On the Deadwood forum, one of our players had asked about whether it was bad form to approach people engaged in rp.
This got me to thinking it would be good to have a list of basic Role Play rules of etiquette. I am listing below, my thoughts and the thoughts of others from research I have done on this subject.
1. Never use typing shortcuts such as lol, cyu, btw, afk. That’s lazy roleplay. It takes you maybe 2 to 3 seconds longer to just type the whole thing out.
2. Never speak out of character. In many roleplay communities, it is common to use double parenthesis (()) to indicate you are speaking out of character. For example ((I have to run to the store, be back in a few)). However, for the seasoned roleplayer, it is a terrible distraction from the RP and unnecessary. Out of character comments or discussions should be kept in private instant messages or stated in such a way that is still in character. For example...*Jack Landar pulls out his pocket watch and frowns* "If you will please excuse me, I am late for an appointment."
3. Don’t “poof” out in front of people. If you have to leave the roleplay you are in, make your exit posts then walk away from the other players you are involved with before you teleport out.
4. Don’t “poof” in, in front of people. If someone would like to teleport you to their location, stop to ask first where they are. A sudden, unannounced arrival could interfere greatly with roleplay that may be taking place.
5. Don’t teleport in reinforcements. If you find yourself in a conflict of some sort and you’re thinking " I could really use some friends right about now to back me up.” You best hope they come strolling by on their own. It is extremely bad form to instant message friends to ask for help or to start teleporting them in. In many cases, it’s a quick way to have yourself permanently banned from an RP sim!
6. Stay away from “godmoding”. This is a common term among roleplayers, along with “metagaming” to describe when someone determines the resulting actions of another player or the outcome of roleplay before it is appropriate. For example: *Jack Landar pulls his pistol and fires a single well aimed round right between Unlucky Lou's eyes, killing him instantly.* In this case, Unlucky Lou didn’t even get a chance to take part in the roleplay before he was determined dead. Jack Landar should have been more patient and allowed a response from the man. For example: *Jack Landar pulls his pistol and fires at Unlucky Lou.* * Unlucky Lou staggers as the bullet grazes his skull*…and so on. Roleplay is interactive. No one player gets to decide the course of action or outcome for every player.
7. Stay away from public disputes. If you disagree with the outcome of roleplay, the method of roleplay or the roleplaying habits of another player, take it to instant messages. Do not, under any circumstances, create a spectacle. Public, out of character squabbles are the true sign of a novice, or bad roleplayer.
8. Bring in the Administrator. No matter what you try to do, you cannot reach a resolution for the dispute you are involved in. What should you do? Call in a Gamemaster, Moderator or Administrator to help resolve it. A majority of the roleplay sims will have this “feature” for disputes that cannot reach conclusion between the players. Hopefully always someone who is well versed on the rules and can be an unbiased decision maker. Sometimes, they may choose to nullify the line of roleplay from a certain point completely to keep the peace. Other times they may rule in your favor, or the favor of another. Regardless of the outcome, their word is final. Take it and move on!
9. Excuse yourself with class. Is the wife calling you to dinner? Did one of your kids just spill a glass of juice down your sock? Don’t panic….the roleplay can wait. But as a courtesy, don’t leave the roleplayers hanging either. A brief instant message will suffice explaining your need to run quickly….or even in the midst of roleplay “Far in the distance I see the curl of dark smoke rise from the area that is my home. With great alarm I take off running towards it, waving a hasty goodbye to my fellow subjects!
• Be creative with your roleplay. Close your eyes for a moment and lose yourself in your character. What would he or she do? How would they respond? What would they think? If someone drops to their knees and proposes marriage to your character, would she run? Would she gladly accept? Would she laugh? Don’t be afraid to take that moment to truly live your character.
• Don’t over-flower. Don’t litter your roleplay with giant, ten cent words or overlong paragraphs. Beautiful language is a definite advantage in this medium of roleplay but you can be descriptive and creative without inducing yawns from those playing with you. People roleplay to interact, keep your posts as brief as possible.
• Don’t under-flower. It can be difficult at times to know what is too much or not enough. While you don’t want to bore other roleplayers with big, extravagant posts, you don’t want to turn them off with “one-hit wonders” either. For example, you have just met the Queen of the Realm. She extends her hand to you in greeting. Do you “Shakes Queens hand.”? Or do you “Takes the delicate hand of the Queen and gently kisses it in respect."
• Follow through. If you start a line of roleplay, finish that line of roleplay. Don’t leave it dangling out there particularly if you have involved others. There is nothing wrong with writing out a storyline. Have a starting point and the general direction you would like to see it go. Some say to include how you would like it to end as well. I would encourage you not to worry about the ending. This will let the story go how and where the characters decide without any undue constraints.