ROPE PART THREE - MORE ON ROLEPLAYING
Setting up a scene using the environment
Each roleplay we are doing is happening in a defined environment, a kitchen, a saloon, a space craft, a Roman circus.
Included as possible environments are obviously the setting : medieval, modern, future, steampunk, cyberpunk.
In this long exercise, we will start to build up a scene.
We are here in Romanum. We are somewhere in this sim... I am not telling you where. You will tell us. To help you a little bit I will ask the beginning question.
We will start with the general, and try to add details as we are working.
- Where are we in Romamum?
- When the scenes is? Winter, summer, day, night?
- What kind of people there is in.
- How are they dressed? If dressed... obviously... (possible there is one or two captives after all)
- Is there a mayor/leader in the city? Who is he?
- What sounds are coming from here? The smelling? Cooking perhaps?
Once again just see how the 5W system is helping us here.
God modding (or god moding) and powergaming are two words you will find covering the exact same concept.
Powergaming is much more used in video games or traditional pen and paper roleplaying game. When God modding is more popular in forum style or chat style roleplaying game, as Second Life. You will find it written both with one or two D.
It is unclear if the etymology is coming from god mode, or god mod (the use of mods). As usual everyone as an opinion on that, just know the two writings.
God modding is by far the most irritating behavior you can be confronted to (and you will be). God modding is displaying an unusual set of “skills”, “abilities”, “powers”, jake-of-all-trade features. There is basically two forms of god modding:
- Personal god modding:
This happens when the character is by himself revealing abnormal power(s), like :
* ultra power (think about Rambo destroying a chopper with a... bow!!!!)
* Knowledge coming from nowhere (Lock-picking skill used without a previous notification)
* Tools not described before (a Gatling gun you are taking out of your pocket)
The most common form is the ability to dodge everything with double back somersaults while he is shooting you..
/me seeing the emperor draws his gladius, slides into her new shiny lorica segmentata she was keeping in her pocket.
Yes I keep lorica segmantata in my pockets. You never know when an emperor will draw his gladius.
- External god modding:
This apply to things happening to other players, when you are actually driving their actions.
For example when your partner explains what his happening to your own character:
/me was teaching the ROPE course-ware and all her students were drooling on the ground calling her goddess and giving her all their Lindens.
OK, forget that, this one is a very bad example because this is exactly what is happening...
/me parries easily the gladius of the Emperor, with a twist of her wrists throwing the gladius in the air, while punching the emperor, kicking his midriff.
Remember that rule: Your character cannot DO or FORCE anything on another character but he can ATTEMPT or TRY the same thing.
Also that: You don't do roleplay to "win" or "lose", you are doing it to "play". You, and the rest of the Earth, are roleplaying to have "fun". And playing a character which is always winning easily will quickly become over boring!
Difference of power when playing
Now... Never generalize... Sometimes we can play characters of various powers. Think about any Disney when a princess is being captured by a nasty dragon. The nasty dragon is way more powerful than the princess. Not only this is valid, but it is what we are wanting form the scene. Think about it, what about if the princess is a mistress of Kung fu and kicks the dragon?
Remember to discuss those big differences of power before playing. After all in any Disney the dragon will be slain by the prince!
Information out of character : Metagaming
Metagaming is the fact to obtain and/or use information obtained outside of the roleplay.
That information can range from:
- The name of your character
- The power of your character
- the weakness of your character
- The past of your character
That information can come from:
- an RP card
- a conversation OOC,
- The fact you already played with the same player when you were using another character
That said, it is perfectly valid to extract some extra information from RP tools or RP notecards, like for example a specific scent, some scars, the fabric of an outfit, etc. Just know that people can react variously regarding metagaming.
Some are not caring and are keeping long descriptive notecards. Other will not really appreciate. As a rule on the thumb avoid any form of metagaming.
Using proper language while playing
Roleplaying is about creating a collaborative story with other people by the mean of language, very often English.
You can obviously play in other languages. Have you ever read a novel written in SMS style? In LEET style? Why?
Remember this pack or rules:
- Be aware of the punctuation.
- Use proper grammar rules.
- Use spell checkers (Grammarly).
- no LEET: U for you, H3 1Z K001 for He is cool, etc.
- No emoticons: :D, XD, :P, o_O, t('.'t)
- No textspeak: LOL, ROTF, IMHO, instead laughs, chuckles, panics
Chat boxing is when you are just talking in local without using any sort of emoting. Example:
How are you all?
Even when you want to use fast style RP, keep it RP style:
/me asks to her students, "How are you all?"
Gatling Gun RP
Previously, it was insisted to use ONE action per turn, and ONE emote per turn.
Time to look at a kind of roleplayer.
Gatling Gun RP©(Perceline) is a personal term I use to denote someone using multiple short lines.
/me is jumping.
perceline seats on the chair.
perceline looks at the man.
Perceline asks why he does not talk.
perceline taps her foot, "hey you have not tongue"
It is almost impossible to play with people using that, just simply because the time you are typing a reply they have already written 20 lines.
Gesture are little animations you can buy (for Lindens or for free). Using them is not a bad thing per se.
That said, most of the time gestures can come with funny additions. Always asks yourself when using one: Would really my character do THAT?
On a side note, check the rules of the sim regarding them. Some sims are forbidding them.
As a rule on the thumb (and a personal point of view), try to keep gestures for clubing activities, and keep them away when you are roleplaying.
Roleplaying in English for foreigners
Most of the roleplay sims you will find are English talking sims. For all people who are not using English as their mother's tongue, roleplaying can become problematic. Lack of vocabulary and grammar can be an heavy burden when time is coming to create sentences.
Think about roleplay as an excellent tool to learn and improve English.
- Make an intense use of cue-cards concerning your character, the place you are playing in, this will improve your vocabulary.
Here is a simplified cue-card I am using for devices you can usually find in kitchen (in parenthesis my mother's tongue version):
Fridge (frigo), freezer (congel), stove (cuisinière), cooker hood (hotte), dishwasher (lave-vaisselle), oven (four)
Here is an example of a simplified cuecard I am using when playing a pirate (more vocabulary):
Blimey(surprise !), Bucko (friend), clap of thunder (strong alcohol), dance the hempend jig (to be hanged), Nelson Folly (rum), scallywag (bad guy)
Whatever happens never be a grammar lazy, we are here to have fun, not read a dictionary. And for non English people, don't start drama when people are correcting you, they are trying to help.
First person RP vs Third person RP
Until now we did emphasize on the subject part of emoting, learning to replace I by /me.
/me is happy to see you.
It is possible to push that further by extending the rule to other people. Thus not calling them "you" (as in "I see YOU"©(Ney'Tiri)).
/me is happy to see Thomas.
Actually in this style not only you are cutting what you are and your character, but you are also cutting what is your partner and his character. That said there is a big con for 3rd person style which is you won't know who is his or her.
/me sees her.
Who is the her "Perceline" watching her reflection of the person who just entered?
To correct that a lot of 3rd person stylers are prone to add fancy and useless descriptions to their emotes.
/me was looking in the eyes of the bald old man with the long toga covering him to the ankles.
First persons users are really less prone to that.
How to play with same sex people? Most of the time avoid using her/his to your partner just change by using :
- a nickname
- a description
/me is correcting Becker because he again forgot some ending dots.
/me is correcting her teachee because...
/me is correcting the young man because...
Possibilities are here almost infinite. In some sims, those related to heavy BDSM or Gor you can be required to use third person even when talking.
/me falls on her knees saying : "This girl is happy to see her Master".
Here 'this girl' is becoming a substitute for 'I'.
Note that in a pure roleplay perspective, in the non talking part there is no reason to use "this girl".
Wolfspeaking aka unreadable talking
As in real life everybody is coming with an accent. Think about the English accent, and the Texan accent to see what I mean. Or strangers speaking English with an Indian accent, or a French accent.
This can be reflected in our emotes when the character is talking and only when he is talking. Makes a difference here between the descriptive(s) parts which has to be in English, and the talked part which can be accented.
A pirate talking :
Long John jumps on the deck, watching the prisoner : "Blimey! Me saucy booty, arhhh, c'm'here th't yer wench'eyes see ma Roger is th't Jolly!"
A snakeman talking :
sss'wi'sssh'ssllss stares into the eye of the human and with a strangely cold voice says, "sssssI ssssawwww you sssstole ssssome ssssinissster ssssoil".
Both of the example I just gave, are also showing you the limit of those accents. They can render a text simply unreadable. So when picking an accent, try to find something easy enough to read, and making enough. The tendency to over exaggerate those accents, or make them go in the narrative part is often referred as wolfspeak. Which is a term of the furry community.
Playing better characters
So you just have finished creating your uber Zdurlak the Mighty, and you are happy! It is a shapeshifter ninja mage, able to turn into a dragon when there is danger.
Just mark those words: any seasoned roleplayers already met 1,758,945 characters like that. So not only do they find you boring, but they are also finding you not that creative.
What is making you as a player is not the power of your character but your ability to play it WELL. And the more powerful a character is, the more difficult it is to play. Avoid some of the common traps here:
- Perfect characters: Be ready to meet some... Roleplay is about suspension of disbelief and someone perfect is not really believable
- SuperEvil: You will meet a lot, really a lot, of dark cursed characters with a cursed mind, a dark and "euwesaume" past and 12 gigatons of power.
- Lore characters related: OK avoid those. Don't play Philip Skywalker in Star Wars universe, Paragaron in Lord of the Ring, Tony Potter in Harry Potterish universe, etc.
A good way to better balance characters and make them better is by using weaknesses. Call them limits, flaws, defaults, hindrances, the term does not matter. Weaknesses have the definite advantage to contribute directly to your character, giving you opportunity to play and develop.
They can be of various type :
First of all there is two forms of RP combat. Tools assisted one, using meters.
RP combat is a lot of ways is similar to cyber-sex. Both involve raw emotions, like fear, pain, envy, greed, deception, happiness. For any roleplayer, playing with raw emotion is like honey. Direct satisfaction, helps to enter the character.
Well done RP combat is awesome.
But chances you meet high form of God Modding is also very high. Prepare yourself to see people dodge all your attacks with fancy triple somersaults. Having people able to cast 4 spells during their turn... Including rituals! See your character thrown on the ground, and disarmed with ease.
Here are some basic advice for you:
- You are not invincible... You get touched, and when you are this is hurting. Roleplay it.
- Play with some logic: Yes, parrying a two handed axe with a mage staff IS a disastrous idea. Or with a dagger.
- Stick to what you play: A mage should not be able to handle well a two handed sword.
A senator should not be able to handle a legionnaire.
(Actually Brutus was a senator and killed Caesar, but see the historical circumstances)
Different types of RP combat
There is various forms of RP combat available:
- Dice system one:
You will find easily tools providing you dice sets that you can roll. Here is an example.
They can be of great use for you. Each round, throw dice, and the one with the best score win the turn. You can easily add handicap, as -10 to the weaker character on each dice roll if you like. Either pick the winner before the fight, or simply pick the one who scored the most victories. In some sims you can have rules, follow them.
- RPed one:
RPed form only use the skill of players. One could think this is awesome. In fact very skilled and opened roleplayers will probably find it fun. But playing fair and in character is quite hard. As well as accepting defeat when it is so easy to say: nay! RP combat is a complex thing.
Short scenes vs long scenes
Short scenes are scenes that are by nature short. The story is generally very brief, with few developments. Short scenes duration depend on people, but they are generally limited in time (1-2H). Due to the short duration, shorter emotes with fewer details can be required. If you have one hour and each partner needs 10 minutes per emotes, you will exchange a total of 3 emotes...
On the other hands long stories can run on a certain number of sessions. In fact they can go as long as several days or months. They are aimed at telling much deeper and complex stories and can need several players. They need more dedication from the players (some scheduled sessions on a regular basis)
Building a scene when playing
Building a scene in order to play depends a lot the sim you are playing on. In some sims there will naturally be a "leader", either called master, top, predator, hunter (exclude here Emperor). And there will naturally be a follower, a slave, submissive, bottom, prey. Those sims are BDSM sim, Gorean sims, hunting sims.
The "top" will lead the scene (ie build the environment, the development and the end of the story). The "bottom" will fix how far the scene can go (with limits). Some sims are using a game master, which is someone not involved as a character in the story and make it advance, as a director in a movie.
Finally some sims can have a natural leader, as in Romanum you have the Emperor, whose role is the one of a game master.
A brief history of RPGs
The oldest track of RPG, is actually the first wargame published in 1824, Kriegsspiel, by Georg von Reiswitz, and his son, also Georg. The history of Germany just shows the importance of that wargame, which was military.
We can track in 1913, H.G. Wells little wars which is a set of rules to play with toy soldiers. Wells said about the critics falling on him that tin soldiers don't live orphans and widows, this was in 1913.
In 1971, Gary Gygax published a medieval war game called Chainmail. He added a fantasy extension which used trolls, orcs and dragons.
In 1972, Dave Arneson developped a universe called Blackmoor, using part of Chainmail rules.
And in 1974, Gygax and Arneson published Dungeons and Dragons.
Nowadays role playing games still exists in Pen & Paper, video games, and online universe.
By the way, Warcraft 1 & 2 are Real time wargames. Warcraft 3 a kind of hybrid.
And World of Warcraft the most popular massive online RPG.