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A Beginner's Guide to RP

by Aerana » March 20th, 2014, 7:01 pm

Here are some general guidelines and places to start if you're new to role-playing or you simply would like to refresh your memory! The topics of this section include:
What if I'm new to role-play?
How do I role-play?
How do I make a believable character?


What if I'm new to role-play?

If you're new to roleplay or if you're a bit out of practice, there's no need to worry! The Sanctum is a great place to learn. We're a group of people who love to roleplay and we're looking to spreading roleplay around the Ravenholdt community. Thus, we're more than willing to work with anyone who simply wants to roleplay.

The Sanctum has a broad range of skill when it comes to roleplaying ability. We work with each other to develop storylines (trying to stay consistent with WoW lore), conduct RP events, and generally promote an RP environment in WoW.

We ask that those who are new to roleplay be willing to learn and to accept constructive criticism. It is never our intention to hurt anyone's feelings. At the same time, in order to foster the environment the guild seeks, sometimes a little helpful hinting is necessary (like a friendly remind that guildchat is IC). Please feel free to ask questions about roleplay in our OOC forums or in-game. You'll find that we're more than willing to help one another develop in this aspect.


How do I role-play?

First, some basic terminology:

OOC = Out Of Character. This means that you are speaking as yourself, in real life terms.
IC = In Character. This means that you are speaking as the character you are playing.
RP = Role-play.

First, take a look at your character. What race are you? What does that mean for your character's background? While a little imagination is good, please ensure that your character's RP is believable and in line with WoW Lore. Once you have a basic idea about your character, please familiarize yourself with some basic RP Guidelines:

Basic RP Guidelines:

Please use parenthesis to denote when you're speaking OOC in an IC channel, i.e. ((Ding!))

Please refrain from using words such as: "Lol, level, omg, character," and similar words when speaking IC. You wouldn't apply for a job by saying "I'm a 42nd level accountant." Instead, try to think of different ways to get the same idea across. For example, "I am a very experienced alchemist."

Please try to use correct spelling. This includes avoiding internet shorthand - u, ur, lvl, etc.,

Understand that everyone has an RP and your RP does not trump everything else. Much of the fun comes from spontaneous RP. We're all writing separate stories and trying to weave them together to form an epic tale.

Please refrain from "God-moding." This can be difficult to do, but it is a big RP "no-no." This is when you assume something, or write something, that dictates another person's actions. Example:

Aerana gathers her powers and casts a frostbolt at %T, instantly killing him. In this example, I assume a lot of things. I assume that the frostbolt hits the person and that it kills them. It leaves the other character very little room to maneuver. A better way to write this action would have been like this:

Aerana gathers her powers and casts a frostbolt at %T, watching as the icy bolt hurtles towards him. In this sentence, I don't assume anything about the other character. I only control what my own character does. Also, please do not make your characters invincible or unrealistically strong/smart/etc. You cannot just stand up and keep fighting after having been beaten unconscious by 40 people or perform other such feats. Again, the fun thing about RP is writing stories with others. Make sure that you're open to their ideas and you'll find that it's a lot more fun!

Don't assume that people who are mean IC are mean OOC. If I play a warlock who is mean and nasty IC, I can still be a nice person OOC. Make sure that you are able to draw that distinguishing line. Aerana may hate someone IC, but OOC this person and I may talk all the time and be great friends. The mark of a great RPer is someone who can keep IC things IC and not drag OOC around.

These are just a couple of examples. If you need more help or have questions, please post them or ask someone in game - and remember to use (( )) if you're talking in an IC channel!


How do I make a believable character?

Once you know what type of character you're making and some of the basic RP guidelines, it's a good idea to delve deeper into your character's personality, characteristics, and appearance. While a lot of people might formulate their characters through a different process, I thought I would share some of my ideas with those of you who might be new to RP or who might not quite know where to start.

So, let's begin!

Read up on WoW Lore and the history of your race - When creating a character, I would recommend that you read up on the lore and history behind that character's race. This can give you a good starting point when you start to formulate a backstory.

The Official WoW Lore can be found here: WoW Lore. This is an important step so that you don't break WoW lore, make god-like characters that are unbelievable, etc.

Also, there is a wonderfully helpful site for looking into the psychology behind the races of Azeroth. Feel free to check it out Race Psychology, if you're interested.

Think of a suitable name for your character - Look at the history of your race and note the names of major heroes. See the kind of letters used, sounds, etc. When creating your character, think of believable names or perhaps names that have a meaning behind them. I also try to think of a last name for my character, just to help add depth to her past.

One thing that I've learned is that not everyone has a name that I would consider RP. However, when I talk to the person, they are able to explain to me where their name came from. For example, one person I know was named something like "Greensnake." Yet, when I asked him about it, he said it was a nickname his character had earned when doing time in such-and-such a place because of the poisons he applied to his blade. And that his character's real name was something that his character only told to people he trusted. So be open minded!

Explore a backstory for your character - The backstory is pretty important, since it explains why your character acts the way he does. You can write out the entire backstory, making it chapters long before you even start the character (I've had friends who do this). Or you can have a general outline of the backstory of your character and develop it more as the character progresses.

Make sure that your backstory falls in line with WoW lore. It's not usually accepted that you're actually the Prince of Stormwind, secreted away when you were a child by so-and-so. And no, I'm sorry, but you cannot be a vampire-werewolf, half-rabbit god who is also Arthas' brother. =(

Create a personality for your character - Your personality is something that makes your character unique. Why does your character act a certain way towards Gnomes? Does your character have an accent? Where does it come from? Is your character generally good? Or generally bad? Is he mean? Does she want to fight everyone who looks at her funny or does she talk her way out of bad situations? Does your character drink? Why?

There are some really fun things you can do with personality. Make sure that there are reasons behind your personality, even if no one knows them yet. And be faithful to that personality. Maybe your character doesn't like Dwarves and that makes it difficult to get along with your Dwarf guild master, but you can move past that slowly, as your character develops.But if your character has a lasting personality trait, please try to stay true to that.

Physical traits of your character can be important - Does your character have scars? Is your character old or young? Think about the physical traits of your character. And remember, not all scars can make your character look dashing. Don't be afraid to make your character ugly. Or fat. Sometimes characters like that have the most interesting backstories!

Hopefully that should give you a basic idea of what to think about when starting a character. And after the character is started, you have a whole new realm of possibilities that are opened up to you. Here are just a couple of things to keep in mind. Allow your character to develop and change as time passes. The experiences your character has while you're playing him may change his personality. Feel free to reach out to people on the Sanctum if you want to bounce ideas back and forth or need help in character creation!

Good luck with your characters!
"It is all a balance."
~Aerana Dantay, Empress of the Twilight Empire~


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