L0st S0ul
 member, 209 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 08:30
RTJ request RANT
I am wondering what others think about what information new GMs request when starting a new game.

I often see GMs asking for background information of the character, "The more you write the better a chance to be picked," is said.  Often times NONE of the information is used in the game, so why bother asking?

There is nothing like building a great backstory for a character and writing up a great post and then getting rejected because the 'character' isn't what they are looking for.  Oftentimes, you just get a PM back saying all slots are filled thank you for applying.  No reason why you weren't picked or talk about how you could improve your RTJ.

Does anyone have any comments about this?  Or experiences of their own?
tibiotarsus
 member, 170 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 09:02
RTJ request RANT
I think that if the GM looks at a big backstory and thinks "this character will not fit what I'm doing" then you would have had a terrible time in that game if they let you in against their judgement. I don't think they'd ever know you wanted feedback or had crafted the entire backstory for that game unless you asked them. So...ask!

I run historical games and sometimes I get pitches for people the player obviously isn't that are ill-researched to the point of disrespect or outright -ism, or they bring in themes I don't personally want to deal with, or maybe the pitch was good, but the one that filled the last remaining slot was great. Maybe you were the third half-Orc fighter named Thomas Who Tanketh they got in that round of recruitment. It's not a snub.

Keep your pitches for when they can be re-used, and hone them by quality and originality (sometimes this is as simple as gender-flipping a cliché, it needn't be a great deal of work) rather than quantity. Indeed, if you take them literally about more writing and describe the character's breakfast porridge rather than their motivations or things a GM can use (and if they don't use your backstory, they're Doing It Wrong) - that is, if the revenge quest or the desire to become a florist gets lost in a sea of porridge and boiled eggs - then the GM may have fallen asleep before being able to pick out the good bits.
sean213
 member, 8 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 09:20
RTJ request RANT
It can certainly be frustrating, especially once you get invested in a character idea and put time and effort in. I've even had GMs just start a game up without even giving a courtesy "No thank you". Its hard not to feel snubbed when that happens. I try to just tell myself that an early rejection is better than having things not work out after putting even more time into the game.

Ultimately you just have to assume that the GM made whatever decision they thought would be best for the game from their point of view. They have access to a whole lot of info that you don't. Maybe several of the other applicants had ideas that just meshed really well. Maybe the GMs vision of the game was just different than yours. Maybe your activity level didn't match up with theirs...an every day poster won't fit in with a bunch of once a week posters or vice versa. There are a limitless number of behind the screen reasons for it.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:22, Thu 11 June.

Dream Sequence
 member, 57 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 09:47
Re: RTJ request RANT
L0st S0ul:
I am wondering what others think about what information new GMs request when starting a new game.

...

Does anyone have any comments about this?  Or experiences of their own?

I've never had a problem with writing up a page or so on a new character; I actually kind of enjoy the conception process, whether the character ultimately gets accepted to the game or not.

What does really irritate me about info requested in an RTJ is when the GM starts asking for real life info about me.  That's a hard pass, 100% of the time.  You do not need to know my real-life gender, age, or location, under any circumstances.  "Yes, but..."  Nope.  No exceptions, you do not need that info and I'm not giving it.  What you need to know about me is whether I'm 18 (not how much older or younger than 18, just a plain yes or no is all you need), whether my ability to communicate in English is up to your standards, whether I'm familiar with your game system and setting, my anticipated posting rate, and possibly what general times of the day I'm likely to post in.

I'd actually even be in favor of making that a RPoL rule: GMs may not require RTJs to include any RL info about a player other than the above.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:52, Thu 11 June.

evileeyore
 member, 342 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 11:12
Re: RTJ request RANT
L0st S0ul:
I often see GMs asking for background information of the character, "The more you write the better a chance to be picked," is said.

I just skip those games straight out.  Have neither the time nor the inclination to write out a huge backstory, when as you said, 90% of the time it's ignored once game gets started or you're not picked into the game anyway.





Dream Sequence:
What you need to know about me is whether I'm 18 (not how much older or younger than 18, just a plain yes or no is all you need), whether my ability to communicate in English is up to your standards, whether I'm familiar with your game system and setting, my anticipated posting rate, and possibly what general times of the day I'm likely to post in.

Add to that posting style, and I agree with your sentiment.  I don't want a rule about it, but it's more than a little creepy if someone is a/s/l'ing right out the gate.
willvr
 member, 1120 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 11:20
Re: RTJ request RANT
Yeah, I'm more about concepts than character background. Unless the GM is homebrewing the entire game, background doesn't really fit in beyond how you start, and you can also knock something together for that.

Having said that, I have had people come to me with very detailed backgrounds - I don't require it, but it does make it harder to knock back,but I will always warn them it's unlikely the background will get much leverage in my game.
tibiotarsus
 member, 171 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 11:32
Re: RTJ request RANT
Dream Sequence:
I'd actually even be in favor of making that a RPoL rule: GMs may not require RTJs to include any RL info about a player other than the above.


I am horrified you had that experience and would like to second that call. Good grief.

@sean213 Starting a game without proper rejections is very rude, but I did that once with someone who came up with an inappropriate character and took longer than it would take me to move a character in-game to the land of Over There Somewhere for absence to get back to me with corrections...by that time the game was obviously full and running and I didn't really know why they'd finally come back, so I tried to think of a way to say "I know I asked you for this stuff but I had a start date and I assumed you gave up two weeks ago" politely and just...never got to it for running the game.

Not that I'm making excuses, I was still rude, but awkward + distraction may also be a factor, especially in well-subscribed games.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15897 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 12:25
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to Dream Sequence (msg # 4):

Our policy is that a GM is free to ask for any information  he wants in an RTJ.  The player is likewise free to decide whether or not to give that information.

We do not tell a GM how to run his game, or how to select his players.
Dream Sequence
 member, 58 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 12:45
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 8):

Yeah, I'm aware of the distance between what the policy actually is and what I'd prefer that it be.  Just wishful thinking!
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 272 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
As an aside, since the subject of GMs requesting real information came up...

I was searching through some games the other day, and encountered a game where the GM had added every player to the cast list by their RPoL User Name.

That strikes me as something shockingly unkosher, since there's the expected degree of disassociation between RPoL user and individual characters in games, and because players in games have no control over what the GM adds them as (beyond giving a character name request, obviously). There was no visible RTJ information I could see for that particular game, but I really can't imagine that many people joining it knowing it would result in being listed by user name, if it had.

Is outing peoples' user names like that in a game allowed? Because it feels like it shouldn't be.

This message was last edited by the user at 14:19, Thu 11 June.

willvr
 member, 1121 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:22
Re: RTJ request RANT
I haven't come across it as that is their permanent name in a game, but I have seen people added with their RPoL user name until characters are worked out.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 273 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:28
Re: RTJ request RANT
In this particular instance it was a deleted game with months of activity and posts, so I can't imagine that it was that case. (And obviously, the people that were posting in it were aware they were listed by user name, unless they were just REALLY inattentive.) Even then, though, that feels unkosher to me. RPoL goes to some nice lengths to keep people from having their user name revealed in a game (even giving you the warning about responding to rMail from people you play with), so to have a GM just up and out people (even temporarily) feels... wrong? I dunno.

It was just a moment that made me go 'o.O' when I saw it.
donsr
 member, 1955 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 14:32
Re: RTJ request RANT
I was taken to task...long ago... b3ecause i wanted 18  and over?.. why?..because i wanted  my games to last....even the most active players  get bored...have lifer changes..ect ect... but  I want folks who have   a commitment to play, and not  quit  after  a few  weeks 'because they are Bored"...or found a 'New Game".

 I stick by my guns, because  its my game..I'm runnign it.. Football teams  cut  guys who don't  fit thier team.. I will refuse  RTJs if they become adversarial, because i don't  want my Core players to have to  deal with crap like that.

 Most players who are accpted  ..end up become  part of that core.

so?..RTJ?   GM  makes it..no one is forcing anyone   to sign up for something they  don't want..and  there isn't  any GM  or Player getting paid  to play here!
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 439 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 15:44
Re: RTJ request RANT
My favorite is when they request a massive amount for their RTJ and then ghost or drop the game three weeks later..... "Thanks for wasting my time."

Or better yet tell you that you were denied and then message two weeks later that people dropped and would you like to join..... "Yeah, I wasn't good enough, remember?"

This message was last edited by the user at 15:46, Thu 11 June.

donsr
 member, 1959 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 16:04
Re: RTJ request RANT
::chuckles:; Spvnky.. had a Guy  joined..sorta 'over qualified'..Military guy (we were told)  threw out jargon left and right.

 complain  alot   about some of the things  i did..but  i pointed out , this wasn't a military  SIM, and....things  are run the way the Main NPC runs it.

 after   about a year of telling me how great the game is ( despite whining)  he starts  telling me in  PMs  that 'you can't  do this..You'll be sorry ect ect ect"

 in the end? he made a IC post trying to kill the Admiral.. I   did allow  the  attempt and make the rolls..he smiied..SEC did not..and off he went to   the Penal colony.In between his post and mine..he quit...

fast forward 5 years later? he was in one of the games  i spoke about, when it was  clear that the Game was dead..he sent me a Rmail askign to join my game... i simpole answered...you were here ocne before..remember? "..never heard from him again!

so? it works both ways.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 274 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 16:16
Re: RTJ request RANT
PCO.Spvnky:
Or better yet tell you that you were denied and then message two weeks later that people dropped and would you like to join..... "Yeah, I wasn't good enough, remember?"

In fairness to GMs that do this, in some cases there are a limited number of spots available in the initial game, and not making the cut doesn't remotely mean you "weren't good enough" as much as maybe you were just too late, or pitched a character that wasn't their most ideal. I know a lot of games that try to keep a good gender/class/whatever balance and even well-pitched characters might not make it past the first cut if they're too much like other characters.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 440 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 17:07
Re: RTJ request RANT
I don't think GM's pay attention to how long it takes to do a good back story submission. I always cut mine short now because after spending 3+ hours multiple times now I just think "well this will be a big waste of time if I don't get in."  Then of course I'm dissatisfied with my submission and half the time I don't even put it in.  In the end play by post has a lot of issues but it does allow for more rp than I would normally get, just wish it was more consistent.  I've been guilty of writer's block too though, lol.
Shannara
 moderator, 3856 posts
 When in doubt,
 frolic!
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 18:05
Re: RTJ request RANT
If any GM asks for information you are not 100% comfortable in giving, wish them luck with their game (or not) and move on to another game.

GMs, much like shady lawyers acting on behalf of deceased rulers from assorted miscellaneous countries that want you to help them smuggle millions of dollars out of the country but first need you to wire them a measly $5000 as a show of good faith, can ask for anything.  (Not saying that any GM is necessarily asking for the same sort of nefarious purposes as said shady supposed lawyers, just that we are in control of what we feel is reasonable for an uncertain (or even a certain) return.)

There's not a game out there, even if run by someone claiming to be a prize-winning author - that I'd want to play under bad enough to give them any personal information that I wouldn't otherwise be comfortable in posting myself in the OOC section.

RTJs help to weed out games that don't fit our styles to play in as much as they help GMs weed out players who won't be a good fit for the game they want to run.
facemaker329
 member, 7212 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 19:51
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to PCO.Spvnky (msg # 17):

Considering how many GMs are also players, I'm actually pretty sure they know exactly how much effort goes into creating a character.

I'm not a GM by choice (the one game I'm running, I inherited from a GM who had some medical issues...and even then, I was,, by my own choice, not the first choice for a co-GM.  But when the first choice went inactive two weeks into his tenure, and completely unresponsive to PMs or emails, the game almost died.  The GM made it back, swapped things around so I was co-GM--made me promise to not let the game die--and then vanished again, years ago.)  That said, the characters that I've developed some kind of comprehensive background for, needed or not, are the characters I've come to enjoy the most.  And I can see why GMs ask for them...they're increasing your 'buy-in' to the game.  If you've invested more in that character, you're less likely to walk away and abandon it.  They may or may not find elements of the background that make good story hooks...but for most GMs I know, they're not fishing for story hooks.  They want dedicated players, and they want to have enough information about potential characters to have some idea if the characters fit--not only the game, but with each other.

If you don't like fleshing out characters for RTJs, then don't RTJ games that ask for a thorough background, just as you shouldn't RTJ to a GM that asks for any personal information you're reluctant to share.  If the GM's RTJ clashes with your sensibilities, there's a really good chance his style of play will do the same.  I consider the RTJ process a filter...not only for the GM to filter players, but for prospective players to filter their GMs.
OceanLake
 supporter, 1117 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 20:14
Re: RTJ request RANT
Should GMs ask for extensive background in a submission, I'd appreciate them providing good game information, something to hang my hat on. Also,I'd appreciate a point-buy system or default set. It's annoying to write a background only to find the stats don't fit.
RosstoFalstaff
 member, 188 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 20:24
Re: RTJ request RANT
Re: Oceanlake. Yep, it's a two way street, and part of why I try to ask for less from applicants and more of a dialogue.

Honestly as a DM I have to say that I get way more RTJs than I have room for and I limit them thusly:

-Did they follow basic instructions on the RTJ? Acknowledging that they didn't put something in counts even! Did they read my small requirements and try to follow them in spirit? I'm not talking burying a passcode in the setting info or the game rules (though no offense to people who do that, so long as it's not something completely apple) I mean if I'm running a D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder game and I ask for no sheets in the RTJ, just a short writeup, a sheet being submitted doesn't predispose me to you.

-Are they someone I know to be a problem player from previous experience? People do this, and an otherwise neutral player can swiftly change in my opinion if a request to alter something (they should take ranks in Knowledges if they want to use their own game knowledge for instance) or a small inconvenience causes them to react extremely negatively.

-Are they writing A LOT of backstory? I'm never going to ask people for a full on backstory if I can help it, your ability to badly write fiction on the spot is not a skill I'm looking for. Very few people write well in play by post and the ability to write up something with no input from me or other people isn't reflective of how you're write in play. If there are things I need to know that weren't in the RTJ I'll ask them

-Is their application not as interesting as someone else and I'm running low on spots? I try to fill slots all at once at the end of the recruitment run, so as not to prejudice people applying later with despair, and to not reward speediness which usually indicates overeager energy, already existing characters that have been knocked back before (nothing wrong with that, but if I get ten paragraphs inside an hour of putting the ad up . . . they didn't read anything) and might dissuade people from carefully crafting their apps. But at the end if I have five slots, four shoe-ins and five maybes, four people are gonna be disappointed.




As to the OP, yes that sucks and I tend to avoid DMs who want a lot of unnecessary backstory. But as to the no creative criticism, if I may offer the other side:

When I'm rejecting apps, I have at least three as many I'm knocking back as letting in. Accepting people is also the time to open character sheets and get people gelling in the OOC. I honestly don't always have time to tell every single people who didn't make it in why their app didn't get in (but see above for a few reasons). You may notice a lot of the above reasons would feel like personal attacks. So imagine having to take the time to write up 12 paragraphs unique to twelve people you're rejecting. Try to find twelve unique ways to say "our goals don't align" or "it seems you want to write a book with the other players as supporting cast" or "you've been abrasive this whole time and I made the decision from the beginning to not take you but was busy putting my time into the ones I wanted in my game"

It's also important to remember that people whose job it is to reject people don't have to do exit interviews where they life coach and workshop the problems with the application. It's nice to get constructive feedback (and it's a good sign) but shouldn't really be expected from someone who's doing it for free in their free time
evileeyore
 member, 343 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 20:59
Re: RTJ request RANT
SunRuanEr:
I was searching through some games the other day, and encountered a game where the GM had added every player to the cast list by their RPoL User Name.

That's exactly what I do.  Granted, The Player will know beforehand, so if they want to back out, their call.


Personally I hate the "double" anonymity.  If I find someone that has a playstyle I'm completely incompatible with, I want to know to avoid joining that game if their behavior is that bad.  Also, if that person is playing multiple characters (and it's not a "I need to leave this game" level of personality clash), I'd like to know which other PCs to avoid interacting with.

But that's me.  I don't understand the desire for double anonymity so many seem to be enamored with on this site.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 275 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 21:25
Re: RTJ request RANT
evileeyore:
I don't understand the desire for double anonymity so many seem to be enamored with on this site.

Honestly, I think there are a few reasons for this.

One, it preserves the integrity of the character in a game. The character is the most important thing, not the player behind it (I realize some people may think differently, but that's my opinion). For some people, it's quite difficult to have realistic (in-game realism, here) interactions with Big Burly Bob the Bruiser if they know that Bob is actually played by Little Mary Sunshine. (Or vice versa).

Two, it prevents players from being abused/ignored/not given a second chance. Sometimes, people play poorly in one setting and are entirely different in another. Sometimes, people go through rough patches, or simply learn how to be better players over the years, but knowing that Character X is being played by Player A that you had that big blowout fight with three years ago might keep you from giving Character X a chance. (As you stated yourself, by noting that you'd like to know 'who to avoid' in a game, despite the fact that their behaviour might not be the same in that game.)

This is why you can see GM names, and GMs can see applicants' names - so that you/they CAN avoid people that you/they know are "problem children" or don't play in a style that you/they like, because the GM-Player relationship is an OOC one. It's important for GMs and their Players to be able to get along, OOCly. There's no reason/need to know that as a player, about other players. Characters are characters, and their interaction with other characters can be solely IC, which makes it irrelevant who is behind them.

Obviously, your mileage varies, but I've encountered a lot of players over the years that play very different in one game than they do in another, or post very differently on the forums than they do IC in a game, or even play one character differently than another within games. It's important to keep things distinct, for the betterment of the games as a whole, to me.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:26, Thu 11 June.

evileeyore
 member, 344 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 22:14
Re: RTJ request RANT
SunRuanEr:
Characters are characters, and their interaction with other characters can be solely IC, which makes it irrelevant who is behind them.

I've never been in game here that didn't have an OOC thread.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 276 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 22:20
Re: RTJ request RANT
Note I said "can", Eeyore.

If you desire to keep your interactions with the other players solely IC, you have that option. While you are correct that most games do have an OOC thread (I have seen ones that didn't), I have never encountered a game where players were forced to post in it.
dparasol
 member, 11 posts
 looking to uh have fun
 and destroy civilization
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 22:22
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to SunRuanEr (msg # 23):

I'm fairly certain I don't agree with that. The character matters greatly, of course, but there are various types of play styles. Two different play styles can mesh well with a GM's own style, but conflict badly with one another. This often comes down *entirely* to the players and has nothing to do with the characters.

And this is, of course, something that two players will know before the GM comes to understand it.
facemaker329
 member, 7213 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 11 Jun 2020
at 22:54
Re: RTJ request RANT
I treat a rejected RTJ like I treated a failed audition.  It doesn't mean what I did wasn't 'good enough'.  It means that, for whatever reason, I wasn't the right fit.

That concept is hard for people to understand, unless they've ever been involved in casting a show.  I directed a one-act play in college that had a cast of two people...one man, one woman.  I think I had fifty people audition for it.  I could easily have cast that show thirty different ways and been altogether satisfied with the results.  But there were two women who really stood out from the pack...they had auditions that were not just solid, but they brought something unique to the character, where the rest all pretty much felt the same...competent, but unimaginative.  And there was one man who REALLY stood out from the rest...seemed like the obvious choice to me, even though he was, physically, probably the furthest from the type indicated in the script.  Watching his audition made me re-evaluate everything I had already decided about the script.  So I knew I wanted him...and I had to figure out which of the two women would best complement him, in the context of the story being told.

There were only maybe a handful of people that auditioned about whom I thought, "that was terrible...I don't want to work with that person".  It just came down to who was the best fit...which guy had the most imaginative take on the character, and which woman would contrast that most strongly and to best effect (the show was about an early-middle-aged man going in for a draft physical and how he went from trying to convince the nurse he was a bad choice to being angry and confrontational that she, like the rest of society, didn't see him as an individual but just as yet another number to be processed and rejected or accepted with no personal interest in the result.)

I've been in casting discussions where a girl who was CLEARLY one of the best dancers was rejected because she had such an athletic build that she looked like an Olympic athlete next to the guys in the cast, where a girl who was hands-down the single best audition in the whole group was al.ost not cast because she was so much shorter than any of the men who auditioned, etc.  Sometimes, you're just not the best fit.

And I can also tell you, from my own experience on both sides of the casting process, that "you weren't the best fit" is tough to swallow.  But most of the time, it's the truth.  It's not about what you could change or how you could improve...what you did, you did perfectly well, or at least good enough that any feedback would sound equally as hollow and frustrating.  But somebody else did something just as well as you did, which the director or GM saw, and said "THAT...that is what I want."  It's something they don't need to re-shape, or it's so close that they feel they can get there with a nudge or two.

Yes, it's nice when you get feedback...but outside of an academic setting, there's usually no practical reason to do it.  They've got a show to build or a game to run, and the people involved are expecting their attention to be focused on that endeavor, not taking the time and focus to provide feedback to everyone who didn't get accepted.  They certainly don't want to spend several days responding to dissatisfied inquiries about "what wasn't good enough?  What do I need to improve?"  They're there to get a creative endeavor running.  Some of them may choose to provide feedback...but it shouldn't be expected.  They're, in our context here, running a game, they're not a writing coach.
Jarodemo
 member, 834 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Fri 12 Jun 2020
at 07:42
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to SunRuanEr (msg # 16):

Agree. This is especially true for popular settings such as 5e. A GM could easily get several dozen RTJs for a game that has 4-6 PC slots. Missing out doesn’t mean you were bad, just that the GM preferred the balance of the 4-6 they chose.

Personally if I was the GM in that situation I might inform positive concepts that were rejected that they would be reconsidered should slots come open in the future, but no guarantees offered. The reality is that players can disappear at any time, but this happens most in the first few weeks of the game.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15898 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Fri 12 Jun 2020
at 07:58
Re: RTJ request RANT
I used to tell people that I liked their character but the game was, unfortunately. filled, and that I would keep them in mind should  places open up in future.  But after one too many, "Don't bother.  If I'm not good enough to get in then I don't want to play anyway." type responses I gave up on that.  :(
Zag24
 supporter, 633 posts
Fri 12 Jun 2020
at 14:14
Re: RTJ request RANT
Really?  That surprises me, because I've had several players I've had to waitlist that way, who later joined the game and became great additions.  I've never seen the reaction you describe, but I would just figured I had dodged a bullet, anyway.  If someone is so entitled that they can't understand that "game is filled now" is not an insult, I don't want them, anyway.
L0st S0ul
 member, 210 posts
Fri 12 Jun 2020
at 14:28
Re: RTJ request RANT
Thank you all for your responses.  There is a lot of great advice here on all different aspects of the RTJ process and I think you all for that.  I didn't write my original post because I was turned away recently, I did it to see how others react.

When I begin a new game and I get requests for players, I get some players that have RTJd to other games of mine and either disappeared or were a hassle in the game.  I have taken a list of those people and make sure that if I get an RTJ from them that I don't bother even opening the RTJ.

One of the more frustrating things about being a GM is accepting people into your game and then they disappear into thin air, no word, or nothing.  Sure people have RLs but a courtesy PM even would be good, even if it is to say I don't like your style of GMing.  Then you need to find a replacement and as Bigbadron said, sometimes you get the Don't bother responses, and thus you had burned that bridge, oh well..

Anyways, thanks for all your thoughts on the subjects!
praguepride
 member, 1625 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 12 Jun 2020
at 19:44
Re: RTJ request RANT
bigbadron:
I used to tell people that I liked their character but the game was, unfortunately. filled, and that I would keep them in mind should  places open up in future.  But after one too many, "Don't bother.  If I'm not good enough to get in then I don't want to play anyway." type responses I gave up on that.  :(


Agreed. I had a game where someone who made it in immediately dropped/went AWOL and so I reached out to someone I just sent the cut announcement for and got that response.

In my opinion that kind of personality is someone I don't want in my game so it was better to find that out sooner than later. That is not the response of a team player, imo.
Silverlock
 member, 110 posts
Fri 12 Jun 2020
at 20:35
Re: RTJ request RANT
Long RTJs....that recalls a game many years ago that I sent in a long, detailed PC, all sorts of fluffy stuff as per the GM's request.  Never heard from the GM again, but did see the game reposted as 'looking for players'.  I sent in another PC, less fluff this time, and - was accepted as a player.  The first NPC my new PC was sent to meet was my First PC - didn't change a word of the description either, not even the name, nothing !   I waxed wroth.  So if a GM wants a huge RTJ - I think very hard about wasting the time.
jamat
 member, 653 posts
 P:5 T:7 W:0 F:0 B:3
Sat 13 Jun 2020
at 16:57
Re: RTJ request RANT
It's not when gms reject something you put forward that annoys me it when in the past I've put a lot in the gm wanted thread. Put in the type of game of like to play in and the system in be interested playing. A potential gm then gets on board there's a few posts back and forward all looks good a link to a game is set up you apply and wait and wait and wait then you notice all the slots have been filled and you get a post saying sorry you didn't make it this time......that really pees me off after it was my initial post that started the ball rolling in the first place.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15900 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 13 Jun 2020
at 17:15
Re: RTJ request RANT
I don't usually ask for an essay, just a few sentences - enough to give a rough idea of the character so that I can spot possible clashes/overlaps with other characters.  However...


A long time ago, on a site far, far away...


I was setting up an Amber game, and I asked for more detailed characters.  First RtJ I received was just five words... "i will be a elf"

"Okay... " said I, not exactly overexcited about this first response, "I was actually hoping for more information.  Can you tell me a bit more about your character?"

"i will be a elf with a magic sord"

*sigh*  *head desk*
OceanLake
 supporter, 1118 posts
Sat 13 Jun 2020
at 18:25
Re: RTJ request RANT
sord (sɔːd)
n
(Zoology) a flock of mallard ducks
vb (intr)
to ascend in flight

I'm a University of Oregon fan, so I know about quack attacks. So you'd have a most interesting character for outdoor adventures.
Akarui
 member, 199 posts
 Active since: 2010
Sat 13 Jun 2020
at 20:43
Re: RTJ request RANT
I ask for backgrounds in my nWoD  gamesfor two reasons. Though, I don't ask for an essay, it's up to the player how much they want to write and XP is awarded for it.

1) I think it is important to know your character. I have had too many players bringing in characters and when faced with some basic difficulties they cannot decide how their character would act and kind of just leave it to the GM to decide. This is not the GM's job. I find by writing out a background (despite the length) you know exactly who you are playing.

2) In a sandbox game and long running games things can get stale at times for characters and that is where I find having their background at hand it very handy because if they have wandered away from a plot I can find another to throw at them.

Concerning the RTJ, before the site automatically showed that you have access, it was required for the GM to get an age statement from players and I guess for many, like myself, that have kind of stuck. I see the GRANTED but as far as I know it is still required that the GM confirms it.
Shannara
 moderator, 3857 posts
 When in doubt,
 frolic!
Sat 13 Jun 2020
at 20:52
Re: RTJ request RANT
Akarui:
Concerning the RTJ, before the site automatically showed that you have access, it was required for the GM to get an age statement from players and I guess for many, like myself, that have kind of stuck. I see the GRANTED but as far as I know it is still required that the GM confirms it.


GMs do not need to confirm ages now that the system handles that when anyone requests access to an adult game.  GMs still can, if they wish, but it is not necessary by RPoL's rules.
Brianna
 member, 2218 posts
Sun 14 Jun 2020
at 11:04
Re: RTJ request RANT
I would tend to avoid a game where the GM doesn't want some form of writing sample.  It could be as much as a detailed character history (though I probably wouldn't apply to that one, if only because it takes me so long to write one the game would be full before I got there) or as simple as a sample post.  I've played (or tried to) too often with people who can't spell, know nothing about grammar, can't make a coherent sentence, or the like.  It's too much work and not fun.  I remember a scene once where neither my character nor I could figure out what the guy was talking about, except that he wanted her to meet him in the morning to go together to the ship that would take us where we needed to go.  Finally she nodded, got up and left, and didn't go back.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15901 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 14 Jun 2020
at 12:37
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to OceanLake (msg # 36):

Wait... I thought a flock of mallards was a cluster-duck.  :)
ShootingStar
 member, 49 posts
 So very brief and bright;
 meteor and lifetime alike
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 02:47
Re: RTJ request RANT
All things being equal, I'm usually heartened when a GM wants a concise character concept + a writing sample, but is willing to accept something you've written in the past.

In general, I'm leery of GMs who ask for a heavily detailed concept and/or want a multi-paragraph sample written about your proposed character (though a single paragraph is fine).   I get sometimes it may be seen as necessary -  and if I'm smitten enough with the game in question, I will do it.    But I do feel asking for a lot of writing up front, when there's a good chance of not making it, is kind of crappy.   I believe in most cases it really isn't necessary, and a GM can discover what they need to know via less work intensive means.

But I'm also really not a fan of games that don't screen at all, or barely do, and operate on a first come, first serve basis (excepting games that are just simple, straightforward D&D style adventures). Almost every time I've made an exception and joined one, I've been sorry.   Players who are not very literate, and don't like to write and role play, tend to resent those who are and do, I've found.
facemaker329
 member, 7216 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 05:57
Re: RTJ request RANT
I've never worried much about that, because I tend to write character backgrounds that are generally a few paragraphs, anyway.  I won't nail down every detail in a character background, initially...but I'll get detailed enough that it helps me decide what would or would not fit if I'm exposed to it later, like how much family a character has back home or whether or not there's any logical reason he would have been trained in some unorthodox combat technique, stuff along those lines.

Even at that, I have seen RTJs that asked for so much information that even I was like, "Seriously?  You want all of that for a 'maybe' chance to get into the game?"  But I've also seen games where the GM should really have nailed down more details about a character background before adding them (and one game I'm in has definitely seen the GMs acceptance level of characters get more exclusive as the game has gone on, largely because so many new players, early in the game, had ideas for characters that sounded cool, initially, but there was no thought that went into how that character became involved in the situation that the game was revolving around, or how characters from enemy races (it's a sci-fi war game) managed to become involved with allied forces of the rest of the PCs.

It's hard to say how much is 'right', because I think it depends largely on the game.  I do feel like there are games which rightfully demand more attention to developing a character background because of the potential complexity of relationships between characters...and I think it's more efficient for a GM to ask for it either up front or very early in the process, because I know my GM has had a lot of people RTJ and then just drift away in the process of actually developing a character that will fit in the game...and a lot of the people who've joined and stuck with the game were the ones who RTJd with a pretty comprehensive character profile.
OceanLake
 supporter, 1119 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 08:00
Re: RTJ request RANT
I've noticed that some players prefer to create exotic characters. I wonder sometimes if far-outedness correlates negatively with smooth game play.
NowhereMan
 member, 371 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 08:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
I don't think so. Some of my most outlandish PCs have come from highly-cooperative and character-driven players. On the other hand, you occasionally get a whacko who's more nuts than their teleporting half-demon catgirl concept. I don't think there's really a whole lot of easily quantifiable traits that can signal good or bad players.

The long character backgrounds are another good example. Sometimes, huge, in-depth characters come from dedicated players wanting to give their GMs plenty of material to work with and want to show the amount of effort they're willing to put forward in-game. Other times, it means you've got an RTJ of someone's very special snowflake whose will they'll want to impose on all those around them, PC, NPC, and GMs alike.

Really, the only one that I've found to be a consistent warning-sign is the "canned RTJ", the one that completely ignores everything in the RTJ requirements, from formatting to character requirements. In the few times I've been desperate enough for figurative butts in chairs to take such characters, they never last more than a week or two.
donsr
 member, 1960 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 13:58
Re: RTJ request RANT
Ocean...

  I do try to keep my players have  having   'out there' charcters... in my  fantasy game  i allowed  a few 'odd' charcters..3  quit.. 2 others  who are in another game of mind  are on the shelf, but make if hard to fit them in...

 In the space game, I found that folks who  what to  be   aliens..or an enemy alien that turned coat?...Don't last long.. i think its either, the players  just like making odd charcters , then get tired of the  interactions, because of what they are

and lets  face it.. some people like to create the  charcters.. then get  bored and move on. I like  to have solid  charcters, that  the players  can grow  through the  RP along with the story, i do have one player..he had to leave  for a couple years  buy  came back..he is the only  alien  character , that has  stood the Test of time ( not counting NPCs...)
facemaker329
 member, 7217 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 16:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to OceanLake (msg # 43):

That depends entirely on the player.  Some of my favorite characters have been some off-the-wall concepts (like a Chadra-Fan pilot with a borderline death wish, or a Troll monk...), but when I created those characters, part of the appeal was knowing they would not be accepted by society at large and possibly not even by the party members, initially.  The fun of playing them was getting them to be competent enough at what they did to be accepted in spite of their 'otherness'.  And I always, ALWAYS built in a backstory that made their presence plausible, even if it was highly unlikely.

That said, most of my current characters are very 'bread and butter' types, very typical of what would be widely expected in material of the genre/setting.  I could have gone outlandish with the concepts...but it felt, to me, like the game needed 'typical' characters.

That said, I've seen a lot of out-there characters that had really implausible back stories...if they bothered with any kind of back story at all beyond "I want to play a monster that's become one of the good guys".  I think a lot of people gravitate to the outrageous characters because they want a spotlight, of sorts...they're not sure they can make a 'regular' character noteworthy, so they latch onto some kind of highly unusual concept and ride it for all it's worth...

Except they don't anticipate that, being an highly irregular character, they're destined to be an outsider from the get-go, and the same...well, laziness, basically, that led many of them to pick a highly unusual character also leads them to give up quickly when they discover that their enemy-soldier-turned-double-agent isgoing to have to win over peoples' trust and won't necessarily be welcomed into the party with open arms.  They like the one end of the stick...but they aren't willing to carry the other end, as well.

It can be done.  It has been done.  A lot.  There's a character in one of the games I'm in who is a defector, from a branch of the ruling house of the alien race that is the primary enemy.  His character spent his first two weeks of in-game time sitting in a brig and being threatened with execution multiple times a day.  When he was finally let out and entrusted with a weapon, he spent another year (in-game) with people watching him closely and ready to gun him down at the first hint of betrayal...and they weren't subtle about their intentions.  He played it to the hilt, it was an integral part of the character...he's now been in-game for close to five years (I think close to eight or nine years, in reality), is a Sergeant in the allied forces, and just got engaged to another character.  Oddball concepts can work...but they require a LOT of work, some vague degree of plausibility (same game, we had a guy who wanted to be a child prodigy that could sling computer code in his sleep but was also a highly experienced fighter pilot...despite the fact that, for him to have as much fighter experience as he was claiming, he would have had to start flying fighters before he was even a teenager, and would have been too short to reach all the controls unless someone paid an insane amount of money to modify his trainer craft...several times, as he grew up.  He pitched a fit when the GM told him that his character had to be several years older than he was saying...)

I'll admit, when I see unlikely character types enter a game, my first impulse is, "Wonder how long THIS one lasts."  But 'unlikely' doesn't necessarily equate to 'unplayable' or even 'doomed to fail.'  It just takes more thought, more work, and more patience.
donsr
 member, 1961 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 16:39
Re: RTJ request RANT
::chuckles::   yep  some of them work at making the people fit, just as if they would have to fit in , in real life..or a movie..TV  ect ect...

 Its very nice when the  player  puts the work in to  make  that 'odd ball' charcter to work.... But , i am rather  fond of  'mainstream' types   living thier  lives  while fighting a war!

This message was last edited by the user at 19:13, Mon 15 June.

Dream Sequence
 member, 59 posts
 Certainly the loveliest,
 most civilized of us all
Mon 15 Jun 2020
at 16:41
Re: RTJ request RANT
facemaker329:
Except they don't anticipate that, being an highly irregular character, they're destined to be an outsider from the get-go, and the same...well, laziness, basically, that led many of them to pick a highly unusual character also leads them to give up quickly when they discover that their enemy-soldier-turned-double-agent isgoing to have to win over peoples' trust and won't necessarily be welcomed into the party with open arms.  They like the one end of the stick...but they aren't willing to carry the other end, as well.

My experience with this sort of thing is often the opposite, actually!  Just as likely as what you describe is when someone tries to bring an oddball outsider character concept into a game (the Sith apprentice trying to return to the Light side in a party of Jedi padawans is one I remember well), most of the rest of the party just shrugs like, "eh, whatever," and just brushes aside the thing that's supposed to make the character a square peg and proceeds as if there was nothing odd about the oddball at all.  I don't know if that's because people feel like paying attention to someone else's specialness makes them feel like their own specialness is minimized, or because they couldn't really care less about backstory and character drama and just want to push forward into the plot or the combats or whatever?  But I've encountered it more than a few times.
Kagekiri
 member, 187 posts
Tue 16 Jun 2020
at 01:39
Re: RTJ request RANT
L0st S0ul:
There is nothing like building a great backstory for a character and writing up a great post and then getting rejected because the 'character' isn't what they are looking for.


I hear ya. I've totally done this. It can be very disheartening.

I try to save whatever I came up with and view it as a character concepting exercise rather than a loss. Even if I don't use what I created as is, it can sometimes turn into a seed for future character or an NPC for a game I GM later. It's like when a plant dies and you turn it into compost or something like that.

On the bright side, it sounds like you are putting a lot of thought and effort into your character write-ups and how they pertain to the game rather than just pulling a character concept off the shelf and shoehorning it into the game (which I can't say I've never done!), so credit to you.

EDIT: Dyslexia.

This message was last edited by the user at 01:42, Tue 16 June.

truemane
 member, 2143 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 12:18
Re: RTJ request RANT
When I run games, I try to keep the amount of work down to an absolute minimum, because I know putting a lot of effort into something only be told "Thanks but no thanks" is the worst.

But I recruit players, not characters. Good Party Chemistry is the single most important factor in a game taking off, and it's the least predictable and the least controllable. A balanced mix of classes matters not at all to me, so long as the players are getting along and having fun.

So I need more than a character concept. I need some sense of who the player is and how they'll conduct themselves IC and OC. If they're likely to do the "I did that horrifically disruptive thing because it's what my character would do" thing.

I've found that asking for a very short (usually no more than 500 words) backstory tells me a lot. It tells me who's likely to bristle at restrictions. It tells me who can follow rules and who can't, who reads directions and who doesn't. And, perhaps most importantly, if you have to boil your character's history down to a very small amount of material, what's left needs to be the important stuff. And so this tells me what kinds of stories you like, and what kinds of things you think are important.

(I am also painfully verbose on what sort of game I want to run, theme, mood, tone, etc, so everyone should know what I'm looking for).

I also like to add in a couple of 'contentious' short answer questions. Just to see if any of the most obvious red flags pop up.

But, and I can only answer for myself, I would never not issue an invitation over a character. That drives me crazy too. Good players tend to be fountains of good characters. I'm looking for people.
NowhereMan
 member, 376 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 16:25
Re: RTJ request RANT
truemane:
I also like to add in a couple of 'contentious' short answer questions. Just to see if any of the most obvious red flags pop up.


I'm interested to know what kind of questions those might be, and what red flags they might throw.
donsr
 member, 1967 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 16:41
Re: RTJ request RANT
Most of the 'problems' are resloved  for me, when someomne answers   my ads... U give them a breief  rundown of how the game is, and what is expected of the player.. then aske them

" If this sounds  good to you, let me know and we'll get the CS goign and drop you into the game. pelase let me know  either way"

 The Good  ones, of course , stay.

 The ones  who 'may have' been good, might decide that  heavy RP games  might not  be what they wat

 the Bad ones  , just never  answer again.
warjoski
 member, 118 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 22:13
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to NowhereMan (msg # 51):

quote:
I'm interested to know what kind of questions those might be, and what red flags they might throw.



One I have used in the past is to ask the player to give me a short response, in character, to a certain situation. I specify nothing longer than a paragraph.  Can be dialog or narrative.  Just let me know how your character would handle it.

For example, I gave a scenario where the PC would be on guard duty.  And their fellow guard was slacking off.  I asked the player to tell me how their PC would handle the other guard's laziness.

Their answer gave me an idea of how the player thought their PC would handle: teamwork, responsibility, failure on someone else's part to perform, and how fast they would resort to lethal force (you would be surprised how many answered that scenario with 'I kill him')

This message was last edited by the user at 22:13, Wed 24 June.

DaCuseFrog
 member, 98 posts
 SW Florida
Wed 24 Jun 2020
at 22:46
Re: RTJ request RANT
warjoski:
(you would be surprised how many answered that scenario with 'I kill him')


No, no I wouldn't. (:-D)



I've learned my lesson about RTJs that are too long.  For a while I thought that it might be the only way for me to get into some of these games, since I don't like the first-come first-serve style, but I've had worse luck with some of the longer ones.  A nice medium works best.  Something that gives you a way to demonstrate that you know how to write, but not looking for chapter one of the next great novel.
truemane
 member, 2144 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 18:37
Re: RTJ request RANT
NowhereMan:
truemane:
I also like to add in a couple of 'contentious' short answer questions. Just to see if any of the most obvious red flags pop up.


I'm interested to know what kind of questions those might be, and what red flags they might throw.


I almost always ask how someone is likely to handle conflict with the GM. And I do so by slanting the wording 'against' me as hard as I can (something like "What if I just ignore a rule and make a call that wrecks your plan on purpose just to be mean?"). I do this to try and ferret out an actual reaction (because everyone who fights over a rule feels that way, regardless of circumstance). And I figure, even if they lie to me (because no one ever says, "Oh I pitch a massive fit like a big giant baby and ragequit amid a flurry of racial slurs."), at least they're at primed to act that way if it comes up.

Another is, I often ask people if female PC's should get a strength penalty or not. And, if they say yes, what they would give female PC's to balance that penalty.

In both cases, I'm less concerned about the their answer as I am about how they answer. I just want the person to talk about themselves for a little while.

There's a particular kind of player that's there to have their kind of fun regardless of what's happening, and/or are there to use the rules and/or 'realism' as a bully pulpit to enforce a certain kind of order and worldview on the narrative. Someone more concerned with Being Correct than anything else. The kind of person who's always some variation of a Special Forces Tech Ninja no matter the game and whose own games have seventeen pages of house rules and who always specifies that their character never sits with their back to a door. I don't tend to get along with those people. We're not a good match. And I've gotten really good at spotting them over the years so long as I can keep them talking for a few minutes.
RosstoFalstaff
 member, 190 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 18:48
Re: RTJ request RANT
I mean . . . am I aware in this scenario you're doing it deliberately? 100% you've confirmed it's deliberated targeted at me?

"I leave. Like an adult, goodbye and have fun we're not a good match, use my character or don't but I'd prefer you not fob it off on another player because that's just uncreative."

If you mean "that I think is targetted at me to be mean" I'd first ask "hey man can I get your reasoning on the ruling?" after the fact, moving forward. Unless my character is dead because a DM deliberately ignored the rules in which case I'm asking that immediately but still in PM.

I'd get a little worried that this is a scenario a GM encounters often enough to find it likely but I can definitely see why you're asking about it. Fiery rants and complaining about rulings are AWFUL to sit through
truemane
 member, 2145 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:05
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to RosstoFalstaff (msg # 56):

Well, the thing is, when you ask someone "What do you do when there's a disagreement?" everyone says "Talk about it calmly." But when you think 'conflict' you think of a situation where everyone is being reasonable. But I'm not worried about those. I want to know what someone does when they think they're being reasonable and the other person isn't. Right? When someone makes a call and it seems so dumb and so contrary that you can't even 'agree to disagree.'

Because even a little bit of bickering sours a game faster than anything.
evileeyore
 member, 351 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:15
Re: RTJ request RANT
truemane:
... because everyone who fights over a rule feels that way, regardless of circumstance...

That's some heavy nonsense.  However... to answer the ridiculous question (the presumption of upset and heavy bias, *sigh*):

If I build a character to take advantage of a set of rules, it's because I'm interested in having the Character either be "really good/the best" at what they do, or the worst (or so-so, like whateves).  If you're the sort to heavily modify, or toss out the rules, please advise in advance and put the changes in your house rules, so I can build the Character to fit your house rules.

If you're the sort of GM who cannot maintain consistency in the rules, thank you for prewarning me to avoid your games.

quote:
Another is, I often ask people if female PC's should get a strength penalty or not. And, if they say yes, what they would give female PC's to balance that penalty.

It's your campaign world, build races however you want.  But if you're aiming for sexual dimorphism, it should be reflected in the culture of the race (for verisimilitude if nothing else).



Those would literally be my answers to those sorts of gotcha questions.
truemane
 member, 2146 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Tue 30 Jun 2020
at 23:35
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 58):

I find it odd that's your takeaway from that post.

But anyway, as I said, I'm looking for how they're answered more than any specific answer. There's no way to tell for sure if a given player will be a good fit, of course. But the goal is to try to figure it out while requiring the least amount of work on the applicant's part that I can manage.

If you see that as a gotcha, I guess that's within your rights.
evileeyore
 member, 353 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 00:51
Re: RTJ request RANT
truemane:
If you see that as a gotcha, I guess that's within your rights.

You pose extreme questions looking for extreme answers.  That's a 'gotcha'.
truemane
 member, 2147 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 01:02
Re: RTJ request RANT
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 60):

Well, regardless, I can only do what works for me. It's all anyone can do.
donsr
 member, 1973 posts
Wed 1 Jul 2020
at 01:23
Re: RTJ request RANT
this is all real simple..really.. as a GM yu ask for what you want... as a player  you see if the game is what you want.

 if the GM is a jerk?  you elave

 if the player is a jerk..you cut them

 as a GM..you run the game to have fun.. and to have players have fun..if a player isn't having  fun..they should leave

 if the  Player is causing other  folks  to not have..you shoudl cut them?

 it all starts witht eh RTJ and the interview.. after that, its  all on the GM.