How to RP on an RP Mud (by Kinaed 2011)

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How to RP on an RP Mud (by Kinaed 2011)

Post by Honesty » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:17 am

My response to Saphire's Thread, concerning a poll (or not so poll) of Roleplay Shops In Game.

I've wanted to share this, as I have had this guide in my possession for quite a long time. I have never met this Kinaed, honestly. Nor played the MUD they played. I simply began dedicating my playtime to RP Enforced MUDs. And I wanted to get better and be like all the Kool Kidz. So, I found this online. This was, and still is, one of my Go-To guides when regarding MUD Roleplay. When I need it, it is there. In response to Saphire, I took some time to edit, reword, and rework some of it, make it easier to digest.

This, however, is not my guide to claim.

In time, I would love to add my own lessons. Things that I've learned about RP myself. And I'd like to continue adding on to this thread. For that, I am hoping this could be stickied. Or moved to the Helpful Tips fora.

Bon appetit~♥
"Stories take place in their own worlds, and each world is different. In order to further understand that world, you must first immerse yourself, completely"

How to RP on an RP Mud (Kinaed's Origonal)
by Kinaed of The Inquisition: Legacy ( port 5050) March 10, 2011

  • For those new to RP MUDs, this guide intends to assist players in getting comfortable with role-play, TI: Legacy style. It is not written to criticize any other style of play, but rather to provide options and ideas to would-be RPers that might help them get more out of their scenes. In this guide, we will provide possible answers to questions like "How do I engage another player to best effect?" and "What can I do when the scene is lagging?"

    The information herein comes from research on acting and improvisation as well as drawing from over a decade of first hand experience in the field of interactive online storytelling.

    Role-Play is first and foremost about telling a good story. RP Muds rely heavily on static world code and streamlined commands to build the underlying physics of the world. This world becomes the backdrop for the crowning jewel of the game: characters. Exploring the interaction between characters is what RP Muds are about. Nothing else.

    In play, a Role-Player uses the following three major skill groups:
    • • Acting and Improvisation
      • Literacy and Interactive Storytelling
      • and Participation (social skills)
    In this manner, RPing becomes a cooperative exercise in storytelling. That means that RP isn't just about a single character, but about the interaction between two or more characters. You are not alone. And in turn, that means that writing a good story requires respect for one's RP Partners. RP Partners being others who are also participating.

    For the purposes of this RP Guide, we'll assume that you have a good character concept to be your basic foundation. Following that, let's examine how to make engaging stories with other people, and have fun doing so!

Build Relationships and Character
  • At the outset of RP choose a role for your character to play within the scene you've entered. It does not have to be the same role each time, but should be something consistent, and acceptable, for your character's range of behavior given their background, personality, standing, and/or quirks.
    • In this scene, I shall play: a weeping maiden, an aggressive warrior, a conniving banker, a gossiping prostitute, a snooty beauty, a wise scholar, etc...
    Next, justify to yourself:
      • Why is your character acting in this way, and how is it important to the scene? If you're skilled enough to make that inclusive and important to your RP partners, you're well on your way to a great scene.
    • In this scene, I want: my RP partner to give me money, to convince them to become a heretic, to hire them to do something for me, etc...
Start with exploring history or sharing ideas your character may have in common with their RP partners (or differences). Regardless, once you know your character's role, and why they're fulfilling that role, you're ready to make your mark. For example:
  • • Theme (I think Tubori men are pansies because they wear skirts.)
    • Current Events (When the Cardinal was elected by the Synod, there was such an uproar the servants found blood on the floor during the cleanup. Now that's my kind of party!)
    • Ideas (The queen would probably squash a popular uprising. Anyone want to join mine?)
    • Fashion (You're wearing the same color bodice I am; take it off or die!)
    • Another character's role purpose (Thief1 to Thief2: Hey buddy, you want to go hold up all of the local shops and extort them for protection money?).
Tip: If you treat every scene as if fishing for a new tidbit of information about someone, or a challenge to get someone to do something specific, you'll create rich relationships indeed.

Tip: Whenever you get a tidbit of information about someone, give one about yourself in return!

  • Keep it in Perspective*

    If your game's theme is about a low magic universe, RPing a martial artist with super-sensitive chi and a pet dragon familiar probably isn't reasonable. If you don't want others to deny you, don't build a situation where they feel they have to in order to play the game as presented. Consciously maintain the theme of the MUD, without divergence.

Improvisation, Interactive Storytelling and Acting
  • As soon as you can, introduce something interesting, even if you have to make it up! If you have material offered by a partner, use it! If your game has a rumor system, then it's a great resource for RP material. Or, heaven forbid, if you actually have something to talk about that's come from a previous RP!

    "I've been listening to rumors again, and did you hear...?"
    "I think I only have one month to live..."
    "Yesterday, in the garden, I swear I saw the face of King Dav in the petunias."

    Example: if you find out someone likes fishing, then use it. You can:
    • • Set up an IC interaction with that player at a later date that involves fishing
      • Maybe bribe them with fish, a fishing opportunity, etc
      • Decide your character hates fishing and create a conflict of interest
      • Spread rumors about their fishing habits, etc
    This builds 'threads' in a story arch which will subtly provide opportunities for both yourself and all other players.

Stoke Fires*

If the scene is dying a sloooow death, here's some CPR to try to revive it:
  • - Fish for a reaction:
      • the best way is to give your point of view about a characteristic or RP activity of another character, forcing the other player to justify or provide more information to adjust your view.

    • Example: "Nice necklace. I'll bet you're wearing it to catch Sephone's eye. She's got sticky fingers and a liking for that sort of thing." - Now both Sephone and the person wearing the necklace are ripe to correct you or build upon what you say and very few people can resist the flattery of being the center of discussion.

    - Bribe your RP partner:
      • If you do X, I'll do Y; "If you insult that Inquisitor, I'll kiss a big, fat warty frog!" (We're not necessarily talking money here, just a promise to do something in exchange for their doing something.)

    - Make statements instead of asking questions:
      • "It's two o'clock, time to paaaarty!" instead of "What time is it?" This gives someone something to react to instead of allowing them to simply answer the question and consider their responsibilities complete.

    - Act against reason:
      • Explore the options that aren't in your character's best interest. Do things that people just don't do in real life. Call someone ugly. Talk about a taboo subject. Expose your ankles in a crowed inn (very unseemly in Lithmore).

    - Express an unpopular opinion.

    - Agree when you disagree OOCly and vice versa.
      • This gives others pause, builds up the tension, and sets the RP on fire. (Just be careful not to take this over the invisible line of propriety it's about exploration and enjoying learning about yourself and the path not taken instead of outrageous behavior. Eg, Don't Troll.).


Reactive Play vs Active Play
  • There are two types of play. The first, the Reactive Player, waits for someone else to set up the story and parameters of engagement. Players engaged in this type of play tend to fall into the 'smiles and nods' a lot with short emotes. They can easily get bored. Reacting is most common when an RPer has become tired. It also tends to slow a scene, but their presence can be useful to fill in gaps without wrestling away attention from those active players at center stage.

    Active Players create original material for other players and themselves. They introduce new concepts and activities to the game during their RP. They can massage and knead other people's material into new concepts, extending it and passing it around.

    It's not terribly awful to be reactive, but if you are and you're bored, consider switching your style to something active.
    • - Consciously avoid the mundane. Respond beyond simple smiles and nods, or follow up with them creatively.

      - Enter a scene with an attitude, action, or emotion to give other people something to react to at the start.

      - What makes today unique to your character?
      • What's going on in their life that they would just have to share with others? Think about this when you log into the game and before you enter a scene. Maybe check rumors and your mail first.
      - If you're stuck for actively setting a scene, go through 'who, what, and where'.
      • Answer one question, and try to let your RP partners answer others. If someone else is setting the scene, try to comment on their who, where, and what.
      - When targeted, deny nothing. Instead, use actions and build on them!

      - Justify your character's entrance and exit, and share the justification with others.

      - Raise the stakes, escalate, make the situation more acute until... you exit and have fodder for your next scene.

      - Don't just focus on yourself as the character, think about your purpose and contribution.

      - What difference does having your character in this scene make to the scene?
      • The scene should be a different scene than it would have been if you weren't around. Make your mark.
      - If there are a lot of people in a scene, try to break into groups?
      • Perhaps target someone under-utilized, and take elsewhere to continue the scene or create a new one.

Emoting, RP Literacy, and Respectful Storytelling

Say your partner posts something, you'll respond by restating it in a slightly differing manner while adding your own material for them to react upon. Do this each sequence, when Crafting the Emote:
  • - Go line-by-line.
      • Respond using contents from the previous person's remote and put enough in your remote for the person targeting you to respond to.
    - Avoid telling other people what they are thinking or doing.
      • Let others have an 'escape' from unwanted actions; leave the emote 'open' for them to avoid if they choose to. (Eg, don't 'swing from a tree, slamming into Bob!', rather 'swing from a tree, heading directly for Bob!' Now Bob decides if he gets hit.)
        • Jessie flutters a little higher and stretches a finger, aiming to poke at Terry's nose.
          Terry instantly freezes, his eyes widened at the approaching finger.
          Jessie cackles as she boops Terry's snoot!
          Terry licks his snout and growls.
    - Keep the focus on the relationships and interactions going on around you.

    - Respond resourcefully by avoiding repetition.
      • If you are prone to using an incidental reaction, try not to use the same one over and over again (E.g., if your character is graceful, don't beat people over the head with how graceful they are every emote; try to find a different incidental (a secondary) to add texture to your emotes in the next turn). Perhaps cycle through the different types of incidentals to add flavor: gestures, environmental props, personal props, tone, character emotion, etc.
    - Try to avoid 'is' and 'are' type descriptions of your activities.
      • For example, don't say 'Her screech is horrifying' try to express a screech that, through evocative language, incites feelings of horror in your RP partners.
    - Be specific instead of vague.
      • "Nice bodice..." versus, "Oh my, I've always wanted a purple silk bodice like that. It really matches your eyes." (Some people have argued this point with me, but specifics give the responder more to talk about. The response to the first is probably nothing more interesting than "Thanks." and the response to the second is, "Oh, you like purple..." because now you've given your RP partner information to use.)
  • When Using Props*

    • Think about your environment: furniture, trees, smells, lighting, sounds, etc.
    • Bring the environment alive with echoes, etc.
    • Reference personal equipment, emotions, descriptions, and so on.
    • A plan; always be doing something in any scene, such as baking bread, ordering coffee, glaring at the back of your hand, etc.

Etiquette, Rebuffing and Encouragement:
  • If you deny a player's scene (poses, action, emote), do it respectfully and have a very good reason. Make sure it's an IC denial instead of 'breaking the bubble'. Denying the veracity of someone else's RP, at the very least, isn't very nice, but it has broader implications for a scene. By nature, an RP game must be cooperative, or we will break the fourth barrier, creating confusion at best and enmity at worst. Just imagine...
    • Example: Jane poses that she's sitting on the only stool in the room. Bob, Jane's RP partner, poses that he, in fact, is sitting on the stool, not Jane.
    At the very least, Jane and others are confused. At the worst, Jane's cursing Bob for his inconsiderate nature and breaking the rules of courtesy for an advantage.

    Likewise, not letting your RP Partner be who they want to be ICly is a form of denial that causes friction. This sort of thing will hinder an RP partner's enjoyment, make the perpetrator appear to be arrogant or controlling, and makes the atmosphere of play restrictive, reducing player options and creativity. On an RP game, it is the one worst player-enacted sin RPers can commit against one another, which the staff cannot control, that makes a game not fun.
    • Example: Jane poses that she deftly rolls a coin across the back of her knuckles. Bob, her RP partner, poses that he watches Jane clumsily handle the coin.
    In short, put away any judgmental tendencies about other people's RP. If they pose something unlikely, take it at face value and do not try to reign them in. Instead, settle for a respectful response that puts things back into perspective.
    • Example: Jane climbs the side of the cathedral, bare-handed. Bob, who does not believe this is possible, poses pointing at Jane and shouts, "Mage!" instead of riling at her about theme, technology, or how hard it'd actually be.

Engaging Others Courteously and Social Skills
  • "No Man is an Island" That means that RP isn't just about a single character, but about the interaction between two or more characters.
    • - Aim for mutual enjoyment of the story, even if you generally don't like your RP partner.

      - Be flexible and go with the flow. It's okay to change aspects of your character to make them more interesting in the world's situation and more fun to play on the fly, provided the aspects in question have not already been introduced in game.

      - As above, if you've RPed/introduced something in the past, stick with it. It'll confuse people if you suddenly introduce your love of spiders after you've spent ages building up your fear of them. Whereas characters grow and are not stationary, if an introduced attitude, opinion, or belief changes, create justification for it and provide that material when challenged!

      - Don't fight to be the main character all of the time. The more time you spend highlighting other people's RP, the more welcome you'll be to any scene.

      - Foil your RP partner to highlight them. If they're coming out as frustrated, be cool and collected. If they're sweet, be obnoxious. The good cop, bad cop routine helps escalate a scene and make you a beloved RP partner!

      - While strict turn-taking isn't necessary (check your game's RP policy), generally, fall into a rhythm of taking turns with anyone you're actively engaged with. At the very least, wait for a response from the person/persons you're directly interacting with before posting twice in a row (unless simply making corrections).

      - If someone enters the vicinity, take it upon yourself to explain what they encounter and set the scene for them.

      - If you enter the vicinity, wait for someone to give you a sense of what's going on before you begin posing and violating the reality of those already present.

      - Think about who you're directly involved with and who you're not. If someone is being left out, throw a pose their way to engage them.

      - Adjust the length of your posts to be a happy medium between your preferred length and that expressed by your RP partners. Try not to post significantly faster or slower than they do either. Essentially, if they're posting a mile a minute, and you can't keep up, just speed up a little bit and expect them to slow down a little bit. You'll find people who are happy to engage you no matter where you sit on this spectrum.

      - Be inclusive and give the wallflowers within the scene a nudge. Acknowledge their presence and openly invite them into the RP.

      - Speaking in another language in front of someone is a very exclusive activity. Have a good reason for it, and try to throw material the way of the person who cannot understand you anyway. Just because you're not engaged directly with them in RP doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to at least acknowledge their presence and open yourself to RPing with them. If you're not willing to do this, and it feels like a hassle, then that's a sign that you should be RPing somewhere private.

      - Don't drop RP partners like a bad habit unless you want to stop playing with them even your character's enemies. Logging out or dropping link in the middle of a scene does require an OOC explanation and/or apology when you return. Generally, people will be nice, but never under-estimate the ability of others to think the worst when no explanation has been given.
  • Head Butting*

    What can you do when RP styles collide?

    If you find that someone emotes are too short/long, quick/slow, try to contact your partner OOCly. At this stage, be very polite and diplomatic. Avoid any accusatory or judgmental statements. Let the other player know that you'd like them to adjust their style and offer to do the same with yours. Keep it in the back of your mind that RP style is a choice, and if the polite OOC request is ignored, you can always avoid RPing with this person in the future. In some cases, depending on your partner's temperament, it may be best to simply jump to the avoidance rather than make OOC enemies with a confrontation.

    But whatever you do, don't fight about it. As mentioned at the very get-go, RP style is a matter of choice and good and bad are generally subjective qualities in a story.

In conclusion, I hope that the "How to RP on an RP Mud" guide has provided some useful tips or ideas to role-players moving from other mediums into the arena of a RP MUDs as well as players with experience who might enjoy a bit of stimulus with RP ideas. Thank you for reading!

Regards, Kinaed of The Inquisition: Legacy

ARTICLE - 2011 by Kinaed
EDITED - 2018 by Honesty

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Re: How to RP on an RP Mud (by Kinaed 2011)

Post by Shadowbane » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:41 am

This was actually a really nice read. Definitely something I'd suggest someone new to the MUD scene take a look at.

It seems very familiar so I suspect I've read the original someplace else.

Hierophant of Itzal

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