How to RP
Okay, before I get started: This wiki is NOT to say I am the best RPer in the world. It is NOT to say that this guide is the kickass ONLY way to RP. I’m not trying to insult anyone, and if I make a comment that you feel like it insults you personally, you need to de-sensitize your personality. I never go for insults when I’m teaching. I’m just saying, it’s something newbie’s (also called n00bs if they're obnoxious), and even some pro’s might want to read. This is for self-improvement: the only way to true enlightenment.
Here are the topics:
[#2]. Style of writing
[#3]. Fighting/power playing
[#4]. Character development/bio's
Okay, so we begin with number 1! Literacy is a big issue, I’ve noticed, in any type of RPG’s.
Basically, there are a few key points I need to point out:
1. Do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT write as if you were chatting in an IM. Trust me; it’s as annoying as all hell. If you know the full word, use it. ‘u’ as ‘you’ is unacceptable. You will have good-to-expert RPer’s completely ignoring you. Moreover, it’s only two more letters-come ON. Typing is NOT a marathon. Just DO it.
2. Think about what you’re typing. If you’re a beginner, and you KNOW you suck at it, try not to use contractions. Contractions happen when you combine two words: 'do not' into ‘don’t’, 'it is' into ‘it’s’ etc. It helps a lot with practicing, until you just do it without thinking about it. Mainly, the problem with contractions is that people leave out the thingies (apostrophes, or whatever) coming up with ‘dont’, or they don’t know which type of ‘your’ to use, making ‘you're’, ‘your’ (for ‘you are’), and more and more.
3. Use the vocabulary you’re comfortable with. If you’re a good RPer, you’ll notice yourself using larger vocabulary. Don’t use words that you can’t spell, or proofread your posts.
4. Okay, capitalize, people! Add periods to break up your ultra-long sentences! And although, at one point, two periods were okay with an ellipses (singular: ellipsis; one of ‘...’ things), it’s not good anymore, because I said so and I’m always right! Plus, I have irrefutable evidence: Microsoft word goes all mini on ellipses, but only when they’re three dots long! Oooh, in your FACE! Anywho... When your character thinks, the appropriate thing to do is italicize the thought, although some people let you put <’s around the thought. Go to a wiki guide to figure out how to italicize. When your character speaks, put apostrophes “” around what he/she says. Otherwise, you confuse people, and when they make mistakes concerning your character, it’s all your fault! Of course, as pointed out to me, if your wiki is composed of people who all use the same way to do things, a small quirk in grammar or something, then I'm not one to dictate format. Just preaching the norm.
5. Please, please, please. Using asterisks (*) to describe actions is a slap on the face and a neon sign that says you’re an utter newbie to the RP scene. Make it into a story, using correct English grammar. *walks in* is not good. ‘He/she walks in’ IS. Please keep this in mind, although it’s not that big of a deal for Elftown.
Wrong: *walks in* Omg! teh girl thinks this place is the bomb! Hey gurl I love those totaly rockin shoes she says. Hey.. wheres the party?
Right: A girl walks into the room, looking about. Oh, my, God! the girl thinks. “This place is the bomb! Hey, girl-I love those totally rockin’ shoes!” she says. “Hey… Where’s the party?”
Now you know!
Onto the next subject: Style of writing!
You might think, Didn’t we just cover that? Well, yes and no. We covered ‘literacy’-and although some people might hate that word, it’s easier to type out than ‘the ability to write correctly using the accurate form of English spelling and grammar’. So there. We covered spelling and making your post easier to read-now we shall cover the correct way to type, tailored to Elftown wiki’s.
Some people in other RPG places might think that RPGing in ‘first person’ (talking from one person’s point of view using ‘I’) is useful, but in Elftown, it’s quite hard. You get this:
“I walk in, brushing hair out of my face. Looking about, I see there are some nice people standing around, doing nothing. I want to start dancing, because we need to get this party started!
I watch the strange, long-haired person begin to dance. I didn’t want to dance at all. This party does NOT need to get started-I just wanted out.”
In Elftown wiki’s, since it’s impossible to distinguish which sentence belongs to which user with a glance, the story becomes a long mess of strange contradictions. This is where another point of view, ‘third person’, comes into play. For those of you not yet in freshman English, or new to English, or just ignorant, third person is where the story is told from the point of view of one person, limited to his/her thoughts and actions, but using their name and him/her etc instead of ‘I’ or ‘mine’. For example: “Jill walked into the bar. Looking about, she saw a bunch of different people, and felt strange.” Then, if another person wants to add, they can say, “Tom noticed Jill and, seeing the look on the poor girl’s face, decided to make friends with her.” See how you can distinguish the different people in this style of writing? It’s much easier for everyone!
Recently (after I decided to write this), there was a VERY good thing pointed out to me by the fabulous-o [Jewl] (I like to give credit where credit is due). Before I point out what that thing is, take a look at her first example sentence:
"She walks in. 'Whats up, people?' She says. Then she sits down."
Some (although I know not all) might look a that sentence and then give me a look not unassociated with "What?!" Yes, the sentence IS grammatically correct. It is written in third person, it has punctuation marks, ALL used properly (although I edited slightly so I could quote the sentence, using MLA format... something you can ignore, for now). So what's the problem? The problem is that I would have to bite my tongue to stay awake reading that.
This point deals more with your ability to write interesting stories than it does with your ability to write correctly. Say you look at that sentence, and you think, "Hey, that's how I write! Exactly! Heck, I even used THAT sentence in a past RPG!" The key to self-improvement is to try and add details. The more details your sentences have, the better they'll seem. To add details, you might even start asking yourself questions: What would your character do here? If you were him/her, what would you be feeling? How would they say THIS? In fact, what would they say? What would his/her face look like? Where are they? Get into the story! That's why we RP, really. Because it's fun, and because we love to write. Now, here's Jewl's sentence, amplified with her imagination:
"She strolls in, looking around quizzically and smiling. She blushes slightly, saying, 'What's up, people?' softly. Then, after hearing no reply, she shuffles over to an old, beaten looking chair and plops down."
Ahhhh. That was MUCH more interesting.
Now you know!
Now we shall get down to some rough-and-dirty hard topics: Fighting and power playing. You might not realize it, but fighting in online RPG’s requires a lot of skill and honor. You must showcase your character’s abilities without power playing or over-doing it. For newbie’s, the term ‘power playing’ has yet to become familiar. Simply, power-players control the actions of other gamers, they create their characters to be super-powerful and utterly control the battlefield, and they have no shame with causing their character to disobey even simple laws of physics. They infiltrate ANY role-playing forum there is, and are especially annoying to experienced RPer’s. It might be morally incorrect, but my solution is to become a power-player myself (a gift given to the master of the RP to use wisely) and cause their character to explode randomly. Why? Because I'm malicious. You'll probably get lucky and have a nicer RP master, in which case you'd just better be nice back. So, for newbie’s, and even some professionals, listen up!
PLAYING DO’S AND DON’TS:
DO let your fellow RPer’s talk for themselves.
DO NOT control, in any way, any of the actions or thoughts of your fellow RPer’s (you made them look up to notice your character, for example-let them do that for themselves!).
DO let your fellow RPer’s have a chance for action before you create the story practically by yourself.
DO NOT make your post so long it practically encompasses a villain (he shows up, you kill him, he’s dead). That is what we call ‘too much text and ego, and now our eyes hurt’.
DO NOT make your character sickeningly perfect (to be covered when I write about making a bio).
DO NOT read other’s thoughts. If they didn’t say it, you don’t know it. If they’re feeling something, don’t automatically guess what it is. I know some people who, every other post they make, guess the true feelings of every person in the room, even to the extent of correctly answering unasked questions. YOU ARE NOT A PSYCHIC.
DO try and stick with your character’s personality. It’s hard, sometimes, but just remember basic traits. It’s strange when a passive character turns evil and cruel, snapping at random people.
(Remember! There is an exception to every rule, except that one. Use good judgment. Do not drink and RP, because friends don't let friends... live in glass houses, or something.)
Really, be true to life. If you can’t do it in real life, short of some magic, try not to do it in an RPG (eg: Matrix-style fights with a bartender from Houston, Texas). This is a hint many great authors take, with exceptions to special characters. You’ll do well to take it, also.
Now to the fighting, the hard part of any RP. Thank goodness there was a nice, long article about the three types of fighting so I didn’t have to research anything.
The three types of fighting: True, Cheeze, and Mix. You only have to pay attention to ‘True’, although you might read more.
True is based on creativity and honor. Attack your opponent, then WAIT to see if you hit. Sometimes you will land a punch, as your opponent feels necessary. This is where honor comes in: the other opponent must think and wonder if their character could truly block it. True fighting is very hard, as the power play level is down to NOTHING, but someone has to lose. That’s the way it is in a fight. (Note: a more obscure rule of True that some people observe is that with a poorly-written attack ("bob wanna hit tom and swings swoordy") then the damage can’t do anything ("Tom laughs at the babyish Bob, the sword breaking on his mighty abdomen muscles of doom"). I don’t know if you’d observe it, but it kind of counts as power play, so explain your reason to your opponent first.)
Cheeze is stereotypically favored by newbie’s. You base it on blood and gore, with the most violent attack inflicting the most damage. Crushing a spinal cord into dust as you gouge out eyes and rip any intestines out through their ear? More points for you. The opponent can go ‘ouch’ and heal himself, a point of True Cheeze (a variation). They describe their agony as their intestines leave their body and eyes and spinal cord are kinda shot, but then they cast a slight rejuvenation spell and continue fighting, however weakly. Hard Core Cheeze is different. You can completely ignore the opponent’s attacks, absorb them, whatever. It goes on and on and on… and on and on and on, until someone gives up. Requires endurance, yes, a good point, but it’s annoying as hell.
Mix is, well, a mix of Cheeze and True. You attack as brutally as Cheeze, but you also give your opponent time to look out. Maybe even let them react before you attack them fully.
With any attacks, you must recognize hits to your person. However, the style most loved on Elftown is True. Usually, you fight with another user, and nobody likes a power player. True gives your opponent time to react. The honor part I cannot stress enough. Have weaknesses! Make your character run into walls! And on the other side, make sure you don’t utterly destroy them with the first attack! Have some shame, people!
Now you know!
Now onto the more fun part of the speech: your characters! A lot of RPer’s do RPing because, simply, the joy in obsessing over their characters. Quite a few hardcore RPer’s have a single character they reuse in every RP they visit (although some hardcore RPer’s are annoying, inasmuch as their character is invincible-and they’ve used it for so long, any changes to make him/her weaker are shunned). Some more flexible ones just create different characters for every RP, or most of their RP’s, reusing a few aspects.
You’ll hear more rants about species than anything else. Mention ‘half angel, half demon’ characters to certain people, and they go INSANE. I mean, rabid coyote insane. A lot of people react the same way with vampire characters. My take? If you have good background, then go for it. Really, yes, certain things are overused-but there are a good hundred-thousand RPer’s out there. Which means you HAVE species that are reused, duh. Vampires are popular because yes, they are cool, believe it or not. You cross a few species because you want to be original, you inspire a couple of people, and you got yourself a trend that annoys advanced people. Ignore them. If you have fun with your character, and they’re not all-powerful, who’s to say that the critics matter? Just have fun, be imaginative, and chances are nobody will really care!
For a moment, let's bring the subject of powerplaying up, once more. Anybody can accidentally make their character overly powerful, which is a form of powerplaying. There are many instances of people doing this. [Dark Adherent] said it best when he said, "Well, there are some when you play a god, and others when you may just be an elf or a human, with obscenely great skills...One thing that shouldn't be done is bringing an extremely powerful character into an rp where people play under-powered characters." We cannot emphasize this enough. Making your character hugely gifted with whatever they can do, enough so that they could wipe out the other characters just by batting their eyes rapidly (hyperbole, but whatever), is unfair. Yes, there are some wiki's that are made up of God's... But they have their rules, too, and you're among other super-powerful characters. Stealing the show is mean.
What you might do in the above case is BE super-powerful, but unable to use it... Or, you could be super-powerful but unwilling to use it. VERY unwilling. You should always try to start off an RP at the same level as everyone else. Different things can equalize other things in other characters (very intelligent=very good at fighting, or very rich=very good at fighting).
Anyway, a bio/profile is an important part of a character, here on Elftown. Most of the time, it’s so you don’t have to write out every detail of a complicated-looking character with your first post-people can read a bio and determine these obvious details themselves. They also provide background, which is fun to read. The main rule of bio’s: You read stuff in them you couldn’t possibly know about, and you must act like you don’t know about it in the RP. You read they have a terminal illness, but they look like they could do a five-minute mile at any moment? Don’t mention it.
Here’s a basic outline of a bio (most masters have bio forms pre-made, some with less):
Your username. This is so in the comment’s box, we know which character you play. Other information might be asked of you, but usually you don’t have to supply it.
Your character’s name. This is to match the bio with the character. Include nicknames etc.
Sex: If you write ‘yes please’ you will die two paragraphs in, I can almost guarantee it. Specify female, male, or both like everyone else.
Your character’s age. They don’t have to act it. A common occurrence is to say ‘they’re over a million years old and they look 15’. Pry yourself away from that habit-it’s overdone and not all that possible (can you look humanoid when you're 2 billion years old?)
Species of your character: this is sometimes restricted, sometimes not. Humans CAN be fun to play, believe it or not!
Appearance: Go into as much detail as you want. I like my character to look unique but no overly so. Some people write pages, and seem almost egotistical-you’d need a picture to keep all the details in your mind.
Personality: As mentioned above, stick with one type, and maybe incorporate flaws. Those people who are sensitive, nice, and yet angry and a loner all at the same time are a little strange. Those who are SUPPOSED to hate attention and company usually, by fault of the RPer, become all lonely and friendly, while their bio says ‘barely makes friends, and doesn’t care!’ or some crap like that. Get over your inherent need to make friends in a RPG or admit it and make your character clingy!
Strengths/Weaknesses: Include fighting styles/magic you possess. If you're 16, it's highly unlikely that you are master wizard of the world, because you're still going through puberty. Come on. Additionally, GOOD RPer’s (cough) include at least one major weakness. If your character is just weak overall (no magic and slightly a pacifist) you can make the major weakness strange and fun if slightly useless (deathly afraid of the color mauve) (hehe). Sometimes, a person might just put for a weakness, "Is just overall weak!" because that happens.
Magic/Weapons: Sometimes there’s another category to put your fighting style/weapons/style of magic. Please don’t say you have every conceivable form of magic there ever was and will be. That’s power playing, and annoying to boot. If they’re good at magic, then they’re old and specialize in one or two types of magic, unless they're very special (see above about being super-powerful in an RPG of not-as-powerful people). So there.
History: You may also have fun doing this. Write everything about your character’s history, even if they themselves don’t remember (like, an amnesia person). Some people like to say ‘unknown’ and leave it up to people to figure it out and hey, I like surprises. Go for it, although it ticks a few people off. However, then you don’t get to show off your cool writing skillz. Plus, with an above rule, even if your past is known, you can always make it unknown by not talking about it. However, when it boils down to it, people make histories just to have fun. Most other RPer’s are hoping you’ll pry into their histories too much to pry into yours. Any mention of history on your part is a desperate plea of attention, because let’s face it, no RPG really sits around and asks about your past... Usually. So have fun with your history for the character building of it all.
If your character’s personality seems to change as you develop him/her, you might want to add that to your bio.
Thank you to [Slinky] for helping me out: "just a suggestion, it's helpful, but not necessary: before joining a game and creating your character, it's usually a good idea to read at least a bit of what's been happening in the game so far, and to read the bios of characters that already exist. In this way, you can shape your character to compliment the characters that already exist. For example, if the currently playing group has a bunch of people who are good in various fighting aspects, perhaps you can choose to be a magic user of some sort, to sort of balance out the party. or if all of the other characters are ditzy and dumb and mostly there for comic relief (which is perfectly fine), then you can create a smart character to help lead the party to it's goals and whatnot (this isn't a fun job, usually, but it's nice if it's done)"
(I quoted, not paraphrased, because I'm lazy. And it's good the way it is!)
Here, I’ll put down bio’s that I admire and say why, and some that I don’t-but will give constructive criticism. If you see a bio here you like, use it for, I dunno, a formula of a good bio. But don't copy the character. Because that's just stoopid, and I don't want people sending me messages about all the people who copied their really original idea. Send me yours through a message! (And tell me that it's for here, because I have random people send me bio's all the time... For some reason...)
Some other wiki's that explain it better/just as good as I:
So, You Want To RP?
A lesson in spelling
TB-RPG Community Center
Character Building Guide
Role Playing for Dummies
The Ultimate Character Guide
This page is still kind of under construction.
I hope you enjoyed it! I also hoped you learned something. Remember, you may still say to yourself that you never do anything like this-but sometimes you might; you just have to catch yourself doing it. Good luck in the RP world!
(PS: I am only human. Point out any spelling/grammar mistakes in this scary-ass wiki, but do it politely. Also, since I'm still a learning RPer meself, comments/suggestions are welcome! I am in complete awe of anyone who says they can RP, not knowing if they can or not, so I will definitely take your advice to heart and give you credit. Unless, of course, you're wrong or anything. If you make a guide, or find another one, feel free to share it with me! I'll post a link here, of course!)
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