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 Khaos’s Guide to Roleplaying

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Join date : 2014-03-19
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Location : Equestria

PostSubject: Khaos’s Guide to Roleplaying   Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:56 pm

Okay, so, I’ll admit that I’m not perfect, or even a moderator on this forum, but I am one of the ones who’s been RPing for years, and I’ve picked up quite a bit on how RPing typically works, so without further ado, welcome to...

Khaos’s Guide to Roleplaying.

While there is no real or wrong way to roleplay, there are many unwritten rules and norms to follow, and much advice to remember. We, the admin team, don’t even know all of them, so know that this guide is not complete, or a set of rules to how you have to write and play, but are, as the title says, a helpful guide for everyone to have some good games and have some fun in the group.

Act, don’t just react.
This is a rather simple hint, when something happens in the world and you write a reply about it, then try to add something to the scene besides just your reaction.

For example, if your character was asked what they would like for dessert,
“ “I want two scoops of ice cream” ” would be just reacting.

But. “ “I want two scoops of ice cream.” Said GENERIC CHARACTER and began to find the bits to pay in her pouch, but when she opened it was empty. ” Would be acting. Not only have you responded to what you was asked, but you also added to the activity. It is not always required to add a lot of activity to a roleplay, but it is always nice to both respond and act on you own.

If we look at our example can we also see that we have combined what would have become two comments, the reply and the payment, into one comment that makes a better pace for a game. Quantity is nice at times, but a thread made from 200 5 line comments is still typically better than one with 1000 single line comments.

And while we’re talking about that, there’s another important point to make. A lot of RPers and GMs seem to respond not to everything that happened...but react to posts in completely separate posts. As in, one person will post, then another, and then a third person will make two posts, one to respond to the first guy, and a second to the respond to the other guy. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make a single, more coherent post that combines the reactions to the two of them, instead of breaking it up like that? Even if you’re running multiple characters, it’s very easy to divide a single post up for such things, such as with the

tag, which makes a nice line across the post, and which we’re about to use in just a second.

Don’t be afraid to ask, or to make mistakes.

Many times when you play, you and your character don’t know all the details of a setting, and even the best of GMs can´t add all the details all on their own, so don’t be afraid of asking for details if you want or need a few more to get an idea of what you’re reading.

Here it is just important to do it in character. If you enter a room and want some more detail on it, have them look around a bit. Inspect the place. Etc.

Taboos of roleplaying.

When you are RPing, there are few...let’s call them taboos. These are things that aren’t always immediately obvious, but set off alarm bells in the minds of players that have fallen victim to them.

1st Person- First person can be fine when writing a story. Everyone knows who the character is and the focus doesn’t change. In a RP situation however, 1st person isn’t what you want to be working with. In first person we don’t know who the character is unless they introduce themselves. This is not ideal to deal with as it can cause problems for other players, especially in the first few posts. Without a name to describe the pony they are interacting with (or even a gender unless something gave it away) it becomes hard to formulate a reply.

This is especially a problem because all of our characters are stored in a single thread, which can make it troublesome to look them up. And worse, some of us have multiple OCs, meaning that it becomes even harder to tell what character is being played. At minimum, you need to ensure that somewhere in every post, the character you are using is named. This extends to third person as well. If you feel the need to RP in first-person, then a simple suggestion is to begin every post with their name, press the enter key, and just write the actual post on the line underneath the name.
And don’t even think of using second-person writing in an RP. That’s just patently ridiculous.

In fact, I suggest to everyone, when they join any thread: Their first post, either in the sign-up or on the thread itself, should include a link to the page of the character thread that their character is on, in addition to the name of the character itself.

Metagaming- The word meta is a Greek prefix meaning beyond. Now, you may wonder now what ‘beyond gaming’ means, but it is as simple as using knowledge that is beyond your character’s knowledge. If Pony A and Pony B decided to plot (let’s say a surprise party) while Pony C wasn’t present and Pony C later references knowledge about the party despite not being informed, that is metagaming.

Another prime example of metagaming would be changelings. If a changeling disguises as a pony and they make no actions out of the ordinary and a pony can still see through it with ease, The pony who saw through the disguise would be accessing meta-knowledge. Sure, the player might know the true identity of the ling, but the character would not.

In the fight against metagaming you can protect yourself. If your character is lying, don’t state it, allude to it. As well, if someone does obviously metagame, call them out on it. You have absolutely zero obligation to just roll with everything that gets posted if it doesn’t make sense. Even if the metagamer is the GM, they should either step off their pedestal or explain how their characters know what they know.

Godmodding- A simple term for a not quite so simple thing. Godmodding, in the simplest terms, is controlling another player’s character in your posts. It is something that some of us like to do unconsciously, but it’s also something that is very, very rude to the person being controlled. After all, the only reason we’re here is so we can control our own characters, not to have some other person write in our steads. Now, godmodding extends a bit into the whole auto-hitting thing, but that is for a later section, but the simplest way to avoid godmodding, is to simply not narrate any actions or direct effects actually happening to a character.

Now, there are some quite important times when something that looks like godmodding, is not, in fact, godmodding. The most common one is a sort of GM godmod, usually in the form of some kind of effect upon your character, rather than full on control, or else in the form of something that your character could never see coming. But this form of godmodding is reserved wholly for the growth of the plot, and should be used sparingly. The other really big time when something is not godmodding, is when two players actually collaborate a bit and communicate their intentions a bit, and one uses a minor bit of controlling another player’s character with said player’s permission because the character would have done such anyway, and to improve the flow of the writing. A third type is less common, but can be equally important, and that’s when a player or the GM is given explicit permission to control a person’s character due to something like a major time zone difference, or due to them having to be absent for a time, and not wanting to have everything just freeze up while they are gone. All three of these are legitimate, and are not really contestable, but any other time when a person decides to control your characters is godmodding, which is a strikeable offence, and is, honestly, just really rude to whoever you’re hijacking.

Powerplaying- A close relative to godmodding, so much that it’s oftentimes also called godmodding, powerplaying is essentially equivalent to just constantly saying that you have something better than whatever it is that your opponents have. It’s annoying. Let other people win. I can’t really go into much more detail than that, because this one’s pretty simple.
An important thing to note about our forum’s guidelines,

Auto-Hitting- Now, this is a little bit of godmodding, and a little bit of its own thing. Auto-hitting is just what it says, automatically hitting someone else (you can hit yourself all you want, however). Now, the important thing here is how you word something. You can easily state what something would do it if managed to hit a target, and that would not be an autohit; but if you decide to narrate that it does do something to the target, then that is an autohit. The big thing is simply in how you write it, and the best advice I can give you is to avoid using normal present tense when describing effects, and use “would” or other such words or whole phrases to describe what the effects would be. Passive writing should be used for the effects of strikes, while active writing can be used for the strikes themselves.

Now, just like godmodding, there are sometimes exceptions to this rule. Mostly, it involves some very, very minor NPCs. So, if you’re just facing a bunch of nameless minions, then you might be able to ask your GM whether or not you are allowed to auto-hit them. Other than that, it’s normally frowned upon, though some situations might call for you to talk to people OOC and see if they’ll allow an autohit for, say, a sneak attack they cannot reasonably see coming (and if they do see it coming, it probably involves some metagaming).

Writing Conventions

Okay, so, I know some of us love to write in lots of fun ways and such, but the simple fact is that this forum, usually, runs with prose style RPing. If you’ve ever read a novel, you should know what prose style entails, but I’ll run through what all the major conventions are in such writing, and the style thereof.

Starting with the simplest, yet most important, part, the following shows what the normal conventions are for the formatting of the various written aspects of prose:
Prose is narrated in plain, normal font, with no special formatting whatsoever, with a few minor exceptions (primarily in that some parts can be italicized):
Flashbacks and dreams are typically, but not always, narrated using italicized font, and are kept distinct from thoughts by continuing to narrate the story, and typically consisting of whole paragraphs, rather than single lines. Emphasis is made in flashbacks and long thoughts by not italicizing the emphasized word.
“Speech is written between quotation marks in American convention,” like so, ‘but can be written between apostrophes (technically, single quotation marks).’ But also, “Whichever one you do use, if your character quotes someone else in their speech, you ‘use the opposite format’. And notice the placement of your other punctuation. It always appears to the left side of your quotation mark or apostrophe. Also, italics, not bold or underline, are used to emphasize words or phrases”
Thoughts are written in italics. With the statement of who is thinking kept outside the italics, and are separated from the narration by the same punctuations as quote, minus the quotation marks.
(Parentheses denote notation that is not a part of the narrative but which would serve as a footnote of sorts in an actual novel. They add a few details here and there. My suggestion, don’t use them in actual roleplaying.)
((Double parentheses, on the other hand, denote Out Of Character chat while in a roleplay thread, which is completely separate from your post, but can also be used to add some ideas here and there. These only belong at the very beginning and end of posts. On this forum, OOC chat inside IC threads is typically frowned upon. We have a PM system and several chatrooms, after all))

While I’m on the wonderful, wonderful topic of text formatting, there are three things I need to hit upon.
And Large and small text

They’re all bad.
The main problem with colors is that they tend to be rather distracting. But more than that...a lot of you people who use them seem to like the lighter colors, like yellow.
I cannot read this, personally. Can you?
For me, it’s quite annoying having to either strain my eyes or copy-paste your message into something else just so I can read something that should already be legible. Some people know how to do it right, like Wild Card, but that’s because he’s running around with 12 distinct personalities in his head that don’t bleed into one another--he needs to do that so the reader can tell which personality is saying what. I don’t need colors to know your character is talking when he/she’s the only one who could be talking in your post, and, quite frankly, a lot of people just don’t understand how to pick colors that don’t look abhorrent against the forum background.
And on the issue of the sizes and capslock, it’s just plain distracting, and very unprofessional. It doesn’t make you “louder” it makes you “annoyinger”. You don’t see it in novels, now do you? Because if you actually write it right, you don’t need anything like that. Ya see what I did there?
It’d be fine to use caps for emphasis if the forum didn’t have the whole BB code thing, but the forum does have a working BB code system. Learn it, master it, love it. If you don't love it enough, love it now. Yes, that's the power of BB code.

Some last few words
Before I leave you to go run off all on your own wherever you want, I’d like to give you all some parting advice. Look for inspiration in the world around you, you’ll never know what you might find. Read a book or two, some decent, nice writing to stimulate the mind and to help you see how people who have to write well enough to make a living off of it write. Last but not least, be yourself. I can’t make you change who you are, but maybe you can put whatever it is that you are to great effect. Use it, abuse it, and show it off.
Just remember, this is not the list of hard and fast rules. That’s what the Rules threads and such are for. This is primarily suggestions and information. I don't make the rules around here, I just bend them. Don't tell the mods I said that, or they'll bend me.
And please, do remember to dot your t’s and cross your i’s. Or something like that.

Oh, and if anyone has any requests for more guides, or for any additions to this guide, I have no problems writing up more sections.
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PostSubject: Re: Khaos’s Guide to Roleplaying   Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:11 pm

Ah. Well, thanks Llama. I'm sure this will help tons of people.
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PostSubject: Re: Khaos’s Guide to Roleplaying   Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:53 pm

How about something involving OC to OC combat? Or making something about character weaknesses?
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