There’s not much to say to set up Game Templates. You probably know that a Game Template is the skeleton of your StartPlaying game listing. You’ll put in basic info like safety tools and chat software used, as well as finer details like the synopsis of your campaign. But creating a good Game Template, one that will sell players on you as a GM, is an art unto itself. So let’s get into how to make your Game Template the best it can be.
By the way, if you happen to be scrolling professional GM tips, we have a series on StartPlaying essentials. Whether it’s how to write the perfect game description, how to pick great thumbnail art, or when is the best time to schedule your sessions, we’ve got it all here.
As for Game Template, let’s take a look at each page. We also have a YouTube video here if visual tutorials are more your style.
Game Template Page One
This is where the most important, upfront info lives. Your image should be 16:9 and preferably under 1 MB. These will lead to the most shareable images. You should see a link to a stock image folder that StartPlaying has licensed for your use. You can even edit them to fit your needs, as long as you’re not using copyrighted art such as the cover of a Dungeons & Dragons book.
The title is a tough beast, and you may need to go through several variations to get it right. Best practices here are short and sweet, eye-catching, and that it communicates the main concept of your game. Is it combat heavy? A murder mystery? A twist on a popular module? Have your title reflect that.
The Game Description section is not the place to dump everything that’s unique about your game. Instead, treat it like the back of a novel or a movie trailer. What are the two or three most exciting parts of the story and gameplay? How will the players be able to affect the story? Say these things in one or two paragraphs max.
The other fields on Page One are pretty self-explanatory. Game Platforms should list every software needed to play–voice/video chat, character sheets, VTT, etc. Session Cost is whatever you decide. Just know that running free games at first in hopes of transitioning those players into paying users rarely works. Session Duration should only vary by about an hour. Players have voiced confusion with a range of longer than that.
Game Systems is whatever system you’re using to play. You’ll usually only put one thing here, except maybe in the case of a Powered By The Apocalypse spinoff like Monster of the Week. When choosing Themes, Settings, and Adventure Tags, only choose up to four or they won’t be read. Player Age Range needs no elaboration.
Game Template Page Two
This page starts with Safety Tools. Every game on StartPlaying is required to have at least one safety tool in use. A link is provided for safety tool resources, and the little blue icon next to each checklist item opens a brief description of each tool.
Content Warnings should be narrowed down to two or three major reoccurring themes. You can use Session 0 to discuss more specific triggers for your players. This article goes more in-depth on content warnings.
Gameplay Details is your space to describe the more logistical elements of how you run your games. This is where you can detail things like how you personally deliver your safety tools, what VTT mods you use, house rules, and generally the unique methods by which you handle your table.
The What Can Players Expect section gives you drop-downs to indicate whether you plan for more roleplay, more combat, or more puzzles. It also lets you determine the experience level. If you are running a beginner game, consider this before going on to page three: did you word your description for beginners? Did you avoid proper nouns or TTRPG jargon?
Game Template Page Three
How Will Character Creation Happen is where you lay out the rules for characters. Do players roll for stats? Will you share certain sourcebooks and expansions? One tip is to make pregenerated characters and offer them in this box. StartPlaying attracts many new players, and pregens go a long way in helping them learn as they play.
The How Should Your Players Prepare box can be a simple list of any accounts and tech needed. Be sure to detail if you want voice and/or video play, as some users might be limited in resources or just plain don’t want to be on video.
Finally, What Will You Bring is where you hype yourself up. Animated battle maps, years of voice acting experience, free character art–list whatever unique things you bring to the table.
When all this is said and done, hit that submit button! A member of the StartPlaying team will get back to you with any needed changes in 12-24 hours. Or, you’ll see that your game has been approved! Either way, good luck and get that template going!