Tips and Tricks of Roleplaying, and how to get the most out of your experience!
~The following is more a helpful article for people who are new to Role Playing, or maybe have had some problems with RP’s before and haven’t had people be very helpful with questions. This piece will hopefully help expand ideas and help better understand the mechanics behind an RP, and what can make it a better, more engaging experience!~
It’s a simple fact that the whole point of a Role play, is to become a character in a universe (of your own, or another’s creation), and to then immerse yourself within that universe; becoming the character you have taken host of.
It’s actually that simple. In fact, I’ll even sum it up in 5 steps!
1. Enter/Create a universe.
2. Create/Take command of a character within that universe.
3. Take turns posting within the RP based on whatever rules that RP Universe has.
4. Interact, explore and expand.
5. Have fun!
Maybe not necessarily in that order, but it’s a rough enough line up to give a basic impression.
But let’s take a moment to elaborate these (particularly step 4)
1. Enter/Create a universe:
This is the fantastic part of an RP. Unlike the generic “real world” everyone keeps going on about, an RP is set in a universe of one or more people creation. It’s either going to be something someone has set-up themselves and put forth for others to enter, or, it’s a collaborative effort which is either going to be set in stone for “objective” based reasons; or its “free-flowing” in the sense that it will transform itself as other interact within the universe.
2. Create/Take command of a character within that universe:
As simple as it sounds, it can actually be quite complex. There’s actually a whole listing of different ways to create characters, and some of them are frowned upon (check out this link here to read up on some info about this)
In the end, you’re either going to inherit the traits of a character already pre-defined by the creator/s of the Universe, which some may think retracts from their chance to be creative in their own character creation, but in a RP set-up in the style of a Dungeon Master RP, it’s necessary. But in this kinda case, the “pre-determined” character is normally a class that can be used, and the user’s still define the physical appearance or personality.
The latter is creating from scratch; personality, appearance, background, traits, abilities, likes, dislikes, everything! And the limitations are that of what the Universe will allow.
3. Take turns:
Most RP’s play out traditionally in a turn based fashion. Again, I’ll reference a Dungeon Master style, where say the group of players come face to face with a monster; each would take their turn to engage.
Turn based posting is typically the best method for allowing all players to get their opportunity to contribute, with its main drawback being that when one player is away for whatever reasons, it can hold up the RP. So many RP’s, even with a turn-based rule, will allow for X-Amount of posts to be allowed within X-Amount of post’s prior to their own, regardless of if another interacted with them. In the end, it can get confusing to keep up, so it comes down to the responsibility of each RP’er to pay attention to what’s going around them.
Remember, communication is key to a well-structured narration for an RP.
4. Interact, explore and expand:
The most important key to a successful RP (aside from creative construction of characters and the universe), is the act of taking full advantage of a RP. It’s pointless, and readers will get dis-interested, if an RP is nothing but bits and pieces of dialogue stuck between the odd action someone might do, like taking a swig from their mug of ale.
it is far more engaging when the RP’er instead puts thought and construction into their turn to draw both the readers, and other RP’ers into a scene.
Here’s an example of a poor post.Harold sat down at the table and took a swig from his mug. He looked over at James across from him staring. It annoyed him, so he called out, “What are you looking at?”
here’s a better way of doing that.Harold sat down at the table, taking a moment to adjust his seat and get comfortable. He then proceeded to take a strong swig of ale out of his mug and let out a satisfied sigh. He noticed James staring at him from across the table.
Slightly irritated by the staring, he remarked, “What are you looking at?”
The point I tried to make there was to elaborate a little. In just a couple extra sentences, I expanded a simple action and dialogue into a more personal touch for the character conducting the actions, and a emotion from when he drunk the ale. This simple little addition is useful for RP’s where there is a minimum sentence, word or paragraph count.
Additionally, you can further expand your posts by detailing a scene. If you just entered into a new room for example, a dark seedy apartment where you intend to meet with another Rp’er to discuss a dastardly plot; you should take a moment to consider your environment and highlight key features of the scene you’ve entered. This’ll help establish a solid setting and mood for your scene to take place!
But anyway, that’s more than enough rambling on about step four!
5. Have fun!
… no really, that’s it. If you’re not having fun, then you’re not going to want to take full advantage of what you can do during the RP. It could be you’re just not in the mood due to a busy lifestyle, or, you’ve found yourself in an RP where you just don’t feel involved enough with the story to stay interested. It’s no problem to have to leave if you’re in the middle of an RP, and this is where good communication comes into play. If for whatever reason a character has to leave, then find a way to do so. Maybe they had to move far away, or they were killed in action. Depends on the RP, really. Hell, you can end your last post with “I must go now, my homeworld needs me”, I’m sure those who understand that reference will get a good enough laugh.
But yes, communicate the problem.
Then find an RP you will have fun with! If being a character isn’t going well enough for you, then read instead the RP’s of others, and who knows, if you weren’t that keen on RP’s from your first experience, reading narratives created by other individuals may spur your Role Playing side and you could very well be the next creator of your own RP universe with your own puppets- er- “players” taking part in a world of your own design!Hints for expanding a post!
Now I know I’ve elaborated this in that Step 4 section (that long boring one with the slightly shitty example? Yeah! That one!) But I feel that sticking in some closed steps in regards to organising ones post could be helpful. The set-up I’m using though is more of an exemplar for those in an RP where guidelines are set that requires people to have a couple of Paragraphs, and stick a couple of sentences inside those paragraphs. I know for some it can be tedious to get something working on the spot, but hopefully these will help. It’s the same method I always follow when I make my posts, and so far I’ve always managed to get 2 paragraphs out of it, and can easily make more if needed.
• Start with an opening;
in many cases it’s an action. Explain briefly what your character’s doing. Are they wandering around? Staring up at the sky? Maybe getting the attention of another character (be they a player, or an NPC).
By starting with an action, or even a response to another’s action, you’ve given yourself already a sentence, and a paragraph. You may also stick a bit of dialogue in this if your action is in response to another character talking with you.
• Another paragraph can be filled again with the start of your dialogue. In any novel, dialogue begins on a new line, which counts as a paragraph. You can use this as a cheap trick, if you will, to get two paragraphs into your post. But remember to add some description. If you’re going for a bit of dialogue, let the reader know what emotion is being expressed. Are they being serious? Did they just yell? Maybe they’re embarrassed and their stance and approach is more taken back and awkward? There are limitless combinations of emotions you can put forth in a bit of dialogue, but no-one will know what it is until you’ve told them. So make sure to include it!
• Another way, and I won’t digress as I highlighted this already in Step 4, is to detail your characters observations of a scene. Is the sun setting on the horizon? Can they feel a chilling breeze blow by? Does the sound of crickets enhance an awkward silence? You may have also just entered a new scene, and this is a good opportunity to jot down your character’s observations, whether they made the scene themselves or are the ones entering another scene. It’ll also help draw the reader/s into the scene and help them immerse themselves in the narrative.
• Spelling and grammar checks
… if you don’t do them already, get started on it. There’s nothing more annoying (or at least I believe so), than reading something and having people fail to use appropriate grammar and spelling. It’s also very annoying to see an overuse of acronyms.
One does not merely stick in “LOL” in the middle of a sentence (though there’d be personalised characters where such dialogue would be used in dialogue to adhere to that character’s personality). But others, you would not walk around in public, talking about something and going “LOL” or whatever other nonsense. We do not write in “text speak”. An RP is as much a proper narrative as a book is by an author, and as such, people should treat it with proper respect. Don’t be lazy; there’s RP’s out there for people who don’t give a rats and want to make their stories a spam-contest of one sentence lines just to see who can stroke the bigger “God-modded” characters’ ego the most; but in an actual well-to-do RP where the aim is to actually create and immerse oneself within a universe of one-or-more peoples creation, it is a goal to make sure that we actually put some thought and consideration into what we post; not just for ourselves, but for others as well.NPC's:
because they do appear in there, and they can be confusing little bastards at times. So I'm going to outline one little factor about them, and then cease my EPIC RAMBLING SESSION!
NPC's (Neutral Passive Characters) are character's who are NOT controlled by a player. Though, there is a level of control a player does have over them, and this will vary depending on the role an NPC plays. There's a few ways an NPC will be used, and here's a few.
• A character’s personal guardian/familiar/pet, etc. A single player controls them at all times, which means they create their features and control them as they would themselves. It’s a tricky thing to do, since it’s basically having two characters in one RP; but the user must remember to not become the NPC they’ve made.
• Another NPC is an open one that all players can have some control. This could be an NPC such as a Waitress at a café’. The creator who original sets the waitress may give a brief description of their appearance so other’s may visualise them within the scene and interact accordingly. Big details aren’t necessary, especially if (in this example) the waitress is only temporary for that scene and is not involved later.
• Key plot NPC’s are normally created by the Universes creator. They should also be included in the universe’s summary (if there is one for the RP), and they should have a given personality, appearance, hates/dislikes, or whatever is necessary to employ them as a more permanent character which players can interact with to a set degree (as given by whatever guidelines and rules are present).
Remember, an NPC is an extension of the universe created. They are there for players to utilise like they would any other entity within an RP. But take note that though employing an NPC in an RP is useful at times, you shouldn’t stick in too many of them, lest you want a massive pile of confusing crap, and a bunch of seemingly mindless dolls sitting around with blank expressions, waiting for next player to remember they exist somewhere In the narrative so they can be utilised for their intended purpose once more.
That's it from me, so if you managed to read through all of that dribble, then a theortical cookie is on its way to you as a reward! it's can be any flavour you want except rainbow, because I used up all those to get Rosa to help proof-read this.
Alot of this is based off my own experiences, and opinion towards RP's, so please, I encourage you all to debate this further (in a civial manner), so that our wealth of knowledge can grow!