What Makes A Good PRP?

  • In the title! I've only just recently started in MU*ing (for real, as opposed to my original false start) and found myself wanting to run things in a sort of GM status when I'm not otherwise busy! My biggest concern though, not having been in MU long, is how what I run might go or how staff might feel about it. So I figure I'd ask some of the experienced folks here what they think!

    What elements do you think makes for a good PRP? What should be avoided? How much is too much or too little?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Pitcrew

    The best PRP is the one that exists, and is happening because someone has the energy and enthusiasm to run it. All activity is good activity. Even if there are elements that spur conflict, that sparks RP.

    That being said, it's important to be very clear about what kind of content your PRP will include up front. You'll find that a broad spectrum of catalysts exists, where anyone who finds themselves traumatized to any extent by content they weren't expecting can and will air legitimate grievance.

    You can't always avoid them all; you have no way of knowing if RPing about marshmallows (randomly) might cause me psychological trauma because of my past experiences with marshmallows. It would be unreasonable for me to expect you to realize puffed sugar is my trigger, in this weird example, but if my thing is extreme violence, or animals or children being harmed -- I would have really expected some advance warning of that, as those are pretty common catalysts for many people.

    If your PRP exists and you're happy to run it and put energy into it, it's a good one. Just be sure to carefully analyze both your plan and potential ways the PCs might depart from your plan, and do your best to identify and disclose extreme content that some participants might not find healthy for them to engage.

  • Tutorialist

    @gryphter said in What Makes A Good PRP?:

    The best PRP is the one that exists, and is happening because someone has the energy and enthusiasm to run it. All activity is good activity.


  • Suggestions (and more bullet points, because I write a lot of technical documentation and it's my thing).

    • No Railroading: Railroading is a term for when the person running the game/RPG has written the beginning, middle, and the end already and is just walking the players towards a pre-determined series of events that the player cannot influence. DO NOT. My advice instead is to write a beginning, prepare a few key points that will happen, and keep in mind 2-4 ways it might end, but ultimately let the players determine the ending.

    Pre-writing sets and/or some quick OOC information in setup is great.

    • Them, not you: I'm opinionated on this, but a good PrP is designed for the players and not for your character. If your own character is in the Pro, try to keep them a secondary or tertiary element, and don't make it something slyly designed to be all about them unless it's absolutely necessary.

    Good Example: If the PrP is because your character is in jail and the PrP is a jailbreak, then that's great.

    Bad Example: You want XP and justification for a new item. So your PrP is really about you getting that xp and an item, and everyone else signed on for RP but really you're just duping them into helping your PC get a reward that the other players won't also get. :(

    • This movie is rated R for... Do this. Be up-front about potential trigger warning, content, and just how much risk or combat will in it. This allows people who arent combat characters or have irrelevant skills choose if the scene is for them and also provides some up-front support for people who want to avoid certain elements.

    Some people see those MPAA notices and say: "I'm not into intense violence, language, and nudity" whereas others say "Oh hellsyes..."

    • MOVE IT ALONG: Be prepared for players being super picky and careful. I'm not saying to RAILROAD it, but have a real-life time limit in mind. You may find players checking under every box or behind every single door, but at X number of minutes per pose and the reality that people eventually have to sleep, try to find ways to crack a whip at their asses so that they're driving the scene forward. Maybe a clock is ticking in the scene? Maybe the cops are on their way? Maybe an alarm gets set?

    One method I've seen used by the creator of Happiest Apocalypse on Earth (great guy, btw) is he draws a clock on a piece of paper. He makes notes about events that will happen at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, etc and mentally keeps tally of how long things are taking, then unleashes these events that will keep it moving along.

    • More than one solution This is kind of like the railroad one, but not entirely. If your PrP involves a puzzle element, be open to multiple ways of solving it. Let the players surprise you. Make up puzzles with more than one solution, but please do not implement puzzles where there is only one solution and nothing happens in the PrP unless the players choose/guess the only right answer. Let them make perception-type rolls (search, alertness, etc) and give them clues, but never assume they'll figure it out without your help.

    • Sheets and Divas Keep an eye out for people roleplaying being learned in skills their sheets don't have, trying to do EVERYTHING in one pose and leaving others players with nothing to do, and using statements like "Well I (as in the player) can Google BOMB MAKING on the internet so I should be able to do it without a roll." Nope. Make 'em roll and...

    ...last one...

    • ...LET THEM FAIL Here's my opinionated one. Let people fail rolls. Dont guarantee them a win. Keep it exciting for them and you by keeping it challenging. Maybe the bad guy gets away? Maybe the heroes get half a win and don't ace the scenario? By all means don't kill all their characters or anything like that, but the bad guy getting away if the team failed is great incentive for signing up for part 2 because your villain was memorable and the PrP was fun.

  • Admin

    It's like asking "what makes a good dinner".

    The timing differs. The company matters. The environment is important. The cook is pretty critical. The mood, too.

    It also matters a very great deal how hungry you are in the first place.

  • Check with staff for scope issues. Meaning are you starting off with something that would be noticed by everyone, or say devastate downtown, bring someone back from the dead, expose the aliens among us etc? Are you planning on tons of collateral damage? Are you introducing innovations in technology (and here I mean anything that players can use if they know how, so spells, super powers whatever) or setting that would be world changing?

    Otherwise make it doable, engaging, unbiased, fun for you and participants, and fit it to the players you get,

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