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Ending A Roleplay Or The Neverending Story

Story

just waiting to be told
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
As someone who has been an avid roleplayer for many years, I've seen many different styles of roleplaying. I've grown up in chatroom style roleplay and migrated over to forum roleplay throughout the years, so my perception and how to roleplay has changed with the medium. So here is the food for thought...

How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

In a forum setting in particular, at least in my personal experience, there's a lot of starting one on one roleplays, but rarely - if ever - do they ever reach completion. It's like a never ending story that starts out strong and usually loses momentum, eventually to be dropped by one or more partners.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?

Chat rooms, again in my own personal experience, leave room for 'scenes' to play out without having a continuous story. On a forum medium, there tends to be a continuous story that only fades in and out of various scenes depending on the participants.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?

I find both to be enjoyable myself, but I feel that with time crunches, having a multitude of various scenes with different characters is the most enjoyable. Call it a group effort, but the longest standing roleplays that I've enjoyed have started off in a group setting, then characters break off and partner up for their own personal scenes with one another, within the main story.

Character versus plot?

I've noticed that in a forum setting, unless it's a non-sandbox and themed forum, that it's more plot driven and characters are made on the fly versus having pre-made characters that you play throughout a main plot.

Let's hear your thoughts on these matters! A curious mind wants to know!
 

Saber Arturia

Motorcycle themes and bunnygirl dreams
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Location
US
I have 'finished' short term RP's. IE: We went through a beginning, middle, and an end/conclusion, but I would say for longer term roleplays, I don't usually plan out an ending. I mean, if we ever reached a point where it makes sense for a story to finish, I would. But I don't actively plan such out. Most RP's will likely not survive that length regardless, but for the long haul partners I have had, we've never really discussed the end of an RP. In regards to question #3, I find RP to always be enjoyable, and I feel both having definitive scenes, and just winging it to be equally fun for their own reasons. Having things planned and seeing them come to fruition is great, but I also really like it when a partner throws a curveball out and I have to adjust.

Group roleplay is a lot trickier, and I feel those games are much more at the whim of an individual player holding up the game or causing it to end, I would find it rather hard to get too vested in a group RP for that reason alone.

Character vs plot: I usually make characters for a story, rather than vice versa. There are very few times where I want to play a specific character.
 

The Goodman

Filled with a brilliant madness
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Location
Elliquiy
I've finished about 2 long-term stories. Finishing an rp isn't really something I worry about. Reading and writing is something I do to escape mundane life and entertain myself. I can read a book alone; I find writing alone too difficult. So, I write with other people. I always plan for epic adventure and lengthy plotlines but I'm not concerned or fixated on the goal of finishing or writing "the end".

There is a lot that I can't control in rping, particularly in regards to the other person. It is very common for folks to grow busy, to leave, or grow disinterested. Sometimes, it is inevitable. So, it seems more efficient for me to focus on the aspects of rping that I take the most pleasure in. Things like character creation, plotting, reacting to my partner's posts, writing a post that will make my partner happy. I prefer to keep the boundaries firm: this is not a serious endeavor. It is a hobby, an enjoyable time waster, and creative outlet.

I do not enjoy group games because of their unreliable nature. One on one's need a lot of communication and cooperation to work. Multiply it for every partner you add to the rp. Unless there is a GM but you mostly only find those for system games and I abhor mixing stats with my story writing. I also prefer to just focus on one partner and one story at a time.

I make new characters for each story, usually fleshing them out based on current cravings, what my partner creates, and flesh them out as the story plays out.
 

skyfetcher

Innocent™
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Location
A high horse. Tall, sharp horse.
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?
Super rarely. Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's the other party. Sometimes it does actually finish, and that's cool. As much as there's a lot of merit to the journey, sometimes it's just nice to conclude so much as a checkpoint to look back and say 'this happened'. I think there's a real difference between being able to look back at segments and say 'this was a scene we finished' vs something that draws out with no dividers until it fades into nothing. This would be why I prefer taking things scene by scene with established segments more often. Not plotted out mind you, just more organized.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?
They don't. Well, sometimes they do. But for similar reasons why 1x1s go down (minus a lot of the 'chemistry' that a 1x1 can form up thanks to a lot more people), they go down more often. I think it amounts to a lack of vision with the leader. If it's free for all, it's doomed. If there's a solid GM and well curated player chemistry, it could get very far. But most people aren't the kind of GM that's needed. I'm not.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?
Episodic. Scenes do give me a feeling of accomplishment; I'd like to say I did something when looking back at a roleplay as compared to something that trails out without checkpoints. But what I'm game for the most is something that's taken scene by scene, with healthy OOC along the way and establishing we are both clear as to where we're going for the next scene. Over time this could build up into something epic, or it could unveil issues with the idea that we can strike out quickly.

Character versus plot?
I get my care from the characters. But a proper plot allows them to flourish in the first place. They go hand in hand, and while I come off strongly biased for character (it's the mindset, actions, etc that keep me going), I find plot a critical glue to let them bloom.
 

Versus

Moon
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Far more often than not, the activity dissolves before the story reaches a conclusion.

But part of that, I think, is caused by roleplays that are never really designed to have an end. It seems there's often an expectation that it'll continue until someone loses interest, and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy at that point.

Lately I've started to be a bit more intentional, deciding in advance whether I'm embarking on something that will continue indefinitely until one party loses interest, or whether I'm expecting an ending and sketching out roughly how it will be reached.
 
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obieblu

Star
Joined
Aug 27, 2019
Location
Shanghai, China
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

One started on a forum like this? Never.
In group chats in the old days? Many, and it was a standard expectation to get to finish a story.

I got back into online RP about a year and a half ago. If an RP lasts a month, I'm pleasantly surprised. Typically, my stories with good long-term partners end when they tell me they need to take a break and never resume. At least I'm not left hanging.

The closest to an ending I've had was a story that was very episodic in nature, and after the first 'episode', my partner really started pressuring me for incest and didn't start a new episode when I declined. Closing that scene was the only semblance of an ending I've gotten on forums.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?

I started in two forum groups elsewhere at Christmas. Both started sputtering about 2 moths ago, and are unofficially dead, now. I thought that was a pretty amazing run. On here, it seems to go days or weeks.

Group chats and guilds are far superior to forum groups. I don't remember people just disappearing. When people did leave, it didn't kill the group like I see on forums when a single person exits. I think the commitment grows deeper with all the OOC interactions, and there's already a RP system/world that we all like and have in common to start. In 7 years of chat RP, I can't remember any disappearances. They probably were, but they were so inactive/unimportant, I don't remember. At the worst, even if it was abrupt, they'd let the organizer know. Every group game I was in back then went on for years, and then a couple only ended once the White Wolf chats were taken down.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?

Long-term or bust. I have no interest in doing intentionally short RPs. However, if I have to think about it, I think I like a series of episodes instead of a constantly flowing stream of drama. Like dungeons and resolutions, at the least. Dealing with a complicated relationship problem and having resolution at the best.

Character versus plot?

I recently wrote about this in another thread. There needs to be something about a character I want to play, but I get the plot developed, first. Then, I finish planning the character into the plot. I don't know the details of my partner's character going in, so my interest is initially the plot.

I wasn't into reusing characters until the ghosting epidemic caused so many children of my imagination to be aborted or terminated early. I reformat a character into a new plot if there's something I didn't get to play out with that character that I made it for. In those cases, the character precedes the plot, but they somehow fit into a plot I want logically, anyways.

It seems there's often an expectation that it'll continue until someone loses interest, and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy at that point.
Unfortunately, I think this is spot on and part of forum culture. That self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone's used to it, so it is just the thing that always happens.
 

RedRose

Supernova
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
I need both characters (esp the mains) to be good, and a good plot. I can and have written for YEARS but always with an arc.
 

baby4_clues

Planetoid
Joined
Aug 7, 2014
It completely depends on the players and their preferences, it can be finished in a quick way or can go depending the juice and creative spark within the writers.
 

WaveVelour

Star
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

Sadly, I could finish only three RPs by now. But it’s more about the journey anyway. Stories, or players, usually signal a scene’s end. Shorter replies, low post frequency etc. A promising story abruptly ending when it’s still fun can be disappointing for both parties.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?

I imagine group RPs last longer than others, given how they involve more players. I only joined in one group RP here. I’d say, it depends on the person playing it. In my case, I couldn’t successfully interact with other characters. And eventually quit in a few months, but the story continued.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?

I can’t say much about this one. For me, an RP consists of a number of connected scenes. But I don’t mind breaking the continuity by introducing time skips or sudden changes in location. I played some fun RPs with only one scene in it. In general though, I like it better if the characters don’t stuck in the same scene or environment for a long time.

Character versus plot?

Character for me. I prefer a dull setup with interesting characters to an intriguing setup with boring characters. Character interactions have always been more interesting to me than the world they live in =)
 

Seranda

Incest? Yes Please!
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
East Coast
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

I've been roleplaying for a long time. The number for finished RPs isn't something I am proud of, but I'd say about a dozen.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?

I haven't done a group roleplay since Gaiaonline back in 200X.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?

I don't like having things set in stone, but I do like a draft blueprint or road map to guide my partner and I through settings. Open roleplaying in my opinion can lead to many detours to keep you from the climax of your stories.

Character versus plot?

Doesn't matter to me. I can create an intriguing plot with a solid character. I can also create a solid character with an intriguing plot.
 

xanaphia

schrodinger's bisexual
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Thighland
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?
I have finished 5, with a handful more that were essentially finished. Most stories don't get more than 5-10k words in. It's easier to plot a story and imagine where it will go than to actually put in the work of writing it.
Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?
I've been in a few of these, and they might go strong for 2-3 months before fizzling out. A one on one rp is hard enough to maintain, and gets exponentially harder for each extra player.
Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?
I prefer epic tales, because I love build up. I love to see how characters grow and change as they progress through their journey.
Character versus plot?
My plots tend to be character driven, so I am going to go with both. But interesting characters can carry a simple much better than an intricate plot can carry boring characters.
 

Sylvan Varain

Mortal-King
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Location
Princehome.
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?
Once. In a roleplay started between me and my SO about eight years ago, having finished it in 2018. To this day I still have the final paragraph of it posted on my Steam profile, and the entire section is saved onto various documents to assure I never lose it in some freak accident.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Raven stepped back, and allowed Saria to look at her again. She did not recognize the clothes on Raven as any culture of Auros, she did not recognize many of the scars, but she recognized those eyes, that voice, that love. It didn’t matter. And yet she wanted to know. Who was there to care but her? They were alone in the perfect place, a quiet place of forgiveness and happiness and secrets told. So she took Raven into arms, in that moment, and stood on the tips of her toes to whisper into her wife’s ear, feeling her driftwood necklace and heartstone through her shirt, “Try me.” She grinned, with mischief, and stepped back, causing Raven to grin with aching joy, and nod her head.

Somewhere in the distance, in those old, unotuched woods, a wolf howled, and a lion answered it. And through the woods the two of them ran, sharing secrets and pains, letting the day fade to night, until in the darkest hour, both women embraced beneath the moonlight in the very spot Raven had been born, and forgot everything in that moment except that they loved one another. And they did.

They did.

The end.
 

CasualVelociraptor

Dream Weaver
Joined
Sep 7, 2019
Location
Jurassic Park
Once. In a roleplay started between me and my SO about eight years ago, having finished it in 2018. To this day I still have the final paragraph of it posted on my Steam profile, and the entire section is saved onto various documents to assure I never lose it in some freak accident.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Raven stepped back, and allowed Saria to look at her again. She did not recognize the clothes on Raven as any culture of Auros, she did not recognize many of the scars, but she recognized those eyes, that voice, that love. It didn’t matter. And yet she wanted to know. Who was there to care but her? They were alone in the perfect place, a quiet place of forgiveness and happiness and secrets told. So she took Raven into arms, in that moment, and stood on the tips of her toes to whisper into her wife’s ear, feeling her driftwood necklace and heartstone through her shirt, “Try me.” She grinned, with mischief, and stepped back, causing Raven to grin with aching joy, and nod her head.

Somewhere in the distance, in those old, unotuched woods, a wolf howled, and a lion answered it. And through the woods the two of them ran, sharing secrets and pains, letting the day fade to night, until in the darkest hour, both women embraced beneath the moonlight in the very spot Raven had been born, and forgot everything in that moment except that they loved one another. And they did.

They did.

The end.
That...was FANTASTIC!
 

Psychodurus Eques

Sinister Syngnathid
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Location
To and Fro
I've had one roleplay that went on for several story arcs, and each one of those was wrapped up in terms of a beginning/middle/end story structure. So theoretically we could have ended at one of those breaking points for a "complete" roleplay.

Otherwise, no.
 

CasualVelociraptor

Dream Weaver
Joined
Sep 7, 2019
Location
Jurassic Park
I've had one roleplay that went on for several story arcs, and each one of those was wrapped up in terms of a beginning/middle/end story structure. So theoretically we could have ended at one of those breaking points for a "complete" roleplay.

Otherwise, no.
I feel the same way. For me a better analogy might be a TV show that is cancelled after four seasons with a cliffhanger ending.
 

Traveler

Pulsar
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Location
PST
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

I've had three out of a hundred end, and each was very satisfying. They take at least a year in real time, but are worth the effort. Every one that ended was the result of having an amazing partner who worked in OOC story-building and plotting, and each end was bittersweet because we closed the book on that world and moved to the next.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?
The longest forum group role play I've had lasted over a year. The shortest are those that either never get off the ground or that have about a post for each player and then fizzle. Tabletop gaming is by far the best; you get a great group of friends around a table, meet for an evening or so each week, and explore a world together. Sometimes they go for years, and you get to know the characters better than you know yourself.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?
A continuous epic tale filled with scenes and story arcs. Also - I have to have a story with some conflict. Too much lovey-dovey and the magic disappears. Also, it can't be about the sex. A great role play, IMHO, is one that focuses on the characters and their motivations.

Character versus plot?
Characters and their motivations drives the plot. Otherwise they're just being swept away by the events around them, and that's boring.
 

Adamina

semi-hiatus
Joined
Feb 3, 2018
  • How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?
Over a dozen times during an almost two-decade RP career. Four were actually with a longterm and much-loved partner, and we're climaxing a fifth now. Most of those I finished were when both of us writers were younger and with less responsibility. It seems upon entering the workforce - and writing with those also in it - fewer stories finish.

  • Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?
Depends on the players, how cohesive they are, and if RL lays off. I haven't engaged in one since coming to BMR...think the longest GRP for me was five or six months? They tend to expire faster, just because there's extra variables and hitches with more people.

  • Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?
Scenes that turn into an epic tale? Both are enjoyable. Mine are mostly on the epic tale spectrum, especially with cowriters that are as plot-driven as myself. You get into a flow and one arc creates after the next, we find more and more to throw at our characters and other angles we can play.

  • Character versus plot?
Plot. If the plot is strong, I can whip-out characters like nobody's business. A good plot can often make good characters too. This is coming from a very plot-bias writer, I think in plot more than I think in characters. If I was handed a weak plot, I don't think I could create a character that would flourish in it. With a strong plot though, a well-rounded character easily comes to be.
 

Scribbles

Planetoid
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Location
Within the Stories
Some good questions here! I'll give my answers based on my experiences over the last twenty years.

1. How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?
I have to say that maybe 10% of the time.... maybe 20% if I note what sometimes happened with group RPs I was in and is asked about with question 3. Usually the pattern, especially in the last 5 years, is to have my partner either ghost or tell me they can't continue. If the stories are deep then I usually write them to a conclusion and archive them.

2. Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?
Back in 2000 when I started writing RP on forums, the group stories seemed to lasy roughly a year before one or more of the key character writers either announced their retirement from the story or just stopped posting. I've had one that went a lot longer, but it was technically broken into sub-stories.

3. Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?
It has been my experience that both are enjoyable with the right writing partner. I have written a series of scenes that tied into each other to make an epic tale. The TV show 'Line of Duty' does this well with the way they time shift and tie in their five seasons. The 'scene' is started and ended in the course of a season's episodes, and the later scenes are set at a time in the furure of the previous one and has some ties to the previous scene. As I'm digressing, the short answer to the question is 'Yes'. Scenes are enjoyable, and Epic tales are enjoyable.

4. Character versus plot?
Good character backgrounds involved in a solid plot, keeping the sex somewhat secondary. So it isn't really a 'verses' thing but an 'and' thing.
 

DasHelly

Hammock Expert
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Location
where the sun scorches
1. How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

While all of my roleplays were long-term, at times I found it hard to finish a roleplay because of how quick my mood for rps shift. I could be craving for one thing today, then another tomorrow, and I do feel bad for my partners for it. But even so, I was able to finish 10-15 roleplays during my time playing in forums. Though most of the time, my rps never end simply because me and my partner keeps them going. I have an rp going on right now with a partner for almost five years already.

2. Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?

When I used to roleplay in Gaia Online 10-12 years ago, the longest group roleplay I had was a zombie apocalypse one and it lasted for 6-8 months until everyone started to abandon and ghost the roleplay because of poor moderating and loss of interest, sadly. However I know people who are still roleplaying in that group roleplay until now.

3. Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?

Definitely a continuous epic tale. More people I can introduce, more baddies, more scenarios, more of everything and it keeps the fun going~ What I love to do to establish this is to " mini-roleplay " with my partner in PMs, maybe play out possible scenarios and if it clicks and we like it, we add it in. Sadly not everyone prefers this method since it ruins the surprise, which is no problem! But to me, I always enjoy it.. really keeps my creative gears working.

4. Character versus plot?

For me. A good plot can only be so good as the characters in it. For me a plot develops and grows depending on how well-made or developed the characters are too. If characters are good and the plot is bad, there's a chance it can be salvaged.. but a bigger chance in my opinion to fail but in the end it all comes down to the writers. Some can pull it off, some can't, we're all writers, not miracle-workers after all.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
How many times have you actually finished a roleplay that you start?

- I'd say around 5-6 completed ones.

Group roleplaying, how long do they last on a forum?

I don't believe these can work unless its a premade group with people you know will commit and remain interested. I think with strangers it'd die in a few days.

Is roleplaying a more enjoyable experience if it is just scenes or a continuous epic tale?

I think the scenes approach is more easy to control and contain, which makes it more fun to me.

Character versus plot?

Plot-driven stories. I think character-driven stories wither down and become stale very quickly.
 

Melevolence

A Total Mess Of A Man
Joined
Sep 29, 2016
Location
Maine, USA
The only RPs I've successfully brought to a conclusion are one-shot or short-term length, though I would say even then not as many of them as I'd like. Typically once my partner has 'scratched their itch' they just sorta stop and leave the story unfinished. A few times I've been unable to complete them either due to life or I've run out of ideas (or the initial plot was sort of careened in various directions that I no longer had a proper through line to the end).


I still haven't given up on the hope that I will actually complete a long term roleplay. Just needs the right partner (Like minded, has ambition and knows how to help pilot the plot or provide interesting events to it, etc).

In regards to one continuous epic tale vs episodic scenes, that depends I suppose but I don't feel are mutually exclusive. You can have one long epic story but do so in digestible 'chunks' by doing it in 'scene format'. Treat each scene as a 'chapter'. That way it gives the players a tangible 'pausing' and 'pick up' point. Allows them to reconvene before the next chapter to discuss ideas they might have and ensure the story remains on track, as it were. Also lets players rest so not to burn out on the story by just grinding away at it.

Character vs Plot - Again, not mutually exclusive. I think both are greatly valuable and compliment one another.
 
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