Ring Worlds

Tidying up the place. This forum holds old threads on a number of different topics no longer on the burner for one reason or another.

Re: Ring Worlds

Unread postby warp9 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:56 am

Bob Whitely wrote:Yeah, I wasn't really trying to go into a lot of detail. Like I said earlier, some may never even find out they are on a ring world.

That does make sense. I can definitely see how that some of that data about the larger universe is totally unnecessary up front.

Of course, there also isn't any real sense (unless I'm missing something) of what life is like on the ground in that area of Cathor. This might be important, especially if we are looking at this from the perspective of somebody who has no idea about Cosmothea or Cathor, who is simply reading the add for your game over at rpg.net. . . .



Caught between the forces of the grey elven Sons of Ueryvel and the Wolfriders of Wundgador, the lake villages of Tameroth and Vlunt were driven Northwest, lest they be swallowed up in the carnage that had been raging for better than a year now, with no signs of letting up. The trek North along the inland Sea of Khorizon was difficult, but harder still was passing along the edge of the Iron Valley.


The above sounds interesting, but it still doesn't give a perspective player a solid picture of what is going on.

I know about grey elves from D&D, but I don't know what the grey elven Sons of Ueryvel (on Cathor) are like. It is a blended genre setting (you did say that), so are they like the elves from D&D ? Or are they more like the Eldar, from WarHammer 40K, who ride jet-bikes and wield advanced weaponry ?

Are the "Wolfriders of Wundgador" like the elven wolf-riders from Elfquest, or should I be picturing something more like the orc worg-riders from Tolkien? Or is this something totally different from either?

When you talk about the lake villagers of Tameroth and Vlunt, should I be picturing primitive peasants? retired space marines? magic-wielding serpent people? all of the above?

When you talk about the "carnage that had been raging for better than a year now," is this carnage like primitive barbarians burning and pillaging? Or are we talking about the sort of carnage you'd see with more advanced weapons (including nuclear, chemical, etc) ? Or is it some sort of magical carnage? Of course, with a better understanding of what is going on with Cathor, the sort of carnage you're talking about would be understood by implication, but being in the dark about so many other things makes it hard to draw that sort of conclusion.



Last night, the storm abated, but in the darkness, great things the size of titans or worse, great shadows against the hellish metal landscape of the Iron Valley, seemed to move. The cacophony of metal and screams were impossible to ignore and no one slept.

I really like the whole "Mountains that Move" thing. Still, given that I know nothing about Cathor, there are some questions. . . .

How abnormal is this sort of event for Cathor? Is this something that a character who has been living on that world might have experience with, or is this event totally unprecedented ?

Are there a lot of huge entities on Cathor ? (stuff like dragons, dinosaurs, giants, etc) Or would this be the first time the PCs have encountered, or even heard about, any entities on this scale?




In the morning, the eleven others that were with your group were gone, and with them, the "Mountains that Move." You are alone now on the edge of the Valley.

Group of what? Peasants? Space-Marines? Dragons? Wizards? Ninjas? Ninja-Wizard-Space-Marines?

My character might not know that he is on a ring-world, but I'd hope that he'd know more about the events going on in his own life, although, it may be that other players see things very differently than I do.

And I'll add that I'm not really suggesting a 50 page intro (I'm sure that a huge amount of world data would be a bit much for many perspective players), but a bit more info included in the introduction over at rpg.net, maybe even one more paragraph about life on Cathor, would have been nice, at least IMO.

However, I guess as long as you know your target audience you should be fine; I'm just giving you my own perspective on this matter (for whatever that is worth).
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Re: Ring Worlds

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:43 am

Thanks for your perspective. And I can see that you would like more info, but most online players are used to having to go far beyond the ad to find it. I give more info in my ads than most GM's online and more than sites generally want. RPG.net actually tells the GM's not to give much info at all.

Online players, even for new games and new settings, are used to this - being given info later instead. When they contact me, I provide more info. I also help them with their backstory, since they are new to the world and/ or setting and provide a detailed prologue. No worries.

That said, the more info and imagery I can get in front of the public on my site and blog, the more people will have a sense of what Cosmothea is and help them decide if they want to try it. But as for a PbP ad, that isn't really the place for it. I do appreciate your thoughts.
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Re: Ring Worlds

Unread postby warp9 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:49 pm

Bob Whitely wrote:Thanks for your perspective. And I can see that you would like more info, but most online players are used to having to go far beyond the ad to find it. I give more info in my ads than most GM's online and more than sites generally want. RPG.net actually tells the GM's not to give much info at all.

I wasn't aware that rpg.net wanted you to minimize the info about games posted there, that does limit what you can do in that regard.

Unfortunately, a Cosmothea/Cathor game has more of an issue as far as providing basic information than many other games, given that it is an unknown.

It makes it easier if you already know what you are getting into. Take, for example, a Shadowrun game: most perspective Shadowrun players already know a lot about the setting and system, so you don't have to give them that background information.

Bob Whitely wrote:Online players, even for new games and new settings, are used to this - being given info later instead. When they contact me, I provide more info. I also help them with their backstory, since they are new to the world and/ or setting and provide a detailed prologue. No worries.

True enough. But those players to have to make some more effort to learn more, especially knowing that they will probably have to learn a new system.

The key is to sell them on making that effort. Which comes down to making a tight and focused sales pitch for your Cathor game.

If you were trying to pitch a game to me (not to say that is your goal), I would have liked to hear a bit more about the PCs. I notice that the example given over at rpg.net posting guide-lines, (even though it was a short example) did focus quite a bit on the PCs themselves:

Short description of the setting/campaign (5 lines or less): example:
"PCs are citizens of Sun County in Prax, or outsiders friendly to Sun County. The PCs come from varied backgrounds in the militaristic society and will be attached to the Sun Dome Militia as a Special Missions Unit, specialists for missions of investigation, retrieval, intelligence, diplomacy, et al."
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Re: Ring Worlds

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:28 pm

Well, this discussion goes way off the beaten path of Ring Worlds, but I do appreciate your caring. The thing is, like I said, that's how ads tend to work, and not just at RPG.net. But every homebrew, every new game, faces the exact same problem. They are unknowns. That's why it's so hard to find players. It's made even harder when the game is off-site. And it's a playtest, which further lessens the number.

Many are simply not willing to join a new forum, which is why I sometimes run games at other forums, and they get more players then. But I like running games on the QT Games forum and would like to always have at least 1 running, so people who do visit the site, can get a taste for an actual game in progress, without having to go elsewhere. We get a decent number of visitors all day long, but they don't have accounts. It's a bit of a catch-22 for unknown games.

With the Cathor PbP, I wanted to set up the environment. It was much more important to me than telling the players what sort of characters I was looking for (which I rarely get into, allowing them to make whatever they want) and in a blended-genre game with no character requirements, the default assumption is that you can make up whatever you want. They don't know the setting, so the implication is that if they are interested in even considering the game further, they'd need to contact the GM. I think that's pretty standard in the hobby. I've found over the years that the potential players want to discuss things more before committing anyway, and I just can't go into enough detail in these ads to handle the unique challenges associated with this sort of thing. It has to be over posts, email, Skype, etc.

As for RPG.net, they've never been a great source for finding players for off-forum or new games. In fact, far more often than not, I'll PM or email a player who posts there saying they want to play a game and when I contact them, they never even respond. I think some even forget they posted interest or where they posted interest and never return. Some people are just flaky like that. Most who come there and post in that section have very specific games in mind to play and even list them. I've also noticed that many times when someone does post, then I post a response, like 2-3 others also offer that person to play their published game, so there's a lot of competition over there for new players. Those that don't come there with a very specific game and adventure request, usually give a list of preferred games, genres, ways of playing (Skype, face2face). There are other, much better sites for this sort of thing, but I understand your point. Tradition doesn't favor newer games.

Can I write better ads? I'm sure I can, but for this one, I really wasn't shooting for getting into the blended-genre aspect much for the ad, but decided to come from a more fantasy angle, since there are many fantasy elements, and fantasy appeals to the largest percentage of gamers. One player still hopes to play when he can get freed up, and wants to run a special ops marine type, but he's not started yet. Another player is chomping at the bit to play, and another has been too busy, but says he's very excited. It's not easy getting PbP games rolling and to maintain them, and from what I've seen of other games out there, when we do get rolling, we tend to do very well, when compared to many other games I've seen online. We were regularly in the top 2-3 most popular games over at WotC's forums back in 2008-2009 when we were playing there regularly, and had better luck getting players, but I don't like their new forums or forum policies, so I stay away now.

I'm very busy and this is early playtests, so I'm not aggressively trying to find new players, but I would like more, of course and will always aim to write better ads. This PbP is actually a bit of a departure in my usual approach with my ads, which do tend to reflect a stronger blended-genre approach. I usually expect at the absolute most one gamer from RPG.net showing any interest, and I had 2 from there who said they wanted to play, but neither of them ever made an account on this site to go the next step. And as I said, the internet is a transient place, but awareness of what Cathor is, will increase in time, though we're not working under ideal circumstances.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Re: Ring Worlds

Unread postby warp9 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:47 pm

Bob Whitely wrote:Well, this discussion goes way off the beaten path of Ring Worlds

Very true! :D

Bob Whitely wrote:It was much more important to me than telling the players what sort of characters I was looking for (which I rarely get into, allowing them to make whatever they want) and in a blended-genre game with no character requirements, the default assumption is that you can make up whatever you want.

I personally don't tend to assume that, but then I can't speak for the majority of players.

I am kind of wondering if "make up whatever you want" has the same meaning for both of us.

I'm sort of guessing that I couldn't play a Prince of Amber, or the Silver Surfer, or a Star Trek Q, but then perhaps I'm wrong, and you would let me make those kinds of characters. If I could if fact play any of those types of characters, then that would definitely make me more interested in your game! 8-)
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Re: Ring Worlds

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:40 pm

I'll just say that obviously those are licensed properties and therefore are not part of the Cosmothea universe, therefore most players should never assume those examples were possible. Furthermore, they are extreme examples and might not even be allowed in many superhero games. As you stated, you didn't think I would say they were OK, but just the fact that you were mentioning them was a bit inciting, like you are trying to find something to complain about.

I did not state that the game was high powered, so assuming those types of characters were an option, would be totally unreasonable. Even so, if you were to say something like, "I'd really like to play someone who is kind of like one of those characters," I'd likely respond by saying something like, we're starting off this particular adventure at very low level. I would prefer that you create a character theme that's really low level. But if they said that's all they want to play, I would then likely offer them an alternative that encompasses the theme of what they were shooting for, but at a different angle (like a Silver Surfer type character that lost or had much of their power locked down due to a storyline element, which has happened a number of times in the comics), then allow the player to play a character like that and the storyline would slowly enable him to gain his power back. Or I'd ask him to wait for us to do a high level game. In the past 5 years, I've had a gamer or two say they wanted to play some other game, when I invited them to play Cosmothea, since they knew the other game, but never did any of the players ever ask for anything remotely as extreme as what you are suggesting.

I'm pretty easy about trying to work character themes into a story, but you are taking it way too far. And that's why it feels like you are trying to be negative or at least unreasonable. It's nothing personal, but you seem to do this thing often, so it's kind of like you have some kind of agenda to try and make Cosmothea look bad or something. Just the fact that I didn't say the game was open to god level, epic level or high level - that alone would be more than enough reason for them to never make such wild assumptions.

Of course, I have indeed run super high powered games before where such character types (but not the exact characters) would be much more appropriate, but I have always been very open about it. As you can see, my ad made no such statements of that sort. But even before I played PbP games, which I assume you've never done, or hardly done ... back when I was just hearing about them, when a GM would say something like I did, the players were like, "Ok, then I want to run a rogue! With a weird past!" Or, "I want to run a Black Guard! Can I run a Black Guard, but not be evil, just crazy?"

Notice I had the player ask a question. That's the standard, even in tabletop games, not the exception, even when they are told they can make whatever they want. They look at the rules and pick something. If they aren't familiar with the rules, they find out what they are. When a player doesn't know what's possible, they ask. If you were a regular player of PbP games, then that would be one thing, but you don't have much or any experience in this area, only assumptions, and this isn't the outlet for such things, regardless. I hope you understand what I'm saying here.

I really have to end this here. I am locking down this thread for two reasons: 1) it has drifted too far off topic, and 2) We've already discussed the topic at length and need to move on. If you would like to post on or create other relevant topics in the forum, that's fine, but please be careful with your comments and keep on topic. It keeps the website more organized. Please see my PM, thanks.
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