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Role Playing Etiquette

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Take this for whatever you will, however, I have decided to write up an informative post on interactive Role Playing etiquette. (err according to Salinye, that is.)

Also, feel free to add your own suggestions or comments that you feel might be helpful for all of us to review. :0)

Storyline Initiators:

When someone decides to start an rp they usually have somewhat of a storyline flow in mind, even if only loosely. Therefore it is the responsibility of the person who initiates the rp to lay out a few guidelines early on. Some examples could be: This rp is open/closed/invite only/pm me first etc, A brief history leading up to the current storyline, or perhaps instructions to hold off joining until a certain point. Another good guideline to lay down might be just some common rules of engagement. (See Rune's post on different rp styles for great examples of this)

It is also the responsibility of the initiator to start an ooc thread in the green room. OOC communication is VERY important to the flow of a successful rp and yet very disrupting on the actual rp thread.

Another important and sometimes difficult job of the initiator is to monitor the flow of the story and have characters make changes when necessary. For instance, if someone’s actions are detracting from the storyline, or perhaps someone is mistakenly writing in inappropriate actions for another character in the storyline.

Main Characters

Main characters are established one of two ways. Either the initiator has specifically invited them into the storyline to play a specific role, or they became mains through the natural progression of an open invitation loosely run rp.

Main characters usually have a semi firm to firm role in the story. Often times their actions are even guided by predetermined discussion. Now you may ask yourself, where is the fun in pre-determined rp? But, often times, without a few characters all working towards a common goal, then the entire storyline is chaotic. Having a few set mains helps make it fun for the reader as well as the rest of the participants. Often times having pre determined actions can be avoided by a very involved Initiator (dm) with a cast of competent experienced rpers.

One of the jobs of an invited main is for them to stick to the roles they were invited to play. It’s important to help keep the flow going. The other job of the mains is to help incorporate some of the less experienced rpers into the storyline, which sometimes means doing a little damage control. *grin*

Supporting Characters

Supporting Characters are usually delightful fillers-Vitally important to the storyline at times, and at other times, not as much. However, no story would be very interesting at all without some supporting characters filling the gaps.

The thing that is hard to remember about being a supporting character (or even some mains for that matter) is this. Although supporting characters are the mains of their world and story, it is not their story being told right now.

Supporting characters interact, do actions that their character would naturally do in the particular setting, interject ic ideas etc. However, they don’t generally further the progression of the story. Usually supporting characters are very talented at blending into the current rp situation and enhancing the rp with their particular flare that is so enjoyed by everyone.

Being in a supportive role is no small feat. It often is harder to blend into any given environment then it is to play in a pre determined role.

More General Guidelines

1) Refrain from Godmodding! If you have a character that is pretty much unbeatable, unstoppable, better than everyone, then you are likely not going to be allowed into storylines. Having over powerful unbalanced characters do not generally fit into most storylines.
2) It is ALWAYS a good idea to pm the initiator before jumping into a storyline. It’s smart to run your char by him/her and any ideas you may have for that character in the storyline. It’s important all the players are on the same page.
3) COMMUNICATE on the ooc thread in the green room. That’s what it’s for! It’s an invaluable tool! Don’t be afraid to pm the initiator either. He or she will be very pleased to be consulted rather than have to work around an unexpected yet good intentioned snag in the storyline.
4) When you are in a situation where you must rp speech or actions for other characters, try your best to do so in a way that their character naturally would. Again, don’t be afraid to pm them for verification!
5) Have fun and be open to change requests! If it’s not fun, what’s the point? If the initiator asks you to make a change, it’s not because you’re a poor rper, it’s because perhaps your char went a direction that will prevent something the initiator has in mind for the near future or something equally as innocent.

We are all here in the conservatory because we share a love of roleplaying. The more we can do to try to assure we’re all working together, the better. :0) I personally am so excited to be part of such a talented pool or rpers! Mistakes will be made, we all make them, but that’s okay! It’s how we react and grow that really matters. :0)

So, there you have it, RP etiquette according to Salinye. :0) Take it or leave it, I just thought I’d impart my thoughts upon the unsuspecting masses.

~Salinye :butterfly:

Edited by Tanuchan
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**thank you** for posting this.

good tips for all, and things the uninitiated wouldn't necessarily think of.


fades quietly away into the shadows

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Very nicely said.

As a side-note: The Greenroom is only available to members of the Pen - one of the benefits of bothering to join. :)

Glossary of terms:
Player - the Real Life person.
Character - the persona in the thread. May share characteristics and attributes of the Player, or be completely different.
NPC - Non-Player Character. Someone with whom the storyline can interact, but isn't played by a Player.
rp - Role Playing. A Player playing one or more Characters.
rper - one who Role Plays
frp - Fantasy Role Playing
ic - In Character. "On stage" - all writing from Character's point of view.
ooc - Out Of Character. The Player communicating with other Players and Initiator.
Initiator - The person(s) who are providing context. Initiator may play all Characters without a Player (NPC), and/or provides the descriptions, actions, and reactions of the Role Playing environment. Initiator has the context of on-line written play.
dm - Dungeon Master. The Initiator of the thread. Original term from D&D. see gm/initiator. Has context of real-time interactive play.
gm - Game Master. see dm/initiator. A renamed 'dm' as play expanded beyond dungeons and set-scenarios.
char - Character. The persona/view/vehicle through which a Player interacts with the Role Playing environment and other Characters.
pm - Private Message. The Pen private messaging, email, or IRC.
Godmodding/God-mode -1) Playing a Character in an unnatural way or letting the character act on information the character wouldn't possess; 2) Playing a character who is so badly unbalanced compared to the rest of the characters as to be invincible (Superman vs. the Smurfs. Godzilla vs. Bambi); 3) One who hijacks the thread from the Initiator; 4) An Initiator who attempts to too tightly control a thread. Often causes by inability to separate the Player's ego from the Character. As an example of some out of hand Godmodding, see Akabar's interactions in The Inn of the Assassin Magi. In some game-systems, generates bad Accounting or Karma, which can affect future interactions.

Edited by Tanuchan
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One thing that someone mentioned once on another board and I think is applicable: when you're making a post and having your character interact with other people's chars, it is often easy (but inadvisable) to have the other character do nothing. If you're not sure how they would react, it is tempting to just ignore the decision, but odds are they would NOT do nothing in response to whatever your character is doing. I think (and tell me if you disagree) that it's better to guess and be wrong about their actions than to have a character just sitting and watching your actions.


Myself, I'm always a big fan of acknowledging that the edit button is there if you need it and then taking a stab at it.

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