OngoingWorlds blog

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

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Sitcoms and Roleplaying Games

Big Bang Theory cast w logoIn today’s entertainment world, it seems we are flooded with a plethora of shows that seem to just run into each other via plots or ideas. These shows tend to be very unsuccessful and usually end within the pilot or the first or second season if they’re lucky. But then, there are those shows that seem to triumph over the rest, the ones that stick out, the ones you might have thought you would hate but would come to love. Situation Comedies or “Sitcoms” go best with this pattern, in a way, roleplaying games can follow suit. How does it relate? How do you make roleplaying games like sitcoms? Well there’s only one way to find out.  Read More

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Ask the Admins Q&A

Raised-handsWonder how we do our jobs? Wonder who we actually are? Whether we’re robots,human hybrids, or aliens? What we like to do in our spare time or just general boring questions? Is Dave really a tea powered robot? Well! Now you can!  Read More

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I Made Something, And You Should Read It [It’s About Writing]

I'm tiredYeah, don’t ask me why the thumbnail to this is a picture of me really pissed off. I finished the thing and made this around 12:13 am and I have to work the same day so I was tired and cranky [pic’s a bit sloppy too]. But, long story short [trying to stride past my pissed off self] I wrote the first edition to something that could help you [or someone you know] with the in’s and out’s of the wonderful world of writing. Read More

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Challenge Accepted

Why do we roleplay?  What point do I dictate by typing these words upon this screen?  To explain, to confined, to emphasize?   What point is there in continuing to come back to this reality when the real world is so beckoning, so insisting that I take out the trash?

I’m sure many have tried this, to explain why we tend to write, to live outside ourselves through some off handed dwarf, elf, commanding officer, or some other conceived creature of creation.  Many have come to assume it’s an escape, a means to leave the stress and sometimes confining reality we live in.
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PBEM? Play-by-post? Roleplay? RPG? play-by-email? We need to pick a name and stick with it!

Speech bubble saying "PBEM"Name your hobby. Go on. Because I can’t.

When I first started roleplaying I learned that the term to use was PBEM. Sometimes the agreement over capitalisation would alter like PbEM or PBeM, but it’s essentially the same. It stands for “play by email”, the way that I used to play. People would send emails to a newsgroup, to be distributed to the other members. Read More

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Make your character fail a few times before succeeding

Superman vs Batman

Even the mighty Superman has weaknesses and obstacles to overcome

In this article we’ll talk about why things shouldn’t ever be too easy for your character, and how you can do to make things more interesting by putting obstacles in their way.

Your character should be realistic

So you’re playing a PBEM game and you want your character to be as believable as possible. The reason why you want this is so that other members of the game will read your posts and really feel like your character is a real person.

In reality, good things don’t happen all of the time. For total realism, sometimes bad things happen to good people. If you want to do something in real life, there will be things standing in your way. Similarly if your character wants to do something, there should be obstacles that they should overcome before they achieve their goal.

If characters on TV or films achieved what they wanted to straight away, we’d cut out the story, and that’s the interesting bit!

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Using OOC to instruct other members

Punch and Judy

Sometimes it's time to put your characters down and speak as yourself

OOC is an acronym for “out of character”. It is usually used in a PBP or PBEM game to indicate that the following text is written by the author, and not intended as speech from the point of view of the writer’s character.

If you see this in a post, it usually means that the following paragraph has been written by the member as something intended to communicate to other members, like an instruction or comment. The member is making it clear that this is something they are saying, and not the character they are writing about.

When is it used?

Use an OOC comment at the start of your post, or at the end to either comment on the post, or at the end to give a suggestion or instruction about what the reader should do next.

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Interview with Mike Bullen, GM of Wizards Inc PBEM

Wizards Inc office building

Wizards Inc is about Wizards in a modern day office block

Many many role playing games are set in a fantasy world, each with their differences in how you use magic. Fantasy is a staple of Play-by-post games too, and it allows the member’s characters to live their lives in a rich and exciting world where the only limits are our own imaginations.

Mike Bullen has created his own play-by-post game where the characters are Wizards. What is most unusual is that instead of being set in a typical Dungeons and Dragons type world, this one is set in our own world. Wizards Inc is a game about some Wizards who work in an office block in England. They solve problems for clients using their magic, but try to keep their wizardry secret from normal people.

I’ve known Mike since he joined up for my Blue Dwarf play-by-post game, and is a fun writer. I’ve asked him a few questions about his Wizards Inc game.

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The "Membership Options" screen

the Membership options page

The "Membership Options" page for a game

I wanted to highlight the “Membership Options” page (see screenshot). Because I want some input on the options it presents to the member of a game.

In Ongoing Worlds, when you join an existing game, you can see all of the game posts, and will by default you will receive email notification every time there is a new post. For many users this will no doubt be annoying, especially if the game is really active and has many posts per day – meaning that your inbox will soon be overcrowded with emails from your game.

But on the other hand it could be extremely useful to know when someone has posted in your game, as you might not be checking back to the site very often to notice it. This means someone might post, and nobody will notice until they come back to the site.

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18 ways to spot a Mary-Sue in your PBEM

So you’ve got a PBEM game, and you’re recruiting for new members. You accept members based on the character biographies they’ve provided to you, but how do you know that these players are going to be any good in your game? Well, you can’t really tell until you see them post.

A Mary-Sue character is a stereotype of RPG games

A Mary-Sue character is a stereotype of RPG games and fanfiction

There is a stereotype character called a Mary-Sue. This is normally a female character who is so perfect that she’s annoying. She resembles all the many character stereotypes all rolled into one. A Mary-sue character is normally a player’s first character, when they don’t realise that they are creating such a stereotype.

Mary-Sue’s aren’t always female, as male characters can have all of these stereotypes too, as well as some more of their own. A male Mary-Sue is sometimes called a Marty-Stu.

The name Mary-Sue comes from a short Star Trek fanfiction story, written as a parody of fanfiction.

Look at the points below to see if you have any Mary-Sue stereotypes in your own game. Maybe your character is one and you didn’t even realise! Take each of these points with a pinch of salt, some of the points mentioned actually make good character traits on their own. But a typical Mary-Sue will use them all.

Character’s Name

1. The character is named after the player, this could include their nickname, first name, last name or all of their names.

2. The character’s name is a noun or word that isn’t normally a name. (Angel, Moon, Chaos etc) This could also be a name of historical/mythical significance that doesn’t relate in any way to the character or the setting of your game.

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