Freeform is a style of RP for players who prefer a less rigid form of play. There are no stats, no skills, and generally no rules. Instead, freeform games rely on the player’s creative writing skills and commitment to a good story in order to advance the game’s plot (think of it as “collaborative fiction”). GM involvement is light, allowing the players to decide the outcome. While the game types are simple, this guide is intended to give you a basic idea of how to run and participate in freeform games on this site.
The code of conduct already in place for general site use, and PnP games applies to Freeform as well, but it is important to take note of the following:
While the game worlds are open and sandbox style for players to have creative free-reign, we do not allow “God Moding”. While the games are mostly operated in a rule-free environment, this means you cannot unrealistically shield your characters from the consequences of your actions or the actions of other players and you cannot perform actions that are obviously well beyond your character's ability. If you are found to be god moding consistently despite warnings and explanations, you will be removed from the game.
You may not kill or maim another player without both parties agreeing. This rule will be discussed later when we talk about post flow and combat situations. This is also up to the GM's discretion and probably the only real area where the aforementioned “light involvement” is necessary.
If you are involved in a Freeform game and the story depends on your regular activity, it's a good idea to stay on top of your posts. We understand real life gets in the way sometimes. If you think you will be absent for a while, or are just losing interest in the game, let us know and we can try to work something out. However, If you are absent from posting for a period of 2 weeks (without explanation) your character is then put up for grabs for anyone willing to NPC it so they can continue to advance the story. The character will be an NPC for a period of 3 months, and then if it is not reclaimed by the original player, it is eligible to be killed or written out of the story by any player at the GM's discretion.
Types of Freeform Games
Free Form (FF) – Regular freeform games are 99% player driven. With little to no involvement from a GM. “Set it and forget it”
Story Form (SF) – Story Form games still exhibit freeform style play and interaction, but the GM usually crafts a storyline driving the players toward a specific path, unfolding major events and handling NPC's.
In your game concept you will need to denote the abbreviation (FF, SF) in the subject header following the title as to the type of Freeform game you are producing. This is a quick way to tell staff and players what to expect. For example:
Runners of Dawn (SF)
The general flow of a Freeform game usually is as follows:
The GM introduces the backstory, environment, any game-specific rules.
Approved characters are then introduced into the game. GM's will give them a starting point in the world and then turn control over to the player.
Players begin posting and driving the story. Posts are usually color coded so we can tell the players apart better, and the beginning of the posts usually contain a basic header containing the following information:
Status (Infected? Wounded? etc)
And then the content of the post would follow. An example is as follows:
3rd Floor, Brunswick County Hospital
Jan 23rd, 7:40pm
James kicks the door down to the storage room, revealing a much needed stash of meds. “The room smells sterile...”, he thought. He excitedly begins packing them into his shoulder bag. His heightened emotional state has unfortunately dulled his senses – making him oblivious to the living corpse, fueled by morbid hunger, and dragging itself nearer from a dark corner of the room...
Note: While it's not a requirement. We encourage our players to be as creative and detailed as possible when posting. It gives the next player something to work with when making their followups, and overall creates a better story.
Posting then usually follows a round-robin style—allowing everyone to have a chance to add to the story before the next GM post.
The GM may choose to intervene as required. If the game begins to stagnate, he or she may choose to push the story in a new direction by writing in a creative bump to get people going again.
Combat and actions in general between the player and the environment is ultimately handled by the players themselves. However, should a situation arise where the players decide to enter PVP combat, the outcome can be decided in a number of ways. The rule above states no player may be maimed or killed unless both parties agree. So there will need to be some OOC discussion in chat or via PM's. When in combat, you must only state your intention or action towards the other player, the other player is the one who comes up with the results of your attack. A typical freeform combat situation will play out as follows:
Player A writes a post outlining his intentions or actions towards player B.
“Jack, enraged by [PlayerB]'s insults, Lunges forth -- swinging his axe down hard towards his skull.”
Player B follows up with a post outlining the results of the actions and continues the story.
“Randy backpedals quickly, just barely avoiding having his head hewn in two. [PlayerA] slams his axe into the ground, causing it to be stuck in the soft earth. Randy takes advantage of those precious seconds, and flees into the safe house.”
GM's may also change the rules of combat to fit the scenario of their games, or to something more to their liking. For instance, a GM may decide to have a pass/fail roll on a specific action intended by a player against another. Here's a scenario where this might happen....
Player A decides he wants to kill player B by shooting him with his pistol.
Player A will then need to petition the GM and Player B to ensure this is OK with both players. Then Player A will write a post illustrating only his intentions of shooting the player, for example:
“I raise my pistol, aiming steadily at [Player B]'s head, and pull the trigger.”
A GM will then make a pass/fail roll to see whether the shot hit or missed and announce the result. Player B will then write out a post illustrating the results of the shot based on the roll outcome.
Note: This is not how every PVP combat situation is required to be handled in Freeform. This is only a creative suggestion, should you wish to use it in your game. Even if you choose to modify the rules of combat, the basic rules of aggressive player interaction still exist.
Creation/Management of Freeform Games
Creation of freeform games is under the same restriction as any PnP game. Once you've been actively participating on the site for a set period of time, you may be granted permission to run your own freeform game.
If you no longer wish to GM a game you previously created, but still have active players you will need to notify Thales in order GM your game while we find suitable replacement from the player pool. We may also close the game down if there is no activity or not enough staff on hand to manage it. We typically frown on GM abandonment, so don't get into the habit of creating and abandoning games regularly. You may lose your ability to create games at all.
If creating worlds is your thing, but not GM'ing, there is a place on the forums where you can share your game ideas for others to pick up and run with. So you can still particpate in creative writing without the responsibility maintaining it.
If there are any questions or comments, including game disputes, please send a PM to Thales.