Page name: Chapter 2. How does free form RP work? [Logged in view]
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Role-Playing for Dummies
Chapter 2: How Does Free Form Role-Playing Work?
Seems pretty simple but sometimes I wonder, especially when I look some people play... god, the salt... –shudders-
Anyway, lets get down with it!
The System of Free Form Role-Playing
There isn't really a system for free form role playing, that's why we call it free form. We have no dices to regulate how hard we hit or how good our luck will turn out to be. Now this may seems complicated, but it's actually pretty simple; it's all about how you choose to write what you want to do.
So, how do I play "the right way"?
There are four important things you should remember to play a good character/role.
Note: This doesn't include all the regulations people can apply to their game.
First off, the biggest thing you should always and I say ALWAYS remember to use your sense of judgment. We all have a sense of judgment; some are just less aware of it than other. Those people need to start off by working on developing that sense of judgment before jumping into things too suddenly. My advice here is to take your time when you chose the course of action you want to go through with your character and ask yourself the right questions: Would my character really react this way? Would it really say this? Is it even possible for me to do this in this setting? Try not to act on gut feelings; chances are you'll end up role-playing yourself rather than your character.
Second, always remember who your character is! If you drift off into traits you never had mentioned in the personality part of your sheet and that nothing in the story triggered you to evolve this way, people may not have fun and may stop wanting to role-play with you.
Third and fourth, respect others and follow the honor system! These are very important things to remember when you play. If you don't respect the other players OOC you're going to have a hard time playing with them. It's difficult to set aside your feeling of hate for others and you will not enjoy role-play with them either at all. This also means you may end up wanting to play unfairly and might want to overpower them all the time. Respect also applies for the GM(s). If you don't respect them then you may as well just leave the role-play. While GM(s) are supposed to be neutral, they don't appreciate being rubbed the wrong way. While they won't try to kill your character out of fairness, they also won't make any efforts the make the game more fun for you either.
Note: What is the honor system? It simply means to play fairly, don't cheat. Be honorable. This doesn't mean your character, just you as a player. If you heard information out of character that could get another character killed, don't use it in character and don't look for it in character unless you already have hints in character.
Lets recapitulate! First, use your sense of judgment to deal with situation wisely while, second, always remembering who your character is and third respecting your fellow players and GM by following the honor system.
When you think about it, this all comes back to something we like to call GOD MODING. If you go against all these four wonderful things I've listed, you end up having an incoherent god moding character and I swear, no one likes that.
So, how about fighting now?
Mischeif Dragon on Gaia Online has allowed me to rewrite what he has written for my tutorial as long as I gave him credit so, that's what I'm doing! Credit goes to Mischeif Dragon for this part of my tutorial.
God Moding - /godmode on
God moding, also known as power play is VERY and maybe TOO common amongst newbies. Don't know what god moding is? Well, I'll tell you and better yet show you.
God moding is consisted of going against all rules and regulations in a role playing game along with disrespecting other members and GMs. Basically, your character is a total god that can't be killed or have a punch landed on but that can take on anything and come out with not even a scratch.
Auto Hits - You die, I winz!
Auto hits are something I've seen one too many times. They really should NOT be used at any cost what so ever never ever ever ever ever!!!!!!! Role-playing is meant to be consensual, this means generally before you even fight in an RP you'd be best to discuss it with the one your attacking (preferably in private messages or instant messages so as to not interrupt flow of RP) and make sure that the opportunity to attack is well chosen. Don't just walk with the player IC being all friendly to turn on him seconds after.
We understand that people might anger you while you play and you might want to attack him or her. Keep in mind that when you attack you MUST NEVER SAY in any case what so ever that you have done any damage to them. Doing so is considered as auto-hitting.
Example of auto-hitting and how to correct it.
Jack swings his two handed bastard sword at Jill's legs cutting them both off.
Jack swings his two handed bastard sword at Jill's legs in attempt to cut them both off.
Never write the outcome of your actions! Instead it's best to state your characters intentions to his actions.
Now let's see how to reply without auto-hitting or god moding.
Auto-hit and god mode reply:
Jill's legs are slashed but not cut off. She runs over at Jack and slashes at him, aiming for his wrist cutting them making Jack unable to hold his sword anymore.
Auto-hit and god mode reply corrected, possibility number 1:
Jill jumps back as she sees the blade of the sword coming at her. Thought she had jumped back Jack's attempt at cutting her legs off fails but instead it manages to slash at her legs. Still standing despite the pain given by the rather deep cuts on her legs Jill runs over at Jack as she screams out a painful battle cry while attempting to slash at his wrists in order to disarm him.
Now you see here that Jill ‘s legs are hurting very badly. This will affect her balance and endurance in battle especially if she gets hit on her cuts again. You must take in consideration the pain of your character for the following posts.
This could also have turned out in the following way.
Auto-hit and god mode reply corrected, possibility number 2:
Jill jumps back as she sees the blade coming at her. Thought she jumped back she soon realized it wasn't enough. Soon enough Jill crumbled to the ground in pain as he legs gave in on her.
This is most likely the end of the battle for Jill. As you've noticed there are plenty of possibilities to make a simple move turn out either good or bad with out having to god mode.
Now let's move on to things you should take in consideration about your character when you fight. There are two main things I will discuss: physics and weaknesses.
Physics – Damned physics! It's your fault I can't fly!!
People tend to forget about the laws of physics when they gear up their characters. They give them 10 weapons, a big heavy armor and a bundle of random items to carry yet they can still jump as if they were light like a feather and run as fast as the wind.
I understand that some characters might have inhuman strength, but take in consideration that not everyone can and that no matter your strength, there is always a limit. This subject touches god moding as well as fair fighting and conscience of your characters state and position. Gravity only pushes down, that's why things fall to the ground.
Lets take a few things in detail now.
Overall clothes and armor: It's always best to research and study on what your character will be wearing, how much it weights and what the movement capacities are with what you plan on making him or her wear.
Knight and armor: If your character is a knight or has a wonderful shiny armor all over him, his armor probably weighs half as much as he does. Knowing that you should remember that this would complicate your character's movement and restrain him from doing certain things. The way armor is pieced together is an important factor to how much your character can move.
Weapons and fighting styles: When it comes to fighting styles and weapons, it's the same thing as clothes. Do your research on the fighting styles and weapons you want to use with your character.
The katana in detail: I've noticed a lot of people liked to use the katana probably due to all the anime they've seen heard of and have been around. I've also noticed that some people were not aware of all the other wonderful Japanese weapons that existed and why they were created. Now we all know what a katana looks like but have you ever heard of the wakizashi? The wakizashi is a sword just like the katana but shorter. It was created for indoor fighting because some have noticed that the katana was too long and that restricted people's movement. Next time, when you choose a fighting weapon try to evaluate if you'll be using it inside or outside in order to judge how much your movement might be restricted.
The sword in particular: A simple sword may not seem that heavy at first grasp after being swung a lot you will eventually grow tired, especially your arm, no matter what your endurance may be. Also remember that thought you may see a lot of people do fancy moves in movies and video games most of the time they will get you killed 9 times out of 10. Even now, the fancy moves in video games are hard to do. I would namely point out Soul Calibur II for Playstation2 and Game Cube as a good resource. Try making fancy moves against the computer when they're at hard or very hard mode. It's not easy... unless I just suck at the game.
Weaknesses – I r the invincible!
This also comes back to god moding. All characters and I say ALL character MUST and DO have weaknesses. If you're thinking about making this ultimate character with no weaknesses please give me a liter of Javex or two I feel thirsty.
The lack of weaknesses is one of the major and biggest problems with newbies. They come online thinking they'll be god like people and I blame their ego for it. Just because you are cool in real life doesn't mean you'll be uber strong out on the internet. Now lets take a certain things into detail.
Gods, angels and demons: I've seen a few role-plays out here about god, angels and demons. I personally dislike them due to the people that over do the lack of weaknesses and the huge amount of power given to their characters. Gods, angels and demons are pretty much like normal people, they can die. The only reason they are considered as gods, angels or demons is because of something inhuman they have once done in their existence. Thought they probably have a longer life span and have superb strong points they also have weaknesses. It's a good thing to research on existing gods such as the popular roman mythology gods and Egyptian pharaohs, which were also considered as gods.
Immortals: No matter how immortal you say you are, you should know you aren't. Vampires and undead are usually countered with holy magic and objects or simple sunlight. Thought in some special cases vampires may be countered by other things such as werewolves and may not be necessarily killed with sticks in the heart. It's up to you to do your research. Usual in vampire role playing games the GMs will set up specifications on how the vampires can be defeated.
Weakness or personal issue – Argh! I'm so scared!!
I've seen people bring up a few “weaknesses” for their characters with out thinking about it too much. Personal weaknesses can be over come and that's why they are BAD! They don't have to be avoided but they aren't things to actually be considered as weaknesses but more as issues and things to make your character more interesting.
Suggested weakness traits:
Elemental weakness - Elemental weakness is the easiest to focus on. If you can blow fire, coldness would likely not appeal to you. Remember, if you're always in the tropics, this wouldn't count as a counter balance weakness.
Counter Balance - You can move quickly, remember that objects have matter. Your brain can't always register and translate data at a fast speed, this means you might hit the tree before you see it. Also remember that speed often associates with lack of defense due to light armor or no armor at all. You can't have both good armor and good speed.
Thanks Mischeif Dragon, that was very educational!
There are many things to remember when you post to make gaming both interesting and fun for everyone.
- Remember, you aren't alone in the game and you aren't the center of the story. Always take your surroundings and role-play mates under consideration; they too have evolving characters.
- Don't be afraid to put detail! I've noticed that many people tend to stick to the basics of what they want to accomplish and don't try and take the time to think about the details they could involve in what they are writing to give the other player material to work with. No one likes to spend their time writing a few paragraphs to get a few words and nothing to work with in return.
Note: Here are some things to remember about details. I've been role-playing for a very long time and I've had my fair share of ups and downs when it came to details. Remember that not everyone cares about the smallest little detail on everything and it can cause the game to become very boring if there is too much. So, with this in mind, remember that if it isn't going to affect the scene and doesn't have a moderately important relation with the character, then you probably shouldn't bother with it. No one cares to read 3 sentences about the sweat drops rolling down along the side of your cold glass of coke.
- Follow your characters personality traits!! Also stick with the same background history.
- Don't post too quickly and too often, everyone has the right to reply.
- Take in consideration other people's presence and actions. They aren't invisible you know. If they have entered the scene in a way where your character would notice the, always take what they are doing under consideration. If they interact with you, reply accordingly.
- Always try to imagine the scene in your mind as if you were present in it yourself. Something I've recently noticed I've been doing for years is they way I imagine things.
Note: I've noticed a little something that I want to share with the lot of you. For starters, I think in pictures. I'm not going to elaborate on how people think and the way we see things in out minds, but this is relevant to me and may help other people that think in a similar way. So I think in pictures and therefore imagine with images. For the longest time, when I pictured myself in a scene, I always imagined things in anime cartoon style. I've noticed that to a degree this deeply influenced the way I described my characters and made them rather unrealistic. They were passable, but also stereotypical in a sense. Anime has this general preset "perfect" character preset you can drift from slightly, but it never really gets close to what is real. Often times people in real life won't have these presets. Men will have chest hair and scruffy beards and women will have small breasts and cellulose. So as an additional note, try and imagine things as if they were real life and not cartoons.
- Thesaurus.com is a very good tool to use when you need vocabulary variation or word definitions.
- Use the spell checker before submitting your post.
- AVOID THE USE OF SMILEYS AT ALL TIMES!
Return to Role Playing for Dummies
On to Chapter 3. Building my character.
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