Author Topic: Roleplaying 101  (Read 651 times)

Zombie

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Roleplaying 101
« on: March 27, 2020, 04:03:11 AM »
What Exactly is roleplaying?

There's a lot of different variations and types of roleplaying. In essence roleplaying is playing as something you are not. There's LARP, which is live-action roleplaying. You also have things like tabletop gaming such as in games like dungeons and Dragons. What we see mostly in terms of Feral Heart, however, is text-based roleplaying. Text-based roleplaying in itself as many different styles and variations. For someone unfamiliar and new to roleplaying all of it can be a little daunting. Here's to hoping this little guide will help you learn some of the basics.


Roleplay Terminology

OOC : Out of character. A term when you're not roleplaying and being in character. Usually denoted by parentheses.

IC : In Character. Used when referring to you're roleplaying and acting/writing as your character(s)

Metagaming : When someone uses the knowledge they know out of character to their advantage in character that their character(s) wouldn't know from experience.

Powerplaying : When someone controls another player's character without their consent or knowledge.

Godmoding : A general term for really bad roleplay etiquette that involves cheating. Usually involves metagaming and/or power-playing. Typically it makes a character invincible or extremely overpowered.

Mary Sue & Gary Stu : interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. Essentially a 'perfect' character that uses a lot of cliches. Sometimes used as an author insert or for wish fulfillment. They're the 'best' at everything, have no flaws, have extremely tragic histories for attention, etc.

Roleplayer, Player, Mun : The person behind the keyboard that plays the roleplay character.

NPC : A character created by a player or 'admin' of a roleplay that isn't played actively by anyone. Usually used for plots, stories or brief encounters.

Adoptable/Open Character : A character created by a player that's intended to be played or 'adopted' by another player.

AU : Alternate Universe. They take place in a universe that is different in particular ways from the canon universe in a particular roleplay world or fandom.

Canon : The original source material for a particular universe.

Fourth Wall : This refers to the fictional barrier between in character and out of character.

Headcanon : A term that usually describes a fan-made theory or fact. They're normally not canon to a particular universe, but something a person made up and strongly believes in.

Muse : It's something that inspires someone to write or roleplay. Some people also refer to their characters as muses.

Original Character/OC : A character that's made up of a person. They may be from a specific universe or fandom. They can also be completely original to your universe(s) and stories.

Ship : A relationship between two characters that someone is fond of. It can be any sort of relationship, romantic, platonic, etc.. If you feel multiple characters go great together, you 'ship them' together.


Roleplay Styles & Levels

Text-based roleplaying comes in various styles and 'levels'. Levels in roleplay terminology were originally made as a way to set guidelines and find people who roleplayed at the same writing level. In my eyes the whole writing 'level' system is a bit outdated, it's still used. As such we'll talk about it here as well. Please understand no roleplay style or 'level' is better than the other. No one should be making fun of or discouraging people over their roleplay 'level'.


Roleplay Styles

Script - Script is a style of roleplay that is simple. It's often found in chatrooms or very laid back threads. It's often written out as if the character is in a chatroom, with a colon to signify their speech. Action is often denoted with * or - symbols. In terms of Feral Heart, you're already using a chatroom essentially, so the character name and colon are already there.
Quote
Character #1: It's really hot outside

Character #2: -wipes sweat from her forehead- I know

Character #1: Let's go find air conditioning somewhere -fans self-


One-Liner - A one liner is often a post that only consists of a sentence. It's properly written as if from a article or book. Character dialogue will be in quotations.
Quote
Player #1: The cat stretched out lazily and mewed, "I'm sleepy still."

Player #2: "What did I do to deserve such a lazy apprentice."

Player #1: Marigoldpaw stuck out her tongue at her mentor.

Player #3: "Have you still not started Marigoldpaw?" meowed Thistlepaw as he approached the two.


Paragraph - Paragraph style roleplay is usually a post written with about five sentences or paragraphs worth of text. It too is formatted as if taken straight from a book. Sometimes it's shortened to 'Para'.
Quote
The sun was beginning to set as hues of orange and pink splashed across the sky. Blinking skywards for only a moment the wolf decided it was time to head home. With a huff, she leaped from the rock she had been perched upon and began padding in the direction of her family. The last thing she wanted was to be out alone at night. Who knows what sort of dangers lurked about in the woods. The last thing she wanted was to be injured right before her training ceremony. Well and being eaten by some huge predator wasn't a fond idea for her either.


Novella or Multi-Para - The terms can be interchangeable, but also have varying meaning to some individuals. They both share the basic concept, however. As the name would suggest each post contains multiple paragraphs. The amount varies and can be subjective. People that use the term Novella separately tend to be on the larger scale of post length. In general either can vary from 2 - 6 paragraphs easily or more.
Quote
His paws passed over the soaked ground. Mud oozed between his digits with each step. The air was heavy with humidity and the scorching sun beat down upon his ashen hued pelt. It wasn't uncomfortable for the infected, however. His usual residence within the volcanic chasm exposed him to temperatures far greater than this. The only true annoyance were the insects. A few more than normal still lingered around from Spring. It wasn't often Vantus slipped from the chasm anymore. What exactly had drawn him from his little kingdom exactly? It was entertainment. Things had grown dull lately and the Sire sought to fill that void with something amusing. However, the definition of fun differed for Vantus then it did for most individuals.

Vantus clambered up a hill, leaving behind the stagnant water and insects. He shook his head slightly to fend off a few flies that remained before padding towards a fallen tree. The tree had most likely fallen in the prior seasons' storm. It was beginning to rot, the leaves long gone as mushrooms and glowing fungi began to sprout from its surface. Vantus leaped onto it, claws marring the surface. He dragged his talons across it briefly before settling down his large frame. The log creaked with protest but held steady.

The baseball bat in his jaws was set down against the log. His gaze traveled over the terrain as he absently began to chew away the mud between his paws. His location of choice was purposeful. The area was heavy with scent trails of foreign canines, but they all had something in common. The same iron-rich scent mixed with pine. It was unique and belonged to the newest group that dared to call ground zero it's home. Many groups had tried, but very few succeeded in finding a place here. A few of his grunts had reported signs of the newly formed pack. They had strayed far too close to the chasm for his liking. Pesky non-infected creatures didn't belong there unless being kept prisoner or for food... He hadn't eaten today after all. Maybe he'd be able to snatch up a quick snack if any of the newcomers came upon him.


Roleplay Skill Levels

Illiterate : It's usually used as an insult, and I feel that's really wrong to do. It is, however, a 'thing' in the RP community so it needs to be stated. Usually newer or younger roleplayers. They may use excessive chatspeak, have poor grammar and spelling. Their characters are often Mary Sues and they're not incredibly creative. They may lack respect for other roleplays and be incredibly rude and attention-seeking. I'm highly against using this term to describe anyone. Please don't.

Semi-Literate : A term usually used when someone isn't confident enough in their abilities as a roleplayer to move up to 'literate'. This is a wide range level however and varies greatly. They're good roleplayers but may have things to work on. For example, they may write great plots and have developed, well-rounded characters. But maybe they make some grammar mistakes.

Literate : Roleplay wise literates have a very well polished style and writing. They have good grammar, interesting characters, and concepts. Before I go on, please understand not all of this pertains to every 'literate' person. You can't judge everyone on a few bad experiences, but those are the ones that tend to stick out. They make very few mistakes other than typos or minor things. However, literates tend to go into too much detail and description of insignificant things. They use colorful prose and excessive metaphors to the point it may get very confusing. They can come off a little rude or elitist in various situations.

Advanced : This is the most subjective category, but it all boils down to being a very good roleplayer. They're writing and roleplays flow well. They have a wonderful concept of character development, plots, and creativity. They know just the right balance between action and description in a post. An advanced roleplayer is confident enough where they don't feel the need to 'fluff' out their post with excessive 'purple prose'. It's about quality, not quantity. Other than writing level, they are normally very polite and understanding. So don't feel too intimidated. They understand how roleplaying works and have no issue easily adapting to the style of those around them to fit in.

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Zombie

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Re: Roleplaying 101
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2020, 04:03:42 AM »
What makes a good character?

Ah, the question you'll never get a solid answer for by a lot of people. In theory, your characters are your own creations. You can play and create them however you'd like to. Their personality and actions are completely up to your whims. Will they be reserved and shy? Perhaps they'll be snarky and stubborn. It's entirely up to you. What's important is that once you determine what your character is going to be like; you stick with it. Your character should always stay... well in character. That doesn't mean over the course of a story your character can't grow. Character growth and development is just as important if not more so! We'll talk about that a little further below. So what makes a good character? Let's talk about it.


Personality

When creating a character one of the first things you focus on is their personality. Personality for a character is extremely important. It determines how you'll be roleplaying with them. First, decide on what sort of character they'll be or perhaps what your goal for them is in the long term. Are you looking to play a hardened warrior type? Maybe your character should be reserved and a little brooding. Are they a healer of some kind? As a healer perhaps they should be compassionate and caring. You can also go the opposite route for some difficulty. Maybe they're a healer who was forced into their position due to an injury. They dislike their job so maybe that makes them really moody and grumpy. The possibilities are endless. Settle on a personality that you're comfortable with. Later down the line you can also branch out and try different types of characters to play as.

Something else to focus on in terms of personality is how well rounded your character is. People have both good and bad traits, so your characters should too! If you have trouble with this open up a writing program or even a notebook with a pencil. You can write out a list of an even number of traits for your characters. Make sure you have both positive, negative and neutral. For example, your character could be very kind as a good trait. As a negative trait maybe they're too shy and have anxiety. A neutral trait could be something as simple as being nosey or quiet. When a character is well-rounded personality wise it's always fun to roleplay with them. There are so many different personality options. Go wild with it, have fun and create a dynamic character.



Design

Character design is a rather subjective area in terms of character creation. Everyone has different preferences in colors, markings, clothes, etc.. So the advice offered here will be a little looser when compared to the other categories. When designing a character one of the first things you go over is how well the design flows together? Do the colors complement each other well? Is anything too jarring that needs adjusted? Will they fit in within the universe and roleplay setting you're hoping to use them in? Use your imagination and get creative. Something to avoid is making a design look too busy or jarring. Make sure your colors go well together or if there is a pop of contrast don't make them too jarring for the eyes.

Another thing to consider is any scars, old injuries or ailments. Don't give them a scar for the sake of looking cool; put a story behind it. How did they get the scar? Was it from a battle of honor with a rival pride? Maybe they got it while out hunting. These things should be considered for other things such as blindness, missing limbs, deformities. Was your character born blind? Did they lose their leg during a terrible accident with a crocodile? Was it genetic from a parent or grandparent that was passed down? Ask yourself what these changes give to your character. If they hinder them how does it affect their job within a group? You can also tie them into personality growth and development as well.

Items, clothing, and accessories are similar. Putting meaning behind certain items your character wears is a really good option. Perhaps a parent gave them a scarf that they cherish. They could wear the fangs of their defeated enemies on a necklace. You also need to make sure items or clothing your character has, fits in within the roleplay universe they're a part of. If your wolf is part of a pack in the vast wilderness do they really need a pocket knife? As another example, a character in a modern setting with humans would look a little weird running around in old Victorian clothes.



Back Story

One of the most important things for a character is their history. You can tie this into a lot of different things; such as how they act for example. Who is your character? What events in their past shaped them to be the individual they are today. Use this as a creative means to add to their personality or development in general. You can also use backstories as a reason for how they ended up where they are today. Perhaps a fire raged through their birthplace and dispersed their pack. They could have been wandering to find their family when stumbling upon the roleplays current pack or group and joined them. Something to keep in mind is making sure your character's back story isn't too unrealistic. You don't want a story full of anything but a tragedy for your poor character. Give it some spice and drama, but not too much. It needs to have a nice balance of positive and negative things. Be creative or as simple as you want with their history.


Development

Character development, in my opinion, is one of the most fun parts about roleplaying a character. You get to see how certain actions and things within the roleplay shape your character over time. Just like us, events in life can change your character for the better or worse. If you roleplay a character for a long enough time throughout their life story you can end up with a totally different character than you started with. It's good to take the pace with this slow, however. People don't change instantly in one day and neither should your character. Perhaps something traumatic happened and in turn, they grew more distant and skittish. Did someone they care about betray them? How would they react over time? Would they grow untrustworthy of others and avoid relationships? Or maybe it's a positive change. Your anxious character found a great friend that helped them open up and grow more confident. Character development can go either way, but it's such an interesting thing to look back and see how events in life have affected them. It's also fairly rewarding especially if you're in a roleplay with the same people over time to see how each of your characters has impacted the others.

A Note About 'Villains'
No roleplay is complete without a 'bad guy' in it. When it comes to creating and developing a proper villain character, however, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. No true character really sees theirself as evil. It's just not how that works out. A proper villain has a reason for behaving or doing the things they do. Whether their morals are twisted or perhaps something in their past helped shape how they act. Something else to keep in mind every 'bad guy' has a family. At one point they had parents, siblings or even a love interest or friends. Perhaps they still do and those close to this character may not see their actions as wrong. Something to keep in mind is what is your character's end goal? What's on their agenda to make them do the 'evil' things they do. Are they a cannibal because their pack is starving? Perhaps they deem theirself as a martyr to cleanse the world of certain wrongdoings for purity. Be creative, but give them proper, good reasoning. It'll not only help you become more engaged as your character filling that villain role, but help others to interact and develop their own characters within the roleplay.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 05:33:11 AM by Zombie »

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Minerva

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Re: Roleplaying 101
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 05:37:05 PM »
Thank you for making this, I especially found the "what makes a good character" section to be very helpful, as someone who makes lots of characters but gets stumped on their personality. Thank you!

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Azura

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Re: Roleplaying 101
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 06:03:51 PM »
Absolutely love this guide. I'm gonna keep this if I ever decide to get back into rping. I always thought I was good at rping, but now I can be even better lol.

Phyry22

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Re: Roleplaying 101
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 06:38:48 PM »
Thank you for this! This will surely be very helpful and a life saver to many people~!
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Zombie

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Re: Roleplaying 101
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 09:42:51 PM »
Awwe well I'm happy you guys find it useful! ^^

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