[What is Roleplay?]
Roleplaying is a method of writing (in the form of posts on SimRTK) in which the game masters and players interact through characters. The game masters control the most important details -- whether a plot succeeds or fails, whether a person gets injured, how NPCs react, etc. The players, on the other hand, create the body of the story. It is like an open-ended, unending novel.
As a player, then, you take the role of a character, much like an actor in a play. You control their actions (though not the actions of others) and what they say. With this, your imagination is the limit. Your character can have any personality you can dream up, whether it be the timid warrior squeamish of blood or the trecherous politician who fears being touched by other people. Many beginning roleplayers find it easy to play a character that matches their own personality; others like to experiment with those that are distinctively different than themselves. Whatever your desire, you can roleplay it.
What makes a good character?
A good character is one that has strengths and weaknesses. The best roleplayers are those who allow their characters to make mistakes, even though they, as the player behind them, know that it's the wrong decision. Let your character have a major flaw or two, and let them shine. Perhaps your character has a violent temper and it takes over their ability to reason sanely. Or perhaps they get nervous around the opposite sex, and are easily charmed. Maybe they are too trusting, or perhaps too skeptical. Whatever the flaws, the consensus is that a good character has flaws, and the player allows them even when they might do harm to the character.
Of course, a good character also has a few good strengths, which should match their skills and statistics on the Sim. They should also have a few interesting quirks -- a nervous twitch, an obsessive love of tea, and twirling their moustache are only a few of the myriads of examples that could be given. Most importantly of all, a good character is one you love to play.
How to Roleplay on the Sim
The best advice anyone can give you is to read and learn. Your best tutor will be reading other people's roleplaying, and take mental notes on how they roleplay personalities, make their characters interesting, and respond to different situations. Besides the roleplaying active in the current game, you might also find the Archives a very interesting place for this kind of information.
The second best advice is to take the plunge and roleplay as well. You'll find that your skills as a roleplayer grow the more you roleplay. All good roleplayers come from humble beginnings. Have confidence in yourself and don't be afraid to try something new.
There are two general styles of writing you'll see on the sim, which we call the play-style and the novel-style. Which you use is personal preference; even the game masters differ in their styles.
Play Style wrote:Han Fu: Hello? Is someone there?
He looks left and right, and takes a step forward. Hearing another snap in the bush, he draws his sword and holds it before him.
Han Fu: Is this about missing the taxes? I'm sorry, I have the money now!
Novel Style wrote:Han Fu looked left and right cautiously as he stepped forward. "Hello? Is someone there?" Hearing another snap in the bush, he drew his sword and held it before him. "Is this about missing the taxes? I'm sorry, I have the money now!"
We can't avoid the fact that roleplaying is part writing, and so there are a few tips we can offer to make your posts better.
Spelling and grammar:
Try to make your posts legible. We know that English isn’t the first language for everyone, but if you attempt to use spelling and grammar it would improve the post a lot. Avoid netspeak (u 2 brutus???), leetspeak (1 @/\/\ 1337!!!!11!!), and shorthand writing (cm on ppl lets go). Write as if you were writing a story to be published, not a quick email off to your buddy.
Posting in third person greatly improves the quality and readability of a player’s post. Third person uses the perspective of an outsider, an omnipotent being that watches the events unfold as the writer sees fit. (Second person uses 'you', which is god-moding, and first person uses 'I', more about that later). Example:
“Lu Xun stood at the edge of a field, leaning on the fence as he looked out at the setting sun. He seemed restless, and out of sorts; yet there was a peaceful look of contemplation on his face. As if with some important memory, he touched the hilt of his sword, Huang's Ambition, with reverence.”
First person posts, which use “I and me” in its descriptive language, is very limiting and is often hard for the other players to act off of.
The traditional form of writing in roleplay is in past tense, for example:
"He picked up the axe." instead of "He picks up the axe."
This is something that is usually determined by player's preference, however. Oftentimes, a roleplayer will casually use the past tense during normal situations, but switch to present tense during plots. The best recommendation is to stick to the same tense within a single post.
Separating dialogue and action:
Use speech marks to indicate someone is speaking. When you do this, start a new paragraph for the beginning of that sentence. This makes it easy to separate the dialogue from the action. For example:
Lu Xun tugged on his brother's sleeve, and motioned toward his newly fitted hat. "You still look absolutely ridiculous," Liu Cao groaned. He hoped Liying would get this hat phase over with soon. = Incorrect way to phrase it.
Lu Xun tugged on his brother's sleeve, and motioned toward his newly fitted hat.
"You still look absolutely ridiculous," Liu Cao groaned. He hoped Liying would get this hat phase over with soon. = Correct way to phrase it.
Try to show and not tell:
That is be descriptive in how you explain what happens to the reader. Try to paint a picture in their mind of the action, explaining how it feels, smells, looks and sounds rather than simply stating what's happening. This is often a flaw for a lot of writers and roleplayers and can take a long time and a lot of practice to master. Pictures are not the solution to this.
Try to write as much as possible:
The more you write, the better. It is strongly advised to try and write at least 3 sentences per post to maintain a good quality RP. This also saves pages of dialogue that other players may not necessarily want to read, even if they have the time.
Out Of Character
OOC comments are comments made that is not your character talking, but you. There are various ways of showing OOC comments. The most common trends are double parentheses ((like this)) or simply marking it with OOC:. Example ((OOC: Zhang Fei's outside getting drunk, you'll have to talk to Guan Yu this time.)) This will save the other players the confusion of figuring out whether you or your character is talking.
Useless OOC comments are non-RP comments. Posts made with only a useless OOC comment and no RP in it, within an RP thread, will usually be considered as spam. Useful OOC comments: asking something to do with the RP, is permitted. An RM or GM, however, might ask you to take it to PM if it becomes interruptive. It’s okay to make a useless OOC if you include it within an RP post.