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Trainer Dave

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Role Play FAQ
« on: April 04, 2011, 13:44 »
General Role Play "Frequently Asked Questions"


Hey there, having been requested a few times, I've decided that a thread to help explain the concept/use of the Role play board would be of some use.

The following guide will aim to answer these common questions:
  • What is 'Role Play'?
  • How do I initially join a Role Play?
  • How do I actually participate in a Role Play? / Posting standards & adding detail.
  • What are the 'Normal RP Rules' I keep hearing about?
  • How do I create my own Role Play? (Authoring guide.) / Sample form fields.

I hope it's somewhat useful.



What is a 'Role Play'?

  A 'Role Play', or 'RP' for short, is pretty much an interactive story created by members of the forum. Each person has their own character(s) and they write those characters' parts of a story set by the topic creator.

  Let's say we have a story about ghost hunting. One person might post saying that their character sees a chair move and shouts "What was that?". A second person could then make their own character reply and say "I saw it too!". So effectively, it's almost like a stage play. Each person makes their character react and speak as if they were in the story. Whole posts are usually written in role on this board; meaning that everyone is pretending to be their character. Speech not in character is traditionally surrounded with ((brackets)).



How do I initially join a Role Play?

  To join a Role Play, you usually need to read the first post of the topic/story you wish to become part of. This will usually tell you the plot, setting and 'rules' of the story. You will also normally find a form there. This is the important part.

  To join an RP, you need to copy the form into a new reply. You then fill out the form accordingly to tell people about your character. You are normally given fields to fill in, such as name, age and gender. This helps the other people in the story to get a picture of what your character is like, helping them to interact with you.

  Once you finish filling out your form, you then post it in the topic. You are then accustomed to wait until the person who made the Role Play reads through it and either accepts or rejects it. In other words, they check to make sure they are happy with your character. If there's a problem, they may ask for you to add more details, or fix problems. You can usually edit the form and then re-apply. Once everything is okay, the topic creator will accept your character, and you can join in the RP. You are then free to post your character's interactions with other characters, and become a part of the story. However, you should wait for the creator's permission before you start posting.

  Occasionally, you may be asked to include a starter post in a form. This is usually written just like a normal post. It's often a sample of your writing, and would be the first post you make once the form is accepted.

  Writers sometimes put specific guidelines within a form on what can and can not be done. Some people allow pictures, rather than text, to describe your character. Many forms put limits on the age of characters, usually restricting them to teenagers. It is important that you obey these guidelines, but you can send a personal message to the topic creator if there's anything you'd really like to do that wouldn't normally be allowed. Also, make sure you have permission to use images that you did not create yourself in your forms. There are some open resources on the internet where all images are free to use, but it's best to check.

  Finally, once accepted, you may need to wait for the RP to 'start'. This is usually declared by the topic creator once they feel there are enough characters signed up. Once an RP is created, there is usually a period of 'joining' before any in-character activity begins. During this time forms are submitted. However, forms may be submitted after writing in role starts. There will usually be an indication within the thread title of whether an RP is 'Joining', 'Closed' or 'Started'.

For a little more information on filling out forms, see the area in the 'Authoring' section way down below. ^^



How do I actually participate in a Role Play?

  Before you begin writing parts for your character, remember to make sure that you've filled out the appropriate form and have been accepted by the creator (See the section above). Once accepted, you're ready to go.

  To take part in a Role Play, all you need to do is write what your character does in a given situation. For example:
Quote
Sam walked under the bridge, sheltered from the rain. He said to the girl next to him "What do we do now?".
Remember that you can only control characters that you created yourself, unless told otherwise. Therefore, in this case, you would then wait for whoever created the girl to respond. Remember that the other person can say anything, so it's best not to get upset if things don't work out as you'd like. However, you can put side notes in 'out of character speech' to suggest action. In this example:
Quote
Sam walked under the bridge, sheltered from the rain. He said to the girl next to him "What do we do now?".

[[Shall we take them both to the cinema?]]
Note the brackets surrounding 'out of character' speech.

And that's all there is to it. You just post everything that your character is seeing, doing or even thinking.

Posting Standards & Adding Detail
  Some RPs require longer posts, meaning more detail is needed, and others don't. It's down to the creator's preference. Many posts may only consist of single sentences, and are called 'One Liners'. These are frowned upon by some writers, since they don't give the other characters much to work with. Here's some simple pointers on adding detail to posts:
  • Use description.
         How did the character speak? Did they say something quietly, enthusiastically, cautiously? It really helps to deepen your writing to tell people how things are done. You can also describe objects and surroundings, there were green hills, covered with trees, ahead of them would be much more useful than there were hills ahead of them. This helps other people to know what you are talking about.
  • Focus on the mind.
         What is your character thinking? Are they secretly scared? do they actually like the person they're talking to. Perhaps they want to get away, or feel stupid. Adding this detail can also help other characters respond to you more effectively, since they understand what your character is really feeling.
  • Utilise body language.
         Just like real life, people don't stand totally still when they speak. Your character might gesture with their hands, or keep looking away periodically if they're shy. Just think about how you yourself would say something, and you should be able to put it across.
  • Don't take the easy way out.
         Sure, you can reply "Yes." to a question, and that would be the end of it, but you can add to that. "Yes, I've always wanted to do that." would be an example. It's also a nice idea to follow up with another question, such as "Yes, I've always wanted to do that. What about you?". This helps to keep conversation flowing.
  • Remember, you are not alone.
         Conversations and actions don't just have to run between two characters, try involving other characters, or even talking to random non-characters in the background. It can range from anything from "What do you think?" Sam asked Jim to Sam watched the bartender, who was staring at Sally in an odd way.. The latter not only involves other characters by using 'NPCs', or 'Non Player Controlled' characters (the bartender), but also opens up a whole new line of discussion: What does the bartender want? - It can go anywhere.

Hopefully, the above should be useful in adding detail to posts. Once you get used to it, it becomes natural. I tend to find it hard to condense posts to one line most of the time. ^^

There are also several unofficial rules you should normally consider when writing, they are outlined in the section below. These 'rules' are totally unrelated to the PKMN.NET's rules, and therefore will not be enforced as such. Disobeying them will often upset other members, so although you won't be punished as such, it's nice to try and stick to them. They usually refer to other characters and your treatment of them. Most authors will place a section dedicated to this within the first post of an RP, but even if it's not stated, it's usually a good idea to stick to them.

With regards to rules, also remember that restricting characters based upon religion, sexuality or anything similar is discouraged unless there is a reason within the plot to do so. Remember that your personal values may not be shared by everyone else in the RP, and as some members' characters mirror themselves, they may find such limits offensive.

It is also important that you remember to keep all content you post within an RP in line with the official PKMN.NET rules. Please remember that while violence, romance and other themes are allowed, excessive gore and explicit content is not. See this thread for more on that subject.



Continued in the next post...
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 23:04 by Equinox »

Trainer Dave

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 13:45 »
...continued from above.


What are the 'Normal RP Rules' I keep hearing about?

  Many RPs may ask you to follow a set of general 'rules' that everyone is expected to know. As mentioned above, these are different from the PKMN.NET official site rules, and are set per-RP. They are managed solely by the RP's creator(s). These usually revolve around the following:
  • Power-playing - Or sometimes 'PPing' for short, is usually frowned upon within a Role Play. It is essentially the act of making your character too powerful, as in not sustaining injury, defeating foes easily or similar. Some also consider this to be 'God-Modding' (below), so it's best to avoid both.
  • Controlling other characters - Known under several names, often as God-Modding, Bunnying, and several others, it is usually unacceptable to influence other people's characters. That is, you cannot post actions for other people, within reason. The best course of action is to only control your own character. At no point should you try to force other characters to do what you want. For example, "Sam kissed (Character)" would be fine, but "(Character) kissed Sam" would not, since another player owns that character. You can, however, use other characters you've created. Suggestion is absolutely fine though - (He expected her to be upset, but did not want her to cry).
  • The topic creator has the final say - Only the topic creator can normally accept and reject applicants, unless otherwise stated. You must respect their wishes. If your application is rejected, you should not continue to post.
  • Stick to the plot. - You must try and follow the plot outlined in the first post. That is, you need to keep with the story. That's the whole point of RP. Wild tangents, especially between select few characters, are discouraged.
  • Limit Out-Of-Character (OOC) speech - Filling a thread with pages of posts which aren't in character is off topic and therefore rarely encouraged. It is OK to ask questions, but it's usually best to do with alongside a normal post, rather than putting it in a single post.

Of course, there are usually more 'RP rules' than the ones above, so it's best to read through everything before joining.

Typically, you'll be expected to write in third person while RPing - 'He' did something, rather than 'I' (first person). This usually isn't written into the rules, but is still expected. Some creators don't mind first-person posts, but it's best to check beforehand when signing up.

The best course of action is to remember the following 'general' guidelines:
- Never post actions or feelings for a character that you didn't create. -
- Remember that your character is not perfect or immortal, and so makes mistakes and takes injury -
- Suggest reactions and feelings for others, but don't force them. -
- Respect the wishes of the Role Play creator (Stick to the plot and do what they ask.) -




How do I create my own Role Play?

  To start your own RP, all you need to do is hit the 'New Topic' button on the Role Play forum. You then need to construct a 'first post' detailing the idea, details and helping people to understand it. It's fairly flexible, and can usually be structured as you like. Keep in mind that if you write pages and pages, people might not bother reading it, but conversely if you write too little, people won't understand and so perhaps won't join.
  The following section will run through the common features included when you create an RP, more detail can be found even further below: =O

Common Role Play 'Sections' in the initial post:
  • Introduction [Optional]
  • Plot/Setting
  • Rules
  • Form
  • Your own form [Optional at first]
  • List of characters [Optional]
  • Glossary/Important definitions & information [Optional]

Information on each 'standard section':
This sub-section outlines a bit of detail on what each section of a form actually is...

Introduction
  This section is usually a short passage from within the Role Play, giving a demonstration of what sort of writing there will be. This can be given in the form of a back-story or scene, sometimes involving the characters themselves, or it can also be a random extract from the middle of the plot, detailing a key moment and what the atmosphere might be like. Essentially; it's a section of a normal post, demonstrating the concept.

Plot/Setting
  This section usually outlines the story for the RP and what the characters need to know about it. Key information, such as "You are a pokemon" are often included in this. It is important that you get across everything that's required in this section, otherwise people won't understand what to do, and may get confused.

Rules
  The 'rules' of an RP are included to specify anything that people must or must not do. This includes limits on what you can post, as well as the rights of the creator. You may see a topic creator adding 'codewords' to this section which need to be included in a form for it to be accepted - as proof you've read the 'rules' of the RP.
  Note that the Administrators/Moderators will not enforce any rules or guidelines that you decide to make up within your RPs; only the site ones, and therefore it's up to the creator to deal with any issues (often with friendly advice, or rejecting applicants).

Form
  In essence the most important part of a title post. The form is what allows people to join an RP. It usually includes several fields that should be filled out. For examples of these, see the section below. Sometimes rules and regulations may be included within a form, which need to be erased and replaced with your character's information. For example:
"Age: [13-17. PM me otherwise.]"
The above 'Age' field has a note on it to ensure that people only create characters within a certain age range. However, it also indicates that if you'd like an older or younger character, you can send a personal message to the author to ask about it. This is often seen when people aren't too fussy on limits, but don't want a dozen thirty-year-old characters.
 
Your own form
  This is usually placed alongside the blank form and is effectively the details of the author's character. This serves as an example and helps people know what to write. It's therefore usually a good idea to include your own form in the first post, but it's not an absolute necessity.

List of characters
  In larger RPs with many characters, it's often a good idea to add a list of each character's name, age, gender and who they were created by (along with other relevant information, such as teams, if any). This gives people a quick reference should they need to check details on someone without hunting the whole thread to find a form.

Glossary/Important definitions & information
  In RPs with more complicated plots, you'll sometimes see this sort of section. The idea is to provide additional information for members. This is also useful if you've made up words or names that others might not understand, and gives them somewhere that they can look these things up in greater detail than in the plot summary.


On occasion, other sections may be seen, but these are the most common.

Sample form fields
  Form creation can be tricky, so here's a list of 'fields', or bits of information, you might want to ask for:
  • Username - Your own nickname on these forums. This is often used on any character lists, since some people change their usernames often, it helps keep track of who's who.
  • Name - The name of a character.
  • Age - The age of a character.
  • Gender - The gender of a character (Male or Female, usually).
  • Species - Sometimes characters don't need to be human, this identifies what they are, be it a pokemon or an alien.
  • Description - What a character actually looks like. This can take the form of one or many lines of text, a picture, or even a combination of the two.
  • Personality - How a character behaves. Effectively what their attitudes are, their qualities, strengths and weaknesses. That sort of stuff. It's about how a character thinks and their influence on others.
  • Powers/Abilities - Any supernatural or unusual skills/traits that a character might have. This can be extended to fighting skills.
  • Weapon - Any arms that a character might have, from swords to guns.
  • Other - Extra information that people might want to include, can be anything from pets to identifying markings.
  • Starter Post - This takes the form of a normal post, and will usually be the very first thing you'd intend to post to introduce a character.


  Note that a blank form can be placed within "[code][/code]" tags to enable easy copying of the whole thing. The result being:
Code: [Select]
[b]Name: [/b]
[b]Age: [/b][13-16]
[b]Gender: [/b][Male or Female]
...
  This also allows you to preserve 'bolded' section headers or other formatting within forms, making it easier to read. Additional information is also easy to include using this method.
  "[code]" Tags essentially allow you to add in formatting and other information into an easily copyable 'form box', this saves time for the people who are joining, and is therefore usually appreciated.



And that concludes this FAQ. Thanks for reading! ^^

General Role Play FAQ - Revision 1.6
Written By Dave
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 13:05 by [Redacted] »

Offline Pokeapache

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 18:49 »
Can I add a note for using the [code][/code] tags?

If you have a line that's really long inside of the code tags, it can stretch the whole page, so you should either keep the lines short, or have spaces... like uhhh

Code: [Select]
Username - Your own nickname on these forums. This is often used on
any character lists, since some people change their usernames often, it helps
keep track of who's who.
Name - The name of a character.
Age - The age of a character.
Gender - The gender of a character (Male or Female, usually).
Species - Sometimes characters don't need to be human, this identifies what
they are, be it a pokemon or an alien.
Description - What a character actually looks like. This can take the form of one
or many lines of text, a picture, or even a combination of the two.
Personality - How a character behaves. Effectively what their attitudes are,
their qualities, strengths and weaknesses. That sort of stuff. It's about how a
character thinks and their influence on others.
Powers/Abilities - Any supernatural or unusual skills/traits that a character
might have. This can be extended to fighting skills.
Weapon - Any arms that a character might have, from swords to guns.
Other - Extra information that people might want to include, can be anything
from pets to identifying markings.
Starter Post - This takes the form of a normal post, and will usually be the very
first thing you'd intend to post to introduce a character.

I don't know how to put it any more eloquently XD But it's just really bothersome to have a first page that's stretched a bunch. ._o

-skittles away-

Offline Apprentice

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 22:24 »
enthusiastic-ly

*enthusiastically
Come on, Tim. :P

  • God-modding - Or G-modding for short, is usually frowned upon within a Role Play. It is essentially the act of making your or your character behave like a 'God', as in not sustaining injury, defeating foes easily or similar. It also includes taking control of other characters without permission.  This can also be called 'Power Playing' - the act of controlling other characters without permission. There are several of these terms used, and there's no real 'definition', making it subject to opinion. Suggestion is often acceptable though - (He expected her to be upset, but did not want her to cry).

I'm a bit confused with this summary. From my experiences, god-modding and power playing are two different things - g-modding being controlling characters that aren't yours unfairly, and power playing being making your character seem invincible (aka "God").
I mean, I can understand why they can be grouped together since they use similar forms of "God"...but then you talk about controlling other characters in your next bullet. I'm just wondering if that seems redundant?

Other than those two things the whole faq is a great job.
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Trainer Dave

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 22:39 »
Will correct my spelling (be aware that this was written 2 years ago).

The 'god modding' and 'power playing' point came up when this was being constructed a while back. It turns out that there's a lot of confusion over which is which, and hence in the end they were grouped together. It's the simplest way to get the point across.

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2011, 09:42 »
well i've always been told that God-modding was taking control of other characters and Power Playing was being the most powerful out there

:s




Trainer Dave

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2011, 10:38 »
For the sake of avoiding further debate, I've reversed and rewritten the definitions for your pleasure. LOL

Hopefully that's clearer, but either way - both are things you shouldn't be doing.

Offline Kpyna

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2011, 02:45 »
hate to dwell on the topics but io wanna shed some light on this.

people often associate power-playing with being overly powerful because, well, duh, it has POWER in its name. except that's (in theory) the one for controlling others. like how kings and governments control their people.

god modding... i dont know maybe people think its controlling because god controls our lives or something idk i'm not religious: BUT i digress, it's stemmed from "god moding" in video games, which anyone who's played on god mode knows that it means that you're pretty much invincible. so that's what god moding was. because the same people who did the old school D&D roleplaying which evolved into online roleplaying were mostly computer gamers and such so they knew what god mode was.

i mean, even if it doesnt clear anything up... there's some interesting info on theorized stems  on the name. cause nobody really knows which is which, just this way seems to hold a lot of water.

Trainer Dave

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2011, 08:18 »
^ I think that goes to demonstrate very well why RPers can never seem to reach a consensus on this issue.

To my eyes, the confusion exists because:
God-modding -
While 'God Mode' in games does signify the invincible state for a player, 'modding' does not necessarily shorten to this. (As usual, nobody seems to know whether 'Modd' comes from 'moderating' or 'modifying'.) However, in some online RPG games a server's 'God Mod' effectively has the ability to take control over any character or aspect of the game. This is where I believe the confusion stems from.

Power Playing is a bit more obvious - Is it making your character too strong, or is it 'playing to the extreme' in taking control of other's characters.
'Powergaming' is a similar word which might set some light on this - it being when someone plays their character in a way which maximises progress, such as assuming every attack is successful.

So yes, this one is going to be impossible to clarify in the long run, but that's exactly why I'm just stating it in the FAQ one way to avoid confusion. I'm yet to find an RP where either of these is allowed.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 08:20 by Equinox »

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2011, 20:52 »
Well done for reposting this =] I think this time somebody should make it a sticky, to save the time of having to re-post. It also means it will be there for the future RPer's, and can be edited by either yourself, or certain moderators, to become more up to date.

I may post this into my RP rules from now on, so that if anybody doesn't understand, they can click the link and go directly to it.
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Offline Legacy

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 13:07 »
You could add a note about rping in the 3rd person, since some new RPers start using 1st person.

I'd be happy to write it out for you.
No man is ever truly good.
No man is ever truly evil.
I do the things you never could,
and we won't ever be equal

Trainer Dave

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 14:30 »
Of course, there are usually more 'RP rules' than the ones above, so it's best to read through everything before joining.

Typically, you'll be expected to write in third person while RPing - 'He' did something, rather than 'I' (first person). This usually isn't written into the rules, but is still expected. Some creators don't mind first-person posts, but it's best to check beforehand when signing up.

Added the above clause under rules (totally not because the character limit is already reached in the post before and I want to keep things in tidy sections). Thanks for the suggestion.

Probably need to get in touch with an admin over the stickying situation, I can't remember if we asked before, but I know they're not fond of sticky topics. (I suppose in this case it's fairly useful though). I'll put that on my 'to do' list.

Offline Legacy

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 14:53 »
Tis no problem =]

Yeah it would definitely be best to sticky it. It's got pretty much everything someone needs to know about RPing here, so it'd be best to have it up there, rather than digging through, and having to keep it alive by posting bumps into it -__-
No man is ever truly good.
No man is ever truly evil.
I do the things you never could,
and we won't ever be equal

OranBerrySandvich

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 17:16 »
I know nobody's posted on this for a while, but I'm determined to get it noticed. And hopefully stickied. See, it has come to my attention that this board is slowly getting more posters. And we need those people to know what to do here. I'm not going to name the person, but I've seen some, to my mind, dreadful RPing by that person.

Offline Legacy

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Re: Role-Play FAQ
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2011, 23:17 »
Well sadly due to there being no moderator for this board at this time, we must find somebody who CAN sticky this topic. I'm agreed, it needs stickying, and sooner rather than later to prevent the need of re-writing this again, or something similar.
No man is ever truly good.
No man is ever truly evil.
I do the things you never could,
and we won't ever be equal