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RPG tip: Forum Roleplaying

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Auteur Bericht

Geregistreerd op: 17-5-2004
Berichten: 4016
Woonplaats: Amsterdam

BerichtGeplaatst: Di Sep 06, 2005 5:43 pm    Onderwerp: RPG tip: Forum Roleplaying Reageer met quote

Deze hebben sommigen van jullie al ontvangen... maar ik kan het niet laten hem hier te plaatsen. Laten we hopen dat hij van nut is voor ontwikkeling van leukere online-rpg's! (Die niet na 10 posts stranden...)

Alle credits gaan naar John Four's site www.roleplayingtips.com

This Week's Tips:
1. How To Begin
2. How To Participate In A Thread
3. How To Write


A guest article by Laffinnome at:

Role play is called such because the player plays a role:
you are thinking, doing, and saying things according to the
adopted personality you choose. You are not just writing or
reading about the action, you are one of the participants in
the action.

Picture yourself being an actor in a improvisational show in
which you can only act for yourself, and you do not know
what the others will do or what their responses to your
actions will be. This is what role-playing is: becoming a
fictional person in a fictional setting, ready to interact
with fellow participants.

1. How To Begin
1) Creating A Character
To participate in any action you have to create your
personal character. We all know about our real life
insufficiencies, but do not try and make up for them by
creating a fantasy character that is perfect! If you do, you
will soon discover that no one wants to play alongside a
perfect character, since they always will be stuck in an
inferior role next to you. As much as you want to be a hero
in your fantasy world, so does everybody else.

For example, a new player creates a sorcerer character and
gives him unbeatable powers. All threads involving him would
quickly end with some post saying that his powers were
unbeatable and thus he defeated whoever was his opponent.
It's not long before nobody replies to his posts anymore.
Nobody wants to join a thread in which they can only be the

Design your character to be at least slightly realistic. Of
course, it can be different from who and what you are in
real life, but according to the environment the story is set
in, you need to give your character a few insufficiencies.

2) Introducing Your Character
If you are joining someone else's thread, just follow the
example of the thread starter as to what information to post
about your character, or just post a basic character

Here's an example of a basic introduction:

Name: River
humpiedumpie: female
Race: human/elf
Occupation: bard, some minor healing spells and thieving
Age: 20s
Appearance: tall, grey eyes, blonde hair
Weapons: poisoned darts, composite recurving bow

If you are starting your own thread, keep in mind that what
you post about your character will not necessarily determine
how other people introduce theirs. For example, if you want
to be certain that everyone describes what their characters
are wearing, do not just include this information about your
own character and expect them to follow suit. State in your
post that you would like this information included.

3) Joining An Existing Thread
If the GM has not posted any specific information on how to
join the thread, such as saying you should just jump in, or
that you need to PM (private message) them if you wish to
join, proceed as follows:

* New threads (less than 20 posts) without casting calls -
you can just jump in (beginning by introducing your
character, of course).

* Older threads without casting calls - the plot line of the
story has most likely been firmly established, making it
harder to introduce additional characters. However, if you
can find an opening for your character, go ahead and PM the
GM requesting to join (make sure to include the details of
your character, and how they fit into the story line). You
might not get in, but it never hurts to ask.

* Threads with casting calls - post to the casting call,
then wait for the GM's approval of your character before
posting to the main thread.

* Threads labeled 'closed' or 'invitation only' - these are
threads created for a specific group of people, and are not
open for you to join. While this might seem unfair and
exclusionary to some, there are often perfectly legitimate
reasons why others might prefer to start, or participate in,
closed threads.

4) Starting Your Own Thread
If you've got a good idea for a thread you can start your
own. In your first post (whether to the main thread, or to a
casting call) you need to name your thread (that's what goes
in the 'Subject' field), and to explain your idea for the
story line, location, and so on. If you are not bothering
with a casting call (there is certainly no need for a
casting call, and many GMs prefer not to use them) then your
first post must also introduce your character and begin the

2. How To Participate In A Thread
1) The Mechanics Of Posting
a) Identify What Character You Are Playing.
If you're playing more than one character it is essential
that you clearly define which character you are acting and
speaking for. Do this by putting the character's name before
their actions like this:


Slowly shaking his head back to consciousness, Bordo opens
his eyes and looks around for his companions. "Hello?
Anyone still around?" Realizing he is alone, Bordo figures
the group must have traveled on, thinking him dead.
Muttering to himself about fair weathered friends, Bordo
casts around for a moment until he finds the group's
obvious trail.

This method can also be used instead of putting IC (in
character) before the post, and is a good habit even if you
have no OOC (out of character) comments to make, since it
will make certain that everyone always knows who your
character is. (In threads with lots of other players, or
ones that have just started, it is easy to become confused
about which characters everyone is playing.)

b) Distinguish Between Actions And Dialogue
In your posts make sure to differentiate between dialogue
and descriptions/actions. This is done by using quotes (")
around dialogue in the same way you would if you were
writing a story. Other ways to do it include using double
colons (:Smile or asterisks (*) around non-dialogue. The
previous example was written using quotes; here is an
example of that same post written using asterisks:


*slowly shaking his head back to consciousness, Bordo
opens his eyes and looks around for his companions* Hello?
Anyone still around? *realizing he is alone, Bordo figures
the group must have traveled on, thinking him dead.
Muttering to himself about fair weathered friends, Bordo
casts around for a moment until he finds the group's
obvious trail*

c) Distinguish Between OOC And IC Dialogue
Try not to post too much OOC dialogue when role playing, but
when you do have to post some, make sure to indicate it's
out of character:

OOC: Hey guys, sorry I've been away, can't wait to get
back into this...


Slowly shaking his head back to consciousness, Bordo opens
his eyes and looks around for his companions. "Hello?
Anyone still around?" Realizing he is alone, Bordo figures
the group must have traveled on, thinking him dead.
Muttering to himself about fair weathered friends, Bordo
casts around for a moment until he finds the group's
obvious trail.

d) Stay Involved With The Story Line
Try to keep your posts involved with the main storyline;
nothing is more annoying than to see the flow of a story
interrupted by unrelated side-plots. That's not saying that
side-plots aren't good, they often are, but things should
keep moving along the main storyline as if you're reading a
novel. Think of it this way, Stephen King may introduce a
character that 'seems' to be out of nowhere, and 'seems' to
have no relevance to the rest of the story, but you know
that the character will turn out to have some sort of
relevance to the main plot.

2) Interacting With The Other Players
a) Read All The Posts
It is essential that you read everyone else's posts! Read
all the posts in the thread before you post to it for the
first time so that you understand the storyline before
adding to it. Also, always read all the posts since the last
one you posted before posting again. Not only is this the
only way to maintain the continuity of a story, you will
also find that the other players in a thread will respond
much more positively to you if you know what's going on in
the thread before you add to it.

b) Do Not Invalidate Another Player's Posts
You must never directly invalidate what someone else has
said. For example:

Character A: "That's a nice hat you're wearing."
Character B: "I'm not wearing a hat."

B cannot deny the existence of the hat once A has mentioned
it. If B does not wish to be wearing a hat, they will have
to get rid it somehow. For example, an acceptable reaction
(if B is a mage) would be:

Character A: "That's a nice hat you're wearing."
Character B: Snapping his fingers and saying, in a loud
voice, "Grizlo!"

This causes the hat to vanish, at which point he replies,
"What hat? I'm not wearing a hat."

c) Remember That You Do Not Control The Plot
When playing, remember that all players have equal rights
(unless agreed upon differently) in influencing the
development of the story. This means that just because you
want the plot to go in a certain direction, it does not
necessarily mean it will happen. You cannot force everyone
else to do things the way you want. You have to use your
intelligence and creativity just as you would in real life
to influence the scene.

d) Do Not Act For Another Player
We all want people to react the way we would like them to so
we can get on with our own plans, but you cannot decide how
other characters will react to your actions. You cannot make
decisions and act for others, you can only act for yourself,
and you can only speak for yourself. This is an extremely
important rule to remember, not only because it is often
tempting to break it, but also because breaking it is
guaranteed to tick the other players off.

For example, I was playing a mighty bad girl and was holding
the leader of the good guys captive in my castle (the person
playing the leader of the good guys and I had privately
worked out a really nice plot line of how he could free
himself without me going against my bad, wicked nature). The
next thing I read on the thread is that another player had
"...sneaked into the castle [which was protected by numerous
magic spells: the reason why I could be taken captive] and
passed the guards [my guards at that time were a monster
army], then I took the captain of the guards captive and
forced him to lead me to the witch's quarters. Quivering in
fear of this unknown stranger before her she threw herself
at my feet, sobbing and begging for mercy. I then went to
release the Commander. The witch surrendered herself, her
castle and her army." Needless to say, I was not pleased
with this player's behaviour!

However, there is room for flexibility in this rule.
Sometimes patterns of behaviour can be taken for granted,
given the development of a character and a story. The degree
of this flexibility will vary widely from thread to thread.
Once you have developed a 'feeling' for the characters (and
their creators!) you become confident in anticipating player
actions and reactions, allowing you to involve them in your
posts to speed up the action.

e) End A Post on An Active Note
Give your fellow players something to work on, invite their

f) When Leaving A Thread For An Extended Period Or For Good
Write your character out of the action or find someone
willing to replace you. Don't abandon your character and
force others to take it over for you.

3) Combat
When it comes to combat, you need to get to the point with
the move and make it, but there are no auto-connects and no
auto-kills. Here's an example of an acceptable move (with
basic characters):

Character A runs forward and swings his/her sword at
character B.

Such a move leaves the following options for your opponent:

Character B has the opportunity to block
Character B has the opportunity to counter
Character B has the opportunity to accept the hit
Character B has the opportunity to run away

All of which are acceptable reactions that keep the role
playing environment fun for everyone while still allowing
player-to-player combat.

3. How To Write
What follows is a brief discussion of good writing

Why should you care about this when you just want to RP
(role play)? While following the guidelines above helps
threads run smoothly, they will not make them fun or
interesting. The responsibility for this lies with every
player involved in a thread. It also depends on the quality
of their posts. This is where writing skills come in. No
matter how good an imagination you have, if your posts are
boring, or your grammar and/or spelling are so bad that your
posts are incomprehensible, then you will not be helping to
make the thread fun.

1) Avoid Boring Other Players To Death --------------------------------------
Consider the following post by player 1:


*enters the room and shuts the door*
What do you mean I owe you money?

This post follows all the basic rules of role playing, but
it's about as much fun to read as the ingredient list on a
box of All Bran. If this is what your posts look like then
no one is going to enjoy role playing with you. Compare the
above example with this alternative post, describing the
same scene, by player 2:


Slamming the door as he entered the room, Alphonso
rounded angrily on Hawthor, the imperious looking elf
sitting at the table. "What do you mean I owe you
money?!" he shouted, waving the paper IOU he had received
in the elf's face.

By including descriptive details, player 2 draws the reader
into the scene, making it seem real, and thus making it
interesting. Descriptions are the key, and every action,
observation, or comment is an opportunity for you to make
your character come alive. Use these opportunities!

Let's say your character, Alphonso, is shutting a door. Here
are a few things you could describe through this action:

* how he shuts it
* why he shut it that way
* what sort of door it is
* what notice, if any, do NPCs take of the door shutting

One caveat to this recommendation is that, unless you are
just going for comic effect, do not go overboard on the
descriptions. Too much describing will make a scene farcical
rather than alive, and will make it difficult for readers to
figure out what is taking place. For example, consider this
post by player 3:


Slamming the stultifyingly solid wooden door, decadently
carved with figures of voluptuous naked women frolicking
erotically with well endowed satyrs, into its cold steel
frame like an enraged beast, as he swept authoritatively
into the room; Alphonso wrathfully rounded upon Hawthor.

The almost frightfully tall, and diabolically imperious-
looking elf was sitting sheepishly at the small iron
table in the corner of the elegantly furnished chamber,
and sipping prosaically from a fine bone china cup, upon
which the arrival of the dark, slaughtering hordes of
Hell upon the golden beaches of Illian was depicted in
loving detail.

"What do you mean I owe you money?!" Alphonso exclaimed
vociferously, his flushed face contorted into a mask of
seething fury, while waving the paper IOU he had received
that morning in the elf's pale, but excruciatingly
handsome, dignified face.

Player 3's post is certainly not boring, but it packs in
such a ridiculous amount of description that the character's
actions are getting lost amidst the 'frolicking maidens' and
'slaughtering hordes'.

2) Pick A Tense And Stick With It
Pick one and stick with it in all of your posts. Not
everyone in the thread has to use past tense or present
tense. However, if you start with past tense, stick with it
and don't use a different tense every other post.

3) Point Of View
What point of view should I write it in? Should it be first
person or third person? It doesn't matter what POV you use,
just pick one and stick with it as well. It doesn't matter
what everyone else in the thread is using, just keep yours

A caveat for both of these points: If the thread has been
predominantly one tense or POV, then it's usually more
comfortable to pick those up and run with them.

4) Use Standard Formatting
You are part of a story, so it should be written as a story,
not because the great Laffinnome says so, but simply because
people will be reading this, including yourself. Using
paragraphs and standard writing will go a long way to making
a better RP. This is a clarity issue, not a style issue:
you're communicating not only with me the reader, but also
with other players, and you don't want them to misunderstand
you. Clarity is more important in an RP than individuality.

5) Mechanics Of Writing
Icky things like spelling, capitalization, grammar, and
punctuation. No one expects perfection. No one expects
anyone else to go out of their way to make sure everything
is as good as it gets. The expectation is, however, that you
try to use your best mechanics rather than just throwing
something down and posting it. You aren't working 'real
time' here. You have enough time to stop and read over what
you've written to correct glaring errors. If you don't trust
your proofreading skills, paste what you've written into a
word processor and run a spell check on it.

* * *

You are writing a story, key word: story. What are stories?
They are long strings of words arranged in an understood
format to advance a plot and develop characters. A role
playing thread is an ongoing story written by a group of
people working together to create something that's enjoyable
and interesting.

Now I've gotten that off my chest I have only one more thing
to say: have fun!
"Stop! Jullie komen niet langs mij! Glupert heeft jullie snode plannen door!"
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