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MOD Our games and how to play them (New players START HERE!)

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by Saintheart, Apr 29, 2008.

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  1. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Dec 16, 2000
    “I am a Jedi!” – How to play a character in an RPF RPG.

    Welcome, new player! In this thread you will find a storehouse of advice on how to make the best of your experience playing in these forums. There is nothing in here in the way of ironclad rules – only the accumulation of almost ten years’ experience in roleplaying on the forums. Read it, be mindful, but above all be inspired.


    - Regardless of anything else in this post, you are also expected to read and abide by the]RPF[/url] Rules when you play in this forum.
    - To get 20 posts to in order to send PMs, go to this thread:]Getting[/url] 20 posts…
    -]The[/url] RPF Adoptions Program
    If you're new to the RPF (even if you're not new to the JC), we strongly recommend you stop by here to find a more experienced "mentor", since ultimately that's what this link is about: the RPF's mentoring scheme for new users.

    This post is divided up into sections as follows:


    • Introduction
    • Basic Rules of Gaming

    • What do GM, CS, PM, IC, OOC, and TAG mean?


    • When Joining an RPG
    • Grammar is not your mother’s mother

    • How long should my posts be?

    • Common Questions and Common Mistakes

    • Characters, Players, and Knowledge

    • When the Dreaded DRL attacks

    • The Importance of Saying Goodbye


    • Small RPG or Large RPG?
    • Character Reflections

    • Mining your Character

    • The Most Important Rule Of All


    • Links to Useful Resources
    • Credits



    When you play in a roleplaying game, you take the role of a character within that game. Since you’ve come here, you probably already understood that.

    However, the games here are a little different from games like World of Warcraft or Diablo.

    Here, a roleplaying game (or RPG, or RP) is much like a novel. Imagine, for a moment, your name is Timothy Zahn, Michael A Stackpole or Karen Traviss. Pretend there is a large, leatherbound hardcover book with the name of the game written in beautiful gold leaf script on the cover. When you open up this hardcover, a few pages are full, but most of it is blank.

    You, my RPing friend, have the pen to complete this masterpiece in the making. Along with others, post by post, you write the story (according to the gamemaster’s rules) of what your character does in the game. He can live, die, love, hate, get into lightsaber duels, blast away at Imperial stormtroopers – it’s all up to you.

    That’s it. That’s what roleplaying here is all about in a nutshell.

    [COLOR=red][B][I]Basic Rules of Gaming:[/I][/B][/COLOR]
    Each RPG has its own rules according to what the GM wants. What’s below are four fundamental rules you’ll come across in virtually every game on the RPF (the Role Playing Forums, or RPF for short). Understanding what these rules mean will help you get into an RPG faster. It’s important to understand the rules of RPGs since if you don’t abide by them a GM does have the right to ask a moderator to intervene, including imposing a ban from the boards if necessary.

    [B]1. Obey the TOS.[/B]
    Obvious, but it has to be said again. The TOS, if you don’t already know, stands for the Terms Of Service, and it sets out what you can and can’t do on the whole board system. Read it, comprehend it, post in accordance with it, and you will prosper. Swear, flame, bait, or spam a thread, and you’ll not only forfeit your place in the game, but you’ll also most likely be banned from the boards altogether.

    [B]2. No godmoding.[/B]
    Godmoding is named for the “god mode” you often find in a computer game - a cheat mode where you’re invulnerable, have unlimited ammunition, can walk through walls, and so on. In an RPG there are two types of godmoding:
    [ul][li]Creating and using a character with no weaknesses, or a character with limitless or unbelievable resources or abilities at his disposal; and[/li]
    [li]Writing your character doing things in the game that your character really has no plausible chance of achieving – for example, a ten-year-old padawan character taking on Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel and whipping the Sith Lord’s butt. Or saying you survived the explosion of your X-Wing fighter because "I had a force field".[/li][/ul]
    Godmoding, in short, is cheating by another name, and it is looked on severely by Game Masters (GMs) and players alike. Don’t do it.

    [B]3. No auto-hitting.[/B]
    This means do not assume someone else's reaction, because they might have a different idea for what their character is doing. You may suggest a reaction, such as the amount of damage taken from an attack, but if they can think of a viable reason as to why they shouldn't take that damage, so be it.

    For example, you could write “Luke swung at Darth Vader, and it didn’t look like his swing was going to miss.” You would not write “Luke swung at Darth Vader and cut his hand off.” That is auto-hitting because you’re not giving the person playing Darth Vader a chance to come up with a defence. (And needless to say you do [I]not[/I] kill another person’s character without permission from either the GM or the other player).

    In a more general sense, do not manage other people's characters in any way, shape, or form. This means that you cannot control them, post damage for them, etc. [I]unless they give you permission.[/I] This includes the non-player characters (NPCs) that the GM is running as well...unless told otherwise.

    [B]4. The GM’s word is final.[/B]
    This is plain old common sense, but it’s important to say it anyway. The GM has the final say on any issue in the game. It doesn’t matter how harsh the decision is; it’s his game – his house, he is your host, and you are his guest. A guest does not make a mess in his host's house (and yes, a host does have to look after his guests, but that's not the issue here). If a decision is bothering you so much that you don't want to continue playing, you are always at liberty to leave - or why not consider starting up your own RPG?

    [B]5. PM your character sheet to the GM[/B]
    You enter most games by sending a 'character sheet' (character description, see the opening posts of the games for the elements it needs for that particular game) through Private Message (PM) to the GM. If you are new here, you need to have 20 posts before you can send PMs, this to avoid spamming of these boards. Fortunately you can get those 20 posts very easily here: [link=[url][url]]Getting[/url][/url] 20 posts…[/link]

    [COLOR=red][B][I]What do GM, CS, PM, IC, OOC, and TAG mean?[/I][/B][/COLOR]
    When you read some of the threads in these forums you’ll probably see some of these abbreviations. Don’t panic! Truth is they aren’t that complicated: they are there just to make life a bit easier for everyone participating in the RPG. Here’s what they mean:

    [B]GM[/B] is an abbreviation for [B]G[/B]ame [B]M[/B]aster. It’s the guy running the game, usually the author of the whole thread. The Game Master is basically “God” in the world of your RPG. He controls events and non-player characters, and needless to say his word is generally law. Where you are interacting with a character who is not a player, or attempting to do something which has a chance of failing, it’s typically up to the GM to say what their reaction is, or the outcome of your attempt.

    [B]CS[/B] is short for [B]C[/B]haracter [B]S[/B]heet. The character sheet is a form that you fill out before playing in the game; it lists some basic things about your character like his name, age, species, gender, and things like that. Most GMs will require you to submit your character sheet to them before you start playing. Which brings us to the next abbreviation...

    [B]PM,[/B] or [B]P[/B]rivate [B]M[/B]essage. This is a feature you can use anywhere on the boards, using the “Private Message” buttons either in the thread or at the top of the forum page. It allows you to send a private message to a person, including the GM. Usually you’ll see the request “PM your CS to me before posting” from the GM. This means you should send a private message with your proposed Character Sheet to the GM for him to look over and approve.

    [B]IC[/B] stands for [B]I[/B]n [B]C[/B]haracter. It shows where you’re writing the actual story of the character. For example:

    [blockquote][B]IC – Luke Skywalker[/B]

    Luke strode across the room, igniting his lightsaber. He hoped the stormtroopers on the other side of the far door wouldn’t hear him coming.[/blockquote]

    [B]OOC[/B] stands for [B]O[/B]ut [B]O[/B]f [B]C[/B]haracter. You use it when you (as opposed to your character) want to say something in the thread. Typically you do it before or after your IC post. For example:

    [blockquote][B]OOC:[/B] Boy, this is turning into a nasty situation, huh?

    [B]IC – Luke Skywalker[/B]

    Luke strode across the room, igniting his lightsaber. He hoped the stormtroopers on the other side of the far door wouldn’t hear him coming.[/blockquote]

    [B]TAG[/B] isn’t an abbreviation. It means “Tag, you’re it” – it means you’re asking someone else playing the game to respond to something your character has done. (And needless to say, if somebody tags you, you respond to them!) You usually TAG another person by their username or at least something to identify the person by. For example:

    [blockquote][B]OOC:[/B] Boy, this is turning into a nasty situation, huh?

    [B]IC – Luke Skywalker[/B]

    Luke strode across the room, igniting his lightsaber. He hoped the stormtroopers on the other side of the far door wouldn’t hear him coming.

    [B]TAG: Game Master[/B][/blockquote]

    See? Pretty straightforward.




    [COLOR=blue][I][B]When Joining an RPG[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    Read the opening post.

    Then read it again.

    Then PM your sheet (if asked to). And be respectful towards the GM - keep in mind that they have no obligation to accept or even look at your sheet.

    If you're confused in any way, ask rather than trying to struggle on. For example, I have come to the conclusion that some very new players don't PM sheets when told to do so simply because they don't know what a PM is. I'm being serious- I was in a similar situation when I arrived on the boards. And it took me forever to work out what TAG meant and how to use it properly. I also produced many fine examples of god-moding with the most innocent intentions. And then I asked lots of questions to lots of very helpful veterans, and I improved.

    Honestly, I know it all seems very intimidating at first. But remember that no one here will laugh at you for asking questions if you're stuck (and I daresay a few enjoy giving out advice). It's far better to be embarrassed in the pursuit of knowledge than it is to be shunned for your ignorance.

    [COLOR=blue][B][I]Grammar is not your mother’s mother[/I][/B][/COLOR]
    Many a potential master has been dragged down to a mediocre writer for many reasons. Poor grammar, spelling and formatting are three of those reasons.

    Truly, punctuation can really change the meaning of your sentences. "Zaarin's brother, Ruslan, drank some blue milk." has a different meaning to "Zaarin's brother Ruslan drank some blue milk." They are both legitimate sentences, no doubt about it.

    However, the commas change the meaning. In the first sentence, "Zaarin's brother, Ruslan," implies that Zaarin has more than one brother, and that Ruslan is the one being mentioned. However, the second sentence is just naming the one brother he has.

    That was a pretty poor example, I grant you, but I hope you understand that something as insignificant as "," can give new meaning to a sentence.

    I'm not saying you have to know how to spell "ubiquitous" off the top of your head, but good spelling is a gateway to others understanding what you have written, while bad spelling at best 'jars' the reader. This includes knowing the difference between words that sound the same but are spelled differently (e.g.: [I]their[/I] is a possessive; [I]they're[/I] is the contraction for the words [I]they are.[/I] And don't get me started about when you use [I]it's, its,[/I] and [I]its'[/I] - go and look it up.) You may want to actually compose your posts offline, on Microsoft Word or something similar, and then conduct a spell check before you post it up.

    Grammar is also monumentally important. Take the words 'atypical' and 'a typical'. They are two antonyms, that is, words with opposite meaning. "A typical ISD floated above the planet." means that there is a garden variety ISD over your planet.

    But "Atypical ISD floated over the planet." means, albeit in a poorly phrased manner, that an unusual ISD is over the planet. Now, we can't be sure if you forgot to put the space between 'a' and 'typical' or whether you forgot to include the word 'the' or 'an'!

    So we can't be sure if it's a normal or unusual ISD if you don't use good grammar. This could lead to charges of godmodding. Say your atypical ISD is equipped with 60 Death Star superlasers, but people think it's just a typical ISD, they'll say "GODMODER!!!11!!@11!1!" when you destroy 60 planets simultaneously.

    Also, even if your sentences make perfect sense, perfectly spelled and perfectly constructed grammatically, there can still be faults!

    Capitalisation is important if you don't want to look n00bish.

    "The ISD Triumph, under the command of Rear Admiral Rachman began to bombard Pelemax, in accordance to the Tarkin Doctrine." Sounds professional, yes?

    "the isd triumph, under the command of rear admiral rachman began to bombarb pelemax, in accordance to the tarkin doctrine." Sounds n00btastic. Also note the lack of markup code in the name of the ship, the Triumph. Ship names are always italicised, or, if handwritten, put in quotation marks. However, since we can, we italicise on these boards.

    And now, to demonstrate 'teh ideal post'. It's a post from IBOP by CmdrMitthrawnuruodo, who we all call Mitthy for purposes of retaining our sanity. My comments are underlined and in brackets. Mitthy indents his RPs slightly, but there is no need to do so. If you want to, go ahead.

    [blockquote][B]Group Captain William "Striker" Stryder[/B] ([U]Telling the reader which character this particular RP is about is a good idea. Also note that ranks, when addressing a person, are capitalised. However, you are not "promoted to Admiral", you are "promoted to admiral". However, you will refer to Admiral Tyarr as, well, Admiral Tyarr, not admiral Tyarr. Also, I really hope I don't need to tell you to capitalise people's names.[/U])

    [I]Starfighter Docks, SSD Knight Hammer - Imperial Center[/I] ([U]Telling the reader the setting is a good idea, too.[/U])

    [I]Clang![/I] ([U]You don't need to italicise onomatopoetic words, but it's always good to do so[/U])

    Several curses floated up from the ion engine of the TIE Defender and the owner of the expliciate phrases appeared rubbing the top of his head and holding a hydrospanner in another hand. "Stupid machine." Striker ([U]Some RPers make character name [B]bold[/B], but this is optional[/U]) scolded the inanimate vessel.

    "Having problems with your TIE, Captain?" A female Chiss asked from the walkway to his left. She wore the black uniform of an Imperial ([U]Imperial, Rebel, New Republic etc are all proper nouns. Capitalise them.[/U]) pilot with the green piping along the shoulders and down the arm, identical to Striker's uniform.

    "Yeah. It's fighting the improvments I'm trying to give it." He jested and tossed the hydrospanner into the toolbox and wiping his hands clean of most of the grease. The ace pilot climbed the ladder to the walkway and joined Shawnkyr.

    "I wanted to congratulate you on your promotion." She said once he had joined her on the walkway.

    "You mean [I]re-promotion.[/I]" ([U]Emphasised word italicised[/U]) Striker leaned against the railing of the walkway and gazed his blue eyes on the female. She was tall, well-fit, and slightly masculine from working out with weights. Shawnkyr probably could pin down and hold a full grown man on her own. The thought and studying his friend almost made Striker want that to happen to him.

    [U](In the name of God, paragraph your RPs. Please, I beg of you. When the subject changes, make a new paragraph. It chops your RP into digestable chunks; a big block of text is intimidating, paragraphs are not.)[/U]

    If Shawnkyr caught his look, she made no indication that she did. Instead she continued the conversation as if he had not looked at her any other way other than as a friend and fellow soldier. "Do you get to keep it this time or will someone else make you a Wing Commander again?"

    [U](Another time to put things on a new line is during conversations. Do as Mitthy does when characters talk to each other.)[/U]

    "It's permanent this time. Though I would have preferred the rank of Major."

    "Why are we here?" She asked him.

    "In the Known Galaxy or the [I]Knight Hammer[/I] ([U]Yay, italicised![/U]) itself?"


    "Well for starters you guys followed me back." William answered and shifted his position on the railing so that his back faced his TIE Defender [U](Do not italicise ship models, like TIE Fighter. Do, however, italicise ship names, such as ISD Invincible)[/U] and he stared out at the other rows of Imperial starfighters. "I returned because I thought it could help boost my career. And I thought perhaps upon returning I would be engaged in dogfights against the rebellion. But with the cease-fire, doesn't look like it'll happen any time soon."

    "You did not hear the latest transmission from Mon Mothma?"

    "What transmission?" He asked curiously.

    "Apparently we attacked Brentaal ([U]Planet names are proper nouns. Capitalise them.[/U]) and they are beginning to retaliate. So the cease-fire is off." Shawnkyr answered calmly.


    That's the end of the post.

    In that particular RP Mitth did, there was no need to 'tag' anybody. However, if your RP needs to be continued, say, you are holding a gun to the head of another character and need to get a response from them, you will tag them. For example:

    [blockquote]Zaarin held the blaster right up to his temple.

    "I dislike your attitude. Please provide the answers I have requested."

    [B]TAG SuperJedi999999[/B][/blockquote]


    Additionally, while it follows from everything mentioned above, there’s another general rule for getting yourself taken seriously as a roleplayer on these forums: [B]don’t use l33tsp3@k.[/B] That is, don’t use the type of language or words that you ordinarily would use on internet messenger services. Using this language marks you out as immature and not someone to play with. And yes, it’s probably an elitist attitude, but it exists nonetheless and it [I]will[/I] affect your playing experience here regardless. You’ve come to a forum where clear (or even clear-ish) English is a very important means of communication, so please behave like it is.

    [COLOR=blue][I][B]How long should my posts be?[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    The abridged answer: it depends.

    The fuller answer: there's a definite tendency for people to think that the longer the post is, the better. To some degree, this is true - everyone hates posts which are one line long because they're 'cheap,' take no time at all to write and are rarely examples of fantastic RPing. Too, it's frustrating to post a five-paragraph post filled with lovely character development and exposition and get just an "Ok!" in response. One-liners are bad. Worse, they leave you at the GM’s mercy if he has something in store for you which you haven’t prepared for.

    For example: your character stands at the Door of Force Mystery, a Sith construction which seems to exude evil from its very rivets. And there are many rivets; the door is twelve feet high, made of forged carbonite, and has hundreds of etchings portraying Sith Masters from ancient history. There appears to be no lock – only an activation plate which is positioned invitingly at hand height.

    Ask yourself: which of the following IC responses is more likely to cause death or serious injury to the character at the door?

    [B]First Response:[/B]

    [blockquote][B]IC – Ar’kalis, Jedi Knight[/B]

    Ar’kalis gritted his teeth, sensing the evil atmosphere around the door. He was not born yesterday. Sith Lords hardly ever left their caverns open for business – and an ancient Sith trick was to hide evil inside innocent surroundings. He had learned much of such constructions over his life. Crouching, the Jedi peered closer at the activation plate, searching for anything out of the ordinary about the ancient steel plate. Saying a little prayer, he pressed the activation plate and, when the door had swung open, advanced slowly through the doorway.

    [B]TAG: GM[/B][/blockquote]

    [B]Second Response:[/B]

    [blockquote][B]IC – Ar’kalis[/B]

    I go thru door.

    [B]TAG: GM[/B][/blockquote]

    Needless to say, the second response is inappropriate. Firstly out of common sense, because anyone with half a brain is cautious around an evil artifact. Second, it’s inviting trouble because it can be seen as disrespectful to the GM. Bear in mind the GM may have slaved away for hours coming up with the adventure, only to be responded to as if he were part of an Internet Messenger real time conversation. People who fail to understand this generally wind up getting killed by the nine Sith War Droids hidden behind the door … often, whether or not the GM had that trap planned in the first place.

    [B]However:[/B] there's a fine line between posts that are long enough to accurately convey what your character is thinking/feeling/experiencing at that point in time and just plain tl;dr ([B]T[/B]oo [B]L[/B]ong; [B]D[/B]on’t [B]R[/B]ead – we love abbreviations :D). Because while I personally enjoy reading longish well-written posts ... if I have to hit Page Down three or four times before reaching the end of (say) your character's internal monologue, chances are I haven't read it very carefully. Or at all. And I'm probably not the only one, since most people here don't have unlimited free time to spend on the RPFs.

    Neither does "long posts = good" have to mean "short posts = bad." I've seen people post two or three paragraphs and then apologise for the 'short post' - well, if you can say everything you need to say in two or three paragraphs, you don't have to write more.

    There are also times where a long post is entirely warranted, of course. Maybe your two-page post is filled with action/dialogue/other things other characters can respond to; maybe you've cut down the internal monologue as much as you can; maybe you're the GM and you need that much space to convey the setting. But if I can only read the last paragraph of your two-odd-page post and accurately figure out everything your character just did and why, then maybe the first two pages were not entirely necessary.

    [COLOR=blue][I][B]Common Questions and Common Mistakes[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    [I]-Is vagueness ever an asset?[/I]
    As far as other player characters…most definitely, depending on your character. But you should never be vague to the point the GM is lost. Also, being to vague, risks dragging down the game, if folks have no clue as to your character. So, in moderation, it should be fine.

    [I]-Is it alright to role-play characters who are not suited to teamwork, or should characters be creator to fill niches?[/I]
    In a DnD type setting, usually a party is created, and characters fill certain roles. In an rpg setting, you can make characters anyway you seem fit. But remember, being a lone wolf is fine...until you need help. Even a lone wolf, will team with folks, when necessary. There are times thought, when even a lone wolf is useful in a campaign.

    [I]-Do people ever create characters who are average people, and why not?[/I]
    On average, not many folks create average folks. Why? Because my stories are trying to tell an epic story of some type--heroes rushing in, to save another group of folks. If the GM makes a game, where for example, the citizens of a town, must deal with some type of invasion, then you can play that type of character. But average folks don’t usually go ship hopping, travelling around with Jedi, and dueling with Sith. It can be done, working together with the GM.

    [I]-Is it fair to create short-term characters who tell their story and die tragically, or should this always be left to the GM-controlled NPC's?[/I]
    Nothing wrong with that type of character. Again, this usually depends on the GM, or an event that happens that a character can die, perhaps saving others. Makes for good storytelling. Not everybody makes it out.

    [I]-How much mystery should be kept surrounding a character? Should one rush to try to reveal as much as possible and develop a character expediently or is it better to gradually leak out facts?[/I]
    Why would you want to rush? It is better to gradually leak out facts. More fun, if you have a game, that is running into several sequels. It allows the character to grow. Some things won’t be known, until an event triggers it. Why spoil it?

    [I]-What are some good ways to make a character more interesting?[/I]
    Flaws. You can’t be good at everything. It might take awhile to find out what that flaw is, but you can give hints through the game. Helps to really play the character. Each character should have their own personality. Creating an detailed background, also helps a lot, in making each character more distinct. Not every hero's parent are dead, family slaughtered, or some other horrible fate. Having a rough idea on what drives the character, makes it easier to portray the character.

    [I]-Can I use any sort of name for my character?[/I]
    I have seen other people say that your character's name does not matter. While this is true up to a point, most veteran players DONT want to play with a Jedi named Spiffy, BOB, X, or any other silly name. It kills the atmosphere of the game. It also makes it look like you put no thought into the character at ALL. And while not everyone puts some thought about their characters some DO. Don’t wanna see Darth Grand Slam, or Imperial Intelligence Agent Rambo.

    [I]-Why is the GM taking so long? Why isn't anything happening in the game?[/I]
    Have Patience. GM's don’t like impatience – as in folks who want actions straight away and expect battles immediately. They have to deal with everyone fairly. Not ALL games are just one battle after another. Some actually had plots. Also, GM's DO have real life to deal with. Many are students or working folks. Just because YOU have posted, doesn’t mean you should expect to get an immediate response from the GM. A [I]REASONABLE[/I] response time yes....but not instantaneous.

    [I]-But I really like my character! I don't want to die![/I]
    Sure. But your character is NOT Immortal. Or all-powerful. So play like it. If you are hit...take the damage, unless you can come up with a GOOD reason why you would not be injured. This goes for ALL characters.

    [I]-The GM made what I think is a bad call. And I don't like the guy playing Wicket the Ewok - he's not doing it right![/I]
    DON’T ARGUE IN THE GAME. If you have a disagreement about something, send a message to the person running the game. A small note questioning something in the game is fine. But anything more than that needs to go someplace else.

    [COLOR=blue][I][B]Players, Characters, and Knowledge[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    As a player, you know a lot of things, such as what's going in other posts, what the other characters are thinking and doing. It makes for good reading for those who aren't playing, because it's not fun to be left sitting and scratching your head as you watch stuff go on. But sometimes knowledge from your end seeps into your character's actions, and that's not quite as much fun. In fact, there's a word for it, and it's called [B]metagaming[/B], using information for your character that he's not automatically privy to. It's a part of the game, almost inextricable, but it can be minimized.

    As a character, odds are you won't always know what's going on, what sort of things you're facing, or what dangers lurk ahead, even if (and especially if) you as a player do. There are going to be things in the multiverse that you just can't place, and traps you're going to walk right into. And the hardest part of it is actually doing so, letting yourself take your character and think "okay, he bungled" without someone forcing you to do it. It can be very hard to act deceived, surprised, or ignorant unless you're genuinely deceived, surprised, or ignorant. You can come up with a reason for why your character does something just as easily as you can come up with an action based on reason. But then there's a problem with that. Ignorance is bliss, duplicity is hell. For example, there's a character build I really like who is an illusionist, specializing in tricking the senses with abilities. Problem is, if I wanted to play him in an RPG and actually be effective, I'd have to resort to deceiving the players themselves, unless I could be certain that the players wouldn't actually have all their characters say "oh, that's an illusion, ignore it." And while deceiving others might be fun, having people move in secret against you all the time certainly isn't. At the extreme, it can even lead to paranoia, which isn't fun if you're the one who's paranoid. An occasional feint is great, as is having a trick or two up your sleeve, but do you really want to spend an entire game lying to people and worrying about if they're lying to you?

    The point is, let your characters blank on things, let them fail to comprehend at times. It's hard to do, but there's an upside too. Your character knows things that many of you don't know, like how to treat injuries or hot-wire vehicles, or hack supercomputers or ride horses. Having that knowledge helps, but it's not required. All you've got to do is post the occasional technobabble and hope no one calls your bluff. Maybe the GM might even tell you things that your character knows but you don't know, owing to their own skills. Honesty is a cleaner policy.

    [COLOR=blue][B][I]When the Dreaded DRL attacks[/I][/B][/COLOR]
    We all know this horrible creature. When DRL -- also known as Darth Real Life -- invades your existence, posting can become as difficult as a raging wampa. And of course, real life must always take precedence over whatever games you might be participating in. (The problem becomes even [I]more[/I] acute if you are the GM of the RPG, and not just a player.)

    But there is a right way, and a wrong way to deal with them in the Role Playing Forums. Take heart, there are some ways to soften the blow, when Darth RL comes your way. If, as a player, you are involving others, the least you can do is let them know you must leave the game altogether.

    What if you're only going to be temporarily absent, whether it be for a convention, a trip, or some other task that needs to be taken care of first?

    Well, first, let the GM know. Then, write a post that would effectively move your character to cover the period of your absence, or release other characters waiting on your character whenever possible. A large post, with much interaction, gives both the GM and other players something to work with while you’re away. You will not hold up the game, and you won’t have players angry at your character on your return. One line posts will NOT do. And don’t do 15 OOC's saying you're going to post soon, and then don’t actually post. if you can do 15 OOC's...then you can do ONE halfway decent post.

    Also, don’t assume that you can ONLY work on a post, online. Heck, use a text program. Sometimes I write notes in a *gasp* notebook, and then when I get time, input them. Ideas can be done away from the computer, so that when you do get a few moments of precious time to be online, you can immediately begin to work, instead of trying to do it all in one shot. Do what works best for you. At least that way, you are free from interruptions and other distractions, when writing your posts.

    [COLOR=blue][B][I]The Importance of Saying Goodbye[/I][/B][/COLOR]
    This one is more common sense and common courtesy than esoteric roleplaying advice. But let's say you've had enough of an RPG that you're playing. You don't like the universe, you don't like your character, you don't like the other people, it's gone stale, whatever. Or let's say Darth Real Life has finally overwhelmed you and you simply can't get enough time to post at all. Or you've decided you want to look for greener fields elsewhere. And you feel a bit guilty about leaving the you take the low road and simply don't ever post again.

    Well, that's not nice. Not the leaving part -- the part about just leaving without telling anyone. It's not nice because there are other people to think about.
    Like the other players.
    Or the GM.

    I mean, even if your character isn't "doing" much right at that moment, there's still every chance the GM is holding off posting an update for everyone because he (or she) is waiting on you to make a contribution. Delays of this kind can stretch into weeks, I kid you not; I have seen it happen time and again.

    So what's the solution? Simple. [I]Tell your host you're leaving the party![/I] If they're semi-mature they won't take it personally. They [I]will[/I] take it more personally if you just slink off into the night without an explanation for the departure. And if you do announce that you are leaving, it at least gives the GM the ability to continue with minimal disruption to his other players and the game.

    Here's a couple of suggestions for how to leave with grace:

    (1) Do it by PM to the GM. It's not unknown for one player's well-publicised departure to shake the resolve of other people to stay in the RPG, and that's not fair to the GM. The issue of you leaving is between you and the GM, and he or she will say what's appropriate to the other players about why you left (if the subject comes up at all).

    (2) When you do go, don't be a **** about it. There's no need to flame the GM for having a crappy game or failing to keep you entertained. Be constructive about any criticism you have that's making you leave.

    (3) If you can, try not to leave abruptly, but pick a moment when you're not in an immediate conversation with other players. This is simply so you don't cause a lot of disruption when you depart.




    [COLOR=purple][B][I]Small RPG or Large RPG?[/I][/B][/COLOR]
    This post is designed to provide an opinion on the differences between 'smaller' RPGs and 'larger' ones, in general, and is intended to be of particular use for newcomers to the RPF and/or more inexperienced players. I hope you find it of use.

    [U]Participating in smaller RPGs[/U]
    It's not uncommon for players to prefer participating in smaller RPGs. This is often a wise choice for beginners as the game tends to be easier to follow and is often, yet not always, a little slower-paced to allow for all players a chance to keep up with events.

    While playing in such RPGs it's important to get to know your fellow players (characters) in order to allow you to interact with them. The purpose of the RPF is to provide a community for Role Players. It's no fun being alone. By knowing some of the other players and characters in your RPG you can better learn from them and play with them.

    Smaller threads have the advantage, generally, of a lower player count. This leads to less trouble learning who is who and what exactly is going on. It often reduces confusion and allows for bonding between all players.

    Keep an eye on as many posts as you can. If you are unable to read them all, be sure to read those that are directed to you and/or characters that you are interested in or wish to keep an eye on. This is made especially easy if the game's players use 'tags'.

    [U]Participating in larger RPGs[/U]
    Larger RPGs are often difficult to find acceptance into. They are generally filled with large amounts of players and tend to have many posts that are often difficult to keep up with. To avoid getting lost, it helps to focus on the smaller picture. That is, concerntrate on the workings of your own faction or team. Keep an eye on a few characters and players whose posts interest or effect you and monitor them.

    These RPGs are large communities and it is not always possible for you to interact with every player. Instead concentrate on one thing at a time. Work on improving your own character, before you start worrying about other players' characters.

    In having a high post count, these RPGs are often best suited to dedicated Role Players who have the time needed to make a genuine effort to the RPG. If you're short on time and have troubles using the internet, it might be wise to consider joining a smaller RPG.

    It might be impossible to view every post that is made. As such, be sure to know what events are occurring that will have an effect on you. Focus on your status, before looking at the bigger picture.

    [COLOR=purple][I][B]Character Reflections[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    One thing that I’ve noticed in my role-playing career is the rarity of character flashbacks. Hopefully this can promote this highly underrated area of role-playing art, and thus incorporate it into more role-players' agendas.

    Yes, we've all heard it. The character with the shaky past, the one who has been around the block a few times, and the one with the glorious history. And while this does affect the tone of the character, it remains a highly underused aspect of role-playing.

    A way of revealing the veritable events of a character's memory is the simple fashion of a flashback. Albeit most of you, I'm certain, are aware of the definition of the word, I shall refresh your memory.

    [I]Flashback: [/I]
    [I]1. psychology painful memory: an intensely vivid memory of a traumatic experience that returns repeatedly [/I]
    [I]2. cinema literature earlier event or scene: a scene or event from the past that appears in a narrative out of chronological order, to fill in information or explain something in the present [/I]
    [I]Much of the film’s exposition is handled through flashbacks. [/I]

    [I]Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.[/I]

    Now that you know what it is that I am speaking of, let us move on. Now, throughout the course of RPGs, I have seen various thoughts written into the story, such as the character's feeling of the current situation. Here's an example:

    [I]Kyle glanced at the spilled bottle of wine that now lay on the tile floor, the shattered remains of the glass spattered everywhere and the refreshing liquid now wasting away before his painful vision.[/I] Sithspit, [I]Kyle thought.[/I] Four hundred credits down the drain, and I only got a tiny sip. [I]He slapped his hand down on the arm of the wooden chair and continued to wait impatiently for the contact to arrive.[/I]

    This is an example of an insight to a character's thoughts or emotions. A flashback occurs the same way, often in italics. This can occur during a time where a character is reminded of something, a meditation, or whenever the role-player feels like giving his comrades a further look into the life of his/her character. Here is an example of a flashback:

    [I]The Veritable Illusion was in Hyperspace, en route to the Imperial Palace. Daal's eyes were closed, his hands behind his head serving as a comfortable pillow as his pilot's chair was reclined, providing him a luxurious rest. His tentacles swayed back and forth, slowly and calm. His stomach slowly rose and fell as he took deep and gratifying breaths, the oxygen entering his mouth like a stream into an ocean. He was dreaming of his earlier days as a young Nautolan.[/I]

    The small insect crawled along Daal Steeph's green outstretched hand, its eight legs scurrying, attempting to find a way off of the giant's palm. "It's a ferr," Daal told his friend, a young Twi'lek girl named Teria Moon.

    "Duh," Teria said, making a weary gesture. "Bet you don't know how many eyes ferrs have!"

    "That's easy," Daal said with a sly grin, his small tentacles moving with excitement of this newfound creature. "Two!"

    Teria shook her head as a pleasing expression crossed her face, her lekku draped over her shoulders as she crossed her arms. "Nope! Eight."

    Daal put his hands on his hips, the ferr falling out of his hand. He didn't notice, for the spirit of debate was his favorite thing in the galaxy. "And how do you know that?"

    "Read it in a datapad at the library," Teria said, her smile growing. Just then, an abrupt explosion rocked the surface of Daal's backyard, and the two children looked to find the source. Smoke emitted from the window of Daal's house as flames were formed inside.

    "Tyre!" Daal tried to run inside to get to his older brother, but Teria stopped him.

    "No!" she said. "My mommy always said that when there was a fire, don't get close to it. Wait for the fire people to show up."

    Tears began to fall from Daal's face, his tentacles hanging in grief. He knew that his friend was right, and he knew, although he was at a young age, that he wouldn't see his brothers and sisters again.

    [I]Daal awoke from his slumber with a jolt as a loud repeating beep sounded. He shook his head, partially to wake himself up, and to fend off the horrific images of his dead siblings that entered his mind. The ambitious and pert personality of the younger Daal did not reflect his current traits - calm and peaceful. He now handled debates in a more civilized manner. Rather than using loud and demanding words, he chose calm and patient lingo.[/I]

    Now you may be asking, "What is the point?" Well, let us elaborate. The flashback above from the retentive character has just given other role-players an in-depth look at the past of the character, bestowing upon them knowledge of him, and providing them with what he is thinking of, which can lead to a possible interaction with another character. Another example:

    [I]Leia looked towards the ship, noticing the venerable Nautolan Daal Steeph obviously thinking about something, as he was staring into open space with unblinking eyes. It didn't take a judicious Princess to understand this. She strode up to him, her long white gown flowing behind her. "Good evening, Mister Steeph," she said, extending a hand. "Is everything alright? You look a bit... uneasy." [/I]

    [I]Daal smiled, and nodded at the Princess, shaking her hand gingerly. "I thank you for your concern, Princess Leia. I was merely... (etc. etc.)"[/I]

    Now you’ve garnered yourself some interaction with another character, which could lead up to something else much more significant, all thanks to the flashback. So if you’ve got yourself a character with a particularly interesting past, give it more intrigue by offering up some flashbacks. One can only benefit from this invaluable style of role-playing.

    [COLOR=purple][I][B]Mining your Character[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    Whilst the GM's word is law as to what happens in the game, you ultimately are the first and prime authority on your character. A RPG on these forums is not merely a passive experience -- in the good or great RPGs, players and the GM [I]work together[/I] to tell a good story and have a lot of fun, with the GM having a right of veto on any issues that arise. You should work with this, and [I]take some initiative[/I] so you're not just relying on the GM to have a good time.

    Even with the tightest GM on the planet, there's a [I]lot[/I] of room for development within your character's personal world in the RPG. Your character's biography at the start of the game is not merely a resumé, or a pale historical record -- it's your character's [I]life[/I] up to that point. And it's a world you should feel free to explore - because the GM can't tell your character whether to turn left or turn right on a given day (unless your character is at gunpoint from stormtroopers, of course, but that's another matter.) There are many things you can do as a player which (subject to the GM) aren't godmoding and aren't auto-hitting, but greatly enrich your playing experience. This I call mining your character, since you don't have the GM's, or a co-GM's power -- but you [I]do[/I] have power over your character's experiences and relationships, and you can really have a lot of fun in a RPG by digging into, uncovering, and using aspects of your character in the RPG.

    There are two suggestions I have for enriching your experience as a proactive creator of character: exploring relationships with other players, and drawing on your character's biography.

    [I][U]Relationships with other players' characters[/U][/I]
    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a writer named Lawrence Kasdan took a film's pedestrian battle of "good vs. evil" and spun it in a completely different direction by making one small alteration to the sequel's basic plot. This single change was one of the main reasons the sequel was a smash hit. It ensured that another film, "Return of the Jedi", was made, it drove that film's entire plot, and went on to drive the plot of three more multimillion dollar movies more than twenty years after the release of the original three.

    How? By altering [I]one[/I] aspect of [I]one[/I] character relationship between the players of Star Wars -- by making the hero, Luke Skywalker, the [I]son[/I] of the undisputed villain, Darth Vader. As Syd Field and Albert Zuckerman tell us in their books on writing films and novels -- the most gripping films and stories are, at their core, [I]family[/I] stories: [I]The Godfather; Gone With the Wind; The Count of Monte Cristo; The Thorn Birds[/I] ... and so the list goes on, right back to Shakespeare with [I]Hamlet[/I], and probably on beyond that.

    It holds true for RPGs as well. Most likely your character has not lived his entire life alone in a monastery; he is a real, interacting person who may have skipped across half the [I]galaxy[/I] during the course of his life, forming relationships, loving people, annoying people, forming alliances, forming friendships, and breaking contacts. As the RPG opens, he becomes part of a [I]story[/I] with four, five or more other people who have their own life stories.

    But, unlike our own, the universe of the story is [I]not[/I] random, and RPGs are [I]not[/I] merely tales of strangers coming together. And, regardless of what anyone else will tell you, it is [I]not[/I] cheesy, cheap, or contrived to suggest that one character has some sort of pre-existing relationship -- familial, romantic, platonic, collegial -- with one or more of the other characters in the RPG.

    So why not PM some of the other players who've already put up character sheets and try to come up with some sort of connection between their characters and yours? Were they friends a few years ago? Enemies? Lovers? Are they even closer -- half-sisters, or even brothers? Maybe they even know they are each other's siblings? Do they have an illegitimate child together? It sounds clunky, but believe me: your commitment to the RPG, to make it a really good game, will rise tremendously as a result, because then you won't just be a player -- you'll be part of a [I]family[/I], and for the most part, we love and honour our families, because they mean something to us. Give it a try!

    Of course, this doesn't mean you just point at another player IC and say "Daddy!" You need the approval of the other player and the GM at least, though generally a GM won't have much of a problem with this kind of interplayer fun...if only because it enriches the RPG. Or maybe only for this reason: while your character has a knock-down, drag-out fight with his estranged brother over a girl they both wanted to date, the GM can take a break from the constant updates, sit back and watch the fur fly!

    [I][U]Elements from your character's past[/U][/I]
    Want to know a quick way to put a big smile on your GM's face? Here it is: identify some part of your character's biography that you'd like to work into the game in some way, and then ask the GM if you (or he) can do so. Maybe your character's been tortured by Wookiees in the past; ask the GM to throw a Wookiee at you. Your character's the son of an Imperial officer; have the officer show up on the next Imperial ship the character is imprisoned on. Now, while this can be challenging for some GMs, the good ones treasure moments like this. To be thrown a curveball like this allows a GM to rethink his plan, and gives him a chance to do something different. It's also an affirmation that you, as the player, like what he's doing with the game, since you're willing to invest more of your time and thought into his completely made-up universe. And it's more fun for you, since your character gets a personal "shout out" during the game which you can play to and play with.

    Again, your biography is not a dead document -- that shopkeeper you conned four years ago might've gone on to become a bounty hunter specifically so he can hunt you down. To take another example, your parents may not just have quiet, simple lives on Naboo somewhere -- maybe they became criminals between when you shipped off your homeworld and when the game starts. Or even rebels.

    [COLOR=purple][I][B]The Most Important Rule Of All[/B][/I][/COLOR]
    You are playing a game where you use the impersonal magic of the Internets to pretend to be superheroes or fantasy characters or characters on a television show or goofy anime movie. YOU CANNOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

    "I can't believe she said that, she's attacking me for no reason!"
    "Pretendy fun time games."
    "I know, but seriously, she's undermining me in front of other people!"
    "Pretendy Fun Time Games."
    "I know, I know, but she's trying to sabotage me and seize power over -"
    "Come on, I'm serious!"

    You cannot make a situation more than it is. No one is out to GET you, no one is constructing elaborate schemes to muscle you out, no one is fostering a conspiracy to turn the entire game against you, and there is no power of any sort to be seized. Do not completely devalue the word power by assigning it to someone who decides whether or not Rotundus The Lard Sloth is allowed to steal the Wand of Watoomb. Don't devalue the word attack by assigning it to someone who doesn't like the way you play Flabalanche The Goober-Grape Monster. Don't devalue the word sabotage by assigning it to people who pretend to be The Norwegian Sweatmonger Brigade saying negative things behind your back about how you managed to get the character of The Navel Master. The worst things they could possibly say about that are still not important at all, because it's about pretendy fun time games.

    No matter how upset you get, no matter how irrational the initial reaction to getting your nose a little out of joint is, you are not allowed to lose sight of the fact that there is no possible way anything that happens in pretendy fun time games can actually be important. It is not, nor will it ever be, a big deal.

    Control your emotions, or wait until they're under control before you start debates or discussions. Hurt feelings can happen, but you have to realize what they're hurting over. It may help to say the things you're upset about out loud.

    "I am angry because the guy pretending to be Snapper Carr on the Internet is being too flippant."
    "I am angry because the girl pretending to be Rocket **** told me I rape dogs."
    "I am hurt because the person pretending to be Snatchella The Fetching thinks I don't pretend to be The Galloping Gremlin correctly."

    You cannot take things on a pretendy fun time game seriously if you actually say them aloud.

    I could say "it's only a game," but people start riots over Detroit Tigers games, so that's not enough. It's one of the 3 Ps, so you have to say 'Pretendy Fun Time Game.' Aloud, if necessary. You cannot take something seriously when the word 'pretendy' is in it.




    Welcome to what is probably the least-read section of this FAQ. Nonetheless, it's very important if you're seeking further guidance or further games to play, so just cast an eye over it.

    [B][U][COLOR=red]Links to Useful Resources[/COLOR][/U][/B]
    All of the below links are to specific threads in the [link=[url][url]]Role[/url][/url] Playing Resource forum[/link], which, as the title probably suggests, is a resource for roleplayers on the RPF. Some threads may be locked, others may not be; but all of them represent archives of advice which build upon what's already been said here.

    [link=[url][url]]The[/url][/url] RPF Adoptions Program[/link]
    If you're new to the RPF, we strongly recommend you stop by here to find a more experienced "mentor", since ultimately that's what this link is about: the RPF's mentoring scheme for new users.

    [link=[url][url]]Tips/Advice[/url][/url]: Lightsaber Duelling[/link]
    This thread is usually one of the hottest topics in the RPF: how to better roleplay lightsaber duels for your characters.

    [link=[url][url]]Tips/Advice[/url][/url]: Character Creation and Development[/link]
    This thread is focused discussion on creating and developing your characters, and is [I]highly recommended[/I] reading to the new, or new-ish player.

    [link=[url][url]]Tips/Advice[/url][/url]: Non-human characters[/link]
    Don't want to play as a human, but a Wookiee, Noghri, or even a Sullustan? Then stop by this thread, which is on focused discussion for playing alien characters.

    [link=[url][url]]Tips/Advice[/url][/url]: Force-user characters[/link]
    If your character uses the Force, you should be using this thread to play it properly...

    [link=[url][url]]The[/url][/url] Not so Black and White of Force users[/link]
    ...And if you're playing as that staple of many RPGs, the Grey Jedi, you [I]really[/I] need to read and comprehend this article and following discussion by the great Ktala.

    [link=[url][url]]The[/url][/url] Character Designers' Guild[/link]
    You'll find very lively discussion of all things related to character in this thread, currently hosted by LightWarden.

    [B]Many thanks to Winged_Jedi, Ktala, LightWarden, DarthXan318, CmdrMitthrawnuruodo, AdmiralZaarin, Dark_Enigma, LightSide_Apprentice and Seremela for their contributions to this article, which I have unashamedly ripped up and re-edited as I see fit in my own egotistical way. :D[/B]

    [b]Ramza Edit:[/b] This thread previously had user replies which have been archived separately for ease of reading. They can be viewed here: [url][/url]
  2. Lady_Belligerent

    Lady_Belligerent Queen of the RPF, SWC, C&P, and Pancakes & Waffles star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 29, 2008
    Retiring for updated rules and FAQ
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