Author Topic: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes  (Read 3625 times)

Offline Anndgrim

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Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
« on: February 19, 2013, 01:23:11 pm »
    Roleplaying
    Rules & Ropes




    What is Roleplaying?

    The answer is in the question. Roleplaying is the fact of assuming the role of a character and acting by placing yourself from their point of view. This is a rather catch all definition that can include acting on stage or pretending to be someone else but what we are gonna talk about is the interpretation of a character taking part in a story and in this case, forum roleplaying.
    Forum roleplaying, unlike acting, doesn't involve following a script and rather follows the concept of Tabletope Roleplaying by putting the players in control of a character who will be faced with various situations created by the Game Master and the other players' actions.
    Roleplaying is a group activity, and the differents characters controlled by the players coexist in the same world and each of their actions affect the world and the other characters. Player's cannot ignore other players' characters as if they belonged in parallel realities.
    It's important to remember that the player can only control his character and not his fellow players' unless of course after a discussion and agreement.
    The players are however most often given a certain ammount of freedom in controlling the world their character inhabit in the measure of it not going against the Game Master's agreement and against the rules of the setting. Usually a player will be allowed to make his character whatever he can feasibly do.
    However have to remember that you are playing a character and not controlling an avatar. You must not confuse your character with an insertion of yourself in the story and play him accordingly. The way a character will react to a situation depends on his personality, his knowledge, his given skills, etc, and not those of the player who controls him.
    You knowing what is behind that door because you read it in the Out Of Character Thread doesn't mean your character does.


    What is the aim of Roleplaying?

    There is no idea of Winning in a Forum Roleplay Game. The aim is not to beat the other players neither is it to "beat" the World presented to you by your Game Master. The objective of Roleplaying is simply that of playing.
    The point of it isn't to bring your character to the top, but simply to play him.
    A character might actually not try to escalate, if he has no interest in doing so.
    This implies that if you are gonna give your character objectives you will have to give him the motivations that go with them, outside of your own wish of seeing your character completing them.


    How do we Roleplay?

    The actual roleplaying takes the form of a thread in which players alternatively post in reaction to the Game Master and eachother's actions. The writting style is similar to that of a novel.
    Depending on a player's preference it may be more or less Point of View oriented
    Genre and Media awareness
    A simple and common mistake is often to make a character too genre aware.
    Because a character is part of an Horror RP for example, doesn't mean he knows about it. If a character doesn't (yet) have any reason to assume an unlikely situation then he won't.
    For example, a normal character in an up till now normal world won't be looking for signs of zombie infection in people if he doesn't know yet there has been a zombie outbreak. He may also look for more normal explanations to the situations he face as long as he is not confronted with overwhelming evidence instead of instantly assume the improbable.


    How is a Roleplay Game created?

    First you need an idea. Try to develop it until you have a sufficient mental image of the setting and plot.
    It's good to discuss it with a fellow Roleplayer before going onto the next step. You also may want to find someone to help you with it. Someone who will counterbalance your ideas.
    When you're ready, a thread is posted to present you idea. You detail your idea in it, gather your fellow RPers opinion as to what they like, don't like and how to run the RP. It's important if you want to not alienate some players. You can answer their questions so that they make their decision on whether or not to join.
    Once that is settled, the first players will create and submit characters. It will be up to the GM to decide to accept them as they are or reject them, partially or entirely.
    Afterwards the GM creates the thread and make a first post which gives the players a way to introduce their characters into the story.
    With that comes an Out of Character thread where all non RP questions and discussions will take place. It's generally the same thread as the one used to discuss the idea for the setting.


    Rules of Roleplaying
    • A player cannot control another player's character without his agreement.
    • The Game Master has the final word.
    • A player must repsect the boundaries of the setting set up by the Game Master, its rules and its limitations.
    • A character belongs to the setting he evolves in.
    • The Roleplay thread only contains actual Roleplaying:
      -A player will not post unrelated content in a Roleplay thread.
      -A player will post Out Of Character comments and discussions in the appropriate Out Of Character Thread.


    Rules of Conduct
    • Leave your ego at the door, this is not a cock fight.
    • Do not antagonize other players.
    • Do not take personally harm or insult brought to your character.
    • Do not bring your personal vendettas into the RP.
    • Do not constantly try to bargain for some authorization to break the rules of a setting or go against the GM and other players' agreement
    • Do not go an modify the setting on your own accord. If there is something you don't know about the setting, ask the GM. If you want to add a defining aspect to the setting, ask the GM. In doubt, ask the GM.
    • Just because something is technically possible doesn't mean your character will automatically pull it off. You must define the boundaries of your character's abilities in accordance to the rules of the setting and the GM agreement, and respect them.
    • Avoid excessive Mary Sueing.
    • Remember that your character is one of the characters, NOT THE Main Character.
    • Don't try to make your character the centre of everything.

    Rules and Ropes of GMing:
    • Don't use your GM powers to carry out your personal vendettas.
    • Being the GM doesn't mean you get to force your point of view on things on the players. Because a GM is racist for example, it doesn't make racist the right opinion to have in a setting. This goes for other forms of opinion.
    • Don't try to control everything. Leave players some room for creativity and just straighten them up if they go to far out.
    • Don't feel guilty about saying no. Just because someone wants something doesn't mean you have to ruin your setting for them, it will only deteriorate your and the other players experience.
    • Try to think things through before making a decision or some things you approved will affect your setting or plot in ways you didn't expect, and when that happens there's usually no going back.


    Writting tips:

    This is simply a list of advices I give you. Of course they are subjective and don't have a value as rules.
    • Imagine your character based on the setting. He must be part of it and not an import. Your character is a person, who was born and raised in conditions such as those existing in the setting. His culture is tied with the setting and his origins. He may have prejudices and make assumptions based on the information available to him and that should shape his opinion on things. Put a certain ammount of subjectivity in the way he thinks and feels about things even if it means making him mistaken.
    • Keep some distance between you and your character. I personally preffer avoiding the use of "I", "me", "my" or "mine" when referring to my character in the Roleplay. I think it tends to lead to Mary Sueing a bit or simply blur the line, sometimes turning the character into a self-insertion. That and it feels really weird for other players when they  read it.
    • Explore your character's point of view. Some players tend to only describe what physically happens. I find that boring and kind of dry. I like to detail my characters' thoughts, feelings and emotions as they come and in reaction of what happens around them.
    • Be accurate. Try to use the right word for the right situation and don't be too vague. Describe things as you picture them instead of simply summing them up. Don't go too far in details though if you feel it's impeding the flow of events.
    • Don't forget that the number of words you use to describe events affects the rythm at which the people reading you percieve them. If you want your reader to percieve an event as very short and fast, try not to extend too far in its description. If want an event to feel sudden and unexpected, use minimal build up and a very short description, which you can afterward describe more intensively. In  an extreme case, you can even use onomathopeias for that purpose. (Though it's preferable to follow them by a description of what just happened.)
    • Actively avoid metagaming.


    Vocabulary:
    IC: In Character
    Sues: A symptomatic bad writting issue.
    • Mary Sue: A character serving as a way for the writter to live out his fantasies at the price of good writting. Those characters are generally not really defined. They tend to be a fantasized version of their writter and are most often perfect in all accounts. They make heavy use of metagaming, they will often suddenly acquire any ablity their writter want them to have even it goes against the rules of the setting. They will almost always be superhumanly skilled at everything they ever do. The writter will often try to make the centre of everything.
    • Ugly Sue: Like a Mary Sue in every aspect except for the one of being the opposite of perfect at everything.
    • Flawed Sue: A character with typically the same faults as their writter but who despite that manage to be the centre of everything. The Flawed Sue will have people at her feet despite being imperfect.
    Metagaming: Making your character upon information he is not supposed to have.
    OOC:Out of Character[/list][/list]






    Creating a Character:

    When creating a character it is good to "build him up" as ONE character rather than tape together a set of characteristics.
    A simple way to define him is to answer a number of questions:
    • What are his motivations?
    • What set him onto this path?
    • What are his abilities?
    • How did he acquire his abilities?
    • Where does he come from?
    • What is his life story?
    • What are the things he will do and the things he won't do? (morality)
    • What is his cultural heritage?
    • How does he look like?
    • How does he act? (socially)
    I tried to arrange those questions in an order fitting to the creation of a predetermined RP. You might find some are missing and/or that some are superfluous. You're free to make your own recipe.

    Typical Character Sheet:

    Name: the character's name
    Race: In the eventuality of a Fantasy of Sci-Fi RP
    Age:
    Sex:
    Appearance: the character's appearance. (skin, hair, eyes, body, face, clothing)
    Personality: the character's personality. (I personally don't like that field, I preffer to have it unfold throughout the RP.
    Background: A capital part of your character. Whether you want to reveal it all in the sheet or to unfold it throughout the story, you at least need to have one. It is very important that it fits with the setting.
    Skills and Abilities: self-explanatory. Be sure to check with the GM if your character is overpowered or underpowered for the setting or if his power set doesn't fit the setting.

    « Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 03:35:20 pm by Anndgrim »
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    Offline Anndgrim

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 01:31:04 pm »
    If you disagree, wants to add some information or have questions, you are welcome to discuss it in this thread.
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    Offline balis

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 01:51:48 pm »
    Quote
    Metagaming: Making your character upon information he is not supposed to have.

    I don't understand. Do you mean he has access on information he's not supposed to have?

           


            made by dioz/kami

    Offline AnimeFreak

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 01:55:06 pm »
    He means that, for example, if my character is hiding out in a box next to yours and has done nothing to give his position away, and your character has absolutely no reason to believe someone is in the box, the character can not have a sudden burst of inspiration and realize that someone is hiding in the box.
    A lesson without pain is meaningless. That’s because you can not gain something without sacrificing something else in return. But, once you’ve over come the pain you will gain a heart that is stronger than anything else.

    Offline ketaro

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 02:55:33 pm »
    He means that, for example, if my character is hiding out in a box next to yours and has done nothing to give his position away, and your character has absolutely no reason to believe someone is in the box, the character can not have a sudden burst of inspiration and realize that someone is hiding in the box just because you(the player) read that his character was hiding in that box.

    To clarify.
    « Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 03:05:45 pm by ketaro »

    Offline ketaro

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 03:02:32 pm »
    I find myself rather fond of a sort of "Power Level" system to help define just strong or weak a GM wants the characters in their setting to be. Something that tells you that there is a definitive difference between this one character written out to be some normal high school kid, another that is described as a military veteran, and then the far end of the scale that would have Superman-esque type characters that just would not fit in fairly in most RPs.

    I do not have the links anymore to provide an example of what I'm talking about for those who don't know what I'm talking about, but I know EJP does and can probably explain it better than I.

    But yeah, basically I just think its a great scale to use to let players know just what level of power the GM generally wants from the characters. Yanno, to avoid things like people trying to use characters with supernatural powers in, say, a mundane high school life kind of RP.
    « Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 03:05:14 pm by ketaro »

    Offline Anndgrim

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 03:43:34 pm »
    I find myself rather fond of a sort of "Power Level" system to help define just strong or weak a GM wants the characters in their setting to be. Something that tells you that there is a definitive difference between this one character written out to be some normal high school kid, another that is described as a military veteran, and then the far end of the scale that would have Superman-esque type characters that just would not fit in fairly in most RPs.

    I do not have the links anymore to provide an example of what I'm talking about for those who don't know what I'm talking about, but I know EJP does and can probably explain it better than I.

    But yeah, basically I just think its a great scale to use to let players know just what level of power the GM generally wants from the characters. Yanno, to avoid things like people trying to use characters with supernatural powers in, say, a mundane high school life kind of RP.

    I find it rather abstract and clumsy when referring to an actual scale.
    It's no replacement for words and sentences.
    But yeah most RPs will need a somewhat detailed description of what is and isn't possible.
    As for the case of a "mundane RP" I think saying "no superpowers allowed" does the trick. That or "realistic".

    Then again the term of "realistic" can vary a lot from people to people. Some will think cutting through slabs of solid steel with a katana is realistic (and those are morons).
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    Offline balis

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 04:05:21 pm »
    I find myself rather fond of a sort of "Power Level" system to help define just strong or weak a GM wants the characters in their setting to be. Something that tells you that there is a definitive difference between this one character written out to be some normal high school kid, another that is described as a military veteran, and then the far end of the scale that would have Superman-esque type characters that just would not fit in fairly in most RPs.

    I do not have the links anymore to provide an example of what I'm talking about for those who don't know what I'm talking about, but I know EJP does and can probably explain it better than I.

    But yeah, basically I just think its a great scale to use to let players know just what level of power the GM generally wants from the characters. Yanno, to avoid things like people trying to use characters with supernatural powers in, say, a mundane high school life kind of RP.
    I assume you're talking about this?

           


            made by dioz/kami

    Offline ketaro

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 04:44:06 pm »
    I find myself rather fond of a sort of "Power Level" system to help define just strong or weak a GM wants the characters in their setting to be. Something that tells you that there is a definitive difference between this one character written out to be some normal high school kid, another that is described as a military veteran, and then the far end of the scale that would have Superman-esque type characters that just would not fit in fairly in most RPs.

    I do not have the links anymore to provide an example of what I'm talking about for those who don't know what I'm talking about, but I know EJP does and can probably explain it better than I.

    But yeah, basically I just think its a great scale to use to let players know just what level of power the GM generally wants from the characters. Yanno, to avoid things like people trying to use characters with supernatural powers in, say, a mundane high school life kind of RP.
    I assume you're talking about this?


    Yes.

    @Grim: Its really just to give examples, not be a set of rules, is how I mean.

    Offline Dark

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 06:18:39 pm »
    Needs more twenty-sided dice.

    Offline Anndgrim

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 08:55:10 am »
    Needs more twenty-sided dice.

    I don't like the idea of rolling dices in a forum RP.

    Yes, I did ignore the humour in that joke.
    « Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 03:43:31 pm by Anndgrim »
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    Offline ketaro

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 03:55:23 pm »
    There are forums set up for dice rolling games that have forum codes for random number generation :p

    No, we probably won't go that route.

    Offline Dark

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 01:13:46 am »
    There are forums set up for dice rolling games that have forum codes for random number generation :p

    No, we probably won't go that route.

    Oh...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...Those forums sound awesome. *secretly addicted to D&D*

    Offline ketaro

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    Re: Roleplaying: Rules & Ropes
    « Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 01:26:14 am »
    There are forums set up for dice rolling games that have forum codes for random number generation :p

    No, we probably won't go that route.

    Oh...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...Those forums sound awesome. *secretly addicted to D&D*

    I personally don't find virtual dice rolling for a play-by-post D&D games to be very fun. I want to throw my dice across the room in rage in person.

     

    anything