A Beginner's Guide to Roleplaying

So you've seen the boards, the guilds, the characters, the pets: the roleplays. But what exactly is a "roleplay" all about? How does one enter the vast and wonderful worlds of roleplays as a beginner?
Essentially, roleplaying is like writing a story with a bunch of different people. While nothing can completely prepare you for your roleplaying adventures because of their great diversity, I hope this guide will give you the help you need so that when you're done, you'll be brave enough to tackle any roleplay out there!
The bulk of my guide is a list of frequently used terms and their definitions. I also have small sections on Creating a Character and Making a Board.
Feel free to read any part or parts of this guide, but I encourage you to read it all!
Update: I have recieved a few much-appreciated compliments and thanks on my guide. I have to say- you guys don't know how much that means to me! Besides making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (hahaha... no, really), it helps me to know that my effort is really paying off. Remember, I love getting neomail, so don't hesitate to send some my way!

Definitions & Tips

GM? PP? OoC? Some terms used in RPing can be quite confusing if you don't know what they mean. To clear things up, I have compiled a list of frequently used (and some obvious) terms and their definitions, along with some tips about how they apply to an actual RP.

RP- RP is the easiest term to learn, as it stands for Roleplay/Role Play. It is often used to shorten up board titles (because of limited space) or just for ease. Feel free to use this abbreviation anytime since it is not frowned upon as chatspeak or n00bish.

OoC- OoC stands for "Out of Character." OoC is to be used when you are not typing your actual RP post, usually when communicating to other people on the same board. Creators of boards will almost always ask that you use some form of OoC. Acceptable forms are like this: OoC//, OoC:, OoC-, or even just (( )) around your Out of Character text.

BiC/IC-Back in Character" or "In Character" is used when you have both OoC and actual RPing in your post. If you use OoC// (or any variation) in your post, put BiC// (or any variation) before your roleplaying text to show that you are returning to your RPing. If you are using (( ))'s, then just stop using them!

Charrie- This one's pretty easy; it's just a shortened version of "character." There's not really a specific time when you should or shouldn't use it, unless you're chatting with very fine, upstanding, snooty roleplayers =)

Despie- You will find that Despies are usually scorned around the roleplaying community. A Despie is someone who seemingly has to have romance in their roleplays. Despies usually hang all over other characters for romantic attention, are blatant about their "romantic needs," try their hardest to find a boyfriend/girlfriend/mate (if you're doing some sort of animal roleplay), and try to force romance into the RP even if it's unwanted. My advice is stay away from these people and don't act like them at all. Some claim that all romance is against Neopets rules, so to be safe I'd stay away from it for now.

Intro (Normal/List)- This is pretty self explanatory. An intro is the introduction to your character, also your very first post(s). There are two types of intros...
Normal: A normal intro usually contains a physical description of your character, some personality, and even a little bit of their past if you want. Some intros can become very lengthy, so try to keep it short and simple while still putting in the basics that are needed. Incredibly long intros can be very tedious to read and annoying at times, so try to keep yours under 4-5 posts at most.
List: A list intro is just that- a list. Most follow this basic format, but it may vary depending upon the RP.
Name:
Gender:
Age:
Hair:
Eyes:
Height:
Personality:
Other:
This is a very easy kind of intro, but beware; many people find them incredibly annoying because of their lack of detail. But I, on the other hand, have no problem with list intros, as long as they are descriptive enough! I think list intros are much easier to reference when it comes to age or description, instead of looking through a super long intro just to find the character's hair color.

Illiterate- Illiterates are becoming more and more common, sadly. Improper use of OoC (or none at all), very short intros (very often Mary/Gary Sues and/or despies), and spelling/punctuation/capitalization/grammar are atrocious! I'll put this nicely- if you truthfully can consider yourself an illiterate, you have some learning to do.

Semi-literate- A semi-literate is the most common type of roleplayer. They aren't horrible RPers, but they will often lack correct spelling/punctuation/capitalization/grammar (miss periods/commas, etc). They are usually not very descriptive and keep their posts "short and sweet," maybe 1-2 paragraphs. Semi-lits could be compared to freshmen in high school, newcomers that don't really know the works yet. If you find yourself under this category, don't flip out. With a little work on improving your grammar/spelling/etc., you can move up in no time at all.

Literate- A Literate is a step above a Semi-literate. Literates almost always use correct grammar/spelling/punctuation/etc., and any spelling mistakes are usually corrected right away. They use complete sentences and expand a bit more with their intros, character's past, and posts in general. If you'd be considered a Literate, I'd say you're in a good place, since most Literates are enjoyable to RP with.

Advanced- Advanced roleplayers have all the traits of a Literate, only better. They are even more descriptive and creative, and their posts are usually very captivating and enjoyable to read. Advanced RPers are highly skilled in the arts of roleplaying and are very rare. They always use correct spelling/grammar/punctuation and put a lot of time and detail into their intros. They are considered the "ideal person to roleplay with." If you consider yourself truly advanced, can I RP with you? xD

GM- GM is short for "God-modding." It means that a character is invincible or perfect. An example would be if the character dodges every single attack in a fight and escapes without a single scratch. This isn't fair to the other characters in a roleplay, and it's very unrealistic. You don't have to get killed, but make your character at least a little bit vulnerable.

PP- PP stands for "Power Playing." Power Playing is when a character basically controls another character. An example would be if one character attacks and "kills" another character in one post without the consent of the other RPer. People are annoyed by this because they are the only ones that can control their own character. If you're going to do something drastic to another character, make sure you have their permission first.

Chatspeak- Chatspeak is t@lkIng lyk dis and ppl dont lyk wen u uze it! It can be very, very annoying to read and is completely inappropriate when it comes to roleplaying, or even when talking in OoC. The only acceptable chatspeak is brb (be right back), gtg/g2g (got to go), NM (neomail), and NF (neofriend), and some people don't even like these, depending on how much they are used.

Private- This one is pretty self explanatory too. A Private board is one created by someone who only wants to RP with people that they invite. Even though there is no Neopets rule stating that creator-deemed "private" roleplays are off-limits, I'd stay away from them (unless you've been invited of course). The people in the RP will ignore you, get very mad, or throw plushies at you xD

Twist/Plot-
Twist: A twist is something odd or sudden that happens in a roleplay. It would be something that comes a few pages into the RP and creates a problem for the character, therefore altering the direction that the RP is currently taking. Their purpose is usually to spice up the roleplay or get it going again if it starts to get boring.
Plot: The plot is introduced at the beginning of the roleplay, usually by the creator of the board. It describes the setting and the storyline that the RP is supposed to follow. It usually presents a problem and proposed solution, although it's up to the RPers how the actual story will go.

Original- An original is a character that is from what you are RPing (like Robin from Teen Titans or Ron from Harry Potter). This can only be applied if you are doing a story/movie/TV show/etc. roleplay. If you are doing an RP like Wolf or Horse, then there are no existing characters and you must come up with your own. It's a good idea to roleplay as an original if you feel comfortable doing so, because it's more fun to have a lot of originals instead of a bunch of made-ups.
NOTE: Sometimes originals are also called "canons" as in "canon characters." Usually when this is the case, then made-up characters will be called "originals" because they are "original ideas.
Made-up- A made-up is, well, a made-up character! Made-ups are usually allowed, although most of the time the creator of the board prefers originals. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with made-ups, as long as they're "made" well. I'll touch a bit on creating a character later.

Wolfspeak- Wolfspeak is a bunch of "fancy" words used in the place of normal words by some wolf RPers, probably to make their intro/post sound "cooler" or "better." In truth, most of these words have nothing to do with their associated word. A lot of people find use of these words very irritating, so I would refrain from using them. Here's a few of the most common ones, and their normal words...

Auds=Ears
Mitts=Paws
Maw/Jowl=Mouth/Jaws
Tassle/Tassel=Tail
Pillars=Legs
Optics/Orbs=Eyes
Pelt=Fur
Fea/Fae/Femme=Female Wolf
Brute/Brujo=Male Wolf
Alpha Brute/Alpha Brujo=Alpha Male
Alpha Fea/Alpha Fae=Alpha Female

Mary/Gary Sue- Mary/Gary Sues are, in short, perfect characters. Take, for example, a female character like this for a Highschool RP: perfect blonde hair, perfect teeth, clear blue eyes, drives a Mercedes, wears expensive designer clothing, is the captain of the cheerleading squad/girl's varsity basketball team/swim team/dance team, plays guitar, sings beautifully, and gets whistled at by all of the guys on the football team when she walks by. You get the picture.
This is not a good character to RP! I know, being perfect sounds tempting, but in reality no one is like this character (or there are very, very few people like this). The problem is that this is unrealistic and chances are everyone else in the roleplay will become quickly annoyed at the Mary/Gary Sue. The best thing to do to avoid creating a Mary/Gary Sue is give your character flaws: in their looks, their personality, their past, their family, their attitude, etc. Everyone in real life has flaws, so this will make your character much more believable and realistic.

One-Liner- A one-liner is a post that contains only one line (or not much content). This is a problem because if you are interacting with someone in the roleplay, they won't have much to reply to, making it difficult for them to write much more than you do. If you're not writing much and you fear a dreaded one-liner, bulk up your post a bit! Describe your character's actions in more depth, tell some of their thoughts, or even talk a little about the scenery. The choices are endless.

Lurker- A lurker is someone who is at the RP board but doesn't actually do any roleplaying. Lurking is good for learning, or just a cure for boredom! You can even chat with the RPers, but make sure you use OoC when posting. If a board is marked "Private – silent lurkers welcome," then feel free to lurk without posting unless you intend to join.

Quad- A Quad RP is a roleplay where Neopets are RPed in their normal state, such as a Lupe on all four feet. The most frequent uses of this word are "Quad Lupe RP" and "Quad Neopets RP.

Anthro- Anthro RPs are where Neopets are roleplayed as a sort of half-human half-neopet creature. They stand on two legs, wear clothing, and sometimes only have a few characteristics such as a tail or claws to signify their Neopet origin.
However, this is not the only type of anthro RP, only the most common that you'll encounter on Neopets. There are also various other types with the same basic concept, although they are rare.

// (Slash)- Unless you like this, I suggest you stay away from any boards with the symbol "//" in the title. "//," or "slash," means that a guy-guy relationship is allowed, wanted, or mandatory. Even though you may disagree (or even agree) with that kind of content, you should steer clear of it, because you can get frozen for discussing it on the neoboards.

One on One- This type of roleplaying comes under many names: 1x1, onexone_ one on one, and anything else the board creator may think of. But they all mean the same thing - a roleplay between only two people, hence "one on one." These roleplays differ from Neopet roleplays in the fact that they are usually long term (meaning more than a few hours) and the characters/plots have much more of a chance to develop. When searching for a one on one, people will usually create a board, then inside list the roleplays and characters that they are willing to play (some may even have a petpage or offsite link dedicated to their 1x1 preferences). Each roleplayer will differ - for instance, some will only play males, some only females, some will require slash, some will have plots, and some will prefer to make things up as they go along. The best way to learn about a specific one on one is to go to the board and find out what the roleplayer is interested it.

Creating a Character

Writing a complete guide to creating a character is nearly impossible since there are so many different kinds of roleplays and therefore thousands and thousands of different character possibilities, but I will give you a few tips to get yourself started.

1. First of all, pick a name for your character. Try to avoid over-used names such as Shadow or Bob.
2. Pick a personality for your character (but remember, avoid absolute perfection!).
3. Decide on your character's looks, including anything distinct you would like to point out (such as a scar).
4. Create a past for your character, but don't make it too lengthy or confusing. Remember, really long intros can become very boring to read.

Those are the basics for creating a character. Like I said, the specifics really depend on what type of roleplay the character is being created for.

Making a Board

Not seeing the kind of RP that you want on the boards? No problem, make one! There are a few things you should keep in mind while you do so...

1. Make sure the board is created on the Roleplay Boards: this is a given.
2. Don't fill up your board topic with smileys and other obnoxious things such as all caps. This could be seen as annoying, and some people won't even bother to enter the RP (also, make sure everything is spelled correctly, as this will make a good first impression of your roleplay).
3. Include in the topic what type of RP the board is and anything else important (such as private or literates only). You may want to mention that you have a plot or a twist if you do have one. This may attract more RPers because it will probably turn out more interesting than an RP without a plot/twist.
4. Be sure to set down some basic rules in your first post, along with setting and a plot if you have one.
5. Don't be too bossy, but remember that because you made the board only you can tell people if they can join or not (unless they don't have to ask to join, which can be specified in the rules). If someone is spamming or going against the rules, ask them nicely to leave. If they refuse, the best thing you can do about it is report them once and ignore them. If you continue to yell at them, they'll get what they want by ruining the roleplay.

Intro Rating/Critiquing

Wondering how well you did on your first intro? Intro Rating/Critiquing is currently open! Send me your intro and I will gladly rate it or even give you a few tips if you want. Remember to be patient when sending me a neomail: I may have many other neomails to read, but I will never ignore a neomail on purpose (unless I have a really good reason to do so).

Questions & Comments

I'm always open for questions and comments, even some constructive criticism on your part (if you're feeling smart enough! Haha, just kidding). Just send me a neomail, and as stated before, please be patient for a reply. I'm a very busy person… Hey, RPing does take a lot of time out of your day!

Link Back

Did you like what you read here? Do you think it would be helpful to other Neopians? If so, please put a banner up on your userlookup, in your shop, on your pet's pages or lookups, anywhere you like!





Thanks to: babyfox81, __sasuke_kun__, whisperxinxthexwind, black_shadow_wolf13, tyrano_rex1, dragon14grl, aztecan, girly_girl_1140908, flyaway_moonlight, bennedetto, rivv3h, maybetheyhatepete, and xthatsxjustxlovelyx for their input on the definitions. And thanks to dragon_darkness14, my oh-so-wonderful editor!

About Me

What's a good author without a little autobiography, hm? Well, as you may know already, my name is Katie and I am sixteen years old, as of 2006. I live in a small town in Illinois with my family and my four much-loved cats. Some of my hobbies include... well, just about anything to do with reading, writing, and the internet. Yeah I know, pretty pathetic...
Anyways, I've been playing on Neopets since April, 2002 (katie3000243 being my oldest account). For about two years or so I lived the fangirl life, obsessing over anime (yeah, I can thank this part of my life for my username) on the neoboards, back when people actually knew what a GC was, and the FC was, surprisingly, a fun place to chat.
At the bgeinning of my Freshman year of Highschool, my parents grounded me from the computer for six months... not fun. Once I suffered through that, I was allowed to have my computer access back, but I wasn't allowed to communicate with anyone, especially on Neopets (no NM/chat boards/guilds). It was pretty boring for a while...
Around Christmas time of my Sophomore year I was once again permitted to converse with others over the internet (excluding instant messaging). I don't quite remember, but I think it was about that time that began Roleplaying on the Neoboards, doing various RPs such as Gifted, Animal DNA Injection, Wolf, Anime, and many more. That summer, I joined a Gifted Boarding School forum called Somnio Neco. From there I was invited to join Rosewood Academy by Rain, along with a few other people, and we had amazing RPs and random fun times.
So yup, that's about where I am now! Except for the fact that RA is kind of dead... But Rain and I have our own pwnful 1x1, so it's all good. I am currently a Junior, and with all my homework I have no idea how I have time for all of this, really. College stuff is starting to come up, too... Ooooh, fun stuff!
Links

Getting Started
Definitions & Tips
Creating a Character
Making a Board
Intro Rating/Critiquing
Questions & Comments
Link Back
About Me



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