Advanced Roleplay Guide: A few thoughts and tips on how to better the nuances of your roleplay.
Written by Thotboxx & Doherty
I’ve noticed that we have 1-2 basic roleplay guides explaining the meaning of powergaming, metagaming, etc, but no guides teaching our newest players how to avoid the “park rat” or “noob” style of roleplay that has become so prevalent. I’m sure we'll get called elitists when writing this guide, but these are a few things that I honestly believe most players should use when they roleplay. They’ll increase the quality of your roleplay and make more people want to roleplay with you, regardless of whether you’re an expert or a newbie. See this guide as a sort of 10 Commandments type list.
1. Describe what only needs to be described, keep your /me’s short and concise. A lot of people are going to rag on me for this, but I think it finally needs to be said officially. Describing how you sipped your coffee, how you lit your cigarette, and how your character took a breath is unnecessary and wears out whoever’s reading your lines pretty quick. I tend to skip over such lines after 2-3 words because I know I’m reading something pointless. /me sips his coffee (or even /me sips), /me strikes up a X cigarette brand, /me pants et cetera are sufficient.
That being said, you should not worry about WHAT you’re narrating, only HOW you’re doing it. Roleplaying more actions is not a bad thing at all, and breathes a little more life into your character. The amount of actions for the most part is irrelevant, what matters is how much time you spend describing these actions. Also, don’t be afraid to roleplay little details that pertain to your character’s personality. If you want to roleplay your character wearing a certain kind of suit, smoking a specific brand of cigarette, driving a particular car, again, those are fine and breathe life into your character. Just don’t waste people’s time by occupying 2-3 lines explaining every option your character’s car came with or the exact measurements of said suit.
Don’t narrate your character’s thoughts in /me. While /me ponders or /me thinks are fine as they show your character’s performing an action, doing an in depth /me of your character remembering a certain event or narrating their exact thoughts through /me is kinda lame. You should also avoid describing the reasoning behind your character’s actions in /me, i.e /me does X because X.
Finally, you’re obviously free to fit multiple actions into one /me. However, I would recommend that you avoid using a lot of commas and simply split them with a period. It’ll make your readers feel a little less winded and draws attention to each action being performed.
Bad example: Frank Necchi reaches into his pocket, withdrawing a lighter, he brings it to the cigarette and lights it before sticking it in his mouth.
Good example: Frank Necchi strikes up a Winston.
Good example with extra details: Frank Necchi strikes up a Winston. He sports a flashy engraved lighter.
2. If at all possible, do not use /do. This one will come as a shock to many players, I myself used /do frequently back in the day. But put simply, anything expressed in /do can usually be expressed in /me. The difference between the two is that /me is much less ugly and lacks the OOC brackets and character names that often break the immersion for a moment.
Additionally, you should never ask for a response or give a response to an action in /do. This is again, an immersion breaker and generally looks pretty ugly in the chat. If somebody roleplays punching you, restraining you, or any other action that elicits a response, simply reply with a /me indicating your character’s actions. If you’re the one performing the action, be concise as usual and give them a reasonable timeframe to respond.
Please don’t use any first person pronouns in /do either. You’re not your character!
Bad examples: There are bruises all over my face. (( Frank Necchi ))
Frank Necchi attempts to handcuff Candon Broadley.
Able? (( Frank Necchi ))
Candon is successfully handcuffed. (( Candon Broadley ))
Good examples: Frank Necchi’s face is badly bruised.
Frank Necchi goes in to cuff Candon.
Candon Broadley’s compliant.
See the difference? In the first example, we linger on these actions for a ridiculous amount of time. But in the second example, both roleplayers are in tune with one another and on an OOC level are collaborating. They understand what’s going on and want to keep the roleplay going without unnecessary delay.
Do not forget the /my command. I think many players either aren't aware of its existence or are not sure of how to use it properly. It's a highly underrated command which can, once again, help you to cut down/eradicate the use of /do in your roleplay. It can be used to describe a physical aspect of your character (maybe more elegantly so than if you were using /me), such as "/my wearing a black hoodie" or some such description. It can be used in a myriad of ways, really. I often see situations which go as follows;
A new roleplayer walks into a situation, say a robbery, and the robber/robbee will say something like :
"/do Robert is on the floor with his hands behind his back." This is a NO NO! You can roleplay this line very elegantly and keep the new arriver perfectly aware of what's occurring with a simple /my line, or a /me.
"/my on the floor with his hands behind his back."
This will allow the roleplay to flow properly and not be horribly chopped up with a half-arsed /do.
3. Don’t overuse clothing objects. A pair of sunglasses, a badge object, or keeping a gun /holstered on you is acceptable. Anything beyond that is a no-go. Don’t use hair objects, don’t make beards for your character, don’t make hoodies out of a traffic vest. It looks ridiculous, and people won’t take you seriously. It also will clash with skin mods that some people use, and you’re not going to gain a lot of respect when people have to edit their screenshots to accommodate your massive array of clothing objects.
Also consider your use of /vattachments and vehicle mods. Do you often see a lot of people shooting about IRL with absolutely ridiculous rims and a number of other god awful accessories on their cars? Think about realism and immersion. That's the whole point of this guide. You've got to act real if you want to actually get the best out of what we all enjoy as a community; heavy roleplay.
4. OOC Communication. A lot of people will go into /b or even worse, /do to make an OOC comment about something they found funny. Don’t do this guys, it annoys the hell out of people who are trying to stay immersed in their roleplay and have to scroll past your OOC bullshit to do so. If you must make a comment, have the common courtesy to keep it in /pm. Don’t use OOC means to ask somebody what they meant in an emote/chat line either. Either google it if it’s an expression you don’t know or ask ICly. “In what way?” “What do you mean, man?” You’ll get an IC answer to a question that should be IC.
5. Ditch /attempt. Drop the /attempt command. You CANNOT, you genuinely CANNOT be taken seriously as a roleplayer if you use the /attempt command during roleplay. Truth be told, such a command doesn't belong on a heavy RP server such as RCRP. Normalize using /me's to sort out a fight or some other action in the course of which you would usually use /attempt. Fair, well-balanced fight RP (or a myriad of other forms of RP) is perfectly possible through use of colourful language and well thought-out RP lines, and above everything else RPing fairly (i.e. not powergaming! Know your character's limitations, and take that into account when you get involved in a scuffle or some such event, embrace integrity and be true to your character. Don't break the immersion). But please, for the love of RP, don't use /attempt. How could a scripted command like that ever, and I mean ever, replace the infinite number of possibilities of expressing yourself through /me? Embrace the roleplay, embrace making it fair, embrace LOSING when you have to, don't just let your RP (no matter who you are, if you want to be a brilliant RPer? You can be one) be filed down to some poxy use of /attempt.
6. Grammar Tips. Fix your punctuation and your grammar. If you can't be bothered to log in and give it your best effort in order to roleplay properly, you may as well log off and come back later. Don't half-arse anything. "/me too" is lazy RP. It's too widespread. Embrace the English language and use it to form correct RP lines that are enjoyable to read. Trust me, you'll start enjoying it too. If there's one thing I can recommend to help you with your RP, your English skills and feed your inspiration, is to READ. Read a book. There are plenty of free books online. Find, buy or borrow a book (in English) about a topic that interests you, and trust me, you'll feel your RP improving without even knowing where it comes from. If you can't be bothered to at least do this? I have news for you.
Here’s a few things people often do incorrectly when typing:
Using ellipses incorrectly. If you are trying to use ellipses, it is “...”
It is “...”
Use ellipses to show that your character’s trailing off, or maybe some thoughtfulness in your character’s words. If you’re trying to show they’re being cut off or you need to continue a sentence over multiple lines, use --, not -, not ---, and of course, not -...
People omit words for very little reason. /me too is not grammatically correct, and would be correct if you took the time to type a lovely little “does” between those two words. /me does too is fine.
Use commas and periods properly. In a /me, if you are performing two actions, make sure it’s grammatically correct.
Frank Necchi grabs his baton, puts it in his belt.
Frank Necchi grabs his baton. Puts it in his belt.
Frank Necchi grabs his baton, putting it in his belt.
Frank Necchi grabs his baton. He puts it in his belt.
Along with this goes the other basic little things. Use periods and commas when necessary. Don’t use apostrophes inappropriately (they should only be used to substitute specific letters that are missing or in contractions, although with the former many people choose to leave them out), nobody wants to see aye’ or gonna’ in the chat.
I also have to ask that you roleplay the dialect correctly. Unless your character is a foreigner and would have a different vernacular, don’t go around calling people mate, lad, et cetera. Don’t yell oi to get somebody’s attention. Americans don’t talk like that.
Of course, some people on RCRP clearly can't be helped. If you're spending all day lighting camp fires around the park, playing stupid songs on a boombox or abusing /dance without any RP whatsoever, then I suggest you seriously reconsider your right to a spot on the server. For most roleplayers? It's common sense. This is a heavy roleplay server, and nobody has any excuse to treat it in some other way. Act like people do in real life, and you'll realise that your RP is improving. Think before you act.
Now, don't get me wrong here; these points are harsh, but they're the truth, and it's what a lot of people need to hear. It's not elitism, it's realism. This is 2020.
If you're still stuck four or five years in the past when rules on RP were rather lax, then you need to seriously update your way of thinking or get banned pronto.
Another thing; once you're intent on improving your RP, LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Don't tolerate people acting like idiots and roleplaying lazily and improperly. Call people out on their bullshit. Don't just sit on the fence and watch people drag down the standards.
If you think realism cannot be fun or entertaining, I ask you to browse the character story and faction archive sections of the forums. Look at Thotboxx, Khaleesi, ndrangheta, Slipky, ferg, Sinnex, Smith n Wesson, Danzig, 50p, Sadman...the list goes on. Plenty of films, books, and other forms of entertainment are grounded in reality, and can still provide a fascinating narrative.
And when you look back on your character's development? You'll realize. You'll see WHY you're RPing realistically. There's nothing more satisfying RP-wise than building a character from scratch and watching him grow and evolve, and RP accordingly.
It's this long standing disdain for realism that has held our server back and prevented some of our top roleplayers from getting the recognition they deserve. It's about time we get rid of this irrational fear of not being able to defy reality, assuming doing so would be “fun”.
People often tell roleplayers like us to go and roleplay within our little groups. That's what we've done for so long, but we're starting to get fed up. Why is it that in a roleplay server we must form our own little club just to enjoy ourselves, lest we get harassed by the rest of the server who's never been taught how to roleplay properly? Why is it unreasonable to suggest that we raise our standards so that almost every player on RC-RP can interact with one another and at least be able to say they didn't have a negative interaction. The issue has never truly been our player base. We could operate with half of LS-RP's and still do fine for ourselves. The issue is that of that half, a minute amount can provide anything of value to the server. So to end this guide, I ask every reader. Why is this okay, and if it's not, what are we going to do about it?
That’s all folks. Happy roleplaying.