Roleplay Tips

Vals NoisyToys

New Member
Jul 29, 2019
Note 1: This was originally posted in a private forum, but it was suggested I post it for public use. So here it is, with some editing.
Note 2: While I wrote the majority of the post, other Phoenix Team members with RP experience weighed in and I added their feedback to it. So, in the end, this is born of collective experience.
Note 3: As you can see from the text, this post was intended for use with RP in Minecraft, but most of this still applies to any RP setting.
IC - in character
OOC - out of character
RP - roleplay

Consentual RP - Adapted from text MUD environment
(Note: still learning myself how to apply my past RP lessons to a live RP environment like a server.)
(Note #2: Non-consentual RP aka as powerplaying)

Bob attacks Fred without provocation and says "Bob scowls and hits Fred and kills him."
The problem with this is that Fred has no recourse - he has to say "Yea you killed me." - this is nonconsentual RP, where you force the other player's hand.

The better, more respectful way to do this to facilitate consentual rp is:
Bob says, "Bob scowls, and readies his sword, obviously about to attack Fred with a potentially lethal blow."
Now the ball is in Fred's court, and he is expected to not power game to always avoid negative consequences. So he now has choices (where the first example gave him none).

"Fred dodges, and manages to avoid the first blow." - fine, as long as this isn't his response all the time to attack :p
"Fred dodges, falls over his own feet, and takes a serious blow, incapacitating him." - this lets Bob now decide if he is going to kill him after all.
"Fred braces for the fight, but the first blow takes off his head." - Fred accepts the deathblow, and goes with it.

Now obviously, this is a little different in a live environment like a server. So in this case, to save time I'd suggest something like "ooc: Bob is going to try tp you" as a heads up, so Fred has an IC chance to respond to his actions.

Nobody's Perfect
Another common issue with new RPers (and something I have to keep an eye on, in my own RP) is letting your character be 'too perfect' and/or 'be spiffy at doing everything' - one with no or very few inconsequential flaws.

Flaws add interest and can cause unexpected and cool turns in the flow of RP. So not only is a 'perfect' character annoying to RP with, they are, frankly, boring as well.

A small recent example to show consideration of consentual RP and use of lack of perfection:

In Project Renascintis, I had Evalyn (try) to smack Kael around when she was emotionally overwrought (brother flambe does that to a person). If I'd followed my natural inclination, I wouldn't have hit him at all, but it was more interesting to have her snap and attack.

If she'd icly done damage I'd have had her stop after the first blow or two and use her fists for it rather than a sword, but oocly I knew [assumed!] he was seer-teamed and he was immune so she was free to hit him with her sword more than once without oocly worrying about killing him without warning. **

Now Kael is pissed with her, and who knows what the further fallout will be from me allowing her to 'fail' at being perfect. But it'll all be interesting and certainly not boring!

** Note: in retrospect, I should have checked beforehand that he was in fact Seer-teamed - I was assuming he was but due to timing he may not have been! If he hadn't have been, I'd have been guilty of non-consentual RP, which can happen in the heat of things.

aka Powergaming, Bunnying
This is when a RPer gets out of everything with nothing having a lasting effect. This can be done by warping what someone said happened, creating powers or abilities you didn't have before, creating an event to get you out of it, etc. Here's some examples:

Fred has Bob in a jail cell for robbing his tavern. The hearing is starting in an hour, and he'll be convicted and put to death because this town is really really tough on crime.

Example 1:
Bob says: Fred accidentally locked himself in the jail cell instead of Bob. Bob escapes.

Example 2:
Bob says: Bob bends the bars open and escapes.

Example 3:
Bob says: A meteor hits the jail and Bob escapes through the hole.

A better, more believable, and more interesting escape option is:

Bob talks one of the guards into aiding his escape by offering a cut of the money he stole from the tavern. When Fred and the guards come for him, the guard on Bob's payroll knocks out the other guard, allowing Bob a chance to escape.

And, of course, there is always the option of taking the punishment, Bob. Suck it up, buttercup!

This is the use of out-of-character knowledge in-character - ie things your character can't possibly know. I recommend avoiding 'spoilers' while new to RPing - even as an experienced RPer it can be difficult (and sometimes impossible despite best efforts) to avoid OOC knowledge influencing your RP decisions IC.

Note: This is why, in general, I try avoid watching other people's viewpoints of a RP event, and try to avoid asking questions in ooc chat that I believe the answers to which might adversely influence my RP, or warn people not to answer my question if there is an IC thing that I shouldn't know yet that might influence my RP, in their opinion. This is also why I'll try avoid posting certain kinds of spoilers in general ooc chat (eg asking a GM about something that happened). I do forget sometimes and have to go back asap and delete an overly spoilery ooc chat message and resend it in private to the relevant person.

An overt example:

Bob (the scoundrel) watched a video recap and saw that Fred had hidden his secret lab behind a carpenter's door, behind a pillar, in a disused hallway. IC, he 'accidentally' stumbles across said lab by going to this corridor that he has no IC reason to be in.

A more subtle example:

Bob in ooc chat, saw Fred say to John, "hehe, I saw you steal the uber-cup from Bob's pocket when he wasn't looking. It was sooo funny! He has no idea!" Next day, in RP, Bob suddenly has a feeling that John stole his uber-cup, with no IC event to account for the sudden suspicion.

Exploiting Game Mechanics
This is use of game mechanics to do things that ICly don't make sense.

Bob knows OOCly that there is no reason he can't sit and pick a lock leading to the kitchen in a tavern run by Fred. ICly the tavern has patrons most of the day and night, and when it doesn't the cook is in the kitchen preparing for the day. So ICly there is no way he wouldn't be seen by someone and at the least, a ruckus ensuing. Yet, he picks the lock, goes in and loots the chest with tavern's earnings in the kitchen - because the NPC cook isn't coded to attack intruders or shout for a guard, and the NPCs in the bar aren't programmed to notice lockpicking attempts.

Respect Other People's Builds
... especially if they aren't there to respond to your actions. This also covers poking about and helping yourself to stuff while they're away. Not that anyone would do that, but I'm just trying to cover all bases. :p

Bob see's Fred has built something in a spot he considers his. He doesn't touch it though. Instead, ICly he tries to get Fred to remove it, rather than take his pick to the offending build. :p
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