RP system for forums

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) Division Development RP system for forums

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    You know, it is interesting you bring it up @aramond and @matsiyan . I have received criticism both ways with regards to the TSN RP Community – some have told me we don’t RP enough, some have said they don’t want to have to RP and so it is a bit too much.

    Part of me thinks, “we are an RP community, if you want to join and not RP, then sorry that ain’t how it works.” The other part of me is thinking about attracting new players to our community and making sure they feel welcome and comfortable.

    Looking at what we do now, during the duty shift the RP is pretty light. There are certain expectations and people have to go along with; things like using combat orders, or abiding by the rank system, though to be honest it matches peoples length of service, experience, commitment and overall authority in the community anyway making it easier on people (I have had disagreements about that too though, trying to convince newer players that “yes, those higher ranking and senior officers have actually earned that because they know how to play the game, have played a lots of hours, and can play it extremely well as well as know the protocols! No you cannot be an automatic captain just because you run a crew of your own.)

    I think the ‘heavier’ RP is now on the forums, which is good. It means that people can have a choice to engage in the RP this side or not. Though it can still have an impact on the duty shifts, I think it helps to set up good missions and story arcs rather than force people to RP more in the duty shifts. There are some in our group that never visit the forums, some who browse, or just stick to the OOC forums and chatter and some who go right into the RP side of things.

    I think therefore we need to consider it in this manner. On the forums, in the appropriate sub-forums, is the more structured RP where we can adopt a rule set and character development. The things that happen on the forums might feed in to the missions actually played during a shift, with details being relayed through mission briefings or general chatter by the players as appropriate. However, missing the forums should not mean players are left out or don’t know what is going on.

    For example, the Manticore mission (and this is just an example). If it were to run during the duty shift, what we could do on the forums is set up the whole scenario of needing a scouting run. Then in the shift, relay the information, brief the officers and call for volunteers. That way, we’d be allowing other officers to take part in the mission, as well as combating the issue of people volunteering on the forums, only to find they cannot attend the duty shift for some unforeseen reasons.

    Of course, if the Manticore mission were to run out of the shift time (with a nod from the GMs or a volunteer GM to run it!) it could go ahead purely with people who volunteer on the forums. The other officers would then be informed of what happened in the briefings and general chatter. Going about it this way would add a little more depth to the division, as then we’d have intelligence gathered and reports to make about actions that we don’t always see (i.e. the division doesn’t go completely inactive at the end of each duty shift, so this would simulate the continuing operation when people aren’t on shift).

    Fish Evans

    I have to say whilst I hope I make a good GM I dont have lashings of experiance in sit-down RPG’s I know a good story though so I want to stay a bit away from the system creation I simply dont have the experiance to say this will work.. this wont work as a system to play.

    The rules need to be simple to pick up but should have a few intracys.. one issues the worries me is gettign all the information presetnted in a way that the GM can make good decisions when needed.

    Xavior / Matsiyan / arramond I will let you folks hash this out with out (much) interferance from me 😛

    Blaze Strife

    I think you’re all onto something here, we just need to shape it into something coherent.

    Judging by all of my previous experiences with different MMOs and other games, people come on forums for a number of reasons (information, jokes, RP, social media, video sharing, etc). We would be wrong to force anyone into the RP section; the people who want to participate, will do so.

    Therefore, I think that we can create a set of rules (or use an existing set) to use in the RP subforum. One of the rules can even state that a person can post in there only after being approved by the GM, which can happen after the person has been with us for a shift or two, since that’s how long it takes to start grasping the canon.

    We would all love to have many more people RP in here, but I don’t think that a few rules is something that would stop a person who wants to RP; rather, I think it might be too daunting to hop in without the rules, since one doesn’t know what’s expected of him. I’ve missed out on few forum RP games because I didn’t know what was allowed, and what was shunned, and there was no point in reading over a hundred pages to see what I can conclude what the rules are. If we’re talking about motivating others to RP with us, I think the best motivation would be having interesting stories happening during the week.

    Matthew Vaj

    Based on my own fairly recent experiences of joining the RP stuff, I think it’s fairly easy to pick up on RP format and acceptable content as it is. I’m not opposed to having a few more explicit rules, so long as they’re easy for new cadets to find and pick up on.

    John van Leigh

    When I first joined my concern was that I would have trouble communicating. If you think my accent’s bad, it was much worse back then. If I can fit here, anybody can, but I think that Matsiyan and Aramond raise an excellent point that I completely managed to miss.

    Adele Mundy

    Aramond said it very well.

    I am enjoying the RP side of the TSN immensely, and for me it makes the shift even better; I also realise that not everyone can or wants to be this involved, and that joining a group with a long and complicated in-character history can be daunting. I have myself stepped away from a LARP group because all the characters already had a multi-generational history of alliances, feuds and vendettas when I first played, and I had no idea who I was talking to and what it meant to be seen with this or that person.

    I like the streamlined, rules-light approach. One way for us as players to make the GM’s life easier is to ask questions:
    I need to find out A: do I know anyone who would know?
    I want to find out how B works: I look at it/examine/start taking it apart: what do I learn?

    We tell the GM:
    1) what the character wants to achieve
    2) how they go about it
    3) any relevant information or skill from past events that might affect the result (in moderation, to help the GM remember what happened to you four shifts ago, but without suddenly making up an implausibly useful skill)

    And there’s always the: my character is a (pilot, engineer, disco ball aficionado) and I’m not, so what do they know that I don’t?

    People don’t have to get involved in the forum discussions if they don’t want, but it’s up to us to include them in the RP during the shifts, as much as they want to participate.


    That’d actually be the best approach, Mundy. We try to do something/want to know something, and then make the case for why we should succeed.

    Example: Due to solar winds moving an object through the Poisidon Rift, I try to calculate exactly where we need to be and when to interact with it. I have a background in astrophysics, so this should be right in my wheelhouse. (Yes, I know I’m making a mockery of astrophysics)

    This approach would also allow to call BS on someone without having to wait for GM ruling if they’re starting to get ridiculous: The Kraliens are doing something suspicious? I pull out a commlink and call King Kralien on his direct line. He’ll talk to me because we’re bros and I’m so bloody awesome.

    Also, Xavier, I want to hear you say “ain’t.” I’m having a hard time hearing it in my head.


    I think having some structure to our character in terms of designing them would help us when roleplaying. After reading the design system in FUDGE and mulling it over a little, having the system of attribute, traits, gifts, faults etc would be really useful to help us all with the decision making process. We could quite easily tailor the names of them to our universe e.g. Security clearance. That way, we could avoid situations where someone comes in with “security clearance second only to the admiralty” kind of thing.

    The way to present it to new players could be as simple as putting in a post about guidelines and character creation. So you have to first design your character and have it OK’d/ tweaked by a GM.

    Keeping these on record would help GMs to decide the outcome of you actions too. So if someone who is only trained to a low level of expertise in software engineering tries to hack into a black box (something that has also come up in the bar I think) the GM can just reply with the story equivalent of “congrats, you broke it”. It would also mean that you could turn around to the character that actually does have the higher level of ‘software engineering’ and ask them to hack it, in which case the GM can say the story equivalent of “congrats, you’ve just discovered x, y and z.”


    Just spitballing here, now that I’ve caught up on the previous thread and now this thread. I think having a small character sheet in a subforum would be appropriate, with the short character motivations that Matsiyan mentioned, plus the attributes that Xavier is mentioning. That way, everyone can refer to it and can address other people based on their known attributes, not just the GMs.

    I think these attributes or skills or whatever they end up being could scale to your rank as well, with higher rank officers being more experienced and therefore either having more points in a specific skill (specialist characters like Graybeard) or a diverse range of different skills (generalist characters like Slate). If we end up going this route, you’d obviously want at least one skill that corresponds to each station, in addition to whatever roleplaying effects they would have outside of a ship (using Xavier’s example, I would guess that an engineer would be better at hacking a black box than a helm officer).

    Say for example when I was a cadet I got 1 point in all skills and 1 or 2 to add on top of that for character customization. Then, when I passed my Ensign exam I added 2 points in the skill that corresponds to my primary station (piloting for helm), and 1 point for my secondary (mechanics maybe for engineering). As I advance through the ranks, I would get more points to put into other skills and I could either decide I want my character to become the best pilot around and dump them all into piloting, or maybe I want to put myself on the command track, so I put them into a command skill or something.

    This may not be the best way to go, of course, because you would never want to be put in the position where someone is roleplaying an incredibly charismatic leader with tons of points in the command skill who demands to be in command of their own ship during the shift, when in actuality they couldn’t command their way out of a level 1 sim…

    If we do end up going this route, here’s a quick proposal of skills to workshop:

    • Command (Captain, XO)
    • Piloting (Helm)
    • Heavy Weapons (Weapons)
    • Mechanics (Engineering)
    • Perception (Science)
    • Persuasion (Comms)

    For roleplaying other scenarios, especially ones off of a ship, we’d probably want to add other skills like athletics, light weapons, a computers/hacking skill, xenobiology, medicine, a skullduggery/sneakiness skill, contacts, and other skills necessary for a sci-fi RPG.


    You put your finger on the problem with this. I am very uncomfortable assigning points to game skills. In the RP everyone should be a hero capable of almost anything technically. It just makes for better believability if the someone who is frequently in the role of Engineer or Science, messes with electronics stuff – out of those available in the fiction. But any one of our regular engineering officers should be able to do that. You shouldn’t need a lot of “points”. Points break the illusion 🙂

    I don’t think I am actually that great an Artemis game engineer, but I talk a lot as an engineer. I try to see the TSN world through the lens of “The Engineer” and other people then react to that. Then I added the lens of “wealthy merchant family”, but I make no pretense to special contacts in the research, diplomatic, intelligence or arts community.

    Blaze Strife

    I think it’s much better to focus on the skills we are not showing in the Artemis game itself. I think of myself as a good weapons officer, but I may just be an egoistic bastard and lying to myself. Those skills would be better shown as marks by others, and I don’t think anyone wants to go there.

    If the skills are something much more general, unconnected to the Artemis game itself, we can make diverse characters.

    EDIT: Matsiyan posted while I was compiling my own post. 😛

    A list of some skills, taken from GURPS:

    • Administration
    • Artist
    • Bioengineering
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Hacking
    • Computer Programming
    • Cooking
    • Cryptography
    • Diplomacy
    • Disguise
    • Economics
    • Electronics Operation
    • Electronics Repair
    • Explosives
    • Fast-Talk
    • Finance
    • Gambling
    • Geography
    • Geology
    • Interrogation
    • Intimidation
    • Linguistics
    • Literature
    • Lockpicking
    • Merchant
    • Performance
    • Persuade
    • Philosophy
    • Physician
    • Physics
    • Pickpocket
    • Poetry
    • Poisons
    • Psychology
    • Research
    • Shadowing
    • Speed-Reading
    • Stealth
    • Teaching
    • Theology
    • Tracking
    • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by Blaze Strife.

    Quinn, I like where you’re going with this, but I very much agree with Matsiyan and Blaze. We may not want to have skills that directly correspond with our stations, such as piloting/helm. Then, there’s always the chance that our character’s skills don’t line up with our RL competence at the game. The only real disagreement I have with them is that they’re not giving themselves enough credit. 😛

    Other than that, a list of generic skills, like the one Blaze posted, we can pick and choose from may not be a bad idea.

    Or, (lightbulb moment)

    A big part of the FATE system I brought up earlier is that all characters have what are called “aspects.” basically, short phrases that describe who they are and what they do. Example: a character they stat up from the Dresden Files series would have the aspects: “Wizard Private Eye” “Chivalry Is Not Dead, Damnit” “Not So Subtle, Still Quick to Anger” “Epic Wiseass” “Perpetually Broke”

    In playing with Eric in this sort of system, ones I come up with off the top of my head are “Navyman Scientist” “Going Mad With Power” “Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Wrench” “I Have Your Back” “Unanonymous Alcoholic”


    OK, so I have been thinking some more on this and I think, for the forums, we could design a character that is “in line” with our live RP characters, but wit more depth. I am thinking of going with the FUDGE system as it seems fairly straightforward and infinitely adaptable.

    First, there needs to be a clear guide on how to set up your character. I am going to say, for now, we stick with human (or more or less human) characters, so we don’t have to add in complexities of alien traits or anything like that. I am not ruling it out; we could explore it later when we get more comfortable with a system and decide whether it is working or not.

    Pulling stuff from FUDGE then, this is an idea about how we would go about designing a character (and remember, this is still a train of thought, nothing is set in stone… yet).

    Each character is defined by its traits. There is a simple system of describing those traits –
    Obviously this list is ordered from best to worst. They are taken directly from FUDGE, and I don’t necessarily think we need to go about renaming them. Basically though, the most common should be “fair”. Any undefined trait is automatically “Poor” and you can make your character better by boosting traits to being “Good” or “Great”. In very rare circumstances (and by rare I am talking very very rare reserved for people who have played years and years) a character may be able to obtain a “Superb” trait. There was a suggestion of “Legendary” but I don’t think we will use that unless someone is given the trait posthumously 😉

    There are then 5 trait types, though I think we will stick with 4 (as 5 refers to “Supernormal” powers e.g Arvonian skin camouflage, Torgoth strength etc.) So the four will be “Attributes” – basically your ability to think and do. We could have things like “Reaction time/Reflexes”, “Constitution”, “Perception”, “Reasoning/Problem Solving”, “Coolness”, “Honour”, “Duty”, “Self Discipline”… “Security Clearance”. The decision would need to be made about how many attributes we should define I think, as well as most relevant ones to use.

    Next, there are skills to choose from. These, like attributes, help define your character, and should link logically to the attributes you have e.g. a “Great Piloting” skill would link with the “Great Reflexes” attribute. We could then have a load of skills that link in with your preferred area of expertise as well as more general ones that would link with the academy training you all supposedly went through 😉

    The next trait is “Gifts”. These are basically things your character is good at. Some ideas are “Always keeps cool”, “keen senses”, “reputation as a gifted engineer”, “connections to the skaraan free slaves underground movement”

    To balance them are “Faults”. These are things that make life more difficult for you. Great one to get in there is “Brother is Unuaklhai”, or “drinks excessively in the bar” or even “gung-ho”.

    So from here, we could decide on the most important traits to try and define (giving a list of ones to consider) but also allowing players to add their own traits to the list where they feel necessary. As a player, you would then pick and define as many traits as necessary. Anything undefined which is an attribute would be defaulted to “Fair” and skills would be “Poor”

    When it comes to designing the character, we could specify how many “Superb”, “Great”, and “Good” attributes you can have e.g. 1 superb, 1 great and 2 good. The same would apply to skills e.g. 1 superb, 2 great and 6 good skills. We could also define a limit to the number of skills you can specify. And finally we would work out some kind of gift/fault restriction too, e.g. for every 2 gifts, you must have 3 faults.

    The whole point of this would be to help define our characters so that we are inventing less on the spot and sometimes (only sometimes) missing the mark e.g “I am so strong I am able to wrestle the torgoth attacking the base to the ground and and bludgeon it to death with the butt end of my sidearm.” or “I am such an amazing engineer, I can deactivate the bomb that was planted there, saving everyone from having to evacuate, then reverse engineering it so it creates a small portal to the hidden arvonian ship nearby, teleports there and explodes inside, killing the agent with the top secret missile plans he stole from me because I have security level 1000000 and I know shit like that”…… you get the idea 🙂 And yes… these are deliberately extreme and comical ideas..

    So anyway, I can formalise everything above and we can come up with a list of possible skills, attributes and gifts/faults that could be used as suggestions for character design. What do people think about this?


    Just a quick extra note. Defining things like these will help determine how successful you are with stuff. For example, if you had poor engineering skill and tried pulling of some kind of hotwire to override a door security system, a GM could say ‘and in your attempt you receive severe electical burns and set off all the alarms aboard station.’ On the otherhand, someone with great engineering skill trying to hotwire the system would have the response ‘a couple of sparks fly as you connect the wire, you wait.. then the door slides smoothly open revealing….’ you get the idea.


    For traits, I feel like they could be simplified more. To quote Matsiyan:

    I am very uncomfortable assigning points to game skills. In the RP everyone should be a hero capable of almost anything technically.

    While we all shouldn’t be capable of everything, we could all be considered competent in a good number of things (this is a military, after all), while any traits we assign to the characters are the ones we’re considered especially good or bad at.

    For Attributes, the ones I feel would work the best are pulled directly from Traveler: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, Social Status/Standing. We could easily substitute that last one for something like “Military Rank”

    Gifts and Faults we should probably be very stingy with, as it feels like they could start to over-complicate things.

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