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A Roleplaying Guide

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1 A Roleplaying Guide on September 9th 2012, 6:27 pm

Alright this is the first guide I have ever made. I am open to critique, comments, questions, and corrections. Feel free to message me or post any of those.

Guide to Joining and RP

Creating a Character:

<BLOCKQUOTE class=uncited>
Example Roleplay: Silver and Gold (Dog and Wolf RP) Literate!

Plot: There have always been two dominant packs ruling the streets of Creek (named for the small creek that runs through it.) The Gold pack and the Silver pack. These packs have had a rivalry going back since the town was first formed. It started over a lack of food, but even when the famine passed the grudge was retained. When one Alpha dies the next is chosen by all those who think they can lead fighting at once. The last dog standing is considered the leader. It is an inconceivable thing that someone from the pack would do anything to hurt the leader though once they are too old they are "retired" either by their choice or forcibly by some dog showing them just how weak they are. Once retired the leader is provided with food as long as there is some and any care they require.

The only requirement each pack has for who can join is that they must hate the opposite pack and be willing to kill to defend themselves. There have been surprisingly few deaths in all the years, but the town's increasing size helped lower the fights over territory. Unfortunately the town has finally decided to do something about the number of stray dogs roaming the streets. They have been catching and caging all of the dogs. The leaders were both caught; as were over three fourths of each pack during a particularly large fight. All of the dogs caught were put down due to their aggressive nature. Those that were left were the ones too old or too young to fight, those who had been forbidden from the fight for some reason, the guards who protected from a sneak attack and a few cowards who fled from the fighting before the dog catchers arrived.

One dog decided that it would be best for the stragglers to come together outside of the town and take refuge in the wilderness rather then live in fear of the dogcatchers. He is the son of the leader of the Gold pack and failed to convince many of the elders of his pack that this was the best way. He knew there was a wolf pack in the forest, but thought they stood a better chance there anyway.

1. This is a literate RP, that means that I expect several paragraphs with good spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. (I understand if you don't have Firefox or MS Word, but if you search "Free spell checker" on Google you'll come up with several excellent ones. If nothing else read through once or twice to check. If you notice an error go back and correct it even if it's an old post.)
2. You may have a dog from the Gold, Silver, Wolf pack, or a Loner but keep in mind that the Gold and Silver hate each other.
3. There is a two character limit. I might raise this later.
4. Dogs must be normally colored unless it makes sense (a pink standard poodle that was dyed by its owner but then ran away.)
5. Wolves may have one magic power. It must be something fairly small or weak. They can't summon fireballs to destroy their enemies, but they might be able to create a tiny spark to start a fire burning. Wolves may have unnatural coloring, though the colors normally reflect their power.
6. The leaders of both of the dog packs are dead as well as many of the more aggressive fighters. Most that are left will be younger adults, guards, and elders.
7. Loners are generally disliked by both packs, but less then they dislike each other.
8. Any puppies that have survived living in this town have good common sense. If they were stupid enough to bound up to any unknown adult dog and try to play with it then they probably didn't live long.
9. For rankings in the wolf pack there will be a writing contest. I will be basing it on your introduction. Please put what position you'd like your wolf to be considered for: King: 1 (Alpha Male), Queen: 1(Alpha Female), Adviser: 1 (All of the Scouts report to them and they tend to know what's going on.), Scout: 3(Patrols the borders), Hunter: 5 (Hunts for the entire pack, sometimes the Scouts and Hunters are rotated for a change of pace), Pups: 2 (The pups are generally assigned to a Hunter or a Scout to learn how to be a useful member of the pack. The Adviser may train a pup.)
10. Keep your character with at least one other person's character at all times. If your character ends up by itself (Like if you get left behind and all the other character leave the area) just say your character had been silently following the group the entire time.
11. If your character is from the same pack as another one they probably know each other, if only in passing. Keep this in mind.
12. I reserve the right to slightly edit these rules with no warning. Any major changes will be noted at the top or bottom of my post.

Character Sheet (Required for reference only):
Name: (If it's long it should have an abbreviation.)
Gender: (Male or Female)
Pack: (Silver, Gold, Wolf, or None (Loner))
Looks: (CS Adoptable, description, or another picture (link please) Wolves can have odd colors)
Power: (Wolf only)
Other: (Anything important you want to mention)

My Character:
Name: Bullet
Gender: Male
Pack: Silver

Power: N/A
Other: He is the son of the old Silver Pack leader.

Bullet paced back and forth by the old oak tree. He wondered who would come. Would anyone come? Most of the elders were convinced it was a death trap and the pups seemed to think that the elders could not say anything but the truth. He was certain some of the guard would have convinced themselves that to be loyal to the pack they should defend the remaining members. He scowled at that. There were hardly enough left in either group to call them packs. Any who stayed in this hellish town were fools who deserved the death that came in the way of poisoned meat and traps.

He'd never actually encounter poison meat or baited traps, but in his father's youth the town had made a half hearted attempt to discourage the dog infestation. His father had carefully explained the best ways to tell if meat was poisoned, but there were many who wouldn't know to check. They'd adapt, but how many would be lost before they found a foolproof way to avoid the poison.

Bullet had sent word to the wind the previous night with his howl and it had been carried all over the city. He had asked that those who would travel with him to the forest gather at the oldest oak tree, a well known landmark, at dusk. He had arrived an hour early, for no good reason that he could see except to drive himself insane, to wait for those who would come with him. The sun was setting and dusk quickly approached. He looked toward the buildings on the edge of town, hoping to see someone had answered his call. Hoping that there was someone not interested in waiting to be caught.</BLOCKQUOTE>

Now the most important thing in joining a roleplay is to make sure that you’ve read the rules, plot, and the starter’s intro thoroughly. If there is something you don’t understand jot it down on a sheet of paper, finish reading their post, and then see if you understand. If you don’t message the person and ask them to clarify. This prevents any misunderstanding. Sometimes people put something along the lines of “Put your favorite type of animal at the top of your post if you read the rules” I find them more then a little annoying, but if you see it you should jot it down on a piece of paper so you remember to add it to the top of your post.

Then you should make sure this is your level of roleplay. Illiterate or Semi-Literate means that they don’t expect more then a paragraph per post. Most of the time they don’t expect capitalization, proper spelling, or punctuation. Sometimes they require it in the rules and then you do need to use these things. Literate means they expect two or more paragraphs, proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Most people are lenient on the spelling, but you should always use MS word or an online spell checker to make sure that you don’t have any errors. Capitalization should almost never be improper. Punctuation should be used at the end of every sentence and appropriately otherwise. Most people aren’t going to stress the use of a comma instead of a semi-colon, but it is always better to look up the proper usage then risk looking silly.

Next you need to see what kinds of creature your character can be. This Roleplay clearly states that you can have a dog from the Gold or Silver pack, a dog that is a loner, or a wolf. It is implied that all wolves are in the same pack, so you shouldn’t play a loner wolf. Since the title says “Dog and Wolf RP” you should not join as any other type of animal without first asking the creator.

Before you set your mind on what your character will be you should look at who else has joined. Make sure you refresh the page so that you know nobody has posted while you read and thought. In the case of this RP two people joined. One of them had two dogs from the Gold pack named Fallon (Female) and Breezy (F). The other had two wolves named Whisper (M)and Ember (F). So the current distribution of characters is Silver: 1, Gold: 2, Wolf: 2, Loner: 0. It might seem like you should join as a loner, but since the main plot revolves around the conflict between the Silver, Gold, and (possibly) the Wolf pack it would be better to join as one of those three. Let’s say you decide to play a dog from the Silver pack. Then it is important to look and see what genders are currently in use: Male: 2 Female: 3. It’s pretty well balanced, but a male is preferable. If you are completely uncomfortable with playing a male then simply say that you saw it was unbalanced, but don’t think you can pull it off. Another option , even if you’re unsure of yourself, is to join with two. If you have too much trouble with one have the character leave the group in the roleplay. That way if you change your mind you can have them stumble back into the group. I decided to use a female example because the dogs I have on my account all look really girly to me except for the one I’m using in another RP.

Now you need to decide to decide what picture to use, or how to describe your dog. Let’s say that you decide to use this:

In the site she’s called Snow, but if you wanted to use a different name that would be fine. The existing names start with: B, F, B, W, and E. Nothing close to Snow, so that name would be fine to use. If there had been a name that was similar like Snowy, Ice, or Snowflake it would just asking for people to confuse your character with the other one. Choosing a short name means that people are more likely to remember it and the same goes for picking a real word. T’yr might be a short name, but it’ll take a while for people to remember it because they won’t be able to pronounce it in their head. The most important thing about naming a character is to know that this is the name you’re resigning yourself to. Don’t change it after a few posts. (Exception: You named your character something long, but a nickname develops that is easier to remember. Then you should edit your character sheet and put the nickname in ()’s so that it’s obvious. Example: Tavorian (Rian))

A good way to fill out a character sheet is to do it on MS word , Notepad, or Google Documents. That way you can look at how it will look on the site. Let’s look at the character sheet provided:

<BLOCKQUOTE class=uncited>
Character Sheet (Required for reference only):
Name: (If it's long it should have an abbreviation.)
Gender: (Male or Female)
Pack: (Silver, Gold, Wolf, or None (Loner))
Looks: (CS Adoptable, description, or another picture (link please) Wolves can have odd colors)
Power: (Wolf only)
Other: (Anything important you want to mention)</BLOCKQUOTE>

Notice how it says “For Reference Only”? That means that it is only to keep track of what characters are in the roleplay and should not replace a description in your introduction.

Name: You’ve already picked this. If you skipped that step just leave this blank. You can fill it in later.

Gender: Male or Female. This is one section you have to have filled out before moving on.

Pack: There are given choices, so you should not put anything else. Let’s say Snow is from the Silver pack since it has the fewest members.

Looks: You already have her image and since this just for reference you do not need to describer her.

Power: Since Snow is a dog you don’t need to put anything here. You can leave it blank or put N/A which means Not Applicable. That abbreviation is used on legal forms frequently and roleplayers have picked up on it. If snow was a wolf her coloration would reflect her power (that was mentioned above) so she might be able to summon a chill into the air, or keep meat cold, or freeze water on her teeth to make them sharper, but nothing like summoning a snowstorm.

Other: Here is where you can put anything important about your character that was not mentioned before. If you are playing a sibling then that would be considered important, or if your character has a phobia of something. Any physical injuries that kept them from participating in the fight? Well let’s pretend you don’t want Snow to be a pup, that leaves guard, elder, or someone else who wouldn’t be fighting. To me she doesn’t come off as a fighter and though playing an elder can be fun it was already mentioned in the intro that Bullet was unable to find any elders that supported him. Now Snow could just have gone along with everyone else, but then decided to leave anyway or something like that. For now let’s say she was a guard.

Things to avoid: Having the last of anything. Giving your character unusual features (for the world). Making your character angsty (Definition: I hate the world, I wish I were dead but I have one thing to live for, My entire family was caught and killed and I have to revenge them). Making your character too unsociable unless there is already a character in the roleplay that you know will approach your character and not give up.

Posting your intro:

You’ve got your character sheet all filled out, but now you have to write your intro. It is important to read all the posts that have already been posted. In this case I’ll just give you a brief summary of what happened in the posts so far: Breezy and Fallon came up and greeted Bullet and the two wolves are somewhere in the forest near the town. Now since Snow is a dog she will probably come from the town and join the group of dogs. It is important to always keep your character near the others to prevent you having to roleplay with yourself (which is no fun).

You should provide a description of your dog in your first post. You can make it as long or as short as you like. Your character sheet does not replace this description. You do need to be careful not to keep going on and on about how beautiful your dog is. This is a dog that's lived on the street, possibly it's entire life. There is no way that it will have flawless skin or neatly combed hair. Maybe Snow has fleas or is just filthy. There is a creek that runs through town, but it is not stated how clean it is. Even if Snow likes to swim her fur doesn't look shaggy enough to protect her from the chill winter water. If it's a choice between getting a cold or being dirty almost any street dog would choose dirt.

The season is not stated in the first post so the best thing to do is wait until the author says something that specifies a season. Fall is the time of year when everything is dieing plants tend to turn brown, leaves color and fall, and the weather begins getting colder. Winter generally has snow, but it could also be once everything has died, when the water in the creek freezes over, or when the days are at their longest. Spring is after the snow melts, when the temperature begins to rise, when there tend to be severe storms, when things start to grow again. Summer is when everything is alive and at it's prime, grass is green and plentiful, temperatures tend to be much hotter then spring.

If it is really bothering you not knowing what season it is just ask the person who started the RP.

You should always have your character meet other characters in your intro. There are almost no exceptions. Your character should not wait to be approached even if it is not characteristic of them. If they're shy maybe they are slinking through the woods and run into the wolves. That scares them and they bolt out and run into Bullet or Fallon.

It really is up to you what your character does. Try to come up with a few short sentences that you keep in mind when you're writing your character. For example: She likes water. She is very defensive of pups. She hates anything new. She doesn't think before she talks.

Now you don't need to put all that in your first post, but you should know your characters main features. Whether it's a fear of spiders, or the dark, or a deep love of flowers. It doesn't matter, just so long as you know. It may be forever before this part of your character is discovered in the RP, but that's fine. You don't have to have her notice a flower so that people know she likes them. Instead of having her say something stupid and then think about how she never thinks before speaking just have her say something stupid. She can agonize over how stupid it sounds, but after a while people will pick up that she doesn't think her words out.

That verges into another important thing...thoughts. What does your character think about the situation they are in? Do they like the people they're traveling with? Do they hate them? Do they notice a leaf on the ground? Does something that another character said to them remind them of an mentor or teacher? Do they think they are traveling with a pack of idiots who don't deserve the name of dog?

Try to put yourself in your character's shoes and figure out what you would be thinking. Your character shouldn't accept everything unless their character is easy going. Maybe they say their fine with running away from the city, but they secretly wish they could stay because of all the memories. How would you feel leaving the town of your birth, where you had fought for the lives of your pack mates and then have to leave because you know it is hopeless. Could you? Obviously Snow can, why is that? Did she see that nobody would be traveling with Bullet and decide he needed protection? Does she think of him as a pup? I think you get the idea so I'll stop ranting.

Another very important rules is that even though you're thinking as your character you have to write in third person for most roleplays. You have to be very careful not to switch Point of View (POV) in the middle of a post. Sometimes it can be hard especially if you are reading (or writing) something in first person. It helps to read the posts you are responding to just before you post so that you are thinking in third person when you are writing your post. If you realize that you mistyped correct it as soon as possible. It is very confusing for others when posts switch POV.

A quick checklist for your intro.
1. Full name: You should have your characters full name within the first paragraph of the intro. Whenever you start a new paragraph you should use their name instead of he/she.

2. Description: I already covered this.

3. Interaction: Have your character bump into the others within your first two posts.

4. Thoughts: One of the main things new RPers leave out. Thoughts tell much more about your character then their actions.

5. Length: If you have all the things listed above you should have a good three to four paragraphs. Try to always have at least three paragraphs, but unless it is really important stay below fifteen.

So your intro might look something like this.
<BLOCKQUOTE class=uncited>
Name: Snow
Gender: Female
Pack: Silver
Power: N/A
Other: She was a Guard.

Snow peered out from behind the outermost building of the city watching Fallon and Breezy approach Bullet. Her fur bristled and she could feel a growl wanting to rise in her throat, how could Bullet think this would work? Not only was he combining two groups that hated each other, but he was also adventuring out into the forest full of wolves. His plan was to throw themselves on the mercy of those beasts and she wasn't sure she could stand it.

Bullet was insane, there was no other explanation in her head. He was leaving the home he had always known to adventure with enemies into a forest that could hold only death. Even if the wolves didn't bother them did he know how to hunt a deer? Could he organize a pack? Snow doubted it, which was the entire reason she was here.

She was a guard of the Silver pack. No matter how much she hated the other pack she had to make sure Bullet would be alright. He had always done his best for the pack and she thought he might even make a good leader for a street dog pack. Not for a wild pack though. She doubted he'd survive one night. She would help. Even if he had insanely chosen this path she would help along it. The city behind her held the scents of too many dogs she had known too long and would never see again. It held too many memories for her to stay. So she would follow the lunatic to a new city. If she could keep him alive that long.

Slowly she stepped out, the sunset making her cream fur appear pink. Her eyes, one blue one green, focused on Fallon as she approached the group. The darker fur on her shoulders rose just with the proximity of the Gold dogs. Her white and cream tail twitched as she fought the instinct to growl. She trotted past the two enemies and stood beside Bullet.

"You're crazy you know." She said smirking down at the dog who still reminded her of the pup he had once been. He looked just like his father.</BLOCKQUOTE>

That's just a vague example. Not by any means perfect. However it gives everyone an idea of Snow's personality and of my level of RPing.

One final very important thing about roleplaying is to always include everyone. If there's a character who has wandered off for any reason you should consider having your character go interact with them. The person having their character wander off shows they are not the best RPer and therefore you should make an effort to help them improve by being a good role model. Also, if a character interacts with yours you should respond. If more then one character interacts with yours you should respond in the order they posted. It's possible they posted at the exact same time and didn't realize they would be sending conflicting posts. If the two posts cannot happen one after another (both say they are the first to approach your character) you should just respond in the order that they posted and possibly tweak what happened. Explain at the top of the post in OOC what you are doing. ((Since Bullet's post was first I'll assume he started talking to her and Fallon approached her after she answered Bullet)). The other RPers will understand.

That's all I can think of at the moment.... Any questions?

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