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Role-Playing for Dummies

Chapter 1: Introduction to Role-Playing





What is Role-Playing?



Basically, the words speak for themselves. Role-playing is playing the role of a character/person. In this case the character is usually your own creation. A more detailed explanation is given below for those of you that still don't get it. If you do understand however, you can skip ahead to the next section.

So lets start off with the word “role”.

Definition of "role": A character or part played by a performer.

Pretty simple, right? No? Ok, keep reading.
There are three important keywords in the definition given above.

Character: That would be the character you have created and will be playing during the game. It may evolve and change such as all humans do, but you must always remember to play along the lines of what you have written. Most people have a set of morals that are very difficult for them to break to break; they don't suddenly decide to just go evil one morning.

Part: This is the part your character will play in the story line. Note that the part you'll be playing isn't necessarily going to be super important and many other people might be playing a similar part too. It's up to you to make it unique, but be careful not to try and be the center of attention. As a general rule, characters will evolve around the story line more than the story line around the characters.

Performer: That would be you: the player, the performer, the actor. And of course, we all know that to be a good performer we need to know our role/part. *hint* *hint*

On to the word "playing"!

Playing:
  - To occupy oneself
  - To take part in a game
  - To act
  - To act or conduct oneself in a specified way
  - To be performed, as in a theater
  - To assume the role of; act as
  - To pretend to be; mimic the activities of
  - Fun or jesting
  - To participate in; engage in
  - And so on!!

Now, you see the many definitions the word playing has? The words in italic are words you SHOULD REALLY remember when you role-play. The two definitions in bold letters are the ones that apply to the role-playing context the best.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what role-playing is and means.




Types of Role-Playing Games



Are there different types of role-playing games?

Why yes, there are! Quite a few actually.

Here's a list of some of the different types of role-playing methods I know of. If you can enlighten me on some of the ones I have not listed or given a wrong description, please let me know and I will fix it as soon as I notice.

  - The Elftown system: I haven't spent much time with this, but from what I can tell the side of the page allows you to generate a random number whenever the page is edited. If you wish to use this, you'll have to figure out a system to integrate it in.

  - Dice role-playing games: The most popular game and reference using this system would be Dungeons & Dragons. There are SEVERAL other types of dice role-playing games out there aside from that one though. Basically, the developers of the game have already set up a dice system which they provide to those that wish to run and play the game. The idea behind it is to roll dice in order to accomplish or figure out the outcome of several actions or events. Usually it relates to battle, but it can also apply to the different types of skills your character may have or things you may be trying to accomplish. The most popular dice games come with books, which can be found at comic book shops or game shops.

Note: You CAN develop a dice system yourself! You do not have to base it off a preexisting system.

  - Free form type role-playing games: These appear to be the most common kind of games across Elftown. This is basically the kind of role-playing this tutorial focuses on. It functions on an honor system and involves a lot of self-moderation and judgment. Under most circumstances, there won't be any numbers or dice systems attached to these games, but it has been known for some people to attach a very basic number system to their game.




Definitions



Here are several definitions you will often encounter while role-playing.

RolePlay: To assume the role of
RP or RPing : Means role-play or role-playing
OOC: Out Of Character or (( Insert text here ))
IC: In Character ( i.e. To resume the role you were role-playing as. )
God Moding or Meta Gaming: Making your character a super-being who can't die, ignoring the role-playing rules, using information that was obtained our of character in character. This is explained in further detail in chapter two at the fighting section.
Game Master (GM), Storyteller (ST) and/or Dungeon Master (DM): The GM, ST or the DM is basically the person/people that creates and leads the role-playing game, controlling all it's NPCs, events and battles. This person is neutral and also the god of the game. GMs have the last word and should not be argued with when they make a decision. GM is also not to be confused with God Moding.
NPC: Non Playing/Playable Character - Under most circumstances, these will be played by the game master. However, several people - especially with the 1x1 games - tend to play NPCs alongside their own characters to give the game and atmosphere flavor. After all, there aren't just 10 people in the world and someone needs to be there to run the ice cream store, right?
Storyline: Every RP has a story in it. Usually a paragraph will summarize the storyline on the first page of every role-play you're going to participate in. This means you should make sure you read through that little paragraph before jumping in. Some games will have a more detailed storyline linked on their main page. I would advise you read that as well because it will generally help with your character creation later on.
Closed RP: A close RP means that it is restricted for ONLY the users that were invited. It's best not to disrupt other role-plays that you're not involved with or check around and see if they have any auditions so you might be able to be invited then. Sometimes it may also mean that the role-play has ended and is no longer active.
Open RP: An open RP means it's open to anyone. It often happens that there are no auditions to pass for those.
Auditions: Consists of giving the GM(s) your character sheet and sometimes a sample of your role-playing abilities so that they can evaluate if you are or are not what they are looking for.
Role-playing Rules : Every role-play has their own set of role-playing rules, please follow them to avoid embarrassment and/or getting kicked out.
Original Characters : This is a character of your own unique creation. This does not mean you cannot base your character on an existing one, but people will probably able to tell if you do that.
Symbols: While I advise against the use of symbols, some individuals will often use asterisks ( * ), dashes ( - ) or other symbols to mark actions.




Back to Role Playing for Dummies
On to Chapter 2. How does free form RP work?

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2006-07-29 [The Fuzzily Psychotic Llama is Dead]: BTW, the person who wrote this forgot to mention what "GM"s were, just for anyone who doesn't know it's "Game Moderator" and not "God Moding."

2006-07-29 [Lunnie]: Right, that has been forgotten, thanks.

2006-09-16 [Black demon]: I've another ues for symbols... In a writing RP (like a story that writes itself becuse the RPers writes long or short messages. I do often use "Italic" for my thougts...

2006-09-17 [Lunnie]: Italic works for thoughts even if people don't often express their character's thoughts directly that way. :3

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