Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks

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18 Jun 2010 07:35 - 22 Jun 2010 08:42 #7881 by Anoroneth
Anoroneth created the topic: Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Mel’s LotRO RP Tips for Beginners

Everyone who is involved in RP has to begin somewhere, and a lot of people find it difficult to get started. Some people suggest just going to a location where RP is known to happen randomly (like in our world, The Prancing Pony in Bree) and observe how people do it, but the problem with that is this: Not everyone is a good RPer, and taking cues from them will not give you the accurate knowledge you need to be a good RPer. So I am writing this guide to help you get started in the best way I know how.

Before we get into things, there are two things you should understand, first and foremost.

One, do your absolute best to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Doing so is the mark of an RPer of high caliber. You will earn more respect from people if they can understand what it is you’re saying. This means capitalizing your I’s and beginnings of sentences, putting periods/question marks/exclamation marks at the end, and not using numbers (u 2 need 2 stop or I'm getting the manager 4 interventions!) or abbreviations (lol, j/k, rofl, lmao, u, r, ur, etc).

Two, understand you are not being you. You are being someone else. You are speaking in a role, acting as your character would behave in situations. The other people you are speaking with are doing the same. Therefore, do not be upset at a player because their character doesn’t like you, or because their character makes an unsavory remark. Racial tension exists in Middle-earth. It’s something your character may have to deal with. But the player behind the character may like you lots! So don’t be judgmental toward them right off the bat.

Part I: Background
Every character, first and foremost, needs a background. It’s extremely difficult to even begin role playing without one, because in a lot of your beginning social situations, it’s one of the first things that is asked. “What brings you here? Where are you from? Why do your ears look like that?” I’ve heard them all. So the best thing to do is be prepared for it.

For starters, consider what race and area your character is from. This effects every aspect of your character’s behavior. For instance, If your character is a human from Bree-land, consider what area of Bree-land they are from. Archet? Combe? Staddle? Bree itself? Consider the back stories of those areas as they pertain to the current time exhibited in the game. For instance, in Archet, the Blackwolds have attacked Archet, and left the place mostly in ruins. How does that effect an Archet-born character? Did he/she lose their parents in the fires? Did the Blackwolds rob them and leave them penniless? Is revenge a motivation for your character? All these questions and more can arise and help lay a foundation for your character’s background story.

Consider next what interaction your character may have previously had with members of different races. A lot of humans have never seen Elves, and are stunned at their appearance, even their ears, when they first encounter them. Dwarves and Elves have a long-standing dislike (to put it mildly in some cases) of each other.

Also consider what your character may be like stereotypically. While you may choose later to stray from the norm on another character, in the beginning you may want to consider what would be expected of an Elf or a Dwarf, a Hobbit or a Man. Elves sometimes are seen as thinking highly of themselves. Dwarves enjoy large amounts of ale and smoked meats. Hobbits love their meals. Men are mostly considered able-bodied but not as bright as they should be. Whatever race you decide to play, those are some things you need to keep in mind, whether you seek to raise yourself above the standard, or play someone happily set in the stereotypical ways.

Part II: Speaking
There are two, maybe three, ways in role play to get your point across that you are able to utilize in game.
The first is speaking. Speaking is done by using /say. This is used only (and I stress the word only) what your character might say.
In other words:
/say “It’s been a lovely day today. I wonder if the Pony is very busy – I’d like to get a drink and rest my feet.”

/say “It’s past eleven o’clock and I haven’t had my meal! How does anyone expect a proper Hobbit to focus without a proper break for elvensies?”

And so on. The only exception one might use to this is if you are in a group situation where you are not fellowshipped, and need to communicate to someone that you need to go afk. If such a situation arrises, an “out of character” comment may be made by wrapping the said sentence in double brackets or parentheses. Example:
/say ((I have to go AFK just a sec, I’ll be right back.))

One question that came up recently was how to go about RPing a whisper. Simply done, emote the action of whispering, and then send that person an in character tell. (/emote whispers to <insert name here>. /tell <insert name here> “Is the dwarf drunk?”)

It may sound tedious, but it's wise thing to spell out numbers instead of just typing them in numerically (i.e. twenty-three, vs. 23). It's a mark of intelligence that some people will take note of, and you'll be that much more respected for it.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a role playing situation is by using (as previously warned against) abbreviations in /say (i.e., lol, rofl, etc). Another huge no-no is smilies. Simply stating “:)” does not suffice for anything in an RP situation and is frowned upon most ardently by those of us in the know.

Part III: Emotes
The second mode of communication is emoting. The emote commands are accessed through the little cartoon looking bubble in the chat panel. Clicking it, then selecting ‘emotes’ opens a long, long list of pre-programmed emotes. In using many of these, you will need to target the person the emote is directed toward, or else you may get an emote geared toward no one at all.

For instance, if you wish to flirt with someone, you must target the person first, then type /flirt for the emote to be displayed properly. For instance, targeting someone and typing /flirt (in the appropriate situation of course) will display “You flirt with <target>.” Not targeting anyone and typing the same emote will display the somewhat embarrassing, “You flirt with yourself. Interesting.” Other emotes like /wave will allow you to wave to someone specific when targeting, and a group or “everyone” when no target is selected. Get to know the emotes by trying them out in a secluded area (like the Kinship Hall when it's not being used). You can target a piece of furniture to stand in place of a person you'd actually be emoting to in public situations.

For the more advanced person, using the /emote command is customizable in such a way that you can create an entire sequence of events and speech without having to select anything from the list. I use this quite frequently to describe what my character is doing as she sits in conversation, as she’s fighting alongside a friend, what have you. For example:

/emote taps her fingers in time to the music as she drinks her wine. “I had not heard someone so skilled at the harp since my days in the Golden Wood. It is a welcome sound indeed.”

I must stress that using /emote and then just typing what your character would say without there being any emote whatsoever is a true mark of a very poor RPer. (For example, typing: /emote I don’t think you’re being fair to her, she’s only trying to play a song.) If all you want to do is say something, do it in /say. Don’t use the emote function unless there’s an action involved before you speak. Understanding the difference between the two makes you that much more skilled than a considerable percentage of people that try their hand at RP.

Again, using a smiley face does not cut it and is frowned upon. Even if you try to justify it by typing “/emote makes a face like this --->:)”. Describe the face you’re making. Do you want to smile? Type “/emote smiles at him, glad to see someone else shares her opinion.” Frown? “/emote frowns at her, not pleased with her behavior in a public venue.” Or what have you, for whatever situation or reason you might have. You can be as simple or elaborate as you want. “/emote smiles.” “/emote frowns.” “/emote makes a disgusted face.” “/emote quirks a brow, slightly confused.”

Part III: Movement
Sometimes there are situations your character may need to actually make a movement in some way to make the emoted action seem realistic. For instance, if you’re going to walk around and look for a table at the Pony, emote it (/emote walks about the common area with her drink, looking for a suitable table to take up residence at.) and actually walk around (not run, walk) and pretend to look for a place to sit, even if you already have one picked out in your head. Standing there doesn't really add anything to the emote - in fact, it detracts from it.

There was a situation someone encountered the other day in which he/she wanted to crawl around on her hands and knees or belly in order to achieve some goal in the RP situation at hand. Unfortunately, there’s no real way for your character to do that. So rather than just stand still, one might type out the emoted action (/emote crawls toward the fire on her belly and forearms, hoping to pluck the sheet of paper from under his boot without him seeing) and then, using the walk button, slowly make your way towards the intended location. Even though the specific action isn’t something the game would allow you to do, try to get as close to possible to doing it as you can. Effort is respectable!

Part IV: Respecting other players.
In the RP community, there’s one thing above all that’s unacceptable, and that’s known as god-moding (taken from the gamer term godmode, in which someone cheats and becomes basically invincible). It’s essentially playing your character to force an RP situation on other characters, regardless of whether that situation works for them. This includes claiming you’ve killed the character, kidnapped them, claiming you know their parents were just mutilated and burned at the stake as heretics, whatever.

I once encountered someone that used every possible method to kidnap me in RP, but did it without god-moding. The person used a story to lure me to a location, and instead of claiming they surprised me, tied me up and held me captive, they actually used a roll system to gauge whether the actions were successful, prefacing every emote with intent. (For instance, “/emote attempts to steal the knife from him.” Then both parties would roll to see if the attempt was successful. Whoever had the higher number roll would win the action. Say he rolled a 55 and I a 33, he would be able to steal the knife from me and the sequence would continue to the next attempted action. However, if I had rolled a higher number than he, I would have been able to escape that attempted theft of weapon, and try to counter with something else, for instance an attempt to run for the door, at which point another roll would take place.) This isn’t necessary, and it can become tedious if you aren't a dedicated RPer, but if you want to RP a dangerous situation like this without pre-discussing it with that person, it can be an avenue, should they agree to it. If the person doesn’t want to participate in something like that, be open to it, and respect it. Don’t try to force the issue.

God-moding can also include claiming your character has some kind of power beyond the scope of the game situation. I’ve heard people claim to be Sauron himself disguised as a commoner, and terrorize entire groups of people as such. The fact of the matter is that something like this is extremely unlikely if not absolutely impossible, so doing something like that is unacceptable.

Another thing to keep in mind is your character’s level in the game. Game level often translates to your characters actual worldly experience in the game, and therefore can reflect just how much your character can do in RP situations. Say you decide your character, a level 20, has been insulted by someone who is level 65. In this given situation, they are going to have better weapons, armor, and attributes (might, vitality, etc.) than you, and so you will be absolutely no match for them. Therefore, challenging him to a duel at 20 paces isn’t a good idea unless you intend to role-play someone grievously injured and on the brink of death afterward. A level 5 lore master, having studied beginner’s spells, won’t be able to claim Burning Embers is some all encompassing power of Fire that can take down the mightiest foe, especially when you can barely take down a forest wolf.

Part V: Griefers
Occasionally (and I use that word loosely) you may encounter people that are seeking to interrupt your Role Playing experience for their amusement. They get their jollies off making you miserable and do everything in their power to make sure you don’t have a good time.
First and foremost, /ignore. There’s no better tool for people who jump into conversations spouting useless nonsense and god-moding.

If it turns into harassment, (in other words, they don’t get bored and go find enjoyment elsewhere after it’s clear you’re ignoring them or worse, even after you’ve moved to a different location) try telling a GM by putting in a ticket.

It’s generally not a good idea to acknowledge them. Doing so usually only encourages them.

Part VI: The Untold Stories.
There are a select few that choose to engage in what is known as ERP (the E standing for erotic). I’m not going to go into how to do it because if you don’t know, you don’t need to be doing it. If you decide you know what’s up with that and find someone who’s up for that, then remember one thing. THAT’S YOUR BUSINESS. Repeat that to yourself, let it sink in. In other words, take it to tells or form a fellowship with that partner. But under no circumstances, (I repeat) NO CIRCUMSTANCES, should you ever (again) EVER make it public knowledge or allow others to hear you.

There is no requirement for anyone to ever be involved in ERP, even if your storyline with another individual leads to romance. If that makes you uncomfortable, tell the other person you're not into it. If they complain or aren't respectful of it or even try to force you into it, no means no in game, just as it does outside of it. Someone that tries to get you to do something you don't want to do isn't someone you need to be involved with.

That’s all there is to that.

Part VII: Language
You might run into someone who uses Sindarin, the common language of the Elves. (Quenyan also exists, it just isn’t as widely used.) If it’s something you aren’t familiar with, there’s no harm in asking the person (in tells or in fellowship chat if you’re grouped) to translate what they’re saying. (If your character isn't Elvish, they most likely won't know the language anyway, and you can ask them in character to translate as well. However, if you're going to play an Elf, I recommend getting to know a little of the language, and ask questions if you get stumped.) If it’s something you’d like to try to understand and/or use, there are lots of different sites on the internet that help teach you. www.grey-company.org is a good beginner’s database. It’s got pages of commonly used phrases that you can interject into your common conversations, as well as a page that explains a little of the grammar involved in the language. Another good lexicon is www.jrrvf.com/hisweloke/sindar/online/ which has comprehensive Sindarin to Common and vice versa dictionaries. With a little bit of study, you can quickly become a valued asset in terms of role play.

Part VIII: Now that that’s over with…
Now that the rules and how-to’s have been laid out, all you need to do is go find some RP. Well, how do you do it? First and foremost, type /rp on. This turns your visible name and title white, and alerts other RPers to your presence. I have a tendency not to look for RPers who don't do this.

The easiest way for beginners to find almost immediate RP is to go to the Pony, grab a drink, find a table, and emote some stuff at other people. People watch, like you would do in public in real life.

Usually in the Pony, someone will break out a lute and turn up the tunes. Clap for a song, tell them how much you like their song, comment on their skill. If there’s no one playing, pick up an instrument yourself and get to learn the music system. Someone’s bound to say something. Good or bad, roll with it.

There are also scheduled events that happen within and without the Kinship. Watch the calendar, listen to kinchat, peruse the forums (both here and on the game site). Keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Your first experience might be awesome, or it might suck. It may even be non-existent. Whatever happens, don’t let that paint the rest of your vision for what role playing has in store for you. It can be so varied, there’s no telling what to expect. But that’s part of the fun of it.

Above all, don’t be discouraged. Keep trying!

Once you've been at it for a while, you may decide you're no longer satisfied with simple conversation and sitting around with a drink. If that's the case, think long term. What do you want your character to achieve? For those with the patience to do so, long term RP story lines can take days, months, years to roll out and complete. It can be very elaborate, and it can involve a ton of people. The beauty is that's all up to you.


In War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice.
Melissende , For All Intents and Purposes.
Last Edit: 22 Jun 2010 08:42 by Anoroneth. Reason: Added a note on /rp on and Long Term Story Lines.

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18 Jun 2010 10:47 #7887 by Farionthir
Farionthir replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
A wonderful guide to RP, Mel! Thanks for taking the time to write this out!

-Farionthir

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18 Jun 2010 10:55 #7888 by Elendhir
Elendhir replied the topic: Re: Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Thank you, Melissende, your post is absolutely amazing from my point of view, and help me a lot! My only concern is about use of good grammar, etc.. my first language is not English, and sometimes I have difficulties in writing "formal" language, but I guess this is a good challenge and a way to improve my english. Thanks again for you post!

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18 Jun 2010 15:05 #7908 by Anoroneth
Anoroneth replied the topic: Re: Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
danpadua wrote:

My only concern is about use of good grammar, etc.. my first language is not English, and sometimes I have difficulties in writing "formal" language, but I guess this is a good challenge and a way to improve my english.


This is why I used the term "best possible." You can only do as good as your best!

But I do recommend letting people know out of character that it isn't your first language. Not only is it super polite on your part, but it will ease some of the stress that RPers with high standards might have.


In War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice.
Melissende , For All Intents and Purposes.

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18 Jun 2010 16:23 #7919 by Ahaon
Ahaon replied the topic: Re: Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
/mood_stressed

That comma is supposed to be a semicolon!

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18 Jun 2010 16:31 #7921 by Dieana
Dieana replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Sadly I do not have that excuse. I just stink with spelling and grammar could I claim public school education as a reason my first language sounds like a second?

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19 Jun 2010 02:41 #7960 by Elendhir
Elendhir replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
I think if I have to explain the situation everytime OOC, that would break the mood of RP, and for me it will become boring having to do that everytime.. I guess I found a better solution: my character lived most of his life away from the "civilization", spending many years with the elves. He speaks great Sindarin, but not much the "common" language. That would explain everything! :D

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19 Jun 2010 18:21 #7970 by Caranthor
Caranthor replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
One of the very best threads on this subject as an intro to beginners I have seen in almost a decade on MMO's. Probably the best, period.

Nice job!

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19 Jun 2010 19:53 #7971 by Comstrike
Comstrike replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Sage advice and worthy of a sticky!

Benjimir of Belfalas"The Shades, Angmarim, Drakes, Orcs, Brigands, Ruffians, Hillman, Oathbrakers - they all adore him. They think he is a righteous dude."
***********************************
Founder, The Sons of Numenor

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20 Jun 2010 23:16 #8004 by Dartanian
Dartanian replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Thank you for taking the time and writing this, as a beginner in RP it lays a good foundation for me to start. Its giving me a little more confidence to step out and RP. I appreciate your efforts!

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21 Jun 2010 00:46 #8006 by Anoroneth
Anoroneth replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
danpadua wrote:

I think if I have to explain the situation everytime OOC, that would break the mood of RP, and for me it will become boring having to do that everytime.. I guess I found a better solution: my character lived most of his life away from the "civilization", spending many years with the elves. He speaks great Sindarin, but not much the "common" language. That would explain everything! :D


You know what, even better that you recognize that as a potential area to use in your RP rather than a road block. I applaud you for that! Well done.


In War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice.
Melissende , For All Intents and Purposes.

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21 Jun 2010 14:16 - 22 Jun 2010 15:09 #8046 by Ahaon
Ahaon replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Truly, Mel, 'tis quite well-written and will be very helpful. I'll keep the link copy/pasteable.
Last Edit: 22 Jun 2010 15:09 by Ahaon.

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22 Jun 2010 08:37 #8098 by Anoroneth
Anoroneth replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Thanks Mag, that means a lot to me coming from you.

To anyone who wants to put this in circulation anywhere else people might read it, feel free, just please acknowledge that this work is in fact mine and not yours. Thank you. :)


In War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice.
Melissende , For All Intents and Purposes.

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23 Jun 2010 15:58 - 23 Jun 2010 16:03 #8180 by Folkwulf
Folkwulf replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Great Tips Mel. I have one suggestion on the grammer issue. I often purposely do not use correct grammer with some of my human and hobbit toons. I'm pretty sure most of the commoners in Middle Earth didn't know how to use proper grammer. The trick is to properly use improper grammer such as Tolkien does with the Gaffer. For us Americans, think of it as if you want your toon to speak like he has an accent. Like you're Scotty from the Enterprise. Of course if you're starting out, do it like Mel says. The correct use of improper grammer is more of an advanced thing.
Last Edit: 23 Jun 2010 16:03 by Folkwulf.

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23 Jun 2010 23:15 - 23 Jun 2010 23:16 #8205 by Anoroneth
Anoroneth replied the topic: Re:Mel's Role Playing Tips and Tricks
Seeing as how this is a beginners guide, I purposely did not go into accents, because I think that's something a more advanced player would get into after they have had some experience with role playing.

And even if someone was going to speak with an accent, I still consider that a bit different than speaking with proper grammar. Done properly, one can tell the difference.

And no, proper grammar/spelling is not an advanced thing, it's a very basic thing. And it should be a basis to start from, not something to aspire to.


In War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice.
Melissende , For All Intents and Purposes.
Last Edit: 23 Jun 2010 23:16 by Anoroneth.

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