People were asking a rp:ing guide couple weeks ago in some thread. Here is what I put together. I do not remember if I already posted this somewhere. Well couldn´t find it anyway. I thought it might be good in here, but feel free to move it somewhere else...
This guide is for people who WANT to roleplay, and people who ENJOY writing and roleplaying. You don’t have to read every single word of this, but you may miss something important.
Many people are rather new to roleplaying and have no idea where to start! There are many elements to roleplaying efficiently. You must have clarity, proper use of words, and enjoyment. Remember, everyone roleplays differently and have a different voice when it comes to writing posts that are pleasing and enjoyable to read. You don’t have to do anything that will be discussed in this guide. This guide is just here to HELP you. These are just the basics that every roleplayer should get down to create a roleplaying atmosphere that is comfortable for all participants.
Roleplaying is something that can be constantly improved. There is truly no master to roleplaying.
IV. Do’s & Don’ts
V. Your Writing Style
What is roleplaying? By Merriam-Webster’s definition, roleplaying is:
1. transitive senses : ACT OUT. <students were asked to roleplay the thoughts and feelings of each character -- R. G. Lambert>
2. intransitive senses : to play a role.
Basically, roleplaying is when you create a character—it can be in any atmosphere, such as Naruto, modern, futuristic, medieval, anything that sparks your fancy. This character you create is a peon to whatever you feel them doing. Think of it as a movie, and you’re the director, giving them scripts on what they do and what they say. You are in control of their thoughts, actions, and speech. In roleplaying, this character you’ve created interacts with characters created by other people. Here is an example of a roleplay:
Akima let a scream as she woke up, jumping out of bed to scurry down the stairs. It was Christmas morning! She quickly dove towards the Christmas tree; frantically searching and counting the presents she had received that year. Oh, I know Mama and Papa bought me that new robe! It has to be here somewhere. She fell back from on her knees to her rump, glancing back at her parents with a disapproving sigh, unable to find any wrapped gift that could possibly be the clothing she wanted desperately.
Akima created the atmosphere by posting first. She made the scene and the started the base of a situation. The italicized text is often used to portray your character’s thoughts, what they’re thinking, what’s on their mind. Unable to find her robe, let’s see what happens. Jinn, her little brother, is next to post and reply to Akima’s roleplay post.
The little boy couldn’t help but snigger as he watched his sister tumble down the staircase clumsily, stepping aside as she swept towards the Christmas tree. She’ll never find it! Innocently, he glanced to his parents, then let his gaze fall back onto his sister. He laughed gently as his sister marked with features of defeat. Throwing the box towards her lap, he laughed once again. “You’re so silly. Open it!”
Jinn responded to Akima’s actions and included the parents, who are NPCs (Non-Playable Characters). He also gave a train of thought, and spoke to Akima in bold and quotation marks ( “ and ” ). He’s bound to stir up some trouble with his sister, having given her an item that he had. Let’s see how Akima responds...
Akima’s eyebrows furrowed together as her brother tossed her the box. She felt her face burning hot, anger boiling up inside of her. Grabbing the box, she stood up, attempting to hit her brother with it a single, hard whack. “How could you do that?! You’re so mean!” She turned away from her brother, beginning to open her present.
Jinn has definitely made Akima angry. She responds to his dialect with her own. Here is an important factor that you must know: Jinn did not control Akima’s character. He reflected the actions she had already done, adding his own response to what she did. We’ll talk more about Actions and Godmoding / Powerplaying in Part Two.
Alrighty! You should now have a basic grasp on what roleplaying should look like.
Here are some important definitions that you’re bound to cross or may have to know:
IC (In Character) :: This is what your character is doing, what they’re thinking, what they’re saying. This is basically the roleplaying part your post.
OOC (Out of Character) :: This is an offhand note, when you’re not roleplaying. This is used to talk to the other person without having to e-mail, instant message, or private message them. Most people use parentheses to isolate OOC notes from the IC portion of the post.
NPC (Non-Playable Character) :: A non-playable character is often referred as a background person. They are either of insignificance and just there to add realism to the situation or maybe a character that helps develop a plot. An example of an NPC could be your character’s mother, or maybe a little more indirect—that person that walks by you in your village, or that person that’s selling you fish at the fish market. Another example of an NPC can be a monster or enemy—that person that’s always been out to kill you, or that frog that just threw you a dirty look. NPCs are very useful to making a roleplay interesting.
Godmoding / Powerplaying / Metagaming :: Abbrevations of these terms could be GMing / PPing / MTGing.To put this simply, GMing, MTGing, or PPing is “controlling someone else’s character.” It is forcing an action, forcing a thought, or forcing dialect. Like in the real world, you can’t control someone or what they do (unless you have a mind-controlling machine, which I will buy off of you for a couple hundred dollars). Some places where you can roleplay will ban you or strike you for this. Be very careful with your choice of words. Here is a situation of no GMing and GMing, for example.
This is NOT GMing / PPing / MTGing.
Grabbing the kunai, she stood up, attempting to hit her brother with it a single, hard thrust.
This is GMing / PPing / MTGing.
Grabbing the kunai, she stood up, hitting her brother with it a single, hard thrust.
Description - which seems obviously simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget about. For example, you could say a cat slept on the mat or you could say the peaceful Persian cat slept soundly on the warm, fluffy mat. The second example not only appears more impressive and gives you a better picture of exactly what’s going on, but it also happens to be nearly twice as long as the first example.
Another very important method of improving your post size is focused around responding to what your fellow role-players write in the posts before yours, so make sure that you read the posts before yours carefully in order to figure out exactly what’s going on! Failing to do that just leads to major confusion which could simply be avoided by a few minutes of careful reading. Back to the previous point – what exactly do I mean by responding to other people’s posts? As an example, Bob, your fellow role-player, has just stepped into a bar. You’re in the bar of course, so you should respond to what Bob has done. You could Ignore the newcomer and continue drinking your lemonade or perhaps you would glare over your shoulder and examine the newcomer before hunching back over the bar.
Choice of Words :: A Dictionary and Thesaurus are the best friends you can EVER have while roleplaying. They are a powerful combination as well! A roleplaying post can get very dull if you’re using the same words over and over again. Want to see what I’m saying?
Here’s one where Jinn repetitively uses a common verb, open.
First Jinn opened the square box to his right, revealing a miniature action figure of the Hokage. Then, Jinn opened an ugly heart shaped box that was probably from his sister, to find a small pink pouch for holding shuriken. He’d probably burn it later. Lastly, he opened a rectangular box and hugged the present close. Finally! The thing he wanted—a kunai sharpening set!
Time to power up the thesaurus! Be sure to use the dictionary for words that you aren’t sure for the definition of. (The last thing you want to do is use a word you don’t understand and sounds good. You could be saying it completely wrong or make no sense!)
Main Entry: open
Part of Speech: verb
Synonyms: bare, breach, break in, break out, broach, burst, bust in, come apart, crack, disclose, display, disrupt, expand, expose, fissure, free, gap, gape, hole, jimmy, kick in, lacerate, lance, penetrate, perforate, pierce, pop, puncture, release, reveal, rupture, separate, sever, slit, slot, split, spread, tap, unblock, unbolt, unclose, unclothe, uncork, uncover, undo, unfasten, unfold, unfurl, unlatch, unlock, unroll, unseal, unshut, unstop, untie, unwrap, vent, ventilate, yawn, yawp
Now to replace open with different verbs!
First Jinn undid the wrapping of the square box to his right, revealing a miniature action figure of the Hokage. Then, Jinn exposed an ugly heart shaped box that was probably from his sister, to find a small pink pouch for holding shuriken. He’d probably burn it later. Lastly, he unfurled a rectangular box and hugged the present close. Finally! The thing he wanted—a kunai sharpening set!
Grammar and Spelling :: Even if you’re not going to post a lot, I suggest you write your roleplay posts in a program with automatic spell check, like Microsoft Word. Correct spelling and grammar will go a long way. People will judge you by your sentence structure, your choice of words, how well your roleplay post flows. Even though these are little things, they mean a lot when it comes to clarity and quality. Correct spelling and grammar is often used to distinguish advanced from new roleplayers. Don’t let people stereotype you by the way you write, because they often undermine the true potential a writer has! Show them that you actually enjoy roleplaying and you want them to enjoy themselves as well.
IV. Do´s & Don´ts
Post Layout :: Yes! What your post looks like is also very important.
List of DO’s
1. Double-space if you think it looks crowded and hard to read.
2. Distinguish actions from speech from thoughts. Usually actions are defaulted, speech is bolded, and thoughts are italicized. But of course, you don’t have to do it like this. Be sure to make it clear though!
3. If you are going to have NPCs talk in your post, it is usually helpful to clarify that too. A way to do this is make their speech a different color than the default black bold.
List of DONT’s
1. Type your post in all caps. That’s just silly.
2. Don’t make your post one, single paragraph. It’s hard to read and it looks chunky.
3. No excessive periods—if you are describing something, use several commas.
Your Character :: Get to know your character. What was he/she like? What they have to go through as a child? What does he/she look like? This is important because little details can go a long way. Remember, your character is like a person. They respond differently to different things. This keeps your character unique and enjoyable to roleplay with.
List of DO’s
1. Stick to a certain eye color and hair color.
2. Remember wounds and impairments that happen to your character when they get injured or hurt.
3. Remember what your character is wearing and what equipment they have. This will keep you alive.
List of DONT’s
1. If your character wouldn’t know something or do something because of their age, don’t do it. An eleven-year-old can’t drink.
V. Your Writing Style
No one can read your mind. Clarity is a very important thing. The way you write is, in some way, unique to you. Your writer’s voice is different from everyone’s else—you just have to unlock it and power it up to its highest potential through the different use of words, tenses, points of views, and etcetera. Here are some important factors in your “Writing Style.” Experiment with these, or stick with one—your writing, your choice.
Tenses :: There are three tenses: past, present, and future. You probably know this by now, but it’s pretty interesting how unconsciously, the human mind mixes them up while writing. You don’t want to mix up your tenses while you’re roleplaying. Reread your post after you’ve finished writing it.
Points of View :: There are three points of view: first person, second person, and third person. Let me explain each a little bit. This is important because it is how you portray your post to other people.
First Person: First person is in the self-appointed point of view. For instance, you’d write “I went to the store.” “I bought the kunai.” “I had some ramen last night.” The first person point of view is often less detailed about the surroundings and more centered on the character itself. The default text is not about the area around the character but what the character is thinking and what is going on in their mind. Past tense is memories and what the character can recall.
Second Person: This is RARELY used in roleplaying. It is... very odd. Second person is in the form of “you went to the store.” “You bought ramen.” This is often used for essays and advertisements, and is often not accepted for roleplaying.
Third Person: “He/She went to the store.” “They bought the kunai.” “He called her after the car accident.” Third person is more centered on the event and what is happening through the big picture. (We suggest you use this.)
Well... that’s it. If you have any additions to the guide, feel free to post them
Thanks for taking the time to read—good luck in mastering roleplaying! Remember, experience is everything. The more you roleplay, the better you will get at it.
May the roleplayingness be with you! ^^