The Basic Roleplaying Rules:
The Guide To Writing for Roleplays
a. Spelling and Grammar
b. Style and Tense
2. Canon and Rule Obedience
6. Roleplay Creation
a. Spelling and Grammar
· One of the most important aspects about writing is to keep one's work free of spelling and/or grammatical errors. No matter how wonderful your ideas, they are useless if no one can read what you are saying.
· Always use a Word Processor to check your work before posting. Simply paste your post into Microsoft Word or Wordperfect, or better yet, compose your post there, then spell-check and grammar-check before posting.
· A useful guide for grammar can be found here: http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/
· An online dictionary can be found here: http://dictionary.reference.com/
· Use proper paragraphs. Hit enter whenever there is a change of scenery, time, perspective or speakers. In other words, whenever someone different says something, create a new paragraph.
b. Style and Tense
· Generally, a roleplayer must follow the style of the roleplay he or she joins. The following are the general types of writing styles: First person perspective: 'I ' and Third person perspective: 'She/He/Joe/Sally'
· If you have a choice of perspectives, first person perspective is simpler, but third person perspective is preferred for the following reasons:
1. Your character does not have to be you. In fact, there's a large chance your character isn't you, or isn't exactly you. Therefore, use of 'I' is not precise. In addition, you may be using more than one character; it is especially crucial to use third person perspective then.
2. Clarity – When other people read what you are doing and want to respond to it, it is far easier to keep track of who is doing what when names are used. This is especially true if there are several people in an area that are interacting with each other.
3. Generally, third person perspective just sounds better and more professional:
a. I walked down the cobbled streets, a lonely echo ringing in my steps. I did not glance up at the cloudy skies.
b. Meredia walked down the cobbled streets, a lonely echo ringing in her steps. She did not glance up at the cloudy skies.
· Past tense is preferable to present tense for many of the same reasons. In addition, past tense can handle a longer period of time without sounding awkward.
a. Brin laughs and turns to meet the eyes of the blue-haired girl. His gaze stays there for a brief moment, then quickly flickers back to the bar.
b. Brin laughed and turned to meet the eyes of the blue-haired girl. His gaze stayed there for a brief moment, then quickly flickered back to the bar.
· Please, please, please write more than one or two sentences per post. Any action or description can be expanded into at least one paragraph. This makes for more interesting reading, which is the point of roleplay. Describe the setting, your character's state at the moment, his/her thoughts, notable objects, even how he/she says something. Your goal is always to capture your readers in your writing.
2. Canon and rule obedience.
· It is crucially important to follow any rules your RP's creator sets. The RP's creator has final say on any subject.
· Similarly, convincing roleplays that are based on a certain game, book, movie or show require one to follow the set rules of the game/book/movie/show. Do not attempt to alter anything set by the game/book/movie/show unless you are permitted. This includes trying to bend set rules or write up new plotlines for the story. Attempting to do these things without permission from the roleplay creator is insulting, not only to the creator, but to the game/book/movie/show drawn upon.
· Unique characters are by far more interesting to interact with. Avoid clichés and stereotypes when you create your character. At the very least, give your character some sort of unique spin.
· Perfection is the worst imperfection. This cannot be stressed enough. It is not only boring to have the strongest, handsomest, noblest fighter in existence, but it makes your character predictable and have little depth.
· On the same hand, try to avoid creating a 'Mary Sue' or a perfected copy of yourself. By far, this is the most common roleplay character; it is also the least fascinating. Try taking on a character that has very little similarities to yourself and make a fair and honest interpretation; you'll be amazed at how much you'll learn in the process.
· One goal of roleplaying is interaction with other characters. Be sure that your character can interact with other people in addition to being able to stand alone.
· Be detailed when you create; more information makes for a more solid character. Some advised categories for a general biography are listed below; the most important groups should be the 'Other Details' – your character's personality and history. Feel free to keep some details hidden until a later point.
· General Info
Brief Personal Details/History:
· Static characters, ones that never change and grow, can get boring quite quickly. Be sure that you are always true to your character and that you stay consistent, but do not overlook the fact that your character should rationally adapt, learn and otherwise be affected by his/her circumstances and environment.
· Do not just consider a character's past; think of their present and future as well. What are their goals and dreams? What are their motives for what they are doing? Complex characters should have complex thoughts and a multitude of behaviours and emotions.
· Do not control another person's character unless he or she gives you permission. Breaking this rule can get you banned from a roleplay. Sometimes, it is permitted for one person to slightly control another character, especially if the move is very obvious (i.e. saying that others blinked when there was a flash of bright light). However, always be sure to give a fair representation of other peoples' characters, and if they are not satisfied with what you write, do not argue; change what you have. If you are not sure on any particular thing, do not make an assumption.
· One exception on character control would be for the roleplay's creator; sometimes they will step in and write some inevitable story occurrences. In those cases, if you are not content, bring it up with the roleplay creator. Keep in mind, however, that for the most formal roleplays there is a story that the creator is trying to tell and you should be as accommodating as reasonably possible.
· Generally, better interactive scenes are worked out between two individuals beforehand, over PMs or instant messenger. Doing so allows for longer posts with more accurate writing. However, as this is not always possible, the most you can do is avoid making one or two-liner posts, even when you are interacting with others. Go into detail and it'll make for a far more interesting read.
· Carefully read other people's posts and get to understand how their characters work, how they would look like and how your character would act in relation to them. This is an absolutely crucial point.
· As mentioned before, whenever there is a new speaker, create a new paragraph. This will allow for greater clarity and organization.
o "Lynn, where are you going?" asked Kai.
"I'm going downtown," replied Lynn. She grabbed her purse and some spare change, and then walked out. There was a loud slam as the door shut behind her.
Left behind, Kai huddled into a ball and hugged his legs.
· Make sure you read what other people say in their posts, and that their dialogue flows smoothly into what your character says in your post.
· As mentioned above, do not control another person's character or make them look silly. Sometimes, you will have the opportunity of writing in other peoples' reactions, especially if the moves are obvious (as in dodging an attack), or if you are familiar with a writer's character. If you are not sure on any particular thing, do not make an assumption.
· Never write in your opponent's defeat or death unless you have permission. Only the character's creator can determine their character's condition. One exception on character control would be for the roleplay's creator; sometimes they will step in and write some inevitable victory/defeats. In those cases, if you are not content, bring it up with the roleplay creator. Keep in mind, however, that for the most formal roleplays there is a story that the creator is trying to tell, and you should be as accommodating as reasonably possible.
· There are many styles of fighting; some roleplays use HP and attack systems, others use descriptions. By far the most complex but also the most rewarding style is full out 'cinematic' or 'story' fighting where heavy detail is used. Try your best to learn this style.
· Pay attention to details in your opponent's posts. Often, you can find legitimate weaknesses through this method.
· Don't be cheap. Take damage and leave weaknesses available; it makes your own attacks more legitimate. Generally, curative spells and shapeshifting do not cure your person of all injuries. If you are worried about the rules of a battle, set down specific rules before you start.
· Focus less on the names of attacks or of weapons and more on behaviour, thoughts and details in one's actions.
· Above all, remember that winning or losing the fight is not the most important; impressing your readers with your writing abilities and an interesting battle is far more gratifying. Work together with your opponent to create an impressive fight.
· At any one time, work hard to add details to scenery, objects and individuals. This will allow your readers to be pulled into the world that you are trying to create. Avoid short one or two-line posts.
· Make your descriptions vibrant and original; avoid clichés in every instance.
· Don't forget that people exist in the locations you are describing; if you describe a marketplace, don't ignore the merchants and townspeople. If you describe a palace, don't forget the servants, knights, etc.
· Try to capture a multitude of senses; describe sights, sounds, smells, etc.
6. Roleplay Creation
· The first thing to do when creating a roleplay is to have a basic storyline or premise. What world does the roleplay take place in? What genre or style are you pursuing? How will it end, if you ever want it to end?
· There are two basic types of roleplays: highly controlled story topics where the creator is controlling the plot, and more free, open ones where everyone helps create the story. Before you continue, decide which type you want your roleplay to be. You would generally want lesser amounts of people for the first roleplay and more for the second type.
· Creation of signup and discussion topics in addition to the basic story topic is recommended if a large number of people join your roleplay.
· Post the introduction, rules and method of signing up in one general topic, and be detailed and innovative with how you present your roleplay. The more alluring you are with your first post, the higher are your chances of having people join.