought is to stay combat-light: with only a few exceptions, posting speed in a big enough thread very often means that combat is really boring

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The most basic answer to your questions is these things can vary wildly. Some characters just explode onto the scene, others remain in the shade for a long while. That and you need to keep in mind that sometimes threads just don't go how they ought or how you want them to, through no fault of your own and plain misfortune. The best way to learn how to run threads better is to try new things, find out what you do best. Is it combat-heavy adventures? Dramas? Mysteries? Somewhere in between? Above all if you can get people interested in and excited about the story you're trying to tell then your chances of having a successful thread multiplies.

 

Sadly, a big danger with the Play-by-Post format is the risk of people just being too busy to keep the story going. So what AvengerAssembled said, basically.

 

Don't get discouraged and keep trying. I sadly have little else of worth to offer. One thing that might help is to try and bounce ideas off of players whose character seems like a good fit with Gloaming. Especially the other magicians.

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Elegy, I am likely not one of the veterans you wanted advice from, but I would like to start by saying you get a lot of credit for jumping right in and trying to GM a few threads, not to mention writing long solo threads for your character.  I only have a character in one of your threads, but I would certainly say I find that one interesting and am looking forward to it moving forward.

 

Right now, I think there is a bit of a double whammy of summertime and people just being busy with work and/or RL.  So, people are a bit slow in posting.  You should not feel hesitant to check with a player if it has been awhile since their last post and they are what is holding things up. 

 

Also, it might be helpful to jump on chat for a bit when you can.  It is a nice way to provide others a gentle reminder that they need to post.  It is also a very good way to get to know the others players on the site and is a very good way for thread ideas to develop.  That can go a long way to your other goals, getting more involved in the setting and the community. 

 

The threads you are currently GMing are also good at getting your character more tied to the setting, as they are providing introductions to other characters.  But, that is only useful if you find ways to build something out of those connections (which again is where chat can be a very useful way to speed along that process). 

 

Also, it has been recognized by some of us that we need to try to do a bit more to help integrate new players to the setting, unfortunately there is still a lot more that could be done to do that.  I have expressed a willingness to try to GM some threads for newer players to help get them involved, and I believe there are some others willing to help with that as well.

 

All in all, I believe you have shown a lot of initiative, and it may take a little bit of time, but I am sure you can get Gloaming more involved in the setting and in other threads and GM some great threads along the way.

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I have been pretty darn busy in RL too, Elegy, but I thought I would make a few moments to answer this. 

 

1. First off, credit for running threads and GMing them. It is not easy. Just trying to do what you have done is great. 

 

2. The Pace of threads is a difficult thing. It is not like a PnP game. It has advantages (you have plenty of time to consider responses and it is much easier to wing it), and disadvanatges (you can't pick up on non verbal cues). The pace of threads naturally ebbs and flows. As Thevshi said, dropping a few kindly hints is ok, and going on to chat is very helpful. However, one of the best tools you can use is to discuss things in OOC, and make scene cuts when a scene starts to flag.

 

3. On a related note, you don't need to have an all-powerful GM who controls the entire story. You can discuss how you want the story to proceed with players - it is their story too. Don't inflict your vision on players - you provide the raw ingredients that may (or may not) cause conflict, and together you cook. 

 

4. On that subject, as Arichamus has said, ask players what they want. There is no right way to play an RPG, despite what some may say. There is no right way to play M&M, either (although there probably are a few wrong ways). The site has guidelines about what to avoid, but within that scope there are massive differences in preferences. Some like murder mystery, some like drama, some like combat. Some players want to "win" and feel in control, some what the opposite. If you have in mind a tense murder-drama-investigation with lots of characters who have a complex relationship, you are going to bore stiff a player who just wants a dust up and chance to use the powers of his/her PC. Equally, that style might be exactly what a player wants - the same player who likes an occasional fight but would be bored silly with a "line up up, knock em down" series of goons at a bank robbery. 

 

5. Be patient and kind on yourself. Overall, despite doing a hell a lot of GMing here, and many people liking my GMing - I know that a ) My style is not fgor everyone and b ) No matter how hard I try (and sometimes I think trying and planning actually worsen a thread - very Zen), about one third of threads rock, one third of threads are an enjoyable mediocre, and one thirds limp along, possibly dying en route. And there is no point getting to upset about it. Its fair enough to take constructive criticism or advice (if you solicit it), but if anyone calls you out on being a bad GM, I can bet you they have never GMd themselves (PS: Knowing our player base, nobody is going to do this...)

 

6. Finally, kick back and enjoy.

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