Tips for Better Gaming

Interaction Is A Must

All players are welcome to join any scene already in play. There is no such thing as ‘closed’ or private scenes, and interaction is the name of the game. To get involved, simply have your character enter the scene – and we recommend the worst possible moment to do so! ;)

If you’d rather open a new scene (or thread), start off with what your character is doing and thinking. There’s a good chance another player will soon join you. The scene takes off from there.

Always try to provide an opening for other players to join in some way. Give clues they can pick up on, behaviours to notice, and dialogue or setting details they can respond to.

When interacting, keep in mind that speech and thoughts are highly important. Characters that do nothing but walk around and smile or sit and listen are boring and soon find themselves abandoned and alone.

A character’s thoughts, speech and actions provide insight and give other players material to respond to.

Remember that you cannot control how other characters react to yours. You have no right to complain about other characters’ reactions. Write your character’s actions, feelings, thoughts and speech and allow other players to do the same for their own.

Other characters’ reactions are not always what you might expect or have wanted. Learn to deal with it and roll with the punches.

Stand Out by Stepping Out

Do place your character in locations that makes him or her readily available for interaction. If you post your character sitting alone in an empty, isolated area, he or she will stay that way until you move the character to a place where others are more likely to be.

Don’t be afraid to initiate situations and scenes. Feel free to start your own threads and situations, using the history and scenes that are already present. If you are observant and active, the opportunity for interaction increases for both your character and the story.

Give other characters something to work with and do your part to keep the story moving. Seek things out and talk to others.

There is no set path to follow as far as game play is concerned. Players should feel free (and encouraged!) to expand their horizons. Expect the unexpected, and if you’re up to the challenge, provide it for others as well. We’ll push your character’s limits, and we expect players to push our limits back.

Be forewarned that the results of unexpected actions are not always what you or your character foresees. If you find it difficult to meet with resistance, conflict, or disappointment, then the unexpected action may not for you. Not everything will succeed, not every situation will be pleasant.

Size Does Matter

There is no right or wrong length of post. Different people write with different styles – some write long posts, some write short ones. Both are fine, as long as players communicate well and feel good about their writing.

However.

Short posts often don’t give other players enough material to work with and may also make the other player work harder than he or she should have to. Interaction should involve near-equal effort on the parts of all involved in the scene.

Short posts can also be misinterpreted as a lack of interest. They imply a silent message of boredom – whether intended or not.

Long posts, on the other hand, may move the scene along too quickly, cutting off other players from their opportunity to respond or react. It’s important to give everyone in a scene a chance to have their ‘air time’, so gauge the length of your post with common sense. Pass turn to players without hogging the scene.

Long posts can also be time-consuming to read. A writer that goes on and on often ends up having his or her post skimmed over instead of read with enjoyment.

Keep in mind that ER is a collaborative effort and should be a rich and creative experience that rewards you personally while also rewarding others and encouraging them to post with you. It’s good to have fun. Allow others to have fun as well.

Read Other Players’ Posts Carefully

A large part of role-playing is providing other players with clues and hints to work with. Take advantage of what you’re given. Read descriptions carefully, pay attention to what’s said (and not said) in dialogue, and watch for characters behaving oddly.
Also, Storytellers often drop hints or clues necessary to resolve mysteries or overcome obstacles. If you missed that the gold coin is the key to the puzzle and chose the silver one instead … well. Good luck :)

Moving Others . . . Literally

You may never assume another character’s actions, reactions, thoughts or movements. Ever.

For example, if your character throws a ball at another, you cannot write that the character catches it. The player might respond that his character let the ball hit his chest, ignored it and walked off, or even ran away screaming.

Action, Reaction

Even if your character attempts an action that doesn’t involve another character, you can only post what your character does – not what happens as a result of that action. You must wait for another player or Storyteller to respond.

If your character attempts to interact with a variable in the environment (for example, trying to pick a lock), the outcome (whether the door opens or remains locked) must be determined by a Storyteller.

You can only try. A Storyteller decides if your character succeeds.

IC isn’t OOC

Always keep your character’s personality separate from your own. While you may have certain thoughts or opinions about other players, never vent them through in-character actions.

Likewise, never assume that in-character actions mean another player doesn’t like you. No conflict in game should be taken personally. If there is an in-game fistfight or insult-tossing match, this does not mean two real-life people hate each other.

Don’t confuse IC and OOC. And even if you do have a problem with another player, don’t take it out on their character.

While we want ER to be fun for everyone, we realize that players can and do disagree. If you have an issue with another player that you cannot solve in a mature and diplomatic fashion, please contact an ST.

Be Somewhat Realistic

Role-playing takes place in an imaginary world with imaginary people, but it still has to make sense.

If there’s no possible way your character would know certain information, then you can’t use it. Likewise, you can’t suddenly decide to give a skill for your character that he or she lacked previously.

Escaping Reality is set in a world much like our own, so be sure to keep in mind the similarities while you play.

Don’t Flit About or Drag It Out

When interacting with others, try to settle into the scene and give it a chance to unfold. Players who flit about, leaving scenes after just a post or two and entering others only to jump out again, are quickly going to find that no one wants to play with them. Be patient. There no such thing as a scene with no potential.

Likewise, when a scene becomes boring, mundane, and characters are just going through the motions, it’s time to wrap the scene and move on to fresh ones.

Play Nice, Play Dirty – Just Make Sure You Play

When you commit to a collaborative game like ER, you’re making an unspoken promise to other players and Storytellers about your participation. That means you should be present and active at the site.

Typical participation is at least one post within 24 hours of it being your turn in the scene. If you cannot post within that time, it’s just good manners to leave a note on the Notifications of Absences thread or to contact a Storyteller.

If you’ve been absent for more than three days, you will receive a notification from a Storyteller as a friendly nudge that it’s time to participate. Other players are waiting for you.

It’s worth noting that if you repeatedly absent the boards, your account will be suspended. We have a three-strikes-you’re-out rule for inconsistent players.

If you have not been active on the site for 30 days, your account will be removed.

Creating Stuff Out of Thin Air

Your character arrives with the possessions you listed in your character concept. You cannot dream up the items you need as they come to mind. This includes transportation, lodgings, friends, funds, etc.

If you don’t have it, find it or buy it.

Out-Think the STs

One of the things that STs learn early is flexibility. We’re here to throw loops and obstacles, but we can only predict players’ actions and reactions. Sometimes players take us by surprise and end up being delightfully clever.

Sometimes, however, we find ourselves baffled when players fail to solve problems and obstacles thrown their way.

Even worse is when players assume that they’ll be given the answer to the obstacle or problem without doing anything to figure it out themselves.

Characters who wait on STs to hand them the answer or to speed up the plot so that they won’t have to figure out a way to solve the problem on their own are going to wait a very long time. A very long time indeed.