OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Who is the main character in your game?

Post apocalyptic roleplay

Sorry for the misleading title, because it’s actually a misleading question. There should only be one main character in your game and that’s…

The world. 

In this “Way with worlds” article written by Steven Savage, Steven describes the setting as the main character. He’s talking generally about roleplaying games as well as fiction. But it’s so much more important in play-by-post games, the kind we play here on OngoingWorlds.

No character is more important than another

Roleplaying games are different to books and films, in that we’ve got multiple authors, all writing about their own characters. This means no character should be more important than another. A starship Captain is no more important to the story than a lowly Cadet. A headteacher is no more important than a pupil. Sure, their roles will be different, and their perspectives will be different, but the story should equally be about both and all of them.

I’m not saying btw that characters are unimportant to the story. Of course they are, they’re VERY important! But they’re all equally important.

The world is what all characters have in common

As writers and members of a roleplaying game, we’re all responsible for writing about the setting our game takes place in. Hopefully the game creator has given some initial ideas about the world, but this hopefully can be expanded (check though before introducing something new, especially if it changes something fundamental about the world!).

The world will expand and grow over time, and it’s up to you and your game as to how you do this. You might want to have regular OOC posts about the state of your world, or write important details on the roleplay wiki.

  • Starlight Bloodhound

    Never even took time to think about that… Maybe I need to rethink PbP…

    • Yeah remember that we’re not writing a novel on our own here, in roleplay we’re working as part of a team. Each character and player is equally as important.

      • Starlight Bloodhound

        Not like I think like that, but if you post too much by yourself, it can feel that way. Sadly.

        • Daenelia

          Not really. You can write solo and still make it about the world or other characters. I do so all the time. In fact, I go out of my way to make my character the least important one, despite her position.

  • Angfaulith

    This is how I always approach PBP games and to some degree in traditinal pen & paper play as well. I beleve that every post should add someting to the game world, it don’t need to be whole lot, just a few smal details on what the character can observe of site and space is enough.

    By doing so we build a rich world for all character and the writers who stand behind them holding the puppet strings.

  • Daenelia

    The writers that can’t see it like this, are the writers that leave. The ones who make it all about how bad-ass their character is, or how well-connected, or just plain allknowing and all-powerful, they don’t get it.

    That leaves the writers with vision on the world you’re creating and that is the best thing 🙂 It helps that you can then set something up, knowing that other writers will take it and run with it, adding their own flavour to it, expanding the world.

    That’s awesome. I am glad I have met such awesome writers.