Creating and GMing a Chat Roleplay can be a daunting task, as can participating in one. This guide will offer you some advice on the running of, and playing in, Chat RPs here on Iwaku.
[glow=orange]WHAT IS A CHAT RP?[/glow]
A Chat RP is in many ways very similar to the regular roleplays that occur on this forum; people play the roles of characters in various situations described by a Game Master, and so on.
The difference between a Forum RP and a Chat RP is that the latter takes place in the Roleplay Chat-Box; players post the actions of their characters and how they react to the unfolding situation as the GM guides the world they all inhabit.
As such, a Chat RP is a faster-paced form of roleplaying; games and stories can be played out in a single night. Character interaction is greatly increased, as is player involvement in the plot. All in all, it's a unique experience in terms of forum roleplaying; you should really give it a try.
There have been many successful Chat RPs on Iwaku, so if you're looking for examples to read through and see how it all plays out all you need to do is take a look in The Hall of Fame. I'd also recommend taking a look at one of Asmo's Chat RPs, 'A Message'.
[glow=orange]RUNNING A CHAT RP: ADVICE FOR GMs[/glow]
Writing and running a Chat RP may seem like an impossible task at times, but in reality there is not that much difference between running a Chat RP and GMing a Forum RP. Below is some simple advice to assist you in GMing such an RP.
The Most Important Rule: HAVE FUN. You are doing this because you enjoy cooperative storytelling with a group of likeminded people. Sure, being the GM is the harder role, but it should still be an enjoyable experience. Likewise, ensure your players are having fun. That is the main thing, the first, last and most essential rule. If everyone enjoys themselves then you have succeeded in your role.
Have a Plan...: When it comes to running a Chat RP, you'll find that simply having a vague idea is not enough; proper preparation is highly beneficial. Set out the key details and events that will occur in your RP, the important moments that will occur. You need to know how everything ties together otherwise you will have a tough time keeping on top of everything that's going on In-Character. It's also important to know how you're going to get the players together in-game; don't just leave that task on the players, ensure you have a way to get them into a group. Utilising planning methods, such as Mind Maps, will often help you in such tasks. However, don't overplan and lay out every single thing that will occur in your RP, or else you will leave no room for your players to get creative roleplay it out. Often I've found it's best to plan the key points and events that will occur in a Chat RP, and then allow the players to figure out how to get to them.
...Be Ready To Throw The Plan Out: Remember the first rule. The most important part about RPing is having fun. Supposing the players throw something at you that flies against what you had planned? Then sod the plan and run with what your players have given you if you think it will work. Being able to say no to players is indeed important, but don't be afraid to say yes either.
Timing Is Important: Unlike a forum RP, when you have as much time as you need to allow a plot to play out, Chat RPs take place over the course of several hours. And your players do have lives to live and things to do, so always keep timing in mind when planning such an RP. You only have a given number of hours for your RP to reach it's conclusion, to write it accordingly. If you have a big game planned, however, it's always possible to run it as a series of games if you think you can co-ordinate such a thing. Using Iwaku's 'Groups' functions would be very beneficial if that is something you would like to do.
Incorporate your Player's Ideas: Your players may come to you with ideas and suggestions for the game, things that they'd like to see. Love and cherish these types of players, for they are a godsend. Not only are they cutting down your workload, they're going to be suggesting things you may not ever have thought of. Provided the idea isn't ridiculous and works with your idea for the RP, this sort of situation is a win-win; you get ideas and input to your planning process and your players feel appreciated and involved with the game even more.
Event Co-Ordination: As the GM, you're the person in charge of getting the players together for your game. Iwaku offers several RP Boxes, so you'll always have a place to play, but as members come from all across the globe it is important to plan the event in advance so that people know when to get online. Often it's best to set a starting time in stone so players know when they need to be online for the game; use a time measurement such as UTC so that people can figure out what time they need to be online where they are in the world; linking to an online time converter will help your players get their times right.
[glow=orange]PARTICIPATING IN A CHAT RP: ADVICE FOR PLAYERS[/glow]
Playing in a Chat RP can still be a pretty scary prospect if it's not something you've ever done before. Not to worry; this guide has a few tips and suggestions to help you in getting involved with and participating in Iwaku's Chat RPs.
Have Fun: As with GMing, the most important part of taking part in a Chat RP is having fun. Don't be nervous, run with what's thrown at you, and you'll have a blast. Chat RPs are quite a unique experience, and a good game will stay with you for a long time.
Work with your Fellow Players: It's not just you and the GM in a Chat RP, there's the other players to consider as well. It can be very easy just to focus on your own character in such a game, but often this isn't the best way to ensure a fun game. So work with your fellow players, co-ordinate your ideas; come up with connections between your characters, for example, and ensure that each of your characters will work with the others. If you ignore what the other players are doing it can be easy to create a character who does not fit in with the rest, whereas if you actually create links with each other and ensure character personalities aren't completely clashing with one another you'll have an awesome game. And your GM will love you, because you've made the difficult part of getting the players together all the more easy.
Go With What You're Given: Always bear in mind that you are a player, not the GM. Run with the events that come at you, interact with the other players and the NPCs, and before the game feel free to offer suggestions to the GM (they'll appreciate it). However, try not to overstep your role. Never hijack the plot from the GM or intentionally try to derail it; that's just being dickish. Things like spontaineously attempting to murder other characters are prime examples of attempting to derail the plot. All you're going to do is ruin the experience for everyone else and make a lot of people angry at you. Always remember that it's the GM's job to run the game, not yours.
Keep the Plot in Mind: The GM will explain to you what the general plot of the Chat RP is, and it's always important to keep this in mind when playing the game. Helping the plot to progress is always a good thing. This isn't about being the best or the most badass; it's not about 'winning' the game. This is collaborative storytelling, and it's important to keep that in mind.
Don't Meta-Game: Meta-Gaming is defined as utilising out-of-character knowledge to your character's advantage. Say for example you knew that one character had a dark secret of some sort because you read it in the OOC thread? Unless your character has an adequate reason for being partial to this knowledge, utilising this knowledge in-game would be meta-gaming. Don't do it. It's dickish and it really ruins the fun for everyone.
And that's really about it. Always remember that Chat RPs are nowhere near as scary as you'd think and that, if run well, they can lead to some of the best roleplaying experiences you can have on Iwaku.