Hey folks! Today I want to take a moment to talk about something that is very VERY dear to me: Chat Roleplay! Commonly referred to on Iwaku as ChaRP, Chat Roleplay was, at one time, basically the only way to RP. Chatrooms on places like MSN, AOL, Yahoo and ICQ used to be common. Of course, all of those places mostly intended for non-roleplay settings, but that didn’t stop some people from entering as a character and behaving as though they were that character. This is how I was first introduced to RP, and I played almost exclusively via chat for probably like 13 or 14 years before ever even trying forum RP. Nowadays, forum RP is probably the most common way of roleplaying, but fortunately Iwaku still has a very dedicated (and growing!) ChaRP base! But, there is still a lot of room for it to grow! So to help encourage that growth, I’d like to take a little bit of time to talk about ChaRP, why it’s so much fun, and how you can make sure you are being an effective chat RPer! Why Chat RP? The beauty of chat roleplay is that, unlike forum RP, you can’t really take your sweet time to come up with a post. Chat RP is dynamic and requires you to react and to quickly come up with a way for your characters to respond, react, and act upon the world that is changing around them. Part of what makes ChaRP so addicting is the knowledge that you are creating something in real-time, developing your character dynamically with other people, and that the decisions you make for your character are permanent and that you can’t go back and change or undo them! This can make Chat RP very engaging, and very rewarding. There are, however, some misconceptions about Chat RP. Its opponents most often argue: It's too casual It's unskilled It's not complex enough for deep, interesting characters My response is that all of these can also be true with forum RP, depending on the players involved. It’s on the player to get around these issues. Fortunately, in persistent Chat RP environments (like Iwaku’s ChaRP events, or in the 18+ Bordello Inn), it’s easy to divert your character’s attention to get them interacting with a different character or player if that’s what you need for your character’s growth and development (or downfall, if that’s what you want). However, there are several things you can do to make yourself a more effective Chat RPer! So How Do I ChaRP Effectively? To be very honest, a lot of the same guidelines for being a good RPer in general also apply to ChaRP. If you are an experienced forum RPer, a lot of this will probably seem obvious. But! In the fast-paced nature of a chat roleplay, sometimes it can be easy to forget and to be overwhelmed! Allow me to remind you what I feel are some of the most important things to keep in mind for ChaRP! One of the first and most important things to do is to stay in character. Try to react to things as you would expect your character to, rather than how you as a player want them to. This is going to mean that sometimes, your character doesn’t get what they want (or you as a player don’t get to see your character progress how you want them to) and that’s okay! Just as in real life, you can always try again later. Failing every once in a while makes our characters realistic! Don’t just react, act too! Help to drive the story and interaction! Even if you don’t know where the other character is going, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being proactive this way helps to keep RP fresh so that one player doesn’t feel burdened with always pursuing interaction. The next is to not be afraid of upsetting other characters. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous one of staying in character. If your character is going to react negatively to a situation and blow up at someone, or yell or break things, let them! Not every interaction needs to be lollipops and rainbows. Let your character be affected by other characters. This is the primary way characters in ChaRP grow! Even if this means that your character is going to be hurt, or if they’ll pick up a bad habit or develop some bad tendencies. Pay attention! One of my biggest peeves is when I’m trying to hint at something with my character, especially if I feel like I’m being pretty obvious with it, and the other character skips right past it and talks about something else! Read through a character’s posts and see if there is something you can react to or ask about. Often times, there can be something in the description or in the character’s words that you can pick up on to say something about. Lastly, don’t take it too seriously! ChaRP is meant to be fun! If you can detach from your character a bit and enjoy watching them be put in weird, wacky and sometimes uncomfortable situations, a lot of enjoyment can come from that! Try not to be put-off or offended by the actions or opinions of other characters in a roleplay, because they don’t necessarily reflect on the person playing them! Just relax and enjoy the ride! So how can you get to ChaRPing? I suggest taking a look in the Chat Roleplaying forum to get involved with some of the ChaRP events! If you don't see any that interest you, don't be afraid to start your own! For those of you who are 18+ and don’t mind occasional (or frequent) smut, The Bordello Inn chatbox is also frequently populated and is a persistent environment where characters come and go! If anyone has any other comments or questions, please let me know! Happy Charping!