Author Topic: Imazi's How to Start RPing Guide  (Read 4182 times)

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Offline Imazi

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Imazi's How to Start RPing Guide
« on: 07/14/15, 11:15:58 PM »
Table of Contents
•   Welcome
•   What is RP
•   Let’s Get Started
•   Tools of the Trade
•   How to avoid being disruptive
•   More Technical Tips

Use your browser’s find function and enter the above topic headers to jump straight to each topic. It is usually CTRL + F on PCs. But, if you are totally new to the concept, please skip around after you have at least skimmed the topics in order… pretty please. :)

This guide is written so that all stages of RP experience should be able to follow along. If you are only new to RPing in MMOs, you can probably skip down to the Tools section and start from there. If you basically know what you are doing even in MMOs, but are new to doing it in SWTOR, you probably only need parts of the Tools and Technical Tips sections. However, the welcome section is for all of you. :aww:

Hi there. I see you’ve managed to both stumble onto the RP server and on to our lovely site. Welcome. :wave: It’s good to have you. Some of you may already know what RP is and how to do it, but I wanted to make a guide for everybody… So, the next part is for the people brand new to RP. Yes you person staring at the screen who wants to know how to RP! Hold on to your hat though. While I’ll try to keep this guide as to the point as I can without turning it into a dry lecture, RP is a pretty deep concept, so please bear with me.  :grin:

What is RP?
RP stands for “roleplay”. In short, roleplaying is a form of playing that changes your character from simply being your avatar to being their own person and developing their own experiences in the Star Wars universe. *starts to wax philosophical* However, another way to think of RP(roleplay) is thinking of it as telling a large story through a single character. While all RP characters have their own singular story, they all come together with other characters to tell a much larger and grander story. This is what differentiates RP from writing a character story by yourself. RPing is collaborating on an epic story.*end philosophical musings*

As you learn to RP, you will see two abbreviations tossed around a lot, IC and OOC. You’ll need to understand these two concepts well and the difference between them while RPing(roleplaying). IC means “in character.” It typically refers to the words, thoughts and actions taken by your character. OOC means “out of character,” it typically refers to the words, thoughts, and actions taken by you the player. I’ll Illustrate the difference.

An actor is playing a character and he delivers his lines. His lines are in character because he is speaking as the character he is portraying. However, he stops in the middle of giving his lines to laugh and ask, “who writes this stuff?” The actor is not impressed with his script. :lol: Anyway, when he laughs and asks, “who writes this stuff?” he “breaks character.” That means he transitions from being in character to being out of character because he starts to speak as himself. It works much the same when you are RPing. RPing is behaving in character but when you are just talking as yourself what you say is out of character.

One more thing before we move on, it is important to remember that there is a difference between the feelings and actions of the player and feeling and actions of the character. You aren’t actually your character and vis versa. The same is especially true for others. In your character’s travels, they will meet many interesting and varied people, not all of which are nice. Try to remember that mean or evil characters do not equal mean or evil players behind the characters. Remembering this will save you a lot of headaches and drama later. ;)

Let’s Get Started!!
So I gave you that wall o’ text defining RP, OOC, and IC (it was necessary but I am sorry for that :umm:); however, I didn’t tell you how to actually get started. So let’s get to it!

First you’ll want to think of a character to play. Now this is a tricky part since there are all kinds of lovely and interesting characters you may think up and want to play, and there are so many variables that affect character development! For now, though, I will advise going easy on yourself.

Treat your first RP character as training wheels. Use the first one for getting a feel for the conventions of RPing and save your really really interesting ideas for the characters you come up with later. Try starting with a more “normal” person: not really screwed up in the head, not super villainous or super heroic, and maybe even closer to your own personality traits or traits of people you know. I know this might not sound terribly exciting, but it will let you focus less on character development and more on actually learning to RP. While some people learn better jumping into the deep end first, this is a more gradual way of getting used to it.

Another thing to mention, before we go further, is that you will definitely want to avoid making certain kinds of characters. Avoid trying to make your character Qui-gon Jinn, Luke Skywalker or any of the notable characters from the series. There can’t be several those characters all running around at once. So, rather than sort out who gets to be them, we all just agree that no one is. Not to mention, most of the well-known characters haven’t even been born yet. :grin: Something else to tread lightly about is making your character into a relative of those characters. While it can be done, I’d say wait until you have built up much more skill and experience first.

Your class story is another sticky area, similar principles apply. While your character can have a similar personal story to your class story, everybody can’t be the Jedi or Mando from the class story, so we all agree that no one is. I really hate to pass down "don’ts," but these things are actually standard operating procedure for RP across fandoms. This is what helps us all play nicely with each other.

Now that you have a character with a story and personality (a story similar but not the same as your class story and a personality similar but not the same as one you are familiar with), you can start to interact. Most RPs are done in /say. From there it is mostly a matter of talking and making sure that your character's speech and actions reflect the character as you envisioned them. For our more shy friends, you may also want to ask for RP partners to let you RP in more out of the way places to help with any self-consciousness.

Hopefully, that is a good enough start to get you going, I’ll tell you a little bit more about how to find RP partners later, so let me move on to show you what tools you have at your disposal.

Tools of the Trade
•   /say
•   /me and /e
•   Preset Emotes
•   /whisper
•   /group and /p
•   The RP channel

So you now know that you need to interact as your character to RP, but now I’m going to tell you how you actually do that. Sorry it took so long to get to this point, but things should go a bit faster now…. Hopefully. :grin:

This can be used for you character’s speech. You can use quotation marks “ ” to make it clear what is speech and what is an action if you like or you can simply just use it for speech. For example:

/say “I prefer blue energy crystals.” Lannde tilts her blaster to the side
Which  displays:
Lannde: “I prefer blue energy crystals.” Lannde tilts her blaster to the side


/say I prefer blue energy crystals.
Which displays
Lannde: I prefer blue energy crystals.

Both are fine.

/me and /e
The game also has a built in custom emote feature which will allow you to describe your character’s actions. These are /me and /e. Don’t worry, they are interchangeable, either one is fine. They can also be mixed and matched with quotation marks. Example:

/me tilts her blaster to the side, “I prefer blue energy crystals.”
Which displays.
Lannde tilts her blaster to the side, “I prefer blue energy crystals.”


/me tilts her blaster to the side
Which displays.
Lannde tilts her blaster to the side

One little note on /me and /e is that those kinds of emotes can only be seen by people in the same faction. It’s an irritating limitation in cross faction RP, but it can be overcome by using other indicators in /say. One popular method is to use asterisks * * around the emote to separate it from speech. Example:

/say *Lannde tilts her blaster to the side*
Which displays
Lannde: *Lannde tilts her blaster to the side*

/say *Lannde tilts her blaster to the side* I prefer blue energy crystals.
Which displays
Lannde: *Lannde tilts her blaster to the side* I prefer blue energy crystals.

It’s not as pretty as /me when it displays, but it lets you reach a lot more characters with your emotes, so we overlook the less prettiness of it all. :)

Preset Emotes
If you look on your chatbox in the upper right corner, you will notice a button that looks like a little guy waving. That’s your custom emotes/mood button. Clicking on that will give you a little menu showing what emotes and moods are available to you. If you are not a subscriber, you will have fewer emotes available to you. You will need to either subscribe to get some although they are supposedly also available through a cartel coins purchases. Further, some emotes are only available from cartel packs and must be either dropped from a pack or bought off the GTN.

Sad restrictions aside, the emotes are great. Some of them only display predetermined messages but others also have animations and even a little voice acting to go with it. When you are in an out of the way place, play around with them to see what they do. I say do it in an out of the way place because your character will look silly waving and dancing around and doing a bunch of other things in rapid succession. :grin: As a little note, some emotes change slightly if you do them while having another character selected. For instance, the difference between the messages "waves to everyone" or "waves to a [specific character]".

As for the moods, these affect your character’s face and are typically more useful when making screenshots. But feel free to play around with them as well. As a warning, your smile mood, cheery, may just come off a bit creepy… you have been warned.

All MMOs have some form of sending messages to a specific player. It’s /whisper [player name] in SWTOR, minus the brackets. Whispers can be both IC (in character) or OOC (out of character) depending on the players and the RP. Often it is used as a means of OOC communication between players, but it can also be used IC as a means of talking without being overheard. However, when using it as a means of guarding against unwanted IC eavesdropping, at least emote that you are whispering so that other players can react to being whispered in front of if they wish. Examples with the commands and how it displays:

/me whispers to Alys.
/whisper Alys *Lannde whispers* Hey can you loan me a few credits?
/whisper Alys [lol Lannde is totally going to be in trouble if anyone finds out she’s betting while flat broke.]

What Displays:
Lannde whispers to Alys.
To [Alys]: *Lannde whispers* Hey can you loan me a few credits?
To [Alys]: [lol Lannde is totally going to be in trouble if anyone finds out she’s betting while flat broke.]

The first message is public, the last two are private. The first whisper is IC and the second is OOC. Easy, right? :) Sadly, the /me command and the whisper command cannot be used at the same time in this game.

/group and /p
For those not familiar with how groups work, you can team up with other players in the game to tackle missions and you have a nice little display for the status of the other players along with the ability to talk specifically to all of them at once similar to /whisper. Messages typed with the /group or /p (they are interchangeable too) will only be seen by people in your group, and unlike whisper, there is no need to put in player names for the command.

Also like whisper, group can be used for either IC or OOC communication during RP. Often, group chat will be used to keep from disrupting others with your RP, or communicating with several people at once, especially if they are spread out. Example:

/p *Lannde activates her comm to alert the others* I got a reading on the location of the base. Meet me at the rendezvous point.
/p [Ok everybody. I’m going to run ahead and trigger the siren. When you hear it go off meet me in the next section of the mission area.]

Displays as:
[Group][Lannde] *Lannde activates her comm to alert the others* I got a reading on the location of the base. Meet me at the rendezvous point.
[Group][Lannde] [Ok everybody. I’m going to run ahead and trigger the siren. When you hear it go off meet me in the next section of the mission area.]

As a note for the second example, you don’t need to use brackets if the group is being used solely for OOC purposes.

The RP Channel
Last but not least, there is a channel solely dedicated to assisting in IC communication. The RP channel! While you can only see the IC communication for your faction the, the RP channel is set up as a galaxy wide open comm station that can let you reach out to others ICly. Distress calls, open invitations, or shooting the breeze, the RP channel is an open mike  for your characters! :whee:

You can join the RP channel using /cjoin RP on either faction. However, remember, it is an in character channel. If you need to say something OOCly please use brackets [ ] or use the ooc channels.

How to Avoid being Disruptive
Now I’ve heard many new RPers comment on how hesitant and shy they were about just jumping right into RP. Some have even said they are worried about being bad at it. I’m here to put your fears to rest. Everyone makes goof ups when they first start and its OK. All reasonable RPers will understand, especially if you let people know that you are just learning. Don’t worry; we’ve all felt your pain at some point.

However, here are some tips for avoiding disturbing the flow of the RP around you. Knowing what to do and what you need to avoid can help you to relax.

First, observe others. You don’t have to jump right into the middle of RP if you aren’t quite ready. Observing is a great way to learn what kinds of things you might want to do or not do. However, if you lurk around edges of other people’s RPs, give them a friendly OOC heads up that you are just there to learn and observe. Just like in real life where you may get a little antsy if someone stands right next to you and watches you without saying something, it can also make RPers a little antsy if you do that and aren’t in a large group of people. However, if they indicate that they would prefer to not be watched, it would be good to find someone else to observe.

Second, avoid godmodding. Godmodding is RPing in a way that steals the choice of reaction from the other player. It can be subtle or obvious, but more importantly it can ruin the fun of RPing for everyone. When your character takes an action, avoid describing the other person’s reaction for them. For example:

Lannde stares at Alys with a piercing gaze that sends a shiver down her spine.

See the bolded part? That’s where Lannde godmods Alys and steals the choice of reaction from her. It’s telling Alys’s player what her character does instead of letting her decide. When you want your character to have an effect like that on another character, you need to make an attempt and then let the other player decide how their character reacts. Remember that you can only play your character. So let’s take a look at that emote again with a slight adjustment.

Lannde stares Alys down with a piercing gaze trying to rattle the other woman to her very core.

See how it changes to an attempt but still informs the other player of the intent? While there is no guarantee that a shiver will go down Alys’ spine, it’s enough for the other player to see where you are going. More than likely, if you show a bit of courtesy in not godmodding, the other player will go along with you a bit. You never know, you may like the reaction they come up with even better than the one you were looking for. :grin:

Third, remember to use brackets or parentheses around OOC text. Sometimes you really need to say something OOC and that’s ok, but it can throw the flow of an RP off if people don’t know if they are supposed to respond to you or their character is supposed to respond. Marking your OOC text appropriately is always appreciated. :aww:

Fourth, along with marking your OOC text, know that OOC questions can be very useful for you if you are new to RP. Make use of whispers and/or bracketed text to ask for help when you are genuinely unsure of what to do.

Whew… Ok, we’ve covered a lot of ground so far but I promise we are almost done. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back and a reward for having stuck with me this long. Really, I’ll wait while you go and grab some candy or a soda or something. :)

More Technical Tips
Yay, You are almost ready to go out and be awesome and get to know other characters and RPers! :whee: But before you go, here are a few more tips not directly related to how to RP that should help make RPing a bit easier on you.

Join the OOC channels. To connect with other RPers, find out when RPs are happening, or to look for RP buddies join the ooc channels for each faction. I mentioned it up above a little earlier. For republic players use /cjoin republicooc and for Imperial Players use /cjoin imperialooc. The OOC channels will let you connect to other RPers out of character where you can ask questions, get help with ideas, and just have fun.

Attend The Weekly Events. By now you have noticed the site’s calendar off to the left. Various RP events are listed on the calander, but ones sponsored by the site are marked with BC RP. These events are weekly and open to everyone. They are a good place to to meet others and ease into the RP scene. Read the Community Events guide to get an overview of the different events and see where they are held.

Use full sentences. Use full sentences and try to avoid letter short hands for words such as r and u when speaking in character. It looks better much better and is less jarring when imagining your character speaking. :)

Customize your chat box for RP. Set up your chatbox to help you while RPing. Create a tab specifically for RP and name it as such. For me, my tab is just called RP. Make sure that Emotes, whispers, yells, say, the group channels, and  personal channels you want to watch are enabled for the tab, and set different colors for them so you can quickly tell them apart. To do this, right click on your RP tab and click chat settings. Click the boxes to the right to enable or disable things, and click the color boxes to the left to change the color. Also, you may want to drag the chatbox out to full size when RPing for ease of reading and to avoid lost messages and excessive scrolling.

Turn off GenChat in your RP Tab. If you are glutton for punishment like me and haven’t completely disabled it, be sure to turn it off in your RP tab. GenChat is distracting under the best of circumstances and it can be really distracting and spammy during RP.

That’s It! You made it to the end. *confetti* Now go out there and start your own personal Star Wars story and help us build an epic story together!
« Last Edit: 08/14/15, 12:16:06 PM by Imazi »
Check my profile for links my short story and art work threads.

New to RPing? Check my Getting Started Guide.

Offline Imazi

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Re: Imazi's How to Start RPing Guide
« Reply #1 on: 07/14/15, 11:20:32 PM »
Matching Characters to their RP situation
(…or why some people have many alts)

Time for a new guide! Once you get past the basics above, you may find you have a new problem. Either your character may not fit into the situations that you want to get them into or whenever you try to pull other characters into a story you want to RP out, they don’t fit into your story. Here’s some things to consider to help mitigate this problem. I apologize in advance for the many words, but you will find that many words are something you cannot avoid in explaining this art form/playstyle. :grin:

Matching character social ability to the social situation

Imagine you’re at a party and all is fine and good except that one person in the corner that sits there glaring at people and refusing to talk to anybody.  Your first thought might be, “Why did they even come?” The same thing happens with RP characters.

At least when you are starting out, your character needs to match the social situations they find themselves in to keep things easier on yourself. Is the setting a place for mingling? Then your character should probably be in a position to communicate with others even if small talk isn’t their strong suit. Likewise, is the situation more serious and to the point? Then your character probably shouldn’t stop the flow of things for a tea time or to ask how everyone’s mother is.

When you gain more experience, you will find that there are ways of contrasting characters with their surroundings to pretty interesting effect. But, that’s something to work up to. For now, go easy on yourself.  :grin:

Matching a Character’s profession or skills to the task at hand

Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. They can do some things really well and there are just some things they cannot do. The same goes for characters. While it is tempting to treat RP characters like props and just stick them in a story when the story calls for a body, characters are closer to people than they are props. When you RP, try to think of your character, or the ones you may want to bring in, as people and not props. Some people are well suited to a task and others or not. Some will be helpful and others disruptive.

Also, don’t try to force people together just for the sake of using a character at all cost. Consider how your character might help the story or the action along. Sometimes you may need to use another character. Some things to consider are: Does my character have any skills to help the task at hand? Might my character have a good backup skill if plans go south? Might my character lack directly useful skills but still provide fun banter? Might my character be able to provide character building opportunity or story advancing opportunity by being around?

Don’t worry too much if you can’t readily answer those questions right now. You are just starting out, and your character may need to be a tag along for a while just to start developing. New RP characters can be surprisingly blank slates. However, do try to observe the characters of more experienced RPers to see how their characters shift the dynamics of groups they are in. Give thought to how you can shape your character to have something to bring to group dynamics.

As your skill develops, you will find that you can answer the questions better. You may eventually find creative ways to have a character fit an RP even though the answer to many of the questions might be no.

Matching a character’s ideology to the prevailing ideology of the location

No one thinks like all the people around them all the time and neither do our characters, but at the same time we don’t always go around screaming our differences in ideologies. Often times we may reveal or alternately conceal our thoughts to better fit into a setting and our characters may need to as well.

Is your character a dark Jedi? Great! Should your character regale people with stories of all of the Jedi they’ve killed to get where they are on the steps of the temple on Tython? Probably not. Remember that for every action your character takes there will be an equal and opposite reaction. Though players may not try to remove you, it’s safe to assume that such a thing would not be welcomed at the temple. If such a disruptor kept attempting to subvert “good” Jedi, the Council would attempt to have the tempter removed. This goes for any setting where the character’s personal ideology clashes with the prevailing one.

Technically, because we are players we have a certain amount of plot armor to protect our characters from the consequences of their actions. However, relying on plot armor to protect your character in RP can lead to trouble for you. It can also lead to people not wanting to RP with you because your character isn’t subject to logical consequences anymore.

If you wish to play a character of an opposite ideology, then by all means do so, it can lead to interesting stories if done right. But, always keep in mind logical consequences of your character’s actions and play accordingly.

Syncing your ideas with others' ideas to come to an equitable arrangement

Do you have a great idea for an RP? Great! Do you need other players? The more the merrier! Do you need them to stop trying to figure out how to fit into your and just get on with it already? We’ve hit a snag…

Ideas for RPs are great and we really want you to contribute to our body of stories; however, please remember that other player’s characters don’t simply exist to play for your amusement. When you come up with an idea you still need to work with the other players to find a solution that allows everyone to have fun.

This can be achieved by OOC communication of intent, feeling out the other characters ICly to see if they will actually fit in the story, or even by changing some details of the story you intended to run, so that you can run it with the characters you have available. Oh and lots of patience.

Not every story will work out and not all characters will fit well with each other in a story, but working with the other players will go a long way to preventing this from being the case.

Playing with canon

This is quite the gray area for some and black and white for others. The most simple I can make this issue is: check with the people that you are RPing with to make sure they are OK with being party to a deviation from established lore, the in-universe information on the subject. Everyone has different tolerances and the best way to make sure that everyone is having fun, or is comfortable with what is going on, is to communicate.

Exceptions to the rules

If you haven’t noticed by now, there are no hard fast rules to RP and the possibilities are endless. That being said, it all boils down to one thing, skill. With enough skill you can get away with just about anything. However, skill is a nebulous term and about the only thing we can probably all agree on is that skill in RPing is built by continuing to RP.

So jump out there and get RPing! The possibilities are waiting for you. Yes, you may stumble at times and things may not go according to plan, but the only real solution is to keep powering through and keep learning from each encounter.

May your future RPs be loads of fun, your future RP characters be much sought after for RPs, and the Force be with you… :grin:
« Last Edit: 11/22/15, 10:21:36 PM by Imazi »
Check my profile for links my short story and art work threads.

New to RPing? Check my Getting Started Guide.

Offline Imazi

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Re: Imazi's How to Start RPing Guide
« Reply #2 on: 11/22/15, 10:21:53 PM »
Good and Bad RP
Time for another Guide! :whee: Let's look at what is good and bad RP.

What is “Good” RP?

There is no one definition of “good” RP, and anyone that tells you otherwise either doesn’t have enough experience to know what they are talking about or is just being obnoxious. However, the closest thing I can offer as a guide is to say that good RP allows you and the people you are RPing with to be engaged and have fun. While the nature of RP is subjective, not meeting this guideline is going to universally rub people the wrong way.

Now you may wonder, “how might I keep everyone engaged and entertained?” Good question, the best answer I can give is to communicate clearly and often, don’t treat RPs as a personal stage for your characters, and get to know the people you RP with. Everybody has different standards for fun, and they all RP for their own reasons. If you know what the people around you find fun or want to get out of RP, and you work to help them do those things when RPing with you, you should be fine.

What is “Bad” RP?

Bad RP has much the same problem as good RP when it comes to definitions; however, while you can’t give one solid definition of bad RP, you can define types of RP that are going to be taken badly fairly easily.

Let’s start from the same guideline as the good RP but reverse it. Bad RP prevents people who are RPing with you from engaging in the RP and having fun. Think of this as the other person just sitting around, watching you do your thing without engaging in what’s going on, or sitting at their keyboard bored out of their skull looking for an excuse to bail.

You may wonder, “how can I prevent this from happening?” Good question, the best way to do this is to communicate clearly and often, don’t treat RPs as a personal stage for your characters, and get to know the people you RP with.

If you don’t make sure the other players are still following you, you increase your chances of the RP turning into a bad RP. If you are constantly, OOCly telling the other players what they need to do or how you need their character’s to react to make the scene go the way you want, you increase your chances of it turning into a bad RP. If you are busy hurrying the RP along to get it to the part you want to do when other players are clearly into working out the part they at now, you increase your chances of it turning into a bad RP.

True, there are no absolutes. There will be times when you need to do the above things to keep the RP from going bad. However, remember that RP is a collaborative activity. Checking in with others and finding some happy middle ground is a necessity.  Sometimes you may not get your way at all, sometimes you may totally get your way, and sometimes it will be split between you and everyone else. Regardless, the main thing to remember is that everyone needs to share and have fun.
« Last Edit: 04/15/16, 11:07:23 AM by Imazi »
Check my profile for links my short story and art work threads.

New to RPing? Check my Getting Started Guide.

Offline Imazi

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Re: Imazi's How to Start RPing Guide
« Reply #3 on: 04/15/16, 11:06:15 AM »
[originally posted out of order. :)]
« Last Edit: 04/15/16, 11:08:29 AM by Imazi »
Check my profile for links my short story and art work threads.

New to RPing? Check my Getting Started Guide.