1. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    What is Roleplaying?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Thomas Kitchen, Oct 18, 2013.

    Hi all,

    Now, let me start off by saying that I do kind of know what roleplaying is, as I play video games, watch films, and read books constantly. But what I don't know is how board-game and online roleplaying work. For example, I have always been extremely intrigued by Dungeons and Dragons, but I have no idea how it works and what to do if there are no people I know who would play with me, so those are a few of my questions: how does Dungeons and Dragons work, is it fun, and can anybody point me in the right direction when it comes to starting out completely?

    Now, the main reason I've started this thread is because I have forever been confused about how roleplaying threads work here. I want to at least try one, perhaps very soon, but again, I have absolutely no idea of the rules or what to do.

    In summary, help! :)
     
  2. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    When it comes to dungeons and dragons, I can't be of much help. I can help with the role-playing that takes place here though. It basically goes like this: someone, often referred to as the Game Master (GM) starts a new thread in the role-play section. That thread outlines a few basic things, it tells what the setting of the game is going to be, where everyone will start and what information people have to provide if they want to play. People that join the game, the players, make so called character sheets. They create a character specifically for that game with a unique name, history, appearance and often some game-specific details. The players then write from the point of view of these characters. The role of the GM is to guide everyone through the story. For example, the GM writes that some event X happens and then all players/characters respond to that. What makes role-playing so fun is the interaction between characters. Bonds can form between characters, or tensions, perhaps even vicious hate. You never know how it turns out and it's great fun to not know how someone else is going to respond to the actions of your character.

    I recommend you take a look here for more details.
     
  3. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't speak for tabletop, roll-of-the-dice roleplaying (ala Dungeons and Dragons), because I've never tried it. As for literary roleplaying (which is what you see on this site) it's quite simple really. Basically, the roleplaying threads are collaborative stories, where each player (or "writer," if you're uncomfortable with the game terminology) writes for one or more characters. The details of how that is done can differ from game to game. And the FAQ Macaberz posted above is a great place to start.

    Starting a Game:
    To get a game started, the GM (game master) begins by posting an informative introduction to the world. This post gives the players an idea of what the game will be about, the setting in which it takes place, and the general tone it will take. (Here, on Writingforums, such posts must be approved by the RP moderator, losthawken. It's also a good idea to check if anyone is interested in your game idea before posting it, via the kickstarter.)

    Joining a Game (pt. 1):
    The introductory post created by the GM contains the template for a character profile or character sheet. If you're interested in joining the game, copy-paste this template, fill in your character's information (name, age, appearance, species/race, background info, powers/abilities, etc, are usually featured here). This is then submitted to the GM, who approves or disapproves of the character. Most of the GMs here are very lenient, but this is the stage where "problematic" characters are weeded out. For example, you may be asked to edit your character sheet if the char doesn't fit the tone of the setting or has an obscenely powerful special ability. RPing is about collaboration and co-op writing, so having a character that can do anything and everything by himself/herself is usually frowned upon.

    Joining a Game (pt. 2):
    Once you character sheet is approved, you post it in the game's discussion thread, which is where all out-of-character conversation takes place. This is where you talk to the other players and set up collaborations or let them know when you won't be around for a day or two. Now that you've joined, just wait for the GM to get the ball rolling; s/he will let you know when the game has begun and players may begin posting.

    Posting in an RP:
    Here's where subjectivity, tact, and (most importantly) writing ability comes in. The most important thing to remember when RPing (in my opinion) is that you are roleplaying. In other words, the only character you should be controlling is yours, unless you are given permission to control someone else's. Dialogue can be tricky, because any time your character speaks to another, you must wait for that person's response; you cannot write their response, because that would mean controlling their character. Most players get around this by doing co-op posts, via private messages. (If you see a long post, where two or more characters are having a conversation, it is almost certainly a collaboration between the writers.)



    That's just about everything you need to know. Let me know if I missed anything or if you have further questions. And, of course, the other members of the RP community here are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. :)
     
  4. JSMallory
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    JSMallory New Member

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    As a 15 year GameMaster (not for D&D, mind you), I can maybe fill in some of the blanks. Tabletop RPGs are most typically run over a block of a few hours, where the players are the key characters in an interactive story, created by the GameMaster (GM/DungeonMaster (DM)/StoryTeller (ST). The characters have free license to decide where they wish to go and what they wish to do and it falls to the GM to decide if that route is available or what perils may await them down a given path. Items left to chance (can you convince that guard, does your attack land, etc) typically fall to rolling dice, though some GMs use alternate methods, or resolve the game through pure storytelling.

    I have run some online play-by-post RPGs in the past. They typically run slowly, over the course of months to tell a single part of the story. While in a face-to-face game, I use the mechanics presented in whichever system you're playing (D&D uses a very different dice system from say Shadowrun (my game of choice)) but online, I prefer to run diceless. It smoother and there's no question as to whether a player is fudging dice rolls at their end. When I run diceless, I like a more cinematic style of play and will typically choose an outcome that adds tension in the right areas (if an opponent is a key antagonist, drawing the fight out longer makes the ultimate victory all the sweeter).

    Ultimately, how a game plays depends on the GM and to some extent your fellow players. If you find players interested in telling a good story and a GM willing to improvise and let the player decisions really shape the tale, you can have a really fun and rewarding experience.

    That's been my experience, at any rate. :)
     
  5. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    I have tried 5 different forums' RP threads in the past, and someone always ends up puppeting my character. Not saying that would happen here of course. Just pointing out a problem I have seen.
     
  6. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    I can't guarantee anything, but I haven't seen it once here.
     
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  7. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Okay, so...

    This is a big question :) Like some have said, table tops run very differently from Post to Post games.

    Here, the RP section is mainly coolaborative story writing. Some have more elaborate rules than others, but really he best way to get the hang of it is to jump in. The first post of the game thread usually has the basics. Also, the Roleplay section has a great new player intro that explains the basics. But, again, the best way to get into it is to just jump in. Reading the threads will give you an idea of how it works to.

    Tabletops on the other hand usually are a mix of dice rolls, and acting. You sit down and imagine that you are your character, deciding their actions and movements, and the dice and attributes/skills/stats determine the success of those attempted actions. Its more difficult to get into, but can be fun... if you have a good GM.

    If you have any other questions, or want more specifics, you can PM any of us who are active in the RP section, or the RP Mod, Losthawken. He is always happy to answer questions and always happy for new player. :)
     
  8. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I actually play a D&D game on another forum. Now, mind you, it took me a good week just to memorize the dice types and what they are used for alone, so i would not suggest it unless you love to go in-depth and know your stuff when it comes to rp'ing in general. Also, those games are very, very long -i am already in the third act of one game alone. If you do plan on going into it though, I'd suggest asking @Steerpike, as he is the one GM'ing the very game i am in, and he is also an active member in these forums.

    And just to simplify role-playing for what it really is, at least to me, it is writing a story with multiple authors, with one of them leading the main plot. That's the gist of it, and it is infinitely more fun than writing on your own as you have no idea what the other players will do next, especially if they are good role-players and their characters are consistent.

    If you want to try a role-play here and get some great help, i suggest asking @Macaberz if you can try out his new Star-Wars themed game. I'm in it, as well as @Love to Write at the moment, and we are all hard-core role-players and would be glad to help you out. I know exactly how it feels to be a new role-player, and have made my fair-share of mistakes, but after a few days you eventually get it. These role-plays are a lot more simple than D&D, and i'd highly suggest playing one of these to get some practice before going into D&D, as they have the complexities of stats involving gods/goddesses, your weapons (each one has their own dice for damage!) possible companions if you are a druid (like i am -and there are tons of races and classes) and then there's the magic. Two kinds of magic, and each has their own rules, as well as damage rolls and and chance rolls. (and i think im missing several things!)

    I am saying this because i play D&D myself, and because the way you structured your question makes it sound to me as if you have never played one before, so no offense if you do know some details. But again, it took me a week alone just to get the dice down, and i still mix some things up (the goodberry spell caught me twice!). Try playing a role-play here first to get the idea of a simple game down, then go on to D&D.

    -Sydney
     
  9. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    I would love to start the Star Wars rpg, but I really don't know enough about it all, trust me. I think I'll wait for something more my cup of tea to come along. :)
     
  10. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    lol, that's exactly why i suggested it. I got dragged by my tail into my first star-wars rpg, and the only race i knew other than humans in that was the tauntauns (played a star wars demo game and i loved those creatures) ended up playing as a force-sensitive, talking tauntaun, but now that i know a little more about star wars (not much mind you -just one or two creatures and that you can use the force in many ways) i find it is actually quite a fun game.

    seriously, i ask you to consider it again, but i won't push you. doing something new tends to help us improve our writing all the more.
     
  11. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I'm kind of interested in playing RPGs but all the little technical details with the rules and such make me reluctant. I get confused when stats like hp/damage/resistance are involved in the writing process. When does all of that stuff get calculated? After my character does something and with it being determined by the GM in the discussion thread?
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    For things where the stats come into play (which isn't everything, by far) you generally make a check of some kind (dice roll) to determine success. We use a dice server that makes the roll and provides a link that you embed in your post so the result can be seen. Things like trying to hit an enemy with a weapon, or perform unusual or difficult acts the rely on a certain ability the character has &c.
     
  13. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Oooh. So if I'm writing a fight scene, I would roll a dice to determine if my "sword plunged deep into his skull" or if "the enemy jumped back to avoid the attack". If I'm fighting another player, I'm assuming it would depend on his stats too and I would have to coordinate the scene with that person through PMs and such..
     
  14. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    It's mostly the GM who rolls the dice (as far as I know anyway). The GM will post what (s)he rolled in the discussion thread and you can make another post describing how your character succeeds/fails.
    Whether hp/damage/resistance is used in a game at all depends on the choices of the GM. Some do indeed use this combat system, in other games you simply go from 'healthy' to 'injured' and some RPs hardly use a combat system at all (although those are rare).
     
  15. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    also, those stats are mostly used in D&D games. most of the rp's here actually just trust the writer to have realistic reactiosn and not have their character succeed every time. The new Star Wars game here actually has a simple system, as i have played one of Mac's games before with the same rules and program. I think he will st up the character list of names on the first post, then have them link to the site where you can just click a button whether you want to attack, or dodge, and it determines the success or un-success easy-peasy!
     
  16. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Yeah, it does seem like a simple system. I just sent my character sheet to Macaberz, so hopefully everything is a-OK! So you've won, @Keitsumah; you've drawn me in. :p
     
  17. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    :D and again, if you need any help just ask me or Mac -or any of the old-time rp'ers (Love to Write, Exzalia, Asune, Fan7asticMrFox, etc.). we do have some newer players, so you can ask them how they feel about these games as well.
     
  18. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    Digital combat system sounds a lot more fancy and complicated than it is. To be frank, I made that to go from an abstract dice roll to something more concrete. With the current system it doesn't give you a success number, it actually tells you in words how successful your attack was. It's just hitting buttons really ;)

    Moreover, it removes the need for the GM to be online to tell you how successful any attack was. You can just visit the page at your leisure, hit the attack button and see for yourself.

    Lastly, the reason why I use stats at all is because some people just go more berzerk with their character's powers than others. I want character to earn their skills and not be awesome I-can-handle-everything superheroes from the get-go.
     
  19. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    :eek:

    You didn't include Me, Kingtype or Jess...

    For shame Keit, for shame... *Shakes head*

    ( :p )
     
  20. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    You can't really blame her, I haven't seen you or Jess in any RP's of late, except TOV. Same goes for King. Where are you guys anyway?
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I have the players roll almost everything that is based on PC action and needs a roll. I can link to the game when I'm at my computer and you can see how it goes
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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