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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 you’ve 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 they’ve say, infiltrated a castle and you’ve set a precedent that you’ve got guards there, then that would likely be okay, so long as you keep things realistic. The guards won’t be there immediately, it takes time for them to arrive and respond. And please, for sanity’s sake, keep the number realistic. If you’re in a castle, you aren’t going to have 10,000 guards. It’s 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 doesn’t 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. I’ve got one who’s obsessive and doesn’t 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/they’re/their, your/you’re, its/it’s, where/were/we’re, to/too, etc. Make sure what you’ve written would make sense if said out loud. Use spell check. Double check before posting to make sure there isn’t anything you forgot. It’s a proven fact that poor grammar makes you look less intelligent, and so far it’s held true. How many of you can honestly say that you’ve never once gone, “What an idiot,” when you’ve seen something misspelled? Just look at job applications. If there’s a misspelling on a resume, it’s thrown out. Doesn’t matter how good it is or how many degrees you have, if you can’t spell, you won’t be hired. The same applies in RPing as well. That’s 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 RPer’s that would keep to the standards of the site.

4. Don’t 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, they’re 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. Don’t be one of those people. They are hated. I’ve seen people claim they can do something because they’re 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, you’re seen as a power-hungry, mediocre, RPer. Yes I’m being mean about it. It’s 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 won’t scream and yell, or make threats. Instead, they’ll 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 don’t realize when someone is doing that and so see nothing wrong with it.

5. No outrageous claims. Saying you’re 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 can’t be realistic, you shouldn’t 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 you’ve 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 RPer’s 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 “I’m 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. Don’t use vague, general descriptions. It’s a guarantee, the more detail in your posts, the more in control of an RP you are. Now that doesn’t 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 haven’t set the scene, you’ve got no weapon to speak of, in all, you can do very little in your future posts with that kind of a description. It’s 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 haven’t 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 RP’s where your character has “magical abilities.” Whether it’s Star Wars and you use the Force, to Harry Potter where it’s actually called magic. Nothing is overdone and godmodded more, than powers. Plain and simple, you aren’t all powerful, even if you think you should be. There needs to be limits. Let’s 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 you’ll be at the mercy of anyone around. Let’s 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 won’t know a single spell perfectly. Set limits on the power of your spells. It’s okay to have one, maybe two that you’re excellent at, beyond that, the power of the spells should be diminished. Heck, it’s even fun to see what happens if one backfires!

Remember, limit yourself. Just because these were the examples I used, doesn’t 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 don’t have to be overly nice and beat around the bush, get straight to the point, but do so in a way that isn’t 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 you’ll have to let others in on some of it. If you see that someone already has a plot going, don’t jump into it. Many people like to make fairly open plots to allow others to join, however, always ask before simply rushing into it. It’ll show you’ve got respect for the other RPer’s, 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 you’re an arrogant person who can’t take criticism and does nothing but insult those you disagree with because you can’t 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 RPer’s 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.

I’ve 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 I’ve 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, you’ll know it. If you have to think “Eh…maybe they’re good, they all seem to know what they’re doing and are all responding…” then they aren’t good. More than likely, it’s a group a godmodders.

For anyone who claims this is crap and you’ve 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. Don’t make claims that you’ve been doing this twice as long as me, or everyone will laugh at you, I can guarantee that. I’m 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 it’s 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 you’re 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 aren’t as smart as you think. Follow the rules, and you’ll get a lot more respect.

Anyway, folks, if you’ve read through all of this, congratulations. I’ve 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 I’ll RP with you someday, if I’m not already. Ciao!
I encourage comments and criticisms. Tell me what you liked or didn't like, your thoughts on it. I ask that there be no insults however.
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:iconsuper-saiyan-matt:
super-saiyan-matt Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for this lol, I learned all the above on my own through my years on DA, it was a long and tough road and I'm still trying to improve. Indeed, I was -terrible- when I first started too, for a good couple of years until I started getting better.
Reply
:iconaspiringdeath4:
Aspiringdeath4 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Comment on rule #5: There will be better, but there will not be a best...
Reply
:iconcloudtf458:
CloudTF458 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
Wow, thanks, i'm gonna try to become a better Rper with this.
Reply
:icongotmanyhorses:
GotManyHorses Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014  Student General Artist
:D Yay! I've read it! Is it possible I can be a Puma now? c:
Reply
:iconzaynmaliklover147:
zaynmaliklover147 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
kk now can i be a wolf
Reply
:iconmissyomite:
Missyomite Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2014
Thanks for posting this up. I have only been on DA for about 2 years and most of the time I'm usually not on. This was a big help for me.
Reply
:iconsesshyxxkagome:
SesshyXXkagome Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013  Student
this was very helpful! i am not the best RP ever and prolably never will be the best.. but i do have a few questions and just to let you know i am young so i don't want to god moddle. So if i make a character that has lets say ice powers (just going with the one of the top of my head) can i have her be good at creating massive snow storms but, it would drain my character a lot and cause her to only be able to fight with her sword would this be ok? Also, may i have my character ( the one with icde powers) have a older brother? like i would play both characters is that ok? Thanks for all the help!
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:iconreithekiller:
ReiTheKiller Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is an amazing post, And thank you. I've been attempting the improvement of allot of my Rping, and the more I go into it, it seems to get more difficult- For examples, Those posts you simply Cant reply to, Cant get enough detail, or just get too frustrated trying to. And then when the Rp Overpasses me trying to post a 4 lined Scene, And Edit, Especially when Its later in the day and you most likely shouldn't be Rping, but are anyway. 

If Anyone has any tips for these issues, Please tell. Thanks!!
Reply
:iconnitpickbrony:
nitpickbrony Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013
I didn't know there were other kinds of RP's other than pony...hm...learn some thing new everyday I guess.
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:iconpromessy:
promessy Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
That right on the money, I will admit i always break one of those rules but otherwise yeah, this is a great piece of info
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