((It is not my habit to include ooc posts in the RP only section, but in this instance, it very well might be necessary to keep folks from strangling one another in relation to something that is oft overlooked.
We have a broad mix of RPers at the moment....
Some of you have been rping since old chat room or forum only community days.
Some of you are seasoned PnP players of more decades than I have years on my life.
Some of you have been rping in the game for a year+ now
Some of you just started... maybe even this past week.
I don't care what your level of RP experience is, you need to get very comfortable with the following concepts in order to have a successful night of rping, be it in chat, PMs, forums, or in game, and beyond
We have the "7 deadly sins" so think of these as:
The 7 RP Virtues
Rule #1 Do not talk about fight club... I mean... secrets
Seriously though, if you have information that you don't want others to know, don't say it. We all know that meta-gaming (using your player knowledge that your character wouldn't know) is EVIL
... but also know that they say the only way to keep a secret is to kill the one who knows. Remember this at any time that you write something or say something that other players can see. This is not a mandate for saying meta gaming is acceptable (IT IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE), but it is a mandate for you being prepared if they do. Never say more than you're comfortable with.
Rule #2 Never assume. Period.
As a role player, the following words and phrases should be absent from your vocabulary, unless you're open to inviting misunderstandings:
"I didn't think that..."
"It should be obvious..."
Too often, I see players forgetting that other players should be given the chance to figure out whether or not they want to RP a particular story, situation, or moment.
In the forum's, this is easy... those who don't want to participate in a story simply don't post in that thread. In an open chat room it is much different. Everything is happening live, and fast.
The only way to resolve it is to inform new comers to the room of what the situation is currently. Always. If someone asks in chat what is going on, someone should take a quick second to describe it.
Very often, when I logged in for a night, I ask what the climate/situation of the room is. This determines whether or not I want to bring in Varro or Uxor for the night. There have been nights where until I get a straight answer from someone, or can observe the room for a bit, that I will hover in OOC mode without rping.
Rule #3 Breaking Character Is Not The Devil
We love to rp. There is no question that we have many good writers counted among us. However, there seems to be a trend for players to feel that out of character interaction is going to 'break' the atmosphere of the room. This results in the following things happening:
- Players not speaking up about unacceptable posts being done to themselves or others (moding, deming, forceplay)
- Players not taking the time to work with each other ahead of time on a story
- Players not offering the courtesy of even a general explanation about the story plans
- Players not defending themselves from story abuse
- Players thinking that prepping each other on story plans will 'ruin' the mystery
Right away I'm sure the reaction to the above is "omg rules??? we'll never get anything done!!" But I ask how much more
do you get done when folks start arguing, or have to press the virtual story re-wind, or get mad at each other, and so on and so forth??
Additionally, I want any player who has ever read the story of The Ambassadors around here to consider the following, if you think the above will 'ruin' your experience and stories:
#1 - The torture of Varro was pre-discussed at length by myself and Varro's kidnapper (another player). This included a definition of who was framing Varro, if he or Uxor might die in the encounter or if that was off the table, how comfortable we both were with the level of violence, and an agreement to constant ooc pauses throughout the encounter.
#2 - When this story section was posted, the other player had been given the who and what (the framer and what was to be done - the kidnapping) but not the why. The other player did not learn the why until the story was posted after the fact.
#3 - It was one of the more emotionally charged moments of my rping with my fellow players.
Despite the fact it was done in a very controlled way, with so much pre planning ooc, it was amazing story telling.
The Ambassadors is littered with character interactions where I and the other players would stop, reconsider how the story was going, sometimes even back track over what was happening because someone got confused or something didn't flow right. I have never (hey you can correct now if that's the case, but at the time this was written) gotten contacted by any player saying they did not enjoy reading and/or participating in The Ambassadors. So having these courtesies and considerations is not going to 'ruin' your night.
Rule #4 - Role Playing vs Writing
What is more important in role playing? The story, or seeing to it that everyone you are playing with is enjoying themselves?
If you want to write a story, do so. But if you're not worried about how others think and feel, then write a novel, so that you don't have to deal with the manner in which other players might take issue with a story element or style.
You might have the greatest epic story arch ever told just waiting to be transcribed. Is that worth hurt feelings or making other players feel pushed out? It is very acceptable to sub some writing solo without other players to fill in story gaps that you think other players might not enjoy so much.
Good example of this was Varro's interaction's with Uxor for the wedding. Since there was so much back story involved in that, I opted to not involve live players in their actual wedding, nor the scene where Uxor renewed her vow.
Rule #5 You Just Don't Know
Role playing is like physics. For every action, there IS a reaction in some form. PnP D&D resolves this by having folks at the table take turns, roll dice, and make checks vs various situations. However, in our situation, it becomes somewhat muddled. Especially when you try and figure out how to relate the mechanics of the MMO in your character's world.
The reason that everything gets a reaction is that:
- You don't know who you're playing with
- You don't know the whole story
At a PnP table, you have your GM to control the setting, the character sheets to dictate what someone is or is not. Plus, you all get to know each other and run together.
Chat room style and in-game style RPing does not afford this luxury because people are constantly coming and going from the scene so often. No one can honestly know everything there is to know about everyone, even with diligent forum reading.
Thus even a spell with no save warrents you to stop and see what happens. Example
: You cast a sleep spell that has no save on a human looking character who walked in the room. (why you'd do that without talking to them first is beyond me, but we'll use it for this example). You've never seen this character before, haven't gotten to read up on them on the forums, to know anything about them. However, in their character history, it states that they are racially immune to sleep spells. Rather than continuing describe how you put them to sleep, you should describe casting your spell, and wait to see what happens. Their reaction is that nothing happens. You of course are like 'no way, what gives??,' and if you're really that worried about why it was that your spell failed (there ARE at some point going to be circumstances you were not aware of preventing something you want from happening) you can ask them out of character about it.
Additionally, what is the fun if we all are using spells, abilities, and powers with no save? The herd would thin down pretty fast. So even though you're not 'moding' or power gaming like that, consider the impact of making a character with abilities that get no saves. Might not inspire people to play with you very much.
Rule #6 No One Can Make You RP
If you don't like the way a story is going...
If you don't care for the style of a particular player...
If you find that you have a personality conflict with a player...
If you get to that point where what started off as a good story has taken a plunge...
You can extract yourself from the situation. I hear a lot of the following quotes
#1 "This zerger was doing that shadow-humping thing on my char"
#2 "Her character summoned a monster in the room and I..."
#3 "He threw a dagger at me"
#4 "So-and-so did a clairvoyance on my character and found out..."
Ok, I know you can see each other in the room in the game. I know you can see each other's posts going across the screen. But just because something is posted does not mean that is the be all end all of the matter. Posting an action, comment, etc does not make it set in stone. Nor does it mean that anyone even has to read what you wrote. Nor does it require that you have to interact just because it is there. Here are some ways to handle the above situations
For the griefing zerger in #1... who cares? Let him. The instant you react to his actions, it gives him the spotlight he is seeking. Fortunately people like this also grow bored once they realize they're being utterly ignored.
For #2 ... I don't care how much you've talked about things before hand, soon as that line comes out "the monster with a million eyes suddenly sprouts from the floor" if you have a problem with it, say so, and that you weren't really interested in getting involved in a whole deal with big nasty monsters tonight. In particular if this is a regular happening by a moder etc.
In #3 Anyone can try to do anything they want, but you have the choice of how you get to react to it. No one should ever be describing how your character reacts to something. I don't care if they type that they 'throw it and it stabs you in the chest' you should not dignify such a response with an action like 'falls to the floor with the blade protruding from their ribs' instead YOU have the power of how that dagger affects you. Even if it comes down to having an attack roll by the poster of that line, they can try to throw it at your chest, but maybe it only ends up hitting you in the side or shoulder, or not at all because you're spry.
In #4 No one knows more than what you tell them. If you are not comfortable revealing something, just don't say it. State clearly to the person asking that you're not comfortable with that aspect of your character getting out. If that person is not mature enough to understand that you too have character desires and wants for your development, you should probably avoid playing with them in the future.
You don't have to be rude to each other. You don't even have to like each other when you find that someone isn't your cup of RP tea. But you do have to respect each other. If another player tells you that your story or style isn't quite their thing, respect that, and don't expect them to get involved in what you're doing. If you're in a room with two people who have issues, and you suddenly notice they're not talking to each other in character, be respectful if one or more of the players states that there is a reason they are not playing together or reacting to one another's rp posts. Don't try and circumvent their situation, or force them to notice that 'so and so is here too.' It's a big city. It's a big tavern. It's a big guild hall. We don't all have to be in one another's business 100% of the time.
Rule #7 - Help Is Offered More Than Taken
This is a two fold problem.
Remember when you're setting up a public scene that involves conflict (be it verbal or physical) that most players want to help those they care about. If their character has friends/allies, their first impulse when they learn of trouble for their friends/allies is to offer help. They can become quite adamant about it, even emotional. This often results in them unintentionally trying to 'push' their way into a situation/story without asking. They aren't necessarily doing it to be mean, they are acting on instinct. This is why out of character communication is important. No one can read your mind to know that you have a very specific story objective for your situation, and they only want to feel like they are a part of the story, and that their contributions made that story fun or turned a nasty situation from bad to good.
The second problem is that our helping nature often leaves us ignorant to the fact that sometimes the help you offer is not wanted. When you see trouble happening between multiple characters, it is polite to ask if it is alright for you to step in the middle of the action. It is not polite to try and 'fix' the problem in one fell swoop. Perhaps the two players involved have a plan. You have no way of knowing whether the conflict is theatrical or meant to be a whole room of people jumping in. Sometimes players do enact RP in public rooms strictly for posterity's sake, or to give other people's characters something to talk about, or inspire them to maybe form their own story based on recent happenings.
Helping is only helpful when the people you try to help take the offer. Don't take a decline of help personally, and don't expect those around you to not try and offer their help.
Please remember these things when you role play with others. It is one thing to know about the 7 deadly sins, but it is quite another to remember some basics about rp interaction that could hamper your good times.
This topic was moved from forum Official Open ROLE-PLAY Forum
to forum Public Access - Sticky and Archive
on 3/14/2008 11:39 AM by Witchfinder.