One of the hardest challenges a new admin faces is the creation of RPG rules. Forum roleplaying games are no exception. Your rules will dictate the operation and success of your game. Too long and complicated, and you probably won’t be able to follow them. Too restrictive and controlling, and no one will join. Creating RPG rules is about striking a balance between control and freedom — the next RPG is just a click away, after all.
The RPG Rules template condenses all basic forum roleplaying game information into one rules document. It is usually beneficial to split your game information up. You should modify, split, and remove information as necessary for your RPG. The Setting section, for example, may not be useful to a multi-setting roleplaying game.
How to Create RPG Rules
Remember that your rules should be flexible and you should be open to changing them. The rules you make in the first week of being an RPG admin may not cover everything by your RPG’s fourth year. You shouldn’t change your game rules to punish people (that’s a hallmark of a bad rpg) but you should adapt your RPG rules, too.
RPG Rules Dos
- Make sure you understand your RPG rules. If you don’t understand the rules, how do you expect to enforce them? Re-read what you’ve written and make sure you are able to provide an explanation of what each rule in your game means.
- Keep it short. If you’re writing paragraphs about the species of your roleplaying game, this information belongs in a separate Setting, Area, or Species topic. You can create all manner of guides for your game, but your rules should be as brief as possible. Three sentences per rule is a maximum — the key word there is maximum. If you can keep rules to a single sentence, even better!
- Keep your RPG rules simple. Your brand new forum roleplaying game does not need rules about a king re-crowning ceremony that happens every hundred in-game years. You can leave things vague, and adapt and add more detail as your RPG grows.
- Think about scale and how well you will be able to apply your RPG rules as your game grows. If the rule requires intense maintenance or time on your part (e.g., reviewing every character profile once a month) you might want to rethink it. You don’t want to add more RPG admins or mods because you’re having trouble keeping up.
- Can technology do it better? If you don’t want roleplayers replying to topics in a certain forum, disable replies. Don’t add an RPG rule where a technical solution is possible. People don’t always listen — but they have to listen to technology. A simple technical solution is “accepted usergroups.” Instead of telling people they cannot post ICly until accepted, make your In Character forums read only except to the accepted usergroup.
RPG Rules Don’ts
- Don’t hide silly phrases in your RPG rules and make people restate this phrase in their application. It’s tacky, firstly, and it says you don’t trust players read your rules on their own. That is not a good relationship start between RPG admin and roleplayer.
- Don’t make your RPG rules twenty miles long. Pare your rules down to their absolute basics. If you need to split information into separate topics, do so, but don’t make people read a novel to join. Offer a “starter guide” for newcomers, outlining what is a must-reads and what is additional/non-essential. This allows new roleplayers to take in information at their own pace.
- Don’t add rules unless you have to. Is there a better way of dealing with a situation? Exhaust your options before you add a rule. Or, alternatively, be sure you’re doing more good when adding an RPG rule. If one roleplayer or character is the problem, try to deal with the root of the problem. This keeps your RPG rules simple and effective.
- Your RPG rules should welcome a new player to the game, not betlittle or curse at them. You’re the RPG admin — you don’t need to flaunt that. If you have to remind people constantly that you make the rules and threaten them to achieve compliance, you’re doing something wrong.
Enforcing RPG Rules
See Rules and Members for more information about properly enforcing your RPG rules.