Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Basic Role-Playing Terms

Role-Playing (role-play, RP, RPing):
The concept where one acts out scenes and stories with others around a particular theme by assuming a "role" and taking on the personality of a particular character. It is your character acting out or telling his or her own particular story. Everything that you post is to that end. It refers to a situation of fictional context whereby you portray yourself as someone you are not. It allows you to be whatever you want (within sim rules/limits of course) as though you were playing a part in a large multi-leveled interactive movie.

Out of Character (OOC):
The typist, the person behind the avatar, the RL person behind the keyboard.
OOC: Anything that occurs and/or relates to things out of the game. This means you are speaking with your OWN voice and not the voice of your character. In local chat this is often denoted by a set of double parentheses on either side of your statement. eg ((My computer just stuffed up...sorry guys)). Use of excessive ooc comments is frowned upon while RP is going and very disruptive for the people engaging in ongoing RPs.

In Character (IC):
The character in your screen, the avatar and the role/character/personilty you have given him/her.
IC: Anything that occurs in and/or relates to what happens in the role-playing game (to/by the characters). If you are talking "IC" it means you are speaking with the voice and words of your character. When making IC posts, you should NEVER use abbreviations (how r u?, lol, rofl, etc.) or emoticons ( :), ^.^, :P, etc.). When you are IC you should also avoid the use of gestures - they distract from RP.

IC/OOC Line:
The line between ‘in character’ and ‘out of character.’ Players are not their characters and are not necessarily even like their characters, and vice versa. Realize that everything that is happening when IC is just that - a character someone is playing in a game. Do not take IC actions, insults, fights, etc. personally. You may not like another character, but respect the fact that they are just that .. a character.

To make a post that expresses emotion, action or inner dialog, thoughts, ponderings, etc. of your character. You indicate this by typing /me before your text.
Example: "/me smiles."
Posts as "Nevan Nizna smiles."
When expressing inner thoughts or emotions, your should always *do* something observable so that others can react to it. For example:

Not-so-good Emote:
Nevan Nizna sees the stranger eying her but she isnt interested in him.

Better Emote:
Nevan Nizna sees the stranger eying her. She wrinkles her nose and turns her head away from him with disinterest, hoping he will get the hint and move on his way.

The first example cannot and should not be commented on by other players; the second can and should be commented on by other players.

Bringing OOC knowledge into an IC situation, e.g. knowing that a character really likes busty brunettes, when it has never been mentioned, and your character has no basis for knowing this fact. Any knowledge discovered through “out of character” means may not be used “in character.” The practice is considered “meta-gaming”, which is a strict no-no. This includes, but is not limited to: conversations ‘overheard’ in avatar chat range when your character could not reasonably overhear it due to “physical” constraints (i.e., through walls, floors, ceilings, or the ground), and using information gained through looking at the Avatar Tag, reading profiles, use of the mini-map or camming around. Don't use information/knowledge your character hasn't earned - only things discovered/learned through roleplay can be used ICly.

Godmoding (godmoding, moding, godmodding etc.):
Where a character does something they are not capable of and/or do not have permission to do to another character, e.g. moving another character by stating they are somewhere they are not without the other player’s permission, mindreading without permission, stating something about a character's storyline without permission. Godmoding can also refer to the case where a player definitively describes the outcome of their own actions against another character. For example, if player A states, "A strikes B and B takes damage", they could be considered to be godmodding. See for more information.

Roleplaying is a give and take experience. No one is invincible, no one has all the answers to any problem, has all knowledge, etc. - everyone has weaknesses, so let your enemies know yours and take turns battling and exploiting each other. It makes roleplaying with you a lot more fun. If people start to groan when you're around or avoid roleplaying with you, you might want to try and change your tactics. If in doubt - IM the people you are RP'ing with to make sure you're all in agreement about what is happening.

Get involved!

This is a blog about how to get involved in rp with other players and awareness of how and why to involve new players into your rp.

Main reason for this blog, is to make everyone more aware of eachother and to try and create an atmosphere in any role-play environment in which everyone gets to experience the joy that rp can bring.

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Let's start with the very beginning.
Everyone has started to role-play at one point, and players that have been active for quite some time will sure remember how they felt when they were new.

You don't know the rules, you don't know the people, you don't know your own character yet, you feel unsure, nervous, you may even suffer from stage-fright. Everyone has their own way of moving about in unexplored terrority.

You might feel more comfortable watching at first, getting a feel of how it works. Or maybe you feel eager to jump in. There is no wrong or right in how you start, but you have to realise that it will take time to find your way.

Most important advice before you get started : Read the rules!!

No matter in which sim you want to rp, every sim has their own rules and it is unavoidable to never mistakes, we all make mistakes, but reading and making sure you understand the rules will make it a lot easier to join the play.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. It would be ashame to start playing somewhere without the basic knowledge of the do's and don'ts and find yourself in trouble or even get yourself banned for something that wasnt necessary.

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A reminder for the more experienced active players.

New players are necessary to keep any sim alive. New people, new characters, new ideas, more rp-opportunities!!

It is very easy to stick to the players you know, you have ongoing rp's and relationships that you want to spend time with.
In some cases it is very understandable that you do not have the possibility to invest your time in someone you don't know yet.

But keep your eyes open at all times and don't ignore new players. If you see someone trying to engage in rp and it doesn't suit you at that time for whatever reason let them know in a friendly and honest way.

If you see someone that seems lost, remember how you felt when you started. Ask if they need help, guide them to a some place or someone that ‘can’ help them if you feel you cannot help them yourself.

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That said .. it can be really hard for new players in a new environment to find an entrance. Whether you have rp-ed before or not, you find yourself in a new place where nobody knows who you are. It can be extremely frustrating to find yourself someone willing to 'play' with you. 

A few tips on how to get yourself involved in rp.

*. Walk around the sim and find a single player. Depending on your character you could just walk up to someone and introduce yourself, or you could choose to emote 'noticing the person standing/sitting there' to let them know you are there to play.

Bare in mind that that player is alone for a reason. It could be they are waiting for someone to come along to start an rp, but also they could be caught up in IM's, or reading a notecard, working on their char or brainstorming on an oncoming rp. Wait a while for a response. Dont say 'Hi' and move on after one minute. They might not have seen it or ... some people tend to write longer replies.

If you are unsure if someone has seen you or not, send an IM. Be friendly, tell them you have tried to engage in rp and ask if they have time to play with you.

*. Approach a group of players interacting with eachother. Have a listen to see what is going on. You could emote 'stumbling upon a small crowd and observing the situation'. In some cases you will stumble upon an ongoing rp that has been set-up for a specific reason. This could mean it will be difficult for the players to include you. Again, do not be afraid to ask, using ((ooc brackets)) or IM, inform if you can be included or not.

*. Attend role-play classes. Several role-play sims offer free role-play classes. Make use of that service offered and learn the basics of role-play taught by professionals. Well known and well recommended are ROPE-Classes (Roleplay for Everyone) which teach the basics of role-play but are definitely worthwhile a visit of more experienced players too, to brush up on their knowledge and/or share their views/ideas with others.

*. Join OOC Chat groups. Most role-play sims will have special OOC chat groups, intended to allow players to connect with each other, brainstorm about roleplays, go off-topic, or whatever.

So in general :
Let other players know that you are there.
If you do not talk or emote at all, you might be mistaken for being afk, or not interested in playing.

Keep your eyes (and your mind) open and on the look-out for players who need guidance. Every new player is a potential new 'play'-mate to have lots of rp-joy with.

If you are unsure on how to get started, or too shy to take the initiative engaging in an rp, send an IM to a player near you. Let them know you are new and ask if they want to help you.

Creating your character.

Before you can start to role-play, you have to create your character:
This can be a character as complicated or incomplicated as you choose and are comfortable with.

A few things to think about when creating your character.
- Personality
- Appearance
- Background
- Quirks and/or habits

Before you begin playing your character, here are some questions you could ask yourself:
Who is your character?
What has your character been through in life that made him/her this way?
What is his/her goal in life?
What does he/she believe in?
What is his/her background and upbringing?
Is your character good? Evil? Somewhere in between?

By answering all of these questions, you build up a picture of what your character is like, and it gives information for you to draw upon when you RP. You can go as far as you like with this, even building up a personal profile for yourself with details that others do not need to see, but will find out through interaction with your character.
E.g. what is your character's favourite colour?
Favourite book?
Does he/she have any family?
Is he rowdy?

By building this profile, you are breathing life into your character. A lot of it may never be used but think about real life. You may get into a conversation with other people you meet and even if these questions may not be asked, they do colour the way you converse. They define who you are, and this is no different for your character.

Once you have done this, you will have a clearer picture, and you might already have ideas about how your character might react in different circumstances.

Acting the Part:
This is the meat and bones of role-playing. In fact, this is what the word actually means - playing a role. In other words, you are just acting the part of your character for the time you are playing the game. This is not as difficult as it might sound. You already have the background information you need. You know who your character is, what his/her aims are, you just need to put that into practice.

Keep it real:
No matter what kind of role you have chosen to play. Try and keep your character and his/her behaviour as realistic as possible. 

One of the biggest things to effect the way you play your character is his/her alignment - whether he/she is good, evil, or neutral. A common misconception about alignment is that it is very black and white, but this is not necessarily the case. Just like in the real world, there are many shades of good and evil.

Keep in mind:
When you start role-playing with the character you have created. Your character’s personality will develop through the things and events that happen to him/her. Other characters he/she meets and has relationships (in whatever form) with will shape your character and his/hers feelings about and/or views on certain things.

You can start out with an incredibly detailed background for your character and have certain ideas of where you see your character going in the future. But .. the fun of role-playing is just, that no matter how determined you are to lead your character a certain way, one meeting with a stranger could turn his/her life totally upside down. You are not the only one in control of what happens. Role-playing is interactive.

Role-playing game (according to wiki)

Role-playing game (according to wiki)

A role-playing game (RPG) is a broad family of games in which players assume the roles of characters, or take control of one or more avatars, in a fictional setting. Actions taken within the game succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
The original form, sometimes called the pen-and-paper RPG, is conducted through speech. In live action role-playing games (LARP), players perform their characters' physical actions. In both of these forms, an arranger called a game master (GM) usually decides on the rules and setting to be used and acts as referee, while each other player plays the role of a single character. At the heart of these formats is in-character participation in a collaborative narrative. Several varieties of RPG exist in electronic media, including text-based MUDs and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
Role-playing games also include offline role-playing video games in which players control a character or party of characters who undertake quests, and whose capabilities advance using statistical mechanics. These games often share settings and rules with pen-and-paper RPGs, but do not enable the same collaborative storytelling.
Despite this variety of forms, some game forms such as trading card games and wargames that are related to role-playing games may not be included. Role-playing activity may sometimes be present in such games, but it is not the primary focus. The term is also sometimes used to describe roleplay simulation games and exercises used in teaching, training, and academic research.


Role playing games are fundamentally different from most other types of games in that they stress social interaction and collaboration, whereas board games, card games, and sports emphasize competition.
Both authors and major publishers of role-playing games consider them to be a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. However, they are not considered true narratives like novels or films as there is no actual story within a role-playing game. Instead events, characters and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience. Like stories, role-playing games appeal because they engage the imagination. Interactivity is the crucial difference between role-playing games and traditional fiction. Whereas a viewer of a television show is a passive observer, a player at a role-playing game makes choices that affect the story. Such role-playing games extend an older tradition of storytelling games where a small party of friends collaborate to create a story.
While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional children's games such as "cops and robbers" and "cowboys and Indians", role-playing games add a level of sophistication and persistence to this basic idea with the addition of numeric rule sets and the participation of a referee. Participants in a role-playing game will generate specific characters and an ongoing plot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realistic campaign setting in games aids suspension of disbelief. The level of realism in games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story or credible challenge up to full-blown simulations of real-world processes.

"The variety of role playing games makes it inherently challenging to provide a common definition. However, all forms of role playing games – be they PnP RPGs, CRPGs, MMORPGs or LARPS - share a group of characteristics, which makes them identifiable from other types of games: storytelling with rules, control of fictional characters, a fictitious reality, usually the presence of a game master (or game engine), and at least one player."

"Still, we must note that there is no actual story in the game of the role-playing game, though there are events, characters and structures of narrativity giving the players the basis for interpreting it as a narrative. We have many partially open structures that we may fulfil with our imagination during the course of the game – within its limitations. We also have the ability to follow different kinds of narrative premises and structures as well as imitate them for ourselves to create more authentic and suitable narrative experiences. We have the ‘narrative desire’ to make pieces we interpret to relate to each other fit in, to construct the plot from recurring and parallel elements."