|Jeff, The God of Biscuits (deathmole) wrote in rp_tutorials,|
@ 2009-05-07 20:30:00
|Entry tags:||resources: general|
RP Types, Lingo, & Courtesy
Some time ago I helped mod a newbie-friendly game that tried to welcome players who were transitioning from forum or other styles of RP into journal-style RP. To help them out, I wrote up this post for our newbie guide. When greatestjournal died, I saved it and then recently ran across it again. On the off chance someone finds it helpful, I went through and updated and added to it to repost it here. If anyone has any dissenting opinions or things they'd like to add, comments are welcome!
Journal-style roleplay is, when you first step into it, exceedingly intimidating. Not only does RP itself tend to have its own language, abbreviations, and insularity, but journal-style (be it IJ, LJ, Inksome, or various other journaling venues) also has its own set of unspoken rules. People first stepping into it often feel as if they don't know what to do, or what they're looking for, and even experienced players can sometimes be either clueless or forgetful. This post will attempt to give a general overview of basic RP manners and courtesy, as well as touch on the conventions of journal-style RP and what are generally universally accepted - or preferred, at least - guidelines, and commonly used lingo. I tried to be as general and neutral as possible, but I myself am a fandom and PB style player - so if anything is inapplicable to Celeb, feel free to let me know and I'll add a note to the post.
If you're here, then chances are you already know what roleplay is, so we'll leave that alone. Most journal-style RPers get their start in chat rooms, or on forums and then move to journals, though many also start out here. While the variations of games are infinite, there are three basic types: Fandom, PB, and Celeb.
Roleplayers sometimes speak their own language. While I'm sure I'm missing many, and feel free to comment and suggest any I missed, some of the basic terms and abbreviations you'll see tossed around on the ads communities and games are:
Everyone has different interpretations of courtesy and manners and what's appropriate. There are some things that are fairly universal though, and I've tried to touch on some of them here. Feel free to comment with any additions!
Ad comms are a great resource, and there's a comm for just about every type of RP you can think of. If you're looking for a specific fandom, for a game setting, or for a theme, there is probably a comm devoted just to that. While most ad comms are made up of ads from moderators looking for players for their games, some of the most frequently used ones, such as pbads, are devoted to a much broader theme, and players often post there looking for homes for their characters. Some of the general courtesies that are appreciated when posting to these communities are:
Godmodding means puppeting/playing/moving another player's character for them. This is generally considered one of the largest no-no's in roleplay, but there are instances where mild forms of it are acceptable. Tolerance varies from player to player, but for instance, in a scene where your character knocks on a door, it's usually acceptable to continue as if it was answered (unless there's a reason the other character wouldn't answer, of course.) But in a scene where the intention is for Character A. is to knock and visit Character B., then it generally would be fine to assume B would answer the door, and save the other player having to have a reply that is only him opening the door and saying hello. In a scene where Character A & B are mortal enemies, or having a fight - then the same assumption wouldn't be appropriate, as you don't know if he would answer the door readily. Some people are comfortable with these types of small character-movements to keep a scene going, others are not. It's always best to ask first.
More blatant forms of godmodding are always discouraged. Godmodding is often associated with metagaming as well - where characters make use of information a player has OOC to manipulate IC situations. Both of them are frowned upon. For instance, when writing a fight scene between two characters, even if your character is by far the superior fighter, it is still not acceptable to write: Becky threw a hard punch to Helen's jaw, shattering it and knocking the other girl unconscious. Unless you have prior permission from Helen's player to assume those actions, then you're leaving her no room to react, and deciding her character's fate for her. Instead, you would write something like: Becky threw a hard punch toward Helen's jaw, knowing it might well break the weaker girl's jaw and leave her unconscious. This way you've implied what you want to happen, but still given Helen's player wiggle room. Even if Becky is stronger and SHOULD win, that doesn't mean Helen can't try to duck. Even if the outcome is the same, Helen's player may just want to write her reactions before she goes down.
Every game will have their own rules and demands. Some will allow anon holds, some won't. Some take challenges, some don't. But whatever the conventions of a game - the basic rules of courtesy always hold true and are appreciated. If you have questions, or are holding a character, say "please" and "thank you". Scan the holds already there since the mod last added to a hold list, and make sure your hold isn't already taken, if games don't allow challenges, and note that you understand that it IS a challenge if they do, and you're doing so intentionally. Make sure and check for caps - if there's an uneven number of male/female holds, or some other character type (a Harry Potter game might limit Slytherins if there's too many holds, for example), many games will put a limit on that sex or character type until the ratio evens out.
In games that allow challenges to holds, it's generally considered polite to wait to advertise for storylines until you see which of the holds makes it into the game. While some disagree with that practice, it's difficult for those who are also applying for the game to feel secure making plans with a character who may not make it into the game.
Icons tend to follow trends and their importance varies from player to player, game to game. In Celeb roleplay there is often a greater emphasis on obtaining icons of "rares" - candid photographs from a celebrities facebook, or myspace, or a similar source that aren't easily obtained. Icon technique, style, and number is a fairly hotly debated topic among journal-style RPers, and you'll find that many players have a very firm preference. As a general rule though - icons are most often appreciated when they are clear, cropped so that the face within them is easily identifiable, and reflect a range of expressions and atmospheres. There are a number of icon resources available, see the wikicon, or communities such as find_icons or pb_updates. Icon makers usually have their own rules, so when taking icons, be sure and read that icon maker's journal to find their rules, and comply with them. In general, it's considered good manners to credit in the "comment" section beside an icon in the Edit Pictures section. A quick "by iconmaker @ ij" or iconmaker only takes a moment. While anyone can obtain and crop 100x100 pictures into icons - people who maintain icon journals took the trouble to do that and then offer them up freely to save others the time and effort, a note to credit them is courteous, and it will help anyone else who likes that style of icon, or is looking for icons of your PB/Celeb to use for a different game.
When you find that your character isn't suited to a game, or are unable to keep up and have to leave or allow your character to be removed, the actual process varies. Some players prefer to post a note to the OOC to let everyone know, some like to just inform the mods. Some consider it more polite to let their main storyline partners know before the removal happens. However, it is considered a universal courtesy to at least let the mods know via email/aim/dropbox (whatever their preferred contact method) if you decide to leave a game. It is also considered polite to players to "clean out" your character's journal - remove all friends from your flist. This keeps characters no longer in the games from lingering on the friends-of lists of active characters and journals. This can be done via the Edit Friends section of your journal management. If you use firefox, there's even a great add-on that allows you to check or uncheck all ticky boxes at the same time, to make this process easier.