WHAT ROLEPLAYING IS... Literally: Playing a role. You have opportunity to experience a different life by playing a character and interacting with other people's. There is no limitation to the kind of characters or scenes that you play. The fun of roleplaying is the spontaneity that comes with interacting with other people's ideas and not knowing what is coming next! You should only be playing as your own character and never writing for someone else's. People want to live their character, not have you do it for them. Writing skills and story structure are tools in enhancing roleplay experience! ROLEPLAY STYLES The wonderful world of roleplaying is filled with a great variety of different styles and setups to playing the game. Every style has it’s good points or bad points. Some people find they can play any sort of RP with ease, while others prefer a specific technique. How do you know what works best? You’ve just got to step out there and try them! Hopefully this guide will showcase some of the most popular forms of writing based roleplay, so you can find that style you most enjoy. Frivolous Roleplay vs. Serious Roleplay No matter what style of roleplay you choose, it’s good to know if you’re a frivolous player, a serious player, or someone in between. Once you have it figured out, it can help you get involved in the kind of roleplay games you’ll get the most out of. Frivolous Roleplay: This is all about the fun and instant gratification of playing! Most frivolous roleplays have the very bare minimums of a plot. The point of these games is just to have a chance to PLAY. Trying out a random idea. Getting to do something you think would be neat. Most frivolous games don’t last long after you accomplish that “thing” you were after. But sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised how a frivolous roleplay can turn in to something more in depth and serious when the right characters come together. Serious Roleplay: When you have a very clear idea of plot and story, with a direction you want to take - this would be a serious game. It doesn’t mean the game itself is “serious”, (it could be a magical girl comedy!), it simply means you have goals for your roleplay that need to be met. A serious roleplay is great when you have detailed or complicated story to play out, or when you need a solid purpose while you play. Serious roleplays usually last over a longer span of time, but can often fall victim to over planning. You don’t have to do just one or the other! Sometimes you may be in the mood for a quick and frivolous games, but other times you might have ideas that need a serious game to really make them shine. The trick is going with what works. The Varied World of Roleplay Methods Welcome to the internet, where you have so many fantastic options for roleplaying! The three major writing based roleplay types being; forum, chat, and IM messengers. Between them, there are a number of ways you can roleplay, each having their pros and cons, and all depending on what you’re seeking out of a game. Forum Method: Just like writing a story, you’re writing your posts from the perspective of the character you’re playing. Forums allow you the space and time to be able to make your posts as simple or as detailed as possible. This chance to elaborate on scenes, thoughts, and inner dialogue of characters makes it ideal for Serious roleplays. The best method for posting on forum roleplays is to used “Third Person, Past Tense.” Example: “He walked in the room to inspect the floor before he set down his toolbox and started repairs.” If everyone posted in First Person, you would see a lot of: “I walked in to the room...” which would make the entire topic sound like one person instead of several. If you use present tense you’ll have “He is walking in to the room...” and that just doesn’t work with the pace of the game. Chat Method: Chat rooms allow roleplayers to play in real time. Where in a forum game, you might have to wait hours to days for the next reply, in a chat game it’s only a few minutes. This is because in a chat, you’re cutting out a lot of the extra scenery and description, to rely more on dialogue and action between characters. Chats are ideal for frivolous roleplays, as you can easily go through a plot in one night with everyone right there and posting at the same time. Because the action is actually happening in real time, you could easily use past or present tense without it sounding weird. The downside to chat roleplaying, is that it’s impossible to hold together a game with more than two or three people due to people’s real life schedules. In many chat games you’ll see people doing quick actions using *’s or other symbols to bracket the action separate from their dialogue instead of using traditional writing. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just a way to type out your posts faster and cut out unnecessary words. If you prefer one method over the other, all you have to do is say so before the start of the game to decide on what works. Instant Message Method: IMs combine the best of both worlds. If you’re playing with a single partner, you could take the time to make longer more elaborate posts like forum style games. If you have a group chat open, you could switch over to chat style so that the game moves quickly without stalling. The only downside to IM playing comes from new players not being able to see what’s happened in the roleplay and jump in. But, this does provide you with the perfect place for private games without the eyes of peepers. The Group Types Now that you have an idea of the medium, you’ll want to figure out the kind of group you like to roleplay in. Some may find a large groups exciting, where others think they are confusing. Try different groups to see where your style fits in best. Massive Group Roleplay: As described, this will be a roleplay with many, many players. There could be any number of open plotlines going on at once, with the capability to move between them. A game could have anywhere from two people to a dozen or more. This usually makes for a lot of constant action, but it can also mean players get confused or lost. Massive roleplays require very active players and paying attention to details. Small Group Roleplay: Containing only a handful of people, anywhere from three to ten. A small group gives you just enough characters to carry a more complicated plot, but without the constant non-stop action of a Mass Roleplay. Characters can branch off in to their own subplots or merge back together in a single thread for major scenes. This is an ideal setup for a Serious Roleplay, as you have a small enough group to keep controlled and focused on the agenda. One on One Roleplay: If you find yourself shying away from larger groups or find them too complicated, this is the way to go. You’re able to switch back and forth between serious play or frivolous play without worrying about the effects it could have on other player groups. Focus can be put on characters or on plot at the pace you prefer. The only downside would be having to take on NPC (No Player Character) roles to enhance the plot, if action between the two main characters gets stale.