Role Play Basics
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Adrasteia Wiki Guide to Free-Form Online Role-Playing! The purpose of this guide is to serve as both a starting point for those new to free-form role-play (RP) and a source of useful information for those with previous experience. Most of the information within has been collected from members of FFRP communities;all input has been considered, and most has been used. With this in mind, please feel free to submit more input. The guide is always open to new ideas and information, so the more input it receives, the better it will become!
Introduction to Free Form Role Play
Free-form role-play is, for the most part, multiple people getting together and creating a story by "playing" as characters. It can be structured or loose, it can have a goal, or just let things happen. The beauty of free-form RP is that it's free. There are no rules except those the players set for themselves. There are no scores or experience points unless the players involved want them. Everything is up to the players.
Though the reasons and motivations for FFRP can vary greatly, a few seem nearly universal. A reason most participate in FFRP is because it allows them to act out things they would not be able or wish to do in real life. It could be something fantastic, like training to become a wizard, falling in love with an extra-terrestrial, or playing an honest politician. It can be something mundane, like going on a blind date, or making one's way up the corporate hierarchy. Whatever the reason, it allows people to be someone else. (Or, in some cases, be their true selves.)
It would probably be a bit difficult to role-play without a character, so this is probably the first thing you should do after you've familiarized yourself with the role-playing area. Here are some of the more important aspects of character creation you may wish to consider:
- Naming your character: This is something you have likely already done to enter the MUD, but if you haven't, or if you wish to create more characters, it needs to be done. What you name your character is entirely up to you. Our only advice is to avoid blatantly offensive names, the names of established characters or universally known or famous individuals.
- Creating a character description: It's important that you let other players know what your character is, so they can have a good idea of whether or not they wish to RP with it, and really just what they're dealing with. The basics you should consider when making a character include:
- Size. Probably the most important aspect for people to know is just how big or little your character is. You don't need to be specific, but try to let people know of your character is of about average size, above it, or below it.
- Species/Race. One of the better aspects of role-play is that you don't have to be human (but can if you wish). You should include what manner of creature your character is, such as a human, an anthropomorphic (furry) feline, a common beagle, or a stately high-elf.
- Distinctive markings and coloration. If your character is devoid of anything that really makes them stand out, you might wish to say so. If your character is a squirrel with blue fur, that should probably be included. Though it isn't necessary to include this information, it helps give other players a better impression of your character.
- Clothing and visible armament. If you feel what your character is wearing is important to the role-play, you may wish to include this in that character's description. If your character is noticeably armed, you may wish to include this in your description as well, to give other players fair warning.
You can, of course, add or withhold any information you wish in the character description, such as adding a bit of the character's personality, or not bothering with the clothing or coloration. Once again, by its very nature, FFRP is free, and open to nearly infinite interpretations.
- Noting your preferences: Pretty much everyone has preferences for what they would like or dislike in role-play. Because of this, it is a good idea to include those you feel strongly about in your description. For example, if you have a strong aversion to certain sexual acts in an adult role-playing area, you may wish to note this in your profile to avoid misunderstanding. Also, if there's something you particularly enjoy, such as being hugged, you may wish to include that as well. How little or much you include in your description is up to you, though I recommend you stick with the most important ones.
Writing for Role Play
For the most part, how you role-play is up to you. Most of the finer points of writing are the opinions of other role-players, but the best way to refine your writing style is to observe and role-play with those you find most appealing.
Most players write in one of three styles. Generally posts are made in the third person, since the game commands initiate posts with a character name. Thereafter, players can write in the present tense, in the past tense, or in the continuous (ing) version of each tense. The difference would appear as the following.
Arien walked toward the door.
Arien walks toward the door.
Arien is/was walking toward the door.
Note: You can opt to post in a way that allows you to begin your post with a quote or other narrative by using :: or || at the beginning of your post to separate your screen name from the post content.
Generally, players seem to prefer writing in the past or past continuous tense, as that tends to be the natural voice of narration in fiction. (How novelists write) It gives the writer a sense of control over their completed action and the 'ing' tense alows for the possiblity of innteruption of the action on the part of a role play partner.
In the end, however, how you post is entirely up to you as an individual, and most role players will accommodate and support your interaction in whatever form it is made.
For a sample of what a completed role played scene might look like, take a moment to read the following role play of a battle that takes place on the high seas between the crew of two pirate ships.
Credit and thanks to the writers of the Nyxian Wraith clan for providing the sample.
Timing is another important aspect of role-play. When you post your posts tends to matter, depending on whom you role-play with. In two-person role-play, it is usually best to take turns posting. It is almost universally thought that posting more than once before the other player posts is bad manners. If you wish to do this, though, ask the other player if it's alright with them, and they may not mind. In scenes with more than two people, things can be more loose. It is probably best to discuss timing with the people involved. This way, you will know if there is a set post order, or if you can just post as soon as there is something you wish to respond to.
Role Playing Courtesy and Etiquette
The goal of role-playing is to provide an enjoyable experience not only to one's self, but also to the others participating in a scene. (In fact, this is probably the most important part; most of the enjoyment of the role-play is not in one's own posts, but how the other person responds, and what they do for the role-play.) Keeping this in mind, some basic guidelines for etiquette should be observed:
Vulgar Language: Such things as profanities, racial slurs, derogatory terms, and anything else generally frowned upon are usually considered vulgar. Use your best judgement, and try to keep the use of vulgar terminology to role plays where such characterization is appropiate for your character, and generally accepted or anticipated by your playing partners. It is standard etiquette to use unoffensive language in the general public eye. Even in adults-only role-playing areas, the public use of offensive language tends to be frowned upon.
Character Interaction: Avoid "unblockable" and "forced" actions. If you are playing a character who is attacking or otherwise chasing another character, give them ways to avoid capture. Try to give the other player breathing room. The same goes for playing the defensive character: there should be few (if any) forced actions. Forced actions are, in effect, writing the other player's character without their consent. This is known as power-playing/power-gaming, and is generally not appreciated. The only time forcing actions is acceptable is with the consent of the other player. This can occur when their character is obviously under your character's complete control, or their character is willing to let yours do just about anything. Still, it is best to be avoided. Once again, please try to avoid power-play, as it tends to make RP less fun for those being around a power-gamer.
Respect: This is probably one of the most important parts of role-playing etiquette. Always keep in mind: the other character(s) are played by other real people. They have feelings and desires just as you do, and can be hurt, angered, or made happy by what you do. Though it may sometimes seem less real--just text on the screen--communication over the internet is just as powerful as speaking with someone face-to-face. Always try to remember: the other role-players have feelings too!
Environment: (Strongly suggested, but optional.) When someone enters the RP-area and you're not already busy elsewhere, you may wish to greet them, and let them know people want them around. This is especially important with new players. If someone you've never seen before shows up, it's a good chance they're a new player. Greet them, and ask if they could use any assistance, assuming you're not busy and willing to help them. Giving people the impression that a role-playing area is friendly will often gain that area more players, which means more potential friends and role-playing partners.
Training Newcomers: (Strongly suggested, but optional.) Once again, if you spot a "newbie" and are not busy, there's no need to be afraid of offering help. Even returning players with new characters tend to appreciate people putting forth the effort to help new people, and most new players will be very appreciative of any help you offer them. However, if you don't feel up to it, there is no need to feel obligated to.
Giving: Just as you role-play hoping for a good scene from the other player, they do so expecting a good scene from you. Pay attention to what they say, and their preferences. This doesnt mean that you must only interact positively with another character. Depending on your character's personality, and that of your partner's, the encounter might be quite aressive or hostile. This does not mean that all parties cannot enjoy the role play. It is recommended writing with the intention of pleasing the other player, and letting them do the same for you. Role-play's primary draw is that it allows real people to interact in a fantasy (In the broader sense of make-believe, not just elves and magic, etc.) environment. With this in mind, a good goal to set for yourself is making the other person enjoy it as much as you can, and hopefully they will do the same for you. (To make an analogy, you can hug yourself all you want, but a hug from another person will likely mean a lot more.)
Asking Questions: If you're not sure of something, feel free to ask someone! It's better to risk bothering someone with a "petty detail" than risk making a grievous error. This doesn't mean you should bug someone in the middle of their scene, or anything like that; ask someone you are role-playing with, or someone who is not in a scene. People tend appreciate players who are considerate enough to ask questions first, shoot later.
Avoid Persistence: Please try to avoid pestering or harassing other role-players with repeated requests for role-play if they have declined you. No means no. If you leave people alone after they've declined you, the worst that is likely to happen is you may never get to RP with them. Persist, however, and they may end up disliking you, and even reporting you to the role-playing area's authorities. Keep in mind: you can't be everyone's ideal partner. If someone doesn't like your character(s), you're best off not hounding them for RP.
The Right to Scene: The role-playing areas are for everyone. We all have an equal right to use them for role-play, so long as we do not violate the rules of the RP area, and do not break the law. Everyone has the right to the scene of their choice, within these limits. If you are offended by the material of a scene that contains no vulgar terminology, is within the boundaries of the law and the rules of the RP area, please do not complain to the characters or RP area authority. If it bothers you too much, you can always leave. If the problem persists, you can kindly tell those involved that they are bothering you.
When Problems Arise: No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are inconsiderate, and hurt people. A sexist remark, a blatant disregard for someone's feelings, or anything else that strikes you as universally wrong should probably not be ignored. If someone does something wrong, politely inform them that what they have done struck you as such. If the problem persists, contact one of the RP area's authorities.