Making an RP with a Niche Setting/Basis/Etc.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Wolfsbane706, Feb 1, 2016.

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  1. There's a couple interests I have that are extremely niche, but I want to make an RP based around them anyways. In fact, I've already tried. Aria Lake Ice Skating Camp | It failed spectacularly. Only two complete profiles and half of the folks who expressed interest never bothered to post in the topic. What I want to know is: how do I take a niche interest RP and get it going? Do I just have to invite random people and hope for the best? (I don't have a regular group to drag in.) What's the secret?
  2. To make a niche successful you need to understand what makes a normal RP successful and then execute twice as well on that.

    For example, a superhero RP thrives on empowerment. However, you don't need superpowers to be a badass. Your job as a GM is, in the interest check phase, to make sure you know the underlying desire of your audience and how to exploit that and then to keep putting the accent on that when people's imagination starts running. Basically, you have less (familiar) tools to do the same thing, so you need to work these tools twice as hard to have the same basic effect. Your niche generally doesn't start to shine until a few pages into the IC. So, keep that in mind. The more niche your concept, the harder you have to rely on basic tools for core purposes.
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  3. You'll also have to do a lot more advertising. While random invites might be serviceable for a more popular type of RP, it's much less likely that it'll be enough for a niche RP -- because there's a much slimmer chance that each person you invite would be interested in an ice skating camp RP as opposed to a typical medieval fantasy RP. If you want to find enough players for the RP to survive on, you'll really have to go out of your way to find those players.

    I recommend using the seeking group invites forum. In my experience, it's a really good way to quickly hand out invites to a bunch of people who are literally asking for invites, therefore making it a lot more likely that they'll actually give it a look as opposed to people you randomly PMed about it or who noticed the link in your signature (not that a link in your signature really hurts anything. You might as well put it in). I'd also go beyond just posting a link. This is your chance to really sell your RP -- and the fact that they're most likely willing to listen gives you a really good opportunity to hook them. Provide a quick blurb along with your link explaining why you think they'd be interested in it, and try to tailor it to what you know about them based on the list of interests/preferences they provided. While it's unlikely that the genre of your niche RP will really match what anyone's looking for, you still have other things to go off of -- like posting speed/length -- to mention when advertising your RP to them.

    Additionally, if you're worried that anything in your RP might come across as a turn-off to them, then try to put in a disclaimer of sorts about that and put a positive spin on it. For example, if someone says they don't like writing long posts, and most of the posts in your IC tend to be pretty long, clarify to them that long posts aren't a requirement and that they won't be penalized for writing shorter posts (assuming that's actually true about how you run your RP, anyway). If someone says they usually aren't comfortable joining RP's that are already in-progress and would prefer one that hasn't started yet, although your roleplay is already in-progress, then explain to them that it's always open and friendly to new members, and that they wouldn't need much prior knowledge of things in order to jump right in as if it were a new RP (again, only if this is true though). To avoid coming off as rude, though, I would definitely make sure you only do this in cases where the member in question is a bit more on-the-fence about not liking a certain thing, as opposed to being very clear about not wanting it at all. You wouldn't advertise a fandom RP to someone who specifically stated that they don't join fandom RP's, nor a romance RP to someone who doesn't do romance RP's. So unless they said "usually" and you have an idea of how you would put a good spin on it (or unless they said no to one small thing but everything else in their preferences matches your RP perfectly), don't expect that they'll make an exception just for you.

    Also, having glanced at your RP overview, it seems just a bit... bland. If you want to attract members, you'll probably have to do a bit more to really grab people's attention (I admit I haven't taken a close look at it, though -- maybe later, if you're interested in hearing more suggestions). Also, do you have threads posted in the RP advertising or interest check forums? If not, I recommend doing both. And, again, make sure it's something that'll really suck people in (as for how exactly to do that, well... I could write a whole guide on good interest checks in-and-of-themselves, if someone hasn't already, haha. For now, I won't go crazy with it unless you really want me to. XD).

    Additionally, since your RP is such a niche topic, I wouldn't try to rely on finding people who are already interested in ice skating camp RP's. Because the odds of finding someone who's had "ice skating camp" on their RP wish list for a while are rather low, especially on a relatively small site like Iwaku. Instead, I would frame it as more of a, "Hey, is this something that might interest you? Maybe you could give it a chance?" sort of thing. Instead of opening up with "ICE SKATING CAMP", maybe try to start your intchk/ad by focusing on broader aspects of the RP that would be more likely to attract more people.

    Also, does your RP require any actual knowledge about ice skating in order to join? If not, I would definitely emphasize that you don't need to be an ice skater in order to join the RP. If so... well, I might suggest changing that about the RP. @_@

    Lastly, I know you said you don't have a "regular group" to invite, but, you don't need a "regular group" to at least invite friends! If you have anyone you know from another RP, you might as well give them a poke and ask. Even if you're only the lowest tier of friends, they'd still be a bit more likely to give it a look than if you were a stranger they'd never spoken to before. Additionally, ask the members who are already in your RP if they have any friends they could invite! You never know -- they just might have someone in mind who would love your RP.

    Random invites can't exactly hurt anything, but, they're definitely not the most effective way to advertise, and they aren't where I would put most of my RPing efforts. While these techniques would be good for any RP, some RP's require more advertising than others -- and niche RP's like this definitely require some active and strategic advertising efforts in order to attract the sorts of players you need.

    Also, don't be afraid to give players a poke if they expressed interest and never followed up on it! It's totally plausible that they forgot to watch your thread and completely forgot about it as a result. o.o And while it's possible that some of them might be lazy or non-dedicated, well... a niche RP can't really afford to be picky and let natural selection weed out the players who might easily quit on you. I'm not saying you should try to hang onto problem players, mind you -- and, by all means, drop them if they keep giving you trouble again and again -- but if there's a good chance that all they did was suffer a brief streak of forgetfulness? Don't let them slip out of your grasp!! Who knows, they might prove to be highly dedicated RPers later on.

    But, try not to get too discouraged or upset if a player promises to be dedicated but then has to drop out, because you just can't trust that your players can keep that sort of promise. I'm not calling them all liars or anything -- but, life happens. Not only that, but, sometimes it's moreso the GM's fault that an RP can't keep them interested, and I certainly wouldn't fault a player for wanting to leave an RP that they just weren't inspired to write for anymore (and as for how to keep your players interested and inspired -- well, that's another guide all unto itself). Still, a promise to not be lazy isn't a promise to never lose interest. Just asking for players to be dedicated isn't enough; you need to give them a reason to stay dedicated. Just... keep that in mind, and try not to get too discouraged by drop-outs. They're an inevitable part of any RP.
    #3 Kagayours, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
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  4. It's too close to clock-in time to address each point, but for now, I'll say that A: I'm not going to flower up the interest check with lots of useless BBcode. If people will join, I'd want them to join on the merits of the RP itself, not the quantity of the flairs. B: It's been a while since I've used my sig as a billboard, but I don't recall it working too well.
  5. "Make it suck players in" doesn't always have to do with BBcoding. While a bit of code will definitely help (and show players that you really care about the RP -- since a bare-bones layout can come off as lazy), I was moreso referring to the actual content of your intchk. Some openers are more effective than others -- you really want the most important information to come first, especially since lots of people will just hover their cursor over a thread title before they decide whether or not they want to actually click on it and read more. Putting something interesting right at the start so that it'll be seen in that little blurb will make more people want to click on it. But if all the blurb says is "hey, there's this roleplay I've been wanting to try out, I don't know if it'll work very well but..." before it cuts off then, well, lots of people will decide not to bother and just keep hovering over the others. (Funnily enough, adding images to an intchk actually makes this less effective -- as trying to put an image in as a banner will mean that there'll be even less of an opening blurb to see at all when you hover over it.) And, not to mention, there's the whole point about framing it as something that more people would be interested in, as opposed to it just being for people who were really looking for an ice skating camp RP (which probably isn't very many people). There's probably more I could talk about when it comes to intchk's, but, that's definitely the biggest thing I'd recommend.

    Also, when did I recommend using your sig to advertise? o.o Because, uh, I agree, it really isn't very effective... I mean, it can't hurt, but, much like with the random invites, there are definitely more efficient ways of advertising and I really wouldn't rely on it, especially if your RP is so hard to advertise for. That's why I tried to suggest more effective strategies. o.o
  6. Your draws are, having only girl characters, ice-skating/hockey and focus on character interaction.

    Most RP's generally already have a bias towards female characters, especially academy-settings. Ice-skating is a niche. Character interaction as a selling point, well, line up for the dime-a-dozen.

    Outside of possibly being an ice-skating nut, why would anyone join your RP over any other RP out there?

    Kaga touches upon aggressive advertising, but it matters little how well you advertise if you don't have all that much to offer. If you do have a lot to offer, I'm simply not seeing it. You have to jump-start people's imagination in some way, which you simply don't beyond "You're a chick into ice-skating. RP start."

    I mean you don't have to listen to people's advice, that's up to you, but yeah... It's no wonder shit dies prematurely, if you think about it.
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  7. I'll admit to not doing a good job on the interest check. My main intent had been to grab the players who had tried to join the original (which died during the character creation stage) and I didn't think about new players.
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