Terrouge E-zine Archives
Making a Good RP'er
ROC Survivor. The Salamandastron Dance. Club message boards and chats. These are all places associated with a phenomenon called Role-playing, one of the most popular past times for the Redwall fan. Many can't resist the call of a the keyboard, the oppurtunity to not only read about mice with swords and vixens with herbs, but to actually become such a character. To walk into an area full of other "beasts", fellow roleplayers, and interact. This tapestry of threads between and against players can sometimes be as fascinating as the books themselves. But, most of the time, the interplay ends up only of interest to the players themselves. Unless...they not only enjoy RPing (as it's usually called), but also have a sense of realism, characterization, and even plot. Unless they are GOOD RPers. Which brings us back to the eternal question. What makes a good RPer?
Character Creation: Risika believes that a good RPer uses unique characters. Characters that aren't perfect. In her view, the key to making a good character is to give him/her at least one fault of some kind, something to set him/her apart. A description is also in store, not just of the character's appearance, but more importantly, his/her personality. The RPer needs to be aware of the character's personality at all times. Dewpaw adds that the character also has to fit within Redwall perameters. No "pink or purple mice". Penny likes a little variety in character lists. Not just a whole line of mice with swords or healers. Vizon Rok makes a very valid statement about the need of a the average character to have a job. An RPer should keep in mind that his character needs a life besides being a cool warrior-type who frequents social places. A character does become more rounded with, not only a job (so he can have money to frequent those social places), but a history. But Vizon Rok also voices the common observation that far too many characters have no history save a long lines of slaughtered loved ones. "My parents were killed when I was ten. I got married and my wife and children were killed when I was at the tender age of twenty five." An RPer should avoid stereotypes in general and break new ground with his/her characters.
Behavior: Rissa mentions that adaptability is a prime factor in a good RPer. "If you can't adapt to a new RPing enviroment, you may as well give up because it changes as soon as someone new comes in to play." Following the rules of that particular board, chat, etc, is also important, according to Bronx, and most RPers would agree with him. There are some rules common to most places, generally regarding being nice and fair to other players. Vizon Rok lists many of these. Auto-hitting is a big pet peeve among Role Players, but it is true that somethings are unavoidable ("If a sword is coming at you horizontally and you are unarmed, you can't easily dodge it.") while some things are ridiculous (such as somebeast lighting an armed opponent on fire with black powder). Player Killing is treated the same way. If unavoidable, a good RPer should accept the death of his/her character. But Player Killer should also be sensitive to their victim's OOC feelings. God moding, the use of an faceless army of characters, on the other hand, is usually considered distasteful and unfair, no matter what the circumstances. Magic, overwrought healing powers, and unrealistic weapons (such as guns or flamethrowers), are also bad ideas for the RPer who wants to be taken seriously.
Writing: "I find it very hard to talk to anyone who RP's with U instead of you, ur instead of you're, r instead of are, etc." (Dewpaw) And most RPers would agree that a serious RPer has to be able to get out of the occasionally "cutesy" and abbreviated realm of OOC conversation. It is important that the RPer have basic grammer and spelling skills. Perfection is not a necessity, but posts DO have to be readable.
Dealing with Others OOC: Bronx likes the idea of RPers with a real sense of humor and a good personality IRL. But sometimes nice people IRL can be irritable on-line. A stressful day can turn anyone briefly nasty and a Player Kill or even a grammer mistake by another RPer can sometimes escalate into a flame war. A good RPer (even if that RPer is badly stressed or upset) should learn to diffuse such situations with grace and yes, humor. A good RPer also admits his/her mistakes OOC, in an attempt to prevent offense in the first place. In fact, a good RPer should try his/her abject best not to insult ANYONE OOC at all. No matter how badly you think they're writing or interacting. "Not everyone knows how to role play right off the bat. Try to guide and help them learn. Don't yell at them and call them "dolts" because they are speaking in past tense and using a tiger (personal experience). Simply point out that a tiger is an improbable Redwall creature and that in this RPG, one is supposed to write in present tense. Be a mentor not a tormentor." (Vizon Rok) In all cases, constructive, not mean, criticism is the way to go.
Wrapping Up: What makes a good RPer? Time, effort, and a healthy desire to become a good writer. RPing is a fun way to develop characters and skills, along with providing creative and interesting interaction. While it's not for everyone, those that do enjoy it should a. create unique characters. b. play with realism c. obey the rules. d. use basic writing skills such as spelling and grammer and e. treat others nicely. By following these guidelines and continuously working on areas that he/she may recognize weaknesses in, the RPer can advance in skill and, when writing with other good RPers, even manage to create those envied storylines that, when taken off the board, are still not only readable, but excellent.
Note: All quotes in this article were made by members of the BOZ, an organization of Redwall roleplayers.