OngoingWorlds blog

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


10 rules for simming – from Kepler Station

kepler station banner

I recently saw that the Kepler station roleplay had a downloadable PDF guide for roleplaying, which includes useful information not just for their roleplay, but for everyone. Here’s a list taken from their section “10 rules for simming”:

  1. Creativity is key. Creative posts give life to your character.
  2. Pay attention to detail. Keep up with what others write in their posts – it just might affect yourcharacter!
  3. Be flexible. When you’re simming anything can happen.
  4. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others in your posts the way you want to be treated in theirs – with respect. (JPs are always a good way to interact with others)
  5. For every action there is a reaction. If you put a phaser to your head and fire, chances are you’re dead. Don’t do dumb stuff.
  6. Words are powerful. Use them carefully, and write so others understand what you’re doing.
  7. Communicate. Talk out of character (OOC) with other crewmembers on the forum, in IM or email. It builds cohesion and can add to creativity.
  8. Stay involved. You can’t always be the centre of attention… but that doesn’t mean your character can’t do anything. It is a big station.
  9. Develop your character. Make sure you use traits about your character in your posts. Don’t write a BIO and then play your character completely different.
  10. Be consistent. That way others know what to expect of you.

I agree with all of these, especially #7 – “Communicate”. I know that we don’t have a forum here at OngoingWorlds, but there are still a million ways we could communicate with each other to chat about where the story is heading, to get ideas, and to ask how someone’s character would react to something your character does, just to make sure you’re writing them correctly (providing you do allow people to write other’s characters in your game, some don’t as it’s godmodding, but some people do, because sometimes godmodding isn’t that bad. Anyway, getting to know everyone you’re roleplaying with really helps us all get along.

If you’ve got ideas for more rules, how about suggesting them below?

Source: Kepler Station Player Guide (PDF), from the Kepler Station website.

  • crimsyn (USS Portland)

    The one thing I think needs to be fleshed out a little is the “for every action, there is a reaction” bit. It, or it’s variant, “IC actions have IC consequences,” is an oft-cited rule of simming, but what does it really mean?

    Of course actions lead to reactions; otherwise we wouldn’t have a story, we would have a jumble of random events. But, any one action can trigger many possible reactions. Who decides which reaction is triggered? What if the actor doesn’t like the reaction being imposed on him and doesn’t find it fun?

    For example, what if I post my character rushing into a room and firing on some Jem’hadar. There’s a range of possible results, going from “I slaughter them all” to “I get blown away by a bunch of angry Jem’hadar.” Which result prevails? Who decides which result prevails? What if whoever decides it picks one that is not the one I expected, and not one I find fun? If someone thinks that my character’s action was “dumb stuff,” does that mean he can write negative consequences for my character that I just have to accept?

    Unfortunately, I’ve simmed with people who interpret these sort of rules as “IC actions have IC consequences, I get to decide what those consequences are, and if you don’t like it, then tough. Shut the hell up and stop being an immature roleplayer.”

    Also, it’s phrased in such a negative way. As GMs, we should NEVER attempt to punish players for “stupidity” or doing “dumb stuff.” We probably shouldn’t even be characterize our players’ roleplaying as “dumb stuff” because that’s the start of a slippery slope (and really, has anyone ever seen someone roleplay their character pointing a phaser at their own head and expecting to survive?). Think up cool and interesting consequences, yes, but punish, no.

    (if you can’t tell the difference… chances are if the player is grumbling about it and not happy, it’s a punishment)

    • Brian

      I can’t speak for other games but on Kepler we’re very collaborative, so the outcome of something like running into a room shooting at Jem’Hadar would be made together (either all those involved or everyone) and then the consensus would likely be the way things worked out. If that meant a character died, then it would be that player’s decision, no one else’s. The idea behind the ‘rule’ is to make sure players don’t go to extremes without thinking about it first. Yes, there are often unintended consequences but that goes for most decisions not just the ‘phaser wielding’ ones.

      We recently had a Court Martial because a player was annoyed and had their character telepathically ‘slap’ another. They didn’t intend for it to become an issue, but assault is something which needed to be dealt with. Yes, that’s punishing the character, but I disagree that it’s punishing the player. At worst its an annoyance and at best it gives them something else to draw on for future plot ideas.

  • sero

    I was the person who put together–with the help of others–the Kepler Station Player Guide and I just wanted to correct something. I’m also the former CO of the sim. Brian has been running it spectacularly for the past four years. I’m really glad you liked the guide and posted it about it here on the blog though 🙂

    The credit for the 10 Rules of Simming should go to the real creator Captain L. Horatio Hawke – EMail Academy Commandant, Starfleet Academy, UCIP, 1998. We modified it slightly to better fit the sim.

    As for crimsyn’s comments. I agree with you. These were just guidelines to get people to stop and think before they went off gung ho and leave everyone behind to wonder WTF just happened? WTF is there a giant orange floaty thing in space? WTF did you space your character…with no protective clothing/equipment…in the middle of space?!?!1! Not a hard and fast rule, but something for the player to keep in mind 🙂 It also is meant to get them thinking about being more mindful of giving others something to work from, instead of just writing about their own little world–there are other characters out there.

    FYI: the above-mentioned examples have all happened >.<