Originally written by Molly O'Hara from 4Dimension
For those of you who are new at roleplaying; here are some pointers:
(Thanks to Meredith and Once, who submitted most of the input for this).
1. ROLE PLAYING BASICS & ETIQUETTE
Role playing (RP) is an art form, which utilises a persons imagination and creative abilities. The primary goal with RP is to have fun, but with that fun come some basic rules and guidelines, as well as certain etiquette involved.
The first rule of thumb is to never make fun of some one who is new to RP. Here on 4D we want to establish an atmosphere that will welcome new and imaginative players. If you see a group roleplaying and you don't wish to be involved, please do not disrupt the RP by making comments and trying to talk to the people that are In Character (IC) Out of Character (OOC). If you MUST discuss something with one of the RPers kindly send them a tell. That way it will not disrupt the RP session. If you want to join the RP session, don't barge right in. Say something polite like 'Mind if I join you?' then wait and observe until you get a hang of what is going on, or someone adresses you.
If you are an experienced roleplayer and notice someone attempting to roleplay, but doing a really bad job of it, try to tutor them a bit over tell, tactfully. If you are at the receiving end of this tell, don't get offended. We can all live and learn, and if you listen to good advice, you'll end up being a better roleplayer.
You are NOT your character. Your char is just something you created for the purpose of roleplaying. NEVER bring RL issues into roleplay.
For instance; if your char gets insulted during a RP session, you can make it react in a way that is consistent with the nature of the personality you created. It might be hurt, intimidated, offended, angry, set upon revenge… But meanwhile, YOU, the real person at the keyboard, might be chuckling at the dramatic situation that evolves.
If this is hard for you to adjust to, try thinking about your character as 'he' or she', rather than 'me'.
It will also help a lot if you write up a 'Roleplay Chart', with some basic facts about your character; like age, origin, family, occupation, general disposition, quirks, etc. You can start out with just the basics, and add to it as your character evolves. It is usually a good idea to leave room for some growth. Don't start your char out as an omnipotent semi-god or super-hero, it leaves no room for development, and also might make you look rather stupid if you are a low level newcomer to the realms. Characters with some flaws and shortcomings also make for much more interesting RP possibilities, than the rather stereotype perfect heroes or extremely sexy and beautiful women you so often come across.
If English is not your first language, it is usually wise to involve this in your character's background. You could for instance roleplay a noble from a foreign country, an alien from a faraway planet, or even a small child.
Below is a small Questionnaire, to help creating your own RP charts:
1) Where is your characters home?
2) Does he/she miss his/her homeland?
3) What sort of things annoy your character?
4) What things does your character enjoy?
5) Does your character stand for anything? The Destruction of Surface Elves?
The protection of innocents against oppression?
6) Is your character a part of a clan, and if so, what do they stand for?
7) Are you bound by your past at all?
8) Does your character have a long term goal, and if so what is it?
9) Does your character have any short term goals? And if so what are they?
10) How far will your character go to accomplish those goals?
11) Does your character have any quirks about him/her, or any faults?
For example: A limp from an injured leg, or an inability to see evil
12) Is your character prone to alliances or friendships with others and
if so, what sort of people?
13) Are there any particular things that your character absolutely hates?
14) Does your character value honesty, or the giving of oaths?
15) Does your character deeply value the lives of others?
16) Does your character prefer diplomacy, or combat?
17) Is your character strictly law-abiding, or would they break the rules
when in a tight bind?
18) Does your character have any fears, or phobias?
19) Does your character have any religious beliefs?
20) What does your character find to be "fun" or "entertaining"?
These are 20 questions that you could answer for yourself as an aide in
developing your character. It might be helpful to answer these questions on
a sheet of paper, or in a notepad. Once you have a firm understanding of who
your character is, it'll be much easier for you to act like him/her.
One of the more important aspects of roleplaying is to keep IC and OOC information apart.
Do not confuse what YOU know yourself OOC with what your character knows IC. The only ways your character can know things IC, is if they were posted on public IC boards, if you actually witnessed them happen, or if someone told them about them during a roleplay session. Everything else is OOC and, as far as your character is concerned, never happened.
You cannot act on OOC knowledge, you cannot even mention it during a session. Doing so is very bad roleplay.
'Forceplay' means that you force feelings or thoughts upon your opponent by using an emote in a bad way. It is usually regarded as very bad RP etiquette. You should let your counterparts decide themselves how they want to react to your action.
'Molly snarls at Sonya, scaring the crap out of her and making her hide behind Belgarion's back.'
This is 'forceplay', and very bad roleplay. Sonya may not be the least intimidated, and much more inclined to growl back than hiding between a wimp like Belgarion.
These flags has been implemented to help distinguish between the players who like to roleplay and the ones that don't. The RP flag to the left of a player's name in the WHO-list means that he/she is a registered Roleplayer, who can use the IC and OOC channels. Generally any registered roleplayer should try to stay IC most of the time. If you don't want to Roleplay, why get the flag? It gives no advantages other than the channels, and it is meant as a help for other players to know who it is worth their effort to roleplay with.
The new flag, ROLEPLAYING, which shows up in your title and prompt, should only be toggled when you are already involved in a RP session, or actively seeking someone to roleplay with. Try to remember to toggle it off and on. That's why it is showing in your prompt. This too is an info to others about your status.
Most roleplay sessions are carried out person to person in the same room. It can sometimes be entertaining to 'roleplay' globally over our IC channel or even GOSSIP at times, but that is actually not REAL roleplay, just funny IC bantering.
When you are involved in a RP session, the global channels can be very disturbing, so it is recommended to turn them all off during the session (including IC and OOC).
SAY and EMOTE are the most used RP channels. Emotes are preferable to 'socials', which can easily become stereotype.
The command SAYTO is very useful, when more than one person is involved in the session, because it shows who your remark is directed to, but at the same time allows all others to see it too.
As you have probably noticed, different 'smilies' at the end of your sentence makes your say come out differently, so use those these with some afterthought.
For private messages, preferably use WHISPER. This may be interpreted as rude by some, but if so that can be made part of the Roleplay.
TELL is best used to convey things that are not part of the RP during a session. For instance it can be used for tutoring, or giving info about being temporary AFK or distracted by other tells. (If you have to log off or be AFK for a cosiderable length of time, try to terminate the session in an IC way first). If you want to set up a meeting to roleplay with someone, tell is useful, but it would actually be more IC to use PAGE or even Mudmail.
All the global channels (GOSSIP, IC, OOC, CT, AUCTALC NEWBIE etc) should best be toggled OFF when in a session - (including the IC channel).
The Boards in the 4 RP Inns should be used for IC messages, but it is always wise to make a note to all, or post on the Recall Board about the message being there at the same time, because people don't check the RP boards all the time.
Avoid the Recall Area for roleplaying. Not only is it very spammy because of all people coming and going, it is also declared OOC in the Policy.
Good places to RP in would be any of the 4 Roleplay Inns, any other Inn/Tavern, or any places where it would be IC for your character to dwell. (For instance Camelot_Durmandle for the Qualinesti side, and some dark forests, swamps, caves or the Corellian planets for the Darkside).
Avoid 'spammy' places with a lot of traffic. And bear in mind that mobs or other players wandering in and out of your RP session and overhearing parts of the conversation could be considered spies IC, and utilised by the Gamemasters to further the plot and convey some information about your plans to the other side.