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What is Roleplaying and How to Do It?


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What is roleplay?

 

Roleplay is a type of interactive writing. Each person plays a role as a certain character in a setting. The setting is comprised of

 

* the world (in our case the original Wheel of the Time or a Portal Stone World variation of it)

* a place (e.g. Cairhien) and

* a situation (e.g. Battle of Dumai's Well).

 

How do I roleplay?

 

This roleplay in Turnings of the Wheel takes place on a message boards located  here: http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/board,96.0.html

 

When roleplaying, you write a piece from that character's point of view, third person past tense being customary, and post it as a new thread or part of an existing thread. Other players will then reply posting pieces from their character's point of view.

 

An example:

 

Arette was returning from the privy and passing one of the many lounges without paying much attention to the conversation inside until a clear and beautiful female voice mentioned the name of her husband. That made her halt and she began to listen what was said inside.

 

"Did you be seeing Lord Stavros yesterday?", the tone was half disdainful, half admiring. It was that second half that really made her perk up. "I can no understand how the Queen be giving him that title no matter how he did be helping her."

 

There were murmurs of consent but a hesitant voice finally said. "He did be very brave, though. And I be hearing he lost many men." Finally a ladyling with some sense.

 

How do I get started?

 

It's really easy.

 

1. Create your character concept and possibly write it into a biography (bio)

2. Come up with a story idea for your roleplay and find someone to play with

3. Start your roleplay!

 

Your character concept is the initial idea you have for this character. You might want to play the angry Illianer innkeeper who joins the Band of the Red Hand to protect her war-obsessed young brother, or the subtle, devious Cairhienin spy, or a sultry and seemingly empty headed courtesan from Domani courts.

 

You should also pay some thought to outlining your character's strenghts and weaknesses. Many times I have noticed that it is really the latter that makes the characters unique and interesting and provides challenges for them to drive stories forward.

 

A perfect character is often considered flat by other players and there is generally little interest in interacting with them. Nobody wants to play the less interesting henchman to your stunningly gorgeous, fabulously intelligent, super-powered legendary princess heroine. Your character will not be perfect! Just like an ordinary person, they will have strengths and weaknesses, good points, bad points, flaws and complexities. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. Sometimes they fail utterly at everything they turn their hand to. That's where the interest is in roleplay. Think hard about your character's flaws and play them.

 

What is a bio and how do I write one?

 

Your biography or bio is basically a character sheet which lays out certain key details about the character you'd like to play. It's like the foundation on which you can build your roleplay.

 

Most bios list your character's name, age, origin, description, personality, history and possibly some notes about any skills or agenda they might have. Other characters are not aware of this bio, only other players, so feel free to write about their motivations and secrets.

 

Alright, I have a character now, what do I do with it?

 

You need an idea for a story and usually your character concept provides the spark for your very first RP. For example the above Illianer innkeeper's first RP could be trying to persuade his brother to leave the army or assume that the conversation has been had and jump right to joining up himself.

 

After this there is a wealth of potential story arcs to follow in form of glorious and disastrous missions and battles and more personal dramas as the character forges relationships with the other militia members.

 

The Cairhienin spy could for example overhear a string of conversation or otherwise stumble on a plan to assassinate the King or some powerful noble. Then they have to decide what to do with the information and whether they want to stop, aid or blackmail the conspirators.

 

How do I make stories?

 

You need to decide some kind of a goal, the end result of what you want to achieve. If the story is more personal, the character could get wounded in a way that hinders for example their ability to fight (injury to a sense or a limb) and the scars affect their looks. Both would seriously affect their self-confidence and maybe even motivation to continue fighting and they need to find themselves and their focus again, likely with a help of friends. If the story is more dramatic and has a larger impact on the surrouding world, the heroes could for example make an important discovery (e.g. a lost city) that leads to a chain of events as they are not the only ones who want to reach it and find the hidden treasures and lore.

 

Remember that stories always follow the same structure: beginning, middle and end. The beginning should be really gripping and have you excited to write more and have your readers leaning forward in their seats to eagerly learn what will happen next. The phases can take longer than one post so you can easily take a few posts to build up the situation and introduce the characters and get the reader interested about them. Cliffhangers are usually good ways to end posts.

 

In the middle phase the plot is starting to unfold and plans are made and actions taken that lead to the end. The tension is escalating and moves you to the end phase which consists of the climax which resolves the tension. There is often some kind of an epilogue post that tells a bit what happened after the actual climax (e.g. a battle, an argument, couple getting together).

 

An example:

 

Goal: To overthrow a Forsaken posing as a Queen

 

Beginning: The parties desiring the demise of the Forsaken gather and negotiate the conditions of the alliance and make battle plans.

 

Middle: A scale tipping battle where important fortress is wrested.

 

End: The battle against the Forsaken herself. Epilogue that tells of how people cope with the losses and the new hope the victory brought.

 

 

Credits: Most of this is based on an excellent introduction to RPing written by Sirayn here: http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,354.0.html

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