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 A Guide to Quality Roleplaying

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ViperaUnion
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PostSubject: A Guide to Quality Roleplaying   Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:16 pm

Although it seems easy, Roleplaying is probably one of the most complex forms of online interaction. Unlike TV and video games, which have solid plots that cannot be changed, only followed, the plot of a roleplay is almost always affected by your actions. As a result, it can be easy to do things that send the plot in a direction you want it to go. However, unlike solo authors, who have complete freedom to control the story, Roleplaying requires you to work with others. As a result, you must roleplay in such a way that you have fun, yet don’t anger or offend anyone else.

This guide serves the purpose of teaching the do’s and don’ts of roleplaying. Although it is not required to read it, it is highly recommended that you do. If you do not meet the standards of the roleplays you partake in, it can result in raging, or even worse forms of punishment.


This guide is inspired by Echoaid and Osaka's Roleplaying Guide's on the Sporum.

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PostSubject: Re: A Guide to Quality Roleplaying   Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:17 pm

General Information

In Roleplaying, there are several things that are incredibly obvious. However, there are some things that you might know, but not fully understand. If you don't understand something, this probably has something to deal with Roleplaying terms and definitions. I'll start with who's who first.

The Gamemaster (GM)

The Gamemaster, or GM, for short, is whoever runs the roleplay. They are the people who came up with the idea, and are the ones who create the setting and main plot. As a result, they control a large amount of the roleplay's universe, plot, and the main villain. They write the rules, and are the main authority of a roleplay. They can easily be identified, as they are traditionally the creators of the thread the roleplay is housed in. Although not necessary, GMs may appoint certain trusted individuals to become Mods, or Moderators. In this way, they have someone to look after the story while they are not present.

Anybody that creates a roleplay is it's GM. However, it is not always easy to become a GM yourself. As you are in charge of the main plot of the story, as well as enforcing rules, it is your job to make sure order is maintained in the thread. Few roleplays can survive without some form of authority to govern them.

Another note that will be mentioned, is that you should not become a GM if you have just began roleplaying. GMs are traditionally experienced roleplayers who know what they're doing. If you are an authority figure who is not as good at roleplaying as the people you are maintaining, it is unlikely that they will remain in your story, as you may choose to do something they don't approve of, but can't speak against because they are not of high enough authority.

In a nutshell, GMs have a lot of responsibility and standards to meet.

Moderators (Mods)

Mods, or Moderators, are authority figures appointed to govern roleplays by their GMs. Although not all RPs have them, they are often seen in roleplays with a large number of members. Like the GM, Moderators maintain order in the RP. They also act as advisors at times, consulting with the GM to confirm plot lines, occurrences in the story, and sometimes, if members are not doing as they are told, punishments.

Moderators also often gain privileges, sometimes consisting of spoilers, or special abilities for their characters. Although not as powerful as the GMs themselves, Moderators are not to be taken lightly, and should be respected.

Members

Members are the main group in an RP. If you are not a Moderator or a GM, and you have joined an RP, then you are a Member. Members are responsible for making sure that they follow all the rules and standards of roleplaying, as set by the GM or Moderators. As a Member, you are also responsible for being courteous and respectful to others. If you are new to RPing, expect those with more experience to give you criticism. However, do not think they are picking at you. They are actually trying to be helpful (No matter how annoying it might be), so please try to listen to what they have to offer.

Rules, Etiquette, and Definitions

In Roleplaying, there are several things you need to know. Rules and Etiquette are some of the most important factors of RPing, and an RP cannot succeed without them. Much of this will be mentioned in an RP's rules.

Godmodding- Godmodding is often a term that is mentioned to be against the rules in an RP, and refers to any form of abuse of power in an RP. Godmodding may apply to anything from an OP (Over-powered) character, to 'teleporting' your character into a place where they are not wanted. It also applies especially to fight scenes, where characters and the plot may be at risk. Be aware that if you are new, you are likely to Godmod. However, if someone gets onto you, do not protest them, but kindly change your post so it is not breaking the rules. With experience, it can be avoided, and will improve your RPing experience.

Autoing- Autoing is a form of Godmodding that involves any character making an attack that is stated to hit without the consent of the opponent's controller. It is not only damaging to the opponent's character, but incredibly rude and selfish. In order to avoid this, post in such a way that the character attacks, but do not state that it hits. This allows the opponents controller to decide whether their character dodges (Please note that to dodge every attack is also unfair), or whether it hits, and if so, how severe the inflicted wound is.

Metagaming- Among the most difficult forms of godmodding to avoid, Metagaming is very easy to do. This term refers to use of out of character (OOC) knowledge in the IC. This also applies to characters knowing things that were not revealed to them. For example, a hunter has set a trap for the monster, and it has been mentioned in both the IC and the OOC. The person who controls the monster knows this, but as his character is currently several miles away, it has no way of knowing this. It would be incredibly rude to say the monster knew a trap had been set for it several miles ahead, and went the other way when the hunter's controller had likely done much planning for it. It is possible that the monster sensed the trap moments before it was sprung, but this would require permission, most likely. It is not polite to Metagame, and it is easy to anger someone by doing it. Here is an Example:

"Rogue looked exactly like a hybrid in the suit, or so she hoped she did. She had to if her plan was to work. Her telescopic eyes gave a quick glance around the room, before the scales changed, blending in with the environment. Rogue crept along the walls in the hallway until she was outside. Her skin changed color quickly enough that nothing could see her as she moved. It was like an incredibly deadly chameleon. You couldn't see her or hear her."

Now, the suit was incredibly realistic, now see what happens as she tries to get into the cave the Hybrids are based in. It happened just as her plan was about to succeed:

""Hm hm hm..." came a voice from a particularly dark cavern. It seemed humorous, and was chuckling at something. At what, however, was unknown. "I prefer to no let myself be seen when guarding the colony. Not even other gaurds notice me..." At tr end of the voice's sentence, two ominous yellow eyes illuminated from the dark, and a large body uncoiled itself. "But let me ask..." A threatening crocodilian hiss sounded out. "How can we trust you, Cymech!" Not a second after Ambon launched himself out of the darkness. His body landing is a form of graceful rage. "How do we know you won't turn on us? How do we know you won't tell the unalloyed about our position? How do I know I shouldn't crush your robot skull right now?" Ambin hissed. He also snapped his jaws to show how powerful thy really were. There was no doubt it could crush a car. A cymech neck or head would last about as long as the car itself."

Now, not only was this a case of Metagaming, but Godmodding, as well. This is because, not only did Ambon know Rogue was a cymech, but he also 'teleported' to the scene, where he was not wanted, for a surprise entrance. Just a note, I was the person controlling Rogue, and in the next post, I really chewed Ambon's controller out for his surprise entrance, and derailing my plot line (I was the GM, too). Also, in addition, Ambon was a 30 foot long crocodile-thing, so he should have been very easy to notice in the first place.

Long story short, don't Metagame, because it is not only selfish, but it can also hurt people's feelings, and make them angry with you.

Unauthorized Plot Twists- Okay, how many times has there been a moment in a book you didn't expect, and didn't exactly like? This is pretty similar to the feeling someone gets when there is an unauthorized plot twist. As an RPer, you are not a solo writer, and unless you are the GM, you cannot change the main plot. An unauthorized plot twist is something that completely derails the main storyline, and angers many people. Unauthorized plot twists also consist of anything that suddenly happens or a character does that is completely out-of-sync with everyone else. Here is an example of an unauthorized plot twist. It was taken from the same RP as the example for Metagaming, and happened moments after I got onto the character's controller for godmodding.

"Ambon roared again in rage, and slammed his tail into a tree. Not only was it broken, but it was uprooted. His eyes dilated to the point of which they were barley visible slits, and he grabbed the tree in his jaws. He lifted the base of it, and swung it around, and let go. The tree flew into the lake, dangerously close to Brinetooth. Not that Ambon knew that. He unsheathed his claws and began ripping through trees, shrubs, bears, deer, anything that was unfortunate enough to be in the way. Ambon didn't care."

Now, believe me when I say that this was completely uncalled for, and somewhat childish. This is because, instead of politely changing his post when I got onto him for Godmodding, Ambon's controller got mad and decided to argue with me. This argument kind of trailed over to the IC, where Ambon started to rampage across the jungle, and perform displays of power that were completely irrational. It also endangered many characters, and and made almost everyone else furious.

Please do not perform unauthorized plot twists, and if you do, and someone gets onto you, do not argue, but politely change the post so it does not Godmod. Arguing will quickly result in punishment.\

Spotlighting- Now, have you ever heard of those stories about the sidekicks of some hero that felt like they weren't getting enough credit for what they contributed? That is what happens when someone is spotlighting, or hogging all the attention for himself. Spotlighting is impossible to avoid, and everyone has done it at some point. It is important that you avoid it, however, and share the spotlight instead of spending all your time glorifying your own character. It is incredibly inconsiderate to do this, and nobody is having fun but you. Just try to avoid it.

Flaming- Flaming is being a rude jerk to anyone in OOC or IC without reason. It is unkind, unfriendly, and incredibly stressful for anyone involved. Please note that, if you are flaming a thread, and there is no reason for an argument to have started, you will be punished.

Plagiarism- How many times have you gone to a school somewhere and heard of this term? I hope you have, because any school that does not say Plagiarism is forbidden is not a good school to go to. Plagiarism is stealing someone elses' work and passing it off as your own. You cannot do this, it is not just rude, but is illegal in regards to certain works of literature. Plagiarism is also the act in which you copy someone's words, and change them to sound like your own as well. Do not do this. Ever.

Bumping- Bumping is just what it sounds like: Bumping up a thread to the top of page 1. Bumping is usually permitted if you are trying to keep something on page 1, but it is also irritating, as bumps usually wind up as double-posting, and often have no substance regarding the RP. If an RP has not received any replies in a long time, and you keep bumping it, without anyone else saying anything, then the RP is likely dead. Bumping a thread that is super-old, and has been abandoned by everyone in it is considered Necroing (Reviving a dead thread). If it has been abandoned, the thread is dead. RPers will not come back to it, and there is no reason to be on the first page. You may PM the owner and ask to take it over, or maybe start something similar. Although usually permitted, don't overdo it. Bumping once a day is probably fine, but don't do it every few seconds, because that's kind of disruptive.

Moviescript Format- Have you ever been a play, or read one, like Romeo and Juliet? If so, you have probably noticed that it is written with nothing but dialogues, like this:

Sam: (Walks up to Meghan) Hi, Meghan!

Meghan: Hi, Sam!

Now, that was just a tiny example I just came up with, because I didn't want to steal from Romeo and Juliet (Though I was tempted to). Do not write in Moviescript, because it is incredibly annoying, and in some people's case, an eyesore. RP posts should be long, at least a paragraph, and written like a novel. The only place that might accept this format is an illiterate RP, which I really hope that you wouldn't join in the first place.

Stats- Stats are putting numbers on things, like Dungeons and Dragons. This would be sort of like giving your character 100 HP (Health Points), or 20 PP (Power Points). Some of these RP's have stats, but if you make a character in them, do not give your character a million points or something ridiculous like that. If the RP doesn't have stats, don't go crazy because there aren't any numbers. Stat RP's are based on numbers, while others are based on your honor as a RPer.

Advertising- Advertising is trying to promote a product that must be purchased to obtain. It is also something such as advertising another thread or RP in someone elses'. Do not do it, because it is inconsiderate, and even worse, it can also be spam. The only case when it is not forbidden is if you happen to be sponsored by that group, in which case sponsors can be free to talk about each other. Chances are if you made an RP and not a lot of people have joined in awhile, nobody else is interested. Don't be a nuisance, because people will get onto you.

Fourth Wall- The Fourth wall is the invisible boundary that separates reality from the story in the RP. A character that decides to address the reader is considered to be 'breaking the fourth wall." This is irritating, and nobody likes it, so people prefer that you keep the wall solid and unbroken.

Powerplaying- Powerplaying is taking control of another person's character. It is not always restricted to just someone elses' PC, but can also refer to taking control of an NPC someone else is already controlling. It may or may not involve fights, and is most prominent when someone powerplaying makes another person say or do something that is out of synch with their personality (Really, you shouldn't do it, period). Here is an example of Powerplaying:

"excuse me, I hate to interrupt this touching reunion, but might I join you? We have some things to talk about".
A very nervous young man who seemed to be covered in scales appeared in front of them.
"Hello, my name is Hamilton".


Now, this obviously isn't the entire post, because there was a bit of profanity in it (Which I had to keep getting onto the guy for it because he wouldn't stop). You see, Hamilton was a NPC I was controlling, and the person controlling the other two characters, who had just met after a long time, decided to take control of him. I had to get onto him because Hamilton was a very nervous personality, and he didn't remove Hamilton talking. Believe it or not, that wasn't the worst powerplaying post he made, but he got rid of that one.

Literacy

Literacy is the term used to describe the quality of an RP, and RP's are grouped into three sections of literacy: Literate, Semi-Literate, and Illiterate.

Literate- Literate RP's are the highest quality RPs, reading like novels, where each Member contributes parts from their character's point of view. The have good grammar and spelling (Although a few typos may occur), vivid descriptions, realistic personalities, and well-formed actions. It is not uncommon for these to have minimum post lengths, such as three sentences, and one-liners are taboo. The Opening post is large, and rules are specific. Character sheets are often involved. Everyone should strive to be in this category. Here is an example of a literate RP sheet.

Name: Brinetooth
Gender: Female

Appearance: Brinetooth’s entire body from head to tail is about 46 ft. long, a size accumulated by abyssal gigantism from a Colossal Squid. Her body is a deep, near-black red, with slightly paler red on the tips of her appendages. Her mouth is like a Lamprey’s, but the teeth are like a White-Tipped Shark. Her mouth is surrounded by eight Vampire Octopus tentacles with black webbing that goes almost to the tips. The tentacles are each tipped by blue bioluminescent lures, and in addition to suction cups, they have two rows of spikes lining each tentacle. A large Narwhal tooth protrudes from her upper jaw, and the tip is always visible, even when the tentacles are closed. The two longer feeding tentacles of a squid extend from the corners of her mouth, separate from the webbing of her shorter eight tentacles. She has gigantic red eyes, with rectangular pupils ringed by gold. Closer to her mouth, above her head, are two black nostrils, not much unlike that of a Star-nosed Mole. Brinetooth’s entire body is like a combination of the form of a Bearded Fire worm and a Colossal Squid. It is largest near her head, and gradually gets smaller until it reaches her tail, where a large triangular fin marks the end of her body. The top of her body is armored like a Fire Worm, and her stomach is lined with red bristle-like legs tipped with feathery fans. She swims like a Narwhal or crawls like a Fire Worm.

Personality: Brinetooth doesn’t really have much of a personality that she knows of. She mainly cruises about in the deeper parts of the Pacific, near what was once Washington State. She looks for food, fights off predators (Not that there’s anything that could really kill her down there), and survives. She is very much used to cold water, and swims almost gracefully through the undersea currents. Deep down where she lives, no other hybrid or daylight creature can be found. However, she sometimes surfaces to caress the sweet smell of dry air, something that she can only do because of her mole DNA. She still requires a certain amount of humidity on land to survive, but it is not impossible for her, however, she would much rather swim…

Bio: Brinetooth is descended from the life-forms that fell into the ocean when the meteor crashed. Most of them drowned, but a small breed of them survived, and gradually, their kind withdrew deeper into the ocean…

Abilities: Brinetooth has a nasty bite, and can burrow much like a worm into hard rock and dirt. She can survive deep underwater where humans require machines with cameras to go. Her eyes should have been very powerful, but she was reduced to only detecting light, not specific shapes and figures. Thus, she is nearly blind like a mole. In place of her sight, her sense of smell and ability to detect vibrations allows her to hear and sense her surroundings. She can tell where things are because she either smelled them or picked up vibrations. This almost completely eliminates the trouble caused by blindness. Her legs and teeth are coated in a neurotoxin that causes irritation and pain to the afflicted area. Her toxin may also cause dizziness and nausea. She is very resistant to the cold and intense pressure. She can breathe both in water and on land. However, on land she requires moisture to survive, much like an amphibian, and is very slow and sluggish unless she is in a burrow. Her blue lures can attract prey and serve as light to others. Her tentacles can all ensnare and hurt prey. Her horn can spear an opponent easily. Her shell is hard, like crustaceans, and thus prevents the painful scratching that is common among cephalopods. She can latch on to opponents and suck their blood easily, and is, thus, capable of parasitic acts. However, this is rarely used, as she is too large to make good use of it. She is a good tracker, on both land and water.
Animals: Vampire Octopus, Lamprey, Narwhal, Colossal Squid, Bearded Fire Worm, White-Tipped Shark, Star-Nosed Mole
Other: Chimera


Now, although very large and having many abilities, Brinetooth is actually a very balanced character. She is actually only a real threat in the water, and like most RPs, the story takes place on land. Her real skills lie in tracking prey, and she is also mostly blind. A large character is not always godmoddy, so long as it is well-balanced. Another note is that Brinetooth cannot speak, and is hard to understand. Therefore, she is a good character.

Semi-literate- Semi-literate RP's are not as good as literate Roleplays. Although grammar and spelling are traditionally good, posts are usually shorter, and one-liners are often permitted. This is a good place to start if you are a beginner, and aren't quite ready to join a literate RP. The OP's are shorter, and usually character sheets are smaller, yet serve their purpose. These RP's move faster, as people think less about their posts.

Illiterate- The disgrace of all RP forums, Illiterate RP's are the lowest quality of any RP. Posts are short, traditionally one-liners, and stats, moviescript, and any other form of writing that is not allowed in the higher RP's can sometimes be found here. Godmodding, metagaming, powerplaying, and anything else that isn't usually allowed can be found here. The Opening Post can be as short as one sentence, and character sheets are incredibly short and uninformative, if they are present at all. They may or may not have separate IC's and OOC's. Grammar and spelling has no place here, and there is no reason, either. Chaos reigns here, and it is easy to have people kill your character without you permitting them to. There is absolutely no excuse for writing this poorly, or even being here. We want no part of this kind of RPing. If these kind of RPs come to exist, they will not survive. Here is an example of a character sheet from an illiterate RP:

Name:Australis
Size:72 feet
wieght:11 tons
IQ:105
Bio:A creature capable of surviving in the vacuum of space. Failure to develop a suitable skin resulted in its exposed musculature. However, its self-healing properties and ferocious disposition make it a formidable foe to any that cross its path. Equipped with an electricity-generating organ, the creature releases shock blasts.
Pic: (This was too big for me to put in the guide, but it looked like a T-Rex with no skin)


Now, just a note, the creatures in this RP were supposed to be unintelligent, but even this rule has been broken, as the average human IQ is regarded as intelligent, and is between 70 and 130. This character has moderate intelligence, like a normal person. In addition, it can survive in the vacuum of space, has healing powers, and has the ability to discharge electricity. But that's not the end of it! In addition, it's enormous, rivaling several larger whales in size, and weighs 11 tons. It screams OP, and the fact that it got into any RP at all makes me shudder at the thought.

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PostSubject: Re: A Guide to Quality Roleplaying   Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:17 pm

Character Realism

Believe it or not, character realism is actually very hard to succeed in. It requires great writing skill to make a good character. In most RP's, you are required to fill in a character sheet in order to make a character to play as. As a result, we start with the basic character sheet:

Name:
Gender:
Age:
Appearance:
Personality:
Bio:
Other:

Now, not all character sheets look like this, but many will ask for a character's name, Gender, Age, Appearance, Personality, and sometimes a Biography of that character's history. The Other section of the sheet may or may not be there, but I will get to that last.

Names- Names are very important in RPs, and it is a very tough decision when picking a name for your character. It can be anything, but don't make it too strange. Unless you are not from Earth in an RP, and are from another planet or are a mystical creature, do not give your character a weird name. Strange names that are hard to pronounce are annoying, and we'd prefer a nice name. So if you make a human character, don't give him a name like Zornoc the Third, because that makes no sense. If it were an alien, Zornoc would be fine. Just saying, think long and hard when you name a character.

Age- Age affects more than you think it does. For example, if you make a kid, then they are more likely to be agile and fast, but are restricted by age limits and laws. A kid cannot drink alcohol (Although I wouldn't support it in an RP, regardless of age), and cannot be out in public without a legal guardian. If you make an adult, then they are not restricted by curfews and certain laws, but are not as agile as children. They may, however, be physically stronger. If you make an elder, then hey are not at all agile or strong, however, they are traditionally wise and intelligent. Age will traditionally affect a character both physically and mentally.

Appearance- Appearance will have a lot to do with your character, and should never be just restricted to hair and eye color. If it is, it will likely be rejected for being too vague. You must describe the appearance of a character in detail, from general appearance to clothing, and don't stop there. Describe their traditional facial expression and the way they carry themselves. The longer the description, the better.

Personality- Personalities define your character, and are among the most difficult aspects of them to nail. This is because this is their very essence, and to neglect the importance of a personality is to ruin your character as a whole. When making characters, there are several groups they may fall into, which I will describe in-depth later.

Biography- Biographies are the history of a character. Although not all character sheets will have them, some do, and in this case, you must give your character a history. When doing this, make sure that as you write it it fits your character. For instance, if your character is peaceful, do not give him a violent past. There is a lot of thought that should be put into this, and that is all I can say.

Other- The Other section of a sheet is specifically for a special trick that GM's will use to check and see if you read their rules. Traditionally, the last rule will tell you to put something in the Other section of the sheet. If you do not, then they will assume you did not read the rules and will not accept your sheet.

Character Personalities

Character personalities have the tendency to become incredibly unrealistic, so I am going to break down what makes up a realistic personality for you.

Mental Illnesses

People often give their characters flaws in RP's in order to avoid creating a 'Mary Sue', or 'Gary Sue', which is a fancy term for characters that are so perfect that they are unrealistic. When people think of personality flaws, the first thing that comes to mind is a mental illness. A lot of people who are inexperienced and do not know anything about mental illnesses tend to create mentally ill characters, in hopes that they will not have characters without flaws. However, in this way, they know so little about the illness of their characters that they portray them inaccurately. Therefore, I will go in-depth on several illnesses and disabilities that people tend to give their characters. Because if you are not accurate, do not forget that RPing is online, and you do not know the mental state of the other people present. Be careful, or you could seriously offend someone.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is often mistaken for MPD, or Multiple Personality Disorder, and is a commonly chosen disorder for people to use. However, due to the MPD mix up, it is probably one of the most poorly portrayed of any illness.

Schozophrenia is a mental disorder, characterized by a mental breakdown of thought processes, and poor emotional response. It often manifests as auditory hallucinations (Such as hearing voices), Bizarre or paranoid delusions, and disorganized speech patterns. It often forms in early adulthood, and can develop via Genetically, Neurologically, or even due to childhood experiences. It is not "Split Personalities", but "Split Mental Functions."

Schozophrenia patients also tend to have additional mental conditions, such as severe depression, and anxiety disorders. The average expected lifespan of people with this disorder tend to be between 12 and 15 years less than normal people, due to incredible stress causing health problems, and a higher suicide rate. People with Schozophrenia also tend to cause social problems, such as unemployment, and poverty and homelessness.

This illness can cause patients to lose their train of thought, and sometimes speak sentences with little sense or meaning, sometimes called 'word salad' if a severe case. Sometimes it may cause social withdrawal, and neglect of personal hygiene and neatness. They may also become unresponsive, and have issues with long-term memory. A small subtype can become largely mute, becoming frozen in unusual positions, and experience purposeless agitation. These are all signs of Catatonia.

In conclusion, Schozophrenia is not a disorder that can be used to have your character babble comical phrases. It is a mentally crippling disorder that makes the patient's life miserable. It is not to be taken lightly, and is a serious disorder that people actually have. So be kind and be realistic about this disorder. If you wanted your character to babble in a comical way, do not use Schozophrenia as an excuse for your lack of respect for people that have it.

Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)/ Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Multiple Personality Disorder is often mistaken for Schozophrenia, although they are completely separate disorders. MPD is a mental disorder characterized by someone having at least two distinct individual personalities. It is also responsible for a memory impairment for important information not explained for normal forgetfulness. It is not linked to substance abuse, seizures, or fantasy behavior in children. It is also most common in North America, and is 5 to 9 times more common in females than males. Another noteworthy fact is that MPD is actually quite rare in children, so it is not likely to see young people with it.

MPD patients may also have issues with depersonalization, derealization, and disturbances to memory, and identity confusion. If you do not believe you understand it completely, then do not make an MPD character.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a developmental disorder characterized by hyperactivity, as well as several additional problems. Symptoms begin before seven years of age. It is also the most commonly diagnosed and studied disorder in children. 30 to 50 of people diagnosed with it carry symptoms into adulthood. However, they often develop coping mechanisms for this disorder. It is also divided into three categories, which are described in detail by these lists from Wikipedia:


Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
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 or 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.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms may include:

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.

and also these manifestations primarily of impulsivity:

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

Most people exhibit some of these behaviors, but not to the degree where such behaviors significantly interfere with a person's work, relationships, or studies—and in the absence of significant interference or impairment, a diagnosis of ADHD is normally not appropriate. The core impairments are consistent even in different cultural contexts.

In short, make sure you study this before making an ADHD character.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, is considered to be a sub-type of ADHD. Like it's counterpart, people with ADD have trouble focusing on things, become distracted easily, are disorganized, procrastinate, and have the tendency to forget things. However, what defines ADD is that it is characterized by a lack of hyperactivity and impulsiveness that is normally seen in ADHD. Those diagnosed with it have a tendency to develop a sense of fear regarding organized or planned work. They also have difficulty with group projects, or long ones that require focus for an extended period. They may have trouble finishing projects they started. People may make incorrect assumptions of the mannerisms of those with the disorder, often responding frequently with negative feedback. People with ADD may be wrongly seen as lazy, irresponsible, immature, or as simply not trying. This negativity causes those with ADD to see themselves as different from others, and to develop a negative self-image, and low self-esteem. This can lead to many problems later in life, if they are not diagnosed.

Autism

Right now, you are probably wondering why I put Autism in a larger format than the other mental disorders. The explanation is actually quite simple: There are more than one forms of Autism. That's right, there are actually multiple forms of this pervasive developmental disorder. This is not all that most people tend to overlook. Autism is not, in fact, something that makes all people diagnosed unintelligent. It is an entire spectrum, ranging from low-functioning to high-functioning. All forms of Autism are characterized by social issues, communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors, and in some cases, cognitive delays.

Traditional Autism

Traditional Autism is just as it sounds, and is probably what you have in mind when you think of Autism. It is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication. It affects information processing in the brain. It is one of three recognized disorders in the Autism Spectrum, the other two being Asperger Syndrome and developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, which is diagnosed to those who do not meet the criteria for Aspergers or Autism.

Autism is believed to be caused by genetics, which result from rare mutations, or rare combinations in common genetic variants. In rare cases, it is associated with agents that cause birth defects. It is also believed to have been caused by other factors, such as heavy metals, childhood vaccines, and pesticides. Although some children develop normally at first, some may regress later. Most signs are noticed by parents in the first two years of life. Few autistic people live independently, although some are successful.

Autistic people differ from social norms, not taking as many turns, not making eye contact as often, and often cannot use simple movements to express themselves, such as pointing at things. They do not act like normal children, who approach people spontaneously, imitate and respond to emotions, communicate via body language, and take turns with others. However, they are known to form attachments to their caregivers, although they display less attachment security compared to normal people.

Despite common belief that they prefer to be alone, Autistic people are known to feel more intense loneliness more frequently than normal people, as making friends is incredibly difficult. Autistic children often do not care how many friends they have, but rather about the quality of the friendships they maintain. The quality of their friendships (If they are functional or not) May affect how lonely they feel, and friendships that result in things such as being invited to celebrations can affect life more deeply.

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome is something you don't see in a lot of RP characters. This is because, unlike Traditional Autism, most people with Aspergers display an above-average IQ. Now, just because I want to explain as much about this as possible, and not have people making fun of it, I have this form of Autism. Okay, now that the secret is out, let me explain about this, and how you may mess up should you portray it.

First of all, like all forms of autism, Aspergers is characterized by severe difficulties involving social interaction, as well as patterned behaviors and interests. However, what sets it apart from normal autism is that there is often preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. We are quick to learn language without significant delay, and traditionally do better at it than most people. However, we often take things, such as jokes literally, and often cannot detect sarcasm. We also tend to develop unusual speech patterns, sometimes speaking in a formal way. We may also exhibit Echolalia, or the repetition of vocalizations, meaning that if we hear something, we may repeat it in the exact way it was said, even copying the tone and dialect.

However, when speaking, we are often incoherent, our conversations consisting of long monologues that are boring, and don't allow the people we are talking to to speak. We also tend to make it impossible to shift to other topics, and therefore are not fun to talk to. We also have little understanding of humor, and have little understanding of jokes, however, humor is not impossible.

We also have a lack of empathy that is the most dysfunctional quality of the syndrome. We do not usually have basic social skills, and have difficulty forming friendships, sharing success, and being socially or emotionally capable of reciprocity. We also have difficulty with physical interaction, such as body language, posture, eye contact, and facial expressions. We may approach people, though, even though awkwardly. Sometimes, we will perform selective mutism, talking only to people we trust.

Sometimes, we are able to see emotions in a theoretical sense, although we are unable to act upon this knowledge most of the time. We may create our own social guidelines, such as forcing ourselves to look someone in the eye, which may come of as awkward, rigid, and sometimes naive. Childhood desire for companionship can become numbed due to a history of failed social encounters. We are often the targets of bullying, and fail to understand most of the time what has been done wrong, although we do, in fact, seek to be social most of the time. We are often better with people who are older or younger than our age group, and often display advanced abilities in language, reading, math, science, spatial skills, and sometimes music. This may be counterbalanced, however, by other issues, such as the problems that may be created between An Asperger person and their teachers or peers. Low tolerance for things such as homework (Which we tend to see as ordinary and mundane), is frustrating, and can cause people to see us as arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate.

We may also have trouble hiding our true thoughts, but are unable to express our emotions, leading sometimes to sudden affective outbursts of crying or rage. Some may perform physical acts to exert emotional energy. We may also feel detached against our will from the world (The outside looking in). In addition to also having trouble finding someone to marry and start a family (If we want one), Autism is more common in males than females. It is also noted that females tend to be less likely to marry and start families, and often do not have specialized stores of knowledge in one place (Although there are so few of us, it is inconclusive).

The final noteworthy thing I should mention, is that sometimes Autistic people are capable of being very good with animals. This is because we can sometimes link our own personalities to that of a certain animal. The best example of this is Temple Grandin, who developed modern-day cattle handling systems by observing the traditional behavior of cows. Traditionally, we find one animal we can relate to. Otherwise, we tend to succeed in careers, getting good jobs and fulfilled lives. Bill Gates, creator of Microsoft, is believed to have Aspergers, although he has never decided to visit a psychiatrist to be diagnosed.

In conclusion, Aspergers is incredibly complex, and should not be portrayed inaccurately.

Character Portrayal

All characters are portrayed in a different way. However, what you don't want is a portrayal that makes no sense, or angers someone else, so I'll break it down for you.

Meeting People

When people meet in an RP, it can be anything from walking up and saying hello, to rushing in and attacking someone else for trying to kill your best friend. Either way, this is one place where people can mess up. People can't just walk away knowing someone's name when it was never mentioned. Unless you're a mind-reader (Valid excuse in some cases). In a nutshell, characters don't know each other's names unless they actually are told them.

What on Earth...!?

This is always the reaction you get when someone Godmods. It is also when a character does something illogical, regardless of superpowers. One of the best instances of Godmodding is a fight that lasts several pages, or endurance. As most RPs forbid the death of PCs without permission of their owners, there isn't really that much at stake in the fight except maybe honor. Therefore, I will just say this, what is wrong with losing? It's not like your character is gonna die! I just told you!

Hammer Space

Before you say anything, I am going to explain the funny-sounding term I just put in a large font. Hammer Space is what you call when a character pulls an object out of thin air, when it didn't exist a moment ago. Let's use Bugs Bunny for example. Sometimes, he doesn't have any carrots anywhere else in the area, but suddenly, he reaches behind his back and he has a carrot. Now, although it's the Looney Tunes, it's not exactly realistic.

In RPs, It is pretty obvious that you don't want your character to get hurt, however, it is not fair when your character always has something in their pocket or backpack or whatever that magically solves their problems. For instance, let's say a camper got lost from her group, and that night, fell into a ravine and landed at the bottom. Of course, she's gonna have gotten hurt! Humans can't not fall and get hurt. However, Hammer Space can come in here, and take away the realism of the post. Let's just say she was wearing a hard hat that kept her from hitting her head. Now, think about how unrealistic that sounds. What camper is going to bring a hard hat to camp unless it involves rock climbing or spelunking? Just don't do hammer space. It's wrong.

I Know Where You Live...

This topic refers to when a character knows things they shouldn't. Magical knowledge is wrong, and it's even worse if it involves the plot or subplot. Here is an example:

"What do all these people have in common?" Vel asked, while calculating; Scars= traumatic event + people kidnaped and tortured= revenge for ? "were the scars deep, shallow or looked like they were caused by shrapnel, knives or some other weapon?" Vel asked before her previous question could be answered

Now, this character is naturally very good at solving mysteries, however, the whole point of this was to have people go after the wrong guy. I was barely able to avoid this small post from derailing the plot. Just saying, don't give certain forms of knowledge to characters, because that ruins the whole RP. It is also Metagaming, and should be avoided.

Character Stereotypes

This is for all you people out there that need to make a certain kind of character, but don't know how to do it.

Artificial Intelligence (A.K.A. Robots!)

Artificial intelligence is incredibly popular in RPs involving the future and space travel. However, it is incredibly hard to nail, mainly because you are a human, and humans and robots are not the same thing. AI's are also sometimes excuses for trying to make an irrational character. So I would recommend not even bothering with them, but I can't stop you if you want to make one. Before you go any further, let me tell you this: This is not Wall-E. As cute as the movie might have been, robots do not have personalities, only programming. There are two kinds of AI: Efficient and Defective.

Efficient robots are just Like all AI, they cannot act exactly like humans. An efficient AI will function as it was programmed to do, and unless something happens to it, then it will continue to do what it was supposed to do. They are incapable of genuine feelings, or true creativity, and unlike humans, are programmed to make mistakes (Although I am not sure if people want mistakes). Therefore, unlike humans, which have no numbers or circuits to determine their outcomes and creativity, Efficient AIs are always determined by their programming. They do not act at all like humans, unless that aspect was programmed on purpose. An AI programmed to be like a human may have a very complex design. It can be designed to react with forms of emotion upon witnessing certain forms of stimuli, and may even be able to feign compassion, grief, or sympathy, although these emotions still remain part of programming, and are therefore not real. While someone may be very good with portraying an AI, they must never forget that it is still a machine, and that the machine does not have true creativity, nor can it understand why emotions work the way they do.

Defective robots are basically any robots that have glitches in their programming, or as some people like to call it, "what you get when someone wants a killing machine." The truth is, all AIs usually have glitches, however, it would take a truly awful programmer to make them as horrible as people like to make them. Let's say that you have an AI with a defective memory chip. In that case, it may have a tendency to forget or lose data that it gathered. Basically, you gave it a certain task, and it began doing the task, but stopped before finishing, because it forgot what it was supposed to be doing, or how to do the task itself. Unless it was a machine designed as a security drone or something, and its ability to identify targets was damaged, I seriously doubt there will be rogue machines trying to destroy everything, or take over the world.

Maternity Characters (Mothers)

Now, something I've noticed over the course of my time as an RPer is that sometimes people like to make female characters that happen to be mothers. Now, I don't just mean has a toddler, either. I mean actual infants, and pregnancies, along with all the uncomfortable complications it can cause. Unfortunately, this is very hard to nail, and even if you manage to accurately portray everything, you still need to watch yourself, because there is usually a no sexual content rule, and pregnancies and such are borderline on breaking them. I am already uncomfortable talking about this, so please, just bear with me. If you are wondering why I put this in the guide, I'll just say that I had a negative experience regarding this kind of stuff once.

First of all, if you have a character that is...uh...expecting, then you need to portray it accurately. Depending on the character, it could affect them. If it's a human, then it's very weird, and your character would suffer from cravings, mood swings, and a lot of negative reception unless she was married. However, pregnant or not, you do not use it to approach even more sexual topics, and you do not use it to become a spotlight-hogging jerk. Because trust me, people will start to hate you. I know, because I used to be in an RP where someone did that. I am not joking when I say because it involved people that were half-human and half-dragon, certain rules obviously didn't apply. I had to put up with the most annoying campaign in any RPing career so far. Also, don't forget, boys aren't the only people that Roleplay. Girls RP, too, so if you aren't careful, you'll offend them.

When making a mother, do not post sexual stuff. Or the guardian of order in RP's (That's me) Will probably drive you out of town, covered in hot tar and feathers.

Hello! I'm Mary Sue!

Mary Sues, or Gary Sues, for those of you who prefer a more masculine term, are those lovely little characters so perfect that they must be made out of wax. They are never wrong, everyone likes them, they are natural-born leaders, incredibly handsome, smart, strong, and never lose. These characters also never get on your nerves, right? Surely the reason all the other PCs are attacking you is because they're just jealous? Nope. They're really mad at you.

Mary Sues are characters that are never given flaws, and traditionally, the person controlling them expects all the other characters to instantly like them. As a matter of fact, this is the number one way to become public enemy number one. Mary Sues usually wind up being the characters that are attacked every day because someone tries to kill them, but unfortunately for the poor attacker, Miss Mary Sue godmods her way out of it.

What I am saying is that you should not have a Mary Sue. Give your character flaws, so that they act like people, and not like stupid dolls or mannequins. Now, before you go in and give your character a previously mentioned mental illness, let me warn you about something: Don't give your character too many flaws. As a matter of fact, Severely flawed characters can also be Mary Sues. Nobody likes a character that always grabs the spotlight because they complain or always get captured by the enemy. In a nutshell, make a moderately flawed guy to avoid Miss Mary Sue.

Over-Powered Characters

This is so close to Mary and Gary Sue, these characters must be related! Of course, they're sort of different. Over-Powered characters are any characters that are way too strong to be in an RP. They are so built for battle that it is absolutely hopeless to ever fight them. If you make an OP character, then you will notice how people react when you ask if your character can fight theirs. The people with normal, balanced characters (Which are weaker than the OP guy) will shy away, saying that should be for a later time. That, or they will give some sort of excuse, or they will move their character in the IC away from wherever the OP guy is heading. If you haven't noticed how uncomfortable the other people in the RP are when you ask someone to fight your guy, then something is definitely wrong. You should be able to tell when people do not like a certain topic. You can tell, because they will try to change it.

You should never make an OP character, because you will be the only one that enjoys fight scenes, and it's because everyone else always loses and you always win. Eventually, people will begin to regard fight scenes with negativity, and their characters will reflect this. The normal characters that receive the worst bombardment will likely become either withdrawn, or pessimistic. They may also become cowardly, fleeing at the very first signs of conflict. A good example of an OP character would be this:

Name: Chaos
Gender: Male
Age: 25
Race: Werewolf
Home: A small log cabin in the middle of a large forest, California.

Description: He is very tall, being nearly seven feet in height, making him a very large werewolf. He has long dark black hair, and is muscular, working on cardio instead of just weights. He has blood red eyes, and is very controlling of his beast form. Even when angered or when the moon comes out. He wears a pure silver wring on his left hand with a wolfs head on it. As a werewolf, he is extremely large, being over ten feet tall. His claws can be six inches in length, and his canines are unusually large, giving the impression that he is both vampire and werewolf, however, this is false, and his canines are in fact, just really big. His wolf form also has black fur and gray skin, and is very muscular. His jaws as a human have irregularly large canines as well, and in werewolf form, he stands upright, like a man.

Personality: Uncaring, silent, stealthy, vigilant, and disciplined. At times, Chaos doesn't really care what others thing or of how he chooses to live his life, he is also very silent, sneaking up on people constantly. As a werwolf, his padded paws make in virtually undetectable until he's right on the target. Being silent also requires a great deal of stealth, which is how he became a great hunter, as the man, and as the beast. Being a werewolf means he has to keep an eye out for werewolf hunters and vampires. He has killed several in his time, and has been hired by vampire hunters to track them down. Despite this, he has nothing against vampires. It's simply business. Disciplined because he can keep his cool in the worst situations, and even control the beast when angered. His secret? The same thing for Bruce Banner and how he keeps himself from turning into the hulk...He's always angry. Being a lone wolf, he is much more powerful than the average werewolf, as surviving alone as a pack creature is a difficult task.
Strengths: Silent, fast, strong, can see in the dark as a werewolf, skilled archer, great fighter, his jaws in beast form can crush bones, whether is be a vampires skull or an unsuspecting human's neck. His claws are armor piercing, having the ability to slice through most bullet proof vests and chain mail with ease. He has an amazing sense of smell, eyesight, and hearing, all traits of the beast. Finally, as a werewolf, his is extremely strong, managing to accomplish feats such as throwing cars short distances or throwing grown men like a rag doll.
Weaknesses: Silver, anything that he cares for, his home, and the forest. Both of which fall under the category f things he cares for.
Orientation: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
Faction(s): Lone wolf.
Other: Black Shadows.


Now, although this character sheet is well-made, think solely about his abilities as a whole. Now, in addition to being incredibly large as a werewolf, there are some powers he has that are a bit questionable. Despite his size, he's really quiet, in fact, so quiet, that even the creatures with outstanding hearing can't hear him. In addition to having bone-crushing strength (May or may not be possible), his claws can cut chainmail and bulletproof vests. Think about it: Claws that can cut metal. He can also lift a car. Now, here's a post that happened that was truly unfair.

Chaos turned around again at the sound of more yipping and grunting. He roared, and his senses heightened, a special ability only available to werewolves with full control over their beast form. Every werehyena that was approaching lighted up, along with any other creature in the area. He could literally see their life force. He saw their numbers, but didn't back down. This was his kill. He made it, he earned it. He roared again. This time, the sound was so terrible, so utterly terrifying, so unimaginably scary, that it stopped some of them in their tracks, frozen in fear, others turned around and ran with their tails between their legs. Their numbers began diminishing fast. He roared again, this one less scary, being the average roar, and turned back to his kill. He hoped that the show of power without actually hurting anything would show them that he wasn't here to fight. Not that he would back down if it came to that. He grabbed the leg of the bison he was feeding from, and ripped it clean off it's body, bones in all, and threw it into the trees as a peace offering.

Now, so what if in the end he gave the werehyenas a peace offering? Do you think it was fair to the person who was controlling the united pack that Chaos scared most of them off? No, it wasn't. And I should know. I was the person controlling the hyenas, and I wouldn't be making this guide if I didn't know what I was doing. If I had been allowed to actually do my job and control my own characters and NPC's, he would have been promptly attacked for threatening a pack of about thirty werehyenas, which have the same powers and dispositions as normal ones. In this case, hyenas are incredibly stubborn, and will come back for revenge, as observed with interaction between them and lions. Here is what I said in the OOC after having to deal with my balanced characters being poorly treated and abused even more. This was me agreeing with another person:

He has a point, which is why when my werehyenas even as a team can't beat a single werewolf, it gets on my nerves. They should be at least evenly matched, but so far, they've just been stepped on, at least from my point of view. Really, I don't mean to sound all negative, but it's no fun to lose all the time.

And a little bit later after I was made a Moderator when the GM saw me complaining about imbalance in the RP:

Okay, then. The issue is that we're having a bit of power imbalance between characters. Don't get me wrong, who doesn't want to have a strong character that wins all their fights? Certainly everyone would agree.

Unfortunately, in order for this RP to move smoothly, people have to be willing to let others win once in awhile. There's a rule that says no killing for a reason. If so, then people don't need to worry about their characters dying, only getting hurt.

You see, I am perfectly fine with my characters getting hurt once in awhile, but when they are hopelessly outmatched against someone, then it isn't fair. Both my characters and (Name has been removed) are being undermined.

I love this roleplay, but because of the fact that my characters can't fight without every last one getting killed, I'm not having any fun.


Now, just hear me out, the abuse continued, even after I complained constantly about the power imbalance. This is because the unnamed person I mentioned also abused my characters. By the end of the RP, which crumbled because it was forcibly centered around my character by the GM and I got rid of her because I was sick of being forced to spotlight her, a third of the hyena clan was dead. And you want to know why? Vampires came and performed an unprovoked massacre on it, and beforehand, my character was shot in the paw without my consent. Unlike Chaos, she does not have healing powers, so it was crippling, too.

Just saying, it's not just wrong, it's unfair to make OP characters.

I'm Gonna Rip You to Shreds and Burn all the Pieces!

Okay, who here hates evil villains? And I don't mean villains as a whole, I mean those villains that plan to take over the world, or kill you, and have no reason for doing so. Okay, say "I!", Say it right now. The issue with these villains isn't that their plans aren't super cool, but their motives. Who can you name that didn't have some sort of reason for being a villain. You can't just have a villain that kills for no reason, and in fact, villains that do things just for the sake of being 'evil' are just plain unrealistic.

Every villain has some purpose for what he's doing. And I don't want the excuse, "He's evil!", or, "He's power-hungry!". I need details! Why is he evil? Is he sadistic? Does he enjoy watching people in pain and hearing them scream? If so, why is he sadistic? What could cause him to become so cruel? Or, if he's Power-hungry, why does he want that power in the first place? Was he a king that has to live up to some sort of tradition? Or were they mistreated as a child?

Just saying, make sure your character is realistic, because not having a motive makes the villain flat and two-dimensional, and soon people will lose interest.

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PostSubject: Re: A Guide to Quality Roleplaying   Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:18 pm

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