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A Beginner's Guide to Roleplaying


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First off I'd like to suggest that this be put alongside "What is RP" on the main website.


To the newbie Role-Player:


Role-Playing is a skill which develops over time. Do not feel discouraged if you don't understand all the rules just by reading them for the first time. Most of us would be glad to help open the world of RP to anyone who is interested. This means that we may correct you, especially in the beginning. Of course this should be done constructively, but just know that we are not picking on you, or don't want you to RP.


For example when I first started, I typed in shorthand, "How r u guys?" Someone quickly sent me a /tell saying that I should type out every word. At the time I didn't even ask why, I saw others do the same, and figured I should too. If you don't understand why a certain rule is in place, it's alright to ask, but also note that you may not understand it fully until you are more experienced at RP'ing. Now I could tell that typing in shorthand reduces game immersion for most/all RP'ers, hence that rule was in place.


Don't be intimidated by other characters or stories. It might be overwhelming to join a Guild/LS which has very thought out characters with deep history and on-going stories which started before you arrived. Don't feel pressured to join until you are comfortable with your own character and background. Some new RP'ers join stories and form bonds with other characters within the first week, for others it may take six months to really start "playing" with other RP'ers. In other words, take your time and go at your own pace.


This leads me to character development:


Do you have to have an idea for your characters background? No. Is it better to have one? Absolutely.

You as a person respond to others based on your views, past experiences, etc. Imagine if you joined some sort of an organization or a club but had total amnesia. How would you interact? What would you say? How would you react to others?


This is why even a rough outline of your character is always beneficial. It doesn't have to be set in stone. In fact even seasoned RP'ers change their character's past at times by revealing something new which the character or others didn't know before. For example if you plan to be a good cleric at first, but then decide that you want to change your past- have a different persona... let your character discover something tragic which will steer them away from the clergy into the life of crime.


Your character doesn't have to have much depth as you join an Guild/LS, but as you learn about RP, you will also see other fleshed out characters, how they interact with others and the world. Take your time to think about how your character reacts to what's going on around them and why. Think about their background. Just as above, I knew RP'ers who had a clear idea of who their character is within a week, others took longer. When you plan their history, it's okay to leave things out, make gaps. You may get ideas later on and fill them in. I don't advise you to launch any kind of a story arch until your character's history is more or less figured out.


How to find your perfect Guild/LS:


First I'd like to say that there should be no stigma attached to leaving one Guild for another. People have their differences, whether it's between them and the rules, the RP style, or a specific person. It's juvenile to be mad at someone because they left a Guild to join another or be a freelancer. As a new Role Player, you should never feel trapped or obligated to stay in a Guild which doesn't seem to fit you or your character.


That being said I believe that whatever Guild you start in, it's likely going to shape your view of RP and the way you create your character. In this case there is no better guild for you than the one you started in. However this might be outdated (unless you join a guild in-game without any research) because of this Coalition. Now a new Role-Player can look at the list of Guilds and figure out which will suit them.


It's easier to know which guild will work for you the more you plan your character ahead of time. Most if not all Guilds will have a website and/or forums where you can check out their style of RP. Again, the more you know about yourself as a RP'er, the faster you will find a Guild which suits you. It's okay if you don't though, some Guilds will simply inspire you. You will see your character having a title within that Guild, or you will begin to imagine a background for your avatar by looking at the environment in which they will be placed. Other Guilds will have like-minded people which you will be drawn to naturally. In my experience, I usually have similar RP preferences with players that I can connect with on an OOC level. If you see that people share your opinions, you like their style of writing, then you might want to check out their Guild.


That's all I have to say (write) for now. Hope new Role Players find this info helpful.

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Rp "tips" is pretty much the entire purpose of the site's etiquette section. We'll be posting guides to various different topics after discussing and voting on each one.


That being said, this thread probably could be used to create a sort of checklist for new RPers. For instance, perhaps the first thing to put on the checklist would be deciding your characters race and gender. The next thing may be creating a name, in which a link to etiquette's naming section could be provided. We could just create a step-by-step checklist/guide to creating a brand new character that could help new roleplayers have more depth than they may otherwise have had.

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If we're expecting people who are very new, it might be nice to have a list of common acronyms/terms for those who aren't familiar with them.

(Keeping in mind that exact definitions vary.)


RP - role playing

IC - in character

OOC - out of character

NPC - non-player character

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Grammar is sometimes important. For example, take the following two sentences:

"I'm being attacked by a great evil mage."

"I'm being attacked by a great evil, mage."

The first implies that an evil mage is attacking somebody; whereas the second implies that they are being attacked by an evil and this concern is being addressed to a mage.


However, spelling doesn't have to be perfect, just discernible. I know without a word processor I screw up all types of words.


As per the OP (original post). Here is my strategy of making a character, though I find order may not matter. I tried to go in a semi-logical order for newer players. Someone may want to revise this or make it sound better.


  • [*] Am I? Decide on a gender, race, age range, and general appearance. [*] What sounds interesting? Envision what you want this character to do. Think class/job. [*] Now, what makes this character special? Flesh out some personality traits that you would like them to have, and that you are comfortable acting out. [*] How did this character get to be where they are today? A backstory of how your character started out is always nice and can help flesh out possible traits or reasons they act a certain way. [*] Why am I here? Pick goals that your character would be interested in. (do they want to rule the world, be the best 'insert job here', help others, gain as much coin as possible...) [*] Do I have to? This is where the nitpicky things go. (favorite food, favorite color, loved/hated races, nemeses, or whatever else you can think of) [/list:u]
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Now, what makes this character special? Flesh out some personality traits that you would like them to have, and that you are comfortable acting out.


To this I'd add character flaws as well. We all have em, it would be quite unrealistic for a character not to. New positive and negative traits can develop and old ones disappear as your character progresses through the world.

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To add to what Mason said about character flaws, a good way for beginners to start is to say for every "perk" or positive character trait, their character has an equal "flaw" or negative character trait.


For instance, I might make an Elezen who is courageous, has a fondness for Miqo'te traditional cooking, and is an excellent fighter who prizes her sword collection above all else, but she also is mildly allergic to wildflower pollen, has a fear of swimming/large bodies of water, and tends to get distracted when sword shopping, to the detriment of her daily schedule.


Characters of course don't have to be this symmetrical, but I find it helps with creating a more realistic persona.

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I wrote a brief bit on just this subject for the CPM forums in FFXI, though parts of it have already been excellently covered by above posts and much of it is FFXI specific, if you can ignore the proper names then the information is valid. Rather than hack it to pieces, I'll just post it in its entirety. The Potential Pitfalls section is more aimed at CPM's 'conservative' style of RP, but can be a good "baseline" to keep in mind if you plan to RP with such a group. If you're going with a more lore-divergent guild, your imagination's the limit.


Creating a character is the first step and core of all forays into roleplaying. They are your viewpoint and your vehicle for everything you do. The task of, in effect, creating a complete imaginary person can be daunting at first, but many find that their character completes themselves. Once a concept and skeleton history is laid out, often ideas solidify and details fall into place as you roleplay. The first step is a concept.


Character Concept

What kind of character would you like to roleplay? A curmudgeonly old man with powerful black magics? An enthusiastic and naïve youngster, set on being the paragon of knightly honor? Maybe an avaricious mercenary with anger issues. Once youâve decided on a concept, think about how they got there and what made them that way â An old man doesnât grow curmudgeonly living a life of ease, surrounded by friends and family and a youngster doesnât hang on to naiveté long in a harsh environment. Once you have a concept and the beginnings of a personality down, itâs time to decide on a character history.


Character History

This may sound like a lot of work at first, but thereâs no need to chronicle your characterâs entire life from birth to present â In fact itâs often best to leave some gray areas and wiggle room in case you later decide to revise or bring to light new things in your characterâs past. It is good however to come up with some basic ideas on where theyâve come from. What is their family like? How big is it? Do they have a family? Friends? What experiences growing up shaped them into how they are today? What viewpoints and contacts with NPCs and other roleplayers might their history have given them? Having laid out the characterâs concept and how they got to be that way, itâs time to get more specific.



What does your character want? Fame? Money? Good friends and good times? Humble service to the Goddess of Dawn? What motivates your character will serve as a rudder in their interactions with others and the decisions they make for themselves.



What makes your character unique? Are they very tall? Have a reedy, high voice? A habit of scratching their cheek when theyâre nervous? Utterly convinced that airships are flying coffins, waiting for the first chance to crash? Little details can add an extra dimension to your character, and can be fun to watch as they fall back on old habits time and again.


Ask Questions

If you don't know something or want more information on something (Like the state of the Church in San d'Oria, how government is handled in Bastok, the nuances of the Ministries in Windurst) then ASK! Most members of Canta Per Me have been playing FFXI for a long time and done many quests and missions. We'd be happy to answer questions, provide information, and help you create an interesting and rounded character.


Getting Involved

Thereâs no one way to get yourself involved in role playing, especially since each character is unique. Sometimes you have to work to get your character engaged in whatâs going on despite their tendencies, while other times theyâll naturally fall in line with whatâs happening. Donât rely on the latter happening, then be disappointed if it doesnât! It can help immensely to set up points of interest and launch pads for interaction and plotlines beforehand. This is where character hooks come in.


Character Hooks

It may be that your character travels a lot and just happen to be around where other characters are, but you can only rely on happenstance for so long before it begins to wear thin. A âhookâ is something that other characters or plotlines can latch onto so that yours has a reason to be there and interact. It can help to look at the setting, characters, and plot lines going on to generate hooks, but itâs always possible to come up with things interesting in their own right.


Is your character a Bastokan? Perhaps they served in the military for a while, if so itâs possible they were in training together with another Bastokan current or ex military character, shared a post at some point, or simply have many similar experiences to share. If theyâre more civic minded, they may have been a page to a senator and know about some governmental inner workings if another character would be interested in such things.


Alternately, they may have points of interest in their own right. Perhaps they are an extremely philosophical sort with well-developed and thought-through views of justice and morality and never turn down a good jawing session. They may be an accomplished weapon smith with an intimate working knowledge of blades, their history, and their usage. Maybe theyâre simply loud-mouthed and looking for an audience.


Other possibilities include membership in guilds, shared interests, pre-arranged relationships with other characters (family, old friend, etc) or prominent NPCs. You may wish to be a little careful when tying your character to NPCs as you may not know everything relevant to that NPC, but if in doubt there is likely someone who can clear matters up for you. This is far from a comprehensive list. If you have a better idea than what you see here, be creative!


Never be afraid to approach other people and ask what might make good hooks if youâd like to get involved in plots or with other characters. Generally speaking, people like to role play and they love other role players to be interested in their characters and their plots; itâs nearly guaranteed theyâll be willing to help or point you to someone who can if you ask.


Joining RP Sessions

Is a session already going? Interested in joining? Ask! It may be closed, if it is donât be discouraged. Ask if it will be open soon, or if people involved in the closed RP would want to RP with you later. If itâs open, it can help to spend a few moments planning how to approach it before diving right in.


Look at whatâs going on. Where is it taking place? Who is involved? What time is it? Once you have general information on whatâs going on, piece together why your character would be there and what they would be doing. Itâs always awkward to be asked âWhat brings you here?â only to realize your character has absolutely no reason to be there.


It may be as easy as getting on the pearl ICly and saying âHey, anyone around?â if you know that your character would be invited along. Or, it may take a little more thought to get your character where the RP is happening for their own reasons. Donât let indecision paralyze you â If you canât come up with something and those involved in the RP donât mind you joining, go ahead and ask them for ideas.


Potential Pitfalls

Unique is good. Be unique. However, keep in mind that this is an MMORPG. Nobody gets to be any more âspecialâ than anyone else. Things that go against the world setting and things that are flat out improbable usually arenât legitimate points of interest for your character. Being able to psychically create and control flame doesnât make a lot of sense in VanaâDiel â Nobody else has pyrokinesis, they have to cast a Fire spell. Being four hundred years old due to arcane sorceries is pretty iffy also.


Try to stick with the normal complement of traits and history your average, mortal adventurer could have. Stretching believability can be a double edged sword; not only does it make fitting your character into whatâs going on harder, but it can make other people hesitant to role play with you as they try to sort out how to have their character should react to things that donât fit in VanaâDiel. This rule, as all others, isnât iron-clad but it is a pretty good idea to stick close to plausibility.

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It can be hard for those inexperienced with MMOs or RPGs or Role-Playing in MMOs to make their first character. Sometimes new Role-Players have to do a lot of re-introductions and backpedaling because their first character wasn't successful. Perhaps this can turn into a guide of sorts for the new Role-Players. If you have words of wisdom, experience, or encouragement, keep on posting!



Might be helpful. found this cool website for generating names and characters.




Do you know of any other sources which may help people set up their character?

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My advice to new RPers upon joining our linkshell was always to look and listen for awhile before actively participating. I think that's a Universal concept. While I admit we had a few good ones, I was always wary of the members that would join and immediately try to involve themselves in everything that was going on right away. I think most new RPers stand to benefit the most from watching other RPers in action for a short while, even if they have previous RP experience. This way they get a sense for how the community operates and what the social structures are like. Tends to avoid a lot of drama down the road, too. An introduction and some basic history are a very good start though. I would also advise new RPers not to tie their own RP too closely to one individual or small group, as we've seen that tends to limit things down the road if there are disagreements, drama, or the other person leaves the game. Sometimes it's fun maneuvering around this stuff, but my general observation has been that it seems to aggravate a lot of good RPers.

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