This is something EVERY aspiring writer/RP'er should read. Note that ALL CREDIT to this guide goes to RP goddess Illusionary Nothing, and to the people Illusionary quoted in the guide. The following is Illusionarie's unabridged guide. It is from the BGSF boards, so some of it pertains mostly to TES roleplay, but most of it is just general stuff everyone should learn before they even bother to create an account.
Let it commence. I believe my disclaimer was passable.
Right guys, I don't profess to know everything about RPing, but I know enough to bring you this little tidbit of ABSOLUTELY VITAL INFORMATION! It's all the common sense stuff which nobody seems to listen to. So listen up this time, please.
Here is how it goes. RPing is writing. It is, it can't be denied. If you don't like writing, or can't be bothered to put into it, then for God's sake don't ruin it for everyone else. Only post when you are sure it is good. If people don't enjoy your posts, then you are not a Good RPer.
That being said, let's get into the nitty-gritty (wonderful word�) of all this jazz.
First off: Making your Character (feel free to build one alongside this�)
Right, building your character sheet is vitally important. Everything must be filled in fully. I would advise not making your character sheet too complicated, but there are several different headings you should take into account.
The most important of these are:
Name: This is where you put your character's name (self-explanatory, I know.)
Race: This is where you put your char's race. (again, duh�)
Age: This is where you put your character age. IMPORTANT NOTE: If your char has a ridiculously high age (e.g. an elf�) I would advise adding what age they appear to be, otherwise people will think your char is the King of Wrinkle-town. Also, ages any larger than 400 (already massively high!) are just being silly.
Birthsign: Add a birthsign. (for the love of god, don't make up your own�)
STOP RIGHT THERE!
If for any of these categories you would have put 'Unknown' it is not too late to change your ways! Understand that that is the height of stupidity. Your character sheet is not for other people's characters. It is for other people, and for you, so that they know who they are dealing with. Putting ridiculously vague stuff on there is redundant.
Whether or not your char, or anyone else, doesn't know your char's age, the players all should. If there is a particular reason you are withholding such information, then only put what they appear to be, and perhaps reveal their actual age at a later date.
Your character should know his name, or at least have a given one, and if he can't work out his race or birthsign, I'll be amazed, on account of all the bonuses and the distinctive appearances. As for their gender� I don't even want to get into that.
Continuing on, the other essential categories are:
Class: These can be custom, but if you call it Ninja, then you don't deserve to RP. End of story. A nice add on for Class is Class Description, which allows a nice bit of background for your class and fleshes out your sheet.
If your character does not fit a particular class, I would suggest either putting a multiple class that covers it, (scholar/thief) making up your own, or else substituting class entirely with class description, to give an idea of what they are capable of. (You know, writing what they are good at and their style of fighting.working...) Also, past professions might be a good choice- Ex-Soldier, that sort of thing. Or even their occupation or hobby- Artist or Maid.
Skills: Keep it reasonable. Certainly no more than seven skills from the oblivion set, and ten from the morrowind one. There was a reason they only allowed you so many skill slots. And that reason is BALANCE. Too many skills make you too powerful.
Also, I wouldn't take skills from all three different specialisations (Combat, Stealth, Magic for those who knows�), because it seems unlikely that someone would be able to study all three easily. Also, there are skills, normal, everyday sort of skills, other than those you find in the games. Perhaps substitute one or two from the game with these, or add one or two onto the end. But it has to fit the class.
General Appearance: As in, what your char looks like. Put it all in (not clothing, but physical appearance) Other categories such as Height, Build, Eyes, Skin and Hair Colour help flesh out the appearance and make your char sheet easier to navigate, but they should not stand alone. General Appearance is the biggie.
Clothing/Armour: Don't be unrealistic with this, and once again, feel free to go into detail. Detail is good. Everybody likes detail. Detail detail detail�
Weapons: Right, don't go too powerful with these, or someone will skin you alive. Legendary items are, as a general rule, off-limits, or they are if you're with anyone sensible. Also, the itty bitty bosmer mage cannot wield the massive warhammer. It would probably rip his arms off to try.
Biography/History: Your character's history. No heroes of Kvatch or Nerevarines here if it can be helped, mm'kay? These aren't necessary, but they are nice. Don't right essays for them, just give the basic overview.
IMPORTANT: Keep your char sheet updated as time moves on! And also, don't deviate from it. Whatever you write, that's how your character is. If you RP it differently, then you essentially lied to a whole thread of people, and also proved yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt a bad RPer.
Now we move on to DORKS AND THEIR CHARS
Rule Number 1: Don't give your character a dorky name or nickname. By dorky, I actually mean cool. Listen to me when I say this: YOU LOOK LIKE A FOOL IF YOUR CHARACTER'S NAME IS BLOODSTORM, RAGE, NIGHTSTALKER, GHOST, THE PLANNER or any other stupid names. Nobody is going to name your character such stupid things. Why would they? It sounds completely dorky. Names should be real. Look in your favourite books, look at characters of your race in the game, or even find a random generator if needs be, but come up with something reasonable.
However, as was pointed out by The-Nord, there are exceptions to this rule (Argonians with names such as City-Swimmer, Nords where their last name is rather a description of them- think Elsie God-Hater...)
So Rule Number 1 actually equals: Cool names make for dorky RPers.
Rule Number 2: Uber is not necessarily bad. However, there is virtually NOBODY who can actually pull it off. It is very difficult to pull off a powerful character, since they cannot grow and develop, and your natural instinct is to show off and act all amazing. Frankly, there are only two or three RPers I can think of who can actually handle it.
So Rule Number 2 actually equals: only noobs uber, and it will get you kicked.
Rule Number 3: The more boring/normal your character seems, the cooler they are. Armourers, Blacksmiths, Seamstresses, Farmers� these are the guys everyone wants to hear about turning into heroes. Heroes don't turn into anything. They're already heroes. For them, killing bandits and saving the world is no big deal. It's the normal people, the ones who have to learn, that make it interesting.
So Rule Number 3 actually equals: Exciting Heroes are boring to read about.
Rule Number 4: Not every char is super-beautiful/stunningly gorgeous/muscular/handsome/ whatever else you might try. That's just a stupid, desperate attempt to attract characters of the opposite sex. I'll go into more detail about that later.
But Rule Number 4: It is okay to play normal people. Mm'kay?
Rule Number 5: No Ninjas. Very few people can RP ninjas properly, and ninja's are more or less impossible to play in a balanced manner (e.g. without breaking rule number 2). However, an experienced and skilled RPer, with in-depth knowledge of ninjas could manage to RP a ninja properly, but ninjas have a terrible name from the many many bad characters that have been made over time (and nary a good one... :P) Unless you have a really good name on these boards, I wouldn't advise trying one.
I would also advise against assassin characters, or at least characters which spend all of their time going on killing rampages. Nobody kills that much, and frankly it's pretty boring, when other things could be going on, that you just run around stabbing everything in sight.
Characters with anti-social tendencies also tend to get in the way of interaction between players, and thus you joining in with the RP. I know, the aloof and cold warrior is fun, but if he doesn't say anything he gets really boring really fast. Only the most skilled of RPers should try and take on such challenges.
Listen up to this, it'll make your chars more interesting- INDIVIDUALITY
Unique characters are good. I don't mean with special powers or races, although those can help. I mean in terms of personality and habit, or even a little played class that everyone knows about. Make your char special! Perhaps they hyper-ventilate when faced with enemies, or like singing bawdy songs whenever they enter an inn. Maybe they are deathly afraid of women, or have a lisp. Perhaps they dye their hair a different colour every day- I don't know, be creative! Anything that makes your character stand out, while at the same time being like a real person. (serial killing set-aside, once again.)
UBERING AND CHARACTER CONTROLLING: Brothers from the land of stupid.
You'll find these rules in pretty much every RP you ever join. They are there for a reason. Basically, this means you don't start out with (or suddenly find) powerful weapons or armour, or other such items, and you can't take on an entire army of enemies single-handed.
It also means you can't summon an entire army out of thin air. It's just a bad idea, and it ruins gameplay for everyone else. Remember what I said about boring characters being better? Stick with it.
Then there is character controlling. This means you cannot force another character to do something, RP that character, or cause any physical damage to them that their player does not first approve. Ways to make sure you don't do anything like that are to PM a character's player before engaging in a fight, or making a post in such a way as you make the attack but leave the result open. Short Example:
"Hrothgar bellowed in pain as his arm was slashed open. Transferring his blade painfully from his right hand to his left, he attacked again, careful not to slip in his own blood. He swung his blade up and around his opponent's defences, but the attack, while strong, was clumsy� if his enemy noticed it, then it would be easily deflected."
This post makes it possible for the other player to decide the outcome of the attack, because you have not written the result- whether or not the attack worked. In this post, I have decided that I don't really want Hrothgar to have a large chance at succeeding, since he was injured by the other player's post, thus I mention that he is clumsy since he's using the blade in his other hand. If I had wanted him to succeed, I would have made sure that the post said he expected it to succeed, or that it was well-aimed or some such. But the idea is, that the other player still has the right to decide whether or not his character is injured.
NOTE: battles to the death in RPs between players are generally a bad idea. Before you engage in a player-fight, you should always decide who is going to die, or when they are going to stop.
I hope you get the general idea of all this.
Vampires and Werewolves Or ubering to no purpose.
Vampires and werewolves are naturally powerful creatures. Naturally UBER creatures, I should say. There is very little point in RPing one unless it is an RP specifically for them, or there is a good reason plot-wise for them being in such a way. Otherwise, it i just a lame excuse to be powerful, or 'look cool' (See 'Dorks and their Chars' to get the general idea of what I think of trying to look cool...)
Also, there are only so many vampires who don't drink human blood, and so many 'special' werewolves that can change at will and won't harm people that anyone can take. Listen to me when I say this: IT DOESN'T WORK. Everyone does this. By the time there are ten or twelve with virtually the same story in one thread, it gets boring. Not only are vampires and werewolves naturally powerful, they are also VERY ANTI-SOCIAL characters to play. The whole 'special vampire/werewolf' thing? It's just boring, overdone, and yet another excuse to have a powerful character with none of the set-backs.
So don't play them unless you have a cast-iron reason, and the skill to go with it.
Right, and now we enter the realms of ROMANCE vs BANGING (I know that sounds crude, but this is literally how I see it in RPs at the moment.)
The rules on this are quite simple. There are some elements for good romantic rping, and there are some elements for bad ones.
I'll give you the bad news first.
CHARACTERS DO NOT FALL IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! Can I just say that this is possibly the most boring take on romance I have ever seen.
The romances that are worth reading about (and are realistic!) are the ones that take time and work. That means they might fight. That means they might not even like each other at first. But most definitely, it's better for them to be close friends before they move into something else.
People who immediately fall in love, and start proclaiming their undying love for each other, and take every opportunity for their chars to sleep with each other are just gross. Okay? An RP romance should be beautiful (or at least funny�) to read about. It is not a chance for you to sleep around through your character. Nobody wants to know about the sex. It's the lead up to the relationship, the things that bring these people together, that's important.
Also, consider relationships which don't work out, or at least don't work at first. In real life, not every man you meet is going to be your soulmate (and vice versa�), so why should it be any different in RPs? And also, just because someone else's char is deeply infatuated with yours is by no means a reason for your char to drop all and sudden love them too. If they didn't before, chances are they won't until the other does something particularly extraordinary.
And try to remember that beautiful people are not always what attract a mate� it would be nice if, for once, a romance started because two people were compatible, rather than because they wanted to bang each other. Seriously, average and ugly people find love too, not just the beauties.
Here is a section on cross-gender RPing (something I don't do much of) taken directly from HK-47, RPing God. So listen up.
Cross-gender roleplaying Specifically; d00ds who RP chicks
Okay guys, you all know what I'm talking about. You're creating a female character in your head, so why wouldn't you want her to be graciously endowed with DD cups and a perfect sassy attitude? Truth is, guys who create characters like that disgust me. If you are going to roleplay a female character, have some respect for women. Don't throw your character at men or sleep around just because the prospect of a woman who would do that appeals to your nether regions. Keep your brain in your head.
Now I am a dood, and I am a teenager (19), so I feel the same hormones all you do, and I will admit to occasionally making a female character do something I wish a woman would do rather than something a woman would do. I won't profess to understand them, and I don't expect you to, but the key word here is not realism, it's Respect and Realism ().
So basically put, guys, don't roleplay a female character who struts her stuff around, has the chest of Dolly Parton and the face of whatever you think is hot with buns of steel the size of watermelons and wear virtually nothing at all. It's disrespectful and wrong, and nobody likes an RP character like that.
HOW TO POST
First off, detail is everything. People will tell you that in RPing quality is better than quantity. That is true, but not in such a clear-cut way. The only real way to ensure a quality post is to add lots of detail, and that means a long post.
My advice to you is to describe everything! Let your mind run wild! Post everything your character sees, smells, tastes, feels, touches and says. Add in small, over-looked movements and twitches, describe things that particularly strike your character, and add in what they are thinking, or perhaps how their past relates to now. Describe their state of mind, that sort of thing. There is nothing too small to include in your post.
It is vital that you understand that POSTS ARE MORE THAN DIALOGUE. Dialogue on it's own is boring. To have a good post, you must add their thoughts and feelings, how they react to what other people are saying and how their mind processes any information they have been given.
Then you must remember something called CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. This is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things about RPing. This means that your character grows, changes, and learns new things with time. Events will change your character: it is inevitable. But it's important that you understand that characters do not develop overnight.
Learning a new skill will take a good amount of time: changes in personality will take even longer. Even if your character makes a conscious decision to change, remember it doesn't happen that easily. It is a fundamentally difficult thing to do to change who you are, no matter what events might have done to you. Change happens, but slowly, painfully slowly. You have to make sure that people can easily follow the progress of your character, perhaps even guess where it is going to go, or try to.
Leaving clues in your writing for future plans, vague hints at what is to come in your character's emotional life, or hints as to their past, can be fun to read and speculate about.
Also: when you are writing, it is VITAL that you don't post the points of damage your weapon/spells are doing. Rather, describe how powerful it is by how tired it makes the mage, but how strongly the warrior attacks, etc.
Example of how NOT to do it:
"Hrothgar cast Fireball at his enemy, causing 2 points of fire damage, and then followed up with a swing from Poisonblade, causing 2 points of poison damage for 3 seconds..."
^Boring. Post LIKE THIS:
"It barely cost Hrothgar any magicka to flick a fireball at his opponent. Though the spell was not powerful, he was sure it would pack a good sting. Drawing his poisoned blade, he attacked fiercely. Though the poison was weak, enough consecutive attacks might cause real damage..."
Or something like that. Got it?
Another important part of posting is spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and spacing. If you have difficulty with spelling and grammar, for whatever reason, then consider checking it first in Word or some such before posting.
Dialogue is always preceded by and finished with quotation marks. A short example:
“Hello. Read the Black Horse Courier lately? I hear the emperor was assassinated,” said Average Jo as he smoked his pipe.
Commas (,) separate sentences up, and full-stops (.) - periods to some- end them. These are the most basic of punctuation, but I hope you get them at least. There are also question marks (?), exclamation marks (!) and many more.
Vary your vocabulary. In layman's terms, use lots of different words. The synonym function in Word could easily help you out. But even as I say that, don't go too out of your way. There are some perfectly common words that will often suite your needs just fine.
And now, spacing. As I have done here, so you should do. Whenever someone else is speaking in dialogue, or the topic of your writing changes: e.g. Before you were talking about what your character could see, and then you started talking about what he could smell- START A NEW PARAGRAPH. Hit enter. In fact, for RPing, it will probably do you better to hit enter twice, and leave one line of space between each paragraph, thus making the divisions even more obvious. It's really hard to read long blocks of text. Separating them eliminates this problem.
Key: In most RPs, you'll find the following things.
Thoughts are in Italics�
"Speech tend to be in quotation marks,"
And telepathy/mental communication is in Bold.
It can vary per RP, but this is the generally accepted rule, I think.
And finally, I leave you with this: everything I've just said isn't necessarily right. Beautiful characters do add something to RPs, heroes are needed every now and then, assassins can be cool and sometimes characters never learn and never change.
Just make sure that, whatever your character is like, you write about everything it does, and have a jolly good time doing it. These rules, all this advice: what it all comes down to is that I am trying to teach you how best to enjoy yourself in RPs, and for others to enjoy you being there too.
I'm going to add in some quotes of various posts I think were excellent examples of good posts in RPs.
And then I'll go and soak my aching fingers, and wonder why I cared enough to write all of this lark. Love y'all.
Trevoire listened very quietly and intently as she spoke of his past, and present. She knew what he was, what his gift was, and he knew what gave you that gift as well. His hand slowly dropped towards his sword hilt yet he prevented himself from drawing it.
You like her powers, don't you? You can have them all in just one stroke of your sword. Think of the power you'll have, think of your destiny.
He smiled the moment she finished her rather interesting speech about him. "We all hear the voice. Most of us, at least. I know that you too have the Darkness in your mind, for I know that not even the strongest illusionist can do what you just did."
Trevoire then turned his back to her and placed his glass on his desk, walking over to a painting and gripping the hilt of his sword even tighter. He could guess that she knows what he's up to and what he's about to do. Though it now only depends on the timing and how fast he can do it before his Knights come storming into the room. He had to plan his actions carefully, though since he has been doing this his whole life, it wasn't that hard.
The Darkness then quickly told him the plan.
He would walk back over to her, offering to refill her glass. The moment she would offer the glass to him he would simply draw his sword and disarm her. Killing her would be the least of his worries. He would then wipe the hilt of his weapon with a cloth and place in her corpse's hand. Then he would smack his face till it bled and be leaning his back against his desk calling for help. His Knights will come in and will find out that their Commander was only defending himself and simply be rid of her corpse. He would have a new Director and will be more powerful then before.
Trevoire's gaze held hers as he turned around, quickly removing the thought from his mind so that she couldn't tell what he was thinking. He then walked back towards his desk and leaned his hand against it.
"May I refill your glass, Andromeda?"
Will felt something wrap itself around his hand, and squeeze. It was delicate, almost fragile, at least in his battle-scarred hand; he'd have recognized Kira's touch anywhere. With a determined look on his face, Will gently squeezed back, as he looked out over the two armies, preparing to engage each other. The ferocity of the Legion, coutered by the sheer dauntlessness of the allies of the Birthright Guild. Like two great waves, they would soon crash into each other, each hoping to overtake the other, and prevail.
The warrior within him longed to stand at the front of that wave...to carve a bloody swath through Marcus' and Myrva's forces. But that was not to be his role in this battle...his place was beside Kira, to fight alongside her. He looked to his right, at the young woman who was to be his wife...at the woman who would give birth to his child. In all the world, he could think of nobody who he would rather have beside him at such a time. His main concern was that she might come to harm in the coming battle, but he would do whatever it took to keep that from happening.
His glance drifted to Stephanie and Micheal, and he cursed inside his own head. He respected the two of them, and appreciated all that they had done for Kira in her time of need. But a battlefield was no place for them...especially the young Stephanie. Will had fought all his life...he knew what to expect in the near future. Was it fair for Stephanie to witness the horrors of a battle such as this? And how would Micheal fair?
Will put these thoughts aside, however. The time for doubts had long since passed. Now, on the eve of the Birthright Guild's greatest battle, the players had been set, and there was no going back. He gave one last glance to Kira, before reaching for his blade...his family's blade. He hoped their strength would see him through the coming conflict. He unsheathed his blade, and let the tip of the claymore rest idle in the dirt at his feet, as he awaited the inevitable.
Vivian shut the door behind him, and Iris turned to face him instantly, not waiting a minute to begin the conversation. "Alright, spill it. You're different now. You move differently, you behave differently. You're shady, Vivian. You're not legal. What have you been doing?" Iris sat down in the chair, putting her feet up on the table, and raised her eyebrows at her brother. "Well?"
Vivian stood by the door for a moment, considering his words. If he told the truth, Iris would hate him forever. But if he told half-truths... "I.." Vivian began, stopped, and took a deep breath. He had lied before, to so many people of so many social positions, but for some reason, he found lying to Iris difficult. "I went searching for the women who killed Father."
Iris' face transformed into a gleeful, almost giddy expression. "I did the same thing! Though..." She stopped, and shrugged her shoulders sadly. "They were dead by the time I had found them." She sounded heartbroken about this fact. Even though they had murdered her father, Iris was not one to easily wish death upon others, not when she was in control of herself. She had hoped to convict those women, land them in jail, but never kill them.
The look on her face, seeing her so downhearted about a deed that he himself had committed, confused Vivian. He felt the urge to just tell her, just get it over with, but also thought of her reaction, and decided that she wasn't quite up for more saddening news.
Uglius MaximusII said:
Vincent stepped out of the wooden house that he had called a home for the last 3 years. He looked out over Bravil and shuddered, the city was disgusting, filth and plague covered the city. An ill looking man stumbled past Vincent and he quickly cast his healing spirit. "Clense him." He muttered, the moaning spirit did so, the rattling of chains as he moved his body to cast the spell at the man rang out. Sending a shiver through Vincent.
The man stood up straight, he looked at his hands in awe, he looked behind him at Vincent and bowed, quickly running off to whatever destination it was that he was going to.
Vincent sighed and carried on walking, he was to meet a man named Kiera Knightfall.
Bravil. The unusual name worked its way around the woman's mind as she approached the city gates. Bravil. So different the city was to what she was used to seeing; used to living in. The city of Bravil was surrounded by stone walls, and judging by the houses that sat outside the walls, the woman quickly realized that the inside must be no better off. Muddy streets, a loud hubub of activity and foul language, and overall bad taste was what she expected to find based on the exterior of the city. A city like this wouldn't stand scrutiny in the Summerset Isles, but the woman guessed with good reason that the Altmer - so much more sophisticated and intelligent than these human swine - would not allow such a city to even exist in the Isles. More likely it would be blown to bits by a wizard or two, or it would be flooded or burned or perhaps the citizens would be striken with eternal invisibility, giving the city the reputation of a ghost town.
It was then with trepidation that Ari Larande crossed the bridge towards the city gate. As much as she might find the city distasteful, she would nevertheless have to enter it. I may not be High Elf, but I'm still Altmer. The young Imperial thought to herself as she approached. Ari had been born an orphan and raised among the Isles. Although she was very short compared to the High Elves, and her skin was a strange shade of pink rather than magnificently golden, and though her ears were unatractively round, Ari had the gift for magick, and she was raised an Altmer. Not an Imperial. She reached into her robe and clasped the rather opulent gem-incrusted amulet. It was marked with an emblem she knew was the emblem of the Red Diamond; a dragon enclosed in a diamond. But what significance it held eluded her.
Why would the Imperial crest be on the amulet that I've had since I was a baby? It was here at Bravil she hoped to find her answers. As distasteful as the city may seem, she knew that it was only among people who shared her blood, if not her culture, that she would find her answer. If it lays out there to be found. Ari had her doubts about whether or not this amulet wasn't some worthless piece of junk, even though she'd had it appraised by the best jeweler in all of Firsthold. The gems were real and flawless, and it was solid gold, but it wasn't monetary value that Ari was worried about. It was the only possible clue to her past, and what if it was just some trinket? A gift given to an orphan out of kindness?
It couldn't be so. It shouldn't be so. It wouldn't be so. Ari made up her mind, and she was going to make sure that she found her answers - and if that meant getting involved in this revolution, then so be it. First the Imperial City, now Bravil. I'll search every city if I must.
And a good example of a fight sequence can be found here.
Right, well, that's all I've got for now, kids. But for the rest of this thread, if people could give feedback and/or add other posts I might have missed or not known about that are good examples of RPing, feel free to put them up.