How -To Emote

Emoting is how you make your words in roleplay convey your feelings, your attitudes, and your reactions, by painting a picture in words that other people can understand and react to.

Doing this is easy, and it just takes a little practice and thought to do it well.

The most important thing to remember about the proper emote is it conveys something that can be observed in some way – something we can see or hear generally, or, to a lesser degree, smell or feel or taste. If you are trying to convey something that cannot be observed, you are not using emotes correctly, and many role players will simply ignore it, and are correct to do so.

So how do you go about it?

# Take a simple action and give it meaning.

/me nods

Just nodding? You can be more specific:

/me nods understandingly

Now you know the character is listening to someone and is understanding. Not sure whether they are agreeing or not, not sure to whom.

/me nods understandingly in Joseph’s direction. A sly grin spreads across his/her face

Now you still can not see whether they agree, but you know to whom they nod, the mood in which they nod, and may even be able to guess why it is that they are nodding.

All three of these were one simple action – a nod of the head. Start simple. Then build up.

# Give spice to your emotes!

/me points a finger
Not enough information

/me points a finger at the carrot, eyes sparkling

We know now what they point at, and their mood, but still not why!

/me points a finger at the carrot, eyes sparkling, and says to the man by her side “That one I want for dinner.”

We know now what they point at, the mood in which they do it, and why, AND have something to react to.

# Consent required for actions towards other characters:

/me stands up and pokes her finger into Josephs chest “You got somethin’ t’ say?”

This emote shows how easy it is to godmod another character. It is inappropriate unless permission to poke was given by that player privately in an IM first, or unless you are very sure that you have an understanding with that player of their limits. Consent is the key to roleplaying in Dee for EVERY action you wish to do TO someone’s character. Otherwise it is a GODMOD, and could turn a simple action into an OOC drama.

Better:
/me stands up and jabs her index finger towards Joseph’s chest “You got somethin’ t’ say?”

Josephs next post would then need to provide whether he is okay with being poked or if he finds a way to avoid being touched.

# Thinking emotes – a no go:

-it is inappropriate for the other player to react to them, because they would not know what your character thinks – if they do, they are metagaming. But-
– it is hard not to react to them, especially if they contain IC insults which may lead to the other feeling OOC uncomfortable.

Bad example:
/me folds her arms thinking he is a stupid Fool

Whatever you wish others NOT to know, leave it OUT of your emotes.
Whatever you wish others TO know, say it aloud IC, or find another way to make it clear.

/me folds her arms and mutters “You are such a stupid Fool”
or
/me folds her arms and casts him a look of utter contempt

# NULL -Posts

Whatever you emote, give clues that other player can react to.
One of the worst things you can do is type a huge textwall, that reads like a story from a book, giving a lot of OOC and META information without ANYTHING another can react to.

BAD example:
/me looks over to the forest, her facial expression blank, standing motionless, pondering about the pancake that is scrolled up in her pouch. She cannot wait to see the night come, when she will at last meet ‘him’ to give him his meal. Oh how desperately she hopes that he will appreciate how she had gone to the Cock – A – Hoop that morning, to meet miss Summer and have pancakes with her. ‘Oh no’ -she thinks all sudden, ‘did miss Summer use brown or white flour for the Pancakes today?’

ALL you can see from this post is, that “she” is standing there. That is ALL.
You hear nothing, you have no clue what she is thinking, how she feels, what her expectations are, what she did this morning, nothing!

# Present Tense

What happens is happening NOW.
While we create a story, we are not just telling the story: we LIVE it. Thus things happen now and here. Emotes should be in the PRESENT tense. Not in the past tense, as if it were a novel. Not in the future tense. And not…

/me would lift a hand to wave to the dark Elf

Is she? Is she not? Non native English speaking players especially may be highly confused here. This is the conditional tense. That ‘would’ expects to be followed by an ‘if’ or a ‘but’. Under what circumstances would she lift that hand to wave? If only he would turn and look? If he hadn’t stolen her lunch last week? And how would we know anyway that she thought she might?

so, if you have your character do something, have them DO it NOW

/me lifts a hand and waves to the dark Elf.

# Grammar and the like

It always helps if you try to use grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, etc. properly. Of course we don’t expect perfect language, but your best efforts will be appreciated.
Modern Chat language and Textese is inappropriate in RP, its “all right” not “ok” and its “/me laughs out loud” not “lol” . Please don’t abbreviate ‘you are’ or ‘your’ to UR, for example. It may seem trivial, but it can really kill the mood and atmosphere. You can use these things in OOC IMs, of course, if you want. But remember your character is not YOU, and has a different life in a different time.

Make sure you read other people’s posts carefully for the clues they give. Many will share subtle information that can help you develop a story.
Observe, investigate, ask, share IC what your character learned from others.

Simple actions can tell a whole story. Practice. You will get better. And the better you are the better the Roleplay is. The better our Roleplay becomes, the more fun will be had by all of us!

2 Responses to How -To Emote

  1. Caprice Guisse says:

    This is perhaps the best short tutorial on role play I’ve seen in over 30 years of playing RPGs

    Like

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