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Created a RPG with a core group of players meant to write and publish the finished content? Would you ever consider doing something like that?

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Not unless there was a legally valid contract signed from the get go, outlining what is expected of each contributor, their material rights, and distribution of any profits generated. I'd certainly refuse to work on such a project with anyone who balked at the idea of entering a legally binding agreement regarding distribution of labor and the final product. 

 

That said, I'm currently engaged in a similar project, albeit with only one other person. We drew up a contract together prior to starting, even though this is a friend I trust pretty much implicitly, and have completed the pre-draft (i.e. we roleplayed the tale out start to finish); our next step is to complete the initial novel-style draft. 

 

And that is where the first trouble crops up (assuming all parties involved are consistently posting in a timely fashion, which is a huge stretch tbh) In part, this is because this is where it stops being all in good fun. It turns into actual work. 

 

Editing RP posts from two different people, and streamlining them into the same "voice" is not a simple task. It becomes increasingly complex the more writers involved. The brunt of that feat cannot be equally shared, either. No matter how many people are involved, one person is going to end up putting in more time and work because that is the only way to create a coherent narrative.

The more people involved, the trickier this becomes - the person tasked with weaving it all together has to keep all the other parties involved happy. That means they have to be able to confidently handle and tweak characters that don't belong to them. They have to put themselves at the center of disputes and disagreements that arise - and they are going to arise.

 

This is one of the reasons you have to sort out profit-distribution from the start. Let's say there are 4 writers involved. Let's just say that all 4 writers somehow contribute an equal 25% each to the roleplayed draft of the story - one of those 4 writers still has to take on 50-75% of the final drafting. Are they willing to forgo extra compensation to split the profits equally? Or do they expect to be rewarded a greater percentage of the final profits, to compensate their extra effort? 

 

What happens if there's a dispute midway through the project? If one of the writers decides to back out, do they get to take all their intellectual property with them whilst forcing those remaining to recreate/write characters/scenes to fill the subsequent plot holes? Or by backing out, is that contributor agreeing to cede their intellectual property rights?  

 

There's a lot more to be said. These are just some basic considerations to look into. If the party involved can't even start to make concessions based on those inevitable hurdles, then it's best for all involved to sit the voyage out because it will inevitably sink harder than the Titanic. 

 

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I've had multiple people suggest it to me before, but it's hard for me to imagine it working out well >.< It's a nice idea though, if you're able to pull it off!

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15 hours ago, Dragon said:

Not unless there was a legally valid contract signed from the get go, outlining what is expected of each contributor, their material rights, and distribution of any profits generated. I'd certainly refuse to work on such a project with anyone who balked at the idea of entering a legally binding agreement regarding distribution of labor and the final product. 

 

That said, I'm currently engaged in a similar project, albeit with only one other person. We drew up a contract together prior to starting, even though this is a friend I trust pretty much implicitly, and have completed the pre-draft (i.e. we roleplayed the tale out start to finish); our next step is to complete the initial novel-style draft. 

 

And that is where the first trouble crops up (assuming all parties involved are consistently posting in a timely fashion, which is a huge stretch tbh) In part, this is because this is where it stops being all in good fun. It turns into actual work. 

 

Editing RP posts from two different people, and streamlining them into the same "voice" is not a simple task. It becomes increasingly complex the more writers involved. The brunt of that feat cannot be equally shared, either. No matter how many people are involved, one person is going to end up putting in more time and work because that is the only way to create a coherent narrative.

The more people involved, the trickier this becomes - the person tasked with weaving it all together has to keep all the other parties involved happy. That means they have to be able to confidently handle and tweak characters that don't belong to them. They have to put themselves at the center of disputes and disagreements that arise - and they are going to arise.

 

This is one of the reasons you have to sort out profit-distribution from the start. Let's say there are 4 writers involved. Let's just say that all 4 writers somehow contribute an equal 25% each to the roleplayed draft of the story - one of those 4 writers still has to take on 50-75% of the final drafting. Are they willing to forgo extra compensation to split the profits equally? Or do they expect to be rewarded a greater percentage of the final profits, to compensate their extra effort? 

 

What happens if there's a dispute midway through the project? If one of the writers decides to back out, do they get to take all their intellectual property with them whilst forcing those remaining to recreate/write characters/scenes to fill the subsequent plot holes? Or by backing out, is that contributor agreeing to cede their intellectual property rights?  

 

There's a lot more to be said. These are just some basic considerations to look into. If the party involved can't even start to make concessions based on those inevitable hurdles, then it's best for all involved to sit the voyage out because it will inevitably sink harder than the Titanic. 

 

 

This is great and I agree 100%, it was something I always wondered about and considered pursuing with a story of my own just because I think it would be neat perspective wise. I'm sure it would definitely need to be discussed in addition to agreements and contracts. I couldn't imagine pursuing such an endeavor with more than 4 people.

 

Legal and contractual obligations would definitely weed out the faint of heart. I definitely appreciate this response and the time it took to make it. Thank you so much!

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Setting aside the legal side of things, I'd say it really depends on how you go about it.

If you're going the route of "what everyone writes gets verbatim included in the final draft", I'd say that it probably wouldn't work out too well, and thus would be a big no for me. That would be hard to edit for a coherent tone while still keeping the integrity of the writing, and I see it coming out as a big logistics nightmare.

If your intentions are more along the lines of letting everyone write, and then plucking the main story beats and characters to write yourself, I'd say it would become a little more feasible. It would still be a headache, but distilling the story down to the bones and then building it back up yourself would be a bit easier, I'd imagine.

 

Either way, it would definitely be an interesting way of doing things, and I'd definitely be curious to see the outcome of something like that!

 

One last thing to note, though. If you're aiming for getting published, unless you're going the route of self-publishing, make sure that whatever platform you use isn't publicly accessible. Any major agent/publisher (aka not a vanity press) you send your worth to is definitely going to search for parts of your writing online, and anything more than a 2 or 3 paragraph excerpt is enough to get your work automatically tossed in the rejection pile. Publishers don't want to step on each other's toes, and want to be the first one to publish a work. Keep it to a word document or a password protected forum that doesn't have any of the plot/lore visible without putting in that password.

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Candide: An original dystopian RPG

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