OngoingWorlds blog

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


Enhancing collaborating storytelling with open roleplaying

Collaboration effortI created a discussion on RPG-D a few weeks ago (also mentioned in this article), about open roleplaying. Elena from Before The Mast wrote a great comment which I want to show here because I think it does a great job of explaining the benefits of open roleplaying.

Open roleplaying is basically allowing other members to roleplay your character. Some people don’t like it (there were a few good points in the forum about why it can be a bad thing). But it can also be extremely beneficial because it prevents a story from losing pace when someone isn’t playing their part.

It is really helpful for people who are more story-focused than character-focused (yes, I am protective of the story more than about the characters – I can write for any character and I can give you a scene to write with any of main or secondary characters without any sigh). Open roleplay solves a lot of problems most forums have. The story will go on, no matter who is flaking, and the characters will be at their duty, even if the writer happens to be busy sometimes.

The characters are there, in the ship roster/ civilian census/ character masterlist, and, therefore, in the story, Acting bravely, protectively, cowardly or recklessly, but there, involved in the story, making their mark. Silence and leaving some things to imagination is far too often painfully frustrating.

There are people who post only once in a blue moon, or who have problems and have to take time out. It happens. But their characters need no time out from the story, by contrary, it can be a crucial moment of the plot. A story can’t wait for those who remain behind by their own will; it has to go on, for the sake of those who work together in crafting it. Open roleplay helps with keeping the story going.

And, for the writers who don’t want to challenge themselves and better their skills in a certain field… it is also a solution. How often have you heard “I don’t do fight threads because I suck at fighting” (but you chose a character who is supposed, by his role in the story, to be actively involved in fighting – a pirate, a Navy man), or “I don’t do work threads because I find them boring” – even if during the team work friends and enemies can be gained, and lots of further plotting might appear?

In that case, open roleplay is also benefic because they can do only the scenes they want to do, while not depriving the character of the other types of scenes it makes sense for his role in the story and personality to be in.

Elena, Before the Mast RPG

I removed a few sentences from Elena’s comment just for conciseness about this topic. You can see the original discussion here.