Guide to Roleplaying
This will be my attempt at writing a guide for roleplaying on a forum. The purpose of this guide is to teach new roleplayers the basics and to help improve the overall quality of a roleplayer's posts. Before I begin, I will say that these are my opinions and they may not reflect the general consensus of the online roleplaying community.
What is roleplaying?
Roleplaying is the act of manipulating a fictional character, usually created by the roleplayer, in order to write a living story with other roleplayers. A role-playing post can range anywhere from a few words such as:
Anonymous wrote:I walk in.
to something much more elegant such as:
L wrote:"School," Zayden shivered. "Not that I don't like learning things, the whole school system just bugs me, y'know? I've always been a rather curious and innovative person, and the idea of sitting at a desk and being lectured for 6 hours disturbs me. If they found a more exciting way for us to learn, I would much rather that." He put more food in his mouth and went on, "Sometimes I feel like questers come and go so slowly, and we never really know who's on a quest, or preparing for one, or anything. Makes me feel so out of the loop. At least if I were on one, I would feel more knowledgeable about what goes on out there." He nodded. "Grapes are yummy." He shoveled yet more food in his mouth.
Theseus12 wrote:I got up out of bed, looking Sheepishly at my surroundings. Ok, there's a vial with... oh, god, is that blood? I walk over to the sink, my bare feet feeling cold against the floor. I had this spinning headache. I was blue for god's sake. I looked into the vial to check the contents out. yep. that's blood mixed with... my gods, what is that stuff? It was this black liquid that was a lot thinner than the blood. it was as thin as water, in fact, but it seemed mixed with the blood fairly well. I suddenly had a bad feeling what it was. "is that... my blood?" I then noticed what should have been obvious: a sticker that said "Ophelia, Queen of the Sea of Black Tears."
When you roleplay, consider your posts a page in a book. When you read a book, there should be none or very few errors and good grammar, the same applies to your posts. To reduce the number of errors in your post, try proofreading before hitting the send button. A few moments of proof-reading can save you the embarrassment of an error-ridden post.
Power playing is the act of manipulating another role-player's character in order to perform some action. It is commonly looked down upon by most role-players as it destroys the cooperative spirit of online role-playing. Power playing can range from the smallest things such as:
Anonymous wrote:I slash at Jane Doe, cutting her.
to something more noticeable:
Anonymous wrote:I feign an attack at Jane Doe. She immediately drops her weapon and surrenders.
While power playing usually isn't a reason for ban, constant power playing can often leave roleplayers annoyed and agitated. If you want a specific reaction then ask the person you are roleplaying with if they could do that.
God modding the act of making your character do anything without limits or boundaries whether the decision is subconscious or not. An example of this is when they simply cannot be harmed by any and all means used by other roleplayers. Like power playing, it isn't usually a reason for a ban, but can annoy other roleplayers.
Out of Character
Out of character, abbreviated OOC, is any form of communication within a designated role-playing area that isn't used to add to the living story. Out of character is typically used to communicate suggestions to what a role-player could do in their next post. The post below would be a good example:
CynicalSkin wrote:Ivy jumps out of the bushes and says to herself. "Im f****d"
OOC: she doesn't notice Gidget yet.
Not everyone places their OOC after a character's actions so there is a corresponding term for OOC, that term is BIC or Back in Character. This is used to signal that a role-player has returned to the role-playing atmosphere and their post beyond BIC should be treated as such. Below is an example of BIC:
Taz wrote:ooc: MOREEEEE DRAMAAAAAAA
bic: Hanson shot back out of the water with Nix, taking a deep breath while laughing. It wasn't working out so well.
Metagaming is the act of role-playing a character using information that the character does not know. Metagaming is similar to tragic irony used in various works of literature such as Oedipus Rex.
While my description of metagaming may make it seem like a bad thing, it isn't unless it is being abused. Metagaming is used extensively to make decisions when role-playing even though you may not notice that you are currently doing. OOC is one way that you can metagame in a positive manner.
Two examples of good metagaming would be: using information given to you by another role-playing in order to help decide what you will post next or role-playing a quest that has been planned step-by-step.
An example of bad metagaming would be: Having two strangers automatically know everything about each other.
I am not an English teacher nor do I plan on becoming one in the near future so this is will be my best attempt. This section is to emphasize the importance of punctuation. If you want advice on how to use proper punctuation then by all means ask an English teacher. You can usually locate them at a school or other educational facilities.
Punctuation is a very important aspect of role-playing. In fact, punctuation is extremely important in every form of literature except poetry, the rules are weird in poetry. Imagine trying to read the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series without a single instance of punctuation, it would be like a first grader trying to learn theoretical physics. Punctuation affects how a sentence is read by another person. If you use improper punctuation, the meaning of your message can easily be conveyed in the wrong way and everyone will get the wrong impression of your message. A good of example of this would be:
Now that tiny comma may not seem very important, but if left out the former would imply that you plan on eating your grandmother in order to satisfy your cannibalistic needs while the latter implies that you plan on eating with your grandmother. Another example of the importance of punctuation is:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?
Now if the above letter is punctuated differently, then it can change from a letter full of love to one laced with bitterness like the one below.
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
I hope this section has emphasized the importance of proper punctuation in while roleplaying.
All role-playing posts involve narration and in order to write them well it is important to understand what a narrative-mode consists of and how to use it effectively.
There are two main components that are generally used:
- Person – First (“I”), second (“you”), or third (“he/she”).
- Tense – Past, present, or future.
So a narrative mode could be “first person and past tense”. Once you begin writing a post in a certain narrative mode, its best to stick to that throughout the post. Switching mid-post from one mode to another is confusing and usually messes up your grammar as well.
Maya walks into the forest. She looks around.
Maya walked into the forest and looked around.
Maya walks into the forest. I look around.
Maya walked into the forest. She is looking around.
When you role-play, you are creating a fictional environment for your character to interact with through thoughts, actions, descriptions, etc. Now details play a very important part in creating the environment as it makes it easier for other role-players to understand how you interpret the environment.
Think of the environment you were creating as if it were a drawing. Every little detail added to that drawing, shapes how one sees the drawing. For example:
The sun was in the sky
Now the sentence above, paints very bland picture while the sentence below paints a much better picture of the sun.
The sun was high in the sky, casting its warm, radiant glow down upon the Earth.
Another example of how a little detail can drastically change how one views the environment through the use of details is:
The sword was covered in dirt
Can easily become:
The grime-covered celestial, bronze short-sword lay in the mud where it slowly began to rust.
Now all it took to add those details was literally ten extra seconds of my time. Now if you are having a hard time trying to describe something, A) go find the thing you are going to describe or B) Google pictures of thing you are going to describe. Option B is not going to be as good as option A as tiny details are hard to see some pictures.
A simple way to add more detail to your posts, without rambling, is by thinking about the following words while writing your post- who, what, where, why and how.
Who- It is important to understand that while you know your character perfectly well, your role-playing partner usually does not. Your post should provide an idea as to who your character is. This includes anything from distinctive physical features to personality traits. It could be incorporated into your posts in a number of ways and it helps your role-play partner to respond appropriately. By giving basic details about your character in your post the need for metagaming is minimized. This is particularly important for introductory posts or when two characters are meeting for the first time.
In a pale blue tank top and white beach shorts that showed off her tan, Bella looked like the quintessential Apollo girl, a fact that most of the Aphrodite guys clearly hadn’t missed seeing as they were now waving at her. Bella waved back, the sun too bright in her eyes for her to be able to see clearly, she wondered if knew any of them. It was more than likely that she did though- fun, friendly and adventurous, 15 year old Bella was easily one of the more popular kids at camp.
What- This is one of the easier and more basic aspects of posting. It involves describing exactly what your character is doing, or saying. While most posts, regardless of detail, primarily focus on this aspect of role-playing, sometimes continous posts involving lengthy internal monologues or dialogue skip out on this part giving the impression that the character is completely motionless. This rarely happens in real life, which is why it is a good idea to be aware of the character’s posture and movements, whether it is brushing their hair back or scratching their nose.
Analeigh swallowed thickly as Will righted them and stepped back. She opened her to mouth to say something, but just as she concluded her inner debate on what to say, Will stumbled and fell flat on his butt. Analeigh had instinctively thrown a hand out but it had been off no use, working hard on restraining her laughter she took a step forward and extended her hand again helpfully, a smile playing on her lips as a giggle burst forth.
Where- Answering this question will require you to describe the surroundings in which the roleplay is taking place, it could be a forest, a beach or even the inside of a house. In the context of role-playing however, describe the setting through the eyes of your character. For example, one character may describe a party setting as “loud and annoying” while another might describe the same as “lively and fun.” This helps your partner understand your character in context of the setting. A simple trick to achieve this is by using as many of the five senses- Sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch- as you can in your description. For example, in a forest setting, one could describe how the trees look in the dim light of the moon, the feel of the cool air, the sound of crickets chirping etc.
A common mistake is feeling compelled to use all of the five senses in a single post, this is unnecessary and often comes off as forced. Include enough detail to let your readers picture the scene but only details that actually add something to the plot or to your depiction of the character, do not describe every single unimportant leaf on a tree as this often leads to rambling, which most people don't appreciate.
Gina walked into a little clearing that the trees had created by converging upon a bare patch of land, the heart of the woods as it were. She enjoyed finding places like this in which to practice her magic. A crescent moon lit up the sky as the stars twinkled around it as though vying for attention. To Gina's mind however, there was no competition, the moon was beautiful and absolute. Her footsteps made a slight crackling noise, breaking the silence with a resounding snap as she stepped on some dry leaves and twig. The soft hoot of an owl interrupted her thoughts as it took flight into the night sky, unhappy at having been intruded on. Gina could empathise, she knew the feeling.
Why- This aspect tells the reader why your character is doing something or why they are in a particular place. It can be used to provide a backstory such as whether they come there often or the significance of that particular activity. It helps provide more information about not only the character’s personality but also about the context of that roleplay in particular.
Socks leaned against the rough tree bark, scarcely aware of the few leaves that had fluttered down to settle in his hair. Feeling the warm sunlight against his closed eyelids, Socks realised he dint know how long he had been here for, then again time near the creek was always fleeting. One of his favourite places in camp, the creek always provided Socks with a nice relaxing atmosphere in which to get away from the hordes of people in camp and gather his thoughts. Ever since he discovered this particular secluded spot however Socks had begun coming here even more than usual. The canopy of leafy trees over him, the arbitrary arrangement of moss covered boulders and the soothing sound of the creek a few metres ahead combined to serve as the perfect getaway.
Essentially, while not all your posts need to answer all of these questions, keeping them in mind while writing will go a long way towards writing more detailed and descriptive posts.
Special Thanks To
Last edited by Daniel on 12/2/2015, 7:16 pm; edited 18 times in total
- Lead Admin
Number of posts : 19599
Age : 21
Registration date : 2008-09-13
http://www.springhole.net/writing/wardrobe-hazards-and-liabilities.htm << THIS. AMEN.
http://www.springhole.net/writing/write-better-assassins.htm << AMEN #2
ALSO VERY IMPORTANT
Only thing I gotta add is something I see a lot when checking my topics, I don't know if you guys realized it too (but the following is my opinion, it's up to you whether you agree or not). It's basically on how to make characters look more realistic. So a fair number of characters (not to say a lot) have basically no ties to their mortal families or to the mortal world in general. It's like they poofed out of nowhere with no previous life before and are completely cut off from everything. I'm not saying people should do solo RPs or what to RP the mortal family and mortal friends, but I have to say I find characters more believable if in the posts, they think or talk about their friends in the outside world or their families, or narrate a special event that happened in a non-demigod environment. Otherwise it feels like they fell out of the sky.
Just my input. Feel free to ignore it if you don't agree ^^
- High Queen of Narnia
Number of posts : 15095
Registration date : 2011-12-31