No God-modding. God modding is when you define your character as persistently superior to all other characters in the play situation.
Do not create God-modded antagonists. If you create/play an antagonist assume that this character is destined to fail/die.
Do not powerplay. Powerplaying is when you speak/act for other player characters. Do not give them dialog and do not imply they take actions when you define situations.
Do not auto-hit. Attempt combat, do not state combat. When you attack use words like “attempts to” or “tries to” as opposed to words like “attacks” and “hits”. This applies to magic combat or anything where damage might result to another character.
Do not assign damage. In combat, if the opposing player allows you to strike them, also allow them to define how their character is hurt.
Do not metagame. Metagaming is when you use player knowledge as if the character would also know this data. If it is not logical for the character to have the information in question then do not play as if he/she has that information.
Do not metagame personal history. If a character has a history posted somewhere then you should first ask the player if your character could/would have the posted knowledge of that background. Do not assume your character knows any of this without asking first.
Do not canon-chain. Canon-chaining is when a player will not look past the in-game statistics/model of an item or armor set, and “chains” other players to the “canonical” data of that in game model/skin. This may not be how the player treats the item, so do not assume everything is as it looks, as that would be a form of metagaming.
Do not mix IC life and OOC life. IC is “in character” whereas OOC is “out of character”. A player should not be too adversely affected by things done/said by IC situation. What is said/done IC does not and should not reflect upon player interactions. What happens in the game stays in the game.
No lorebreaking. Lorebreaking is when canonical facts are twisted or broken for the sake of some element of a character story. Avoid this at all costs. If it is done on accident you should be ready to make revisions to your character to abide by the canon.
Limit lorebending. Lorebending is when canonical facts are modified for an element of some character story, but do not break the canon. Lorebreaking is strictly prohibited but lorebending, within reason, may be acceptable. It is suggested to speak OOC with the other players before Lorebending.
Do not insist on RP. Do not try and force your story upon another player, ask first… and, do not try and force another devoted player (people that try to stay IC as much as possible) to role play with you by cornering their character in an RP situation. Use respect for other players.
Do not be afraid to refuse to RP. If someone is not following the rules, and is making it less fun to role play, then you have every right to deny that person. Inform them OOC to not play with you, and if that fails just ignore everything they do and say.
Be careful of triggers. Triggers are things that prompt an immediate and usually negative reaction in others. Things like self-harm, suicide, or excessive violence/horrific situations should be avoided unless the role play group has stipulated an allowance for such things.
Ask before ERPing. ERP is “erotic role play” and it is basically pornographic descriptions of sexual situations. It happens, often, but it happens out of sight. If you are so inclined always ask first. Do not assume the object of your online affection wants to engage in this behavior.
LENGTHY SYLVER-STYLE DISSERTATION
Nettiquette. If you don’t know what it is just Google the word, as that is easier than just regurgitating what is mostly just common sense. Follow these rules and almost everything else that follows is a no-brainer. Basic format; don’t be a wanker to others. Be respectful to the human that is sitting at the other end of the computer.
God-modding. This is a short way to say a character has been “God modified”. In short form, this means making your character better at everything than everyone else. He/she is one of the most powerful beings around, has most/all knowledge that can be had (by mortal, immortal, or God), is immune to most/all forms of magical/psychic/physical attack, and is basically a paragon of all possible archetypes. In the worst form this is clear abuse of an open role play format. Worse yet is when this degenerates into some grotesque Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu and the character is also either impossibly young/old or would be otherwise unlikely to have this kind of power/knowledge/ability.
Bottom line here is terse, don’t make such a character. Period. And here is the reasoning why… Imagine walking in the shadow of greatness such as this. Sure, it might be fun to play this kind of character, to have all the answers (all the time), rise above every opponent (every time), and best every challenge as easily as Alexander solved the task of the Gordian know. That certain does stroke the ego every RPer is going to have. But ask yourself a very important question here. Is it really any fun to perpetually be regulated to the part of supporting cast to such a character? EVERYONE in such a shadow is nothing more than supporting cast as they never matter as much as this paragon of the hero. Open role play is NOT about one player, making one overly inflated character, and then expecting everyone else to concede their desires in order to make that one character continue to be impressive and unbeatable. Everyone should not just have weaknesses, but they should have readily exploitable weaknesses. Everyone needs to fail or make gross mistakes. This is what makes those moments of success meaningful and shining moments, those moments that are memorable for their role play potential.This also means that those moments of failure and mistake, that any compelling character must have, will thusly ALSO shine the spotlight on some other player character. It is meaningless if the moments of failure happen behind the scenes, where they cannot be validated nor experienced by anyone else (and truthfully are just a cowardly ploy to imply that a character is flawed without ever having to actually play those flaws), or if those moments only occur with one other player character to see it. This smacks of manipulation and continuing ego. To have any meaning the missteps MUST occur within group role play environments, so that many characters know the failures of the character. Any character not somehow employing this character building element, of fatal flaws and deep rooted character weakness, is doing themselves and the role play community an injustice.
An important subtext of the rule against God-modding is in its application against the God-modding of antagonist characters. Antagonist characters are those that are either specifically created to challenge another character (the protagonist of the story), or are modified to suit this role. They may not be villainous, but it is easiest to see them in the light of the villain, so that shall be the term used from now on. This is where it meets the rub, as villains should NEVER fall prey to being God-modded. NEVER! Villains must always be made with the intention of having them fail in the end. Yes, if the story is going to be interesting they should be made a challenge to the protagonist, otherwise the story would probably be pretty boring. This usually means that the villain is significantly more powerful than the protagonist, or more knowledgeable, or both… but the villain MUST ALSO be created with the intent of having them fall at the climax of the story. A story is never compelling, for anyone but the player of the antagonist, if there is no expectation of the protagonist winning in the end.
Think of any fantasy story pressed within the last hundred years. Did any of these see the main villain emerge as the ruler of the whole land/world/universe at the end? Does Suaron defeat the Fellowship? Does the Dark One kill or convert Rand? Does Ming kill Flash? More importantly, would YOU (as the player of the protagonist) want to invest days/weeks/months of your time into a story when you suspect the end result is that your adversary will step on your face and laugh at your inability to see your path through to the end? Would that be fun for you? If the answer is ‘no’ why would you treat another player to a helping of the same dren?Simply put, craft an antagonist with the sole purpose of failure. Follow the rule of a good literary story while conceptualizing this character. Expect to build dramatic tension (usually in three steps) and then submit your villain for the chopping block. MEANING that you know and look forward to his death, that you accept that he doesn’t escape, he doesn’t “miraculously survive to fight another day”, and he doesn’t turn the victory of the protagonist into something hollow and meaningless. You lose! The villain will fail! You, as the player of the villain, should go into this knowing this as a truth from moment one.IF the character is to survive then this should ALWAYS be wholly in the control of the protagonist (or protagonists). Perhaps they chose to leave the villain alive and free, perhaps they imprison him instead of ending his life, or perhaps they seek his redemption? Either way that makes the continuation of the villain a decision on the part of the protagonist, and NOT just some egotistical reflection of character attachment on the part of the player of the villain. There are few things worse than a villain that never dies, never really fails, and just won’t bloomin' go away.
Do not powerplay. In other words do not take control of another player character, through action or implication, unless given explicit permission to do so. Do not put ANY dialog into another player characters mouth, do not imply that they take any actions, and do not make any effort to define the nature/actions/speech/history of any character that is not your own. You may not take the part of any other player character, either by direct action/description or by causal implication of those actions/descriptions. It is NOT your character, so leave it alone.
On the matter of powerplaying actions, and this usually happens in combat or physical attacks in role play situations, so it bears special mention. NEVER make a post/emote that stipulates that your character has “attacked” another character.
YOU DID NOT ATTACK ANYONE! You TRIED to attack someone.There is a big difference here, mostly in context of tense and ability to powerplay. The player initiating the attack MUST (no if’s and’s or but’s) make this attack implied and not explicit. Meaning the attack must be stated that it is “ATTEMPTED”… as opposed to having been successful. It is the difference between the tenses and that make all the difference toward the amount of control a MUN (meaning the “mundane real world author”) has on the other characters in the scene. The characters that he/she does not control.If a combat action to strike is “attempted” it is in the present tense. The attack action is in motion and it is happening at that moment, thus it leaves an opportunity for reaction (on the part of the character being targeted) and it establishes a turn of actions. The turn of actions being almost critical in such situations… more on that in a moment. Back to point… if the attack action is stated as having happened, if it is described as being a successful attack/action, then it is happening in past-tense. It happened already, it has been done and was a success to the credit of the attacker, and it leaves no opportunity to react to the attack action. It accepts, by context and by direct exposition that the attack was successful, and thus the victim must also accept the ramifications and play as if their character has been struck. It effectively ends a turn order.The reason this is not allowed is that if things are described as past-tense IT IS NOT ROLE PLAY! It does not leave the other player any option but to accept what was written, as it already happened in the course of the story. That may be, at best, creative writing (I use the term 'creative' loosely) but it is not collaborative role play. The other players cannot respond to the action EXCEPT by detailing events AFTER it happened. If you want to play this way GO WRITE FANFIC! And leave the collaborative role play to people that can engage a creative story without having to hijack a situation in the arrogant need to enforce the superiority of our characters within that tale.Now… a few words about turn order. This is table-top mechanics, but it works well in application in MMORPG settings during combat situations. This is an “attack/respond-counterattack/respond” format kind of story construction.EXAMPLE: Character A declares an attack against character B. Player B chooses what the result is of that attack against his/her character and writes that for character B. Then character B counterattacks, if that is desired by that player, and declares the attack against character A. Player A then chooses the result, and the progression repeats from the beginning.In the case of multiple characters it would look something like this; character A attacks, character B responds, character C declares attack against character D, character D responds, etc.; character B attacks, character A responds, character D attacks, character C responds. Repeat.This way every player gets the opportunity to define an activity. Follow the turn order and EVERYONE gets to be included. Neglect it and I can guarantee that someone (that may type slower or have a slower connection) will feel left out as they fall further and further behind. Be patient, wait for replies and responses, and allow the combat situation to progress as organically as possible.
Damage should always be assigned/defined by the character that is sustaining that damage. This is just polite behavior really. If the character is wounded by another player character it means that the defending player accepts the fact that damage will be done. It gives credit to the attacking character that the attack was successful. Therefore the severity and nature of that damage also should be totally in the hands of the one that is playing to the benefit of the story and sacrificing the health of his/her character for that story. To assign damage to a character that is not your own is powerplaying and should always be avoided.
Metagaming. This is basically using any knowledge you have as a player to benefit the situation of a character, especially when that data should not logically be known by that character. An example of this is when one of your alternative characters is present at a conversation between two other player characters in your guild, and they are talking smack about your main character. You would be metagaming if you logged in as your main and immediately set upon those two characters as if your main knew of their conversation. Your main does not know of this conversation. Your alt knows of their conversation. Your main should know nothing.
Also this rule applies if you, the player, grant to your character lore knowledge that would really not be likely that he/she would have heard. This is hard to do in the heat of an intense RP session, but it should always be attempted to avoid such forays into lore exposition. Bottom line is this; if your character should not logically know some bit of data, he/she would not have reasonably heard it or been exposed to that nugget of information, then do not act as if he/she does.Also NEVER apply real world data to the role play environment. What you know about other players is NOT what you know about their characters, so divorce yourself of that kind of data. What you know about the real world is not what you know about the game world, so if you have data regarding upcoming events planned by Blizzard does NOT mean your character has some precognitive ability to predict the future. Only use what your character should know. Leave everything else to the wayside, and be realistic about what your character should know.
Metagaming attains its most frustrating level when another player attempts to pigeon hole your character into abiding by some historical data, either canonical or demi-canonical. Everyone is able to define their own background, and even if there is some lorebending involved this is still well within their right and should be accepted in the RP community. Yes, it may be trite and predictable, it may even be so engrossed in trope that it makes the temples throb in indignant acceptance of such history, but it is their character and that gives them the same protections that you should also enjoy. Do NOT metagame the data presented by another character where their background/history is concerned. IF, and only if, they have broken the lore wide open, if they are detailing a blatantly impossible history, you may feel inclined to point out such glaring discrepancies… but failing that litmus test every player should be allowed (perhaps sometimes even encouraged) to explore the background and define what they feel is appropriate.
So if there is not lorebreaking going on just let it go, don’t point things out, and don’t treat that character as being somehow inferior just because you do not agree with a background element. There is more between Heaven and Earth… so let people define the background they see fit.Also, if you want your characters to somehow be affiliated with some other characters personal history you should always ASK before making such connections. Don’t just roll up on some Elf and proclaim yourself a long-lost relative. Always ask that player before making such connections.
Canon-chaining. This is a term I came up with, and it is when one player attempts to “chain” another to the “canon” of the game world. This happens most often in MMORPG settings but it has also happened to me in table top RP settings. This is what I mean by example, from both WoW and a table top game called Cyberpunk 2040.
In WoW my main rides a Winged Guardian that I decided came to her as a sort of protector from the higher beings (left unspecified as to stipulate the source entity is a bit too arrogant for my tastes and implies she is more important than I portray her to be). I crafted a background story for this situation. I was lorebending but not breaking established canon, as everything I implied is totally plausible, if just a bit unorthodox. Now, this should mean that the model I use should be taken as the in game representation of the story I created for it, giving me some latitude to define my experience in the game world by my own design, but invariably my Winged Guardian is just identified as a Winged Guardian and that is that. This automatic assumption becomes the perception and denies my background and my right to present my own version of the world, in as much as nothing canonical is blatantly broken.In Cyberpunk I used to use pictures found on the internet, mostly from AD&D sources, and call them images from a vid series on the net at the time… most of my players also played AD&D and (without even bothering to ask if the models could be anything else) assumed that this was representative of some show that was character-for-character identical to those found in Greyhawk. This was disheartening to me, as I had crafted an elaborate hook based upon the actress of one of the characters in my original serial concept, that totally fell apart when it became obvious my players didn't care what my story was... only what they knew about an image they recognized.Now for most people this is fine. If they have Hellscream’s Doomblade they will just play that they pulled it off Garrosh during a siege of Orgrimmar. No harm and no foul, but some players recognize that the fact that there are dozens of toons out there, running around brandishing the EXACT SAME WEAPON, does do something to disturb the suspension of disbelief and reduce the ability to really immerse oneself in the fantasy of the game world.So, what to do? For the creative player, some research and creative thinking, and blammo – you are not carrying around Hellscream’s Doomblade, instead you are packing around a weapon crafted in the image of the noble blade and taken from the body of some high ranking lieutenant of the Horde. So, for those that go to this length to help preserve some sense of reality in an MMORP world (where everyone ultimately is geared with almost the same stuff) it is usually more than frustrating to have someone proclaim you carry "Hellscream’s Doomblade after defeating Garrosh", when you play with the idea that your character NEVER set foot within Orgrimmar. You have been canon-chained, and now undoing that assumption takes some effort and some otherwise unneeded OOC communication.In other words, in the short form, don’t make assumptions based on the skin/model of anything. Read the MRP description. If nothing is listed there drum up some RP and inquire IC to the weapon that looks like Hellscream’s Doomblade. I guarantee… if you find someone that defines it as anything BUT that weapon you have found yourself a serious role player. Bottom line, don’t assume anything is what it seems. And if it turns out that it is not what it seems don’t feel compelled to canon-chain another player to what the game says it should be. Seriously… how many people can kill Garrosh and carry around Hellscream’s Doomblade before it all just breaks down and turns into something idiotic?
This is actually pretty self-explanatory. IC – or In Character – life IS NOT your OOC – Out Of Character – life, so do not take too much that happens in game as serious enough to stress over.
Players come and go, stories start and end, but you are still you and, as the saying goes, the wheels on the bus go round and round. The in-game would isn’t important enough to get an ulcer over.Guess what… players can be, and WILL be, total wankers! There will be characters that piss you off and ruin your good time. Players WILL squat over your bowl of Wheaties and tell you go enjoy your meal of their literary defecation. But, in the end, does it really matter? It is just a game, they are just another example of human excrement, and there is a delightful vindication in just throwing them the bird and exiting the game. Turn it off! Go have a sandwich and a beer, get some air and some breathing room, and come back when the game isn’t getting on your last nerve. Leave your real world issues at the door when you check in, as nobody wants to RP with some moping emotional wreck, but also leave the in-game drama inside the game world when you check out and return to your real home.
Lorebreaking. This is the knowing and intentional distortion of the game world canon, for the purposes of some element of a singular character, and to such a point that the rest of the canon would inherently have to be altered to abide by this distortion. Lorebreaking events are patently impossible within the given game world. Accidental mistakes can happen, especially in a world like the one Blizzard has constructed for us (with its insanely complicated list of characters and factions), and should be immediately corrected if they are pointed out, but intentional lorebreaking is really unforgivable. If something breaks the canon then it should be corrected, unless you do not mind playing only with others that also subscribe to this distorted history/reality. If you break the canon then you should be willing to change that alteration and abide by a less disruption interpretation of the canon setting. Bending the rules is allowable, within reason, but breaking the rules will certainly not be widely tolerated.
Lorebending. Like lorebreaking this is usually an intentional reinterpretation of the canonical data for the purposes to a singular character. Unlike lorebreaking this change does not invalidate other aspects of the canon and you can see this as an improbability instead of impossibility. You can bend the lore without disrupting the game world, because it is still possible no matter how unlikely, BUT this must be done within limitation and with due respect to the canon.
We are all here to help create interesting stories, and some of us are even here to help broaden the game world and fill in elements we see as being important enough to not leave unspoken. In that effort to expand an unstated setting we must bend the lore to fit a vision. Hopefully this fits with the RP community. If it does not it can always be changed, as lorebending carries with it the obligation to discard that change if it causes anyone undue disruption. Lorebending must be done carefully and as infrequently as possible. If you protect the canon you also earn some ability to modify that canon in small ways.
Do not insist upon role play. ASK FIRST!
You cannot force people into role playing with you, and making an attempt to compel such things will certainly prove to be a short track toward being banned from the limited role play groups there are. If you are interested in joining a group that you see RPing it is as easy as sending one of them a whisper and asking to be included, or just waiting around to see if you really are all that interested. Almost certainly, if you linger around long enough (to prove you are not in that location as a part of a quest chain or to seek a particular vendor), someone in that RP group will break off and engage you IC, or at least send you a whisper and inquire as to your interest. BUT if you barge in and interrupt their role play situation you will immediately gain yourself suspicion and some small degree of animosity. Players cherish their role play opportunities, and when they are rudely interrupted the spike in frustration can be palpable. Players remember these things. They add those names to their lists and need hardly any reason to add it to their ignore list. So always ASK before you try and insert yourself into a scene.THIS INCLUDES other players in your own guild! Do not assume that just because you share a guild that every guild member will automatically accept your character in their role play situations. If you assume and intrude upon them you might find yourself privately banned from their role play scenes. You might even find yourself cast from the guild. You CANNOT insist that people role play with you. Nobody is under any obligation to even accept your existence in the game world, let alone actually role play opposite your character, so the best advice is to open lines of OOC conversation and make sure that your presence is acceptable.Also, as an offshoot of this, always ask before trying to either become a part of some other player’s story or before trying to modify that story to fit your vision of it. We all have our stories to tell, each character has some story of their own, and the whole point of collaborative role play is to tell stories with others, BUT if you want to be a part of a story that someone else is crafting YOU MUST be included in this by those players. You cannot force your way into a story, and if you try (and it seems like it worked for you) I can assure you that other players have made note of this behavior and will not take kindly to it in the future. Again, always ask first. By extension, if you want other characters to be a part of your story, you need to ask them if they are interested… because you cannot force anyone to RP with you, and dragging someone into your story is not respectful and horribly impolite.
Never be afraid to deny someone role play. They should not try and force it upon you, but it does happen. Maybe they don’t know the rules. Maybe they don’t care about the rules. Eventually you will run into someone that pretends to know the RP scene and then makes an effort to rope you into a story you want no part of.
You are not obligated to entertain them. You are here to have fun, not be someone’s supporting cast member, so you have every right to flatly deny them. Want to be nice about it? Tell them in a personal message or a whisper. Be to make it a public statement that you are not one to be trifled with? Make it a public announcement of their failure to obey your rights as a player. But no matter how you choose to do this you always have the right to say “no, I’m not playing with you and your character”. It is as simple as that. Trust me, the role play community will not hold it against you if you explain that those players you refuse to RP opposite blatantly dismiss the rules that almost ALL of us abide by.
Triggers. These are situations that illicit an immediate and often distinctly negative reaction within some players. Situations of rape, or self-mutilation, or torture, or demonic possession, or graphic depictions of violence and combat… these are all triggers that can make a player extremely uncomfortable. Some may immediately cease to play when such things arise in their presence, the reaction to them may be that powerful.
Triggers are things we all must be VERY careful with. There are more triggers than just what I used as examples, but really it is common sense as to what would be a trigger. If you KNOW a topic is controversial, that it can lead to arguments and hurt feelings, then it is a trigger. DO NOT treat these topics lightly. If they are a part of the story it is best to warn other players of this ahead of time. Give players an opportunity to opt-out if they feel the content may be too disturbing for them. Consider the human that is on the other side of the computer. Maybe he is a veteran, that suffers from PTSD, and really does not want to see a graphic description of characters subjecting another to torture. Perhaps the player is a woman that has suffered the horror of rape and does not want to see anyone use this topic as a part of a story. There are a plethora of potential situations, but fortunately the list of triggers is rather short, and by the simple application of some common sense we can all avoid such things and maintain an open and safe role play environment. If you use these elements in a story just tell people about it. Respect them and they shall respect you.
ERP or Erotic Role Playing. This is basically sex-chat through some online role play medium. It is pornography in written form (unless you are playing Red Light District, in which case you can actually control animated simulated sexual situations) and it is the skeleton that is in a LOT of closets.
I, for one, have no problem admitting I have indulged it. I think I am rather good at it, to be frank, but that doesn’t change the fact that I know it is a “dirty little secret” and that in spite of the fact many players do it most do not want this data known. In fact I came to Scarlet Crusade server BECAUSE (at one time) it was the go-to place for ERP on WoW.Bottom line here is this, always ask before approaching someone for ERP. Never assume they are playing to engage in ERP… these days most people play for the grind and the thrill of combat. Role play itself is largely regulated to small groups and goes under the general radar. ERP is twice as subtle in application and three times as secretive. If you are interested in ERP you can find it, fairly easily actually, but discretion and finesse are crucial in finding partners that are worth the effort of a search. Like most things, asking OOC ahead of time will let people know you are interested without putting them off and making yourself seem too eager and too immature to handle what seasoned role players can give. [Originally written by Sylversword]