BZPRPG STARTER TOPIC
Please do not post in this topic!
Welcome to the BZPower Role-Playing Game!
Hello there, new player, and welcome to the official, the one-n-only, BZPower Role-Playing Game (BZPRPG, for short)! The BZPRPG is a collaborative narrative game based loosely in the universe of BIONICLE, where players tell stories, create characters, and interact through writing.
I’m Aaron (known around here as Nuju Metru), a former head of the game, and I consider it a great pleasure and honor to guide you, with this topic, into our community of players. I say community and I mean it; here at the BZPRPG, we strive as much to create a dynamic world of game-play as we do to maintain a friendly and cooperative atmosphere for our players. The point of the game (it’s a game, after all!) is to have fun, which a lot of us can sometimes forget when we’re deeply invested in it, but it’s something I want you to always bear in mind. I hope you have an enjoyable time here.
In the post below, you’ll find a treasure trove of useful information that’ll make your entrance into our game (and your continued participation in it) much easier. If you’re wholly new to the game, I’d recommend you read over this entire topic at least once; however, if you’re in a rush (or only looking for certain things), here’s a table of contents of this post.
Table of Contents
-In this topic
-Outside this topic
II. Glossary of BZPRPG Lingo
III. Frequently Asked Questions
-What is RPing?
-What’s a text-based RPG?
-Can anyone play the BZPRPG?
-Can I write anything I want?
-What are the rules about appropriateness?
-Who’s in charge of the BZPRPG?
-Where do I start?
-How many characters am I allowed to make?
-What comes after making a profile?
-How do I play?
-How do I improve my post quality?
-Does it matter how I write my posts?
-How do I get other players to interact with my character?
-Can my characters interact with other characters that I also control?
-How do I move my character from one location topic to another?
-How realistic should my posts/characters be?
-What do I do if someone is playing unfairly?
-What do I do if I’m accused of playing unfairly?
-Who are these veterans I keep hearing about?
-Can I create my own organization/shop?
-Can my character’s back-story involve foreign places?
-What elements of the BIONICLE canon exist in the BZPRPG?
-What’s the policy on alternate dimensions?
-Any last advice?
In this topic:
Outside this topic:
The BZPRPG Wiki (an incomplete source of info, but sometimes useful)
II. Glossary of BZPRPG Lingo
Like any other game, the BZPRPG has a few terms that you need to know to be able to understand what’s going on. The collection of words and abbreviations below will pop up a lot, so it’s good to know what they mean. When a term from this list is referenced in another term’s definition, it’s italicized, so you know you’ll be able to find it defined here too.
- BZPRPG: abbreviation for “BZPower Role-Playing Game,” the game we’re playing; a text-based role-playing game founded loosely in the BIONICLE universe. The current iteration has been going on since 2011.
- Bunnying: controlling another player’s character. If this happens without that player’s explicitly stated permission, it’s not allowed.
- CD: abbreviation for “character development;” gradual change over time in a character that occurs based on that character’s experiences and interactions.
- GD: short for “general discussion,” a commonly used misnomer for the News and Discussion Topic.
- God-Modding/GMing: making your character unfairly powerful. This is against the rules. Metagaming and unlicensed bunnying are forms of GMing. Not to be confused with just plain GM (see below).
- GM: Short for "Game Master," the title given to the head staff member of the BZPRPG.
- IC: abbreviation for “in-character;” also a required label for content posted in location topics that moves the story forward.
- Interaction: when different characters talk, fight, or otherwise intermingle with each other. Interaction is the bread and butter of the game; while IC posts can be wholly self-contained, like short stories, most are part of an interaction.
- Location Topic: a BZPower forum topic where characters interact. Each location topic represents a different territory or area of the BZPRPG world; everything/anything occurring IC in a given region is to be found in its location topic.
- Metagaming: using information gathered OOC as a player to influence the IC action of characters; this is against the rules.
- N&D: abbreviation for the News and Discussion Topic.
- NPC: abbreviation for “non-player character,” any character not operated by a specific player (shopkeepers, armies, guards, etc.). PCs are not allowed to have NPC entourages/armies.
- OOC: abbreviation for “out-of-character;” also a required label for content posted in location topics that doesn’t move the story forward.
- OP: abbreviation for overpowered.
- PC: abbreviation for “player character,” any character with a profile that’s operated by a player.
- Profile: the blueprint/outline of a character detailing that character’s appearance, powers, weaknesses, and more. All PCs are required to have profiles. Profiles are found and posted in the Profiles Topic.
- RPing: abbreviation for “role playing.” Someone who RPs (a player) is known as an RPer.
- Staff Plot: the “main thread” of the complex BZPRPG story, run and directed by BZPRPG staff members. You can find an updated summary of the Staff Plot in the BZPRPG Plot Overview.
- Strike: a serious warning given by BZPRPG staff. Like in baseball, you get three; on the third, you will be banned from the game. These are only given for serious rule violations.
- Timeskip: when a player or players decide to “skip” forward in the timeline of the story rather than explicitly playing through everything that would have happened; frequently used by players when traveling from one location topic to another.
- Veteran: a player with experience and skill.
III. Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ is designed to give you general information, tackle a few of the most common questions new players have when they start in our game, and to circumnavigate a few bloopers I’ve noticed many new players have made. If you have a question that isn’t addressed here, please feel free to send me a personal message (PM) about anything. I’m here to field your inquiries, and am more than happy to help. No question is too small or “stupid,” so don’t hesitate to ask it!
Q: I know you defined it above, but what exactly is “RPing?”
A: RPing is an abbreviation for Role Playing. Role Playing is the process of adapting the persona of a fictional character, and is really what the BZPRPG is all about. In the BZPRPG case, RPing refers to writing about the escapades of your invented BIONICLE characters. You RP the story of these characters through your In-Character (IC) posts.
Q: So then what’s a text-based RPG?
A: The difference between a text-based RPG (what we have at the BZPRPG) and the kind of RPG found in video games is that the text-based RPG relies on (you guessed it) text. Words are your controls, sentences your actions. Everything that your character does, says, thinks, and feels is described through your writing. It’s like writing a little bit of a narrative every time you post. You are playing the part of your character by writing about them. Well, we know so far that there is RPing, but where’s the G, the game? The BZPRPG is a role-playing game because it involves interaction with other people’s characters. What your character does is reliant upon what others’ characters do – it’s like a big, group story, where each person contributes a post’s-worth of writing. You interact with people through posting back and forth. Pretty nifty, eh?
Q: I’ve never posted on BZPower before… Can anyone play the BZPRPG?
A: Indeed they can! The BZPRPG is an open game – you can join without approval. Anybody and everybody are allowed to contribute and play. Your characters and your ideas are welcomed. All you need are a free BZPower Membership, a keyboard, and some writing drive to participate in our delightful sandbox story.
Q: A sandbox, ooh, that sounds liberating. Can I write anything I want?
A: Not exactly, no. While there is a huge amount of freedom in the BZPRPG, there are certain limits to the kinds of things you can and can’t do IC. Otherwise, people could have “god-like” powers, enabling them to play unfairly; we refer to this as “god-modding”, or “GMing”, and when someone does it, it takes away from the fun of other players. There are rules to prevent foul play and make sure everyone has a good time – read these rules here.
Q: So there are rules about what I can/can’t write with respects to interacting with the world and with other characters, but what about rules about appropriateness?
A: Though we’re generally more lenient in the BZPRPG when it comes to PG-13 rated content than BZPower at large, there are still limits as to what’s appropriate and inappropriate around here. When you’re writing, please use common sense and remember that many of our game’s visitors and players are minors. If your post contains inappropriate content or circumvents the word filter (or even uses an unfiltered word that we consider to be too provocative), we on the staff will ask you to edit the offending section out, or just do it ourselves. If you’re concerned that your post may be inappropriate, feel free to run it by a BZPRPG staffer before you publish it.
Q: “BZPRPG staffer?” Who’s in charge of the BZPRPG?
A: The BZPRPG is controlled and overseen by its “hosts,” people like me. We on the staff serve a number of functions, including running the official plot lines, answering questions, and settling disputes. We’re also the judiciaries of the RPG, and are in charge of dealing consequences – both positive and negative – to those who have earned them. The staff’s word is final, and it’s a smart idea not to get on our bad side. This is the current BZPRPG staff team (the usernames sometimes change, but these are the names by which they’re colloquially known):
- Tyler: Current Game Master, sass-master extraordinaire, fan favorite… Tyler is a lot of things, but my secret lover is definitely not one of them. Where’d you get that idea?
- Ghosthands: a jolly good chap from across the pond, and a boon of positivity; just don't get him started on matters of science.
- Krayzikk: A veteran of a thousand RPG games both in and out of this forum, this guy doesn't take no carp from nobuoy.
- Nuju Metru (Me): Formerly: BZPRPG Game Master, big bad boss, merciless slayer of characters, Pinkie of Smite, yadda yadda… I’m actually nicer than I look.
- Emzee: the most senior active member of the BZPRPG staff, known for maintaining BZPRPG news and reference posts and for his magnificent, soft-spoken wisdom.
- Friar Tuck: the former head of the BZPRPG, more myth than man, Tuck is a lot like the Loch Ness Monster: you’ll probably never see him, but when he's here, titanic things happen. He's probably most known these days for his fantastic Guide to Common Sense.
- GSR: though not actually a member of the BZPRPG staff, Nate is the Forum Leader of the BIONICLE RPG forum, and also one of our players and a swell guy.
Q: Okay, where do I start?
A: Well, you’re here in the Starter Topic, and that’s a great first step! When you want to join the BZPRPG, the first thing to do is create one or more characters. Once you’ve made them up, you organize the data about the character (such as name, species, personality, appearance, powers, and the like) into a written profile, which must be posted in the Profiles Topic. In most cases, after you have created a character and posted their profile, they are viable for you to play as, and you’re free to explore any of the game topics without needing staff approval. There are some cases where characters do need a staff go-ahead before you can play; those cases are outlined in more depth in the Profiles Topic.
Q: Making characters sounds like a good time. How many characters am I allowed to make?
A: You can create as many characters as you’d like, as long as they all adhere to the guidelines in the Profiles Topic.
Q: I posted my character’s profile, sweet. What comes after making a profile?
A: Once you have posted a character’s profile, the way to jump into the game is to post as her/him in a location topic. Your first post as a character can be as long or short, as simple or complex, as you’d like.
Q: I don’t quite get what you mean. How do I play?
A: As I’ve said, game-play in the BZPRPG all happens through text and writing; a back-and-forth of IC posts describing the actions and interactions of your characters, and occasionally out-of-character (OOC) asides. As an example, here’s a very simple “intro post” for a new character, involving both IC and OOC content.
IC: Toa Joe woke up on the beach of Ga-Wahi. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten there. He stood up and started to walk along the shore.
OOC: BZPRPG, here I come!
That’s a very simple demonstration of what a post in the BZPRPG looks like. But what does the game look like when different players’ characters interact with each other? Here’s a sample post interaction between two characters we all know, if you still don’t quite get it…
IC: Toa Inika Jaller jumped off the ledge, using his Kanohi Calix to flip in the air above Zaktan’s swinging strike. He could hear the sound of the Piraka’s blade whistling by him as he passed it. This mask really is incredible, Jaller thought to himself. Upon landing on the ground again, the Toa of Fire wheeled around and fired off two quick Zamor Spheres at his enemy.
IC: Zaktan had snarled in annoyance when his sword had missed Jaller, failing to slice the Toa as he had wished. But Zaktan was not leader of the Piraka for nothing. He was cunning; his mind always thought up new plans when they were needed.When the Zamors reached him, Zaktan dissolved into the protodites that in fact made up his body, and let the green spheres pass straight through his body. He reformed once the projectiles were past, and then called over to Jaller. “Toa, this fight is pointless. I am clearly the stronger of us two – you are a fly to my spider. Give up now, and perhaps you will be merely enslaved, rather than killed.”
OOC: Epic words if I do say so myself.
OOC: You wish!
IC: Jaller shook his head determinedly at Zaktan. “No!” He shouted in response, “I will never give in to you, Piraka. I will fight you here until you surrender!” Jaller ran forward across the black lava, leaping over rocks in his path as he headed for Zaktan, laser sword primed. The Toa thrust his weapon straight at Zaktan’s face-
IC: –only to have it blocked by Zaktan’s tri-blades. The Piraka had caught Jaller’s sword between two of his weapon’s appendages and, seeing an opportunity, suddenly twisted his weapon, hoping to make Jaller lose grip on his sword.
IC: It didn’t work. Rather than let the sword fly from his stiff hand, Jaller loosened his grip, letting the sword swivel as Zaktan wanted it to – then with Calix-driven speed, he drew his weapon from its vice and slashed at Zaktan’s leg.
IC: Zaktan roared as the Toa’s blade struck him, leaving a gouge in his armor. He slashed back in response…
I could go on like this forever, but I think you get the idea of how game-play works. Note how both Zaktan’s and Jaller’s “players” left each other opportunities to parry the other’s attacks, rather than auto-hitting, or scoring blows without letting the other player respond. Also that, when dealt a blow which wouldn’t be avoidable, Zaktan’s player was reasonable, and let Zaktan be injured – this is the right thing to do as a player. When the players had things to say which their characters weren’t saying – things that didn’t move the story forward in a narrative sense – they used the required “OOC” tag.
Q: Geez, those example posts were lame and boring. How can I write better than you just did? How do I improve my post quality?
A: The answer is simple: practice makes perfect. The more you play, the more you grow as a writer, and the more you write, the better your posts will be. Personally, I’d recommend fleshing out even small posts by writing about your character’s thoughts and feelings, and not just her/his actions and dialogue… this’ll develop your understanding of the character’s personality and make her/him more interesting for both you and other players. Read the posts of veteran players for some good examples of this in action, and try to emulate the levels of vocabulary and character development they have in their posts.
Q: Does it matter how I write my posts? Is there any required format to posting?
A: Nope. You can write in first person, third person, or however you like – playing around with different narrative methods will help you find the one you feel the most comfortable with (most players opt to use third person). As long as what your character is doing to interact with other characters is clear, the style in which you write is unrestricted. The only required part of any post in a location topic is the use of “IC:” and “OOC:” tags where appropriate.
Q: Great, I get how to play. But how do I get other players to interact with my character?
A: The first thing you have to do with a new character is post IC as her/him. Once that’s happened, and your character officially “exists” in the world of the game, she/he can be interacted with. Good ways to advertise your character’s availability for interaction are to say “OOC: Open for interaction” at the end of your IC post, or to post something like “______ (your character) is open for interaction in/at ______ (their location)” in the News and Discussion Topic.
Q: Interaction with other players is a bit dry at the moment; can my characters interact with other characters that I also control?
A: Yeah, that’s allowed, but it’s no fun to play alone. Branch out!
Q: Branch out, okay, I’ll try going somewhere else. How do I move my character from one location topic to another?
A: Finish your IC post with something like “OOC: ______ (your character) to ______ (the desired location topic)” and then you can make your next post as that character in the desired location topic.
Q: This is a fantasy game, right? So how realistic should my posts/characters be? And should it be earth realism or BIONICLE realism?
A: The BZPRPG concerns itself with a world full of magic as well as science; in discussions of realism, a degree of stuff can and should be dismissed with a shrug of “eh, magic.” Other times, though, bearing in mind the laws of physics is important. In this game, realism is generally applied as an equalizer. After all, if everyone plays on the same plane of “realism” (quotation marks employed because fire-slinging beings, laser vision, and powered masks scientifically don’t make sense) then there’s a leveler playing field in combat and other interactions. Take a look at Friar Tuck's Guide to Common Sense to get a feel for when the staff considers it important to defer to earth realism.
Insofar as the realism of your character goes, we try not to think too hard about BIONICLE species anatomy (percentage organic vs. robotic?), the way elemental powers function (how does a Toa of Stone make rocks appear from nothing?) and other paradoxes regarding the ways Toa, Skakdi, etc. tick given our scientific understanding of the world. For the most part, species in the BZPRPG exist the same way as they do in the BIONICLE canon; however, the BZPRPG recognizes a few differences, like reproduction and the ingestion of food, things that make them more like humans. General rule of thumb for the sake of equality is to think of characters’ physical limits and processes as being like those of humans, because we as players are all familiar with how the human body works.
Q: That player just did something that wasn’t fair. What do I do if I see someone playing unfairly?
A: If you feel someone is god-modding or being unrealistic, send him or her a PM and discuss your concerns in a polite manner. If they do not cooperate and you still feel that person was playing unfairly, PM one of the BZPRPG staff and we will get involved. Please do not call the god-modder out in the News and Discussion topic; that only creates useless drama and ill feeling among the player base.
Q: I’m a bit embarrassed to ask, but what do I do if I'm accused of playing unfairly?
A: In my experience, accusations of unfair play happen most often during player-on-player IC combat, when blood can get high. You might be affronted or angry that someone has accused you of playing unfairly. If this is the case, please do your best to keep a level head as you proceed. Reread your “offending” post and all the posts that pertain to the situation you're in. Now consider from as objective a standpoint as you can whether your post is realistic, doesn’t god-mod, and is fair. Be considerate of the concerns of others related to your work; most of the time, it really won’t set your character back too far to retract or edit whatever content you posted that someone else considered unfair. If you still think your post was legitimate (or if you're not sure), send it to a staffer to be safe. We will look over the situation and let you know.
Q: You’ve referenced “veterans” a few times. Who are these veterans I keep hearing about?
A: Veterans are members who have been involved in the BZPRPG for a long period of time. These are the people with experience under their belts; veterans are the ones who generally know what they’re doing. They are learned in playing the BZPRPG, and so will often share their wisdom with newer players. While the word of veterans has no official weight, their advice is by and large to be taken, seeing as they have been playing text-based RPGs a long time. Veterans, though sometimes whiney, aloof, and change-adverse, are on the whole players who care about the game. Give them the respect they’ve earned.
Q: Can I create my own organization/shop? Are there official channels I have to go through to do this? Do I get any special benefits?
A: You are more than welcome to form groups and set up shops IC, and you don’t need staff permission to do so, but you have to do all the work yourself. You don't get any official location, NPCs or other benefits given to you. You can only work with what your character – or characters, if you’re collaborating with other players – is allowed to access and control under normal circumstances. If you want your meeting location to be a clubhouse, abandoned warehouse, or a personal underground lab, that’s okay; however, you have to “build” or “find” the location IC, which isn’t supposed to be easy.
Q: I want my character to originally come from Bara Magna, Karda Nui, or somewhere else exotic. Can my character’s back-story involve foreign places?
A: Sorry to harsh your buzz, but that’s not okay. Here’s the thing about the BZPRPG universe: it isn’t the BIONICLE universe, not exactly. Although ours is a game founded in many parts of the BIONICLE canon, there are parts of the canon that we deliberately discard or ignore, notably among those almost every known location, several known species, and a truckload of universe history. For example: the BZPRPG world isn’t actually a giant robot body; there’s only one Makuta in our universe, and he’s a primeval force of darkness; there aren’t Dark Hunters; what’s a Bohrok?; etc. Disregarding these discrepancies by, say, stating in your character’s profile that she/he is originally from Metru Nui and was once a Dark Hunter would therefore be contrary to the fabric of the BZPRPG world.
Q: So let me get this straight: I’m not allowed to refer IC or in my character’s profile to… well, to what exactly? What elements of the BIONICLE canon exist in the BZPRPG?
A: Unless something from the BIONICLE canon is explicitly acknowledged by a staff source to exist in the BZPRPG, it cannot be assumed to exist in the BZPRPG universe. To get a better feel of the BZPRPG world and how it’s diverged from the BIONICLE timeline, take a look at the Plot Overview that can be found in the following post, in the various location topics, and in the allowed lists in the Profiles Topic. If something from the BIONICLE canon isn’t mentioned in any of those places, odds are good it’s not part of our game universe. If you’ve still got questions as to whether a particular part of the BIONICLE canon exists in the BZPRPG, just ask a staff member for clarification.
Q: What’s the policy on alternate dimensions? I want to play as a Toa that’s been transported to Mata Nui from an alternate dimension by a Kanohi Olmak—
A: Whoa there, tiger. Here in the BZPRPG, we like to avoid the headaches that come with rends in space and time; as a general rule, playing around with alternate dimensions isn’t allowed. Just keep your character’s back-story simple; it’ll be easier for everyone. Remember, it’s more important what your character actually does IC than what you get to say she/he did in the past!
Q: Gee whiz Aaron, this has been ever so helpful! Any last advice?
A: Of course! My biggest piece of advice is this: you as a player are separate from your characters, and therefore the wellbeing of your characters isn't necessarily the same as your wellbeing as a player. I find that there's actually an inverse relationship, there; I know that some of what I feel has been my best work in this game has stemmed from my characters' miseries. The BZPRPG isn't a game about "winning;" it's a game about story, and the best stories (the only stories people actually find compelling) involve adversity. A character in a bad spot is usually more fun to write than a character that's still doing swimmingly, and you as a player lose nothing from the character's setbacks. Your character "losing" or "winning" against another player's character isn't you losing/winning to that player. It's illogical and unbecoming for you to take the wins/losses of your character personally.
Well, I hope that all this has been useful to you. Please don’t post in this topic; if you’ve got a question or comment, you can either PM a staff member, or post in the News and Discussion Topic. Once again, welcome to the BZPRPG. You’re gonna have a fantastic time.
Edited by Nuju Metru, Aug 09 2015 - 05:36 PM.