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  1. Pheonix

    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Contributor

    Jul 24, 2012
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    The Windy City

    Roleplaying FAQ: The Complete(ish) and Unabridged Second Edition

    Discussion in 'Role Play' started by Pheonix, May 21, 2014.

    The Complete and Totally (Un)Comprehensive Guide To Role Play
    --2nd Edition--

    Here we are again. Writing a FAQ. But what, praytell, are these Frequently Asked Questions about? I shall tell you!

    It is about the best recreational writing exercise that has ever been devised: Role Playing! (RPing) There are many reasons to RP, but that has been covered elsewhere, and obviously you have thought of some of those reasons already, otherwise you would not be here looking at this FAQ. I mean, c'mon. You don't just read a FAQ for the heck of it, some thought has been devoted to get you here. (Unless you are a robot. In which case I kindly invite you to leave.) ((Unless you are a friendly, sentient Robot who has come here to enjoy collaborative writing while researching human behavior. That, we are fine with, and welcome you, O beautiful child of man!)) If you are still fuzzy on why you should RP, check out this excellent thread by Losthawken: RP Welcome and Rules.

    Anyway, what is RP? How is it done?

    Those are the main things that will be answered here. After that, we'll get into the nitty-gritty of it.

    PART THE FIRST: What the sprouted beans is Role Play?

    Simply put, Role Play is collaborative writing. You create a character, drop them into a scenario and see how it turns out. The main difference is that there are other people there with you, each controlling their own characters... And some of them might be trying to kill your character... But usually you're working together :)

    In a more technical sense, RP is where you create a character that then participates in a collaboratively written story, usually with it's own preset rules and mechanics.

    First Posts

    The original scenario (First Post) is started by the Game Master (GM) who lay out the setting, basic plot points, background, character creation guides, and rules of the game. This is the story seed that gets the whole thing rolling. From here, you (the player, players) can join if you are interested in what has been presented to you in the First Post.

    Joining and Character Creation

    Rules for joining will be presented in the First Post. They usually involve sending a character sheet to the GM for approval. A character sheet includes all the pertinent information needed to get you in the game. Appearance, equipment, backstory, abilities, miscellaneous info, whether or not your character has an undue obsession with potatoes, etc.

    The character sheet will be provided by the GM. Simply fill in the requested information about your character. It's what the GM wants to know about your character before he/she will approve it.

    Once you have meticulously and painstakingly (or slapped together in a blinding flash of inspiration) your character, submit that guy/girl! The exact method for doing this will be specified in the First Post. If there are any concerns, the GM will let you know before approving the character.

    You want to consider what kind of game it is when you make a character. If your character is a five tailed fox rabbit from the planet Gallumbits with a proton rifle and an undue interest in the occult (lets call him Samuel) and the game is a traditional fantasy story, you might need to have a pretty good explanation as to why Samuel is there.

    That being said, if your explanation is good enough, and the GM is cool with it, there is no reason that Samuel couldn't be in a traditional fantasy game, but good judgement must be used.

    OOC and IC

    RP's are typically split between two forum threads: an In Character (IC) and an Out Of Character (OOC).

    The In Character thread contains the First Post and all the subsequent replies. Anything Out Of Character should be kept out of this thread. It is not the place to exclaim to everyone that you really just wanna party. Your character can exclaim that, just not you. But now you ask, where can I express that my characters desire to party is actually my own desire!?

    That, my friends, it what the Out Of Character, or Discussion thread as it is commonly called here, is for. In the Discussion thread you can discuss everything and anything related to the RP with the other players. A lot of times, these discussion threads aren't just limited to the RP's though. They end up being more like digital meeting places where all kinds of interesting things happen. In the discussion threads, don't be afraid to relax and have fun. Many a nefarious plot, devious devising, and dubious affair that later happened in an RP was first devised in a discussion thread. The same is true of the counter actions that those dubious doings prompt.

    That pretty much wraps up the basics. The general ideas presented here are the foundation of what you'll need to know before you begin your foray into the world of "Online Text Based Collaborative Role Playing!" (OTBCR-jk :p)

    But whats that? You still have painfully obviously formatted questions!? What pray-tell, are those?

    Part The Second: The Nitty Gritty

    How am I supposed to write 'with' all these people if we're in different states/countries?

    The answer my friend, lies in the magic of the internet. Thanks to technological advances, this forum touts an impressive "conversations" function. Other forums and message boards have things similar to this known as Private Messaging or PM's. These can be used to great effect to collaborate with your far flung writing compatriots across the globe. This is especially effective for having IC conversations, or fights involving more than one character.

    Also as a rule, if you have any post that is less than two lines long, chances are you can collaborate with someone else to get a fully fleshed out post that will add to the story.

    And lets be honest here, the single best part of RPing is the opportunity to write with other people, there is just something magical about it. Via the conversations function, you can accomplish this. It keeps the clutter down in the IC thread, and makes sure that everyone is cool with whats happening. For example, if in a PM you write, "[insert character name here] pulled out a proton cannon and killed [such-and-such]," if the person who controls such-and-such did not particularly like the idea of their beloved character being surreptitiously killed with a proton cannon, they can make that clear to you without it effecting the flow of the story. On the other hand, if you just posted that in the IC thread, there might be problems...

    We do not like problems.

    Speaking of Problems...

    What is God Modding, and why does everyone freaking hate it so much?

    So, your character is the best damn thing in the universe? He has lasers for eyes, his power is over 9000, and he has the disposition of an angel... a homicidal angel with the raw power to destroy the entire universe. And if anybody else doesn't like it, then they're gonna get vaporized or turned into a mewling pile of kittens, depending on his mood.

    That, my friends, is not cool.

    If you have a character that is so overpowering that there is no single force in the game that can stop it, there is a problem. RP's need balance to function. Balance is lost when there are characters with overly powerful or broken abilities, or situations that are created by players that do not give other characters a chance to react. Overly powerful characters might be fun for a little while, but only for the person playing them, and they can really kill the enjoyment for others.

    Also under the category of God Modding, is controlling another player's character without their permission. This is a big no no. Each character belongs to their respective creator, and unless you have express permission to control them, they are off limits to anyone other than their player or occasionally the GM. Even GM's will usually ask permission before controlling one of their player's characters.

    God Modding could also be controlling the setting, or situation in a game without the permission of the GM, or refusing to abide by the rules set in place by the GM.

    Basically, God Modding is like giving 'the finger' to the other players and the GM of the game, and saying that you are gonna do things your way. Don't do that... It sucks.

    It is also a quick way to get yourself kicked out of a game, or worse if it continues.

    Why do I gotta 'keep it real?'

    You aren't God Modding, but someone just pulled a gun on you, and you have an undeclared rocket launcher in your backpack.

    Now, I'm not saying that you can't have a rocket launcher in your backpack. But... I mean, c'mon. Really? A rocket launcher? In your backpack? That would be something worth mentioning in your characters sheet, or a post at some point stating that said rocket launcher exists, and how the heck it fits into your backpack? I mean, what is your backpack, the TARDIS? :p

    The point here being, a rule of good RPing is to not produce Deus Ex Machina (For a more in depth explanation, see here) to solve all your problems. Especially in RPs where there is Player vs Player, that kind of thing can get really irritating, and escalate quickly into the realm of God Modding and Over Powered and Hax characters.

    When should I post?

    You've just started out on this and you don't know when to post. You might be asking, is there some specific order that it goes in, why can't I figure out what order it goes in?!

    Well, there is not really a set order that posts go in. There are however patterns that develop. The first post in a game is always made by the GM, and as such, all subsequent posts are in response to what he originally said. It is primarily the GM's job to keep the story moving, but the characters play a large part in that as well.

    As such, the pattern usually goes something like this: GM post --> player --> player --> player --> (etc.) --> GM post.

    If possible, for each GM post that advances the narrative, its a good idea to try and have one post of your own. If you are interacting with a different character, or engaged in Glorious Battle! then you can probably post more frequently. But another good guide is to try and keep 2-3 posts from other players between each of your posts. It seems to work out pretty well that way. Of course, there will be exceptions, and each RP is different. Sound it out and you'll be fine.

    When Should I Not Post?

    You own this page, every single post is yours!


    Posting repeatedly is usually not the best thing to do. Especially if you aren't giving other players a chance to respond. Use restrain and give others a chance to play as well. This ain't a one horse show!

    Can I quit? Should I quit?


    Sometimes, life just gets in the way. RPing can be a considerable investment of time, and when there is no time to do it, sometimes you gotta be able to realize that and set priorities.

    If you are playing a leading role in a game, which is quite possible even for newbies to have, but you are unable to dedicate the requisite amount of time to the RP, it might be time to consider taking a break until things calm down. One player who isn't playing can have a big impact on a game, especially if they have left their character, or others, hanging in a critical moment. That can slow the game down for everyone. If this happens, there is nothing wrong with letting the GM know that you aren't going to be able to post for a while, so that he/she can figure out a workaround. Most of the time, you will be welcomed back with open arms when you return.

    If for some reason you need to leave a game, there is nothing wrong with that, but just realize that when you joined, you made a bit of a commitment to the game, so make sure that you leave graciously and tactfully. Just abandoning a game, especially a fledgling one can have a big impact on it as a whole. And if you don't say anything before you go, you might end up with people waiting on you for a post that will never come.

    Player exodus is one of the biggest reason's that a game will die out. As such, its a good idea to make sure that you are willing to commit to a game before you join it. You should never join a game that you think you'll end up leaving later on. But when real life comes knocking and you have to answer, try and make as gracious of an exit as you can.

    Everyone hates me and is ignoring me! Why?!?!?!

    No they don't! They might just be busy with their own subplots and such, or they aren't sure how to engage with your character. There are a variety of factors that can lead to people having this perception.

    In an RP, usually participating in the In Character isn't enough. RPs, as we have said, are all about collaboration, and camaraderie. Get involved! Hang out in the discussion thread, mingle, chat, brainstorm, engage with the other players, try and develop subplots and side stories with the other players and their characters! Putting in a little effort to be included and part of the story is worth it.

    If that still doesn't work, then you might want to bring it up with the GM. If you have tried the other suggestions and they haven't helped, the GM will probably more than happy to help get you more included.

    If someone is genuinely being a troll (read: Insensitive jackass who wants to make life miserable), and if asking them to stop hasn't worked, then taking it up with the GM or one of the mods, (@Pheonix, @losthawken) is probably the way to go. Trolls pop up every once in a while unfortunately, but typically, here at least, there is usually a peaceful solution.


    The single biggest thing you have to remember while RPing is to have fun. This is not meant to be a super serious pastime. This is recreation that can have a really great impact in writing ability. If you take this to seriously, chances are that it's gonna sap the fun out of it, at which point it becomes work to keep up with the games and characters that you have created.

    This is supposed to be fun, so have fun.

    If there are questions in here that I missed, feel free to PM, @losthawken, or any of the other members of RP with questions.

    -John 'The Fourth'
    Aka @Pheonix
  2. Pheonix

    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Contributor

    Jul 24, 2012
    Likes Received:
    The Windy City
    P.S GM Guide will be forthcoming. :D

    Also a big thank you to all everyone who helped get this together and into tip top shape!
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