LESSON Beginning Guide to Chat Roleplay

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY SKILLBUILDING' started by Kitti, Jul 9, 2016.


    There are so many rewarding elements to a chat roleplay and it is an often under explored frontier, in part due to lack of experience in running a roleplay through this medium. For those who want to run a chat roleplay but would feel better having a primer on how to go about it, this guide is for you.

    From notes about the nuts and bolts to advisory on plot, this guide is designed to boost confidence in approaching a chat roleplay. If you have any further questions or areas that you would like a guide for, leave a comment below!


    This is the part that is going to be the most straightforward and independent of individual roleplayers and roleplays so we'll get it out of the way first: mechanics.


    Creating a schedule that you can more or less reliably follow is important in being able to entice roleplayers and allow them to set aside enough time to engage in chatrp.

    Choosing a specific day or date well in advance will give necessary notice to those who are interested so that your players are available to play.

    Set time guidelines that work for you and your players. Experiment with how long you find optimal for your games. Too short might lead to unfinished stories and unsatisfied players. Too long can lead to bored, antsy players that leave or ones who are too intimidated by the huge time commitment to even sign up.

    Don't be afraid to advertise your chat roleplay just like any other roleplay! Tell people when it will be, where it will be, get them interested! Make sure people know about it (and have a general idea how long to expect it to take).

    To gather people and talk about the plot early on, get a feel for players, etc. an interest check and even a Group Roleplay Signup sheet can be a real boon. Don't be afraid to make them!

    Chat Rooms

    If you are working with an ongoing chatrp world, you can create chatrooms set aside for specific settings and use them more than once. As long as they don't go past the time limit for inactivity, they will remain there for you to use multiple times if desired. You can simply notify your players that you will be reusing them and direct them accordingly.

    If you are intending on creating your own original RP idea, you will probably want to create a chatroom in advance for this purpose so that the members can find it and join it. You will also probably want to create an Out of Character partner chat to it so that plot and characters can be discussed without derailing the roleplay.
    Creating a Chatroom

    1. From Iwaku's main page, click on the button at the top that says "Chat".
    2. This takes you to the standard chatbox lobby.
    3. From here, you will see the contents of the chat. At the top righthand corner of the chatbox, there is a dropdown menu labeled "Options". Clicking on it reveals a list, the one we are after is called "Add Room".
    4. Here, you can set your room name (You will probably want to use the RP name you chose so that your players can find it easily).
    5. If your Roleplay is limited to a certain age group, restrictions can be made in this screen as well. A description can also be added.
    6. Click the "Save" button!


    In order to use a character name, rather than your own name, you can use the command /char. The text entered will look like [/char NAMEHERE Did the thing and said that thing]. For example:
    /char Kitti facerolled on the keyboard.
    This will look like:
    Kitti facerolled on the keyboard.
    This is for roleplay chatboxes only.

    The option to /kick an unruly member exists (you are also able to locate this command by clicking on their name in the list of active chatters).
    This should not be used except for rare cases. If you find a member whose bad behavior warrants kicking them from the chatrp, you should ALSO issue a report regarding their actions.


    Traditional vs. Chat roleplay

    When it comes to crafting a plot for your roleplay, the restrictions and opportunities in a chatrp vs. traditional differ. These differences should be kept in mind to work toward the best chatrp experience. That way, you can really play up the special benefits that this format provides.

    A chat roleplay allows for faster and smoother interplay between characters, which is particularly useful when it comes to combat or dialogue scenarios. Description, however, can be harder to establish and the pace is often too fast to write down large amounts of detail.

    This tends to lend itself more to an off-the-cuff style of setting the scene and more working on impulse. Taking the actions of others into account is a double-edged sword, though. With so much about a setting unsaid, players will often go one of two ways:

    The first is to not say enough. People are nervous about stepping on toes or putting their foot in their mouth and they write very little and roleplay in a reactionary fashion that can be harder to work with. They might need a little extra coaxing to feel comfortable in adding some extra detail themselves.

    The second is to set the scene themselves. This, in moderation, is great. Creating scenery and giving their own detail makes them lively and interesting to write alongside. However, taken to the extreme, this can lead to someone taking too much artistic license and needing to be gently reined in if they begin to derail the situation or plot.

    Ongoing vs. Oneshot

    An ongoing roleplay is one whose plot takes place over the course of more than one chat roleplay session. This can be an original roleplay or just a story played out in the setting of Tortuga Station, etc. This allows for more in-depth plot and grander roleplay goals, as well as the ability to pick back up again quickly the next time as the players are, hopefully, familiar with the setting and events. Setting mental "checkpoints" for where you feel would be a good spot to leave off and pick back up can be helpful for preparation.

    A Oneshot, as I will call it, is a roleplay whose entire plot is taken from start to finish in one session. This prevents the potential problem in an ongoing roleplay of the players not being able to participate again and missing key characters. The downside to this is that the plot must have a fairly small scope, which depends somewhat on the length of the session that you allot.

    Time Management

    A scenario, fight, scene, etc. in a chat roleplay can unintentionally stretch on for too long in the limited amount of time you have. Keeping players focused and having a general idea of how long certain aspects of your roleplay should take will help you get to the spot (whether it be the conclusion or checkpoint) that you want to reach.

    It is okay to run a little longer than expected, as long as your players are up for it, but to need much more time than planned might end with several players needing to leave. Trial and error, perhaps with a few patient players, might help you to figure out where time needs to be watched.

    When you have a good idea of how long is optimal for you and how much content you can expect to get in that span of time, you can really hone in on where some scenes can be stretched out and others need a little shortening.

    Have fun

    Enjoying your roleplay and writing stories with other people doesn't have to be a hard science. If everyone is having a good time creating characters together, you're doing it right! Remember that the rules and guides are in place to help you and your players have the best roleplay possible.​
    #1 Kitti, Jul 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
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  2. This was excellent! I'm eager to make my own.
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  3. I can try to help you out with this one Willow and maybe if I get mine up you can help me, you don't have to if you don't want to.
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  4. Thanks, I'd appreciate all the help I can get. I might help you, if the genre is in my realm of liking. :D
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