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What Makes a Roleplay Fun?

Sprite

The Sheepish Sheep
Role-playing is one of my favorite things. I spend hours writing up backstories, personalities, quirks, powers, and more for my characters. I simply love fleshing them out and really figuring out who they are as a person.

But sometimes, I take them into a role-play and nothing seems to click. The other person and I can barely think of what to say or do next. It seems like we're forcing it to move forward and it's simply not fun.

I'm not entirely sure why it happens. I want our stories to be exciting and interesting; I want our characters to always have motivations to say or do something without a second thought. But that often doesn't seem to be the case. I often start group role-plays on my server, only to see them quickly die because no one has anything to do.

I guess what I'm asking here is, how do people make role-plays fun and interesting?
 
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Skychickens

Late Healer Ferret
Having a plan helps, but being able to roll with whatever and subtle nudging rather than forcing is better. Knowing your players and the sorts of games they like. Trying not to overdo it too. My wife and I usually play D&D once a week. Sometimes if we’re on a really interesting arc we’ll force time again, but then we end up spending a week or so dry because now we’re out.

It really is a lot of pressure on the game master to figure things out rapidfire and keep things interesting. I tend to make my own maps and do lots of customization, homebrew, and fuzzy plot arcs where, for example, it’s “explore x ruins so they can get a subtle clue to my overarching plot of extraplanar distress.” Sometimes I’ll plan up a few hooks in succession.

Y’all end up in this inn because hella storming. What you doing for a few minutes.

Those first few testing out their character actions can give you a lot for their playstyles and give you some good info on how to hook them. Once in awhile let them free reign a bit. Let them have options and to try out something, and use that motivation again.

Also don’t let silly offhand comments pass you by. Especially if someone’s like “great. All we need now is purple flying pirhanas.”

They become funny callbacks or really serious well fuck I gave them ideas.

I’m sure I have more or better ways to help in my like 15 years of DMing but. I can’t think right now I guess.
 

zenmaldita

always hungry
put them in situations that force a character to adapt or change to develop them along with the story

imagine yourself a god and your characters are the creatures that live shitty lives for your amusement. the more shitty the situation it is, the more fun and creative things can get.
 

Nihles

Pet foxxo
Sometimes I will write a character that is cool and interesting, only to find out that they might be too far a stretch fromy own personality or viewpoints. I end up not knowing where to go or what to do next with them. Another pitfall to watch for is compatibility. I've seen games with fun established characters and veteran players fall apart because the characters just have different goals and nothing in common.
 

Nihles

Pet foxxo
@zenmaldita That reminds me if the Disney storyboarding questions. What makes these characters likable or interesting? What is their comfort zone? What forces them to leave that comfort zone? How do they change as a result and how can you relate to that change?
 
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Naheta Doe

One day one step
I don't get much in to RP games but have done a lot of RP on line.

For me it lets me break free of my RL and be who I want to be. Not my kits mom not a kitchen manager, not a mate should I choose.
 

Simo

Professional Watermelon Farmer
For me, it depends on a number of things:

First of all, there's a need to have it be with a person I feel I can relate to, or mesh with, on some level: I find it hard to RP with somebody I know nothing about, no matter what OC they may present.

Secondly, there's a balance between having a rough 'plan' in mind, and spontaneity...and this can vary a good deal, in terms of what works. I've had the best RP with a certain fox that just came out of seemingly nowhere, and evolved into the most comical, satirical bit of mischief I've yet encountered. At turns yiffy and at turns more serious, the interplay felt natural, and it's hard to put one's finger on the pulse of what makes these sorts of things work. But it does remind me of the other extreme: the micro-managed RP, whereas things get bogged down by having to have every little detail match some master plan; I'm not so good in those situations.

For me, a good RP tells a story, and in my case, I prefer just a few characters; while weaving them together in friendship, and also, one that involves a lot of mischief!

Having a fox or skunk present helps make one more fun, too :p

Especially a mischievous, or BAD fox!

(All my RPing has been via free form, paragraph style; to this extent, I also like how it's open and limitless to the imagination; I find it very liberating, compared to the more limited world, say, of video games, though perhaps that is not the best comparison)
 

Dongding

The sheep
I've only recently started RPing in the last year or so. I like to plan things out but only loosely.

You need to be pleasantly surprised sometimes, and that requires a partner to unexpectedly come up with something you both enjoy. That's very difficult to find as everyone has different goals and means of getting to those goals when they're RPing. So I'd say a lot of what makes a good RP is the other person reciprocating genuinely if you have no personal quams in your own technique.

Compatability is what makes an RP good IMO.
 

Simo

Professional Watermelon Farmer
I've only recently started RPing in the last year or so. I like to plan things out but only loosely.

You need to be pleasantly surprised sometimes, and that requires a partner to unexpectedly come up with something you both enjoy. That's very difficult to find as everyone has different goals and means of getting to those goals when they're RPing. So I'd say a lot of what makes a good RP is the other person reciprocating genuinely if you have no personal quams in your own technique.

Compatability is what makes an RP good IMO.

(bold italics mine)

That's a really good point. When you have that reciprocal enthusiasm, it makes all the difference, with each partner striking sparks off the other, so to speak.

Sometimes, in RPs, one can get the feeling that you're the one doing all the work...or merely catering to somebody's desires, while not really feeling that same amount of energy being returned. That's what I think kills a RP for me.

Well, the other thing might be if RL/personal/time constraints intervene....but in the case of when I have time to RP, it's the lack of it being reciprocal, that generally ends things.
 

Roose Hurro

Lovable Curmudgeon
Banned
I look at roleplay as collaborative storytelling. I'm finding one on one holds together better than a group RP. I had a group RP of my own that died when one of the players had to drop out, due to RL issues. So that's a risk, less so if you only work with one person. Though no guarantees. Personally, I don't have issues with writing material, so long as I have a reply I can respond to. If anything, it's deciding between several possible responses. So, very rarely have I encountered RPs where I run dry, or quit. Give me characters and setting, and I can keep a story going, because I can work out all the rest on the fly. Or I can take a set plot, and fit a character to it... I have quite a roster of characters I can use. That helps.

Hopefully the above is not too random.......
 

Flumpor

Active Member
Most fun comes from the action between players, their characters and the DMs story, but if nothing is interacting with each other then there goes in my opinion the most enjoyable part.
One of my favorite campaigns was one where instead of fighting a Brass dragon I talked him down and we all became friends. If the DM took the rules too seriously, then this wouldn't have ever happened and he recognized that just for a bit we wanted a break from the serious stories we were involved with at this point.
Right now I am also running an Ixalan inspired campaign with tons of factions and it's really serious for the most part, even Grimdark at points, but when my players seemed a bit tired in the session I introduced an underground temple of Jolly Kobolds that have an insane culture modelled after drugs and a place called the "warpworld" and I set the session in this "warpworld" and to this day they don't know if they were just incredibly high or if what they did was real. Sure it was a detour and didn't really serve a greater purpose, but it was fun. Oh and to this day they still don't know all 11 planed factions of this war because I just let them ignore stuff I've written if they didn't want to go to a point, sure I reintroduced one or two factions later, but they still don't know about the Rakshasa, the Vampires and the Orks, after almost half a year of playing and soon being finished.
 

WarriorWhispers

.Pedigree.
I think it depends on the people together, greatly. There are some amazing stories in the world, but that doesn't mean everyone will like them. And I believe that to be true in roleplaying too.
I haven't played D&D in a while now, but I've started 3 campaigns, and a lot of one offs.
One was a fantasy setting, that everyone LOVED and it flowed well. Sure, I had a lot of improv, and had to move things around. But I made sure to allow people to have moments of being powerful, difficulty, and saying yes as much as I could.
I also did a Vampire campaign once, that I had to hand over to another DM, because while all the players were interested...I wasn't. It wasn't my thing.

I think a lot of it has to do with planning, but not planning to a T, along with gauging what works for the people involved and allowing something to die if it's not working.
Yes, this plot point/location is really important, but how the characters come to that conclusion and the journey there, are just as important, if not more.
 

Le Chat Nécro

most thugged-out dope hoe
I do think it helps to have someone in a kind of GM role even if it isn't a roleplaying game like DnD.
RPGs work in part because there's a dedicated person with a story to tell who's job it is to make sure the story keeps going. The players have a lot of free reign and can definitely derail things pretty easy, but there's always someone in charge of making new NPCs and keeping the drama up no matter where they go and what they do.
Most forum and messaged based roleplays I've seen suffer from not having that. Everyone is left completely to their own devices and things start to stagnate because storylines get dropped or someone vanishes for awhile or just bad decisions get made that lead you into a corner.
What I think is allowing the Don Volpe rp that Zen runs to thrive is that she's acting like a part-time GM. She set the stage, controls the overarching story, and will pop in with events and choices to keep things flowing. We still have a lot of say and power in what we do and how things go down... a bunch of users actually just did their own mini plot while zen was on hiatus... but we're not completely unsupervised.
 

KILL.MAIM.KILL

Angry Lizard King
Banned
What makes a roleplay fun is if it's decent.

You know what's not decent and totally not fun?

Overpowered and/or bland characters ("Jason Stormfire was a big muscly alpha wolf and god of the sun. He was 20 billion years old but only looked 25. He was an alpha male dominant who had a harem of 20,000 sexual pets. Every woman and man loved him and worshipped him because he was just so, like, manly and stuff.")

Lack of any kind of plot or direction (Please have some. I'm not interested in "casual" roleplay. *runs up to you and snuggles* is not a premise I find interesting.)

People unwilling to initiate or put effort into the roleplay (If you offer to roleplay with me, you need to tell me what kind of roleplay you'd like to do AND help initiate it. Don't respond to everything with "hehe". If I'm the only one participating I may as well just write the story all by myself, I don't need you.)

Controlling other peoples characters (No, you don't know what my character is thinking, no, you cannot control his thoughts, no, you cannot force my predominantly heterosexual and dominant character to fall in love with your shitty generic "manly dominant master" character.)

Overpowered nonsense (If your character is older than the universe itself and has godlike powers, you're boring. In addition, if your character is so powerful they can retcon any and every event that progresses through the roleplay, you should feel bad.)
 

PercyD

Lover of Beasty Baes
Roleplays are fun when people understand how scenes work.

I don't like DMs myself since I don't like my creativity being hindered. (Plus I'm something of an anarchist with a disdain for hierarchical structures that don't serve any one-)
Having several people in a scene contributing to a story is the best thing! I had one distopian rp where all the characters were related to each other in some way. These relationships really pushed the story along and drove all the different scenes happening.

I haven't had that in a long time v3v
 

Roose Hurro

Lovable Curmudgeon
Banned
What makes a roleplay fun is if it's decent.

You know what's not decent and totally not fun?

Overpowered and/or bland characters ("Jason Stormfire was a big muscly alpha wolf and god of the sun. He was 20 billion years old but only looked 25. He was an alpha male dominant who had a harem of 20,000 sexual pets. Every woman and man loved him and worshipped him because he was just so, like, manly and stuff.")

Lack of any kind of plot or direction (Please have some. I'm not interested in "casual" roleplay. *runs up to you and snuggles* is not a premise I find interesting.)

People unwilling to initiate or put effort into the roleplay (If you offer to roleplay with me, you need to tell me what kind of roleplay you'd like to do AND help initiate it. Don't respond to everything with "hehe". If I'm the only one participating I may as well just write the story all by myself, I don't need you.)

Controlling other peoples characters (No, you don't know what my character is thinking, no, you cannot control his thoughts, no, you cannot force my predominantly heterosexual and dominant character to fall in love with your shitty generic "manly dominant master" character.)

Overpowered nonsense (If your character is older than the universe itself and has godlike powers, you're boring. In addition, if your character is so powerful they can retcon any and every event that progresses through the roleplay, you should feel bad.)

Heh... even my powerful characters tend to not use what they have all the time. Their "powers" are either from their tech, or derived from what they are. I have my least powerful character, Tiffin. He can see a bit into the souls of others. Then I have my most powerful, Rotor. An adaptimorphic, bio-technical creature who can shape reality with his access to Control Rings, a techno-phenom from his own universe. Tiffin's desire is home and family. Being an escaped "experimental" creature, he had no parents, no one else like him (left alive, far as he knew). Rotor simply wants to find home, having been ripped from his own universe, and used as a living probe.
 
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