Role Playing Etiquette
By Thranduil Graywolf of Tel'Mithrim
Role-playing can be both fun and frustrating. These are some general rules of thumb that help cut down the frustration.
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- This really shouldnít need saying, but it seems like one of the more common problems...stay In Character (IC) at all times. Do not drop Out Of Character (OOC) unless you are in a private conversation out of sight from others (ICQ would be best, but if that isnít an option use an empty room). If you absolutely must say something OOC in the presence of people who are IC, then enclose the OOC comment in parenthesis.
- Never use OOC information IC in any way. The best example I can give is...just because you can see someoneís name hanging over their head in the game, your character wouldnít know that characterís name unless someone had told you in-game.
- Never assume someone will react in a certain way just because you think they should. Always give others the chance to react in their own way, and donít get upset if the reaction isnít what you expected.
- Any action you perform on someone elseís character, no matter what the action might be, should be phrased as an attempt. By making an attempt instead of just doing it outright, you give the characterís player the chance to consent to the action or avoid it if itís something theyíd rather not have happen to their character.
- Be considerate of the role-playing mood of others. If you come into a situation where other characters are already engaged in some RP, donít just leap in with a radically different mood unless you get permission (Either IC or OOC, depending on the situation and whether you have any way to contact them OOC). As an example...say there is a couple sitting at a table discussing a recently deceased character and you jump in acting like a court jester and spill their drinks in their laps while telling bad jokes. You arenít going to make friends like this if your actions offend the players behind the characters.
- Donít try to be the center of attention all the time. Be polite and share attention with other characters. You arenít the only one there to have fun, give everyone their turn in the spotlight.
- Give others time to react to you. One of the strangest things Iíve noticed in graphical online RPGís is impatience. People will walk up, say something, wait about 0.0001 seconds and run off. The person they talked to would barely have had enough time to read what they said, let alone respond to it. This also happens in conversations. People will say something, wait a very short amount of time, then keep going as if they think the person they were talking to didnít hear them or isnít going to respond. In most cases, the other person was going to respond but simply wasnít as fast as expected, and loses the chance because the conversation has moved on without them. Thereís no need to hurry so much, just relax and enjoy the interaction.
- Avoid god-like abilities for your characters. Rping isnít about who can make up the best super powers for their characters, itís about the personalities of the characters. Any character that is ridiculously powerful or has a perfect personality is going to be fairly boring to RP with and will end up being mostly ignored by others.
- It is generally considered rude to just up and attack someone out of the blue. If you and your target are not part of some planned combat event, get OOC consent from the player before you attack their character (This can be done IC if you make your meaning clear enough and you can't contact the other players OOC). If thereís no good way to get this permission, at least give them plenty of IC warning that you might attack, and if they seem to approve IC, then go ahead. If they donít seem willing to fight, or you canít tell one way or another, it would be best not to attack them to avoid OOC troubles.
- Never include someone elseís character in a written story that didnít actually happen exactly as you wrote it without letting that characterís player proofread and approve the story before you post it.
- When writing up a story about combat that happened in-game, donít be literal. Gaming engines invariably have the loser of a fight "die". Since no one likes building characters over and over, thereís always some way to get raised from the dead. But just because you killed someoneís character and chopped up their body in the game doesnít give you the right to write this up exactly as the combat engine portrayed it. Thereís two reasons for this...either the character that lost has to get resurrected and put back together, or the character is permanently dead or maimed. It gets very old having people die all the time and getting dismembered only to show up the next day just fine. It would also get old if people had to waste their character development by killing off their character due solely to something that happened based on the combat engine of the game (which we all know is much less than fair due to lag and computer crashes) and not on RP. So itís polite to alter events a little bit. If the combat was a large battle, mention casualties but donít give names to the dead. Just assume the two sides had several no-name extras along for the fight that can provide convenient dead bodies. If it was a duel, then have it be to first blood or to loss of consciousness...unless of course a characterís true death was agreed upon OOC ahead of time by the characterís player, but these situations will be very rare.
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