Hidden 10 days ago Post by Sierra
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The problems that @catchamber's current proposal will run into are as follows:

The duplication of universes on the fly is going to turn people off, particularly people like me who have universes with incomprehensible amounts of lore behind them. The sci-fi world of Stardust has more lore written for it than it does stories within it by an order of magnitude, and the unwritten lore is another order greater than the written. In no world could someone ever duplicate that. And if they did, it creates massive & abhorrent continuity errors. I would never subject Stardust to that. The people that have these quantities of lore are going to be excellent worldbuilders that you absolutely want because they'll flesh out this infinite space. Yet the duplication concept is potentially alienating.

You have an infinite amount of space, made worse by employment of multiverse. I've run enough sci-fi groups to know that everything goes to shit when multiverse theory comes into play. The fundamental rules of continuity are thrown out the window and that never ends well. It gets confusing very fast, leads to all kinds of potential powerplaying, godmodding, etc. Its quite literally and open door for godmodding because as you've described it, if the "local/thread GM" has said no, someone can simply duplicate that universe and go around them to get what they want.

The last major issue I'll harp on is that you have no way to bring players together, and your proposed system will actually encourage more fragmentation. At that point your persistent universe is really just a microcosm for the site as a whole, with the exception of overriding one of the accepted rules of RP etiquette. Unless you force players together, they will diverge. I speak from experience on that. I think @The Harbinger of Ferocity summed it up quite nicely. You need to drag players into involvement with a central plotline, or else they'll just go off and do their own thing with 1-2 others which IMO defeats the point.

How I would recommend proceeding is to treat it like you would any other large group roleplay on the site. Except, due to intent to run for perpetuity, you have very clear rules relating to ad-hoc player participation. It needs to be clear when and how players can jump in and drop out and precautions need to be put in place to avoid players becoming integral to progressing the plot, then dropping out/going inactive, and processes/penalties established for when it does inevitably happen. I believe based on my own firsthand experiences that doing anything else will be a recipe for failure.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by Mattchstick
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I had planned to make an RP where people could easily join and leave, with a way to explain their absence and presence. It sadly never went anywhere.

The initial idea was a series of puzzle rooms, with the classic "Everyone woke up here with no memory of arriving and now they have to solve puzzles for reasons idk it'll be explained in the sequel" premise. Inactive players (or players who requested to leave) were killed in traps, new players "woke up in" the current puzzle room with everyone else.
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@Mattchstick I think you're sort of on the right track but what you're getting at is very niche. For a more "standard" tolkien-esque fantasy setting you could do it like this:

You have towns that act as hubs. When in said towns, characters continue to live as normal without their players. Players can come back and pick the character back up whenever they want. When off on a quest with a group however they must diverge from the group, concluding their commitment to said group before they can drop out. This is obviously a very rough notion but I think it makes the point clear. Note that due to the scale and complexity of interstellar sci-fi, that genre gets much much harder in this realm because of difficulties managing playable space.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by catchamber
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Hello.

*assures everyone that I have years of experience on RP sites and am subsequently qualified to interject*

As a previous GM who ran a simple open-world RPG, with theoretically infinite options based on player choices, and as a gave dev who tried making a game based on that RPG, I have found that, invariable, players need some kind of plot or story to fall back on. Stick a bunch of kids in a magic sandbox with some toys and buckets, and they'll have fun for a while, but eventually run out of things to do. Even Minecraft, the undisputed king of free-for-all sandbox gameplay, has objectives, achievements, and an "End," so when you get tired of building a space tower out of cobblestone you have something worth doing.

If you're going to have an Expanded Universe, I stress that it have a start point, end point, and a line that leads between the two, so when the Dragonborn gets tired of setting people on fire and stealing cheese wheels, he has something to do that makes progress, even if it just means a new city to steal wheels of cheese from. The line can be a thick, thin, wavy, or convoluted as you want, as long as the RPers have something to, well...you get the point.

Staff would be able to set up plots that could fill the role you're concerned about. However, it seems like a persistent world could reasonably be designed to continue without a definite end, and that feels more desirable with regards to more than just a handful of roleplayers building storylines that could potentially last for years in the real world. Not sure how attractive it'd be to have a predefined end point, and it could cause problems to force such an end to emerge without taking into account all the stories that form before its arrival.

The problems that @catchamber's current proposal will run into are as follows:

The duplication of universes on the fly is going to turn people off, particularly people like me who have universes with incomprehensible amounts of lore behind them. The sci-fi world of Stardust has more lore written for it than it does stories within it by an order of magnitude, and the unwritten lore is another order greater than the written. In no world could someone ever duplicate that. And if they did, it creates massive & abhorrent continuity errors. I would never subject Stardust to that. The people that have these quantities of lore are going to be excellent worldbuilders that you absolutely want because they'll flesh out this infinite space. Yet the duplication concept is potentially alienating.

You have an infinite amount of space, made worse by employment of multiverse. I've run enough sci-fi groups to know that everything goes to shit when multiverse theory comes into play. The fundamental rules of continuity are thrown out the window and that never ends well. It gets confusing very fast, leads to all kinds of potential powerplaying, godmodding, etc. Its quite literally and open door for godmodding because as you've described it, if the "local/thread GM" has said no, someone can simply duplicate that universe and go around them to get what they want.

The last major issue I'll harp on is that you have no way to bring players together, and your proposed system will actually encourage more fragmentation. At that point your persistent universe is really just a microcosm for the site as a whole, with the exception of overriding one of the accepted rules of RP etiquette. Unless you force players together, they will diverge. I speak from experience on that. I think @The Harbinger of Ferocity summed it up quite nicely. You need to drag players into involvement with a central plotline, or else they'll just go off and do their own thing with 1-2 others which IMO defeats the point.

How I would recommend proceeding is to treat it like you would any other large group roleplay on the site. Except, due to intent to run for perpetuity, you have very clear rules relating to ad-hoc player participation. It needs to be clear when and how players can jump in and drop out and precautions need to be put in place to avoid players becoming integral to progressing the plot, then dropping out/going inactive, and processes/penalties established for when it does inevitably happen. I believe based on my own firsthand experiences that doing anything else will be a recipe for failure.

If you wouldn't want to subject any of your works to the divergent or duplicative forces inherent to the kind of Expanding Horizons I'm envisioning, you wouldn't have to.

If people attempt to sidestep existing storylines without getting any support from the other people involved in them, they'd basically have to continue their iterations on their own. This would serve as a deterrent against rampant divergences, but still allow other members to pick which iterations they want to participate in.

I also mentioned the plots that could be set up by the staff, which might draw players into an existing set of canons that could be built upon as they see fit. If it world is wide open, but they're forced to follow predefined plotlines, it's not really an open world anymore, is it?

It's already clear when and how players can jump in and drop out: Closed and Open threads. I'm not sure if there are existing measures to deal with players abandoning plot-integral characters, but I think the system I'm describing would allow the community to respond accordingly. If such characters are abandoned in Closed threads, the creator could take or delegate control of that version of the character. If it's in an Open thread, other players could wait for the absent player to return, or diverge the thread into one where someone else controls that character's alternate version.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by ArenaSnow
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<Snipped quote by ArenaSnow>
Do you have an alternative concept for Expanding Horizons to be based upon, then?


Rilla put it pretty clearly.

Personally, I prefer them to have a singular focus. Fantasy all the way through. Modern All the way through. Sci Fi all the way through. It helps the ease of play because you aren't haven't to create different checks and balances.


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<Snipped quote by catchamber>

Rilla put it pretty clearly.

<Snipped quote by Rilla>

I don't see how that framework would resolve the issue of plot inconsistencies, or players abandoning plot-integral characters. If we went down this route, wouldn't we need a lore-keeping and plot-managing staff member for each domain? Even if such positions were created, what would happen if the absent players return to claim their characters?
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<Snipped quote by ArenaSnow>
I don't see how that framework would resolve the issue of plot inconsistencies, or players abandoning plot-integral characters. If we went down this route, wouldn't we need a lore-keeping and plot-managing staff member for each domain? Even if such positions were created, what would happen if the absent players return to claim their characters?


The point isn't to "resolve" either of those things (and at the moment, I don't care enough about the concept to even consider those points of logistics), more to provide a structure that is easier to follow for outsiders, managers of such a context and people within the world itself. It is better, in my book, to try and manage fantasy characters in a setting where relative power can be more easily defined and understood when fantasy typically has specific connotations and expected power levels, as compared to trying to manage an all-encompassing setting where armies with swords and otherwise somewhat primative equipment can meet plasma gun toting kill teams with armor suitable for the thirty-first or what have you century with a pretty clear anticipated result.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by Mattchstick
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I don't see how that framework would resolve the issue of plot inconsistencies, or players abandoning plot-integral characters. If we went down this route, wouldn't we need a lore-keeping and plot-managing staff member for each domain?


Depends how deep you want the lore to be, but I don't see anything wrong with a staff member assigned to each domain. Heck, it makes sense for there to be one specific staff member responsible for each domain.

Even if such positions were created, what would happen if the absent players return to claim their characters?


Simple. Rules and Regulations on absence.

Example: "Absence/abandonment: Players must post at least once per week. If a player stops posting or requests to leave, the GM reserves the right to
1. Permanently or temporarily pass control of the character to another player,
2. Permanently or temporarily turn their character into an NPC controlled by the GM, or
3. Permanently kill or remove that player's character from the story."

Absences can straight up murder a good RP. Make a contingency plan, and make sure players agree to it.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by Mattchstick
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The point isn't to "resolve" either of those things (and at the moment, I don't care enough about the concept to even consider those points of logistics), more to provide a structure that is easier to follow for outsiders, managers of such a context and people within the world itself. It is better, in my book, to try and manage fantasy characters in a setting where relative power can be more easily defined and understood when fantasy typically has specific connotations and expected power levels, as compared to trying to manage an all-encompassing setting where armies with swords and otherwise somewhat primative equipment can meet plasma gun toting kill teams with armor suitable for the thirty-first or what have you century with a pretty clear anticipated result.


Ideally, that's what leveling/abilities are for. But that just turns into a turn-based RPG, and I think we're trying to avoid that.
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Note: In regard to sci-fi expanded universe, this just showed up in Casual: https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/168151-the-parallel-campaign-an-expansive-spacefaring-rpg/ooc. Looks pretty darn promising.
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Hidden 10 days ago Post by The Harbinger of Ferocity
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As a point of potential interest, one of the original core concepts we wanted to preserve was a feeling of continuity throughout the story. By this I mean, the system of open and closed worlds and that a character could only ever be in one thread at a time. The idea for this was to initially offer progression for the players, characters and concepts, but also so identities and events were preserved. Granted this method disappeared too, but it was one of the core ways we avoided a multiverse issue, let alone time disparity.

Another matter that was mostly agreed upon was that there would be a handful of lore friendly, critical worlds, of which the staff would predominantly leverage as a means of getting players on track. We intended initially to make it possible for even one player to further the plot and continue onward, that way others could join in as they go; with time all progressing at the same rate, roughly, it allowed the plot that had been written to visit each world. Characters outside this were free to do what they wished, but they were more or less only side quests. The official staff Game Masters were the ones who ensured posts in their threads and their part of the story kept going.

This is also why originally, some of you might recall we separated the world's; we did not want players to scatter to the wind and do whatever it was they wanted until the plot allowed it. This is why travel was all but barred, although we ultimately caved to pressure by the community. While I disagreed on the choice of breaking to the masses, it points out clearly a problem that arose - the system's internal integrity must be maintained. Each genre of world had its own purposes and existence and anyone could start anywhere, they were just confined there until the war itself broke out and the regular rules and governing force in the Federation splintered.

I note from when I was writing on it, it is without question a critical factor to ensure lore and story is consistent. Some issues with that were people had begun to amplify the scope much too large; playing entire races or nations when the system really only meant a single person or at most a group of diverse persons in talent. This is part of why power rankings became increasingly nonsensical and how, at first, they were designed with hard and true limits. Tier Zero meant no better or worse than an everyman, but Tier One meant some form of basic magic - cantrips - or expertise in firearms, military equipment, or light power armor. This became less coherent as we decided to focus more on approving players and less getting them to adhere to the intent of the rules.

Relating to the plot, suddenly we had a surge of ever increasingly powerful characters or factions, all of whom were meant to be limited for balance and lore reasons. Part of the objective of why groups had so many rules was because we foresaw this happening as people cannot help themselves to some extent; they wanted their character or group to be "The best." which led to another issue.

The world wasn't meant to focus on player versus player combat. In fact, it was only meant to be an option as we wanted users to have the freedom. That was part of the original design of the tier system, a sort of arbitrary way to see how outclassed a showdown was so we could judge without relying only on their writing. I believe part of the reason this evolved was because players saw characters they expected to be rivals with and worried they needed to be better, hence why profile locking was critical since we had cheaters who would edit from the very start of the game, the moment we approved them.

A way around this I think is to emphasize the overarching plot, such as the varied enemy forces which were meant to be employed. Their design was to be a perfect counter action to all the workings of the players and the Game Masters. Why? Because they needed to always be a threat and to everyone. They had to have powers and skills, let alone the means, to be just as dangerous in a fantasy world as they were in the far future. I did this by giving them a theme and design that sort of bridged all those gaps, primarily focusing on technopathy and psychic power. The original drafts made it clear they were basically unstoppable, not something you could ever get rid of, meaning they were anywhere and everywhere we needed them to move the story along if they needed to be; that and killing creatures of pure thought is more or less impossible, making it no real issue when they suffered defeat.

Hopefully this recounting adds some needed confirmation and insight for your proposals.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by Mattchstick
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I guess the overarching problem in a game like this is that, in Fantasy, for example, everyone wants to be the Dragonborn, and the Dragonborn has no rival. In Sci-Fi, everyone wants to be Commander Shepard. Average Joe just doesn't fit in a place where freedom is so heavily emphasized.
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Considering making some fiddly little concept based on fantasy with associated rules and etc. Don't quote me on that.

Edit: Nah. If I can't tell myself it will make it, how can I expect it to make it by itself? Don't worry, you don't have to get it.
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Elephant in the room:

The major problem is that there isn't a staff member with administrative access to and interest in taking the lead in developing this subforum.

I only have access to administrate the Character Submission sub-sub-forum. I'm not as rigorous as I probably should be in that regard and sometimes I get busy and a few days go by before I review anything. My view is that if a character isn't too over the top and includes sufficient information to interact with and assess, that's good enough. That means some submissions end up violating the tier/influence system, but that system is intended to be a guide rather than a rule. Moreover, I've extended the offer repeatedly for people to offer some ideas on how to improve it. I don't think I've gotten any positive feedback on that front -- only negative feedback, which doesn't help me make it better and just tells me what people dislike.
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One complaint that would involve me directly would be, and I'm paraphrasing here, that there is too much information and not enough guidance in the Character Submission Guidelines thread. It is arduous to read through and leaves the reader confused. Is that a fair assessment of the problem?
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That's a fair assessment of one of the problems.
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@Mattchstick Okay. I've updated the character submission guidelines thread to move the more pertinent information closer to the top and stripped down the character profile to the essentials. I've attempted to clarify and restructure things with the goal of being concise. I've also reworded the ICBM stuff.
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So...is that the end of this? I thought this was rather interesting.
Hidden 6 days ago Post by ArenaSnow
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Pretty much. Real change is often resistant.
Hidden 5 days ago Post by Circ
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Pretty much. Real change is often resistant.


We're working on real change. It starts by getting people who are willing to put in the time to manage the effort the access they need to do so. :)
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