What is Role play (RP)?

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What is Role play (RP)?

Post by admin on Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:44 am

Role playing is essentially a story you write and also a play a role in the story. The story can occur in any setting, any time and across any genre. Although you create the scenario and the character, there are still some "rules" to adhere to if you want to create a good RP.

  1. Be Believable

    What do I mean by this? Let us say that you are choosing a fantasy scenario and you give your character magic powers. So far this is fine and no harm done right? Right, but you also have to give your character flaws and weaknesses. You cannot be all-powerful, invincible and well, perfect Laughing . Okay, yes, I hear what you are thinking - "why can't I?" I can answer that easily - you can, but your character will be dull and no-one will bother to interact with your PC (Player Character). This brings us to the essence of RP - interaction. You play a role along with other characters, pretty much how you live real life as the hero of your own life, but no-one else's. If you are a character that no-one can feasably interact with, then you will end up lonely. Remember therefore to create a character that has both pluses and minuses, regardless of alignment.

  2. Alignment

    What is alignment and why do we need it? Your alignment determines how your character will behave in certain circumstances. As with life, it is not a simple case of good versus evil and you having to choose a side. Here is a link to the Dungeons and Dragons "alignment test" [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] . It is a very good guide and may help you to understand alignment better. One thing to bear in mind - this is a guide and not a rule. Just because you are "good" does not mean that you cannot do wrong and vice versa. All your alignment determines is how your PC will react in a given situation.

  3. Player Character (PC) or Non Player Character (NPC)?

    What is the difference? Well this is simple enough. A Player Character (PC) is your MAIN character that you play within a set RP. Usually you take time to develop this character, use it across various RP'S and allow it to evolve over time. You can liken the PC to the protagonist of the story, but that can be a limiting description. Think of the PC more as a fictional you - just don't get the two mixed up Wink. Some people create several PC's with distinct characteristics, but many create one that they prefer to flesh out. The NPC is different. To use my protagonist analogy, the NPC is similar to a bit player and can be used to flesh out and carry the plot, making them a sophisicated plot device. These are characters that you create as servants, guards, bandits, etc. The equivalent of the "red shirts" from Star Trek. You don't invest as much time into these characters and they are often killed, poisoned, left behind or abandoned. While NPC's can be used to great effect, creating too many can have the effect of diffusing the plot, so use them wisely. NPC's can also be a "group" in that you can be the commander of a unit of 50 men - all 50 can be referred to in unit form and moved around en masse.

  4. Setting the scene

    Roles plays usually involve more than one person (if they didn't, then it would be a story Wink). What you have to keep in mind is that the other person is not telling your story, they are telling their own but in a shared environment. They cannot see what is going on in your head and they also have their own ideas about where the story is going. This is the joy and the frustration of an RP. The most important thing to do is to make sure that you make things as clear as you possibly can. This means that you need to describe the scene from your perspective, where are you, what are you doing, how does this make you feel, etc.? Then you need to describe where you are going, a little of what you are planning and how you expect it to go. Your expectations may or may not be met, but at least you are showing the other players a little of what you are planning for the storyline and you are also giving them a groundwork to build on the story and shape it to their perspective. Don't post a one-liner. This is rude and disrespectful, apart from being bad RP. If you don't want to take part in the story, don't, but don't start something and then expect others to carry the plot for you. If you are unsure about your reply, then PM the person and ask them what they require from you. There is nothing more disheartening than spending a long time to create a detailed scene and character and then have someone come and show such little effort. Every player in the story has thoughts, feelings and is in a certain place - so share this and find ways to advance the plot instead of piggy-backing.

  5. God-modding

    This brings me to another vital point about RP - god-modding. The simple rule is - DON'T DO IT, ever! Okay, so what is gm'ing? This is where you think, act or do something to another person's PC or NPC. You cannot do this in real life, moving people around like chess pieces, so why think you can in an RP? All you can do is RP what you do and then you have to allow the other person to react appropriately. This is a major way that RP differs from storytelling. In a story you are in control of all aspects, but in an RP you are only in control of your own part in the story. This does mean that there are times where you will have to be creative in your writing to avoid GM'ing someone. I will give you an example of a GM and then how it can be RP'd without GM'ing.

    "Simone notices Gareth in the woods and runs up to him, leaping into his arms and laughing as he catches her"

    Spot the GM? It is here "he catches her", how do you know that? He may have been distracted or he may think you are an enemy and try to stab you instead. So how do you RP this without the GM?

    "Simone notices Gareth in the woods and runs up to him, leaping up and hoping that he will catch her in his warm embrace."

    Now you have RP'd your actions AND your expected outcome. You have left it open for the other player to decide what to do next, either catch you, avoid you, attack you, etc. Bearing in mind what I said about one-liners, if this is the only "action" you are planning, then don't forget to be descriptive. Explain why she is running, how she feels to see him, why is she greeting him in this manner, etc. The more you put into an RP, the better will be the ultimate story.

  6. Give and take

    An RP is not a "win or lose" situation. It is an interactive story. Just like real life, you will have characters you get on with and characters you don't get on with. You will come out on top in some cases and you will lose in others. This goes back to what I said in the "be believable" section - all characters have strengths and weaknesses - use them. If you are engaging with a character who is oppositely aligned to you, don't create situations that are impossible for them to get out of. I have played characters where I have been "chased down" and it is very frustrating to have your every escape route "magically" shut down. If it is important to the story to have this character in custody (just carrying on the analogy here Wink) then PM them to explain the plot and where you see it going. It is the same with fighting- there is no guarantee that you will win. This forum has dice that can be used and I am also in the process of creating "quest" dice so that you can do an RP with random encounters if you choose. (As this is under development - suggestions are welcome) The important thing to remember is to have fun, but not at the expense of the other players. WE all RP because it is something that we enjoy - not because we have to.

    As a side note - if you ever require graphics, like maps or anything and don't have the resources to create them for yourself, please do ask me and I will do my best to help you Smile

  7. Be creative and have fun

    Remember, RP is all about creating worlds and characters to do the things that we only dream of doing. Don't limit your dreams - let the story take you where-ever it can. It is true when authors say that their characters take on a life of their own and it is even more true with RP because you are forced to change and move with other characters and other ideas. It is all part of the magic of RP - have fun and let your imagination take flight Very Happy

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