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Roleplay Tipbook

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Roleplay Tipbook

Postby Alias » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:35 am

Concept: Anyone who stumbles upon a word of wisdom as it relates to roleplaying may add it to here. I will periodically compile all of the tips into this first post. Feel free to comment and discuss tips in a respectful fashion, as refined tips are more useful than jumbled ones.

Feel free to add a new chapter, move a tip from chapter to chapter, add to an existing chapter, or modify an old tip. All contributions are welcome!


General Roleplaying Tips
  • Show, don't tell.
  • Think fast, write slow.
  • Read what is written.
  • Stick to your own character.
  • Stick to one tense.
  • Pay attention.
  • Do not assume.
  • It's all in the details.
  • Respect.
  • Stick with the times.
  • Output output output. Input.
  • The end is only the beginning.
  • Lift the curtain.
  • Write a story, not a monologue.
  • You don't have to be perfect.
  • Be consistent.
  • Don't be the hero.
  • Consult your senses.
  • Quality over quantity.
  • Always take heed of the RP creator.
  • Use your surroundings.
[spoiler]
  • Show, don't tell. The most common of all writing technique critiques, SDT refers to describing things rather than outlining them, and more importantly in roleplaying, to describe to the reader a facet of character rather than merely stating it. Take as the easiest example, the weight of a character. While perhaps at a Carnival a guesser may tell your weight simply by looking at your person, your fellow roleplayers and their characters most likely cannot. Rather than describing your character as weighing 140 pounds, perhaps describe her as tall and slim, not particularly muscular, though perhaps quite often seen in short shirts, a tee, and running shoes. Via SDT, 140 pounds have just allowed for other players to not only "see" the character better, but even know of one of her habitual actions. Interaction is thus facilitated, and control is spread evenly between the described character and whoever chooses to use her habitual running.
    -Alias
  • Think fast, write slow. Think smooth, write rigid. Thinking can be referred to as a stream of consciousness, thoughts blending from one to another, actions following suit. Writing however, and most importantly to us, roleplaying, requires structure. Who did what unto whom? What was the result? Runons, while they make perfect sense in your mind, are flawed in two ways. First and foremost, they are difficult to follow. Secondly, the separate clauses used to make up a runon are wasted, and lose much of their content and versatility. Subjects get mixed up, verbs might lose tense, and the action may degenerate. Ultimately, stream of thought writing will make your readers lose interest, perhaps even make them skim rather than read, and even ignore your posts without realizing it. Do the right thing: Think fast, write slow.
    -Alias
  • Read what is written. One of the defining features of a roleplay is the cooperation required for it to succeed. A roleplay is a story, written not just by yourself, but by several people. It would be horrible if you decided to simply disregard one of your own chapters, so be courteous: read what people write. If you're not sure what exactly is going on, PM a player for more info.
    -Meatcaber
  • Stick to your own character. Metagaming is that elusive skill that everyone always tries, fails, and is reprimanded for. For clarification, metagaming is taking over a roleplay for a turn, and drastically changing it. For example, a stagnant roleplay might even require metagaming, where the leader of a party might move the party to a new location for a new adventure. Bad metagaming is as bad as godmode, when a character ascends past the powers of all others. Bad metagaming is when it is used in excess, or when it isn't required. Stick to your own character. In a dialogue or a confrontation, let the other person play their part.
    -Meatcaber
  • Stick to one tense. It might seem obvious to some, but everyone forgets about their tenses, especially if they are comfortable in both past and present tense. The most common roleplay tense is past: "My character did this, went there, got that." The alternative is the present: "My character does this, goes there, gets that." Sometimes the verbs of the present are preceded with a being verb, like is. No matter which tense or subtense you use, be consistent with: (1) Your current sentence, (2) Your entire post, and (3) The roleplay and the other players. The third is both for flow, readability, and courtesy. An exception to keeping tense is when using past tense, and including a character's thoughts. You as the narrator are describing what the character has already done in your mind, but you are quoting her in present tense, as though she was immediately speaking.
    -Alias
  • Pay attention. One of the most profound applications of this is to prevent open contradictions of others' hard work. It causes confusion and breaks down the story. If a character says "I am cold," there is either a reason for it, or they would like for it to be incorporated in the story. The more intertwined the posts in a roleplay are, the better the roleplay itself. Respond by noting your character's winter parka, or perhaps shivers and chattering teeth. At all costs, avoid a situation where you say "It's summertime," at least without due explanation. By paying attention to details provided by others, it becomes possible to tie their loose ends together into furthering your own ideas for the roleplay. If a character's shoe is untied, notice it, offer to tie it, and perhaps notice some piece of the grand puzzle drawn on the floor beneath them, pointing in the direction of a long-desired quest item.
    -MumbleTheSilent
  • Do not assume. Do not pretend that because you can read another character's thoughts that they are allowing you to. Thoughts are kept personal. Unless you are confident that the thought might be expressed via unwritten body language, you must remember to keep your character and your knowledge as separate entities. Do not assume anything that could potentially subvert another player's thoughts, and always ask questions if you are not certain about another player's intentions.
    -Calixta Ravana
  • It's all in the details. Although "fluff" is sometimes discouraged, detailing a character's thoughts, actions, appearance, and background will help define your character as a dynamic being that others can interact with. Especially at the beginning of roleplays, many "loose" details can get used up to create relationships and engender action. While shorter, less fluffy and more active posts are appropriate for the core of a developing story, details define the success of a roleplay from the very start.
    -Calixta Ravana
  • Respect. Respect your fellow players. A roleplay is a cooperative effort, and no one wants to be pushed out of the fun. Give other players a chance, and if you have concerns and issues, discuss them in private and in a respectful manner. If another player's character or written word is slightly lacking, perhaps they might be new to RPing or fairly young of age. If you have a useful pointer, offer it. If a pointer is given to you, do not feel degraded, someone is just trying to help. Forum roleplay is as much the roleplaying as it is a workshop to get better. Be nice and play fair as we are all here for fun.
    -Mr Toad
  • Stick with the times. Roleplays are often categorized by style and era, like SciFi, Real world, Fantasy, Modern Fantasy, etc. The premise behind this classification is to allow players who prefer a certain style or era to experience it without any of the garbage found in other styles. Thus it is important to be courteous to fellow players and stick to the style, keeping space bugs and ray guns out of Fantasy, and inexplicable magic missiles and night elf mages out of Real world roleplays.
    -LadyDarkness067
  • Output output output. Input. Everything, including magic, energy, strength, endurance, adrenaline, even dying moments seem to force a character into a supernatural state of incredible power. All is good and well when your character manages a grand feat, but just think: who pays for that feat? God? Nature? The environment? Not at all, but rather your character themselves. If your character has just gotten up after suffering a terminal blow, then be sure after one or two swings of their sword that character will be dead. If you character has just used telekinesis to throw a boulder at the enemy, expect serious headaches, blackouts, and incapacitation in the near future. Everything has its costs, and as a courtesy to your fellow players, make sure that you pay those costs, whatever they might be.
    -Calixta Ravana
  • The end is only the beginning. It always seems like getting your post in and making it the best is the most important thing to do, but what would your post be without every one else's contributions? The best way to ropleplay is cooperatively, and for that every post needs to be a sequitur into the next. Why finishing up your character's thoughts and actions, don't forget to leave a few loose ends for the next play to jump into. Don't overdo it, but don't leave your fellows hanging because you just left them sitting useless.
    -Anvilsmith
  • Lift the curtain. When you start a thread, try to set the mood from the very first paragraph, or even the very first sentence. At this point in the story, your writing style is probably going to carry far more weight in keeping the readers attentive and likely to join than the characters and events so far, so make good use of it. Keep away from focusing the plot on yourself, and instead try to hook readers, much like the first scene of the first act of a play, just after the curtain has been lifted. You wouldn't want your readers to stand up and walk out, so keep them interested.
    -Anvilsmith
  • Write a story, not a monologue. Character development, while important, needs to be balanced with just about everything else. One character does not make a story, neither do two, three, four, etc, without developing the plot and the setting. Don't ignore the chirping birds or eerie silence just because your character is telling the story of his past to other travellers around the bonfire. You wont just make their characters fall asleep, you might drive the players away from the story. Throw in some environment that everyone else can work with and build upon!
    -Story Weaver
  • You don't have to be perfect. Not all ideas that come to you will be perfect, and at times, you might find them complete rubbish. But just because your idea isn't up to your improbable par, it does not mean that your activity in the roleplay needs to suffer! Start writing out even a bad idea when responding in a roleplay, and you might be surprised at how it turns into something formidable, by itself, or perhaps with another player's help. Writer's block is best overcome by simply writing, and your fellow posters would rather encourage you to overcome it, than to sit back and hope for en elusive spark of genius. Just make sure to proofread your work!
    -Fudge
  • Be Consistent. Always make sure your actions are plausible and realistic based on the the state of affairs created by yourself and others throughout previous action. Always make sure that others can also understand how your character gets into his new situation from his old one. Whether in a duel or in a freeform roleplay, Don't get lost amid your thoughts. Keep track of what needs to be said to make what you want to happen possible to happen, before you make it happen (Follow that? Read it a couple of times if not, then ask a question).
    -KazeTanade
  • Don't be the hero. While we ALL would like to be an important figure in any RP that we join in, it is very important NOT to strive for it. Why? Because roleplaying is teamwork. Don't focus on making your own character much more important than the others', as that may alienate the others and have them lose interest in the RP. Work together, and maybe even boost someone else's character into the hero spot!
    -renkenjutsu
  • Consult your senses. Your senses are what define the world you perceive, so use them! Use them when you want to give detail to your background, your personality, and speech and action and interaction. You want to do something with your post and not just sit like a fly-on-the-wall until someone wanders over to forcefully include you, so make use of your senses when you are out of ideas. Everything your senses define can mean something in a post. So, describe what you feel, see, smell (opt.), taste(opt.) and hear. You want a colorful post rather than a bland one, but remember to keep balanced. If you focus on one sense or one element too much, you will have a post that has little impact or use. However, if you are balanced, your post will be rich in usable details for everyone to benefit from!
    -Watchy
  • Quality over quantity. Big words and long posts are some times the spice of life, but there is a point where more is not better. Take a step back, paraphrase. Maybe you can cut a paragraph here, a sentence there, to make every sentence mean something important, and to make the post easy to read. It might be short, but quality makes up for lack of length.
    Melicious.Prose
  • Always take heed of the RP creator. In what situations would you want to be descriptive? There are no specific rules to apply to this question. Sometimes you should put a bit of effort into your posts, and in general this would mean fleshing out your descriptions. This isn’t always the case, though. At times, you may want to tone down your writing to avoid intimidating other players with giant blocks of text. At other times, drawn-out descriptions are simply not appropriate. Before you decide anything, however, you should always read the RP creator’s notes and comments.
    Tifa
  • Use your surroundings. It is always nice to respond to variables in the environment. Doing so adds richness to your posts and makes them more enjoyable to read. In addition, bringing different details of the environment to attention helps clue your fellow players in to what is going on. For instance, if you and your party are entering an area for the first time, you would want to shed some light on your surroundings to stimulate character interaction and plot progression. If you want certain objects to be noticed and used in the action, you could also add those into your description.
    Tifa
[/spoiler]

Chapter 1: Maxims of Character Creation
  • The character is not you.
  • Personality first, history second, appearance…dead last.
  • Ugly is good.
  • Adjective grab-bagging.
  • More words for personality than appearance.
  • Little details go a long way.
  • Outline your character somewhere.
  • No character is static.
[spoiler]
  • The character is not you. This person or being your playing, pretend that it isn’t you – change that mentality. Not only can you accept characters that don’t fit your idealized mold you might actually have fun with them. Also, it's interesting where characters turn up or what they do – because they’ll do things that you wouldn’t do given the opportunity. It means you can actually think of making an ugly character, putting him/her/it in a bad light, getting him/her in real trouble, and thus round out the character more.
    -Hedgehog
  • Personality first, history second, appearance…dead last. A character in a story is driven by its personality and its history, how that person looks is ancillary. I always think about this at length because it provides plot hooks for potential development, ideas for taking the storyline in some direction if the plot looks hazy and nebulous and it’s what the reader sees more in the narrative, speech, and how the writer presents the character. Looks are great, but I can just sum it up in a paragraph that will be forgotten in my first post and that’ll be it with that.
    -Hedgehog
  • Ugly is good. I’m never afraid to have my characters’ warts shown. Or for that character to be far from perfect. It makes a character interesting, gives you a chance to improve the character through the story, and generally humanizes the character. Also, if they overcame an “ugliness,” well that’s the stuff of many a story’s plots already. And I’ve found characters with flaws to be generally more entertaining than that Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu who seem perfect in every which way, even their damn flaws.
    -Hedgehog
  • Adjective grab-bagging. This is a mnemonic tool of mine to help me make characters. Can I describe this character in a series of adjectives, that isn’t about looks? Doesn’t matter if those adjectives are contradictory. Can I do it? And if so, how many adjectives can I list? I go for six-seven adjectives, with a third of them being bad traits to round off the character. And these tend to be the defining characteristics about the character
    -Hedgehog
  • More words for personality than appearance. This is related to Maxim #2. Basically, if you’ve written more about Appearance than that person’s Personality, you should think about your character some more.
    -Hedgehog
  • Little details go a long way. Think about that person’s eccentricities, their speech patterns, or their favorite items or topics of discussion. That adds to the character and makes him/her stand out. It fleshes out the character more and makes that character more notable. Also, these little details with a little work can actually factor significantly in plots.
    -Hedgehog
  • Outline your character somewhere. Character sheets are good for this! This way you have somewhere to turn to figure out how that character plays, which is especially useful if you are involved in multiple RPs or can’t focus on every RP you are in a single day. It helps, because if you make a character that is different or a little hard for you to play – then you have a ready reference to see.
    -Hedgehog
  • No character is static. All characters evolve and develop themselves over time. I personally don’t believe that my characters will forever be the same type of person/being at the start of the RP nor will they be forever chained by their character sheet.
    -Hedgehog
[/spoiler]

Chapter 2: Maxims of Dueling and Combat
  • Healing and repairing is unrealistic.
  • Metagaming ruins duels.
  • Duelers are characters too.
  • Losing is experience.
  • Continuity is key.
[spoiler]
  • Healing and repairing is unrealistic. This is based on consistency, and should be enforced to prevent godmoding. If a sword is broken, the sword stays broken (however, for example, picking up something that has been knocked away but not actually broken does not count as repairing). If a character is wounded, no matter how skilled they may be in potionmaking or restorative spells, the wound will persist until the end of the duel.
    -Pseudosyne
  • Metagaming ruins duels. Draw a line between yourself and your character, because the two of you are different entitites with different knowledge bases. Metagaming is often described as passing player knowledge to a character. This seems like it is perfectly normal, but is in fact a form of godmoding. If the opponent begins the duel with a certain sword dance, which the other player explains as a focusing technique, you cannot give this knowledge to your own character. If your character comes in, suddenly recognizes the technique as a focus technique, and immediately begins insulting the opponent to break their focus, your character had better have a well defined backstory which mentions their knowledge of that technique. If an opponent sets a trap, you are either likely to fall into it, or if you feel necessary, notice it by some unlikely accident, like a running squirrel or a falling leaf.
    -Pseudosyne
  • Duelers are characters too. As mentioned in the previous concept, duelers are much like any other roleplaying character, and everything that is required for regular characters is also required for duelers. Much as a new character has a set of attributes, emotions, skills, weaknesses, and most importantly their own background and history, so must a dueler. Whether or not you explicitly post this character "sheet," you as a player must stay consistent with it throughout the course of the duel. A brute force ogre with a giant tenderizer is surely a good whacker, but games like World of Warcraft or Diablo II are much better suited for taking care of your whacking needs. Text based combat should result in similar character interaction and character development as a player strives for and expects from regular plot based roleplays.
    -Alias
  • Losing is experience. Anybody can win a duel, but how well can you lose? In some cases, losing a battle, especially against a very good opponent, can be more of a challenge than winning it. If you've never lost before, then you clearly have something to work on! And just in case you're unsure about losing, remember that no one enjoys fighting a god. Join the ranks of the modest players who duel with honor, valor, and politess: win or lose, if you started out with the goal to enjoy the battle, rather than simply win it, your duels will be better, more interesting to write, and just as importantly, more interesting to read!
    -EbonyViper
  • Continuity is key. The wording in a duel is excruciatingly important. "He brought his blade down towards his fallen opponent" is far different than "He prepared to bring his blade down towards his fallen opponent!" Make sure to word your own actions as definite or as abstract as you want them to be, and make sure to read others' actions meticulously! Something like "prepared" give the other player many possibilities of what could then happen. The sword isn't coming down yet, so you can swipe at his legs to drop him as well! But if the sword is already falling, then accept the action and continue. Defend the blow, roll away from it... but it is no longer interruptible. Pay close attention to wording, as continuity is key!
    -Aradius
[/spoiler]
Last edited by Alias on Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:51 am, edited 27 times in total.
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Postby Alias » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:17 am

  • Think fast, write slow. Think smooth, write rigid. Thinking can be referred to as a stream of consciousness, thoughts blending from one to another, actions following suit. Writing however, and most importantly to us, roleplaying, requires structure. Who did what unto whom? What was the result? Runons, while they make perfect sense in your mind, are flawed in two ways. First and foremost, they are difficult to follow. Secondly, the separate clauses used to make up a runon are wasted, and lose much of their content and versatility. Subjects get mixed up, verbs might lose tense, and the action may degenerate. Ultimately, stream of thought writing will make your readers lose interest, perhaps even make them skim rather than read, and even ignore your posts without realizing it. Do the right thing: Think fast, write slow.
Last edited by Alias on Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby meatcaber » Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:26 pm

Hope you dont mind me posting Alias but I have some rather obvious advice.

Read what is written

I have played in several RP's where people seem to "not" read whats going on. Its rather infuriating.

Stick to your own character

I know its not easy but you shoulnt enact other peoples characters. Unless they have typed something first or are filling in your stead while your absent.

Not too good at explanations but I think you'll get my point(s).
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Postby Alias » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:18 pm

Mind? This isn't just for me to share my infinite wisdom, this is for everyone to come together and write the tipbook. Your input isn't just appreciated, it's awesome!

Since I'm a freak, I'm going to add a longer description to each one of those, and feel free to critique it and modify it!

  • Read what is written. One of the defining features of a roleplay is the cooperation required for it to succeed. A roleplay is a story, written not just by yourself, but by several people. It would be horrible if you decided to simply disregard one of your own chapters, so be curteous: read what people write. If you're not sure what exactly is going on, PM a player for more info.
  • Stick to your own character. Metagaming is that elusive skill that everyone always tries, fails, and is reprimanded for. For clarification, metagaming is taking over a roleplay for a turn, and drastically changing it. For example, a stagnant roleplay might even require metagaming, where the leader of a party might move the party to a new location for a new adventure. Bad metagaming is as bad as godmode, when a character ascends past the powers of all others. Bad metagaming is when it is used in excess, or when it isn't required. Stick to your own character. In a dialogue or a confrontation, let the other person play their part.
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Postby meatcaber » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:24 pm

Nicely done Alias. Couldnt have put it better maself.

It basicly comes down to paying attention. Making detailed posts and not goin off-track. Basicly.
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Postby Alias » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:31 am

I saw this one while browsing the academy:

  • Stick to one tense. It might seem obvious to some, but everyone forgets about their tenses, especially if they are comfortable in both past and present tense. The most common roleplay tense is past: "My character did this, went there, got that." The alternative is the present: "My character does this, goes there, gets that." Sometimes the verbs of the present are preceded with a being verb, like is. No matter which tense or subtense you use, be consisten with: (1) Your current sentence, (2) Your entire post, and (3) The roleplay and the other players. The third is both for flow, readability, and courtesy. An exception to keeping tense is when using past tense, and including a character's thoughts. You as the narrator are describing what the character has already done in your mind, but you are quoting her in present tense, as though she was immediately speaking.
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Postby mumblethesilent » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:39 am

if i may make a suggestion. I learned this from doing Improv Acting.
(feel free to fancy this up)

Try not to openly contradict someone. It causes confusion and breaks down the story. If someone says "I am cold," don't come out and say "It's summertime." That just makes the story fall apart. Try to stay consistent. Another example: someone says "my shoe is untied," try to say something like, "Let me tie it for you." but don't just say "no it isn't." It just breaks down the credibility there.
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Postby Alias » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:47 am

Fancy I will, as the idea is quite important! :D

how does this sound? feel free to make change or additions as you will :)

  • Pay attention to others. One of the most profound applications of this is to prevent open contradictions of others' hard work. It causes confusion and breaks down the story. If a character says "I am cold," there is either a reason for it, or they would like for it to be incorporated in the story. The more intertwined the posts in a roleplay are, the better the roleplay itself. Respond by noting your character's winter parka, or perhaps shivers and chattering teeth. At all costs, avoid a situation where you say "It's summertime," at least without due explanation. By paying attention to details provided by others, it becomes possible to tie their loose ends together into furthering your own ideas for the roleplay. If a character's shoe is untied, notice it, offer to tie it, and perhaps notice some piece of the grand puzzle drawn on the floor beneath them, pointing in the direction of a long-desired quest item.
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Postby mumblethesilent » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:52 am

:big_thumbs:
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^^made by Alias :mexican_wave:
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Postby Calixta Ravana » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:44 pm

Do Not Assume

Do not pretend that because you can read another character's thoughts that they are allowing you to. Thoughts are kept personal. Never assume anything and always ask questions if you are not certain about one part of a post!

It's All in the Details

Detailing your character in actions, thoughts emotions and so forth will help others to interact with you. This will help them help you. Short posts are fine for the middle of stories, but in the start you should be as detailed as possible.
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Postby Alias » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:59 pm

I fluffed em up a bit =]
feel free to critique and modify before I pop them into the first post
  • Do Not Assume. Do not pretend that because you can read another character's thoughts that they are allowing you to. Thoughts are kept personal. Unless you are confident that the thought might be expressed via unwritten body language, you must remember to keep your character and your knowledge as separate entities. Do not assume anything that could potentially subvert another player's thoughts, and always ask questions if you are not certain about another player's intentions.
  • It's All in the Details. Although "fluff" is sometimes discouraged, detailing a character's thoughts, actions, appearance, and background will help define your character as a dynamic being that others can interact with. Especially at the beginning of roleplays, many "loose" details can get used up to create relationships and engender action. While shorter, less fluffy and more active posts are approptiate for the core of a developing story, details define the success of a roleplay from the very start.
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Postby Mr Toad » Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:49 am

Respect

Very important issue I feel.

Respect your fellow gamers, sure there character or written word might be slightly lacking; But they might be new to RPing or fairly young in age. Perhaps they have always struggled with English?

Be nice play fair, we are all here for fun.
Seemed like a good idea at the time......
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Postby Alias » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:48 pm

  • Respect. Respect your fellow players. A roleplay is a cooperative effort, and no one wants to be pushed out of the fun. Give other players a chance, and if you have concerns and issues, discuss them in private and in a respectful manner. If another player's character or written word is slightly lacking, perhaps they might be new to RPing or fairly young of age. If you have a useful pointer, offer it. If a pointer is given to you, no not feel degraded, someone is just trying to help. Forum roleplay is as much the roleplaying as it is a workshop to get better. Be nice and play fair as we are all here for fun.
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Postby Calixta Ravana » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:39 am

Sounds good to me!
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Postby LadyDarkness067 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:43 am

May I make a suggestion? I have noticed a couple times in my years of roleplay that one thing that seems to be difficult for some is to keep to the time era. For example, if the story is set in modern times, with realistic stories, it is unlikely that people would have swords or magical powers. Basically, try to, again, pay attention to the time/era you are playing in. Do not have a magical, medieval elf in a sci-fi game, it doesn't make much sense unless it is somehow otherwise written into the story. Does that make any sense?
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Postby Alias » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:44 am

I've fluffed it up, feel free to modify, Lady Darkness, or anyone else for that matter.

  • Stick with the times. Roleplays are often categorized by style and era, like SciFi, Real world, Fantasy, Modern Fantasy, etc. The premise behind this classification is to allow players who prefer a certain style or era to experience it without any of the garbage found in other styles. Thus it is important to be courteous to fellow players and stick to the style, keeping space bugs and ray guns out of Fantasy, and inexplicable magic missiles and night elf mages out of Real world roleplays.
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Postby Calixta Ravana » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:35 am

Another Thought.

In regards to dealing with Magic.....There has to be some sort of input and output. for example...i've adapted a tendency to have a rule of requiring the element that a character utalizes to be present. Defineing the usage of magic as well as where it starts (if it's creating it and eventually controling or elsewise). Just something that came to mind.
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Postby Alias » Fri Jan 26, 2007 8:16 am

  • Output Output Output. Input. Everything, including magic, energy, strength, endurance, adrenaline, even dying moments seem to force a character into a supernatural state of incredible power. All is good and well when your character manages a grand feat, but just think: who pays for that feat? God? Nature? The environment? Not at all, but rather your character themselves. If your character has just gotten up after suffering a terminal blow, then be sure after one or two swings of their sword that character will be dead. If you character has just used telekinesis to throw a boulder at the enemy, expect serious headaches, blackouts, and incapacitation in the near future. Everything has its costs, and as a courtesy to your fellow players, make sure that you pay those costs, whatever they might be.


Sorry for my long absence. College has taken a lot out of my online time. Feel free to drop in corrections :)
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Postby Anvilsmith » Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:25 pm

Pay attention to the readers' needs. Remember, forum RPs are a fairly open affair, where anyone can peek in and enjoy your writing efforts, reading through several posts in succession. Try to maintain the flow of the story, even tinkering with your writing style a bit if you find it doesn't fit well with the context. Study the previous poster's last sentence for ways to branch off of it - if it describes your PC's friend Jay throwing bolts of mental energy into a horde of rat-men, type something like "Meanwhile, at the other end of the hall, Chris frantically dashes for the golden wheel of cheese." instead of simply "Chris frantically dashes for the golden wheel of cheese." The latter sentence makes things feel disjoint, dulls the epic scope of your character's actions and doesn't really pay homage to Jay's rat-bashing efforts like the first example does. Likewise, leave the end of your post open for others to easily entwine it with their own posts. This helps make everything look more like a narrative, something you'd be proud of publishing someday.

Never, ever start a thread, or even a post, with a proper name, especially if it's an alien-sounding name (and most fantasy / anime names are like that). If you somehow get coerced into doing so, at least please don't follow it up with a verb. The reasoning is that nobody will give a damn about your Ximota, Jalenos, or Grok Moff without having a good grasp of what he's like. When someone sees a name like this at the start of a thread, it's worth no more than any other bunch of letters, offers no chance of sentimental attachment and just plain makes your post look amateurish. The first few words of your post should be tailored to display the general mood of your character, the surrounding world, or the RP itself. Make it captivating; "Ximota stared" isn't captivating. It may be captivating for Ximota to stare, but not for the forum-surfers to read about it. Show us what he's staring at, why he's staring, or what his act entails on a greater level. Present something we're likely to give a damn about before making us develop a concern towards the character, and ~then~ describe what he's doing.
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Postby Alias » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:49 pm

  • The end is only the beginning. It always seems like getting your post in and making it the best is the most important thing to do, but what would your post be without every one else's contributions? The best way to ropleplay is cooperatively, and for that every post needs to be a sequitur into the next. Why finishing up your character's thoughts and actions, don't forget to leave a few loose ends for the next play to jump into. Don't overdo it, but don't leave your fellows hanging because you just left them sitting useless.


I used different wording, although I think it carries the same point. Feel free to suggest changes or reject my paraphrasing, I'll gladly replace it.

As for your second tip, it seems more of a personal dislike for starting posts with names rather than a global problem. I think what you really mean is "hook your post" and in such work to make the first sentence and paragraph good enough that anybody and everybody will want to read your post to the end, rather than getting fed up with boring or unenjoyable writing. If so, you or I can paraphrase that and I'll pop it onto the list.
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Postby Anvilsmith » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:06 pm

My phrasing was indeed satirical; yours seems to fit the tipbook better overall. Here's a re-write of my original 2nd tip, describing things in general:

*Lift the curtain. When you start a thread, try to set the mood from the very first paragraph, or even the very first sentence. At this point in the story, your writing style is probably going to carry far more weight in keeping the reader attentive than the characters and events, so make good use of it.

Feel free to edit/replace/scrap it completely. That said, I hold by my statement that it's poor form to start any thread with a proper name.
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Postby Alias » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:13 pm

  • Lift the curtain. When you start a thread, try to set the mood from the very first paragraph, or even the very first sentence. At this point in the story, your writing style is probably going to carry far more weight in keeping the readers attentive and likely to join than the characters and events so far, so make good use of it. Keep away from focusing the plot on yourself, and instead try to hook readers, much like the first scene of the first act of a play, just after the curtain has been lifted. You wouldn't want your readers to stand up and walk out, so keep them interested.


And now that I think about it, it does make good sense not to start a thread with a proper name. I originally thought you meant post, because I can understand starting replies with your character's proper name. Anyway, contributions are always welcome :D
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Postby Hedgehog » Sun Feb 11, 2007 2:50 pm

I' post up my tips on Character Creation.

Hedgehog’s Maxims of Character Making:

1 ) The Character Is Not You: This person or being your playing, pretend that it isn’t you – change that mentality Not only can you accept characters that don’t fit your idealized mold you might actually have fun with them. Also, its interesting where characters turn up or what they do – because they’ll do things that you wouldn’t do given the opportunity. It means you can actually think of making an ugly character, putting him/her/it in a bad light, getting him/her in real trouble, round out the character more

2 ) Personality First, History Second, Appearance…Dead Last: A character in a story is driven by its personality and its history, how that person looks is ancillary. I always think about this at length because it provides plot hooks for potential development, ideas for taking the storyline in some direction if the plot looks hazy and nebulous and it’s what the reader sees more in the narrative, speech, and how the writer presents the character. Looks are great, but I can just sum it up in a paragraph that will be forgotten in my first post and that’ll be it with that.

3 ) Ugly is Good: I’m never afraid to have my characters’ warts shown. Or for that character to be far from perfect. It makes a character interesting, gives you a chance to improve the character through the story, and generally humanizes the character. Also, if they overcame an “ugliness,” well that’s the stuff of many a story’s plots already. And I’ve found characters with flaws to be generally more entertaining than that Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu who seem perfect in every which way, even their damn flaws.

4 ) Adjective Grab-Bagging: This is mnemonic tool of mine to help me make characters. Can I describe this character in a series of adjectives, that isn’t about looks? Doesn’t matter if those adjectives are contradictory. Can I do it? And if so, how many adjectives can I list? I go for like sex-seven adjectives, with a third of them being bad traits to round off the character. And these tend to be the definitng characteristics about the character

5 ) More Words For Personality than Appearance: This is related to Maxim #2. Basically, if you’ve written more about Appearance than that person’s Personality, you should think about your character some more.

6 ) Little Details Go A Long Way: Think about that person’s eccentricities, their speech patterns, or their favorite items or topics of discussion. That adds to the character and makes him/her stand out. It fleshes out the character more and makes that character more notable. Also, these little details with a little work can actually factor significantly in plots.

7 ) Outline Your Character Somewhere: Character sheets are good for this! This way you have somewhere to turn to figure out how that character plays, which is especially useful if you are involved in multiple RPs or can’t focus on every RP you are in a single day. It helps, because if you make a character that is different or a little hard for you to play – then you have a ready reference to see.

8 ) No Character is Static: All characters evolve and develop themselves over time. I personally don’t believe that my characters will forever be the same type of person/being at the start of the RP nor will they be forever chained by their character sheet.
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Postby Alias » Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:25 pm

Perhaps if/when this tipbook gets quite a bit bigger, I can make some chapters. I'm sure there isn't enough on the same topic for a chapter from what's there so far, so I'll mush that into general tips, and then make all of yours Chapter 1: Character Creation :)

Thanks a lot for the contribution!
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Postby Alias » Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:43 pm

Seeing as we suddenly have chapters, I will integrate the dueling tipbook into the roleplay tipbook (mainly because dueling is kind of wallowing with no responses)
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