The Ten Commandments Of Roleplay

The Ten Commandments of Roleplay (plus some):
written by Khare'

**11: Thou shalt not block.
To block is to reject what another player says while IC. It's a world of fantasy we play in, where anything can happen. It?s also a world of text, which we make come to life by emoting what exists and what happens. If another character says to you, 'Hey, look at that dog over there?' and you say, 'There is no dog', you have blocked. The point of RP is to go places you can't IRL, see and do things you might never anywhere else. By giving anyone the chance to add to the world we play in, it makes it a much richer environment for us all? and it makes everyone the storyteller, not just a single person. This can be a tricky rule, but it is the most important of them? it is best learned through experience, but should always be somewhere in your awareness. Yellow sticky notes on the computer work really well.

10: Thy character doest not know what thou knowest.
Think about it. If you have a conversation with someone OOC and then incorporate your that into IC? does it make sense? How would your character know that? Who told them? How did they learn it? How long ago? All these questions and more are raised. The same can be said for reading backgrounds or past logs of characters. Sometimes knowledge is common, other times is only given to a select few, and sometimes only known by a single character. If you're not sure which a piece of information might be, then ask.

As a side note, this also includes people walking into a room but not emoting an entrance. You saw them come in OOC? your character did not see their character come in. So don't greet them until they make their presence known IC - they may just be there to watch you play!

9: Thou shalt not waffle.
To waffle is to stray from character. Do not confuse your own wants and needs with your character's. They are a living, breathing person, and if you treat them as such then your playing experience will be far more fulfilling. They may be an extension of your own wants or fantasies? but as you develop them, their own goals, beliefs and abilities will emerge. Though I can be a harsh puppeteer, plotting all sorts of terrible things to happen to my character, he still surprises me. In the end, I do not play my character, he plays himself. This is a highly developed character, however. Do not expect this to come right away. But it will come, if you stay true to your character.

8: To grab attention is an unpardonable sin.
We?re here to play together. That means it's not just you, unless you're writing a monologue. Everyone wants to see their own character doing things, but sometimes you just have to leave a scene or sit on the sidelines and wait it out. If there's a dramatic moment going on between a few characters, don't jump up and down clamoring for attention. Sit tight, emote what your character might be thinking or feeling in reaction to what's going on, and the scene will be the better for it. You'll have your chance to shine soon enough… let everyone else get a chance too. By the same token, if you've been in the limelight for a long time, remember that everyone there does enjoy watching you play, but they want to play too. RP is not a passive thing? it's a very active sport. It's playing Nintendo as opposed to watching TV.

7: Thou shalt not forget the people inside.
This goes hand-in-hand with number 8. If there are people there playing, try and give opportunities for all of them to participate. If people end up on the sidelines for a while, grab them back in at the first available moment. If you want a scene without them, then say so. By the same token, if someone says that they'd prefer to do a scene without you, respect their wishes. However, remember this on both sides: It is NOT personal. Characters need one-on-one a good deal, for this is when the largest amount of actual character development takes place. Three people makes it more difficult, but possible. It's very difficult to have an epiphany in the middle of a crowded room. If you do ask someone to leave or not participate at that time, make a point of playing with them the very next time you can. That way, everyone gets shared around.

6: Thou shalt not be malicious, and thou shalt be trustworthy.
Even though we wear the masks of characters, the people inside them are still real. The mask of text is a further shrouding of ourselves, and all this anonymity makes it very easy to hurt someone. Roleplay is partly about trust. You have to trust your character to make their own decisions. You have to trust the others in the group to play by the same rules you are. And you have to trust that no one is going to be malicious or try to hurt you personally. So it is that you will not hurt anyone yourself. This is a rule that is understood by all that engage in roleplay, and if broken, must be corrected immediately or else simply no one will ever play with you. Your character may be evil? they may not like another character. They may say hurtful things to another character. But at all times this is to be kept IC. If it ever slips OOC, then correct the problem or consult a mediator. Respect the private lives of those who play with you.

5: Thou shalt live for the moment.
Roleplay is not about playing for yourself, as already said. But it is also not only about playing for a plot, as well. It is about playing for the moment, this current moment you reside in. Goals are necessary, yes? but the roleplay environment is a fluid one, and a plot can be completely washed aside if something better presents itself while playing through scenes. You do not read a novel for the ending, or even the plot outline. You read it for the scenes that make up the plot, the interaction of characters. So no matter how good your character may be, the scene will always have the ability to be better. And no matter how good they are, they pale in comparison to what the interaction of two characters can have.

4: Know thy character.
A character is no good until they have reached a certain phase of development. Jumping directly into roleplay with them, yes, can do this but the chance of waffling, or having no actual character whatsoever, is very great? and this lessens the enjoyment for all involved. Talk to your character. Think about them. Who are they? Where do they come from? What was their family like? How did they come to be here? What is their outlook on life? What quirks does their personality have? What is their inward personality, and what do they allow others to see? How do they move? How do they talk? What do they look like? What do they wear? The questions are limitless. I personally like to listen to music until I find a song that I feel suits my character's personality, through lyrics or emotion, and try to go from there? but I am sure there are limitless methods for inspiration and personal development. Put them in situations, see how they react. I do this on a regular basis with my main character, to find out if he's developed lately and how? and also because a good character is the equivalent of an imaginary friend.

3: Thou shalt play to the best of thy ability, and shalt play hard.
Roleplay is not a passive entertainment. It is something you have to grab by the horns, tie a knot in the tail of, jump up and down with, and chase across vast distances. Roleplay is active. It's the difference between listening to a story, and inventing a story. You do this with others. You cannot simply say, And then we'll hope someone does something with this option we've put out? You have to take control, gather together whomever it is you currently want to play with, and play. A scene doesn't happen by itself. It is a concerted effort of all involved. When everyone has a part to play and they play it well, the results can be breathtaking.

2: Thou shalt have fun.
This is the second rule, but is perhaps the most important one. Roleplay is for entertainment. The fact that you can learn a lot about the nature of people, of yourself, see the world from a different perspective, learn to interact better with others, experiment with roles you may never have touched on IRL? these are just side-effects of the entertainment. We play because we enjoy it. There's no power, no status, save in the eyes of your peers? and we are all peers, none 'better' than the others. We invent titles, but they are not ours: they are our characters?. We have our favourite people to play with and our less favourite. But no one is forcing us to play. If we don't feel like it, we don't. It's about enjoyment. About fun. And about sharing this fun with others who have not yet had a chance to experience about it. Sometimes it can be work? you can burn out from it. Things can go sour. But never forget that you're doing it for fun, never do it for any reason other than for fun? and you'll be just fine.

1: Thou shalt not block.
This is the first and last rule because it is the most important of them all, and integrates every one to some extent. Read them over again and see how they tie into this statement. If you can remember at least just this one rule, through all your roleplaying adventures, and learn just how important it is, then you will be an excellent roleplayer. If you can teach it to others, so much the better.

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