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Emotes, in-world furniture, toys, environment

We look at RP from various perspective. But there is still to examine one crucial aspect: the graphics around us. In SL, there a big and vast universe with a lots of tools to interact with. Tools can be sorted in different categories.


- The body attachments.
What are those body attachments (hint: Watch closely my avatar of the day).
Body attachments can be :
    - clothes
    - Body parts (here for example you can see horns, tails, wings, hoofs, fangs)
    - Accessories (jewelries, crowns, etc.)
    - Some are coming with emoting abilities.
And as you can see from this avatar from me, they add a lot to the characters you want to play.
- The various furniture.
    - beds, chairs, tables, oven, couch, etc.
    - showers, toilets, tubs 
    - lots of those props can come with various pose-balls, you can check them to see if there is not some hidden animation behind an apparently innocent device.


- tools and toys
    - visible, unscripted attachments
    - invisible scripts / HUDS. Emoter. Gestures/Hugs
    - weapons
    - vehicles
    - collars etc.
    - RL: voice, cam
- environment: can extend over some square meters, but also span across many sims.
    - forests, wastelands, desert, island
    - warm, cold
    - friendly, dangerous (minefield)
    - natural, technical, alien


But remember this: Emotes are there for a reason, their reason to be is to fill what SL is unable to give us. You will never find the pose-ball you want. The exact furniture, scars you want. Emoting is there for that. Don't limit yourself to just what there is in SL. 

True part of creation is landing there. But, except under specific circumstances, don't change the setting around you. In Romanum, firearms and lightsabers are not welcome here. When you are assisting a midday circus game, don't turn it into a night chariot race.

Freeform roleplay

Playing with others is a vast subject when roleplaying. Mostly what is done, here in Second life, is called "Freeform roleplay".

In traditional table-top roleplaying games, there is a set of rules. Those rules can be very light (Amber the diceless system). Or very heavy (Rolemaster, GURPS). Light or heavy, they help the players to define their character(s).


Here in SL you will find very few rules. Even Bloodline or meters like GM are very primitive forms of rules. Those who ever played RoleMaster know what I can mean. 

But even Amber while diceless has way more rules that what you can find in SL. So mostly, what we are doing here is building a story with your character. You can clearly consider freeform RP as a form of collaborative writing.
This is also explaining you the why of some of the preceding ROPE pages:
- bad spelling is to avoid
- correct English
- not too much suspension of disbelief (ie no metagamming)
- No godmodding (you don't drive another main character or even NPC to your need)

Just note also that some sims are using a "game master" to lead the story. Game masters are simply a kind of director, making sure every one is having fun, checking everyone is on the same story, and providing services. The other traditional name of game masters is Dungeon Master (from Dungeons and Dragons).

But a lot of games are using a specific name to their own Game master (Referee, Game manager, Marshal, etc.). Just note that, there is not a better form of roleplay. Both style, having a game master or free-form RP has both pros and cons. Try to explore both ways and pick the one you prefer.


But just remember that. A group of very skillful roleplayers playing Dungeons and Dragons will have eon times a better result than a group of bad roleplayers trying Vampire the Mascarade.


Finding a place you like, honing your own skill is fairly more important than any rule-set. If you like heavy rule-sets by all means, go for it! This is after all a part of "place you like".

Checking the profile of others

Before playing with someone, it is always a nice idea to check their profile. Profile are what we could call some strange tools. They can give us some information... or not.
First of all, what is the information you think we could extract from the profile? To help you try to think of the profile as categories:
- The 2nd life tab
- The pick tab
- The groups
- The rest 

Let's give you here the relative importance of each of those features.

- 2nd life tab: Most of the time this tab contains general information about the roleplayer.  This is a tab you will more than often see filled, so take time checking it.

-The pick tab: Some roleplayers will never fill this tab, but when it is it can be the best tab to check. This is where you will more than often find the taste and dislike of a roleplayer, his/her limits, his/her safeword. This is one of the greatest tab to check.

- The groups: Groups are both great and not that great. They can tell you what the player is loving. His/her general taste for sims. But as a drawback it is also teaching you the freebie/clothing groups he/she is using! And you know that for sure, freebie groups are the best way to judge a player! :D And finally, groups can be hidden. All in all groups are what they are, they can give you a general idea of the player. But remind that this will be only a general direction.


A final note on profile.
Never judge anyone on a profile. Some roleplayers simply don't like to keep a profile. Others like. Some like to have details on the character(s) they are actually playing. Some others not. Toward profile, as a roleplayer, pick an attitude. Either put things or not. 

There is no good or bad solutions. And regarding others profile. Don't judge anyone on a profile.


Limits revisited

Perhaps it is good to come back shortly on limits. Let me remind you that limits are things, as a player, you don't wanna cross. That is the usual definition you will find. But not an accurate definition for roleplay. Just good for BDSM purpose.


We are roleplayers, which means we are playing a role. Think about that. I can play a child and have a "no sex" obvious limit. Now I can play an adult and this limit will be gone. Our characters can have different limits. And those limits can depend on the sim we are on, and the character we are playing. That is the main difference between what "limits" are in a BDSM sense, and limits are in a "RP" sense.

Understanding RP etiquette 

You can call RP etiquette a set of rule often used by roleplayers, but not really written on paper.

- Stay in character as much as possible. 

Remember what I told you about advanced using of OCC. Adding some ((comment)) at the end of a sentence is often a great way of OOC communicating. Remember that some players dislike playing and OOC communication at the same time!

- Don't do the basics bad actions: metagamming, godmodding, powergaming. 

- Don't try to steal the show. 

Every one is here to have fun. Some are shyer, less experienced. Share with them, help them.

- You can consider that jumping on someone and attacking him like that, without chatting before is like in RL: considered to be a very rude gesture.

- On the same idea, when people are playing never come like that, see first if it is a good idea to mix, and in case IM first.

- Avoid to shout.
If you need something specific, use a group call, see an officer/owner.

- Respect the safewords.
I pinpoint that safewords are not of considerable use in SL. But still I showed you as well how to use them well. Whatever, always respect them. And if you use a collar or RLV definitely learn how to use the safeword. 
Whatever you are doing, whatever your behavior will be, sooner or later you will have to face trouble. Be ready to it. Handle it in the best possible way. Being able to handle drama is a major skill of great roleplayers.


Reading and understanding sim rules

When you are first entering a sim, it can be good to check some things. This is a form of the roleplay etiquette we just talk about. Knowing how to act when joining a sim is of great help. 
Most serious roleplay sims (I would say ALL serious one) will deliver you a notecard at the entry point. Mark those words: Read this card. Read it! Read it ALL! First line to last line. No arguments.

You will find there most of what has to be known to play in the sim;
- The theme (medieval, modern, future, fantasy, furry, Gorean, BDSM, etc.)
- The rules, one you should check is the dress code
- An observer tag, some sims are providing such a tag for you to simply visit the sim.
- Some information related to script count (expect between 100-200 scripts max, and 5k memory usage)


Let's take an example:
The avatar I am using right now is awesome to show you what attachments could be. But I could not play here with her. Simply because she is out of the mood of the sim. Note that: Know the rules, because you should never discuss them.

If the sim is a no collar sim, it means that : no collar. The sim can ask for a fee. Don't bargain either pay it or go in another sim. Some sim ask a certain meter, like the GM. Or the Bloodline. If you want to play in this sim, open your wallet and buy what is needed. 


Some sims require group membership to play. Even when the sim is not asking for group membership, it is more than polite to join the group. And eventually wear the group tag when playing in the sim. In some sims this is mandatory. Even when it is not, RP Etiquette tells you to wear it. Some sims are using an established safeword. This will be the case in most BDSM/capture/dulcet oriented sims. Some Gorean sims are not using some. And this is a mistake.

This is forgetting the core aspect of roleplay: the difference between the character and the player. Definitely a character can not receive a safeword. BUT the player DEFINITELY should have one. If there is one, know it. When you see this safeword (whatever the situation), act accordingly.

Every sims has one or more owner(s), and some officers. They are easy to spot: In the group their name appear in bold. It is always a good thing to know them. First of all they can answer any additional questions/clarification you could require. But they can also guide you. Starting in a sim in never an easy task and help from installed players should always be taken.

Finding roleplayers

Finding roleplayers is funnily enough a skill you will have to master. Waiting in a sim, hoping a roleplayer will pass and talk to you is the best way to never play. 
There are various methods to contact players firstly.

The OOC approach:
IM is one of the best, simply IM someone you've seen and that was seemingly interesting enough. Use direct approach. Chatting with someone is also a good way, simply exchanging. 


The IC approach:
IC can or can not be good. A lot of factors are to be taken into account. Like the top/bottom status, the general preferences. Other problem is someone can be in IM and not watch in the local channel.

Use events to take contacts with roleplayers. Most sims are holding regular events, use them. Even simple dancing can be awesome to meet people.

RP traps

Trauma : Your character is/has been possessed, is cursed, is pregnant, is unhappy, is haunted, etc. Trauma can be great to play. Except most of the time this is ending as a boring representation of a trauma.

Would you like to spend time RL speaking with someone emphasizing drama at every moment? Then just think how much time you will play with such a partner.

Multi-classed character syndrome: In Roleplaying games, a class is a kind of profession. This works also for half-X character (half demon, half dragon, half-elf, etc) You will sooner or later meet one of those as a roleplayer. 

Most of the time bi-classing is always paying a lot to gain not that much. What you gain in magic, you lost in protection, in speed, in accuracy. What you gain in skill is lost in life. Multi-class is not used by some roleplayers because they are much powerful. Just because it is suiting their style.

What defines you as a roleplayer is not the presupposed powers you are giving to your character. It is the way you are playing it. And a good roleplayer will surely pull out more from a simple peasant than a bad roleplayer from a god. The more you are new, the more you should learn this axiom:
Ordinary characters are some of the most amazing characters to play. 
Call that: The power of ordinarily.

There is a saying in Dungeons and Dragons: The powerful Wizard who summons a dragon to obliterate his foes is just an idiot, when the skillful user of a minor spell will dispatch that same dragon.

Final notes

Roleplaying is a technique, not a science.
You will learn by practicing. So practice.
Try various things. universe, characters. Experiment.

You are a sub? Try to dom!
You are a male? Try a female!
You like modern setting? Try an historical one!

Experimenting is by far the best thing you can do to improve your ability to play.
Doesn't mean you have to keep experimenting something when you consider you are not feeling "at home".

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