I had an interesting talk with one of my new friends today, so decided to write down some ideas considering the roleplay and the ‘making-of’ characters in a roleplay, hopefully my ideas and suggestions to be helpful! I insist on the fact that what I write down here are simply my ideas about things, based on my experiences around Second Life and roleplay.
So, to start with, I`ll talk about the making of a character, both in general and particular lines, to make it fit in Auria. This might help the new players (new in roleplay) and also those new in Auria who aren’t sure what role to choose.
I would start with some general lines: how to pick your character in a roleplay? Well, first thing first: most, if not all roleplay sims, deliver notecards with the information they consider you should know- the story (History) of the place, time period, rules of the place and so on. The first thing you are supposed to do is read those notes- maybe not all from the first, if they offer a lot of information, but you should know what the time period is at least, mostly because it`s not very nice (I don’t use word disrespectful very much, it has a higher meaning than simply being confused or not understanding exactly whats going on, humans do make mistakes without the intention of being disrespectful) to just walk around in an ancient Greek sim, even as a visitor, wearing your ripped blue jeans and your Nirvana t-shirt. Many sims do provide free clothing at the landing point- if you lack money, SL marketplace offers a great deal of free or very cheap stuff who might well match the time period the sim you are about to visit belongs.
Visit the sims! Stopping at the landing point and reading few notecards wont help you really get in the ‘middle’ of it, so to speak. Dare to walk around, dare to contact people if you need help (always in IM), avoid interrupt any roleplay going on, no matter how ‘in need’ you are.
Be very careful about the sim rules. Every each sim in SL is payed for, which means: they are private property of a person or a group of people. Consider it their home in SL, which they pay rent for; that means you need at least the basic of common sense. If you prove not to have it, well, you take the risk of being thrown out. You are a guest, so behave like a guest. You do not like the rules, or the roleplay going on? Means you need to keep searching for a place that suits you better, not to try change that place as you desire – that will not happen.
Also, if you ask for help and guidance, be sure you fallow the guidance. I had people contacting me, asking for help. What I first did, I sent them to collect the free notecards with information at the landing point, and I did got answers like ‘Well, that’s too much to read, you tell me!’. You need to understand that those notecards were made especially for you, to be a guide and a help, to make you understand whats going on. Also, you have to understand that the people made those notecards had a good reason: not to talk with each every new comer and explain them everything from a to z, just because the new comer is too lazy to take 10 minutes and read some simple useful notecards. I think those are basic things everyone should understand and accept.
How do you choose your character? Well, there are few basic questions you should ask yourself: Am I a man or a woman? Young or old? Rich or poor? Am I the dominant way or more the submissive way (neutral, maybe)? Am I a warrior or rather a philosopher? Do I like to be in charge or like to be guided in a RP? They sound as being general questions, yes- but they are a very good start. If you came from a past (in RP) where you were for example a servant and you enjoyed it, you might want to build your new character fallowing the same steps as before, unless, of course, you want to try something new. After you decide (you can also call for help!), you need to have a background story of your character, who gives it personality. A person does not come out of nowhere in this world, we all have a background in RL – same in a roleplay. Keep it on a realistic line: if you have a fisherman background in your story, you cannot come and claim the King to bestow you the role of a Nobleman. Relate your past life to your future role as much as possible.
Avoid the cliché, SL is full of lost princesses or people loosing their memory. Just don’t be that! Think of something original, give your character personality, strengths and weaknesses, Hercules and Xena exist only in mythology and films.
Also, study a bit! If you are about to roleplay in a Medieval sim, as Auria is, would be very nice to at least google something of the Medieval History of Europe, theres a lot of information on Internet. Reading few minutes about it could help you a lot understand the world you are about to step in. You don’t have to be a PhD in Medieval History at all, but having few notions of it would truly make things easier for you and those around you. And I shall give you an example: you get into Auria and choose the role of a miller. You meet Count Stroganov, in whatever circumstance. You don’t just ‘Hello, Eden! How are you?’- just don’t! Having a bit of classes understanding would do you very much good. If you do that, the Count might feel more than offended IC and react like it. Don’t be surprised if that happens! Unless, of course, you do want your character in big trouble. If you choose the role of a miller means you accepted to play a person of that social condition. Middle Ages is not modern days, where everyone is equal (more or less). Even in modern days, you prolly don’t just call your boss Johnny, but Mr. Smith, or whatever his name would be.
Don’t take IC things personally. If a Pirate tries to get rough on you and steal your gold, that’s it! Act the scene! If you don’t like the scene, avoid it or get an OOC understanding with the person playing the Pirate. And never forget that the others act on your characters, not you personally. If you quarrel IC with someone, don’t take it OOC. You are NOT your character. Neither is the other person.
Try build a good profile. If you like to roleplay or you are about to learn it, better write down few RP limits also. They have to be according to the game you involve in: if you go as a slave in Gor, for an example, you don’t write ‘No kneeling’ at your RP limits. If you go in an adult sim, most probably you wont have ‘No sex scenes’- they are hard to avoid in such a realm. You don’t like sex scenes, well, play somewhere else, if you want to avoid being involved or seeing them. And so on, the list could go on for ever. Remember, though, you are not OBLIGATED to do anything you are not comfortable with. If someone tries get you in a rape scene, for an instance, and you don’t wanna play it, better let that person know OOCly.
Avoid calling people names IC. Respect the other players and their characters as much as possible, no matter what position you have. Don’t be rude! In any case, don’t cross some limits. Don’t harass the other players. If you play a Pirate for an instance, it is your role to be the villain- but that doesn’t mean you have to offend the others. Walking on the streets and calling a lady a whore for example just because you are a Pirate and you are supposed to be mean wont do it. Be creative and play your own character!
Another thing I strongly recommend is never forget you are not alone in a RP. Be careful to those around, their IC needs and reactions. Don’t try get the RP for yourself, and I shall give another example from my personal experience: I was in the middle of a RP, when suddenly a lost princess (told you there are thousands around, on every corner of the street) comes along and, without the smallest care for the RP going on, she starts to cry around, screaming her lost princess problems, faint at our feet and, even more, letting us know in IM that we should react IC. All she got was a very clear passing-by from us, the players already involved in a RP. You just don’t do that- is lack of respect and you wont get anything, except being avoided by the other players.
Don’t be afraid to emote a bit! Emotes should be your 5 senses transposed in words, and not your thoughts… Remember people cannot read thoughts in RL. Describe your moves, your gestures, describe a color, an object, describe you feelings transposed in those moves and glances, describe a taste or a smell, never a thought. The thoughts your write down as your dialogue. DO NOT emote for another, like: ‘Johnny rises his hand and slaps her face, seeing her scared eyes as she turns her gaze back at him’ – that is wrong. Perhaps she isn’t scared, perhaps she is furious, puzzled, even indifferent sometimes! You don’t know. Let the other person react to the slap, for its their right to react as they think they should!
I personally am not a big paragrapher. Mostly because it takes time to write it down and information could be revealed without writing down a whole novel while the others wait for your RP reaction. I prefer the <</me turns around, hearing man`s voice and glances straight in his eyes, confused ‘Oh! I thought you already left, or so your servant told me!’>> to <</me turns around, his cape fluttering in the wind while he feels an itch in his eyes because of the dust of this very hot Summer day, hearing the deep unmistakable voice of his old friend from Paris, and looks straight in his blue big shady wonderful eyes, feeling all confused and surprised, telling him with a soft voice provoked by his recent illness kept him in bed for three weeks ‘Oh! I thought you already left, or so your servant told me!’>> And yes, I met that. I do not say its wrong… I just think its full of useless information and it takes time to write and read for the others. If it’s a roleplay that involves several players and all do that, for me, personally, it can get boring. A RP should be dynamic and enjoyable, not a whole series of paragraphs full of useless information. I don’t say don’t do it, if you enjoy it- I don’t do it, so it`s a very personal stuff.
In the end of this, a last personal advice: always try to put yourself in the place of your character. For example you play simple free girl from a village, living a carefree life in your small happy family and the Tartars kidnap you and sell you as a slave. How would you react? What would you feel about your new situation? How would you adapt to it, how much would take you to adapt to it? How would you take the separation from your loving parents and siblings? Consider all the aspects of you ‘life’ and try play your character realistic. And don’t forget to have fun! If it`s no fun for you, then don’t do it.
With the hope that my article was useful, wish you all a happy SL! Feel free to comment and share us own ideas and experiences!