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Author Topic: Roleplay 101  (Read 913 times)

Roleplay 101
« on: November 08, 2019, 11:02:30 PM »
ROLEPLAY 101

If you've never dabbled in forum roleplay before, or even roleplay at all, then it's an honour to have you here! The first steps into the roleplay world are the hardest, as there's a culture to explore and get used to. We all started somewhere, and this guide will hopefully help answer some questions you might have.

What is roleplay?
There are some misconceptions when 'roleplay' is mentioned out of context, considering there are different forms. This particular form of roleplay is known as 'play-by-post', as the roleplaying involves writing in replies to one another, each reply a post. Each post covers the character's actions, thoughts, and their speech. The topics are often known as 'threads', as they weave together into greater stories and character development.

What sort of character should I make?
The simple, unhelpful answer is: whatever kind of character you'd like to write! It's recommended to start somewhere you're comfortable, often this is in creating a character 'new' to the setting, which in this case would be a cadet. This allows you to connect with many characters, as explore the setting at a pace that fits their own - many cadets might not know a lot about the military factions or in-depth about other districts, so you can use the character's ignorance to pace out your own knowledge. However, you might find you're particularly set on one of the military factions, and that's perfectly fine as well!

Character creation itself is different for everybody. There are many guides online about creating characters, as well as character generators that can help prompt ideas. The best advice to give is to always balance your characters: most people have as many weaknesses as they have strengths, and this avoids characters that are not favourably written with: the black word of 'Mary Sue'/'Gary Stu'. It's okay to like these characters as well, but as most people do not, it's something to bear in mind while creating your character.

How does roleplay work?
Posts are narrative, like you'd find in a story. "My name is Jaylen," he said. Typically, people write in third person (He/She/They rather than I/You/We pronouns in the narrative) and in past tense, though others might find present tense or first person suits them better. While we have no word count, you may notice that most posts are upwards of 200 words. As long as you give enough content to react to, you're fine! It's easy to reply to a character continuing a conversation by asking questions or interacting with the scene around them, but less so when a character makes no attempt to interact with anything around them and the narrative is mostly thought, unless it works in context (such as a character freezing up).

Do I have to be good at writing to roleplay?
It's important to remember that everybody has their own style of writing. Truthfully, there's no such thing as being 'good' at roleplaying, because there are just so many forms of it. Some people find that paragraph/post-by-post writing in a narrative (novel) style aren't their preferences, and go into script/chat roleplay styles (usually using asterisks or parantheses for actions) and that's fine. There are all kinds of communities who focus on different styles, and it's okay to realise you don't prefer a certain form of roleplay, but would rather write elsewhere in your comfort zone.

In-character versus out-of-character?
An important point to remember is that you are not your character. It's common for new roleplayers to make characters based in part on themselves, which can lead to complications when other characters do not like their character. We are not our characters, so while one character might hate another, that never means that the writer hates the other writer. A healthy division is best: it's okay to share similarities with your character, but writing a 'self-insert' who has your same personality usually leads to some problems.

How realistic is roleplay?
Roleplay realism isn't the same as reality realism. AoT/SnK is set in a pre-electricity setting, so lamps are lanterns lit by fire, most items are very basic and positively medieval. Your character isn't going to go to a rave with a light show, but they might go to an event where paper lanterns light up and somebody plays music. The primary mode of travel is horses, either ridden or a horse-drawn carriage. If you're not sure if something fits the setting, you can always ask the staff!

In-character consequences?
Characters have realistic reactions. If your character insults another, don't be surprised if they get upset or want to start an argument or fight. Being disobedient or disrespectful to a superior officer is going to result in a punishment, and could even end up with them being removed from their position or demoted. Be aware of what the consequences of your character's actions could be, and discuss it with the other writer if you're unsure and don't want to push too far.

Who's the main character?
Everybody is the main character of their own story. So bear in mind that not everything will revolve around your own character. Of course, canon characters with particular roles are going to be given more 'site plot' attention (for instance, those whose involvement impacts on the site plot entirely) but that doesn't make them the main characters. It just means they have a part to play, as do all. You should bear this in mind especially in group threads - don't let your character try to hold all the attention, especially if it's not on-topic (a group of cadets working together to survive an aptitude test aren't going to be very interested in talking about one person's romantic life, especially if they think there's a bear or wolf nearby).

What are 'open threads'?
There are two types of thread: open and closed/private. Open threads are plots that are open for anybody else to interact with. Often, people have a rough idea of how they'd like to explore this plot, but want the unpredictability of somebody interacting, or else simply want to open it up to other characters to introduce themselves. Make sure, before replying, that it works for your character though! A Garrison soldier in Trost District will probably get an odd look if they stroll into the cadet training grounds with no aim.
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Axel | Claude | Damien | ErenGustav | Gunther | Kade | Mara | Nack | Quirin | Ymir | Zora

Re: Roleplay 101
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 11:03:40 PM »
POST ETIQUETTE

The number one rule of roleplaying is to avoid 'godmoding'. This is an umbrella term to describe actions taken OOC that are ruled as unfair, by controlling a situation in such a way that it can ruin your partner's enjoyment. These are common mistakes when one starts roleplaying, and most have memories of accidentally godmoding when they were starting out, and can understand. The sub-categories of gomoding are: godmodding, powerplaying, metagaming, and retconning.

Godmodding is the act of creating an unusually strong character who appears to be infallible. This would be picked up in application processes, and are usually connected to 'Mary Sue'/'Gary Stu' characters. While writing, godmodding is manipulating situations by constantly dodging attacks, hits always landing, and including some additional powerplaying too.

To avoid godmodding, ensure that your character has weaknesses that balance out their strengths, and leave your writing open-ended, eg. "Jaylen reached out to take her hand" rather than "Jaylen took her hand" if it's not agreed with the other writer out-of-character that your character can do something.

Powerplaying is taking control of another person's character without permission. For instance, writing that a character is present and does some action in a thread ("Character saw Eren, who was angrily punching a tree") that their writer has not agreed to or knows about. There are many layers of this, from stating that a hit connected on a character during combat instead of leaving it open-ended ("Jaylen threw a punch towards her jaw" is better than "Jaylen punched her straight in the jaw"), to stating that groups of people feel a direct feeling about them ("Jaylen was sure he was seen as a capable engineer" suggests he perceives this belief, while "Jaylen was always seen as a capable engineer" states that other characters should see him as such).

To avoid powerplaying, leaving your writing open-ended and seeking permission from other writers if you DO wonder if a character would do something is the best way forwards. Even the smallest of phrases in controlling another person's character can be frustrating. With canon characters, everybody has differing interpretations of their character.

Metagaming involves using out-of-character knowledge within roleplay where your character could not obtain it. For instance, if you knew that somebody was a Titan Shifter, yet your character would not know that, you wouldn't write it in your post, would you? The same goes for smaller cases, such as stating that your character had seen a character do something that they did in another thread, which your character was not present in. It can also happen in reading the thoughts of another character in their post, and having your character interact with them or, where it's not possible due to reading body language or the character doesn't know the other well, instantly knowing them.

To avoid metagaming, always be sure of how much your character knows, and seek permission before stating that your character was present during another scene that they were not written in. Asking your partner if your character would know something in particular about their character.

Retconning is erasing or altering already established 'canon' in your posts. If a character and another went on a hike which went poorly, unless the character has forgotten or lying you can't then refer to the hike as being a complete success, as this erases the content of the post. Similarly, going back to edit the content of your posts when somebody has already replied to it and the edits change the outcome is seen as retconning.

To avoid retconning, you should stick with what has been already written, unless you agree with the other writer to change it, or the edit is made for clarification or to remove something not agreed on. As long as the other writer knows, they can edit their post accordingly if needed.
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Axel | Claude | Damien | ErenGustav | Gunther | Kade | Mara | Nack | Quirin | Ymir | Zora

Re: Roleplay 101
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 11:04:16 PM »
PLOTTING AWAY

So, you have your account, your first character has been accepted, and it's time to start roleplaying. There are many ways of going about plots, and below we'll lay out the best ways of getting started in both plotting and finding some threads.

Existing Plotters

Over in these boards, you can find child boards per membergroup where all the plotters are stashed. By looking through the plotters within your character's membergroup, you can get a decent idea of who you can interact with. Many plotters include plot ideas that can help prompt thread ideas. Try combing through them and reply with your own ideas or how one of their plot ideas might work for your character!

Posting a Plotter

There's no wrong or right way to write a plotter. There are categories most people will use, that involve spelling out what kind of people your character would like or dislike, using 'Friends' and 'Enemies'. These sections include your character's typical 'checkboxes' for who they'd befriend or become an enemy/rival of, as well as how they interact with friends. Optionally people include 'Romance' to suggest whether they have a pre-plotted romance, what kind of situation might lead to romance, or just to say what their character thinks of romance. Some plotters end with 'plot ideas' which list plots they'd particularly like to explore with their character, and leave it open for different types of characters to 'sign up' for by expressing interest.

You can do your own plotter however you like, you don't need to include images or all the parts if you don't want to! Please don't be disheartened if you don't get any immediate interest! Sometimes there's a struggle to think up ideas for other characters. You know your character best - that's why posting on existing plotters is usually the main source of finding plots.

Events

The events board is separated by season / year, and there are events for everybody. You can look in here for events your character could get involved in, looking for whether their membergroup could show up, and then seeing if there are any still-open posts for it. Sometimes there are group threads you can get involved with - if something has already started or progressed quite far, it's best to give the thread-starter a poke to see if you can get involved. If not, you can express your interest in an event in your plotter, in the chatbox, or on Discord!

Open Threads

Starting an open thread is great, though getting a reply to it can take a while. It allows people to see your character in a setting you'd like them to be in, and can attract any kind of interaction. It's always best to see if there are any current open threads about that you might be interested in first! See if there's a way you can fit your character in, and if not - or even if you can and want more plots - go about starting your own.

Always try to make open starters truly open. If your character is in a private place, only people who can go to that private place could interact, unless there's a way for outsiders to get in. The most public places to go would be the Wall Rose districts - the majority of the Garrison are stationed in Trost District, while there's plenty of plot opportunities in the other districts from people visiting. Most cadet-based plots will take place in the training grounds and barracks, unless they're out in Wall Rose in the forest doing ODM/3DM gear or Titan exercises.

Sometimes, using an online word generator can help prompt ideas for threads, and puts your character in situations you might not have thought up. As long as an open thread can be interacted with plenty of possible characters, you're more likely get a bite!

Out of Character Chatting

With the chatbox and Discord at hand, there's plenty of opportunity to talk plots outside of plotters with other members. It is not required that you talk in either, it's entirely up to your own comfort! You might get into a conversation where you're talking about what kinds of plots you want to do, or how your character might react to something.

Please don't use these spaces to pressure anybody to reply to you - sometimes the muse for writing a character or particular thread just doesn't flow, and adding pressure can worsen it. Be receptive to talking about other person's characters, just as you'd like them to talk about your own, and get involved in conversation.
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