Some common RP terms - Transferred

Role Play:(aka. rp; roleplay) this is taking on a part, much like you would in a play but instead a chatroom replaces the formal stage; you don't have a script of lines to memorize; there isn't a director telling you where to stand and what to do. In essence, you've stepped into another person's shoes and you're pretending to be that person/being/creature/whatever. Play out childhood fantasies, dreams of flying, etc., etc.

Typist: this is -you- the person behind the character. This is the real live person that is typing the words on the computer.

Character: this is the being/creature/person you've made up. Base it off a comic book character, your own imagination, whatever. This is separate from the Typist.

Avatar: (aka av) this is the picture someone uses to give their character a face; some sort of identity. It's how the typist identifies the character; imagines the character to look like. You don't necessarily need it to roleplay. It's just something nice to look at while you scroll down the page.

In Character: (aka ic) this means to be in the role of the being/creature/person you've made up. You -are- the character when you are ic. Out of Character: (aka ooc) this is a term used when the typist wants to say something or do something but not through their character. This is used to present the Typist's ideas and speech. When In Character the typical ooc format is with double bracket ((as such)) some may use (as such).

Real Time: (aka r/t; rt) used when the typist is referring to real life situation.

Virtual Time: (aka v/t; vt) used when the typist is referring to the virtual character life situation. mModer; Godmoder: a character that is invincible. This is a bad thing.

General Information - Rulebooks vs Free Form

Onto business... let’s start with general information.

roleplay online has two main branches: free form and rule books (ranges from white wolf to dungeons and dragons). Both are great systems, both have their ups and downs. Personally, I have tried WW briefly but I found it not to my liking but you may find that it suits your style better.

Prewritten rules are good in that it's a set standard that many people follow, so it makes it a bit simpler in the flow of rp because you don't need to explain what this or that ability allows you to do.

On the other hand...

Free form is exactly that - you make up your own abilities, your own strengths and weaknesses and such. You can be as creative as you want to be. Invent your own creatures/beings, make up new abilities and whatnot. But there's always a downside...

Prewritten rules and character concepts can be -really- hard to learn and understand. I've taken a peek at a few of the books and they might as well have been written in Russian for all I understood in it. Granted not -all- are hard to understand, there's still the learning your character and 'playing it by the book' deal.

Free form has no rules, no guidelines in creating your character and while that is a good thing, there's always the not so good side. Without any boundaries, it is tempting to give your characters all these super god-like abilities as well as changing or adding abilities when it suits your situation.

There isn't a good side or a bad side to this. Both free form and prewritten guidelines are good to use. Like I stated previously, it just depends on your preference. But there are always a few things to consider when you make your character.

If you're going to follow the guidelines then try to follow it as much as possible. There's no point in creating a ww/d&d character if you're just going to write up your own abilities and such. Might as well go free form. Adding/changing a thing or two slightly, as long as it makes sense is alright; so long as you don't rewrite everything so that you are at the uppermost level, etc.
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If you're going to go free form then keep in mind that you should make your abilities as realistic as possible. By realistic I mean that every ability has a weakness, every character has at -least- one weakness the enemy could exploit. These weaknesses don't have to be so blatantly obvious that a half-wit could figure them out (but then again, you might want to play that way) but they shouldn't be so obscure that it's nearly impossible to harm your character. Now, I'm not asking that you write out -every single- weakness your character might have or how to defeat your character and his/her's abilities; simply, I am suggesting that you keep in mind what weaknesses your character will have in its personality or its abilities. If that's a lot to think about it might be helpful to write it down on a personal page or a pad of paper.

In either case, whichever you choose to use, it would work to improve your rp if you had "a good grip on how the character acts, thinks, speaks. They have a "life" all their own, they're convincingly another person if it's done right," ('Ric).

The Goal of Roleplaying

Let me remind all of you that roleplaying is a game that it has no "winners" and no "losers" and, well, no "ending" in that 'live happily ever after' sense. The purpose of roleplay is so that you, the typist, have a way of 'losing' yourself in another world that you can interact in instead of sitting back and watching it (eg. movies, tv, etc.). It is meant to be fun, if you are not having fun when you are rping then the purpose of rping is defeated.

There is no point in creating an invincible character for roleplay because in every situation, (s)he will win and that gets rather routine after several encounters. Roleplaying is the taking on the part of being another person living out their life. There is not greater being marking off points on a paper; there is no end where said points will be tallied up; there is no trophy to win. You roleplay to play, not to win.

Communication in Roleplay

What would an inhuman character be without their abilities? ^^ Unfortunately with the mix of free form and pre-written characters, so are the abilities that each character possesses. This is where most fights break from IC fun to RT fights.

Best way to avoid this (aside from being descriptive in your moves) would be to keep conversation open in PM or some messenger program. This way, it will allow you to have an extra level of communication to sort out problems that may arise.

Being descriptive comes pretty much as a necessity when it's in a fight, especially one that deals with abilities. Not only would it make it easier (and save some time) on your opponent to describe your abilities in your post (instead of having them look it up in their books or on a website) it would reduce the amount of confusion done by simply listing out the abilities you've used. An ideal post would involve the same principles that I've listed previously. 'how hard is your character hitting?' 'where are they standing?' 'What are their weapons/powers?' etc. etc.

Being Descriptive in Your Posts

Next point. Playing a character is not simply typing out words onto a screen. One should be descriptive in their actions/posts. Anyone could slap on a name and type in any sort of actions such as: appears suddenly::

To me this simply conjures up the image of 'proof' the character appears fairy-god-mother esque though without the glamour and sparkles. It leaves the post empty and lacking as well as making the typist (the person behind the character) seen unimaginative, when this could be the opposite. When you make a post, you should consider as many angles as possible. "How" is the main question? Working on the previous example, we should ask 'how did they appear? by what method?' 'Was there any effect that those around them may have felt or seen/heard if they were looking/listening?' etc. For example, with Avemano a similar post would be:

The doll sat in the window of an old antique store, staring silently out at those that passed by the large glass panes. The single streetlamp in front illuminated her like a spot light would on a stage; the smile draw upon her lips seemed to let those knows how she reveled in the attention - that is, of course, the reason why Avemano chose this particular antique shop to gain her rest. And so, she sat there...though, in one instance the doll existed behind the glass and in the next moment a man's shadow passed over her and then it was gone; dissolved into the shadows like sugar in water. From a nearby darkened alleyway Avemano formed, stepping out of the rippling shadows as one would from behind a satin curtain. The shadows slid from her mortal form, like silk upon skin, as she stepped into the flood of artificial light created by the street lamp:

The latter example answers the two questions listed earlier.

- how did she get onto the street?

-- By dissolving into the shadows and moving from that to the shadows in the alley

- would one notice if they were paying attention?

-- Perhaps: the shadows were rippling but perhaps not since it was dark...I left the mention of it being empty or not open so that anyone who would like to join in (ie: 'spotting' her emerges from a wall) would be able to.

While you don't have to be descriptive in -every- single action your character commits, it's not a bad idea to get some practice because it comes in -great- use during fights. By describing, how, where, when, etc, in your fight posts, you help your opponent know -exactly- what sort of injuries they should sustain or how they should block it with little to no confusion. This also will help with reducing many of those ooc arguments that break out during a fight based on misinterpretation of the opponent's actions. An action such as: strikes at you::

Contains quite a bit of ambiguity - in fact it would cause a -great- deal of confusion. 'Where are you striking at?' 'How?' 'Which direction?' 'How hard are you hitting?' 'Are you using a weapon?'

A post from Avemano would go along the lines of:

Swiftly Avemano moved towards your left side at a hard run, claws at that moment sheathed into herself; as she neared you, her left arm raked upwards, claws extending out at the same moment and digging into your soft flesh rapidly. Ideally there would be contact, her claws would rip through your torso, ribcage and all; rupturing all the vital organs you needed to survive - job done. That was the ideal scenario but nothing works out to be as planned; any amount of injury you suffer from will work to her advantage; at this point, it was all she could've hoped for. The attack brought her several feet behind you; the momentum of the run forcing her to do so though the contact slowed her down slightly. Quickly she pivoted on the balls of her feet to face you once again, crouched down and alert:

Again this explains the questions I listed earlier

- Where was she striking at?

-- She was aiming at tearing up through the torso of her targe

- How?

-- a running attack. As she closed in on her opponent, her claws raked upwards.
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- How hard was she hitting?

-- Hard enough to rip through the flesh and bone

- was she using a weapon?

-- Her claws, built into her body, were her weapons

Of course, the above example could be worded differently, in a much shorter and condensed way such as:

She ran at you, claws raking upwards and tearing at your body as she closed in before coming to a halt behind you.

It's shorter, and takes much less time to read of course but it while the longer post takes a fair bit of time to read and write, it provides a clear image of what Avemano attempted to do to her opponent while in the shorter, condensed post, there are a few items of confusion left:

1: it tells the opponent what they should have happened. Most of the time people like it better when you suggest what the damage is instead of telling them what you just did to your character. But it is not completely wrong when you do it that way.

2: it doesn't tell you what distance Avemano is from her opponent. A foot?, right up against the opponent? It's hard to make a proper counter attack when you don't know all the facts.

3: claws? Where did they come from? Did they extend while she was in the air or while she was on the ground?

4: when she landed, is her back still towards her opponent or did she turn? (We would automatically assume that her back is still to her opponent)

This last example is a fairly simple attack as it involved absolutely no abilities; this attack is completely physical which makes it easier to interpret. But once you want to and -do- involves abilities and powers then it gets a tad more complicated. Now, if everyone knew, every power written by WW, AD&D and all FF abilities as well, then it wouldn't be any problem to just do something say [celerity 1] and everyone would understand what you were trying to do. But things don't work that way. The problems that start to occur here are usually the conflicts between free form abilities and pre-written abilities.

How to RP 101 - 2