Wilmannator's PbP Tips #1: The Leave Off


Online Campaigns General Discussion


16 people marked this as a favorite.

Wilmannator's PbP Tips #1: The Leave Off

To help improve our community of PbPers out there, I thought I'd start up a series of 'snack-sized' tips and tricks for making the most out of your PbP games.

First one is based on Painlord's principle of "Always Be Pushing" (keeping things moving) and it is a little something that I call The Leave Off. This is an out of character comment that you put at the end of your post, summarizing what you want to do next. It really helps the GM and other players out, and is more in line with what you might say at a tabletop game when the GM calls for your "next move".

Sometimes, your in character post gives your GM and other players no real indication of what you would like to do next, or even what you would be prepared to do. It can slow things down when they have to wait for you to post again after the GM requests the next action - and it gives players little opportunity to follow where you're going.

---
Eg.

"Ha!" cries Brandywine, "You elves sure have a way of sticking your ears into everyone else's business. Well, if you want to get yerself killed, then go ahead."

Brandywine crosses his arms over his chest and glowers at Hollister the Elf.
---

An okay post, but does Brandywine wish to continue or just stand there staring?

Adding this clarifies matters and allows players (and the GM) to move along.

---
Brandywine will follow, at a distance, if Hollister (or anyone else) decides we should go into the trap-filled maze. If we want to stay in town, my vote is for the Inn.
---

Depending upon Hollister's next post (and the posts of others), the GM can now determine if the group is happy to go into the maze or the inn without any further input from Brandywine.

You can also use the leave off for other things: a good GM can use them to make the next decision point clear to players, and you could even use it for things like distinguishing between an antagonistic in-character post, and your feelings on the matter as a player (helping put the other players more at ease, like Deussu did with his abrasive character Targath here).

More good examples of the leave off in action:

  • In this post, Pooka lets the GM know that he is happy to move on - provided there is nothing further to do - despite his companion receiving a beating. His in character post responds to the previous post, but they are trying to preserve their cover so 'saying' what he's doing isn't quite appropriate. Great time for a leave off.
  • GM Leave Off: Here, the GM needed a big 'reveal' post, but uses the leave off to make it clear what specific action is required of the players. It allows everyone to enjoy the read, and then move on in a coordinated fashion.

Important note: I touched on this before a little, but I want to be explicit: The preference is for you to make your in-character post clear on what your PC does next (maybe with an in-character Leave Off) but if for RP reasons it isn't, that's the time for an 'ooc' Leave Off. Even if your in-character post is explicit, an 'ooc' Leave Off can still be a good idea if your post was a long one (it helps the GM a lot when s/he goes back up for a second read to figure out the party's overall direction).

So, next time it's unclear what you want to do next - consider putting in an 'ooc' leave off to help your fellow PbPers along.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is great! One thing I would mention for perspective is that this can be a great way to hero enhance the story you are telling and provide context for your character's current mood.

One of the reasons this is such an important tool as you advance in your pbp skills is that this is how you can avoid some of the 'simple' back and forth that is so easy at a live table, but can take multiple days over a once per day play by post. Giving your gm conditions and actionable context for your character helps prevent drawing out those questions and clarifications, and helps everyone keep things moving with the fun stuff.

Nice work!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Very good advice.

I especially like the example of distinguishing between an in-character post and real feelings.

I have a character who's a bit of an elitist, so she's not likely to really ask how people want to divide treasure, but will allocate it out as she feels best. But of course as a player, I want to be more egalitarian, so I'll often use an OOC comment (or the discussion thread) to make sure that's clear and I'm happy to divide the treasure however people think best.


Thanks for the vote of confidence, motteditor (and sorry for my slow reply, been neglecting my non-PbP threads a little). That's a great example of when a leave-off would be appropriate. If it's a bit chunk of text, a "See discussion thread for proper treasure discussion" or similar would be perfect.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

By the way, check out Giuseppe's GM posts for a magnificent example not only of how to format a large GM post to make it easily understood by players, but also of a very nice way to constantly use a leave-off in order to move a game along and make things clear to players.

Beautiful stuff.


Wilmannator wrote:

By the way, check out Giuseppe's GM posts for a magnificent example not only of how to format a large GM post to make it easily understood by players, but also of a very nice way to constantly use a leave-off in order to move a game along and make things clear to players.

Beautiful stuff.

Thank you Wilmannator for both your kind words and your excellent guide! I wouldn't have been able to use the leave-off without your guide. I must say it solves a lot of problems, helping players to understand what you are expecting from them. Also, it's a very useful resource as a player, since it lets you describe your actions in a good writing style and then specify the rule mechanics behind your actions in a simple and efficient way.


Have you made any more of these tips? Also were you the one who made a guide on running recruitment? I am having trouble finding it.

The Exchange

DM Grimmy wrote:
Have you made any more of these tips? Also were you the one who made a guide on running recruitment? I am having trouble finding it.

*cough*


Oh wonderful! Thanks


Pretty much stopped PbP on these boards, actually... so I consequently stopped the guides. Had a couple ready to go, but it's hard to be motivated to give advice about something I'm no longer doing. Hope you still find it useful, though!

Community / Forums / Online Campaigns / General Discussion / Wilmannator's PbP Tips #1: The Leave Off All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion