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 A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum

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FlowerFox
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PostSubject: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:37 pm

The reason why I'm making this is because I'm afraid that one day EA will stop hosting the server and delete the Sporum's contents to make more server space, and to stop paying to run it. Plus, due to Java errors, they're not always viewable. So I am copying and pasting them onto here, for your viewing pleasure. If there are any that I've missed, please let me know. Thanks!

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QUALITY is better than QUANTITY. It doesn't matter HOW MANY posts or threads you've made, but rather HOW GOOD they are.
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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:55 pm

A Guide to Realistic Roleplaying by OsakaSun

This is a guide on realism. Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking:

Why the hell did you make a guide on realism?! It’s a roleplaying section! Half the stuff here is sci-fi and fantasy and whatnot! Nothing is realistic!

Yes. That’s all very true, but that isn’t the exact kind of realism I’m talking about. For those of you who do roleplays with aliens and robots and all that, you can just skip the section on characters if you want to be like that, but you all should read this anyways. I’m talking about the stuff that ticks me off like hell because people can’t seem to make their characters act realistic, or else can’t make their actions within the normal human limitations. That may seem a little harsh, but it’s so effin’ true that I’m wasting my free time to write this guide in order to help prevent it.

So there.

Reading this thread obviously is not mandatory; I can’t enforce it in any way and it is impossible for me to make you read it unless I know you in real life (if I do, you’re dead meat) so I’m just going to ask nicely. Please, please, please read this and spare us all your unrealistic bullsh*t! I promise I won’t hate you if you do!

(I may add a table of contents when this expands.)
(Note: If there is anything wrong with it, please PM me so I can fix it.)

Section I- Character Realism

This is one of the most common instances where I see people being wildly unrealistic. The reason for this, I think, is because people want their characters to be two things:
1. The center of attention.
2. The best.
If you think I’m lying, just look at fight scenes (although that’s covered in a later section); people are always trying to win. Or else look anywhere else. There’s drama like crazy because people want their characters paid attention to. Seriously, I’m not lying. Even I make drama so people pay attention to me. And I’m, y’know, me!

(Note that this section covers the realism of human and human-based characters. Animal behavior is different, unless it’s an anthropomorphic roleplay.)


I-a On Mental Illness
I am not by any means a specialist on these sorts of things, but I can tell you how you’re being unrealistic in this field.

People always say that you should give your characters flaws so that they aren’t ‘Mary Sues’. That’s very true, but the thing is that too many flaws can also make your character a Mary Sue. Plus, when people thing flaw, they usually think mental illness. Also, I see a lot of noobs/newbs making mentally ill characters, which really ticks me off because they’re so inaccurate.

If you’re going to start roleplaying, start normal, and even if you think you’re ready for mental illness in characters, I’d really suggest that you don’t use it.

Now, I be you’re wondering why I’m covering this issue first. (And believe me, it is an issue.) That’s because it’s the one that bothers me the most, having a touch of mental illness myself, and because it’s horribly overused and exploited. See, mental illness implies silliness, right? It means I can make my character do crazy, stupid things, be the center of attention, and not get in trouble at all!

Well… not exactly. I’m going to show you a few examples of the things I see most commonly and why you shouldn’t be using them for your characters.


Schizophrenia

What do you know about schizophrenia? Really?
I’ve had a friend confuse it with MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder), and I argued with him for about an hour in order to set him straight.

Now, I have only seen people who have schizophrenic characters portray this illness accurately one or two times. In almost all other instances, people use it as an excuse for their characters to be totally random. Like this:

OsakaSun wrote:
"The government!" Willow started to rant again. "They stole our water and now they're stealing our souls! Lightbulbs are bri- K IS FOR POTASSIUM! Get your umbrellas, folks, it's gonna be a rainy day!" Okay, maybe she'd completely lost it...

Now, Willow wasn’t schizo, she was just totally freaked out and such, but I see a lot of ‘schizophrenic’ characters doing similar (less funny) things. It’s just not accurate.

Let me guess what you’re thinking:
Okay, if you’re so smart then then tell me what is accurate.

Well, for one, it’s not MPD. People don’t develop other personalities from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia entails auditory and visual hallucinations (hearing and seeing things that aren’t there), paranoid or bizarre delusions (this is where people go wrong), and/or disorganized speech and thinking. Thanks Wikipedia
That’s common knowledge, right? So what do you know about anxiety, depression, and substance abuse? Did you include that in your schizophrenic character? Odds are you didn’t; you were just aiming for silly, not ill.
But guess what! Schizophrenia is a mental illness. If you want a schizo character, you need to throw in everything (and throw ‘em in with accuracy!) or else it’s unrealistic and gets on my (and many others’) nerves.


DID/MPD

Do you know what those stand for?

Dissociative identity disorder/Multiple personality disorder. They’re the same thing. What do they mean?

Split personalities.

I’ve certainly seen this several times, often confused with schizophrenia, and like schizophrenia have only seen it portrayed accurately in roleplay characters a few times. Yes, it shares symptoms, but it’s not the same thing.

Here, before I go about telling you why you’re so wrong, here’s a list of symptoms found on Wikipedia:

• Multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs that are not similar to each other
• Unexplainable headaches and other body pains
• Distortion or loss of subjective time
• Comorbidity
• Depersonalization
• Derealization
• Severe memory loss
• Depression
• Flashbacks of abuse/trauma
• Unexplainable phobias
• Sudden anger without a justified cause
• Lack of intimacy and personal connections
• Frequent panic/anxiety attacks
• Auditory hallucinations of the personalities inside their mind

Now, how many of those did your character with MPD exhibit? Maybe the first one and the last one, right?
Otherwise, the characters are just totally random. You know, they run around doing crazy stuff then act normally and call themselves by a different name.

That’s not MPD, that’s a toddler in an adult/teenager’s body.

Really, I can’t do much about this. What I can say is that, unless you’re able and willing to have such a complex, in depth character that shows most if not all of the above symptoms (accurately), you should steer away from MPD. Really, you should steer away from any mental illness at all.

Most people aren’t even aware that they have it, and it can be fairly hard to detect. Really, I’d suggest you stay away from it altogether; it’s too complex for the average—and even several of the more experienced—roleplayer(s) to handle. (And that is NOT a challenge.)


Bipolar Disorder

I don’t see bipolar characters very often in roleplaying, but when I do it’s treated just like the previously mentioned illnesses; it’s used as an excuse for random, wild behavior.

This really ticks me off because my family actually has quite a history of bipolar disorder and I may or may not have it myself, so I know a bit about it.

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression.
Ring a bell?

Maybe. See, bipolar disorder is not just crazy mood swings. It’s a series of ‘episodes’ that affect people in different ways. There are episodes of severe depression , and other such things.
Really, you should do research if you want to make a bipolar character, because I may say something incorrectly.


ADHD

Now here’s one that people use very often so their characters can be random. Like with MPD, I’m going to list symptoms:

• Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
• Have difficulty focusing on one thing
• Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
• Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
• Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
• Not seem to listen when spoken to
• Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
• Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
• Struggle to follow instructions.
• Fidget and squirm in their seats
• Talk nonstop
• Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
• Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
• Be constantly in motion
• Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
• Be very impatient
• Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
• Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games

Now, if you know somebody with ADHD, then that’s fine and dandy; you know the condition better than I do, so you can skip ahead, but the thing is that people with ADHD usually aren’t super random, they’re just easily distracted. That’s a huge difference. In fact, ADHD is often accompanied by depression and anxiety, which means that people with it aren’t happy-go-lucky, OOH A CHICKEN.

ADHD is also accompanied by more than just depression, usually it comes hand-in-hand with OCD, BPD (borderline personality disorder), bipolar disorder, vigilance problems, etc. If you want an ADHD character, you’re really going to have to go more in depth than—OOH ANOTHER CHICKEN!

Depression *New*

Oh, boohoo! I am so depressed and sad! I think I will wear all black and too much makeup, then go around crying, writing poetry, and cutting myself! I am so emo, woe is me! The world sucks; I hate everything.

That’s what I believe most people think when they hear the word depression. Emo automatically comes to mind. Why? Because we’re stupid Americans. The worst part is that people actually laugh at the kids who are actually like that. That makes things even worse, makes them even more depressed, and probably drives them to at least attempt suicide at one point.

Why do these misconceptions bother me? Well I got hit with depression pretty badly. In fact, when I was cutting, people didn’t know but they’d point at band-aids on my wrists, laugh, and ask if I was cutting myself. They didn’t know that their jokes were actually correct.

Do you know how much that hurts, to have a problem that everybody is inadvertently joking about?

A lot.

See, depression can come from a lot of things. Stress, bad experiences, mental illnesses, etc. It’s usually about the same, though; you feel like sh*t. You hate the world and the world hates you back. You feel like lying in bed all day and doing absolutely nothing, because if you do something you know you’ll find out yet another ugly truth about our society. You think that, if you just died, nobody would really care. Hell, you’d be doing them all a favor. One less mouth to feed and all that. You get irritated at the smallest, stupidest things. Are people listening to music you hate? You yell at them to turn it off or call it stupid or something. People bothering you? You act like a totally antisocial jerk that just ignores everyone. You get these urges to just take some sort of blunt instrument and bash all the annoying, ignorant peoples’ heads in. You put your head down on the desk at school every day and try to sleep because at night, you can’t. You have nightmares, you hallucinate, you toss and turn, whatever. You just can’t sleep.

That is depression. Not poetry and eyeliner and all that crap.

Remember that if you want a depressed character.


In Conclusion…

Mental illness is a hellhole of details when portrayed accurately, and incredibly annoying when it’s not.
If you still want a mentally ill character, I suggest you research the condition in question first.
If you want a super random character, then just say that they’re weird and act accordingly, don’t give them a condition that you only know the common knowledge about.

(This whole section may be inaccurate for all I know, so please give me suggestions for changes and additions to it.)

I-b Emotions

This gets unrealistic as well, you know. People sometimes forget that their human characters are human and therefore forget some things that come with being human.


Fear

A big scary monster is coming right at you.

You know what adrenaline is, I’m sure; it’s that burst of energy you get when you’re scared out of your wits. It comes with the flight behavior that kept us alive when we didn’t have weapons to fight off bigger, more dangerous animals than ourselves. You may get an adrenaline rush in response to the big scary monster.

Then there’s another reaction. Ever seen a deer get hit by a car? When they see the headlights, their whole bodies just freeze up. They can’t move. That happens to us too (although we might also piss our pants as well), in moments of sheer terror, and it’s quite often more common than adrenaline rushes.

So instead of,

Quote :
Justin saw the monster coming and felt his heart begin to pound as adrenaline rushed through his body. He had to get out of here. Grabbing Maiya’s hand, he sprinted for the door as quickly as he could…

perhaps

Quote :
Justin saw the monster coming and felt his whole body freeze up as icy terror crept down his spine. He had to get out of here! Next to him, Maiya was trembling with fear as well, but he couldn’t even coax his hands to move so he could comfort her…

would be much more accurate.

See the difference? It’s even more dramatic than running away, too, so I don’t see why people don’t use it more often.

I’m guessing it’s because they’ve never experienced the ‘deer in headlights’ response to fear before. After all, I doubt many of you have been faced with a hungry predator or a man with a gun pointed at your head before.


Shock (The traumatic kind)

I don’t see shock very often in roleplaying, which is why it’s so unrealistic. Everybody’s characters take huge, lifechanging news and giant bloodbaths (although that constitutes survivor’s guilt, really) and whatnot perfectly in stride. It’s like stuff like that happens to them every day.

Shock, like fear, can be shown in several ways.

Some people actually do take it in stride and don’t react much on the outside.

Others totally shut down, and just sit or stand where they are with vacant expressions on their faces. Maybe they rock back and forth and mutter to themselves as well.

And then there are the people like this:

OsakaSun wrote:
"The government!" Willow started to rant again. "They stole our water and now they're stealing our souls! Lightbulbs are bri- K IS FOR POTASSIUM! Get your umbrellas, folks, it's gonna be a rainy day!" Okay, maybe she'd completely lost it...

Yes, I used that example before, but this is actually what she was showing: shock. See, she’d just found out that she was dead; a lost spirit trying to find her way through a forest full of demons so she could get a second chance at life. People in shock usually don’t scream or say random stuff like that, but they often will talk really fast about what just happened and maybe veer off topic a bit, but not as severely. These are the people that you’ll see getting slapped while somebody yells “GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, (WO)MAN!” in movies (or soap operas). If you want experience on this kind of shock, go watch a few horror movies and the most recent season finale of Grey’s Anatomy with the crazy gun guy.


Anger

Whoa, Osaka! We do anger fine! Haven’t you see—

No. Shut up. You don’t do anger fine, nor do you do the reactions of other people.

What I see when people exhibit it in real life:
(This actually happened)

My Dad: Where’s the remote?
My Brother: *on couch, playing on his laptop* I dunno.
Dad: Help me find it please.
Brother: *keeps playing on laptop*
Dad: Hey! Help me find the remote!
Brother: Huh?
Dad: Help. Me. Find. The. Remote.
Brother: But I’m watching my show…
Dad: *a little while later, after finding the remote. Changes channel*
Brother: HEY! CHANGE THAT BACK!
Dad: I’m watching my show.
Brother: I was watching mine first! *changes channel with remote he was hiding*
Dad: *gets up* Change it back!
Brother: *also gets up* No.
*both migrate to the other end of the room, screaming really loudly about the TV shows*
Dad: *throws chair at wall, shattering the chair* SHUT UP!!!
Brother: *runs away to go cry on the porch*
Me: *scared as hell, peeking out of the room she was taking refuge in before running outside to comfort brother*
Me: (brother’s name), are you o—
Brother: SHUT UP, GET THE HELL AWAY! *starts throwing things*
Me: Calm dow—
Brother: SHUT THE F*CK UP!!! *throws more things*
Me: *runs to the backyard to go cry*

That is a real-life argument and also the main reason I hate it when people fight. Trust me, my dad never yells, and he scared the sh*t out of me when he started up.

The thing is that people fight about stupid things, usually work themselves up to the screaming stage, and then feel absolutely terrible afterwards. It’s called remorse. Also, some people get scared, usually onlookers (such as me in the example) and will probably not try to get the others to stop, rather comfort them later.

In roleplays, I see arguments (fortunately started over stupid things) that get straight to yelling, then maybe fighting. See, people want their characters to win, while in reality the smaller, weaker one would likely give up and walk away (crying, like my brother) eventually instead of resorting to blows.

I remember in one roleplay, this little toddler character was (unrealistically) standing up to an obviously murderous, terrifying character who had a shotgun. The toddler probably would have gotten freaked out and clung to his mom (who he was protecting) but instead he tried to kill the murderous guy. (He was a werewolf, so technically it was possible.) That particular fight, due to the lack of realism, sparked a massive fight in the OoC thread and ended in the person controlling the murderous guy’s resignation from the roleplay.

The IC fight was unrealistic, but the OoC one was not.

But yeah… Unless you’ve seen a lot of fights and arguments (NOT on TV; those are often unrealistic as well unless they’re in soap operas [and then the making up part is unrealistic]), you may want to steer clear of that argumentative character with anger management problems that you were planning.


Love

Hoo boy… This one is really just playing on what people have seen in TV, or maybe just assume from what they’ve decided love is all about in their heads.

What have I seen?

I’ve seen characters just up and confess their love to another without being nervous at all.

I’ve seen love at first sight. (Highly uncommon in real life, although it does exist.)

I’ve seen—

You know what? I’ll stop right now.

How many of you have actually been in a real relationship?

Not the middle school sh*t—I’m not talking crushes and ‘boyfriends’ and ‘girlfriends’— I’m talking the real deal. Maybe love wasn’t involved; maybe you were trying to find it, but still.

If you’ve had that, then you can just skip this section right now, because you know those feelings. If not, well… random making out occurs, and that’s substituted for the actual emotion ‘love’.

Love is a word that can mean a lot of things to be honest, but the best way that I can find to describe it is that you always want to be with the person you love. Just doing nothing together makes you as happy as you could ever imagine. You don’t need to ‘go out’ or make out or anything, just being there with them is the best feeling.

Love is blind.

Love sucks.

Love hurts.

Love is the sun.

Love is the rain.

Love is a fistful of glitter in the air. Music nerd… Teehee.

Like I said, love is just doing nothing with somebody and having the time of your life.
Now try putting that into writing.


Sadness

Sobbing uncontrollably seems to be the most preferred way to express sadness around here, and once the person who was crying had been comforted everything is alright again.

Tell me, does that work for you? Probably not.

Ever had a loved one or pet die?

Grief is a form of sadness. You cried, didn’t you? It was horrible. It felt like the whole world was crashing down because something or someone you loved just disappeared forever. Maybe you even got to the point of sadness where you became depressed. Everything sucked. You cried and you cried. The littlest thing would set you off all over again; anything that reminded you of the death. You’d cry yourself to sleep every night and wake up in the morning with red eyes and a heavy heart.

When did it get better?

When your best friend gave you a hug and said it would be okay?

Sure, maybe you stopped crying, but you didn’t stop being sad. That couldn’t get rid of the feeling.

So when did it get better?

Maybe it did when you came to terms with it. Maybe it did when you forgot. Maybe when you found something to be happy about again. Or maybe it didn’t.

Why can’t we remember this when our characters are sad, then? They’re supposed to be people, so why do they just forget about sadness?

I don’t know.

You can fix that if you try, I’m sure.


Stress

We get stressed out when under pressure. Like, when there’s a huge test coming or you have to do too much work or whatever. Everybody knows what it’s like to be stressed out; you get annoyed with every little distraction and you pull out your hair and everything.

The funny thing is that I rarely see stress in roleplaying.

Remember that time when the fate of the world depended on that one character?

What’d he do? He just went through with it. He may have gotten a little nervous, but if that were to happen in real life I feel like he’d have been pretty stressed out. Maybe people would have encouraged him and he would have snapped at them.

Yeah. When something really important is about to go down in a roleplay, try to show a bit of stress in the characters.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them.)


I-c Behavior in General

This section isn’t going to be long, I’m just going to say a few things.

What do you do when you write your posts? Do you put yourself in your character’s shoes and think about what they would do, or maybe think about what you would do? Or maybe you just wing it?

Generally, things are more realistic if you think about them. Just give it a shot, I can guarantee you’ll get results if you try considering all the details and backstories you’ve created for your character and then think: What would s/he do?

Or else: What would I do?

It’s better than just glancing at the previous person’s post and having them just do whatever pops into your head.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)
(Section I is done for the moment. As I’ve said; if you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them.)

Section II- What the Hell are you Talking About, Man?

The section you’ve just started to read covers metagaming and godmodding. These issues, too, come from the need to be paid attention to. People still want their characters to be the very best (*guitar* like no one ever was!) by giving them superhuman abilities and knowledge that they just shouldn’t have. It’s effin’ crazy.

So we’re fixing that now.


II-a The Art of Meeting People

That section title probably gave away what this subsection is about: characters meeting one another.
Now, I wonder what you’re thinking right now. Maybe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with how your characters meet? Well, uh… How the hell did that guy magically learn the other guy’s name when they’d never introduced themselves! It’s just like, they meet up, say hey, and then go do whatever it was they were going to do without even bothering to exchange names. Then they magically know it later. Not only is this lazy and ignorant, it’s also technically metagaming.
Ooh, snap. I went there.
It is metagaming by definition; you are giving your characters information from the OoC that they technically did not receive IC. So have them introduce themselves.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)


II-b How the Hell…?

I’m sure you get this reaction a lot when you see godmodding. You know, a character does something that is totally illogical, even if they do have superpowers, just to show how awesome they are.


Mortal Kombat™!

The number one instance of godmodding, in my opinion, is endurance. I’ve seen fights go on for pages and pages with none of the people fighting even breaking a sweat. That’s because nobody really wants to lose. But the thing is that if there’s a rule against killing in the roleplay, the characters really won’t have much more at stake than their honor.

So why, then, is it so important to win?

Seriously, tell me!

I’ll admit right now that I never try to win fights in roleplays because, for one thing, I think it’s much more interesting to write if you’re trying to lose. Plus, I’m, uh… not very good at fight scenes… As a result, my characters are often pacifistic and will not fight unless absolutely necessary, in which case I don’t let the fight last long so nobody godmods. And I always leave room for people to dodge my attacks.

That brings me to the auto-hits and auto-dodges: sometimes people just automatically hit the other person’s character without leaving room to avoid, and sometimes people just magically dodge some basically undodgable attack.

Whenever I fight (keep in mind that I usually am trying to lose), I always say something like this:

OsakaSun wrote:
Piper had unwittingly positioned herself in such a way that she was tensed perfectly to spring, and the personality-- not Ripper this time, mind you-- that was taking control used this to its advantage. The instant Matt touched her, her eyes cleared up and, though they weren't visible at all, her pupils had become more elliptical than circular, and then she growled and literally pounced on him.

Her hands pressed hard against his chest and, with the momentum she'd achieved from that tensed position, he'd likely be floored if he wasn't prepared.

See how I gave the person she’d attacked the choice to let it be effective or not? Now, it may have been godmodding on his part to say he was prepared, but that doesn’t matter. I left him a choice.

(He went with letting the attack work, by the way, but ultimately his character overpowered Piper/notRipper.)

Then there are occasions where people make characters designed to be cheap in battle. Take the massive monsters that spit acid and somehow also have teeth on their tongue example. Also they weigh several thousand pounds and can fit in small spaces and—

See what I mean? That’s just plain… myeergh. The thing’s only weakness was that it feared fire and, although it never did make it into the roleplay, the idea of it doing so made me think of godmodding. So please don’t make characters over equipped for battle; it’s not fair nor is it particularly fun for anybody but you.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)


II-c What You Didn’t Foresee was… I Had It in My Pocket All Along!

The title suggests magical objects that weren’t there before to help characters out in sticky situations, but that’s not all this subsection covers. It also touches on magical knowledge (not metagaming, though), and insertion into backstories.

Here are some examples to get you started provided by my BFF, Cha-Cha.


ChaosHarbinger wrote:
"It was a good thing that she had prepared a medikit in case she got hurt, Laura thought to herself as she bandaged the injury. The whole works was in there, from bandages to adrenaline to disinfectant to gauze. There was so much that there was scarcely any more room in her backpack. Carefully packing it all away, she brushed back her hair and continued walking.

... *** ... ***

What a relief! If she hadn't been wearing that hardhat, the fall would have given her a nasty concussion! Still, at least it didn't mess up her hair - no protection for her hands though. They were starting to get very sore with all the scrapes they were exposed to.

...***...***

As darkness closed in around her, night falling swiftly in these parts, Laura hastily whipped out her lantern and lit it, checking compass and tightening her gloves. A mountain lion roared in the distance, but Laura wasn't afraid - she had carefully sprayed lemon along her trail during the last couple of hours, the pungent smell sure to drive the creature away."

See how Laura was magically prepared for everything? This actually happens quite a bit. People, not wanting some horrible misfortune to befall their character (like death by mountain lion), suddenly bring up some never-before-mentioned knowledge or object (or weapon in the case of a fight) that would help them out perfectly in the given situation. That, my friends, is godmodding.

It’s even worse if the godmodding involves the plot or subplot. Like, let’s say somebody’s character is horribly ill with some mysterious, incurable disease. Their whole character is based of that fact, and perhaps their purpose in the roleplay is to find out how to get better.

Now enter character two, who falls hopelessly in love with the sick character and can’t stand that they’re sick, so they use their magical powers or incredible medical knowledge to cure the sick person. Problem solved, but subplot ruined.

Finally, there is backstory insertion. It’s just plain annoying; your character knows somebody else’s character, right? Their character goes off and then starts saying things that your character apparently said in the past. Now, that’s okay if you gave them permission, but otherwise it’s not only godmodding, but essentially powerplaying because they’ve basically taken control of your character.

This happens too:

Eochaid1701 wrote:
Another example of nonviolent godmodding: inserting yourself prominently into someone else's backstory without permission.
"So where are you from?"
"I'm from (name of far-off, undiscovered country here). I was banished, and I'm the only one ever to make it to what you would call civilization."
"Oh really? I'm one-sixteenth (that nationality), and I'm descended from the ruling line. Technically, I should be king right now."
"Bull****. We've had democracy for ten generations."
"But it's true, I really should be king (goes there to retake control and godmods again in his attempt to do so)."

Makes you wanna bash the one-sixteenth (that nationality)’s head in, doesn’t it?

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)


II-d What are You Talking About? I Knew that Already!

Ah yes, magical knowledge. This is both godmodding and metagaming depending on the context, but we’ll just call it metagaming for now. Pretty much, your character has not let off a particular fact about their past or perhaps even their thoughts. In no way was any of that information implied, but you made the mistake of mentioning it in your post or in the OoC, and this happens:

Quote :
Perry was shifting his feet awkwardly and kept sneaking looks at Emma whenever she was occupied with something else. He thought she was so pretty, but there was no way he’d go near her… Good thing she didn’t know he was watching.
---
Emma noticed Perry looking at her and walked over to him. “Hi Perry!” she said.
---
Swallowing nervously, Perry smiled and stammered, “H-hi Emma.” She was so pretty…
---
“I really like you Perry. You’re so sweet. Do you like me too?”
---
“N-no…” Perry lied. He was just so nervous…
---
“You’re lying, aren’t you?”

See? Emma somehow magically knew that Perry was watching her even though the first post stated she shouldn’t have, then she knew he liked her, and finally she knew he was lying. That’s just so improbable, it’s painful.
It would have been much more entertaining for Perry to have stuttered his way into a perhaps oblivious Emma’s heart, wouldn’t it? Sounds cheesy, but oh well.

Then there’s also this:

Cha-Cha wrote:
"It is pitch-black inside the tunnel and hiding a deadly basilisk, which would awaken the moment a light was lit to fix the unfortunate interlopers with its lethal gaze, although the adventurers could not sense it. Yet if they stayed put in darkness, the wraith pursuing them would have no fear of attacking."

"Ever wary of being caught unawares, I cast a targeted spell to restrain any magical animal ahead so that it cannot move a single muscle. Then I light a torch."

Notice how it said that the adventures couldn’t sense the basilisk, and yet the other person still cast a spell to keep it from moving so that he could light the torch and also prevent the wraith from attacking himself and his companions.

And here’s yet another example of metagaming:

Luna_Cat16 wrote:
OOCperson1: Wanna know something cool about my character?
OOCperson2: What?
OOCperson1: Promise you won't do anything about it in the IC?
OOCperson2: Yup.
OOCperson1: Well, my character has asthma, but she hasn't told anyone.

Meanwhile, in the IC...

Person1: Mary suddenly fell to the ground, her hands around her throat. Her breathing was coming out very shallw and ragged, like something was constricting her lungs. "H-he-elp..."

Person2: John knelt over Mary obviously very concerned about her at the moment. With a bad astma attack like this, she could die! "Everyone! Get an inhaler, or something! She's having an asthma attack!"

See how many different ways you can metagame? I know it may be hard to not include a neat fact you learned in the OoC, but it’s much more fun for everybody if you allow the person whose character it is to reveal it themselves IC the way they’d intended to.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)
(Section II is done for the moment. As I’ve said; if you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them.)

Section III- Character Types

Ah, the character. Not only are they the most fun parts of roleplays (for we all know that a roleplay is not a roleplay without them!), but they are often the most difficult to come up with, get right, and be realistic about. We get all sorts of things that (like everything else according to me) are spawned from the (apparently omnipresent) need to be paid attention to. We get Mary Sues, Gary Lous, drama kings/queens, defective robots, suicidal wolves, drug addicts, monsters that are actually teddy bears at heart, you name it.

It’s kind of infuriating.

IIIa- To Placate GrandEnder… Artificial Intelligence! Yay!

Most commonly found in those futuristic space roleplays that I deplore so much, Artificial Intelligence (or AI) is what you give to a robot so that it’s not a Roomba. Essentially, it is an incredibly complex series of programs that gives an artificial being (robot) free will and perhaps even “emotions”.

Now, I generally see two types of AI in roleplays: the Perfect and the Defective.

“Perfect” AI means that the programming is flawless and the robot acts exactly as it should. Now what could possibly be wrong with that? The thing is that humans are very complex creatures, and Perfect AIs act just like them. It would be impossible to perfectly replicate human thought process and behavior, so Perfect AI is therefore impossible unless there were glitches (there always are) that made it act more human. Essentially, I think that a Perfect AI would follow its programming perfectly. If it was made to protect something? It would protect it at all costs unless there was something in the programming that would not allow it to do so. In my eyes, a Perfect AI is not a robot that acts perfectly human, but a robot that acts as it should: like a robot.

“Defective” AI is what you get when people like killing machines. Usually, they have huge glitches or flaws in their programming that turns them into something they shouldn’t be. The thing is that all AIs would have glitches or flaws, and very few if any at all would turn out to be like the killing machines I’ve experienced. The programming for Artificial Intelligence is so complicated that it’s impossible to avoid something that shouldn’t happen. It’s just that those things aren’t usually as drastic as people seem to love making them.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)
(*coughs* You may have noticed that I totally bullshitted my way through this subsection. Don’t follow it if you know more about AIs then I do; my only source is a humor book about killer robots [which did have legitimate sources, though].)

IIIb- Hi, I’m Perfect!

Ah, Mary Sues. Or Gary Lous. We all know what they are, don’t we? Our lovely little perfect characters who do everything right, are super smart and super strong, and never fail to get on our nerves. Some people just don’t have the heart to give their “totally awesome” character a single flaw, and they end up being so infuriating that every other character ends up trying to kill them but ultimately failing because Mary/Gary Sue/Lou godmods their way out of the situation.

So what am I trying to say here?

Don’t be perfect. Give your character a flaw that could potentially be their undoing. Are they really strong? Make them unintelligent or have low endurance. Do they have an awesome superpower? Make it take up a lot of energy or hurt them every time they use it.

Just be careful not to throw in too many flaws, because otherwise they’ll become an attention wh*re like those characters with all the mental illnesses that always grab the spotlight. People get very bored very fast when somebody’s character is always getting captured by the enemy or getting injured or simply complaining about everything.

A good character takes time to make, but don’t be afraid to try and make one. I’m not kidding; everybody will be a lot happier and have much more fun if you do.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)

IIIc- …and Now Ah Keel You!

Who here hates psychopathic killers? Raise your hand. Please. Raise it now, so I can see it and yes, I can see it. Is it raised? Good.

Those characters that attack others for seemingly no reason and try to kill them and all that crap are perhaps some of the most irksome things in the whole world. They have no purpose other than to cause harm, no thought process other than “He saw the little kid and threw a rock at him, then laughed when the kid started crying”. It’s just plain annoying.

Nothing in real life is like that. Nothing. There is always something that fuels those brutal killers we here about on TV, always a reason for seemingly senseless killings in movies and TV shows. People and animals do not kill each other for the sake of killing each other, and they do not simply move on to their next victim afterwards.

Take one of Murt’s pet peeves for example:

murtagh1135 wrote:
This is totally random, but since this is a realism guide after all, I feel like mindlessly talking 'bout irritating things.

It really, REALLY pisses me off when someone randomly has their character eat someone. I'm not talking about the werewolf that can't help but staring at you while wondering how loud you would scream if it took just one little bite. I'm talking about those one liners where a normal human character just randomly EATS SOMEONE. Superpowers, etc. or not, why the hell...?
Crappy post wrote:
Bob went and killed someone. Then he ate the guy.
Crappy but somewhat realistic post wrote:
Still feeling rather sick, Gabriel stepped out of the bathroom. The... thing disturbed him. Would it grow back? How long would that even take? He couldn't bear to think of could happen if anyone knew. This wasn't normal. He'd never heard of some rare disease that had a side effect of growing a freakin' tail, for god's sake!

A small groan escaped him as a boy stood in front of him. Big, mean, with an ugly face. There was no mistaking Bruce. The guy that would stuff your pants with ice and stuff you in the closet to freeze your *ss off. But Gabe nonetheless tried to push his way past.

"Hey, d*ckface! Where you going, lady?" With a grin that could make your stomach twist into a hundred knots, the Big B grabed Gabe's jacket.

In a low voice, Gabe whispered, "Hey, man. I j-j-just-"

Gabe couldn't finish, because The Big B chose then to spit in his face. "What's that, princess?"

Grr.

Gabe's face felt hot, but his body was tensing. He didn't time for this. The teacher would notice his absence soon. A detention was not what he needed. This was...

"Answer me, dipsh*t!"

How... ARGH! F... Oh, if only that b*stard knew. How dare he insult Gabe! He didn't want this. He had to get back. Grrr, the little...

"I'm talking to you! A screwhead, just like your mother."

Gabe finally snapped. "GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY YOU F***ING *SSHOLE!"

"Or what?" The Big B was sure that the little wimp would- no, could never fight back. After all, he was like a god in the school. A huge, smelly god that would endlessly torture his subjects for his own amusement. Too bad that he was so incredibly wrong.
I had to cut out the inappropriate stuff, and info you wouldn't understand without seeing the entire thing.

But see? Gabe's mind is like a hurricane, he has lots of sh*t going on, and he happens to be growing lots of hair, having random toothaches, and did I mention the fact that people are looking less like friends and more like something that doesn't have a thick hide to tear through? It's that sort of thing where veins flash like strobe lights, you can't help but block off escape routes, and your buddy smells like your favorite restaurant when you haven't eaten all day.

It really makes me go WTF when a character randomly eats/kills someone.

And while I'm talking, a police officer once told me that when a man starts to cry, that man is probably going to get violent. Just a random bit of info for you to use.

*takes breath*

Stuff like what happened with Gabe isn’t only for eating people; it’s for a lot of things involving violence. Killers don’t just walk up to somebody and shoot them in the face or decapitate them or whatever. They select their target for a reason. Maybe it was somebody who bullied them in school, maybe it was somebody who they had a deep grudge against, or maybe it was just a girl that said no when they asked her out. Either way, there is always a reason for violence.

After selecting their target, they often make plans. These plans take a long time to formulate; usually the killer doesn’t want to get caught, so they follow their target around and select the best time and place to strike.

Afterwards, there is guilt. Remorse. You don’t just kill a person and think nothing of it. I am not a murderer, but I can imagine what it would be like to have killed somebody. They would have nightmares about their victim(s) coming back from the dead to get them. They would be paranoid of getting caught. They would regret ending a life. The dying screams, the pleading, and the look in the eyes of the person they killed would haunt them to their dying day.

You can’t just walk up to somebody, stab them in the face, and move on.

You just can’t.

(I’m done with this for now. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them..)
(Section III is done for the moment. I will likely update it eventually. As I’ve said; if you have any suggestions for changes or additions, I’ll be happy to hear them.)

____________________________________
QUALITY is better than QUANTITY. It doesn't matter HOW MANY posts or threads you've made, but rather HOW GOOD they are.
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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:03 pm

On Quality Roleplaying by Eochaid1701

The contents of this guide are not strictly endorsed by the sporemasters*. However, following this guide will save you much heartache, because this is how we roll in this section. If you post in this sub-forum, this what many or most of us will expect you to know.

*The sporum does not have any official guidelines related to RP'ing specifically, aside from following the standard forum guidelines. We hate flaming, spamming, and such in here as much as anywhere else. Probably more.

Italicized words are important definitions that will come up repeatedly throughout the guide and in your RP'ing experience.

How does Roleplay work?

Roleplay is creating and controlling characters to tell a story. The members of an RP are the OP (original poster, or gamemaster (GM)), the mods (if any), and the players.

The GM is the creator of the story. He controls the vast majority of the game’s universe, in addition to establishing a plot and usually controlling the main villain. He writes the OP and makes the rules.
The mods are people appointed by the GM to aid in the exposition of the plot and enforce the rules. Sometimes they are granted some sort of in-character perk as well, as a reward for keeping the peace. Otherwise, they are normal players.

The players are exactly what they sound like. They are the participants, who control main characters (PC’s, or “player characters”) and sometimes secondary characters (NPC’s, or “non-player characters”). They still have significant impact on the plot, since they often carry important pieces of it.

Roleplaying has two distinct domains: In character (IC) and out of character (OOC). IC interaction is what goes on in the RP world. OOC interaction is the players talking to each other about the game. How these two relate will be discussed in more depth below.

Rules, Etiquette, and Definitions

Rules and etiquette are one of the most crucial parts of a roleplay. While rules often vary widely according to setting and plot, there are some common courtesies. These are crucially important and frame all interaction. Here are the major ones, which are often included in the RP’s “rules” section.

Godmodding/Autoing: This is when one player controls another player’s character without permission. This especially applies during fights, where it can mean the life or death of a character. Never do this without the permission of the victim’s player. Autoing is a combat-related variant where a shot is stated to hit without the other player's consent.

Unauthorized plot twists: A particularly heinous form of g-modding, because it derails everybody playing. This is taking the plot in an irrational direction or effectively eliminating an important plot point without the GM’s approval. 
Creating a new character midstream with the ability to magically solve a problem falls under this category as well. With the introduction of one of these characters, all the conflict, all the adventures to be had trying to solve the problem, and definitely all the fun disappear. No more quest for the healing herb, because Bobby the Wonder-Medic showed up. Since characters with that sort of power are completely overpowered for their setting and are generally bad form, they are a no-go. I call these characters “Anti-Plot Rocket Launchers.” On the other hand, if in the above scenario, you made a merchant NPC that knew where a relevant healing herb might be found, that might be okay, so long as he didn’t become a crutch.

Metagaming: One of the hardest things to avoid. This refers to the use of out of character knowledge in character. For instance, the original post may have listed a piece of information, but unless it has been revealed to the characters, it may not be used. To use a popular example, the Emperor may have told Luke that the Death Star is operational, but Lando (who was lightyears away at the time) must find that out for himself. The guy controlling Lando may know that the Rebels are about to get hammered, but Lando does not; ergo, no counter-action can be taken. To act as though he magically overheard the conversation would be absurd and rude to whoever was playing the Emperor, who probably spent much time laying the trap. If the Falcon’s sensors detected that the shield was still up, so that the Rebel fleet barely manages to avoid splattering on it like bugs on a windshield, that would be more permissible, but only if the plot warranted it. APRL’s qualify here as well.

Flaming: Being rude/a jerk to someone OOC under any circumstances or IC without reason. Do I really need to explain why not to do this?

Spotlighting: Hogging all of the attention for yourself. While it’s not game-breaking, like metagaming and godmodding, it’s downright inconsiderate. We’ve all done this one at some point. Just try to avoid it.

Bumping: Posting without substance in order to move a thread to the front page. Follow the forum guidelines for this. If it’s been a couple of days, double-posting is generally accepted. Triple-posting is a no-go. Bumping after five minutes is bad and generally unnecessary. Bumping once a day is more reasonable. If your RP is brand new and it has gone several days without a signup, do not keep bumping it. At that point, nobody is interested.
Necroing: Bumping dead threads. According to the forum guidelines, this doesn’t officially exist. However, there is such a thing as necroing in the RP forum. Anything that hasn’t had a post in a couple of weeks is dead. The GM will not come back, and neither will the players. Once an RP thread is dead, there is nothing more to do in it. It will not come back. 
If you see a dead RP you really like, PM the GM and ask if he would be interested in running it again or if you could run it. If he/she is no longer on the forums, you can try running something similar.

Plagiarism: Stealing. If you use someone else’s material, give them credit. End of story. Many people get very mad if you plagiarize. If you rerun a dead RP (because you didn’t want to necro it), then say something like “based on/rerunning of/sequel to (as appropriate) X’s Y RP.” Rerunning someone else’s RP while theirs is still active is beyond rude. This is not to say that there can’t be several RP’s in the same genre at once: having two dragon RP’s at a time is not uncommon, and it is perfectly acceptable. However, having two identical RP’s is frivolous.

Script/Screenplay format: Writing your posts as though one was writing a screenplay, not a book. Dialogue looks like "Name: blah blah blah blah." This is an eyesore. If you are caught RP'ing like this, the brainbow of war, the emolandfish, and I will all come and breathe rainbow-colored fire of fishy emo-ness on you.
Seriously, screenplay format may be permissible in an illiterate RP, but it's a faux pas anywhere else. Write as though you're writing a book, not a movie.

Stats: Putting a number to things about your character. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are the most common. An RP lacks these by definition. An RPG, like Dungeons and Dragons, does have them. The OP/source manual will describe the rules for these. Just because RP's lack stats, that doesn't mean you can simply assume you're the best at everything. RP'ing is based on your honor and skill as a writer. If you constantly do ridiculous things just because nobody forced you into a set of numbers, people will hate you and nobody will play with you.

Advertising: Trying to persuade people to join by posting in other people's threads. See "Spamming" in the forum guidelines. Advertising is never permissible. It does not make your thread popular: it makes people hate you, because you're being inconsiderate. Chances are they saw your RP and are uninterested, so don't be obnoxious.

Fourth Wall: Essentially, the boundary between IC reality and OOC reality. It comes from theater, where everything would be directed at the "fourth wall," aka the invisible wall that has the audience on the other side of it. When a character realizes he is in a work of fiction and addresses the audience or a narrator or writer, he is said to have "broken the fourth wall." [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The major thing to remember is that you’re playing with other people. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to anyone else.

Literacy

Literacy is how well the members of an RP write. Each RP falls into one of three categories: literate, semi-literate, and illiterate.

Literate RP’s read like novels where each person chips in the part for his/her character. They have accurate grammar and spelling (occasional typos notwithstanding), vivid or at least competent writing, and well-formed action and characters. Minimum post lengths are not uncommon, and one-word responses are anathema. OP’s are frequently quite long, rule lists are specific, and character sheets are fairly involved. This is the sort of quality every roleplayer should strive for.

Semi-literate RP’s are a step down from literate roleplays. Posts are still legible, but they are generally shorter, and one-line responses are often permissible. This is the realm of the competent but still learning roleplayer. Op’s are often brief, but are sufficient to outline their purposes. Character sheets are short but intelligible. Posters tend to go quickly due to thinking less about their posts.

Illiterate RP’s are the slums of RP’ing. Posts are short as a rule, godmodding abounds, and there is no sense to be had. People with any command of their language have no business writing this poorly. Op’s can be as short as one sentence, character sheets may or may not exist, and chaos generally abounds. We want none of this here.

The grammar rules you learned in school apply to any and all RP’s. Nobody cares if you are too lazy to write properly. Nobody wants to sift through horribly-written posts. If English is your second language, just do the best you can, and everyone else will be understanding. Native speakers have little excuse.

Posting with all five senses

The difference between mediocre posts and seriously awesome posts is often descriptiveness. The other players want to be able to see what you see in your head. When you say specifically what your character is doing or you describe something, you add vibrance and atmosphere to your posts, making them more enjoyable to read and write. It's easy enough to say that you walk into a room, but the vivid post gives the reader a feel for what the room is like.
The most important thing to remember is that you have other senses besides sight, and you want to appeal to as many of them as you can, within reason.

Let's take a sample post and see what we can do with it.

Steven entered the restaurant, looking around for his contact. He took a seat and ordered a beverage while he waited. The bartender brought it, and Steven drank, wondering where the contact had gotten to.


So what can you tell from that? Only the bare bones. Pretty lackluster, no? Let's start by adding:


Specificity
Details, details, details. Just don't get bogged down in them. Pick a couple representative important details and give out those. If you play your cards right, the reader can guess the rest. This is a general theme, so keep it in mind as you read the rest of this section.

Action
Don't just give us a general series of events. We want to know what happened and why. Specific actions and dialogue count for this, as does recounting motivations and reasons.

Steven quietly walked into the seedy bar. He peered over the tables and the pool players, looking for his contact, Little Jimmy. He sat down on one of the barstools, under the TV. He ordered a tonic water while he waited, prompting an odd look from the bartender, who brought him the curiously non-alcoholic beverage. Still, so long as Steven paid, the bartender didn't care.
Steven sipped his drink, continuing to wait.


While that's still got its issues, it's better than before. We can tell things about the people involved now, like who Steven might be, where he is, and for whom his contact might be working.

Visuals
What colors are things? What shapes are they? What size? Sight is the easiest sense to appeal to, and it is one of the most important.

Steven quietly walked into the seedy bar. He peered over the wooden tables and the pool players, looking for his contact, Little Jimmy. He sat down on one of the vinyl barstools, under the TV showing the Dodgers game. He ordered a tonic water while he waited, prompting an odd look from the bartender, who brought him the curiously non-alcoholic beverage. Still, so long as Steven paid, the bartender didn't care.
Steven sipped his drink, continuing to wait.


Sounds
Any musician can tell you how important sounds are. Are there birds peacefully chirping overhead? Or eerie, oppressive silence? The welcome cheer of people conversing? Or the screams of dying victims? What is making the sound, and which direction is it coming from? Sound contributes a lot to the mood of a scene. Take the restaurant.

As Steven opened the bar's door, the sounds of the patrons cheering at the sporting event on TV filled his ears.

As Steven opened the bar's door, the room instantly fell silent.

Your impression of the bar completely changed based on the sounds of it, didn't it?

Smells
Nobody uses this one much, which is kind of a shame, because it adds a nice extra touch. You can tell quite a bit about people or places by the way they smell. For instance, say you're talking to a well-dressed NPC. Does he smell of cologne? Then he's probably a responsible person - try to do business with him. Does he smell like he hasn't bathed recently? He's probably a poser - you're being stood up.

Steven quietly walked into the seedy bar. He peered over the wooden tables and the pool players, looking for his contact, Little Jimmy. He sat down on one of the vinyl barstools, under the TV showing the Dodgers game. He ordered a tonic water while he waited, prompting an odd look from the bartender, who brought him the curiously non-alcoholic beverage. Still, so long as Steven paid, the bartender didn't care.
Steven sipped his drink, letting the purer air sitting on top of it clear some of the cigarette smoke from his nose.


Textures
How things feel is another major ambience-creator, especially when dealing with exotic creatures. Are you talking about a slimy fish? Or what about a fluffy cat? How would you feel about either one?

Steven quietly walked into the seedy bar. He peered over the wooden tables and the pool players, looking for his contact, Little Jimmy. He sat down on one of the well-worn vinyl barstools, under the TV showing the Dodgers game. He ordered a tonic water while he waited, prompting an odd look from the bartender, who brought him the curiously non-alcoholic beverage. Still, so long as Steven paid, the bartender didn't care.
Steven sipped his drink, letting the purer air sitting on top of it clear some of the cigarette smoke from his nose.



Tastes
While this is the least important one, it can still contribute, especially when food or drink is involved. If you go into taste, just saying "good" or "bad" doesn't cut it. Tell us if its taste would remind us of something, or whether it's sweet, spicy, sour, or bitter.

Steven quietly walked into the seedy bar. He peered over the wooden tables and the pool players, looking for his contact, Little Jimmy. He sat down on one of the well-worn vinyl barstools, under the TV showing the Dodgers game. He ordered a tonic water while he waited, prompting an odd look from the bartender, who brought him the curiously non-alcoholic beverage. Still, so long as Steven paid, the bartender didn't care.
Steven sipped his drink, letting the purer air sitting on top of its fizzy blandness clear some of the cigarette smoke from his nose.


That's much improved from what we started with, though it could still use some optimization.

Mood
This is more of an overarching quality determined by what details you choose to leave in or out. Giving mostly negative details, or listing all the exceptions to the good details, yields a negative mood. Giving as many positive details as possible and glossing over/qualifying all the negative ones yields a positive tone. You have some degree of control over what the reader thinks about your subject. Use it wisely.

That said, let's finish off our sample post:

Steven quietly walked into the seedy bar. He usually strode in like he owned the place, but this was no place to attract a lot of attention. He peered over the tables and the pool players, looking for his contact, Little Jimmy. Not seeing him yet, he sat down on one of the well-worn vinyl barstools, under the TV showing the Dodgers game. Jimmy wasn't known for punctuality, but his information was often worth the added time. "Tonic water, please," Steven said, flagging down the bartender. The bartender looked at him as though he had a second head - who came to a place like this for tonic water? - then shrugged and filled the order. As long as this guy paid, he didn't care.
Steven raised the glass and sipped his drink, letting the purer air sitting on top of its fizzy blandness clear some of the cigarette smoke from his nose. Where was Jimmy, anyway?

Combat: How it works and strategy

Combat works by stating what attacks you try to do, not stating what you did.

For example: “Gene stabs Bob in the chest.”

This is wrong because it precludes the possibility of Bob dodging or blocking.

Better: “Gene raises the knife and plunges it downwards at Bob’s chest.”
An even better attack would be the above, with the effects of success and/or failure listed: “… If Gene succeeded, Bob would end up with a knife in his kidney. If he failed, Gene would end up very much off-balance.”

Bob’s player might counter with, “Bob grabs Gene’s wrist and stops the blade just before it hits his chest. He tries to twist the knife out of Gene’s hand.” Alternately, he might allow the hit, but somewhere that doesn’t result in the character dying: “Bob attempted to move out of the way, but he wasn’t fast enough. The knife sliced open his shoulder and prompted a cry of pain as Bob retreated into the night.”

Dodges and blocks should be at least as long in writing as the attack, if not twice as long. I don’t see this rule enforced much, but it is common courtesy - nobody wants to play with you if your response to their detailed, half-page attack is “you missed.” Some RP’s have rules governing how many attacks one may dodge in a row. Even if they do not, dodging or blocking everything is bad sportsmanship.

Combat is ultimately governed by reasonability, the necessities of the plot, and player’s honor. If one character violates the bounds of understanding or plays unfairly, other players will not hesitate to call him out in OOC. Doing this repeatedly usually results in being banned from the RP, and the player’s character is often killed IC. Extreme cases may be shunned from RP’s altogether.

Strategy

When designing a character in an RP where fighting will play a part, it is important to build a strategy into your character. My advice for a beginner is to be well-rounded - have at least one long-range weapon or ability, plus something to use at closer range, such as a bow and a sword. You pick off the sentry on a palace wall with the bow, then use the sword for anyone inside.

Alternately, you could go with specialization in one area and let someone else handle the rest. For instance, you could have a dedicated archer with a really nice bow, and find a swordsman to hang out with, or vise versa. It also definitely helps to be familiar with whatever weapon you decide to use. Wikipedia can be invaluable here. I prefer ranged combat, so that I can get in as much damage as possible before my opponent can get close enough to hit back. This usually equates to longswords, archery, or rifles/shotguns (with sidearm). Remember, a real fight is about maximizing your chances to hit the other guy without being hit yourself.

Where available, those with some sort of shapeshifting or conjuring ability can be incredible in a fight. Just don't overuse it so that your character is invincible.

Characters and Joining

Once you have a basic idea of what to do, find an RP that looks interesting and is accepting players. If you’re brand new, it’s best to prove yourself in a semi-lit RP or two to gauge your own skills and get acquainted with the feel of playing. It’s best to look for a thread that’s just starting or is about to start, so you can begin when everyone else does. If you’re not sure if a thread is still accepting players, PM the GM and ask. If he says yes, do whatever he says to do with the entry form - post it in the OOC thread, put it in the main thread, or PM it to the GM.
Characters are normally created by filling out character sheets or refsheets drawn up in advance by the GM. These tend to go something like this:

Name:

Gender:

Age:

Description: 
(what your character looks like)

Obviously, sheets can be vastly different depending on the GM’s preferences and type of RP. A statistic-based combat RP may have fields for statistics, or a superhero RP may have spaces for secret identities, powers, and location of secret lair. A finished sheet may look something like this:

Name: Gene Hartman

Gender: Male

Age: 22

Description: Tall, wears glasses, brown hair. Usually wears a white T-shirt and frequently a brown longcoat. Occasionally a hideous orange and red knit hat makes an appearance. Don't ask him about it, unless you have a few minutes.

History: He's been a scifi geek ever since he saw his first classic Star Trek episode when he was five. He's branched out since then, and he's gone without a whole lot of friends. He does, however, maintain an in-depth scifi science blog. Due to his proximity to the local pub, he knows how to play a couple obscure instruments.
(This sheet was taken and abridged from the deceased “Runeworld” by Zeehero: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.])

These sheets give the other players something to go on, and they let the player controlling the character to get a better idea of who he/she is playing. Additionally, they give the GM an idea of what characters he/she will have to deal with. There are many right ways to do these sheets, and only one or two wrong ways. In general, the idea is to make the character fit the setting, without fitting too well.

Well-prepared characters

Suppose one was creating a character for a competitive wilderness survival RP. Having a character that was a boy scout when he was a kid is a perfectly reasonable thing to do - boy scouts are common, and it can offer an advantage. That fits well. Playing as Bear Grylls or some other expert survivalist would be an example of “fitting too well” (Mary Sue-ism). The character is perfect and is thus disallowed. Everything would be too easy, the other players would not stand a chance, and it would be just plain unrealistic. To paraphrase fellow Sporumer wolfji, “What’s the point of everyone else?” When one character is strong enough to solve a problem on his own, all the other, more reasonable characters become useless at best, baggage at worst.

This applies to all areas of the character. For every few strengths, you need a significant weakness that other players have a hope of exploiting. You also need to scale your character to everyone else’s in all respects. If everyone else has a historically accurate melee weapon and a dagger, that’s the sort of thing you should have. That doesn’t mean that if everyone else has a sword, that’s exactly what you have to have. Hammers, bows, or spears are perfectly legitimate, but your ten-foot anime sword and/or tactical nuclear device has to stay at home. Oversized/overpowered characters are rude when no-one else is using them, as are over-intelligent characters. Oversized and over-intelligent characters… no. Just no.

Less-prepared characters

On the flipside, a clueless tourist would also make a good choice for the above survival RP (though not a tactically advantageous one). That would be because a) it challenges the writer, and b) it adds variety to the cast and challenges the other players. If the tourist learns quickly, he can end up as a potentially very useful character with a lot of depth. Relatively few players make common use of this strategy, and that is a real shame.

For example: Gene, whose sheet is above, is somewhat different example. He is a normal-world character destined for a fantasy setting, but his head rests in science fiction, and he has some social disadvantages, like blurting out things at the wrong moment. In other words, he’s well prepared for precisely the wrong setting. Speaking personally, he was set up for a lot of growth, but the GM left the forum before I could get him to that point. In my opinion, this is possibly one of my better examples of the strategy: he has no setting-specific knowledge, but he is well aware of some of the tropes that both settings share. He just needs to learn to look for rings of power, rather than cloaking devices. In other words, advantageous character in the late game, with plenty of opportunities for character development early on.

Whichever strategy you use, the idea is to not overdo it. This isn’t too hard for well-prepared characters, so long as you use common sense and don’t get carried away. For the less-prepared characters, you just need to make sure you don’t end up being dead weight. If other characters are constantly having to save you after the first couple of scenarios, you’ve gone too far, and you should probably give your character enough of a boost that he can bungle his/her way through the RP without having to bog down everyone else.
There is a characterization strategy for every level of writer/player, and with more intricate characters come greater rewards.

Example: Butch and Caoas, dynamic duo

Caoas is a seven foot tall humanoid raven who roams his world as a bounty hunter. He is identifiable by his black cloak with silver clasp, Zorro-style hat, and crimson orb of death. He also carries a .357 magnum revolver and twin rapiers.

Butch is a four-foot tall, eleven-year-old gecko wearing a plain brown hooded robe, carrying a small dagger and a large book from which he is constantly studying - when he’s not glancing around in fear of rabbits. He is downright cute, especially when he tries to be fierce. His only means of defense involves screaming “Sparkly light bubbles!” which does precisely what one might guess. A bunch of pretty glowing bubbles appear around the intended target and then pop harmlessly. That’s all. Somewhat later on, he learned basic healing and teleportation. He plays sidekick to Caoas, who took a liking to him after they met.

Hows and whys:
Butch was originally going to be my only character in that RP. To say truth, I wasn’t interested in playing a major part, so I made a fun little character I could joke around with. However, he grew on me. His appearance was intended to highlight his helplessness and immaturity. The book was a strategic starting item: it gave me some room whereby I could give him more abilities as appropriate. Eventually, he began to swallow his fear and learn to be awesome, thus evolving and maturing as a character.

Caoas was intended as a main character, but he sort of ended up as the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. He was to be the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] to Butch's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - the awesome factory who pulled up the underling to his level. Caoas was intended as sort of a cross between Mal Reynolds and Han Solo (as are many of my “cool” characters; it would be much later before I saw Gurren Lagann and realized the grouping I'd made). As for combat, I went with the multivector strategy. The orb I made semi-independent, capable of firing a sort of incinerating laser-thing, so it could attack from another angle whilst Caoas himself came from the front. Imagine what that would do to someone wielding a sword - laser from the back, twin swords from the front. He could mill through mooks by the dozen, leaving more time for the more important main characters to get on with the boss fight. Villains better at magic than he were better dealt with by the main crew. Once I put Caoas together with Butch, Caoas got instant transportation to anywhere within fifty leagues or so, plus a field medic. Both got character development opportunity.

Why did I do all that, after talking about overpowering characters? All of the seven crucial characters got a magic sword that could summon an element, so Caoas turned out to be a little bit behind them - they had area effect abilities which were useful against the many large bosses, while Caoas did not. Hence, Caoas was the mook-munching support guy.

How to set up an RP
Now that you’ve played a few games, suppose you want to try your hand at making your own game. You will need 3 things: concept, plot, setting, and endgame. A good set of FYEO (For Your Eyes Only) notes is often extremely useful. I will be using my first Children of Aurnia RP as an example.

Concept

This is what your roleplay will be about. This is the germ of your idea. Make it somewhat specific, but don’t get bogged down in details. It should be a few choice words or one sentence. Try to pick something unique. If you can’t think of something new, try to think of a favorite to which you could add a new twist, or something that’s been tried, but never quite pulled off. 

I picked “A modern fantasy dragon hatchling RP” because it fits the last two reasons. Modern-day dragon RP’s had been tried, but they were lacking in plot. Dragon RP’s were and are common, but limiting the amount of power involved by making all the players hatchlings would add a new element.


Plot

This is your concept, developed into the start of a story. It should be a few sentences to a paragraph long. This will determine many parts of your setting. You should have some specifics by this point, and you should have your main plot devices etched out.
“A wizard seeks to take over the world in the name of magic. To do this, he uses a special dragon (a “queen”) to turn humans into dragons, which he will then train and use as an army.”


Setting:
This is the five W’s (and an H) of a story: Who, what, when, why, where, and how.
Who: Who are the major players? Obviously the members will be all you need, right? That’s what they’re there for. Wrong. To get this, you have to decide a few things: who the players will be roleplaying (Pirates? Ninjas? Robots? Average blokes?), who the antagonist (villain) will be, and who any important supporting cast might be. Recurring or plot-important cast such as mentors, higher-ups, and major henchmen need to be planned ahead. Random shopkeepers or travelers who you may have to use do not; if you know you will need one, make note of it to yourself.

The players would be the transformees. I would play the wizard’s apprentice, who would be the one in charge of training, and I would NPC the dragon queen and the wizard.

What: What will the players be doing?
Breaking out of training to avoid brainwashing, surviving in modern America, then coming back and freeing the queen.

When: When does the action take place? You can be as general as a time period (Medieval, early Industrial Revolution, etc.) or you can give a specific date. 

I picked August of 2012 just to put it in the near future.

Why: Why is the series of events happening? Why are things done a specific way, if you’re doing something unorthodox? If you’re doing something that overturns the normal way of doing things, you’d better give a good reason.
As for why I would use hatchlings, I decided that that would be the only way the transformation could take place. As for why transformed humans would be used, I developed the concept of the dragon queen, who can turn members of other species into dragons in the event of near-extinction. Since the species was all but gone and they could only get their hands on one dragon initially, this was the one to pick.

Where: Where will the RP take place, both specifically and generally? Specific locations would be streets and buildings, or cities, or even mountains. General locations would be like countries or continents.

I chose the fictional city of Jessica, Texas, which is located in a triangle with Dallas and Fort Worth. Within it, the first part would occur in the wizard’s training complex. The next part would take place in the player’s choice of the suburbs, inner city, or rural area.

How: How will the goals be accomplished? This determines roughly what the players will do in order to get their tasks done. Try to make this generally broad, but it’s okay to have some points where there is only one or two possibilities if the plot demands it.
For CoA, this was pretty simple. Get past the security system, evade capture, then come back and fight the wizard.

Endgame

Your success/failure conditions. It is helpful to have these sort for worked out for every plot-important event, even if it’s just deciding that the characters will die. This won’t be immediately useful except to make sure you know what your goals are. It will mostly be useful when you get down into playing.

Escaping facility pass: PC’s are free and now have their choice of environments to survive in. Escape fail: Security gets tighter. Failure a second time will result in brainwashing.
Survival in outside world pass: Players get help before going back to fight the wizard. Survival fail: Death and/or capture.
Ending fight pass: Dragons are free and may now roam the earth as in days of yore. Ending fight fail: PC’s die and the wizard takes over the world. Lots of people die.



Writing the OP

This is where the RP takes shape and starts becoming a work of art. The OP has four parts: the hook, the setup, the rules, the signup sheet, and the title.

Hook

This is the first few sentences/short paragraph of the OP. This is your chance to “reel in” the reader and potential player (hence the name). If your setup is short, you can combine this with the next step. If your setup is going to be particularly long, definitely go for a separate hook. Short but sweet is the name of the game. You should leave a lot of questions unanswered so that the reader will keep reading into the OP to figure out the answers. On the flipside, it shouldn’t be so vague as to make no sense or be a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Hooks should always be miniature stories, be they action sequences or cryptic conversation. Draw on your plot and make a scenario that will acquaint the user with the atmosphere of the RP.

In retrospect, this could have used a few improvements, but it worked at the time:

"Marvelous, isn't she?"

A long-haired old man in a white business suit watched the security camera footage from a screen in his office. His younger counterpart, who looked to be in his early thirties and wore a brown suit, leaned in to look as well.

"Yes sir. I think she's a keeper. A little old, perhaps, but she'll do."

"True, true. You know, we'll need more than one."

The younger man nodded. "I have been wondering about that. But it took us so long to find her; how much longer will it take to find others?"

The older one chuckled. "Patience, Steven. There were others we could have brought in, but this one is special. She can make us as many as we need."

Steven looked back at the screen. It showed an ancient dragoness, tranquilized and sleeping in a cell. He raised an incredulous eyebrow. "Yes, but we may need another dragon for that. Just a thought."

The old one laughed. "Don't worry. That's what's special. I'll explain tomorrow. We'll get the volunteers in, and you'll get to see her in action."



Setup
This is going to be the bulk of the OP. This is the rest of the your setting, and it should establish the basics of the 5 W’s. You don’t have to reveal all of them at this point - in fact, it’s best to leave some to reveal as you play. Just make sure that you give your players enough information that they can start. Now is the place to establish in-world mechanics that don’t qualify as rules. 
Make sure to give your players an idea of what the stakes are.
This part's a bit long, so I'll just >[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]<

Rules

Make sure you’ve got the basics, specify what level of literacy you’re shooting for, and add any other considerations you feel are important enough to go here.

Signup Sheet

This can be as specific or as unspecific as you want. Depending what you’re doing, you may not even need one (although they’re handy to have).

Title
Most people wait to decide this until after they’ve gotten everything else done. It’s a sound strategy because it lets you match your title to the overall mood. However, if you get a good title idea while you’re still in progress, go ahead and write it down. Everybody comes up with things like this at different times.

Once you have all your parts, put them together in order and post your OP. It's a good idea to reserve the second post as well so you can have a list of characters for handy reference.

Tips, tricks, and finer points
Many of these are user-contributed.

Believe it or not, people you've never met will go through and read your RP. This is how I got interested in RP'ing. I read a genetics lab RP on the old NDA forums, and it was like reading a novel. I read the entire 120-something-page game over a couple days, and I knew I wanted to get in on the action. The moral? Make your posts as good as you can. People will see what you write.

Want to be sure to avoid godding in a fight? Roll a die. That's roughly how it's done in person. All you need is a standard d6 or an online die roller. Roll for your opponent. If they roll above a certain number, they hit. If they hit the maximum number, they get a critical success (breaking a piece of equipment, or lacking that, wounding you).* So, if you were fighting someone evenly-matched, they would have to roll higher than a 10 on a d20. Someone more powerful might only have to roll an 8, while someone less powerful might have to roll a 13.

I thought the first four articles on this site were very insightful for a GM: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Speaking of that site, I get a lot of interesting ideas and insights from gaming comics. My favorites are [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], Darths and Droids, and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. D&D has handy annotations below each comic that explains/talks about the gaming aspect that they're joking about and what it means in a larger context. Order of the Stick is interesting in that its writing is way more detailed than one would expect, and the gambits are pretty spectacular. DM of the Rings is finished, and it's all about railroading.

If someone says that there's a piece of backstory their character doesn't know about, it's rude to immediately tell the character IC. I can think of few better ways to kill dramatic tension and fun RP'ing opportunities. The only exception is if you're explicitly asked to reveal it quickly. Otherwise, let the other player work it out on his/her own time.

For information about realistic character actions, see OsakaSun's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. It's a very well-written guide about handling character's emotional and mental states well.

When dealing with a non-fantasy setting and a human character, don't name them something you wouldn't name yourself or your child (if they are not the same gender as you). I've seen plenty of downright stupid character names, many of them from the same person, and it's just plain annoying. Also, remember to add a last name.
If you have trouble with coming up with a good name, then go [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and plug in the correct gender until you find something that fits.

*This works best for d20's, so as to minimize permanent damage to both characters.

Remember that what is most advantageous to you OOC may not be what your character sees as being most advantageous IC. Your character doesn't think the same way you do, because he/she doesn't have the omnipotent perspective of a player. Just remember what you know IC compared to what you know OOC and make your character's judgments from IC knowledge only.


The few instances where it's better to tell then show: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. Also: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]; [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

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QUALITY is better than QUANTITY. It doesn't matter HOW MANY posts or threads you've made, but rather HOW GOOD they are.
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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:29 pm

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Link to guide [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:29 pm

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:29 pm

How to Not Sound Like a Moron: A Guide to Proper Grammar (Read this; it's worth it.) by OsakaSun

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OsakaSun's Guide to Proper Grammar

Yes, hello, welcome to the Roleplaying section. Before you go about spewing your nonsensical error-riddled posts all over the place, I’d like you to read this thread so that Grammar Nazis such as myself can be at peace. I know you have an English or Language Arts class at your school; everybody does, but the fact that you are postng like dis meanz dat nun of it got through your thick skull. My job is to at least get you to a point where people can read your posts without getting headaches or having to ask you what the hell you mean. This is what we are trying to avoid:

Da_StrongWill wrote:
Metallon tOOk his weals and turnded a round. he then began Yeliing. "YO! I CUDDA B33N HURTZED!" then he jumped at harper running running and he walked he then looked at her like she wuz som weirdo.

Reading this thread obviously is not mandatory; I can’t enforce it in any way and it is impossible for me to make you read it unless I know you in real life (if I do, you’re dead meat) so I’m just going to ask nicely. Please, please, please read this and spare us all your illiteracy! I promise I won’t hate you if you do! Plus it’s kinda entertaining… Maybe...? No? Awwwww...

Table of Contents for Those Too Lazy to Read it All-
I. Word Choice
II. Spelling
III. Punctuation

i. Periods, Exclamation Marks, and Question Marks
ii. Commas
iii. Quotation Marks
iv. Apostrophes
v. Colons
vi. Semicolons

IV. Capitalization
V. Sentence Structure

i. The Phrase
ii. Run-On Sentences
VI. The Artistic Side
i. Word Choice Revisited
ii. Flow
iii. Poetic Devices


*Note that this may change depending on content growth.

Section I- Word Choice

This is the first part of my guide not because it is necessarily the most important, but because it’s probably one of the things that irritates me most when people get it wrong. You see, I love the English language to death and butchering or misusing it is like hitting me over the side of the head, stabbing me, and then kicking me in the ribs while I’m down. Let’s throw spitting on me in there as well, why don’t we? And spitting on me. That’s not a good idea, by the way, because I am a girl as well as a unicorn who holds grudges and knows where you live.

People like big words. They make them sound smart even though they aren’t. The thing is that they often misuse them and make themselves sound like idiots instead of geniuses. I personally despise people like this. It makes me want to scream at them, using as many gargantuan words as humanly possible, until they are reduced to a blubbering wreck of lachrymose befuddlement. Oh dear, I’ve gone and gotten carried away… Anyways, this brings me to my first point: Do not, I repeat, do not use a word unless you are entirely sure what it means and how to use it. Even if you do know what it means, that doesn’t mean you’re going to use it properly! Trust me, I’ve seen it before a million times in my school and it makes me want to scream at them, using as many gar—

Perfect. That almost-outburst brings me to my second point: repetition and redundancy. Yes, they belong in this section because they involve choice of words. They’re essentially the same thing, but not really. Repetition is repeating things things and saying the same thing over. Redundancy is, well, there’s a perfect example in the previous sentence! It’s where you say the exact same thing twice, just with different wording. Like this: “Welcome to the Redundant Department of Repeating Things!” That was a sentence fragment, by the way, but we’ll get to those later. Repetition and redundancy can usually be caught and corrected if you just re-read what you’ve just written; it often sounds rather awkward or else just plain wrong. Take this example from a classmate of mine:

Osaka's classmate wrote:
Together combined, we’re smarter than you.

Oh the irony! He made such a fool of himself that morning!

Repetition doesn’t always occur in the same sentence, though; sometimes it happens throughout a block of text. It may not necessarily be wrong, but it makes your writing choppy and lacking in flow. I don’t have an example for this, but if you look in any roleplay you’re likely to find one. People often repeat their character’s name several times in one post even though they’ve already established who it is in one of the first few sentences. It kind of gets annoying, especially when it’s a long post in which every sentence starts ‘(Name) (adverb) (verb)….’

Hell, here’s a random example:

Bob quickly ran to help Jill out. “Are you okay?” Bob shouted, concerned. Bob then tossed a rope down the well so she could climb out.

Just replace those last two ‘Bob’s with the word ‘he’ and you’ll be good to go.

(That’s all for this section at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)

Section II- Spelling

Hoo boy, spelling. I know we’ve all made fun of those leetspeaking newbs who are so used to texting and IMing that they’ve forgotten how to spell, but when do we actually make an effort to help them? We’re so busy laughing that we forget to help them out so that they don’t piss us off again.

There isn’t much I can do to help you with your spelling. Either you’re good at it or you’re not, end of story. What I can do is share with you a *very* few basic spelling rules that you learned in third grade and forgot all about the second you got on the internet and tell you that spell-check is one of the best things that ever happened to this world.

‘I’ before ‘E’ except after ‘C’.

I see this one ignored all the time, unfortunately. I can’t believe it’s that hard. I mean, there are very few words out there with a ‘C’ before the ‘I’ and the ‘E’! PAY EFFIN' ATTENTION AND YOU'LL BE FINE. YAY.

Plurals of words ending in ‘Y’.

This one isn’t too much of a problem, but I decided to bring attention to it anyways. If a word ends in ‘Y’, then the plural form has ‘ies’ at the end, not ‘ys’. It's shinies, not shinys.

There, their, and they’re.

There is like ‘Hey, look over there!’
Their is a possessive. ‘Their numbers are many.’
They’re is describing multiple things. ‘They’re so cute!’

Its and it’s

Surprisingly, its is possessive. I know you may think differently, but I’m always right. Trust me.

Osaka's teacher wrote:
She's always right.

It’s is really just ‘it is’, but for lazy people who don’t feel like using a space and an extra letter. It is not possessive.

Your and you're

Same deal, really.

Your is possessive. Like ‘Hey, isn't that your unicorn?’

You're = You are. ‘You're such a moron.’


Yeah, stuff like that. If you’re absolutely dreadful at spelling, of course, spell-check is amaaaazing! I’m pretty sure Firefox has it automatically, and so do Macs, but you could always just copy-paste your post into Word. Just remember that the red squiggly lines mean you spelled something wrong and the green squiggly lines are lying to you!

(That’s all for this section at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)

Section III- Punctuation

Periods, Exclamation Marks, and Question Marks (.!?)

These are probably the most used (or abused) punctuation marks around. They end your sentences and help keep people from going insane trying to figure out what the hell it is you’re trying to convey to them. I don’t think I need to tell you how to use them (other than saying USE THEM!!!), so I’m going to tell you how NOT to use them.

Overuse

Yes, we all love ellipses (…) for dramatic pauses, but three periods is more than enough! We……. don’t…… want…… you…… going…… like… this…… It’s just plain annoying.

The same goes for exclamation marks (!). You see, putting one at the end of your sentence makes it much more exciting! (See what I mean?) If that’s true, than shouldn’t adding more make it even more exciting? The answer is no. A billion exclamation marks is not going to make people read what you’ve written!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As a matter of fact, I guarantee that it will prevent people from reading it because all those little dots and lines tend to strain the eyes a little bit. The most exclamation marks I use at a time are three. Three exclamation marks is pretty much my way of adding a tiny “HOLY SH*T!!!” at the end of every sentence. As you can see, that has three exclamation marks after it, so it’s like an infinite string of ‘holy sh*t’s. It’s way better than an infinite string of exclamation marks, so yeah. Use three or one. Preferably one. Or maybe two if you want to be speshul.

Question marks (?). We use them when we are asking a question. After all, if you put a period at the end of a question, then won’t people get confused. Putting more question marks at the end of your sentence will not, I repeat(OMG repetition!), will not make people answer your question any faster. In fact, like with exclamation marks, overusing question marks often has an effect opposite to the desired one. So yeah. One will suffice unless…

Exclamation marks and question marks combined (!?). HOLY CRAP, YOU CAN DO THAT?!?! Well yeah, hehehe, see what I did there? You use them together when somebody is *gasp* exclaiming a question! AIN’T THAT JUST THE DARNDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE SEEN?! Like with everything else, you don’t need too many to get your point (teehee, sort of a pun) across to people. Like… six is probably the most you’ll need. Oh, and make sure that every single question you’re asking doesn’t have both of them combined unless you’re a total spaz who likes to yell a lot. Like me….

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)

Commas (,)

Commas are not people who are in a vegetative state; they are a form of punctuation! Unlike periods, exclamation marks, and question marks, they separate sentences into different parts rather than ending them. Independent clauses, dependent clauses, blah blah blah English class, stuff like that. For some people they’re hard to use and for some people they’re hard not to use. I’m sure you can guess which one of those it is for me.

Here’s one of the easiest ways to figure out where to put a comma: Read your post out loud. Wherever you want there to be a pause that isn’t at the end of a sentence, you put either a comma or a semicolon. (We’ll get into semicolons later.) Who the hell cares if it’s wrong? You totally look like you know what you’re doing!

Instead of teaching you exactly how to use commas, I’m just going to write an example block of text with and without them. Trust me, the one with them will be a lot easier to read and understand.

Example One(No Commas):

It was raining but Pablo didn’t care at all. He had all he needed with him inside: a six-pack of Cokes a bag of potato chips his X-Box 360 and of course his gigantic flat screen TV. He was currently playing Call of Duty with his friends none of whom he liked very much and the entire house was filled with his profane screams of displeasure every time he got headshotted in Hardcore Search and Destroy. He would get revenge though because in addition to his junk food and video games he had something else with him in the house. Something he could use to show them all just what it would feel like to get headshotted thirty times in a row by some ten-year-old who thinks they’re cool because they have an M-rated game. Oh yes he’d show them all. A popgun to the head after all is the best form of revenge that anybody could ever design. Ever.

Example Two(Commas):

It was raining, but Pablo didn’t care at all. He had all he needed with him inside: a six-pack of Cokes, a bag of potato chips, his X-Box 360, and, of course, his gigantic flat screen TV. He was currently playing Call of Duty with his friends, none of whom he liked very much, and the entire house was filled with his profane screams of displeasure every time he got headshotted in Hardcore Search and Destroy. He would get revenge, though, because in addition to his junk food and video games, he had something else with him in the house. Something he could use to show them all just what it was like to get headshotted thirty times in a row by some ten-year-old who thinks they’re cool because they have an M-rated game. Oh yes, he’d show them all. A popgun to the head, after all, is the best form of revenge that anybody could ever design. Ever.


So yeah, which one was easier to comprehend? If you said Example One, then your brain needs to be checked. There are quite a few examples of comma use in that short story (based on my brother, by the by!) that are covered in the Sentence Structure section. I’m pretty sure that the only one that isn’t is the series. You know, this: He had all he needed with him inside: a six-pack of Cokes, a bag of potato chips, his X-Box 360, and, of course, his gigantic flat screen TV.

If you have multiple objects in a row, unless you are putting and between all of them (which doesn’t always sound so great), put a comma between them or else I will beat you, skin you, then feed you to the SMs! Well not really, but that would be kinda fun… And by kinda fun, I mean really fun.

Oh, and remember! A hungry panda eats shoots and leaves. A hungry criminal eats, shoots, and leaves.

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)


Quotation Marks (“)

We like quotation marks, don’t we? They’re those thingies that let us talk and save people the trouble of distinguishing what in your post is action and what is dialogue! Posts lacking in quotation marks are so freaking confusing that it isn’t even funny. So yeah. Put ‘em in. Here are a few ways to use them… Sorta.

Normally:
“Oh, hey there!” Gerard called jovially.

With an Interruption:

“Hey, Jenn, come over here,” Tyler said as he patted the chair next to him, “we’ve gotta talk.”
Notice how the ‘w’ in we is not capitalized. This is because it is in the same sentence as ‘Hey, Jenn, come over here’.

Different Kind of Interruption:

“No, you can’t do this, you ca—“
“Yes, I can!” The toddler wailed, cutting his mother off.
See? She got cut off. You can put an ellipses (…) instead of a hyphen/double dash thing.


Thoughts:

These are super confusing if you just put ‘thought’ instead of ‘said’. Always put thoughts in italics (slanty writing). You don’t even need to use quotation marks if you don’t want to.

Instead of:

“Oh no, this seems like a bad idea,” Gary thought to himself.

OR

Oh no, this seems like a bad idea,” Gary thought to himself.

Just Use:

Oh no, this seems like a bad idea, Gary thought to himself.

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)


Apostrophes (‘)

These are not to be confused with quotation marks (“). They serve a completely different function, actually. They help to distinguish between possessives and plurals and to make contractions. Also, some other stuff.

Possessive

You know what possessive nouns are, right? His, hers, mine, yours, its? The thing is that sometimes those guys just don’t cut it and you have to get fancy. How else would you tell people that that bowl belongs to Fluffy without utterly confusing them?

For most that aren’t possessive nouns (see above), you use and apostrophe and then an s.

Gary’s dog.

Gary’s dog’s bowl.

Gary’s dog’s bowl’s contents.

Got it?

For nouns ending in s, following the plural possessive rules will usually do the trick.

Plural Possessives


You never ever want to use an apostrophe in a plural noun unless it’s possessive. Instead of the apostrophe going before the s, it goes after it. Easy enough.

Gary’s (singular!) dogs.

Gary’s dogs’ bowls.

Gary’s dogs’ bowls’ contents.

Gary’s dogs’ bowls’ contents’ ingredients.


Then there are some plurals where you don’t tack on an s, you change the whole dang word. Treat them like singulars when making them possessive. Some examples:

Child -> Children. (Children’s)
Ox -> Oxen. (Oxen’s)
Mouse - > Mice (Mice’s)
Goose -> Geese (Geese’s)
Moose -> Moose (Moose’s) Yes, that is changing the whole dang word so shut up.


Contractions

No, I’m not talking about the pains you get when giving birth or the mathematical way of shrinking an object on a coordinate plane, I’m talking about combined words. You remember those, don’t you? Back in second grade? Wasn’t that awesome? You learned that you could put two words together and make one word that means the same thing! Yay!

aren't = are not
can't = cannot
couldn't = could not
didn't = did not
doesn't = does not
don't = do not
hadn't = had not
hasn't = has not
haven't = have not
he'd = he had; he would
he'll = he will; he shall
he's = he is; he has
I'd = I had; I would
I'll = I will; I shall
I'm = I am
I've = I have
isn't = is not
let's = let us (like suggesting you go somewhere, not demanding freedom)
mightn't = might not
mustn't = must not
shan't = shall not
she'd = she had; she would
she'll = she will; she shall
she's = she is; she has
shouldn't = should not
that's = that is; that has
there's = there is; there has
they'd = they had; they would
they'll = they will; they shall
they're = they are
they've = they have
we'd = we had; we would
we're = we are
we've = we have
weren't = were not
what'll = what will; what shall
what're = what are
what's = what is; what has
what've what have
where's = where is; where has
who's = who had; who would
who'll = who will; who shall
who're = who are
who's = who is; who has
who've = who have
won't = will not
wouldn't = would not
you'd = you had; you would
you'll = you will; you shall
you're = you are
you've = you have

Or you could just use the two words like a sophisticated person. Your call.


Other Stuff


(Not much here at the moment.)

Okay, so you know how when you’re talking sarcastically, but nobody gets you, you draw quotes in the air with your fingers? (If you don’t, then you’re stupid.) You can use those instead of quotation marks in writing so that you don’t confuse people. It’s either that or using italics to place emphasis on said word.
You may see me using them other ways too, but I don’t feel like explaining that.

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)


Colons (Smile

Yes, laugh at the silly word. Colon. *snrk*

Some of you may not be familiar with these things aside from using them to make smiley faces or frowny faces or cat faces or whatever. They’re useful for starting a list: (<- OMG LOOK AT THAT RIGHT THERE)

Example List of Things I Love:
-Apples
-Glass
-Shinies
-Broken stuff
-Clocks
-Paper
-Ice
-Snow
-Rain
-And so on.

You also use colons to start an example, as you probably saw up there right next to where I spazzed out. You know, stuff like ‘This is what he did:’ and ‘He read a poem:’.

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)


Semicolons (Wink

Like with the colons, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only times you’ve ever used them were in a smiley and whenever the magical green squiggly line told you to. They’re very useful; (see?) they let you make your sentences longer without ending them or making them be run-on sentences. A.K.A. Separating independent clauses if you know what those are.

Semicolons are sort of hard to get the hang of using, so I’d just suggest you stick with commas unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re doing. In that case, you can go crazy.

Yeah, I bet you can tell I’m getting lazy. (Which rhymes with crazy! More on rhyming later.)

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)


Parentheses (())

The usual uses of parentheses on the internet:

Smile
Sad
And whatnot
OoC posts
Etc.


Have you ever used them for anything else? In my opinion, putting something in parentheses is (not only fun) but also like putting a little secret in the post! Don’t do it all the time, though; (or else!) it gets annoying. Seriously. You didn’t get the idea of (fun) secrets from me. Got it?

You can also use parentheses for thoughts if you don’t like italics, but people will likely get confused.

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)


The Double Dash (—,or --)

These things are just plain awesome. I love them. Technically, there are no rules for them, but that doesn’t mean you should go about being crazy with ‘em. Generally, I only use them for interrupters in sentences where commas just don’t cut it.

Something like this:

Jazz just couldn’t do it—he hated spiders so much—but he had to for the sake of humanity.

Don’t go asking me how to find it on the keyboard. Word just automatically turns the double dash into this: —. Makes it look better. To use it, either make one in Word by using two hyphens (these things: -) and copy+paste it or just use two hyphens. It only looks a little (lot) sloppy.

Like this:

Jazz just couldn’t do it-- he hated spiders so much-- but he had to for the sake of humanity.

Some of you may actually prefer the double dash to the long dash. Whatever floats your boat.

(That’s all for this subsection at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)
(End of the section as well. Update = Alert.)

Section IV- Capitalization

*deep breath*

All I ask of you are a few things when you capitalize:

1. Always start the first word of a sentence with a capital letter. Always.
2. Always capitalize the letter ‘i’ when it stands alone.
3. Always capitalize proper nouns. (Names, specific places, brands, etc.)
4. Don’t capitalize every word.
5. Don’t capitalize random words to look smart. It’s annoying.


If you can do those five things, then we can avoid posts that look like this:

“i am not afraid!” roland took up his sword and shot lily one final glance before charging the beast. the blade glinted in the dim light as it swung in a wide arc through the air. if his aim was true, he had nothing to fear, but if he should miss… no, he didn’t want to think of that. not right now, not in the heat of the moment.


Or this:

“I AM NOT AFRAID!” ROLAND TOOK UP HIS SWORD AND SHOT LILY ONE FINAL GLANCE BEFORE CHARGING THE BEAST. THE BLADE GLINTED IN THE DIM LIGHT AS IT SWUNG IN A WIDE ARC THROUGH THE AIR. IF HIS AIM WAS TRUE, HE HAD NOTHING TO FEAR, BUT IF HE SHOULD MISS… NO, HE DIDN’T WANT TO THINK OF THAT. NOT RIGHT NOW, NOT IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT.


Or this:

“I Am Not Afraid!” Roland Took Up His Sword And Shot Lily One Final Glance Before Charging The Beast. The Blade Glinted In The Dim Light As It Swung A Wide Arc Through The Air. If His Aim Was True, He Had Nothing To Fear, But If He Should Miss… No, He Didn’t Want To Think Of That. Not Right Now, Not In The Heat Of The Moment.


Or any variation that is not this:

“I am not afraid!” Roland took up his sword and shot Lily one final glance before charging the beast. The blade glinted in the dim light as it swung in a wide arc through the air. If his aim was true, he had nothing to fear, but if he should miss… No, he didn’t want to think of that. Not right now, not in the heat of the moment.


Isn’t that just plain annoying? (The awful ones.) Don’t do it.

Now then...

How do I know whether or not it’s a proper noun?

Nouns, as I hope you all know, are people, places, or things.
The people and places parts are what you usually capitalize. You always, always, always want to capitalize names, cities, countries, states, continents, physical land features (oceans, rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts, etc), brand names, organizations, titles (book/movie/show/game/etc), titles (people), days of the week, months, holidays, and stuff like that.

Examples:
Billy Bob Joe Bob. (Name)
Ocean City, Maryland. (City, state)
Whales. (Country, not the animals)
Antarctica. (Continent)
Arctic Ocean. (Ocean)
Volga River.Let’s go! (River)
Lake Placid. (Lake)
Mount Kilimanjaro. (Mountain)
Kalahari Desert. (Desert)
Great European Plains. (Etc)
Stride. (Brand name)
EA Games. (Organization)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (Book title)
Tremors. (Movie title)
So You Think You Can Dance. (TV show title)
Spore. (Game title.)
How Not to Sound Like a Moron. (Etc title)
King George III. (Person’s title)
Monday. (Day)
December. (Month)
Halloween. (Holiday)
…And stuff like that.

Wait! Some of the words in the titles weren’t capitalized!

Yep. That’s because they’re unimportant. Usually, small words such as the, a, an, of, and, to, in, etc, aren’t capitalized unless they’re the first words in the title.

Abbreviations

Occasionally, you’ll see groups of all-caps letters that may or may not actually spell a word. Those are abbreviations, and they stand for a bunch of words that are usually inconvenient to write out normally.
Some common abbreviations:
P.S.- Post script. Used at the end of a letter when you want to add a little not.
A.M.- Ante meridiem. Meaning before noon. Used to distinguish what time it is.
P.M.- Post meridiem. Meaning after noon. Used to distinguish what time it is.
U.S.A.- United States of America.
BUMP- Bump Up My Post.
OP- Original Poster or something like that. Meaning the person who created the topic. (Alternatively: TC)
PM- Private Message.
(Sometimes, company names are abbreviated too.)

Get it?

(That’s all for this section at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)

Section VI- Sentence Structure

The Phrase

No, don’t worry, in this section I will not be teaching you about clauses and phrases and gerunds and all that crap. I’m just going to—without getting technical—tell you how to generally make sense when you write.

Note: For this section, it is advised that you do not use the grammar check in Microsoft Word because the green squigglies have a tendency to lie to you. Just use your common sense, assuming you have any.

Uh, Sakky? You’re not really making much sense to me right now…

Shut up, liar! My sentence structure is perfect!
Oh, you don’t mean that? I’m confusing you? Right. Well. I’m going to give you a bunch of examples—a self test, if you will—and tell you why they do or do not make sense. And that’ll be pretty much it for this section unless somebody makes a suggestion.

Note: The reasons for them being wrong will be in white beneath each ‘sentence’.

In the jungle. ]Incorrect.]
->See how nothing’s happening in it? That’s because it lacks a subject and a verb. Here’s an example of how you could fix it: In the jungle, a dark force was stirring.<-
We watched TV. ]Correct.]

The firetruck. ]Incorrect.]
->Nothing’s happening in this one either; it doesn’t have a verb or anything. It’s just a noun. Here’s an example of how you can fix it: The firetruck was red.<-
The firetruck in the jungle. ]Incorrect.]
->Like the last one, there’s no verb. It’s just a fancy subject. Here’s an example of how you can fix it: The firetruck in the jungle was red. OR The firetruck is in the jungle.<-
Okay, so do you have the feel of it?
It really shouldn’t be too hard to tell when something isn’t right, because it sounds funky when you read it aloud.

The main thing to follow for this section:
When in doubt, read it out.

(Yes, that’s lame, but it has a tendency to work.)

Note: There are a lot of notes in this section, and there will be one more after this.

Note: Sometimes people use incomplete sentences in dialogue. That’s fine; I doubt you always use complete sentences when you’re talking. Sometimes it’s tedious/annoying/you don’t roll that way. People may also use fragments and phrases in writing for dramatic effect.

Run-On Sentences

Okay, so do you all remember way back in third grade when you were starting to get the gist of grammar and your teacher was teaching you how to write sentences but then you wrote this totally amazing sentence that was, like, absolutely amazing and your teacher wrote a big "RO" next to it in red ink and told you to fix it?

Remember that?

Of course you do, because that question itself was exactly the same thing as your "absolutely amazing" sentence: run-on. I don't blame you at all if you still don't quite get what defines a run-on sentence-- they're rather difficult to understand-- and I'm going to try and aid you in your understanding a little bit.

Let's take a second here and review the different types of sentences because we all know how much fun you had with those in Language Arts:

Simple, Compound, Complex and Compound-Complex.

All of them but Simple sentences make use of either Dependent or Independent Clauses. (Dependent clauses must be paired with an independent clause, which are basically stand-alone sentences.)

A simple sentence is just that: a simple sentence.

A compound sentence makes use of an independent clause so that it is technically two sentences tacked together by a semi-colon.

A complex sentence uses a dependent clause to make it fancier and more specific.

A compound-complex sentence combines both of the previous two.

Examples

Simple: The cat ate the noms.
Compound: The cat ate the noms; they were delicious.
Complex: Because he was hungry, the cat ate the noms.
Compound-Complex: Because he was hungry, the cat ate the noms; they were delicious.

Get it?

Sort of?

No?

Whatever.

Anyways, think of a run-on sentence (see first block of text in this subsection) as a (sometimes really long) compound sentence without any semicolons or commas holding the clauses together. Usually run-ons can be split into at least two smaller, more manageable sentences. Also, people who write run-on sentences often don't punctuate them properly if at all. Just saying.

They are easy enough to fix if you just give them a bit of thought.

(That’s all for this section at the moment. You’ll know if I update it.)

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Last edited by FlowerFox on Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:30 pm

Reserved again, just in case.

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:31 pm

Another reserve. I think I've lagged up this page enough for now. You may post now. (And possibly dismember me for doing this. Razz)

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:08 am

Da_StrongWill wrote:
Metallon tOOk his weals and turnded a round. he then began Yeliing. "YO! I CUDDA B33N HURTZED!" then he jumped at harper running running and he walked he then looked at her like she wuz som weirdo.
Hehehe…
Idiots. I think I've only ever read one of these.
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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:30 am

I'm pretty sure you're the idiot here since you didn't seem to read the context in which that quote was in. Da_StrongWill was one of the better roleplayers on the Sporum, up there with Eochaid, ChaosHarbinger and OsakaSun. It was an example.

Regardless of ultraCRAZY's carelessness, FlowerFox, I am kind of flabbergasted by how you acknowledged Shade's note (not wanting his guide to be reposted without notification), and then PROCEEDING to post the guide anyways. It really isn't that hard to get a hold of him - I could contact him, and I'm well sure Lonestar can too. Despite all that, it's so old I doubt he even cares anymore, but still. It's a simple respect matter that you've breached, and even if me or Lone were to contact him for you now, I would suppose you've lost the privilege to keep it there.

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:40 pm

Shade's Guide has been removed because I should never have put it in here in the first place.

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:16 pm

Lieo, why would you think that Shade would give two shits about someone posting his guide on a website with under ten active members? I admit that flox should have listened to it, but why do you have to make such a big deal about it?

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:49 pm

I'm equally curious as to why people are just now noticing my post from three days ago.

It's a basic common courtesy deal, Maxx. If there's something, a sign, that says "hey bro, don't post without my permission", they likely didn't want you to repost it initially. Would Shade care now? I don't have a clue. But the facts are this: there's something that says "don't do it", someone saw the sign that said "don't do it", they pointed out the "don't do it" sign to their friends, and then they did it anyways.

Perhaps I should run the stop sign because apparently rules and signs are meant to be broken, right? And I imagine you wouldn't care if I swore, right?

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PostSubject: Re: A Collection of RP Guides from the Sporum   Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:59 pm

Hello there everyone.

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13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622 13111414 221007 182007211106071622
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