10 Basic Rules for RPing:
1. No godmodding, even in the slightest. Leave everything open for anything to happen, and then if you're RPing with another good RPer, they will respond reasonably. This means you never control another characters actions, and never make it impossible for a character to get out of a situation. If youve set up a precedent for something and the other RPer can also follow rules, then the RP will go well. For example, having guards come out of nowhere and surround someone to make it impossible for them to get away or fight their way out is godmodding. If however theyve say, infiltrated a castle and youve set a precedent that youve got guards there, then that would likely be okay, so long as you keep things realistic. The guards wont be there immediately, it takes time for them to arrive and respond. And please, for sanitys sake, keep the number realistic. If youre in a castle, you arent going to have 10,000 guards. Its a castle not a military fort with barracks.
2. Your character is realistic. They're people, they have flaws, and they are not experts in every field. They aren't immortal. You can't just pull something out of your ass to make things go in your favor. Work with what you started with. Give your character flaws. Give them fears. Give them hopes and dreams and aspirations. Give them personality quirks. And, when RPing, if they are in battle, make them get hurt! No one will come out of a battle completely unscathed, it just doesnt happen. You want an example? One of my characters got his hand blown off. Another has split personality disorder and argues with himself. Another is covered in scars. Another is old. Ive got one whos obsessive and doesnt really have expertise in anything. Another one is an addict. Give them flaws. It adds a whole new depth to the character and makes others think of them as real people.
3. Good grammar! This should go without saying. Use good sentence structure, please. Learn the proper uses for there/theyre/their, your/youre, its/its, where/were/were, to/too, etc. Make sure what youve written would make sense if said out loud. Use spell check. Double check before posting to make sure there isnt anything you forgot. Its a proven fact that poor grammar makes you look less intelligent, and so far its held true. How many of you can honestly say that youve never once gone, What an idiot, when youve seen something misspelled? Just look at job applications. If theres a misspelling on a resume, its thrown out. Doesnt matter how good it is or how many degrees you have, if you cant spell, you wont be hired. The same applies in RPing as well. Thats why so many RP forums are now starting to make people create bios for their characters so they can make sure that people are following the rules and will make good RPers that would keep to the standards of the site.
4. Dont refer to something unrelated. If your character isn't good at something, don't reference what they're good at to get out of a situation. Go with what you established. One of the biggest pet peeves I have is when someone refuses to own up to godmodding. They godmod, theyre called on it by several people, and they promptly change the subject, or give an excuse for why they did it. There is no excuse for godmodding, ever. Dont be one of those people. They are hated. Ive seen people claim they can do something because theyre the head of such and such faction/gang/society/etc. Just because your character is in charge of others, does not give you the right to godmod. When you do, youre seen as a power-hungry, mediocre, RPer. Yes Im being mean about it. Its a serious problem and the people who are like that are usually the ones who will yell and scream and throw out insults. However there are some power-hungry folks who wont scream and yell, or make threats. Instead, theyll feign politeness while still insulting others. They are the most irksome in my opinion because there are people out there who really are so dense that they dont realize when someone is doing that and so see nothing wrong with it.
5. No outrageous claims. Saying youre one of the top RPer's is total BS. You aren't. No one can claim to be one of the best, as everyone has different opinions on who is, and sadly, peoples "references" are often times good friends that will say good things just because they're friends, and not base it on fact. This ties in with number four a lot. Power hungry folks, seeking glory are the ones who make wild claims. If you cant be realistic, you shouldnt RP. No impossibly huge armies, folks. No super weapons that can kill said armies in one blow either. Both are big no-nos.
6. Your character cannot know about everything the moment it happens. If youve been reading another story-arc and something happens in it, your character cannot know it happened until your character is told by someone who was there or by someone who heard from someone who was there. The easiest way to spot mediocre and novice RPers is when they have their character react to something that their character has no way of knowing.
7. Post length. If I could stamp this with big red letters as something to pay attention to, I would. NO ONE LINERS! Period. Ever. Nothing says Im a poor quality RPer more than short, one line posts. No one lines, not two lines, not even three lines! You should have a minimum of four sentences in every post. Give it a little detail, people! Set the scene, let us know what your character is doing and saying in detail. Dont use vague, general descriptions. Its a guarantee, the more detail in your posts, the more in control of an RP you are. Now that doesnt mean godmodding, you still have to adhere to all the other rules, but if you set the scene, describe the surroundings and actions your character makes, then you can use it. Below are two examples of what I mean. Example 1 is the poor quality one. Example 2 is high quality.
Ex1: *Jason walked into the abandoned warehouse to confront the thugs.*
As you can see, very little detail is put into this post. So your character is going to confront people. How? You havent set the scene, youve got no weapon to speak of, in all, you can do very little in your future posts with that kind of a description. Its a very poor quality post that makes you look like an amateur, and will make you look even more like a novice if you suddenly start posting things that you havent set any precedent for.
Ex2: *Jason cautiously opened the door to the old warehouse and stepped inside. He glanced around at the debris strewn about the floor, all manner of metal pipes and broken machinery. Overhead, the metal catwalks hung from rust covered poles, the stairs leading up to them looked to be in disrepair. Moving through the warehouse, Jason made sure not to cause too much noise, else the thugs hear him.*
*Stopping next to a defunct machine, he bent over and picked up an iron pipe that was lying on the ground. He tested its weight to make sure he could swing it fast and then continued onward. As he rounded a corner he saw the thugs and, hesitantly, approached them.*
This one is obviously much better quality. As you can see, it set a scene. It gave descriptions of the warehouse and what was inside it. It mentioned all the debris on the floor, and thus, your character was able to take something from the debris to use as a weapon. In addition, describing the catwalks sets up for possible perils in future posts. If a fight where to somehow erupt and go to the catwalks, you have the precedent for them possibly falling due to the rust covered poles holding them up. You also get a sense that your character is human in this. As he, Hesitantly, approached them. The hesitation shows fear, doubt; it shows that the character is unsure of himself.
As you can see, adding detail adds a whole wealth of possibilities to your RPing and keeps things interesting.
8. Powers. Now, this mostly pertains to RPs where your character has magical abilities. Whether its Star Wars and you use the Force, to Harry Potter where its actually called magic. Nothing is overdone and godmodded more, than powers. Plain and simple, you arent all powerful, even if you think you should be. There needs to be limits. Lets use the force for our first example. Say your force wielding character enters a battle and uses the Force. The more powerful Force attacks you use, the quicker the power drains. One cannot use the Force indefinitely, it DOES tire you out and over exerting your character will make you pass out and then youll be at the mercy of anyone around. Lets try magic now. Say you cast a spell. Your character is not going to know how to perfectly cast all spells; in fact they likely wont know a single spell perfectly. Set limits on the power of your spells. Its okay to have one, maybe two that youre excellent at, beyond that, the power of the spells should be diminished. Heck, its even fun to see what happens if one backfires!
Remember, limit yourself. Just because these were the examples I used, doesnt mean they are the only things the limits apply to.
9. Disputes. If you get into a dispute, or disagree with what a fellow RPer has done, do not publicly call them on it and start an argument. It will only draw the ire of other involved and the whole RP will go down the drain. Send them a private message and sort things out. And always be respectful. You dont have to be overly nice and beat around the bush, get straight to the point, but do so in a way that isnt insulting or belittling.
10. Plots. Plots can be great, they can help guide an RP and really keep things in motion. Setting up a good plot takes time and thought, and more than likely youll have to let others in on some of it. If you see that someone already has a plot going, dont jump into it. Many people like to make fairly open plots to allow others to join, however, always ask before simply rushing into it. Itll show youve got respect for the other RPers, as well as the possibility that your character might be perfect for a part the plot creator was thinking of, and you could get a major role in it!
Remember though, that plots aren't always necessary. Though they do help, sometimes making an open board, be sure to mark it in some way usually by adding (open) to the title, can be a lot of fun to, and a story will develop all on its own out of the interactions between other characters.
There is no measure on whether someone is good at RPing or not. Generally you can go by the rule that, the longer you've been RPing, the better RPer you are, because you have more experience. However, this does not always apply, especially if youre an arrogant person who cant take criticism and does nothing but insult those you disagree with because you cant think of anything to actually back up your claims. It doesn't matter where you've been RPing. Just because there are people on a forum who've been on it longer than another person, doesn't make them good RPer's. And even those that have RPed for a long time may not be too great, especially if they've been godmodding for years with other godmodders and so think that that is the proper way to RP. One thankful thing is this. If godmodding is the norm on a forum, all the quality RPers will eventually leave and the godmodders will be left with each other, while everyone who enjoys quality RPing will have moved to a different site that they can enjoy and not have to worry about godmodding.
Ive been RPing for going on seven years now, so I do know a thing or two, regardless of what anyone reading this may think. I compiled this list because these are the things that I see the most need for in a quality RP. That and a recent site Ive been to is absolutely horrendous. Godmodding is rampant, and every single one of these rules is broken by nearly everyone there, though there are a few exceptions. Basically, when you see a good RPer, youll know it. If you have to think Eh
maybe theyre good, they all seem to know what theyre doing and are all responding
then they arent good. More than likely, its a group a godmodders.
For anyone who claims this is crap and youve been RPing WAAAAY longer than me, I will highly doubt you. Internet forum RPing has not been around for very long, at the most about ten years, when computers actually started being useful. Dont make claims that youve been doing this twice as long as me, or everyone will laugh at you, I can guarantee that. Im also aware that there are a lot of kids out there who RP. By kids, I mean people under 15 years old. The internet is much more accessible than it used to be, and its very easy for kids to get on, so everyone, please, mind the language. Let people know that there will be language if you use it. Often times the sites themselves will have these guidelines set up as a warning that the content of the boards is at a say PG-13 rating. Also, to the kids reading this, you may think youre smart and know all this already, but I was your age when I started RPing, and I can tell you, I was a terrible RPer back then. I godmodded like crazy, had extremely short posts, all that jazz. Trust me when I say, that though you may be smart, you arent as smart as you think. Follow the rules, and youll get a lot more respect.
Anyway, folks, if youve read through all of this, congratulations. Ive got cookies and punch as reward for putting up with big blocks of text and any ranting that I slipped in all that. Good job, hope you find this useful, and have fun RPing. Maybe Ill RP with you someday, if Im not already. Ciao!