Then it hit me. I could cry like nobody's business. I could roleplay. I love roleplay and think roleplayers are amazing. They are by definition the most social people on the grid, because they interact with others ALL the time. There is an etiquette to roleplay and common sense rules that experienced roleplayers follow, no matter what type or style of roleplay they engage in. So here is a very basic tutorial on Second Life text based roleplay.
1. When you go to a roleplay sim, read the rules and the backstory. If they calls for a certain type of dress, comply. If you merely want to observe - and I highly suggest observing before jumping into roleplay - follow the sim rules for observers. Roleplay sims are typically immersive environments and it's just common courtesy to respect their right to keep it that way. If you don't like the backstory for some reason or find the premise offensive, just leave and look for a roleplay environment that makes you more comfortable. They're out there.
2. Pay attention to the style of roleplay. By this I mean one-line roleplay - where each post is a quick line of text; paragraph (often called para) roleplay - each post being a carefully crafted and descriptive paragraph; and my favorite - semi-paragraph (semi-para) roleplay - which combines the two. None of these styles of roleplay are wrong, but people have definite preferences and tend to prefer to play with others with the same preferences. If you're new to roleplay, you'll quickly learn which style you prefer by experimenting with all three.
3. In character and out of character are terms that are shortened to IC and OOC. Most roleplay sims have similar rules about OOC postings in open chat. Open chat is for IC. IM's are for OOC unless you need to say something to a group that is assembled to roleplay. To make it clear to everyone that you're making an OOC comment, double parentheses are typically used ((like this)). If you are observing at a roleplay sim and most of the posts in open chat are OOC, then you may want to look for another place to roleplay.
4. Once you've chosen a roleplay environment that suits you, choose a role and build a back story for your character. You should speak with a sim administrator about the roles available, but what you do with the role is up to you. Accept feedback from the administrator about your back story with good grace. He or she probably has a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't in that particular sim. If you want to be a 20 year-old princess from a far away land who has run away from an evil and aged royal fiancee, fine. But if every female roleplayer comes in wanting to be a variant of that same princess, and no one ever wants to be a saucy serving wench whose penniless parents need to be supported by her meager wages, then consider that other idea. Roleplay is more interesting when there is variety.
5. So, after all that observing and creating your character, you're ready to play. Have a plan and a direction you want your character to go in, but stay flexible. Roleplay isn't a novel written by a single author. It's a subtle dance between multiple players. You need to pick up on signals from other roleplayers. For instance, if you decide you want an in character rivalry with another player, explore that idea through your postings. A good roleplayer will pick up on your idea and may be delighted to engage in that rivalry. Or they may not, because their character just doesn't roll that way. Don't be discouraged, try something else. The most popular roleplayers are players who are generous with their storylines, bring others into them, and participate in furthering other players' stories.
6. Learn what godmoding is and avoid it. Godmoding is dictating the actions of another player in your post, or refusing to accept the consequences of roleplay. I think it's easiest to understand through example. In the first example:
- Dolly gives Ayla a tight little smile as her eyes fall on the fragrant peach pie, still warm from the oven. Without considering her action, she picks up the pie, weighs it in her hand and reaches over the small table, grinding its peachy stickiness into Ayla's surprised face.
- Dolly gives Ayla a tight little smile as her eyes fall on the fragrant peach pie, still warm from the oven. Without considering her action, she picks up the pie, weighs it in her hand and reaches over the small table, aiming the flaky pastry straight at Ayla's face.
The other example of godmoding - refusing to accept the consequences of roleplay - is less common but more infuriating when it does occur. Let's use the pie example, and this time we'll make Ayla the godmoder:
- Dolly gives Ayla a tight little smile as her eyes fall on the fragrant peach pie, still warm from the oven. Without considering her action, she picks up the pie, weighs it in her hand and reaches over the small table, aiming the flakey pastry straight at Ayla's face.
- Ayla quirks a brow. As soon as she sees the gleam in Dolly's eye she draws a wooden shield from her apron pocket, blocking Dolly from hitting her in the face with pie.
7. One last basic rule that may be obvious, but is often flouted - take turns posting. Once you post, your roleplay partner begins to craft a response. If you then post again before they have a chance to respond, they have to stop, read the addition to your post, maybe erase what they posted and incorporate the new material you provided into their response. That is very frustrating with two players. Imagine six players in a single scene all posting willy nilly. It's chaos and doesn't work. Experienced roleplayers often work out an order of posting and stick to it. Wait your turn, even if you think of something brilliant to say!
Well, there it is - the basics of roleplay. If it sounds like too much trouble, then roleplay probably isn't your thing. That's okay. But if the idea of telling a story through interaction with others makes your creative juices flow, give it a try. I hope I was a little help to someone who has an interest but wasn't sure how to get started.
Now excuse me while I try to figure out what an OS might be.
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