Basic RP 101 part 3/3

Almost there!

CONSENT AND LIMITS are a critical part of roleplay.
While you create your character background, it’s worthwhile to spend some time on your individual RP limits.

These limits can affect your choice of sim.  Let’s say that the sim’s rules state, “Torture will happen and you agree to any sort of humiliation and/or mutilation by entering the roleplay area.” – If you’re not cool with torture and mutilation, then that sim is not the place for you to play.

But a personal limit doesn’t begin with extreme situations, it starts with the simple handshake, the friendly slap on the shoulder, a nudge, a tug at your sleeve… in every scene, within every situation, every single player, every time decides for their own character.

No character can do anything to another in a RP that OOC goes against their limits.

Please always separate whether it is YOU, the player feeling uncomfortable, or the character you play. Your character might be a butcher, even if you, OOC, are vegetarian. Your character might be a flirtatious “loose” woman, even if OOC you would frown upon such behavior. Remember, stay realistic here and don’t mistake your own personal limits for the character’s limits.

As you play, watch your character’s actions critically. Keep asking yourself: ” Does my character, or do I, the player, know/feel/want/dislike this or that”.

It is very important to make this distinction and take those limits into account when developing your character and his/her background.

Here’s an extreme example to make it absolutely clear:

Let’s say a young maiden is looking for trouble and walks straight into the dark dungeon where evil creatures have their home.  She is putting herself into a situation where dark characters -logically- can have their “game” with her. You get the idea? She can expect to receive unpleasantness, more than likely painful, violent, attempts at harm… IF you OOC absolutely cannot stand any sort of violence… then the concept of the nosey maiden looking for trouble is certainly not well chosen.

The consent rule becomes critical where players deliberately bring themselves and others into a situation that has a logical course, and then pull back from that course by pointing out OOC limits on “no violence at all”. If we do that… guess how likely it is that others will enjoy playing with us.

Remember from part 1:
“In-Character Actions have In-Character Consequences”.

Whatever happens to our character, we live with it and let it affect our character from that point on. That is what “freeform” roleplay is. You play your character for who they are, respond in character to whatever may come, and just let it happen.

While RP ideally leads to where RP leads, as we go with the flow it sometimes can happen that we end up in a situation that seems to restrict our character in an unexpected or uncomfortable way.

Maybe your IC actions caused you a banishment from certain areas – deal with it.
Find creative ways to get there anyway.  Roleplay your way to contact a person that is IN that very area. Sneak, infiltrate, send someone else to deliver a message, lure someone out of the area. Embrace the restriction and see it as option to create MORE RP!

Maybe you find yourself in a situation that has the opposite outcome than what you -ooc or ic- expected it to become. Deal with it ! Find ways to fix the situation. Think about what your character would do to resolve the issue.

A gentle hint :
Some players have the tendency to literally roleplay their characters in so called one way situations.
Don’t make a OOC drama out of what YOU brought your character into. Deal with it IC. Accept it OOC.

It can not be mentioned often enough: IC action leads to IC reaction.

And while RP ideally leads to where RP leads, as we go with the flow it sometimes can happen that we end up in a situation that exceeds our personal limits of good taste or morality. At that point you should IM the other player and let them know that you’re beyond your limits and are uncomfortable with a scene.  This way, the two of you can work together to change the scene slightly without ruining it completely.

And if you do find yourself having to have such a debate, please, really, do it in IM! That way you don’t destroy the enjoyment of others that are in the scene with ((OOC)) in mainchat. Please try to avoid that at all times.

Others will appreciate it, and so would you, if the situation were reversed.

RESPECT

Roleplaying is a fun, challenging game filled with creativity, and absolutely dependent on sharing the creativity, the scene, the spotlight, with other players. That sharing is the foundation of roleplay, and the mortar that holds roleplay together is respect. Show respect to your fellow players whatever your character, and if you think someone might object to the way a scene is going, IM them and ask.

Again, what someone may say or do in character does not necessarily represent who and how they are in real life. It becomes especially clear with evil or aggressive characters – often they are played by gentle, friendly people.

– Separating the IC character from the OOC player is critical to maintaining the enjoyment of RP and SL for all.

– Separating your OOC mood and stance from your IC role and character is critical to maintaining the enjoyment of RP and of SL for all.

If a person’s character is grumpy and argumentative, don’t take it personally if they behave that way with your character… it’s who and what they’re playing.

That goes for the opposite too.  Many people keep their IC relationships IC, and don’t want to mix their OOC lives with that – and it is recommended. If they flirt and tease, even if they get involved with your character, it’s IC affection, and should not be taken as more. It can be one of the toughest things to get past, but it’s a key level of respect we need to maintain between fellow players.

Metagaming and SL Tools, and Staying Authentic

Meta means ‘beyond’ or ‘transcending’. So ‘metagame’ refers to things ‘outside of the game’ and ‘outside your character’ that are brought into play.

There are a number of things …

– information you gathered from others via random out of character chatting in the lobby,
– information you gathered from the group chat
– things you are able to read – like floating meter text / group tag / display names
– sim or other characters’ backgrounds from a webpage, notecards, or their profile
– your OOC history with another player
– SL tools (map, scanner, overhead tags, listening devices, camera zoom: all these give information that is invalid for roleplay)
– your OOC mood
– your OOC expectations of an outcome of a scene
– basically any impulse or information that comes from outside the immediate roleplay situation or your character’s (not your) experience or personality.

These things should NEVER affect your character’s in-game decisions, actions and words.

Besides those things, any sort of hyper-whatever enhancer, unless it is explicitly allowed in a sim, has no place in RP.

Your character wouldn’t have that information, that ability, that mood, that insight. Your character is NOT you.

SL hearing range is 20 metres. If someone whispers in a scene, regardless of the fact that you can read it, ask yourself how likely it is that your character could hear it. Thus you cannot use it unless you are the one to whom the other character is whispering, or are of a race with enhanced hearing skills. Even then, it might be a windy area, or otherwise noisy, making proper hearing impossible. This comes back to respect as well. If they whisper, don’t ruin the scene  just because you, the player, were able to read it.

Also, think about this. Would your character hear what was spoken under thick layers of rock or earth?  What if you are in a building, or spying outside? Whether you would be able to hear depends on the thickness and material of the walls, and whether or not there is a window or door left open.

Some obvious “do nots”

Do not help your character see by zooming into buildings or other areas. Your character’s eyes see what you see from their position and level without zooming.

Do not teleport or log into or out of a scene, or teleport friends into a scene. Send them a LM to a nearby spot, or to the landing point, so they can walk in as their characters would. And, on a side note, if you tp friends in who are not part of the roleplay in Dee, please do so to the lobby, and equip them with things they need to know (rules and other such information) and an observer tag.

Do not join multiple factions. Factions exchange IC information through notices,  and unless you have a valid reason to gain this information in character it would be metagaming to use it. So, choose carefully which faction and group is appropriate for your character.

Do not use multiple alts that you play at the same time. It’s similar to joining multiple factions. Think of the meta information that you gather that way, and the confusion you could cause yourself. Think of the time you lose that you could use better on developing ONE rich character.

In Dee, and like in many other sims, it is a requirement that you apply to the sim management or game masters if you want to use an alt. A number of problems can arise besides the problem of accidental metagaming, one of which is that you can affect the performance of the sim for other users by having two or more avatars inworld at the same time (not necessarily both on the same sim), if your computer is less than top spec, or your connection is slow.

People are not stupid. If they suspect someone is metagaming, or someone regularly powergames, they will simply stop playing with them. Those characters will be left out of shared information. People will make excuses and disappear when they approach a scene. They are doing themselves a disservice by making themselves no fun to play with.

Stay authentic:

Do not play your abilities as if you just need to hit a button.
Do not -ever- play invincible. Take hits, embrace the option to loose a conflict, a debate, a battle.
React to other characters RP.
Watch details, respond to actions, be fair and allow everyone to get their two cents into a scene.

The more you allow to happen TO your character, the more your character will grow.
And with that, you add creativity to the main RP in sim and affect other characters development positively.

All that your character does, needs to be emoted, played.

This goes for everything: for the things that are not visible because of game restrictions, missing animations or missing props, as well as for those that happen noticeably, like leaving or entering a room, tending someone’s injuries, the shape shifting of a werewolf or dragon, splitting legs of a mer… to mention just a few examples.

All of the above-mentioned and similar actions and abilities should be played in an appropriate time frame, because everything needs to stay believable, authentic and realistic. In Dee, performance enhancers are not allowed. SL enables avatars to leap higher and further than in RL, and that is fine for any creature whose race gives them special abilities in that way. But these are few and far between.

Humans, elves, most creatures without wings, however well trained, cannot naturally leap in three bounds to the top of a castle or cliff, or do a standing jump over a three metre wall. They would not hurl themselves from roof to roof, or leap over a river rather than walk a few metres to cross a bridge.

Get real, be realistic, find an appropriate RP way to achieve what you need to achieve. It’s fun.

Patience and teamplay

Sometimes things just need a while to grow and develop. It may happen you feel like something your character did did not have any effect. You may be surprised to notice at a later, unexpected point, maybe after weeks or longer, that the fruits of your action had been there all the time – you just happened to not realize it. Every detail is part of the game and ongoing story. And as the story is woven by every small thread added by every single player, it is there forever.

Be patient and if you must, repeatedly mention IC what you wish to be heard, be clear in your characters actions.  And  please keep in mind that what ever your character does and says, affects other players story and character development.

And don’t try to always be the hero. Sometimes it is just nice to let someone else be in the spotlight, even if you thought to be the hero.

OOC and AFK

Little things can break up a good roleplay like a massive break from character. OOC comments should be kept to an absolute minimum. If you wish to share OOC, use the faction / group chats for that, which you should generally keep opened during playing and don’t divert the flow of the roleplay.

Don’t (( OOC )) your departure from a scene – it only takes a moment longer to emote some IC reason for leaving: “/me sniffs the air suddenly “Oh no! I think I left the pot on the fire” she says, and rushes off to see”.

Don’t tp or log off from a scene, but RP a reason for your departure, then walk away out of sight in an appropriate direction to leave. If you are logging off for the day, or want to explain the OOC reason for your leaving, group chat can be used for OOC goodbyes and reasons and reactions too.

If you need to be afk suddenly for just a moment – to answer the phone, perhaps –  then ((brb)) is useful. However, there is no need for everyone to respond with ((hb)); and when you return it will be evident by your joining back in – no need for ((back)), followed by a succession of ((wb))s from every player. If all the people present are in the same faction group, these OOC pleasantries can take place in the group chat, if you feel they are vital.

If you have time to emote before going afk briefly (to grab coffee, or take a comfort break perhaps) then it’s easy to type a line such as, “/me goes to the door for some air, standing staring into space silently for a few moments”.

If you need to be afk for longer than a few moments, or you are distracted by IMs from afar, please remove yourself from the scene and find a spot out of sight by using an IC reason for walking away.

Nothing is more annoying than waiting patiently for someone to react who actually fell asleep or went to walk the dog, or is in an IM conversation unrelated to the RP. It is just impolite to make others wait and wait for you while your attention is elsewhere. Ideally you give the other players a chance to respond to your leaving; don’t leave them with their response unsaid.

Your character might…
“/me steps aside for a few moments, arms folded, ignoring those nearby.”
“/me mutters about having forgotten something , and busily walks off “back later!”

To put it bluntly…
If you don’t have the time, or the mind to pay attention to the roleplay, REMOVE yourself  from the RP area. (you can always park your avatar in the lobby) . Others are here to play, and waiting in vain for your response takes from their time and their fun.

However, RL does happen, unexpected emergencies arise, and RL always comes first. Ideally, if someone is apparently afk, give them a chance and wait for them, especially if they are a key player in the scene, and their reaction could affect an outcome. And if someone does vanish or go afk without warning, don’t let it cause OOC bad feeling. You never know what their circumstances are, or what emergency might have arisen.

Logging out for hours, or for the day:

As described above, use IC reasons for departure. While we are in RL, at work, or sleeping, our characters continue to live. You don’t switch them on and off like the computer- they are still part of the land, they stay “active” for those others that are actively playing at that time. It makes sense to find them a fixed spot they return to for logging. The best example would be your IC home, whether it be a corner in the stables for a stable hand or vagabond, a branch, a certain pillow in the Wylds den (assuming you are an accepted wyldkin), a bunk in the Guards’ barracks if you play a guard, or your rented home. Your character sleeps… you log from there (or tp from there if you’re going elsewhere). And if you set your login location to “last location” you log in where your character fell asleep- so they wake up there, too.

Worst example location to log out from would be the Arena. How unfortunate to “wake up” in the middle of combat.

Use of IM as RP tool

Because IMs are generally for OOC conversations, and are NOT part of the actual roleplay – it’s important not to mix up your gaming with “real” conversation. Make it a habit to indicate RP lines in IM by using *** ### —- , any sort of visible separation from the out of character conversation.

RP uses of IM could be:
whispering
telepathy
mind walks
empathic shared emotions
sending an IC note/message

Note that for IM as RP tool to be valid, certain things must happen:
1. You need to emote in main chat in the scene what you are doing or attempting to do, so that others know something is happening
2. Consent may be required. The other player might have reasons to be unavailable or resistant to the attempt.
3. Keep it realistic and authentic, and appropriate to your race.

Semi RP uses could be:
giving/receiving details of a potion or device that you were passed or passed to someone
explaining your injuries to a healer so that they can play appropriately
telling the possible effects of a herb administered, maybe while a character is unconscious
describing details on a given item

Note:
Ignoring such descriptive information is bad style, and is considered to be god-moding.
This goes as well for notices sent by the staff. Never ignore the information given on RP details.

On Communication

By now you should have read
https://alruniaahn.wordpress.com/how-to/how-to-create-more-rp/.
If not… do so!

A simple truth about roleplay is that good roleplay creates more good roleplay. The more people you can get interested in your roleplay the more people will want to be a part of your roleplay, and the more roleplay you will get from other people as well.

Dee is a 24 hour a day sim, but none of us is online 24 hours a day. Sometimes in RP it’s hard to make progress because of the difficulty of realistic IC communication when we all have different online times. And sometimes it’s hard to keep up with what’s been going on in your absence, despite the best efforts of The Cryer and the village gossips William and Mary and notices…

Group Notices:
It is a vital REQUIREMENT that you read all of them – VITAL to the roleplay.
They inform you about important OOC and IC matters: changes to the rules, news, plotlines; and can always directly or indirectly affect YOU.

In order to make sure you don’t miss any, make it a habit to check on past notices.
You can do this by going to the notices tab in the group info.

At this point we recommend to you the Firestorm Viewer.
This is much better suited for Roleplay in SL than the second generation viewers based on Linden’s Viewer 2, and is adjustable to your needs. It’s a matter of personal taste, of course, but many people find the screen less cluttered, and IMs and chat much more visible and available. If you haven’t tried it yet, please have a look.
The web source for download and information is http://www.phoenixviewer.com/

But back to communication in roleplay:
In the combat and violence rules you find a bit saying, “Use your in-character options if you need support in a situation you are in – ring the alarm bell, blow a battle horn, shout for help, send doves.”

Faction members are allowed to send notices to their group, with valid IC content.
Example: if there is fighting going on near the faction base, the notice would tell of the sounds of battle that can be heard. Keep it realistic. Try to keep to things that can be heard or otherwise sensed from a distance, or use a relevant messenger: “Pages are sent out from the castle to stop everyone they see in the city and tell them…”

IMs and Notecards as valid IC Messages

The same goes for any information your character needs to share with someone who is currently not in the same scene, or even not online. These methods are a way to increase the enjoyment and promote a more fluent flow of roleplay. Also they allow you to involve more characters in a plot, which is obviously what we all want.

It is valid to send a message, IF you play it out properly. Find ink and quill and parchment, or whatever material is appropriate and available to your character and situation. Find a way to actually transport the message.

Options might be:

going to someone’s home or office and leaving (visible or imagined) a scroll/paper there

using a messenger to roleplay the delivery of the message

Magical beings are able to send messages by birds and other creatures, directing them to just the person who needs to know.

You might receive an IM or notecard  (preferably both, in case one gets swallowed by SL) that says “You may notice a falcon landing on your balcony rail, a small folded note tied to his leg. He sits very still, to allow you to untie the note. If you do so, it reads…(and then the message)”

Humans don’t have the same luxury. They can beg and plead with a squirrel to take a note to the tavern keeper for as long as they like, but he just won’t get it! So they will need a person to bring the message, or walk there themselves. Seriously… walk there, knock on the door… your character doesn’t know what you know, namely that the person is not online. But by walking there, so much can happen… you can meet others, you get to roleplay!!

Get the idea? Messages become part of the RP, and sending messages becomes realistic.

By passing a notecard it can also happen while the intended recipient is offline.
Of course it must always be possible for the intended recipient to avoid the note if they have to. Perhaps they are IC away, or in jail, or otherwise unavailable or… their character cannot read!

A new roleplay option then for them, that is, to find someone IC who can read it for them. This can become even more tricky and interesting when the message is assumed to be of delicate content… can you find someone your character would trust to keep a secret?

A note can be pushed under a door, or nailed to a post. Perhaps the note gets rained on, blown away, eaten by rats, or otherwise rendered illegible. There are no guarantees that it will be found. In this case it would be polite to inform the sender somehow of what happened.

* George finds a soggy piece of paper in the mud outside his cottage. ‘Damned litterers,’ he mutters, and fetches a trowel to bury it to rot out of sight.

Group notices and Group IM can also be used for everyday communication.

Both faction and group IM can be used to encourage others to be aware of a roleplay that is happening. This should ideally be done by emoting what can be seen, heard, smelled, or otherwise realistically detected from a distance.

Use the * Islander Of Dee* chat, if a wider audience is sought.
Notices can be used for this too, if you have Notice rights, and may reach people offline as well as on.
If you don’t have Notice rights, but have -valid- reason to assume you are good at “stirring RP” through notices, please request Notice rights.

A few words about preventing drama

It does happen. Bad mood, a misunderstanding, a bad day, bad style, strange behaviour, cheesy approach, rude tone… we are all human, right? But above that we are all adult, and as such we expect each of you to be generous with those who may have had a bad day.

And if you yourself are having a bad day, consider whether it might be better just to log off, go for a walk, see a movie, and take a breather.

But sometimes… sometimes maybe you really have reason to complain… about a massive, constant rule breaking.

It is the job and dedicated task of Moderators and admins to address and resolve such cases, and, in the worst case scenario, to ban offenders.

Please don’t assume that if you stay silent and just try avoiding a player, it helps with avoiding drama. The mood is noticeable, the restriction too, where you cannot openly play with another.

We do not wish to lose you because you didn’t wish to stir up a situation. If there is anything causing you grief, which you are sure is not your doing and not your fault, and if you have failed at resolving it first hand, trust us to be able to handle it.

We are not mindreaders and we don’t know it all.  We know that things don’t always work out. But what we try to be is fair and impartial.  If you have a complaint about the way the roleplay is going, or don’t like something you see happening, let us know.  We are reasonable people, and just like you we want to see this, our home, flourish and grow.  We need your help.

Our sim is what every single one of us makes it. There are a number of methods to let us know what you are feeling. You can drop us a notecard in the Staff box in the Lobby.
–  We only ask one thing: if you have a complaint, be open to solutions, open to possible critique and work with us to fix things.

Finally, please show respect to your sim owner, admins, moderators, and group leaders who help to make roleplay fair and fun. They work very, very hard for many hours beyond any roleplay time they get, and only do it because they love Dee and roleplaying.  So give them their fair due.

While it is impossible to cover all possible details and exceptions and tricks in this academy course, we trust that we have given you a good base to build on. The rest will be learning by doing – and since you have come this far – to the last part of the academy – you are well on the way to becoming (or perhaps you are already!) an experienced, awesome roleplayer, a player who is enjoyable to play with, a player contributing in all possible ways to a healthy flowing storyline and third life on the Isle of Dee.

Thanks for being part of the Isle of Dee!

———————
So Now What?
———————

Well – get out there and give and take!
Pay extra attention to your character’s – as opposed to you as player’s – feelings
Pay extra attention to details, and see the world through your character’s eyes.
And never, ever, let your out of character mood affect your character’s game.

Homework

Step one  – Read:

All advanced How to’s

All About Dee

Isle Of Dee Combat, Violence and Capture Rules

Step two – Roleplay at the Isle of Dee

– roleplay a scene where your character faces uncomfortable IC reactions to IC actions and
– roleplay a scene where your character deals creative with the outcome.
( the two above can be one or two or more scenes. Depending on the situation)
– roleplay a scene where you create RP for someone else.
– roleplay a scene where you let other characters succeed.
– Send a Notice to your group whenever you can share a detail.
– Send an input to the cryer whenever you are able to report about something

Copy all chatlogs of above scenes , 3 example notices and  3 published (!) cryer inputs onto a notecard, name it : “Isle-of-dee-rp-academy 3/3 – your sl account name” and drop it in the Staff box in the lobby.

Step three – Roleplay at the Isle of Dee

You will get a note about how you did in due course.

And don’t forget – Have fun out there!

————————————–
©Isle Of Dee
All rights reserved. Alrunia Ahn, Isle of Dee,   2012

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