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How to Avoid "Role Play Party Fouls"

PostPosted: 21 Dec 2011, 00:16
by Moreta
Any place where there is role play, there is baaaaad role play to be found, and there are a few things in particular that go beyond bad RP and into the territory of just plain not cool! Besides being very likely to make you an unpopular player, several of them are against the rules on many servers.

This post will address many of these and help you learn how to avoid them.

Not to be confused with good drama, which is what drives a great storyline. This refers to the kind of attention seeking behaviour in which many people engage out of boredom and/or a desire to cause trouble for other people. There is an entire separate post devoted to drama in its different forms here, but here is the short version, which covers a few forms of drama to avoid.

Annoying, attention seeking RP
Having your character wander around being emo, horribly injured, ill, or any other attention getting sort of thing just to get people to notice you and/or role play with you, rather than because it is part of or related to a storyline and/or character development, is the NEGATIVE sort of drama and all it does is annoy people.

Mixing RP and RL
You are not your character; Your character is not you!!
Treat this as a mantra!
FAR too many times, a storyline, or sometimes an entire site is flushed down the tubes because someone(s) could not keep real life and fantasy separate.
Whatever interactions that go on between your character and other characters do not and should not (EVER!!) have anything to do with the players behind the characters!
Sure, it is cool to throw in something that may have to do with an inside joke that another player will catch, and your characters can totally be based on the real you, but the bottom line is that they are characters.. not the real people playing them.

Taking or Making it Personal
This is directly related to the bit just above, but deserves its own, separate mention since it is so common.
Some characters are not very nice. That is just the way it is. That means that they are likely to say and do mean things to/about other characters, and it is only a matter of time before one of your characters is going to be a target.
Don't get pissy about it when it happens, and absolutely do not assume anything about the player playing the character (other than, perhaps, their skill level in role play) based on what their characters do.
If your character wants to get pissy about it, great! Have at it and have some fun, but remember to keep it fun.

By the same token, never, ever, EVER resort to attacking a player personally in any way in a RP venue!
This includes referring to real life incidents, relationships, names, places of work, residence, schooling, etc.
This is a banning offence on the majority of sites, and for good reason!

Griefing refers to any act of a player deliberately ruining or attempting to ruin the gaming experience for another player.
This technically also counts as drama, but is specific and rampant enough to deserve its own section.

Simply being annoying is not griefing, but doing something specifically for the purpose of spoiling other players' enjoyment is.

For instance, coming in and RPing some catastrophe or barging in and interrupting EVERY single time someone tries to RP something would definitely constitute griefing, in most cases.

Godmodding refers to any act of attempting to exert an unreasonable amount of influence over other characters situations or surroundings.

Things like playing your character as though they are invulnerable to any and all attacks, RPing impossible blocks, recoveries, and other feats, mind reading (without sufficient explanation, and taking into account other characters' blocking abilities), RPing another character's actions/reactions, or successfully doing anything to another character without OOC consent are all examples of godmodding.

A few tips to help you avoid godmodding:

• Always make sure that you keep your characters believable. S/he may well be immortal, or extremely powerful, or a mind reader, or whatever, but there will be limitations to any power! Immortals can still generally feel pain, get tired, and are affected, even if not fatally, by poison, injuries, and the like. Even the most powerful characters have fears, quirks, and weaknesses. Mind readers are subject to interference from the "noise" of other nearby minds, blocking or shielding abilities of other characters, or a good, olde fashioned bonk on the head!

• Never assume another character's reaction to anything, and never RP that you have done something to another character unless you know for certain that it is ok with them. If you are also talking OOCily in PM (which is always a very good idea in RP!), and they agree to it, that's fine, but otherwise, make sure that you "try" to do whatever it is that you want to do.

• Pay attention to whether another character actually says or openly displays something, versus thinking it, or having it mentioned within a post, and be sure your character's actions and words don't overstep into "omniscience". For instance, if you see:" Goodguy Ormaw shuffles into the towne square, sad because his fairy dragon flew away", it would not be appropriate for your character, who does not know Ormaw or his history, to offer condolences on the loss of his pet, since your character has no way of knowing that is why he is sad. It would, however, be reasonable to observe that he seems sad and inquire as to what is the matter.

Godmodding is considered highly bad form in any RP venue, and is a banning offence on most of them.

For more on godmodding, what it is, and how to avoid it, click here.

Playing Outside of Theme
Most RP venues have a specific theme, which includes the time period, area of the world and/or region type.
It is rude, poor form, and, in many cases, against server rules to RP things that do not fit within a site's theme.
For instance, if the theme is the Korean War, you shouldn't be playing a medieval Duke flitting around with courtiers.
Likewise, if the setting is a desert, there won't be a beach nearby, so pirates, sea captains, and beach parties are right out.

Period is especially important as well. If the period is 14th Century, then make certain you aren't RPing anything that wasn't invented or discovered then, unless you have a good, reasonable, and believable explanation for it that is not drawn out of thin air just so you can be lazy.

RP is meant to be an escape from real life! You don't need to listen to an iPod, have a camera, skateboard, or any other such things.
Use your imagination and come up with the period appropriate alternative to any of those things.

If you aren't sure, look it up!
If you are RPing on an online venue, it is a simple matter of typing a word into Wikipedia, or "history of X" into any search engine to determine whether something is appropriate to the time period and locale.

Insular Role Play
Insular roleplay is RP that includes only certain characters, and ignores and/or wilfully excludes the characters and goings on about them.
Not only is this extremely rude, but it is bad RP, because it is not realistic at all.
Often, these are "private" RPs conducted in public.
Sometimes there is a valid reason for having the "private" situation in a public area, but one must always remember that public means that anyone else can interrupt.
If someone is in a public place, they will be affected by other people and situations. Period. Even during the most intense family crisis, breakup speech, or whatever, someone landing nearby in an explosive enough fashion to create a crater in the ground is going to interrupt, if only for a moment. Likewise, if someone steps in and offers help, makes a comment, addresses someone involved in the situation, or something, someone is going to notice and do something, even if it is to say, "go away".
Don't just ignore everything going on around your character(s). You don't have to accept someone else into a dynamic if you don't want to, or go and see what the big bang was, but at least acknowledge their presence.

If you want to conduct a private bit of RP, do it in a private place, such as a dwelling or private table at the restaurant or similar.
If you do not want to involve anyone else in your RP, then why is it in a public setting?
Usually, the answer to that involves drama.

Script Format
This refers to using *asterisks* to denote actions, ie: Hotshot Hinkal says, "Hi guys! *waves* how are you all? *goes to sit down on a bench*".
This is an extremely lazy way to emote, and it shows!
Instead, use the emote and speech functions to do what they were designed to do. That is, to tell a story in real time in a way that flows nicely.
ie: Hotshot Hinkal spots her friends as she approaches the village square. "Hi guys!", she calls out as she waves to them, "How are you all?", she asks, as she sits on a nearby bench.".
The second does take a bit more effort, but it is well worth it. If you don't want to put the time and effort into good roleplay, then why bother at all?

Cont <c> -c- <cont>...inued posts
This is another lazy RP technique. It breaks the continuity of the RP and looks bad, especially when multiple people are posting at the same time, causing one or more posts to be between the "continued" bits!
There is never any need to abruptly end/continue a post in RP. All you have to do is think ahead a little. If you are running out of characters, figure out how to make it two separate, NON "continued" posts.
It is far better to end a post with plenty of characters remaining, than to use up all the characters, but have to abruptly continue.

For example:

Hero Sulmen pushes on through the crowds, dodging shoppers and merchants as he tries to keep sight of his quarry. "Wait!" , he shouts <c>
Someone Else strolls through the village, whistling a tune and taking sips from a small flask.
Another Villager shouts greetings to all his friends as he runs through
Hero Sulmen <c> to no avail, as the boy darts around a corner and out of sight. Frustrated, he puts on a burst of speed, narrowly missing a collision with an old woman trundling an apple <c>
Hero Sulmen <c>cart past. "Pardon me, s'cuse me... Coming through please. Look out!" he pants, as he tries to catch up.

This looks bad. It IS bad! It completely banishes any hope of a smooth read, makes it more difficult to read sentences as complete sentences, and is just more confusing, overall.
It only takes a few extra seconds to think about how to better lay out the posts and let it flow nicely.
Like this:

Hero Sulmen pushes on through the crowds, dodging shoppers and merchants as he tries to keep sight of his quarry. "Wait!" , he shouts.
Someone Else strolls through the village, whistling a tune and taking sips from a small flask.
Another Villager shouts greetings to all his friends as he runs through
Hero Sulmen 's shouts are to no avail. The boy darts around a corner and out of sight. Frustrated, Sulmen puts on a burst of speed.
Hero Sulmen , in his haste, narrowly misses a collision with an old woman trundling an applecart past. "Pardon me, s'cuse me... Coming through please. Look out!" he pants, as he tries to catch up.

Now, honestly, which is easier to read and keep up with!?
And that is only a few lines of posting, rather than an entire village full, with many different people posting, and likely doing their own versions of bad post continuation!
So, do yourself and everyone else a favour and take the time to think out your posts, and when you are running out of room in a post, change it up a bit so it will look good.

Mixing Tenses
Combining past and present tense is one of the most common RP blunders out there, and it always looks bad.
If the RP is in the present tense, keep it there, unless you are specifically referring to something that happened earlier, in which case, keep it in the past tense.

Both of these are fine:
Warrior Kyatkin had walked through the village a short time before. She took note of those gathered, then vanished into the woods.

Warrior Kyatkin walks through the village. She takes note of those gathered, then vanishes into the woods.

But this one...
Warrior Kyatkin walks through the village. She took note of those gathered, then vanished into the woods.

No good! It combines past and present tense and makes no sense.

Unnecessary Pronouns
Most likely, the RP venue you are using will post speech and actions preceded by your character's name.

Something we see all the time is a set of posts like this:
Farmboy Denild walks into the inn and sits at the bar, looking around for his Lady Love.
Farmboy Denild He sees her and waves her over.

It looks stupid and doesn't flow. There is no need to add in a pronoun right after the character name. Now, if it were done all in one post, it would be fine. ie: Farmboy Denild walks into the inn and sits at the bar, looking around for his Lady Love. He sees her and waves her over.

Another example of unnecessary or inappropriate pronouns is the tendency to add an "I" or "you" somewhere it oughtn't be.
RP is generally conducted in the third person, which means that actions should never contain first or second person personal pronouns, such as "I", "you", or "we".

Maiden Issbura strolls into the courtyard and sees her beau. She runs up to him and throws her arms around him, giving him a big kiss.
Loverboy Rothpusk kisses you back and smiles.

Loverboy Rothpusk should have posted, kisses her back and smiles..
Similarly, "Tatrix Moreta blows her nose right in public, then I make a poor slave clean the used cloth by hand", should read, "Tatrix Moreta blows her nose right in public, then she makes a poor slave clean the used cloth by hand.".

The best way to determine which way to type something is to look at how it will appear once it is posted, and ask yourself what you would think if you saw it written that way in a story or a script. If it would be wrong there, it is wrong.

"Flooding" is posting repeatedly for no real reason, often posting the same message over and over, or a series of emoticons/emojis.
Some players do this out of boredom, or to play with the chat features. If there is no one else in the (village/inn/garden/other chat area), don't just start posting random crap for the sake of posting something. It is annoying and will often get you muted or banned.
If there is no point whatsoever in posting something, don't.

Posting links to other servers/sites, (OOC) advertisements, and such is against the rules, usually a banning offence, on most servers.
Some places have designated areas for posting such things, and you can put them there, but if there is no specific area for it, assume it is not OK and don't do it!

Spamming can also refer to sending identical, or near identical messages to several players in order to flirt or drum up conversation.
A personal message should be personal. This means you should be sending the message to a specific person for a specific reason, not just because anyone will do and they are there (or the correct gender).