|becky has a neg 4 to stealth checks (clank) wrote,|
@ 2018-11-16 07:24:00
|Entry tags:||essay, rp writing|
IC/OOC Posts: A Primer
Strap yourselves in, it's time for another essay where I ramble about RP.
So the concept of IC/OOC posts were actually pretty new to me. I've seen them used in two game settings. The first, a smaller game that was slower and log driven. The second, a super huge, fast-paced game with occasional events put on by the mods or players.
How they work is this. There's a "who, what, where, when" type header like you commonly see at the start of a log, but instead of the log there's a description of the event. There might be labeled comments for different aspects, times, or areas of the event. Then everyone can pile in with quick comments about what their character is doing and how they're interacting with each other.
What's nice is it give characters the action of the log, but with the inclusiveness of a network or journal post. Besides, it can't always be just two people interacting in a game! Sometimes something should happen and a lot of people are there. IC/OOC posts are how to make it work.
I used to hate IC/OOC posts.
Seriously. So the first game I saw them used in doesn't count. They were only attempted once or twice and never got off the ground. I'll get to why in a second.
The second game I saw them in, my current game, those posts used to stress me out hardcore. Some people were getting interaction and a lot of replies in them, but I wasn't. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Was I not interesting? Why didn't people reply to me?
Spoiler: I was doing them wrong. Haha.
So let's learn from my mistakes, shall we?
I'm going to take a step back first from my newb player frustrations and talk about how to set up an IC/OOC post. Why did they work in Current Game, but never take off in Past Game? What are some basic DOs and DON'Ts for an IC/OOC post so they remain exciting and fresh. What are some variations to keep them interesting?
Basics: Start with a log style header. People need to know the date, location, what's going on, etc. Under a cut tag you want to have a description of the event, the setting, challenges and rules if applicable. You can get really fancy with this and use a layout with graphics if you like. I frequently scour tessisamess to see what I can use to format my event posts to make them look extra special. I will not be linking to any IC/OOC posts as examples, but feel free to do so in the comments of ones you thought were rad. (Rad, inspiring IC/OOC posts only, please.)
1. Your IC/OOC post needs to be an EVENT.This sounds basic, and it is, but if you're new to IC/OOC posts or your players are new to them, it's important to know. If it looks like a regular ole post where people can interact? It's going to end up like an awkward college party where nobody knows anyone else and people barely mingle and nothing happens.
Promote your event. Hype it up a little. It could be in an OOC post giving players a heads up that a kaiju is going to attack the city or an IC post of a character promoting a party. Make sure people are given some notice and have some time to get interested about it.
2. Your event needs to be unique.If the same kinds of events are happening, multiple times, especially close together they're no longer going to feel fun and exciting. Instead they'll feel compulsory and chore-like.
I know, I know. There was a really great event once with over a thousand comments and you want to replicate that success. But you can't do that by replicating the exact same event.
Not only that, but if a player has set up an event for their cookout, and then a week later your character has a cookout (or a ball, or whatever) those kinds of social events are going to start to get stale. Especially if the same characters are invited and they're doing the same things. Don't scoop or replicate other player's (or the mods) ideas. Try to come up with your own unique idea.
2.5. IC/OOC fatigue is real. Use them judiciously.
3. There need to be stakes.You can get away with having similar Event Posts if they each have a unique spin. One way to do that is to ask yourself "what are the stakes of this event?" What will the characters have to gain or lose from participating in the event? Is there an element of risk? Socially, emotionally, physically?
If it's just a way to show off a cute outfit and your character's ship, chances are that's not going to make a very intriguing IC/OOC post.
If you're not a mod, try to put on a mod hat while you think about these events. What I mean by that is don't just think about your own characters. Think about other players' characters in the game. What's been going on with them? What's going to give them an opportunity to do something cool?
Bonus: Extras can add some fun. I don't think we're run out of ways to creatively improve IC/OOC posts or add unique spins to how to do them. I will describe a few things I've seen below.Time. Maybe a problem has to be solved or this is a party and there's a beginning, middle and end. Using comment subject lines to divide an event up by time can help organize the action.
Place. Or maybe it's a case of whack a mole and multiple things are happening at once. You can use the subject lines to start comment threads of what characters are at which location doing what.
Volunteers. One idea I've seen is adding a section of "volunteers" for specific things to happen to characters that players volunteer. It might be something like "one volunteer shows up late" or "two volunteers get caught sneaking off to smooch" or whatever. They just give players ideas of things they can do within the post.
Injuries. Remember the stakes? If this is going to be a big fight scene or brawl, having a comment section for injuries. I've seen some mods roll random dice to see how bad it is, but I would bet if you started a comment and let players come up with their own injuries, they'd get pretty creative and true to what their character was doing.
FAQ/Questions. Using the comment subject line you can add a FAQ within your IC/OOC event. This is nice if your event is more complicated or has a lot of moving pieces.
Do you have bonuses or extras you like to incorporate into your IC/OOC posts? Comment below and share.
Okay, let's get back to my original problem as player first encountering IC/OOC posts. How do you get interaction? How do you use an IC/OOC post to create new lines (friendships, enemies, romances, etc) while strengthening and maintaining new ones? There's nothing more frustrating than going into a scene and feeling unnoticed/ignored.
I've been there. I know. You're not alone.
So what can you do about it?
1. Show interest in other people's characters.This is just a good golden rule in RP games in general, but it is especially apparent in IC/OOC posts.
I get it. I know. You have a super rad character. They have an amazing back story. They're gorgeous and talented and they kick a lot of ass. Why aren't other characters interested in them and eating out of their hand??
Probably because basically all characters in RP games are super rad, gorgeous, talented ass-kickers. Who's hand are you eating out of?? No one's? Well, then why would you be expecting that kind of treatment in return?
As writers and players, we probably spend a lot of time thinking about our characters and what makes them tick. But unless you're writing a novel (haha, don't ask me how that's going) you should probably spend some time checking out what other people are doing. Have you been reading other people's logs? Checking out netposts that don't involve any of your characters? Do you know what's happening in game outside of what your characters are doing?
It's going to get obvious pretty quick if you haven't. We're human. We have a natural tendency to want to hang out with people who show an interest in us. If you aren't showing an interest in other people, they're probably going to avoid you.
2. Related to number one, comment and reply to other people's threads.I've made this mistake. I treated an IC/OOC post like fishing. Instead of replying to what other people already put out there, I'd write out a comment for a character and wait for someone to reply to it.
And watch as other people are interacting with each other and no one was responding to me.
Instead of doing what I did, might I suggest an alternative?
A. Create a comment for your character if you have a cooler idea than "they're there!"
Give other players some meat to react to. What state is your character in? Do they look like they're up to no good? Did they have a rough morning and look like they fought a moose on the way to the IC/OOC post? Give other players something to work with.
B. Then once you've created a comment for your character, Let it goooooooo! Let it gooooooo!
You've put something out there? Don't worry about if someone replies or not. Why shouldn't you worry? Because you have other things to write/do! Since you'll be...
C. Comment on other people's interaction 2-4x more than the comments you put up.
I wanted to say an IC/OOC post is like an orgy and it have fun you need to be a giver and not a taker, but since I've never been in an orgy before... Who knows. The idea is still legit, right?
Which goes back to my first point, you can't really interact and respond to other people if you have no idea what's going on with their character. It could come off as totally tone deaf or a cry for attention. Legitimately show an interest in someone else. If every player did this then, guess what? Those comments you put up? Someone might be inclined to show an interest in yours.
If you as a player don't take an interest in other players, those players will pick up on it pretty quick and act accordingly.
3. Don't be a shipper shark.Look, if you're cruising the IC/OOC posts looking to put your character in a ship, then what you don't realize is that the Jaws theme is secretly playing in the background of your comments and all the players and their characters are going to try and get out of the water FAST.
You're not going to get lines that way. Going back to what I've tried to say before, show an interest in other characters, give other characters an opportunity to shine and be rad, and they'll do the same for you.
Like the Beatles say: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. But not love like a ship. Love as in taking time to appreciate what other people are trying to write and do with their characters.