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How To Roleplay: Interact

by orginalcliche


Author's Note: This is not a guide for those who know nothing of the basics of roleplaying, but for those who would like to improve. The roleplays I use as examples are only portions of roleplays I use, not full introductions.

I have been role-playing for about four years now. I started in roleplays of little skill and moved on to become more advanced. If you frequent the roleplaying boards on Neopets you probably already know that there are many different skill levels. However, many times the boards that appear to be advanced aren’t. There is an art to being an advanced roleplayer, but what exactly makes a good roleplayer?

There are quite a few facets that involve being an excellent roleplayer; this article will only focus on one of the most neglected, but arguably most important facets of roleplaying, involving others.

Involving Others When You Create the Board

The first goal of a roleplayer is to try to involve everyone. Role-playing is a social act; people who roleplay want to interact with others. And more often than not they want to be at the center of the action. With a roleplay it is very important how your character will interact with others, because that more than any description determines your character’s persona. What your character does to others speaks louder than what you say they are. What kills many roleplays is having one or two people feeling left out. Here is an example of a character that does not involve others.

The Lupe’s entire body was trying to shake off ifs and maybes. Her posture was slightly crumpled, as if she was down but not yet beaten. However the moment something, anything, stared at her she impassively ignored them. She would then retreat to look down at her feet and the edge of the bench she was slouching on.

Now that is a decent start, but she doesn't hold much capacity to interact with others. The only thing that could seem to attract this character’s attention is a flying Feepit. Other roleplayers won’t want to go to drastic lengths to coerce your character into the plot, and many times they won’t. Not only by making your character solitary are you leaving others out, but you are also becoming vulnerable to be left out yourself.

So let’s take that same character and try to make her more approachable.

The Lupe’s eyes flickered from pet to pet. She was troubled by someone, not something. Her whole presence issued a certainty that can only come from knowing exactly where one's doom lay. Her brown eyes and squat golden form shifted as one, worriedly recognizing him. He shouldn’t be here; she didn’t want to run again.

See how much better that is, but why? Well we make her worry more precise so that the other roleplayer can better respond. With the first example we didn’t know exactly what the Lupe was afraid of, but now that the roleplayer knows that the Lupe is afraid of someone, the other character can create a frightening character. Although this introduction is not as ambiguous as the first one, it offers some room for creativity. The other roleplayer can still choose what they want their character to be like. The most important change was how the character is looking for something or someone. It’s a very good idea for your character to be looking for someone; often you can insert more information on what they are looking for via OCC in your first post. That way it’s very easy for any roleplayer to slip into the roleplay without having to think of a complicated way to join.

Involving Others When They Create the Board

When you create a board you have complete control of the plot and who can and cannot join your roleplay. When joining another person’s roleplay, however, you are bound to their whims. So involving others in a roleplay when you are joining is a bit different.

The first and most important key in being interactive when you are a guest is to read the OCC. Often times, especially on trademarked roleplays (roleplays that belong to a certain book or movie) there will be requests for a particular kind of character. Characters that aren’t found in the original medium are called made-ups. The creator of the board may be looking for dark and mysterious Skeiths that wields giant swords. You may not want to roleplay a Skeith, but you can easily only do part of their request. You could just be a Skeith, or be a Quiggle that wields a sword. Here is an example a first OCC post and introduction, and a response that isn’t interactive.

  (Occ: Rules:

No Mary-Sues please.

No Godmoding.

No one-liners.

This takes place as if Neopia is under the rule of Jhudora.

Resistance fighters or Jhudora is needed.)

The dark streets were crowded with hungry pets, Marie was not among them. She was alone in the darkness, not in her hunger but in lack of family. She cursed that wicked faerie under her breath, and watched as her words spiraled to meet the skies. She had once been under Jhudora’s spell, but now she wasn’t. She was just like all those on the streets below; except for she was alone in her suffering. She felt the wind on her fur. She was so very alone.

The response:

Quincy was a quiet Quiggle who had, before the occupation, enjoyed long walks involving starlight and moonbeams. He was an accountant by occupation but an astronomer by nature. The stars were his only companions on this night, huddled among the hungry masses. He was just one of many, and this did not bother him. It seemed as if he was always one of many, waiting to be swooped up by whatever trend occupied Neopia. Now that it wasn’t just a trend that occupied Neopia. He was afraid, neither accountant nor astronomer wanted a fight. And so he approached the pet handing out rations, “My turn,” he stated glumly.

The largest problem with this response is that it doesn’t cater to any of the creator's wishes. They wanted someone to play Jhudora or a resistance worker. The Quiggle follows none of these and is not available to truly interact with the Mynci. Another fault is that he is talking to someone that doesn’t exist. When you begin a roleplay it is perfectly fine to talk to someone who isn’t yet being roleplayed (an NPC), but when joining it is considered bad form. Here is an example of taking that character and making him more suited to the roleplay.

Quincy had to struggle not to smirk. It was hilarious to the small Quiggle how no one suspected him. For him of all people, former accountant, to become a resistance worker against the notorious Jhudora was almost ridiculous, but it was quite true. His nondescript appearance, two beady eyes, green in color, was exactly why he had been chosen for this assignment. He was to meet a Mynci who it was vital that he convert to the cause. He looked to the skies as if maybe he could find her there. Quickly slipping through the crowds, he went up a staircase to a roof. There he would begin his search.

We still keep the spirit of Quincy while integrating him. Though many are hesitant to try to involve the main character by making yourself looking for them, I have never had a bad experience from it.

In conclusion, integrating your character into the roleplay is one of the most important aspects of roleplaying, and it’s best for you to do it, but if you do it right than you are truly advanced.

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