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The art of role playing. It doesn’t seem that hard, but you would be surprised. When you are done reading this RPG For Dummies: PA edition, hopefully you’ll be a bit more educated on the art and more importantly, will hit the RPG boards. Before you read our Role Play Guide, everyone should know that good roleplaying is an acquired skill. The most advanced roleplayer you know had to start somewhere, you know! You will learn some basic roleplaying skills in this guide, but remember that you'll learn the most by observing your fellow roleplayers (just make sure you observe the good ones!)
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Know your English!
You don’t have to be an English freak to roleplay…but perhaps you should know the basics. Also, never…EVER…use netspeak (abbreviations such as ‘omg’ , ‘r u thr?’, and ‘lol’). Run-on sentences, net-speaking, and misspellings will make both your character and you look like a fool. Proofread your posts before you post them to make sure you didn't make any grammatical mistakes by accident. It happens to even the best roleplayers, and it is usually a result of being too lazy to proofread. Just try your best when reading over what you write.
When you are speaking, use quotations (“ ”). When you are talking about Hogwarts or Death Eaters, capitalize them! If you think you’ve misspelled something…you probably have. There is a spell checker available here
. Use it!
Another common error in RPG-grammar is the over-usage of ‘she’ and ‘he’. It's usually the result of having no better word to use, or just not reading over your writing. Maybe use the character’s name instead at some points, or describe them in a way you haven't already (example: "Nice hair, Ragdoll!" jeered the blonde.)? You’ll find your entries are so much more interesting this way.
Which one of these would you rather read?
'john sat down at the gryffindor table ready to eat. he picked up his fork and banged it on the tabel scraeming IM HUNGRY (lol) and when the professer told him to quite down he turnd red'
'John sat down at the Gryffindor table, famished and ready to eat. He picked up his fork and proceeded to bang it on the table. "I'm hungry!" he cried. However, when the professor told him to quiet down, he turned beet-red.'
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Unless You're Nikolai Cadogan, Speaking is Important!
When your character is speaking, we already know from rule #1 to use quotations. But there are other essentials to speaking that maybe you should know. For example, when your character is shouting. When your character is angry or just plain loud, you don’t have to over-emphasize by typing in all-caps or leaving a string of exclamation points at the end of every sentence.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!?!!?!?” Barry exclaimed, “THAT WAS MY FAVORITE SHIRT YOU JUST RUINED!!!!!!!!”
Barry is angry, but yet this character looks like a fool. While reading that sentence, did you yell those words in your head? I did. It makes your character look silly! Here’s how Barry should have gone about his ruined shirt:
“What are you doing?!” Barry exclaimed furiously, “That was my favorite shirt you just ruined!”
Another rule to speaking: don’t be afraid to accent your character’s words! They can’t speak in a monotone, can they? For example:
“I love him though.” Mary whispered, “He is mine and I need him.”
While that is touching, maybe you’d hear her better in your mind’s ear like this:
“I love him, though.” Mary whispered, “He is mine and I need him.”
Also, when your character speaks, stay IN CHARACTER. Don’t speak as you would; speak as they would! If your character has a thick accent (like Fleur or Hagrid), show it! If your character is very illiterate, make it obvious (this is the only time you’re allowed to utilize bad grammar), if your character has a cold or a broken nose, let it be known (‘Stubefy’ instead of ‘Stupefy’)! Your character should come to life through your words; make it count!
One last rule to speaking--er, thinking. When your character thinks, it should be in apostrophe’s (‘ ’) and should be italicized.
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You have your entry typed in and you're ready to hit ‘reply.’ But is your entry ready to be sent out to the public? There are some basic guidelines you should use in order to know so.
One would be the length of your entry. If it’s a cheesy little one-liner like:
Raymond fired off the expelliarmus curse.
Your entry is not good enough. Try to make your entry at least three paragraphs long. You can achieve this through being descriptive.
You can turn one line into an entire paragraph if you try! Here's what Raymond did, but in much more detail:
Raymond unsheathed his wand. Being a first year, he knew next to nothing compared to this full-grown wizard; but he had to try. He had to live. The Death Eater’s lips parted as his wand raised, and Raymond shouted out the first spell that came to mind. “Expelliarmus!” he bellowed, his eyes tightly shut. He cracked them open to see a dumbfounded wizard scrambling to find his wand.
When you are descriptive, it is easier for other roleplayers to play off of you. It’s a win-win for everyone! The only cases in which you do not have to be extremely descriptive is when you're engaged in a conversation with another person, and therefore to get a good reply the posts must be short. This is highly understandable, but do not take advantage of this, as I know the difference between dialogue and 'spam' posts (extremely short posts, usually consisting of less than ten words).
Also, make sure you are replying to whatever is going on. Do not make up your own thing right off the bat. For instance, if there is a quarrel between two people and your character arrives on the scene, you probably should not post this:
‘Marge strolled out onto the lawns, chomping merrily on an apple and re-playing a song by the Weird Sisters over and over in her head. She saw a nearby tree and decided that she'd love to climb it.’
Marge's entry has nothing to do with the aforementioned quarrel and it's not very easy to reply to. This entry focuses only on Marge and nobody else. Marge probably should have posted something like this:
‘Marge strolled out onto the lawns, chomping merrily on an apple and re-playing a song by the Weird Sisters over and over in her head. Gazing around her, she noticed two students were in a heated argument. Wanting to watch without being noticed, she climbed up into a nearby tree.’
This way, Marge is acknowledging the others in the area and at the same time is doing what she wants to do with her character. Also, those currently arguing can acknowledge her presence in return and not be upset that whoever is controlling Marge is just interrupting their scene with a senseless post. It makes everyone around you happy and it will make your entry longer. It's a win-win!
Before you post, check the basics:
*Does my entry fit in with what's going on?
*Is everything spelled correctly (especially HP terms)?
*Does my entry make sense?
*Am I leaving anything out?
*Is this entry long enough?
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Your Character and You
The most important part of RPG is the characters. The most common error in any character is what most call "Mary-Sue-Syndrome". We all know Mary Sue. He/she’s the most beautiful, popular, talented, perfect person you’ll ever meet. This person is also extremely dull.
When creating your character, flaws are a must. Nobody is perfect and those who are are hated by everyone anyway. It’s easy to make a flawless character; challenge yourself!
How do you know if you’ve got a Sue? Well…
*If Ron, Harry, Draco and Neville all have crushes on your character…you might have a sue.
*If your character gets along with EVERYONE…you might have a sue.
*If there’s a problem and your character can fix/get rid of it without breaking a sweat…you might have a sue.
*If your character is a legillimens, animagus, metamorphagus, and seer…you might have a sue.
*If your character is graceful, beautiful, popular and smart…you might have a sue.
*If your character cries a lot because life is so hard…you might have a sue, but yet that person may also just be dull all-around.
By the way, don’t feel obligated to give your character special powers. If you’re playing a student character, the odds of them being an animagus (with exceptions of marauders) is very slim. Your character can still be productive by having no other skill than good old-fashioned wizard skills. Though few realize it, perfection is often what other role players despise. The less-perfect your character is, the more fun it’ll be to play them.
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Do Not Assume. It Makes An ASS out of U and ME.
This is mainly an issue of common sense; but even the most experienced roleplayers make this error sometimes. It’s a very common error. It is the issue of playing YOUR character, and only your character.
It can be hard to write just for your character, but how would you feel if someone said that their character raised their hand in class and snickered when they got picked and you didn’t? How do they know that your character even raised your hand?
Do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT say a character did or said something when the character has not already stated it. It will upset and possibly anger the other person. The only time it is okay to assume is when you have permission from the person you're playing with. GET PERMISSION!
Now, if your character already stated that they were raising their hand, then RP’er #2 could say that, because it’s something you’ve already stated and the other player is simply playing off of it. Nothing may be assumed in Role play. Ever. Period.
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A private RP is simply role playing between a certain party of people who want to roleplay together with no outside interference. You can spot a private RP because it will have the character’s names in brackets and will sometimes include a title, such as:
In the Snow [Theresa, Leonard, Rob]
When you see this, DO NOT interfere with this thread. They don’t want you to jump in and if they do, they’ll ask. Just go about the RP without them, and if you really want to be a part of it, ask permission first.
If the thread does not have a bracketed list of names in it, or if it says [OPEN], it means anyone may reply. It's fair game!
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Out Of Character Chatting
When you are role playing, sometimes it is necessary to need to speak out of character. When this is necessary, simply write the words “OOC:” or ‘Out of Character’ and type your message. For example:
Leigh was making her way down the corridor when she bumped into Trey. “What are you doing down here?” she hissed, “This is my patrol route!”
OOC: Trey IS a prefect, right?
You use the Out-of-Character speak only to ask RP-related questions, or specify something RP-related. If you don’t have to use it, don’t. It clutters up the RP space and nobody cares what you have to say on the side. If you want to talk about something non-RP, you can PM them about it or visit the OOC threads located at the bottom of the forum.
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Staying In Character
When you register, you are telling me everything you know about your character. This is for a reason: so I know what your character is like, and if I notice you going out of character, I can inform you. Also, obviously, I'm making sure your character is right for this forum.
If your character registers as a shy, soft-spoken person and they hit the boards only to make themselves the center of attention, I will have to pull you aside via owl message and let you know that if your character keeps violating his/her personality, I'll have to punish them. It is frustrating to see a contradictory character, especially when it's often times only so they can be the 'cool' one of the crowd. We're all nerds here; there's no need to try and be cool! ;]
The best way to stay in character is to create someone with a personality much like your own. This way, you won't be tempted to react in a way that is opposite of your character's true personality. You should try this method of character creation when first starting out. Once you advance, maybe then you can move on to someone who you don't relate with as personally.
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Okay, so now you have your entry all written out. You've read over it to make sure your spelling and grammar is correct, and to make sure you've said all you've wanted to say. Needlessly said, it's perfect. So you hit that reply button.
Now, sometimes when you hit reply, you'll notice that there is now a post there that you did not see before. Sometimes, this post completely contradicts your perfect entry.
While this is unfortunate, you must be the one to edit your post to fit. In cases where two or more people post at the same time, the first one to post is always right. Anyone who posts after that is wrong, and must edit their entry or have everyone else ignore it. If someone fails to edit, their post will eventually be deleted.
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Hopefully by now you know what a good role-play is and what a bad one is. I hope you learned a lot from this guide, and if you still have some trouble understanding, please Owl me or one of the other administrators of this site, and we will gladly help you! Also, watch your fellow roleplayers. They will help you the most; I cannot stress it enough! Have fun, and happy posting! Welcome to The New Life!