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The Water Cooler - Information, How To, Session 0

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The Water Cooler is a role play bulletin board and open for public use. This board hosts interest checks for roleplay ideas and plots, advertisements for characters, and an OOC subboard hosts OOC threads for conversation regarding specific role plays.

Players looking for other writers to fill spots in their clans or quest, or that are looking for roles like a brother looking for a sister or a disciple for a mentor or hero for a villain can make a good deal of use out of the Water Cooler.

Make the best use of the Water Cooler


  • Check at least to page 2. An interest check that might seem inactive could actually just be an eager writer waiting for a partner.
  • Ask for more information to help determine if the role play is right for you.
  • Include a summary when bumping so longer threads remain accessible to new members.
  • Use an meaningful title when making a thread. "SteamPunk RP in Tia" is more informative than "New rp!"
  • Feel free to request a storyteller as well.


  • Post just saying that you might be interested. Only post if you are interested or asking for more information.


  • DO NOT post more than 3 interest checks in a 7 day period.
  • Your thread must go 2 days without a post or be on the second page before you can bump it.
  • Do not bump more than one thread in a 24 hour period.
  • The template is optional but if unused make sure to include the minimum information the template asks for.
  • If your interest check becomes an OOC chat thread, change the title to include "OOC" or ask a moderator to move it into the OOC subboard.

Short Template
Genre: Action, Mystery, Fantasy, Steampunk, Modern, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Horror, Post-apocalyptic, etc.
Location: Terrenus, Genesaris, Tellus Mater, Non-canon/Alternative.
Idea: Provide the details of your idea to your audience. Include a reasonable amount of information. Too little won't get any attention and too much leaves little room for growth.
Expectations: Session 0
FAQs: If questions are posed in the thread that aren't answered in the Idea section above, you can edit your post and include them here. This helps future interested members find answers to important questions without having to wade through OOC chat.

Edited by supernal

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How To: Advertise your role play
Here are a few methods I've used to successfully advertise a post I made in the Water Cooler. If you have an idea that you don't see here, PM me to get it included.

  • Post in the Water Cooler (obviously)
  • If your idea is a large event that a large number of people can join, PM supernal to get an announcement advertising your interest check
  • Add the Open tag to your thread so it shows up in Open Roleplays
  • Mention the Valucre twitter and we'll reblog your post
  • Post to the Valucre Facebook
  • Welcome new members to your water cooler thread, posting in their new member threads or PMing them. DO NOT SPAM. Contact should be genuine and can include links to your role play. Don't just throw links at our members.
  • Include a link to your interest check in your signature and/or your About Me, especially if it's a long running idea

How To: Make a successful Group
If you want to just make a group, follow only steps 1 and 3. If you want to make a group with a higher chance of being successful and getting big, follow them all.

  • Post a thread in the Organization subboard. The pinned template is useful but not required. 
  • Complete at least two events (quests, artifact hunts, canonization, etc)
    • Optional: in at least two different nations to establish a wide presence
  • Advertise your group in the Water Cooler and get recruits based off of concrete accomplishments to showcase that your group is diligent and dedicated to completing storylines
Edited by supernal

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Session 0 Guide

Source: https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/105388/what-is-a-session-0

0. Introduction

Per the above, Session 0 is "a planning session where the gaming group collaboratively lays the groundwork for a new campaign". This can manifest in many different ways.

In a tabletop game like D&D, this would include things like the class each player wants to play so you can have a balanced team - so if you end up with a team full of barbarians it's by design rather than accident. Motivations are brought up to establish how / why the characters are together, and individual agendas as well as group agenda.

In the Water Cooler how-to threads there is a short template that we provide users which establish things like genre (and their associated conventions; you expect different things from adventure than you do from horror than you do from romance), location (which establish the surrounding lore), the idea (the back story, the goal, etc).

Where this happens well it happens almost by accident. People with the experience (or lack of it) to ask certain questions will do so but it isn't really formalized. The fact of the existence of guides like the above link, and the more comprehensive guide to which it links, tells us this is something that has been worth addressing directly and with detail. So here we go

1. When to hold your session 0

Before the game begins. So essentially use your interest check as your session 0 ground, to cover the meta of the game

2. What should this contain?

Game Rules and Campaign Expectations

You can define this however is appropriate but for my take on it I'll call this Balance and Aesthetic. I'd say this should cover:

1) themes and genre conventions. What the game is meant to look and feel like and how strictly this is adhered to.

Zombie Apocalypse is different than Western is different than Romance. Experience with media tells us we can have all three if we want but the point is to make your wants and intents explicit

2) minimum and maximum starting points of "power" or "wealth", however this may be defined by the game (material wealth, political influence, magical ability, etc). Essentially establish baselines and caps even if you're open to changing either as it will set a level of expectation.

For your zombie apocalypse, can I start with a tank and small militia? If I have to start with a dagger, can I get to a point of having a tank and small militia? Or is the intent to deal with the threat without using tanks and militias?

3) setting, character creation and GM

Where is this taking place and who are the characters playing? Take this further by supplying explicit motivations and agendas. Remember that this is a collaborative game and people knowing your character's secret agendas can help lead to bigger and better stories.

Establish if this game has an explicit GM with one person who will be controlling things like NPCs and major plots or if this is a shared responsibility or or if you'll be using RNG systems to decide conflict resolutions or whatever the case may be. Remember that just because you're used to playing games a certain way doesn't mean that other people are approaching with the same mentality.

Table rules

Table rules would instead be "game space rules" for us. We don't sit at a table, we sit at computers and engage in virtual space.

The article above defines it as the following which I like: "table etiquette, behavior expectations, bringing up topics that players feel uncomfortable with, etc"

House rules

Any exceptions to the status quo? Do you want to play in the a desert but have the game take place at an oasis (the exception) rather than sandy dunes (the standard?)? Establish that up front. Take the opportunity to alter any assumed expectations. Are you doing an adventure game but you want the focus to be more on puzzles than on hack-n-slash? Say so

3. Recommended or mandatory?

Think of it as a best practice. It's recommended so that you can get the most out of your games. If you can do so without a session 0, awesome, but many games would be improved by a process that is reliable and able to be referenced rather than ad-hoc and opportunistic

A direct quote from the article which I can't improve on much:

"Session 0 is recommended because tabletop RPGs are ultimately a collaborative entertainment activity. Everyone is there to have fun and Session 0 gives the group an opportunity to establish what kind of game everyone wants to play.

Session 0 might not be necessary for some games and groups. For example, my groups usually work out these details in Discord or Skype before the first play session rather than schedule an entire session for it. I've seen some conduct Session 0 activities at a lunch. A well established group might not need a Session 0."

The nature of games as they're played on this site vs TTRPG games means that interest checks are usually crafted with a specific agenda in mind and that is declared up front, meaning that people who apply are those interested in responding to that agenda in some way (furthering it, subverting it, so on). Even with this "get on board or get out" schema everyone should have a chance and be encouraged to provide input as to what will keep them engaged and make for a satisfying game. This is what (ideally) will lead to games that last longer and resolve in a more satisfying fashion

Edited by supernal

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