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Roleplay/Advanced Tips

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Welcome to the unofficial Skyrates Roleplaying Guide, the section on Advanced Roleplaying Tips. I have written this guide to address some of the smaller, more subtle issues that I have witnessed in online RP over the years. Skyrates RP has been for a large part devoid of many problems, but as more people find their way to Skyrates and to the Radio RP tab, a guide like this will become more nessecary.

PacingEdit

One of the most fundamental and most underestimated basics of good roleplay is good pacing. A lot of people write a number of short lines, posting them each at a time, like in the following example:

  • Sadistica: "Oh I don't know about that."
  • Sadistica speaks as she takes another sip of her drink.
  • Sadistica: "The Ingersoll's really fast."
  • Sadistica: "But easy to shoot down."
  • Sadistica giggles a bit.
  • Sadistica: "Just wave your gun at them and they pop."
  • Sadistica: "Say, Kincaid, how about another drink ?"

While this is not wrong per se, it does clutter up the screen and makes it more difficult for people to properly respond. Also, the more people write like this, the more the RP will become an incomprehensible mess of separate short posts. Finally, by the time someone has written up a respond to "The Ingersoll's really fast", I was already way ahead of them, on another subject entirely: Kincaid's drink. This makes responding properly and keeping a flowing conversation going needlessly difficult.

Instead, try to put all your character's actions and speech into a single paragraph, which includes everything your char says and does at that moment, and is basically your 'tag' to the next player. This helps keep the RP easy to read, better flowing, and gives people a better chance to respond to your character:

  • Sadistica: "Oh I don't know about that." She speaks as she takes another sip of her drink. "The Ingersoll's really fast, but easy to shoot down." She giggles a bit. "Just wave your gun at them and they pop. Say, Kincaid, how about another drink ?"

This more turn-based approach helps keep the RP properly paced, and easier to get in to. Of course, different situations require different approaches and your mileage may vary, but I find that this works well for me.

Flavor TextEdit

A very simple thing to keep in mind. Roleplay is meant to entertain. Not just the people writing the scene, but also those reading along with it. Perhaps they are just lurking in the RP tab, perhaps they are other writers busy writing their own scene. RP scenes become a lot more interesting with added flavor text. An example... Compare:

  • Sadistica walks in and sits at the bar.

to:

  • Sadistica wanders inside, looking a bit tired. A few smudges of oil are visible on the off-white fur of her face and the front of her slightly oversized red uniform. She glances around briefly to see who is in the bar right now, before making her way over towards the bar. The feline sits down tiredly on a barstool, closes her eyes for a moment and leans back a bit.

Both are proper RP, both are good. However, the second example gives out a lot more information. For example, to people unfamiliar with the character, the first example doesn't tell them what species she is or even what gender. It doesn't tell them what she's wearing or what she looks like, while the second example answers all those questions.

The second example also sets the mood. She seems tired, and there are smudges of oil on her face and her uniform. This is a good RP hook, something for other people to respond to, ask questions about and generally get more roleplay going.

Keep in mind, however, too much flavor text can distract from the situation at hand, and flavor text takes a bit longer to type up. Sometimes, a short, to the point description is the better option.

  • Sadistica walks inside, looking a bit tired and smudged with oil. She heads to the bar to sit down.

Use your own judgment, but keep in mind that adding relevant details will liven up a post, and give other people RP hooks to respond to.

Pay AttentionEdit

Too often have I been in various online RP settings where things happen that would normally get everyone's attention, but that get ignored. I have seen characters walk in staggering and bleeding, while other characters continue their discussion about which flower smells best. I have seen roleplays where thunderous explosions occur right outside the current tavern, while inside the patrons continue to play their game of cards as if nothing happened.

  • Talon Karrde: Outside the inn, a large explosion sounds. The windows rattle, a bright flash illuminates the windows.
  • Sadistica chuckles at Sluor's comment. "Surely you can't be serious ? She really said that ?"

Or

  • Sluor walks into the inn, limping heavily. A red patch of blood is visible on her fur. She staggers and collapses.
  • Sadistica yawns quietly, taking another sip of her drink.

Pay attention to what is going on around your character. Even if your character doesn't physically respond to something that is happening, at least acknowledge the fact that you, as reader, did notice it. It's not only good form to do so, but it shows the other writers that you are interested in what they are writing, and that is always pleasant.

  • Talon Karrde: Outside the inn, a large explosion sounds. The windows rattle, a bright flash illuminates the windows.
  • Sadistica blinks and startles at the explosion, almost falling from her barstool. She scurries over towards a window to see what has happened.

and

  • Sluor walks into the inn, limping heavily. A red patch of blood is visible on her fur. She staggers and collapses.
  • Sadistica blinks over at Sluor, but sees that other people have got her covered and decides to remain at the bar. She frowns a bit, and takes another sip of her drink.

BalancingEdit

Your character is a person. The more realistic you write him or her, the more rewarding the RP experience will be. People have good points and bad points. People have strengths and weaknesses. The best RP characters are personalities, with visible flaws. A flaw doesn't have to be something very serious, and when properly exploited, flaws help to bring out more roleplay, giving other people hooks to develop further. For example, one of Sadistica's biggest flaws is that she is quite naïve. This flaw has already led to complete love triangles, in-character arguments, and a lot of char development.

Nobody is perfect, and nobody does everything right. Have your char make mistakes, have your char show faults and flaws to balance their good sides, and you will be rewarded with more engaging and just plain more roleplay.

RP StylesEdit

Throughout this page I have used my own style of writing:

  • Sadistica sips her drink. "Are you sure about that?" She asks questioningly. "It just seems so incredible to me."

But many people have their own styles. That's one of the wonderful things about RP like in Skyrates: the diversity of roleplay, of characters, of personalities and plots.

  • Sadistica: *Sips her drink* Are you sure about that? *She asks, questioningly* It just seems so incredible to me.

or

  • Sadistica: (Sips her drink) Are you sure about that? (questioningly) It just seems so incredible to me.

All three are proper roleplay, and there are bound to be more styles out there. Find the style that you are comfortable with, and use it.

Who's (With) WhoEdit

A spreadsheet detailing the active RPers, and some basic information about them can be found here

ConclusionEdit

Roleplay is a creative endeavor between multiple people. The more effort you put into writing your char, the more entertaining you will make it for everyone. Especially when you find someone to write with that puts the same amount of effort into their characters and their character development. That's when roleplay can really shine.

Keep in mind that these tips are not cold, hard rules. They are just tips, to balance and liven up your RP experience. Everyone has a different RP style, and for the most part, they are all valid. Behind every character is a living, breathing person, that wants to develop their character the way they like, and you are offering them a vehicle to do so, with your own characters and roleplays.

Thank you for reading through all this. Happy writing, and above all:

  • Have Fun

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