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Tash's Role Playing 101


by tashni

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Role Playing. Lots of Neopians have heard about it, some have tried it. Few are very good at it. What is Role Playing, and what makes it worth the effort? Role Playing is a game that allows you to 'play' a character. You write a few sentences like "Arianna the Faerie Bruce walked into the shop, and began to browse around." Another person comes and continues along the story. "Belle the shopkeeper goes over and offers Arianna help." Sound boring? On the contrary. When done properly, Role Playing can be an exciting and creative game that can let you be anyone and do anything! There is a Neopets board for Role Playing, and if you go there and look at some of the topics, you will find the possibilities to be endless. However, there are some ground rules for Role Playing, and several things you should know to make sure your Role Playing experience is a good one. This guide will scratch the surface on the remarkable world of Role Playing.

Lingo

You need to learn the terms Role Players use. Here are the most used ones.

RPG = Role Playing Game

RPer = Role Player

RPing = Role Playing

RP = Role Play

OOC = Out Of Character. Use this acronym when you want to say something separate from your RPing post.

BIC = Back In Character. Use this if you want to continue RPing after your OOC.

God-modding = Your character or Neopet is seemingly invincible, nothing bad can happen to them. (BAD!)

Bunnying = Controlling another person's character. (BAD!)

Char = Character. The plural form would be Chars.

Format

Every RPG is different, but there are certain standard rules that most, but not all RPs, follow. This includes the format that you post in. Most RPs are done in 3rd Person storybook format. This means it's written using "him" and "his" instead of "me" and "I". You should also not use the *action* format. Here's an example:

3rd Person Storybook Format

Chuck walked into the diner and said, "Hi everyone!"

1st Person *action* Format

*I walk into the diner* Hi everyone!

Rules

Again, all RPs are different, but these are standard. No bunnying (playing someone else's character) or godmodding (making yourself and/or your Neopet invincible.) You should be careful to check your spelling, too. You should always read, understand, and adhere to the individual rules of different RPGs. These sometimes involve language, content, and not requiring the above standards.

Creating a Character

Nothing is as crucial to an RPG as the characters in it. If all the participating characters are boring, what's the RPG going to be like? If you guessed boring, then you're correct. Give yourself an A! There are lots of things to consider when creating a character. Some are gender, species, looks, personality, background and even family and friends. Why should you make a simple character so complex? Because all real people are! You need a sense of reality in a character, that they could be a real person, even if they're a Neopet or some other fantastic creation.

The way I make characters, sometimes referred to as chars, is to first think about the kind of personality I want the char to have. Say I want a fiery, somewhat bossy, but still fun and likeable character. Then I decide I want the char to be a female human. Why is she all those things I named for her personality? After a bit of thinking, I come up with a history for her. She is the daughter of a rich inventor, and has been brought up giving others orders. (Hence the fiery & bossy aspect.) But, she was born a kind person, and her mother nurtured in her a giving spirit. This makes her likeable, and not just a bossy brat. Knowing that history makes it so much easier to understand her, doesn't it? That will play a key role in helping you to RP this character. (Oh, and this character, named Atzie, is my creation. Don't steal her!! That's another big RPing no-no.)

A very important key to RPing well is to stay in character. This means that as you act out what your character does, you act out what your character would do. Not you, or anyone else. Let's say in an RPG your character has to decide whether or not to jump on a ship and go hunt for pirate treasure. I, being the chicken I am, would freak out, go home, and read a book. However, I know that my character Atzie wouldn't blink, and jump on the ship for an adventure. That's where knowing your character, their personality, history and preferences comes into play. Knowing all this will help you determine what their actions in different situations would be.

Being a Good RPer

The best thing you can do to become a decent RPer is practice, and listen to other people's advice, maybe even ask for it. But here are some tips.

POST IN DETAIL!! What's your character thinking, feeling, what's the weather like? Where is your character? Does the character have a Petpet out, and if so, what is it doing? Remember to make developments that will give the next poster something to go on, even if it's just a little.

Posting in detail also means posting more than one or two sentences. It's good if you make a minimum of five sentences; full paragraphs are even better. (See example later.)

Use your creativity! Instead of a girl from Neopia Central, how about a cyborg from the Space Station? How about instead of Doc Sloth trying to take over Neopia, a group of ancient faeries before Fyora trying to accomplish or discover something? The point is don't do the standard thing. And be creative as you play along in the RPG - come up with twists and turns that are exciting yet realistic - but above all keep the story moving.

Nothing kills RPGs faster than going battle-crazy. No side wants to lose and the storm of posts usually drowns the RPG. Keep battles and other action-packed sequences in check. When you do have a fight or war, be realistic. If the Space Faerie hits a baby Tonu with all her might, it's gonna hurt. You might even want to ask a third party to referee the action. A referee will declare if he/she thinks a battle is going unfairly, or in more extreme cases declare the damage on each character in every turn.

LET THE BAD GUYS WIN A FEW!!! The Bad Guys have to win a few, even if it's in small amounts. Let them take you captive and make your escape hard. Why did they capture you? What can you learn from them? These are just some things that can make a better story if the villain is difficult to beat. This coincides with the fact your characters are not invincible. They lose battles, they're not always right, and they can't get out of every situation imaginable. Please, be at least somewhat realistic.

Starting an RPG

So you've been practicing in other RPGs and now you want to start your own. There are a couple things you should keep in mind.

Coming up with an idea for your RPG might be the hardest part. You might just want to let it happen, but usually you have to set up a plot in your opening post. When thinking one up, take your time. Your RPG won't get much attention if the plot has been done a thousand times before. The most common RPGs center around Faeries, popular Neopets, and even popular TV shows, books, and movies. They can definitely work, but you have to be careful. 90% of RPGs are about such topics. You should consider starting a different plot. What's your favorite world/Neopet/Faerie/villain? What could go wrong with it? These are some questions you could ask yourself to think up a plot. Think up something of your own.

Now that you've got your plot, you need to post rules. Review some of the standard formats and rules I mentioned above. State the ones you want people to abide by and what kind of content you will/won't allow. I'll post an example later.

Some people like to limit the people who can enter so not too many people join. Others ask potential RPers to submit a form stating facts about their characters, their RPing skills, etc. Personally, I don't think it's a good idea to ask about characters, but requesting an RP sample can be a VERY good idea. The RPG starter can then choose who is allowed to join in. This way they can filter out spammish RPers for a more pleasant experience. Again, I'll post an example later.

That's about all I can think of tell you. But remember - practice, listen to your betters, and use a Spell Checker if necessary.

Here's an example of an opening post:

RULES:

No inappropriate language or content, no spirits/ghosts/magic, no godmodding or bunnying (no invincible characters or Pokemon, no controlling another person's character). All characters are normal, no special powers, I consider those godmodding. The RPG must be written in 3rd person story-line format.

FORM:

Post RP sample: (Just post one or more of your previous RP posts so I can get an idea of your RPing skills. If you've never RPed before, please RP somewhere else for awhile and then come back!)

Other: (If you want to be a part-time villain or have anything else to say, here's the place!)

STORY:

The remarkable ocean village of Mystery Island is an ancient place, holding many secrets. Its people are the guardians of Techo Mountain, the residence of the Island Faerie. Every year a festival of the village celebrates the relationship between the citizens of Mystery Island and the Island Faerie, and every year a crystal orb floats down the lava from Techo Mountain to the village, assuring the people that all is right with the Island Faerie. However, this year things don't go the same.

BEGIN RP:

Renna walked through the crowd of festive villagers while rocking to the ancient beat of the Mystery Island drums. She was adorned in full islander festival wear. Her long pale brown hair flowed down her back freely, and her sleeveless dress blew in the ocean wind. Sandals her grandmother made adorned her feet, and she arrived at the dock to wait for the crystal orb. "Look, there it is!" someone in the crowd shouted. Renna held her breath as she spotted the orb, but something was terribly wrong. The orb was black. The ancient warning of the Island Faerie had come.

Well, there you have it. Now, get yourself over to the Role Playing board and start! Keep in mind, though, that there is a lot to Role Playing, so don't expect everything to run perfectly at first. There are lots of Neopians on the RPing board who I'm sure are willing to help you if you have any questions. Feel free to Neomail me, too! I hope that you learned from and enjoyed this article, and that it will lead to hours of fun in Role Playing!

 
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