Roleplaying Guide

Welcome to Rose's in-depth RP guide written by our very own, Igandea. Rose asked me to help her on this because she says I'm the "most knowledgeable" of all of her characters. Before we begin, I'd like to start off by saying that the following information is, by no means, "correct" or "the right way". This is just a matter of my opinion and the gathering of the preferences of most of the people that we have RPed with or met. Rose knows she is not even CLOSE to perfect when it comes to RPing - she makes several mistakes herself (and quite often, really). We aren't claiming to be any better than anyone else, just hoping to offer a few tips for anyone who's interested. You are more than welcome to disagree with anything I mention here, these are only suggestions. So pay attention and I will help you through this guide.

The Basics
Adding Detail
Basic Etiquette
Starting an RP
Joining an RP


The Basics

I will start off by defining "RP". An RP is short for "Role-play" or you, the owner, acting out your pets or characters. RPing is usually done in one of two different styles: Chat-style or Story-style.

Chat-style RPing is simple, less-structured, and a lot more laid back. This is also the type of RPing that is preferred for quick Messenger RPs or just causal interaction. These type of roleplays are usually not preferred in forums or "serious" roleplays and are usually more likely to be seen as just being done for fun :) Actions in Chat-style are often signified by the action usually being enclosed in *astericks*. One also types individually for each character; like so:

Igan: Rose made me do her work for her again *sigh*
Bennie: You could just refuse, you know.
Igan: *types away at RP Guide* Yes, but I actually enjoy making these things some times!

Story-style RPing allows the Role-players to go more in-depth with the roleplay. They can add more detail, be more specific and, my favorite part, get involved with telling a story. Story-style RPing is no different than taking turns writing a story. A lot of times, you may even get so attached to the plotline and save it or publish it on your page! This is the more serious type of roleplaying and the one that's usually preferred. It's the style all be using in all of my examples from here on. Remember, description adds a lot, but you shouldn't get too carried away.

Some other general rules are speaking OOC or IC which stands for "Out-of-Character" and "In-Character" respectively. Speaking OOC means that if, during a roleplay where Rose was writing for me, she stopped to add in her own comment or explain something, she would be speaking out-of-character. She would then go back in-character to continue writing as me. OOC is usually either indicated by putting a comment in ((Double parenthesis)) or {{Double brackets}}. Some people will simply label a comment "OOC". Take a look:

((Sorry for the late reply, I was soooo busy with homework this week x____x))

Igan paused for a while considering his answer...


OOC: Did you get my last message? I'll send it again just in case.

IC: Igan paused for a while considering his answer...

Simple, isn't it? :)

Adding Detail

While the Thesaurus is a great learning tool, it should not be abused. If you don't know what a word means off the top of your head then, chances are, the people you're RPing with won't either. Remember to be tasteful with your Thesaurus or word use. If you're using it more than once per sentence, that is far too often. Write to your own skill level - you don't have to impress anyone with fancy words that you don't understand. Besides, there's always the possibility that you could use a word out of its correct context - and that would be embarrassing! I will show you an example of a bad, over-descriptive roleplay scene and an example of a good one. Take a look:

Bad Example:
The painted-pony Warthog of a rich chocolate and cream hue allowed an exasperated sigh to escape his maw as he jadedly pushed a weighty textbook, rich with anatomical knowledge, across the small desk where he had assembled his educational ensemble. His mind throbbed with the new knowledge he had obtained from an entire mid-day of engrossing himself in his habitual studies in the pursuit of increasing his knowledge on the human bone structure. While revising without ceasing, he would nearly always generate a hungry rumble in his gastric region and the words dancing across the page would blur into the colorful diagrams and figures. His head ached for a moment, pleading with him to close down his thoughtful processes and indulge himself with nutritional sustenance. He circumspectly unfolded himself from the chair where he had been studying and stretched his appendages far out to the side to ease the shock from being stationary for so long. Once he was satisfied, he departed the study and began to roam around the small residence trying to locate his hostess, Bennie. Once he found her, he greeted her with a simple, "I think it's snack time." He gently pushed his spectacles up his nose and grinned as he pointed an eager hoof towards the food cabinet.

Good Example:
Igan sighed heavily as he pushed a textbook across the desk where he was studying. He had been pouring over his notes all afternoon without any breaks and he was starting to get frustrated with it. He knew, once the print started to blur and his head started to ache, that it was time to stop. He stood up and stretched before exiting his study and going to find Bennie, "I think it's snack time," he said as he adjusted his spectacles and pointed a hoof towards the pantry.

Now, wasn't the "Good Example" a lot easier on the eyes? Remember, a lot of times you are RPing with people of all different ages - not everyone is going to know what optic, maw, or gastric mean (for the record, they mean eye, jaw, and stomach-region respectively). You may think all of that extra detail spices up your RP and makes you look "smart", but it also tends to draw it out and make it less interesting. Keep the extreme details to a minimum - that way, when you do feel like describing a scene a little more, you have the element of surprise! Going off on detailed explanations should only be used occasionally - not as a default. Usually people who RP with extraneous words and stange anatomical references are called "Wolf RPers" or "Wolf-scripters". That type of RPing is seen a lot in wolf RP communities but is generally not accepted anywhere else.

On this note, one of Rose's friends, Mindsend suggests a helpful way to remember to add detail:
A BIG hint to a really good RP has a codename: "Bubbles and Fish". Bubbles and Fish represents a Roleplay as a Fishtank. You have the basic plot, like a simple action, and some words (The Fish)

Example: Issui grunts, "Sure, whatever." He looks up, "Why do you ask?"

Now, that's a boring RP. But, when you add life, energy, details, environment, and action (bubbles), you have something with a sense of life and it keeps the "Fish tank" of an RP from going belly up.

Example: With a grunt, Issui leans against the wall, running his fingers through his bangs, then finally plays with the end of his braid, avoiding eye contact with the Kougress (or whatever pet/person/thing), "Sure, whatever."

His eyes lift to look at the kougress in the eyes, his face left carefully blank to keep from giving away how nervous he was, "Why do you ask?"

Now, looking at them, they are EXTREMELY different Roleplays... And yet the Fish in the fishtanks are the same -- I just added Bubbles to the tank on the second one. But, as you mentioned, do not add too many bubbles. X3

Just remember - adding a little color is nice, but try not to overdo it. I know Rose, for one gets bored when the roleplay reply is too long. (she has a short attention span and can't handle all of those extra details) ;)

Basic Etiquette

Always remember that RPing is as much about the other person as it is about you. Remember to be courteous and polite - always give them the benefit of a doubt. Often times, first impressions don't give others justice. Just because someone seems like a "n00b" doesn't mean that they aren't an exceptional RPer! Rather than saying "You stink - I want to RP with someone else.", why not offer to help them improve or guide them along (with their permission)? Otherwise, you might miss out on the opportunity of getting to know someone and/or helping them improve.

While RPing, you need to remember to keep your control on your own characters. It's very easy to get carried away and start RPing for the other person too, but, if everyone did that then we wouldn't really have use for the other person, wouldn't we? The action I'm referring to is called "godmodding" - it basically means "controlling someone else's character". An example of this would be if Rose were to receive an email like this:

Kala grinned shyly and looked at Igan, "Thank you for walking me here, Igan." she reached down to hold his hoof and he squeezed hers in his. "It's always a pleasure." he said with a wink.

Now... wait a minute... I never said that!! See what I mean? It probably would have worked better if she had posted her actions and then waited to see how I would react. She could post something open-ended for me to respond to like:

Kala grinned shyly, "Thank you for walking me here, Igan." She inched her hoof towards his, wondering if it wouldn't be too forward of her to hold hands with him.

Now that's not too bad. I can either notice and back off or notice and go ahead and take her hoof in mine. She's allowing me to decide what happens next and I really appreciate that. By giving me a chance to decide how I want to react, she's showing respect towards me as an RPer. Don't be too controlling - the other people want to RP too!

Of course, there is another side to that - being too submissive. Many times Rose will be RPing with someone who always seems to rely on her to come up with a plot or an action or an idea. "What should we do next? Where should we go? Tell me what to do!" No. You can't rely on the other person to carry the whole thing; that's not fair to them! Don't be afraid to speak up and make a decision yourself - you should believe in yourself enough to allow you to RP as an equal!

Just try to share the RP time - once you've finished an idea you had, allow them to choose the next adventure! It won't kill you, I promise.

Remember not to set high expectations. If you walk into an RP saying "We'll RP like this and this will happen and these two will end up in the end!", you're bound to be disappointed. Anything can happen - especially when an RP lasts for a long time. Keep an open mind when starting an RP because it could end up completely opposite of how you had originally planned.

Starting an RP

As a general rule, we usually try to start RPs that we initiate. If Rose asks someone to Roleplay with her, she'll try to start the RP, but if someone asks her, starting the RP should probably be their responsibility.

How should you start one? Well, it wouldn't hurt to get information from the other person/people you will be RPing with first. For instance, is their character nocturnal and can only RP at night? Is it likely for their character to be seen in the setting you're thinking of? If you wanted to roleplay with a caveman-type character, picking a supermarket or crowded mini-mall as the starting setting is probably not the best choice ;)

Once you get the major details picked out, all you need to to is write it and leave the end open so that it will be easy for anyone else to participate. When posting your initial RP post in a forum, it's a good idea to post a link to your character's refernce with your first post in that thread. That way, anyone can find your first post at any time and be reminded of what your character looks like. If you're starting the RP, iron out any details you'd need to start with and then make your post. You can always use OOC comments at the start of your post to explain any details not mentioned in your post. If we were to go with the supermarket theme, this might be a good start:

He doesn't shop often, so don't be surprised if he seems like he has no idea what he's doing xD It's a fall harvest market, btw, if that means anything!))

Igan grinned as he weaved his way through the supermarket. Crowds usually weren't "his thing", but he loved coming on Saturdays when the out-of-town farmers brought in their goods. He had promised Bennie he'd have a look around and bring her back some fresh vegetables.

"Excuse me," he said as he picked up a bell pepper and examined it in his hoof. "How much are you selling these for?" Happy with the answer, he bought a sack of them and turned to continue having a look around the market.

I've left the ending fairly open. At any time, someone could post after me and approach Igan with a question, or whatever. I could also make the effort to notice them in my next post. Remember, RPing is about two or more people! This will bring us to the next section...

Joining an RP

In my opinion, joining an RP isn't as hard as starting one, but it can still be a challenge. The main thing you need to remember is that, if you're coming in after someone else, you need to be the one to make the effort to get involved. Don't just make your character appear and expect everyone else to flock to you, this is disrespectful. If you join an RP, you need to be the one who goes up to someone and asks them a question, you need to be the one who accidentally bumps into someone and tries to strike up a conversation. One of our biggest pet peeves is when people join an RP and each of their posts are pretty much just saying "And he sat there still... just waiting for someone to come up and talk to him.". What a waste of time!

Read all of the posts before yours and post on topic. If there are two characters that are already talking, but someone else just joined and doesn't have much action yet, maybe your character could make a point to go talk to them first! Keep in mind that, if you join later in an RP, you might want to be especially careful if you're considering trying to start in with a group that already has something going. You don't want to interrupt their plot or drag it down. If nothing else, you could always ask if you could join in through a private message to one of them or by posting an OOC comment. If a thread is labelled as private, though, you should stay away from it all-together.

In order to make sure that your RPing efforts aren't ignored once you've given them a shot, you might want to try asking questions. Rose thinks she probably asks too many questions but if your character turns to someone, addresses them by name and asks their specific opinion on something, then there will be no mistake about who you're trying to communicate with. This is a great way to insert your way into the story and to make an effort to get involved!

How do you take turns? One thing you need to know to do is to give others a chance to post. If you post and someone else does, don't go post right away, give some more people a chance to participate first. If you take the story and run away with it while just you and one other person are roleplaying, no one else will want to come back to the RP because they'll feel forgotten and left out. We usually try to let each person involved in the RP post at least once before we post again. This doesn't always work because a lot of them might be inactive, but it certainly gives a fair shot to people who might be in school all day or people who just haven't had time to reply since their last post.

Well, that's all I have to say for now. If there's anything I feel I should add (suggestions are welcome!), I can always add more later. I hope this has helped for now. Thanks for reading and... happy RPing!

Things to be added: "how to RP in an IRC chat"

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