A while ago we featured an article by Sam Richards, who runs a text-based roleplay on Twitter called Tweet RPG. I caught up with Sam again to ask him more about how he uses Twitter for roleplaying, and now the players control the story.
Is each story stand alone? Tell me about the stories that have happened so far…
Three of the stories that I’ve run so far are stand alone – King Slayer, Time to Die, and Hack ‘N’ Slash Hero. These stories all exist in their own universes, and are complete narratives on their own, but I may revisit the settings in future. My second adventure, Starfall, is going to be an ongoing narrative – the first instalment ended with the main character’s battle mech begin absorbed by an alien substance and then blasting off into space!
How much control does each individual member have over the direction of the story?
There are opportunities for individual players to exert some control with a couple of alternate voting styles. ‘Quick votes’ let the first player to respond make the choice – usually used for fast-paced situations or small choices that don’t require a 12-hour vote – ‘open votes’ offer the players the chance to send me story options, from which I pick my favourite – usually used when a situation could be taken in multiple directions, such as during interaction with NPCs.
Who comes up with the idea/theme of the story?
The creation of the plot, setting, themes, and characters is done by myself, but that doesn’t mean that the players don’t influence these things as they play. If someone suggests a really good idea, I’ll probably work it in if possible. The things that the players have most control over is creation of the protagonist(s), and the way the plot unfolds. There’s a destination that I guide them towards, but how they get there is in their hands.
What gave you the idea to start Tweet RPG?
I wanted to start a project that would accomplish a few different things: to create something new that other people weren’t doing that related to my passions (writing, role-playing games, and social media), to generate a bit of buzz about myself as a writer, and to encourage myself to keep writing on a daily basis.
Why did you decide Twitter was the best medium for Tweet RPG? And why not use Facebook instead?
Well, ‘face rpg’ just didn’t have the same ring to it! I chose Twitter because I feel it has a near perfect balance of forcing you to distil your statements into their purest form, and the simplicity that allows for an incredible amount of creativity. It does what it says on the tin. Even with all the changes that have been made to Twitter in the past year, nothing has been altered that stops me being able to run Tweet RPG the way I do. Whilst I do find Facebook very useful, and could definitely see it having a place in the Tweet RPG project, there are too many complexities and too many variables for it to be included at the moment. I need to know that when I post my story updates, they are accessible to all my players, in a fashion that doesn’t cause me any extra work – Twitter provides this, Facebook does not.