RP Styles and How To’s
There are many different things about Role Play that some know and some do not. I am going to try and objectively cover each part of Role Play as I know. My goal is to give everyone an understanding of Role Play, how it works, and to give a bit of an explanation to the many types of Role Play styles that people have.
This was written with you in mind; it’s an introductory FAQ designed to answer some basic questions you may have, and make you think of many more.
I want to let everyone know that I am not an RP snob. I will play with anyone and everyone. I just want to shed a little light into the confusing world of Role Play styles.
What is Gor?
Online, Gor is a setting that people roleplay ( RP ) in. In actuality, Gor is a world defined in a series of almost 30 books written by John Norman, from 1966 up through the present. The books are typically hard to find; Borders and Barnes & Noble do not carry them, and they are all out of print ( although Amazon now has reprints! ). Gor is the fictional setting for these books. The world of Gor shares some similarity with certain historical eras on Earth; most notably medieval Europe, as well as Greek and Roman periods. Gor is a lush planet, untouched by industry. Forests are mighty and expansive, water runs free and pure, rivers deep and long, and the sea ( named Thassa ) is just as beautiful as any Earth Ocean, if not more so. Almost all technology is at most developed to a medieval level; swords, bows, helmets and shield, furs, wagons, tunics and breeches are common.
Online in Second Life , Gor is a setting to RP in.
What is role play?
Roleplay online is simply this; the development of a character or role ( like a character in a play or on a TV show ) that a person “plays” when they interact with other RPers. For example, you may choose to RP a Panther character. This would mean that you would develop an idea of a certain Panther girl, your Panther. You’d know what the Panther looked like, how old she was, what weapons she fought with, wheres he came from, and what her motivations are. It really is like developing an alter-ego.
You’d then use this character to “play in Gor”; that is, to interact with other characters in sims created for just such a purpose. Your character is enduring; this means that unlike “cybering”, the character you create would be one you’d play with over and over, through weeks, months and maybe even years of real time. In this time online and in characte3r your new persona may make close friends, deadly enemies and so on. RP is the act of doing all this. When you RP you speak in character, as the persona you’ve developed would, and you act in character. It is -very- bad form to step out of character ( OOC ) while RPing, and there are certain “proper” ways to do this, if it becomes necessary.
If you ever thought it would be enjoyable to play a role… one that allows you more freedom, more expression, the ability to be something that in real life ( RL ) you would never have the chance to experience, then perhaps you’d find RPing quite enjoyable. RPing is a curiocity for some, a hobby for most, and almost a lifestyle for a few.
The wonderful thing about RP is that not everyone does it the same way. I will try to keep the examples simple. These are only meant to give you a feel for the type of RP that I am speaking of.
First I want to talk about post length. There are several variations of post length and they are defined as follows:
- One Word: Just as the name entails these are simple responses. RP in this category normally will not form a full sentence.
- Examples in RP:
- “Ok boss.”
- sits down.
- One Line: This category of RP generally is at least one sentence long. The length of the sentence is generally 5+ words. While most tend to have slightly longer sentences of a minimum of 10+ words. Most Gorean sims in raids require your RP actions to be 10+ words.
- Examples in RP:
- walked along the path heading towards the scarlet’s offices to see if any warriors were there.
- carefully reached for the hot pot trying not to spill it.
- cries out “How dare you touch what does not belong to you!”.
- Examples in Raids:
- runs to GenericAvi and binds his hands behind his back.
- takes GenericAvi to the docks sailing back to MyCity quickly.
- slaps a bandage on GenericAvi stopping the bleeding quickly before running.
- Semi Para: This is a bit of a grey area. Many players will have a different idea of what Semi Para is. Semi Para normally consists of about two sentences (Please understand you can have more). The reason this is not a full paragraph is that it is much shorter than a full paragraph. It tends to take less time to post as well.
- Examples in RP:
- strolled along the wooded area his feet taking him down the path of the stream. A heavy sigh parted his lips as his dark eyes turned to glance around the all but deserted space.
- Para: Para play is generally longer posts consisting of at least one paragraph. These can vary in length but most of the time they are 5+ sentences. Most Semi Para players can fall into this group as well as they are already accustomed to writing longer posts so they have a tendency to bounce between the two styles.
- Examples in RP:
- long tendrils of webs black hair spun down the lengths of a sleek and slender back. Pale skin contrasted the raven locks and seemed to have a delicate sheen in the pale moonlight. Lithe and beautiful, slender and sleek that figure seemed to captivate. unable to look away yet unable to move one could only sit and stare in awe. Such a beast befitting to a king was she that one could only wonder at what riches she could bestow. Dry lips parted and finally words the words were found to speak “You…girl are the most pleasing”. Foot falls echoed as finally lurching forward as if released from a spell could I move.
- Multi-Para: Multi-Para RP is very much the same as Semi Para or Para. Now I know a lot of the seasoned RPers will be screaming at me for saying it but it is in fact true. If you can not Semi Para or Para RP then you wont be able to Multi-Para. Multi-Para is a combination of Semi Para and Para RP so instead of just having one part of your post you will have multiple Semi Para’s or Paras in a single post.
- Examples in RP:
long tendrils of webs black hair spun down the lengths of a sleek and slender back. Pale skin contrasted the raven locks and seemed to have a delicate sheen in the pale moonlight. Lithe and beautiful, slender and sleek that figure seemed to captivate. unable to look away yet unable to move one could only sit and stare in awe. Such a beast befitting to a king was she that one could only wonder at what riches she could bestow. Dry lips parted and finally words the words were found to speak “You…girl are the most pleasing”. Foot falls echoed as finally lurching forward as if released from a spell could I move.
Reaching towards the delicate shoulder fingers pressing into the supple skin a grin tugged at the corner of my mouth. The slow lean of my body loomed over that delicate frame below bringing lips near a partially exposed ear. “Greetings Mine” the tone just a faded breath that washed hot against her delicate skin. Pulling away slowly and moving around before her my heavy gaze leveled on her exposed body giving a nod of approval.
- Mixed: Mixed RP is common. This is when a person uses any of the above styles during a full RP session. They can switch from one word responses and then blow you away with a Para or sometimes even a a Multi-Para. There are some players that work their way up in an RP as well. They might start off with smaller posts and work into larger ones as the RP gets more detailed or even more interesting or impassioned.
The important thing to remember is that everyone has their own post length style. Post length can all depend on the mood of the player. Not everyone will post Multi-Para RP to you every single time you RP with them. It is however a common courtesy that if someone posts to you a nice long post that you respond with at least a couple sentences. Remember that the player playing with you is wanting to enjoy so when they take their time to be detailed for you and you give only one word or barely a sentence they might misunderstand you for not trying to RP with them. Also, for you long posters understand that not every player plays like you do. If someone is giving you short responses and you are not happy with it or feel that perhaps they do not want to RP think about them for a moment. It might not be that they do not want to RP but long posts is not their style. The big rule of thumb is when in doubt simply ask the person you are playing with what their preferences are. Everyone is here to have fun so let’s make it fun!
Actions vs Dialog vs Thoughts:
In this section I will discuss the differences between an action and Dialog. While most of you will already know this, the purpose of this is to help those that do not know. When in RP there are several parts to a post. The main things you will be posting about are actions, dialog, and sometimes thoughts. I will cover these three. Some may not agree with me at this point but I have a method to this madness and it is as follows:
- Actions: Actions are what you are doing. Running, walking, grabbing can all be things that you do. Some might wonder how do I tell the difference between an action or speaking? It can be rather simple. There are many ways to show you are doing an action. Most chat programs have a ‘/me‘ command. This will automatically post everything after that as an action unless you show otherwise. Here are a few examples of how to post an action some using ‘/me‘ others not. (**Note: that when not using ‘/me‘ the end of the action is followed by the same symbol)
- Examples in RP:
- /me takes the rope leash and starts to drag the man to the dock.
- *takes the cup from the wash bin and puts it on the shelf*
- ~Works the picks into the locks quickly to see if it will open~
- Dialog: Dialog is when you are speaking. The most common way to show that you are speaking is to use quotes (“___”). However, not everyone uses them. I will give you a few examples using the same ones that I gave for actions on how to incorporate speaking into your posts. Please note that you do not always have to post an action or anything else with your dialog.
- Examples in RP:
- /me takes the rope leash and starts to drag the man to the dock. “Take us home captain!”
- *takes the cup from the wash bin and puts it on the shelf* The cups go on the top shelf and the bowls on the bottom. Don’t forget!
- ~Works the picks into the locks quickly to see if it will open~Hurry it up already! The guards are coming!~I whispered as a panicked breath escaped.~
- I can’t wait any longer. The boat leaves now woman. You can either be on it or be left here.~said the stout looking man~
- I can’t believe we made it! That was such a close call. Those guards really almost had us there for a second.
- Thoughts: Thoughts are a tough subject when it comes to RP. Many people do not like them, however just as many use them. The trouble with a thought is that normally it is like Dialog but the only one that would be able to hear it is you. Rule of thumb is that if you do not want the person you are playing with responding to a thought then do not use them. Far too often thoughts are used to insult another player and it has caused a lot of chaos. Now, does this mean to never ever use them? Not really. The only example I can think of for a thought emote is when you are playing with another player and they don’t seem to understand what you are wanting. Thinking about how hungry you are might prompt that player to give you food. So remember use thought emotes at your own risk as the player you are playing with will use it. If you do use a thought most use them as an action as putting them in quotes or any other form other players can mistake it as Dialog.
Other parts to a post can be as follows but they are sometimes not really required:
Setting: Details about your surroundings or things that you might like to use while you RP. This can be from a description of the room you are to the chair you are sitting on.
Atmosphere: This tends to be the over arching feel of an area. It is sometimes confused with Mood. Atmosphere is more like a setting. Are you in a dark and damp dungeon or just a room with a nice warm fire? The Atmosphere in a dark dungeon would be uncomfortable and maybe cold. A warm fire might be inviting or comforting. The reason this is different from mood is this is just a start. A mood is what develops during the RP. You can start with a dark cold dungeon and end up with a steamy mood.
Mood: People may say various things about what a mood is. They might also say its similar to Atmosphere. The main thing here is the emotions in a particular RP. Moods can be steamy, tense, aggressive or more! This is there while your RP and can add depth and emotion to what you are doing.
The Tense of a Post. Past, Present, and Future:
Many RPers have their own way of posting. As if you couldn’t tell from the Post Length section above there are also different styles on how they post. Just like the heading says some players will prefer a different tense. it all depends on who you are playing and what you are doing. To explain this there are two concepts one needs to be familiar with.
- Power Gaming/God Moding: Power gaming is where you are telling the other person how they will react. If you yell at someone you will post the reaction for them that they are scared. There is no excuse for power gaming. You are in RP to have a story with another person not do all the writing yourself. If that is the case then you don’t need to RP you need to be writing to yourself only. God Moding is when you take an action and succeed in that action without giving others around a chance to react. In the example below we look at Tibs a happy shop keep as she tends to her work when a stranger comes over to her. The stranger Xavier takes charge of her and as you can see it goes from Tibs greeting him to Xavier not only taking hold of her but also posting her reaction for him before Tibs can post.
- Examples in RP:
Tibs looked up at the man her eyes shy as her posture was demure. speaking slowly she would ask of him “Why have you come to my shop?”
Xavier reached down grabbing you by the hair. yanking your slender form upwards along the arch of his body he watched you tremble in fear. He could hear you begging for mercy as he grabbed you.
This example works for God Modding as well. Xavier just assumed he would get hold of the woman. By instantly taking an action and giving Tibs no time to react he just forced his RP on her. The proper way for this to have gone is for Xavier to have posted:
Xavier attempted to reach down and grab you by the hair. If he succeeded he would yank your slender form upwards along the arch of his body while watching your face for your reaction. His stone cold eyes narrowing slightly with a grim smile playing across his features.
With this post Tibs has a chance to say if she will be grabbed or not and she has an option of how Xavier would react should he get hold of her. It makes it easier for Tibs to have a chance to get away and in this fashion she can post her reaction. If she chooses to dodge she will post how she dodges and perhaps start to shout about what Xavier were doing. She if grabbed could also demand to be let go of but in the end the choice is up to her if Xavier will succeed.
How does all this pertain to the tense of a post? That is because it is a mix of them all! Xavier would use future tense to try and grab Tibs. Tibs could use present tense to respond to the action that took place and use future tense to give him a chance to react. If Tibs were to strike back at Xavier he would have the option to allow her to him him or not in his next post. Some of you might be asking well what about using past tense? That’s easy. If you look through my previous examples from the previous sections I have tried to use a little of each.
Wait? What tense should I use? I say that is entirely up to you. Different tenses fit different situations and everyone has their own style. Go with what you feel comfortable with and don’t worry about it. You might RP with someone who only uses past tense or one that only uses future. All of that is ok! Just remember to notPower Game or God Mode and all will be good.
The Tone of a post. First Person, Second Person, Third Person:
Just like the header says this is coming down to personal preference. You can refer to yourself when you RP any way you wish. Just remain consistent with what tense you are using. If you switch from first person to third person you can confuse people you are playing with as they might think you are RPing with someone else.
Courtesies for posting:
When playing with others it is important to remember that while you are in the RP its not all about you. What I mean by this is that you might have your own way of RP but you can not expect your RP partner to do RP the same way you do. Try to be polite to those that don’t do it your way and remember, they are just like you want want to have fun.
After talking to fellow RP’ers the following are a few simple things that can make RP easy for all and keep everyone on the same page. Not everyone will follow these courtesies but just remember this is to try and bring some order to the chaos.
Posting Order: When playing always give the people around a chance to respond. If you throw out a post and then another not only do you make them have to pause what they are about to do to see what you just did but they might also have to change their RP. Also if you post after someone posts but not everyone someone else might be posting something that changes what you would have done. The polite thing to do is to post and wait. After everyone around you has posted respond.
Have a sense of humor: While RP can be personal and affect you emotionally because your character is an extension of you you have to remember that this is a game. A person that is an ass in RP might not be an ass when then are not in RP. When you are in RP you are called In Character or IC. Don’t let yourself get made when you are not in RP about what is happening in RP. If someone slaps you in RP find a way to get back at them later this will help produce some fun story lines that can go on for ages to come!
Grammar/Punctuation: This is more to help you. I realize that not everyone speaks English or can type as well as others. Having proper grammar so that people can understand you though is very helpful. Punctuation can be just as important because too many times in RP can a player get angry because they misunderstood what you typed. So remember comma’s and periods are life savers!
Do’s and Don’t’s for posting:
Accept your role: If I picked a role, I should be ready to live it… accept it. If I am role playing as a kajira it is not easy to explain why I am skilled with weapons… why I am an unbeatable killing machine. Live up to your role, and be true to your role.
Women are weaker than men. period. Naked characters are more vulnerable to attacks than someone in armor (and they look much cuter). Assassins are better fighters than merchants. if I am sitting all day long in a tavern, feasting and getting drunk, then this will have an effect on fitness. If I live ascetic and do weapons training night and day… well I think you get my point.
How do you know my name, stranger? Yes, in SL and in most other online games you see a nice and shiny name over every ones head. But if I meet someone for the first time in a role play I can NOT know their name. Ask for it… or address them differently (Sir, Lady, … anything… just not their name).
.. don’t do: In regular RP as well as in an RP fight the slogan “try to do something… don’t do it” is of utmost importance. if your action will affect someone else directly, then I will describe my action, but I will not describe the “outcome” of the action. This I will leave my “opponent” to express. The “grey zone” is a bit broader in normal RP than in an RP fight. If I slap a kajira on her cheek, who is kneeling in front of me… well I can expect that “slap” to hit its target. If I throw something in her direction, I will only describe the throwing action.. not the “hit”. Leave your opponent the possibility to evade or to get hit by the object. BUT… dear opponents *winks* you are neither god nor Tarl Cabot or Bruce Lee… so please do not evade everything aimed at you. It will soon get boring.
Force RP: This leads us to a similar topic.. Force Role Play. To force another character (Avatar) to do something or rather “something to be done to him” is probably the worst you can do in RP. Everything that sustainably influences another character should be “cleared” beforehand in IMs (e.g killing or mutilating a character). I read quite often that panthers cut their male prisoners “manhood” off… sorry guys and girls… thats not OK. RP is something you play with each other, not against each other. If you do not understand this, you will be alone rather fast, everyone refuses to RP with you. Every “reasonable captive” will accept injuries… as they will heal after some time. A mutilation however, that will have an effect on all future RP will have to be thought through in advance. I wonder how the panther girl would feel if the next captor cuts off her feet?
God Mode: If you RP your character, it will surely have its strength. And surely it will have its weaknesses. Those can have different origins such as physical, psychological or personality. A few simple examples: blindness.. a weak side in combat.. alcoholism and its “negative” side effects, having a soft spot for dark skinned kajirae 😮 … being short tempered) But also the use of electronic aids is “god mode”. Radar, mini-map, camera zoom… the most used and abused things.
Emotes: Using emotes makes RP tangible. A world such as Second Life tempts us to do everything just with “aminations” and prepared scripts. I do find myself running into that “trap” now and then. If I whip someone, then I can do that with a scripted whip, sure. But additionaly I can emote my actions. * Rose swings the whip and lets it hit the back of Nadja’s thighs. (then followed by the animated action done by the scripted whip) This makes vivid RP. You can “decorate” your movements with emotes: * Rose balances the cup on the tray and walks slowly across the room. not seeing the shoe lying in front of her she trips and lands right in front of XYZ’s feet. Important for emotes – use 3rd person when you emote. The “/me” will always be replaced by your name, so it will be consistent to keep writing in 3rd person *Rose raises the spear and… Nothing worse than your RP partner changing into 1st person… *Rose I raise my sword and… Also try to “identify” your RP target by name or a unique description. *Rose gets up and gives you a juicy kiss on your lips. Nice if you do that in the middle of 20 people ;D *Rose spanks Nadja’s butt with the flat of her hand. No confusion here. And here as well… DO NOT emote for your RP partner. *Rose raises her and sees that the warrior looks with fearful eyes at her.
Thinking: Thinking is a good thing *grins* but keep in mind that your opponent is no mind reader. *Rose thinks that she would like to slap XYZ’s face. You can write that, sure… but better would be: *Rose cringes, her lips pressed tightly together, clenching her fists, she looks angrily at XYZ. Your opponent can not react to to your thoughts… but your grimace he can react to. In RL you also don’t say what you think… but your faces can be read like books.
Perfect is boring: Put mistakes into your Role Play. Nobody walks through life without mishaps and mistakes. Drop your sword, break the cup, trip, crash into something… it’s the little things that make your RP partners smile.
Skirt Rule: If you type… think about the skirt rule. Long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to be interesting. Don’t slay your fellow players with epic novels, but give them some details.
Let them reply: Role Play is no fast typing competition and no race. Wait for each other and find a common pace… then you reach the “finish line” together.
OOC Avoid OOC (Out Of Character) talk. If it is necessary to use OOC information, write it in double brackets ((….))… so everyone can distinguish it from in character text. If it is not essential for everyone around you, use IMs.