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I will give credit where this is due; All this information has been borrowed from my old RP server on World of Warcraft.

Most of it will be copy/pasted... However I may give a few edits to try and make it the most relevant to this particular MMO.
If you find any references to WoW (Or any other MMO - I've posted this on a few MMO forums), I apologize. Still, when it comes to MMO/RP terms, many of them can be interchangeable.

RP 101: Welcome to a RolePlay

Is it "role players" or "roleplayers?" This is a question I've thrown in myself (IE: Not from the original source). The answer is; Both! I can't debate on which one is more grammatically correct (That's for people smarter than I) but I can tell you that in our community, referring to "role play" or "roleplay" is acceptable.

“WTF is up with the (( )) ?”

Bracketing is a form of indicating one is speaking out of character. It can look many ways. Double parentheses (( )), singles ( ), brackets [ ] or any number of other bracketing form. The most common is the double parentheses.

By indicating that one is speaking out of character, they are saying “You are speaking to the player right now, not the character.” It’s good to know the difference (in case the character is particularly abrasive).

Sometimes a group will indicate that Group chat is automatically OOC while /say is automatically IC. In such a case, when speaking in group, (( )) is not necessary. There is no standard as to what channels are IC and which are OOC. It is entirely subjective depending on who you’re with…. With one exception.

"/say Chuck Norris ROXXORS!"

…. Please don’t. When you consciously engage in RP, normal local chat should be assumed to be IC. If you speak OOC in /say, please bracket. No, not everyone does it. No, not everyone is going to be bothered by it if you talk about Chuck Norris, your latest Facebook picture or how much cheese it takes to make a really good Welsh rarebit… but why start off in bad habits? If you want to play on a role play server then start off in a good way and keep good habits all the way through.

"How do I find the role players?"

This is always the toughest part. It’s easier if you know someone on the server and they can drag you around and introduce you or show you where the events are. Otherwise you have to rely on your own detective ability.

  • Step one: Read the forum of the realm you have chosen (though hopefully you read them before you joined). Before you jump on there going “HEY! WHERE’S THE RP??” make sure they are not a hive of scum and villainy. Be sure they aren’t a putrid den of RP hatin’.
  • Step two: Talk to other people. Whether you meet them in a group, on the street, see them fishing in blue overalls, talk to them. Ask questions. Make it a point to reach out to others. Let them know you are new to the server and trying to make contact.

Being a roleplayer can be a fun and rewarding experience. You can meet some incredibly imaginative, creative, and fun players. There also tends to be a higher maturity ratio among role players. The most important thing to keep in mind though is you are coming to us. Don’t come to us with a LAWLRPSUX attitude because you are a guest. The rules of the house were set long before you came along. If you respect those that choose RP because they are roleplayers, you will have a much more pleasant experience. If you give it a chance, it is very likely you will find that RP brings an extra element of "adventure" to your game. One much more unpredictable and fun than anything that could be programmed in.

RP 101: Role Play Etiquette

Is there such a thing as Role Play Etiquette? Certainly there is! It may not be so obviously called that but you can usually tell when someone is breaking it. How can you tell? By listening carefully to what others say.

I’m going to try touching on the subject of RP Etiquette. Mind you there are hundreds and hundreds of RP pet peeves that individual RPers might have that I certainly can’t cover, but I will try to cover some of the most common ones. I will also discuss how to know if you’re breaking RP etiquette and possible alternatives or solutions to such behavior. Making role play fun for everyone is the goal. So let’s work towards that goal together.

Interrupting Active RP

Like in any real-life conversation, it is considered rude to interrupt a RP conversation that is going on. Though often role players are more open to others joining in, it is usually wise to try to determine if others are welcome before jumping in.

The simplest and usually fastest way to do this is to send an OOC whisper. Something along the lines of “(( I see you are engaged in role play conversation. Is this a private conversation or may others join in? ))” Quite often you’ll find that role players are seeking others to join them. But be prepared for the times when it is a private conversation not open to others.

There is also the technique of simply listening in to see what is going on with the conversation. Don’t worry! Mom won’t scold you for eavesdropping this time. In life, you can catch a few lines of conversation quickly and determine if it is something you can join or if it is a private matter you should step away from.


This is the term I use though others probably have different ones that mean the same thing. Snowplowing is stepping into someone’s active RP conversation and overwhelming it with YOUR rp. You plow right through with what YOU want to talk about without regard to what is already going on. Not good. Everyone gets their time in the spotlight. It does not have to be your time every time. If there is already an active conversation going on or someone’s RP plot, don’t snowplow through it with your own plot.

A good example. We were all at RP night in Stormwind one evening enjoying some casual conversation, doing a bit of fishing, a bit of drinking, and sharing some bawdy jokes. Up walks Darkandspooky (I’ve changed his name to protect the guilty). Immediately he begins spamming us with his description (in the form of bad emotes) and starts in with bizarre behaviors that are meant to reinforce the fact that he is “dark and spooky” (which I will discuss in a later article). Now the characters already present either continued with their conversation as if he hadn’t interrupted, or reacted in the way people who had imbibed large amounts of alcohol would. He seemed terribly upset that the other characters didn’t appropriately react to his all-powerful “dark and spooky”, but that was because he was trying to snowplow his way into the existing RP. It simply didn’t fit and forcing it wasn’t going to make it fit.

There are much more subtle ways to introduce your RP thoughts, ideas, plots or conversations. RP conversation, like real life conversation, flows and convolutes and changes. It may start out as a conversation about the fish in the canals and end up discussing whizzing off the docks in Westfall. You never truly know where it is going to end up or what roads it is going to take in between. So if you’ve got something you would like to bring into the conversation, listen to it. Follow the flow. Bring it in carefully where it fits rather than trying to force it on others. Trying to force it where it doesn’t fit has a tendency to go over like a turd in a punch bowl.

Sometimes conversations don’t go down the paths that would best fit what you want to talk about. Sorry sweets, but that happens sometimes. It doesn’t mean you are a bad role player. It doesn’t mean the others are trying to be rude to you. It simply means that the conversation flowed just like in real life. It is unpredictable. That is what makes it fun!


Now there are two different forms of hovering. One is rude and one is not. Telling the difference is subtle so pay attention. The first form of hovering, the not-rude one, is the person sitting to the side just listening to the conversation. Maybe casually emoting something once in a while. The shy character that just wants to be near people but really doesn’t want to interact. Sometimes the hovering character has a player that is being pulled away from the keyboard frequently so lets the character sit quietly as the conversation scrolls across the screen and catches up on what is going on when they return to the keyboard. I’ve done this a number of times. This form of hovering is okay and is also a great way to learn things. By keeping the ears open and the mouth shut.

The hovering that is irritating and rude is of a completely different variety. The character that walks back and forth past the conversation participants over and over and over and over again…. but never says anything. The character that sits right at the edge of the conversation (usually with their back to the others) clearing their throat, emoting other trivial things such as spilling a mug or tying their shoe or picking at the lacings on their trews…. but never says anything. They make it clear they want to rp too but are not doing anything to reach out the hand to play. As a matter of fact, their behaviors generally are not something others would comment on. If I see someone picking at their fly I’m not going to call attention to it.

The latter form of hovering is a behavior that is guilty of waiting for contact. I discussed the difference between looking for contact and waiting for contact in a previous article. Inclusion isn’t a one-way street. In order for others to include you in conversation, you have to do something that they can react to. Simply wandering back and forth isn’t sufficient. I’ve seen characters just wander back and forth for twenty minutes not saying or doing anything but then getting upset because they weren’t included in the conversation. Role players are not mind readers. In order to be part of the conversation they have to be given something that they can comment on or notice. Don’t be shy. Try speaking out. It can be something simple like asking for directions or commenting on the weather. Be creative.


This is by far the singlemost irritating rp behavior out there. God-moding is when you do something that affects another character without giving them leave to decide their own actions or opinions. An extreme form of god-moding would be emoting that you stab the other character, killing them instantly. It can take other, more subtle, forms though.

If you emote something along the lines of another person’s character noticing that your character has eyes red from crying, that is god-moding. A better choice would be to emote that your character rubs at eyes red from crying and leave it up to the other player as to whether they notice it or not. Sometimes characters have reasons for not noticing things.

Many role players won’t come flat out and tell someone they are god-moding. That is, perhaps, a fault many share. Generally they will ignore the god-moded behavior and continue on with whatever they were doing or simply ignore the character guilty of it. If you find yourself being ignored or legitimately snubbed and you truly do want to improve, don’t get angry, ask the person about it in whispers. Usually others are quite open to helping eager role players improve their rp skill.

Manners, Manners, Manners!

In general, role play behavior should mirror real life behavior. The same rules of manners still apply. Take time to think in these terms and you will find smooth role play laid out in front of you.

Inclusion in role play also takes effort on both parts. Don’t just wander around doing nothing and get upset when you’re not included. You have to try too.

Remember, everyone gets their time in the spotlight. It may not be your time at just that moment but it will be eventually. Patience is the key.

And as with all things involved in role play, be creative! Even if your attempt to reach out and be involved is awkward, it gives a place to start.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author. She does not claim they are the only way to RP. Hopefully someone will find some merit in the article but as with all RP, it comes down to personal preference.

RP 101: Character Building

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author. She does not claim they are the only way to RP. Hopefully someone will find some merit in the article but as with all RP, it comes down to personal preference.

Part 1 - Introduction & Personality

So you want to create a role play character. You want this character to be interesting, be attractive, be loved by those around, have others to interact with regularly, etc. How do you go about it?

As a writer and role player for 20+ years, I’ve learned a few things along the way about character building. I’ve made many of the mistakes that afflict new writers and role players and have seen firsthand the results. It is my hope that some of what I have learned the hard way can make character building less painful for venturing into the role play realm.

Because building a good character is such a far reaching topic, I will break it down into a series of articles to make for easier reading.


Everyone wants their character to be fun to play. If the character isn’t fun then what is the point in logging in and slogging through the levels? I’m sure we’ve all created a number of alts then abandoned them for various reasons simply because they were not fun.

First thing you need to look at is what do you find fun? Do you like being by yourself or being in large groups? Do you like one on one interaction? Do you like funny, light-hearted RP or do you like more serious and dramatic? All of these must be considered when building a character.


Everyone wants to have an interesting character. After all, if the character isn’t interesting then what is the point in having him or her around? There are several factors that play into whether a character is interesting or not; Personality, Appearance, Believability, Weaknesses, and Background. These are just boiled down because sometimes factors overlap but this is a good starting point.

Let’s Talk About Personality
Try to create a personality that not only you can enjoy playing but one that others enjoy interacting with. That is if you want interaction with others. If the character bites, insults, or otherwise abuses others about them for no apparent reason and with great frequency, you’ll soon find yourself without anyone to interact with. This goes for drama llamas too. (See definition below). Now I’m not saying every character has to be Polly Pureheart, but they should have enough redeeming qualities that there is something to bring others back to play.

First generalization you need to consider is do you want to play a good guy or a bad guy? This may seem like a silly thing to consider, but it is the beginning point of your personality. Don’t worry, there are bad guy characters that are cool beyond belief and others certainly do want to interact with them.

Good Guys:

First off, not all good guys are of the Polly Pureheart variety. By being a “good” guy, that could be as simple as someone who works hard, helps others, brings food to their sick aunt Patty. Then there are the extreme good guys. If you’re going to play a good guy, you need to think about the level of the character’s goodness.

Now, as with many things, there are areas of gray. Not everything is black and white. Perhaps the character is mostly good in that they do not try to actively harm innocents. They try to be good but sometimes what may seem good to them, is not so good to others. During the course of play, these types of situations will also help shape the character.

Bad Guys:

Not all bad guys have to be of the kitten-eating demon variety. Someone who is greedy or a bit of a megalomaniac can be considered a bad guy. Perhaps it is someone who feels they have no choice in what they do. It doesn’t mean they are not a fun character just because they are a bad guy.

Some bad guys are obviously bad, but they are so cool and suave about it we continue to be drawn to them. I use Dr. Doom from Marvel Comics as an example of a cool bad guy. He’s bad, he’s a megalomaniac, and he wants to kill the Fantastic Four… a lot. But he’s cool. If you can create a bad guy with the element that leaves others saying “Wow. That character is bad… but cool!” you’ve created a good bad guy.

Common Personality Traps:

When creating your character, there are a few common personality traps that you should try to avoid, otherwise you may have others rolling their eyes at your character or just avoiding it all together.

Mr./Ms. Perfect:

The character that is so pure, so heroic, so sweet, so loving and so GORGEOUS that everyone should lust after them and want to be their friend/lover/pet/champion.

Nobody is that perfect. Others like to interact with characters they can in some way identify with. Why do they roll their eyes at Mr. Perfect? Because he is not believable. Disbelief cannot be suspended with this type of character because they do not exist in life.

(Zydrate's Note: In all RP communities, this is generally referred to as a "Mary Sue")


Superbad is a character so evil they eat kittens on their Cheerios, happily slaughter their way through Stormwind on a daily basis and steal Ol’ Emma’s water bucket just for laughs. In general, they treat everyone around them like crap. And they are sooooo bad nobody in the universe could ever hope to quell them!

This one should be self-explanatory. Who wants to interact with someone that treats everyone around them so badly? Where’s the fun in that? If people enjoyed being treated like crap they’d go back to High School! Even bad guys need some redeeming qualities.

Drama Llama:

“Oh my life is so tragic! It is more tragic than yours could ever be! There is nothing that could ever be done to make my life less tragic! And nobody else cares!”

/eyeroll Yep. Nobody else cares. You know why? Because the drama llama seeks only for everyone else to fawn over her while she whines and wallows in misery. How is that fun for anyone but the llama? Others expending their energy trying to make someone feel better or help them out and that person continues to wallow. Eventually people run out of energy to expend and go off to do something fun.

The one factor these types have in common is extremes. Anything taken to extremes gets real old, real fast. A good character has a balanced personality. A good character is not only fun for the player, but fun for those around as well.

Zydrate's Note: A lot of this section had to be omitted because it had an emphasis on World of Warcraft Lore. Sorry about that.

It also mentions avoiding Vampires, which has a real lore presence here on CO.

Part 2 - Background

Every character has a history of some sort buried away somewhere. This history filled with experiences shape the character’s personality, reactions, quirks, hobbies, style – everything about them. Sometimes finding that background is the most difficult task in character creation. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Often times you have to play the character before you can fully flesh out the background. Many role players and writers refer to this as “giving the character time to tell you about it” or waiting for the character to start “talking”. No, they aren’t suffering from delusions or multiple personality disorder. This is simply giving their subconcious imagination time to brew up what it needs to fit the character and manifesting it in a way that is easier to translate into written or role played form.

Taking time with the character, seeing how a few things play out, is usually the best way to build a background. If you have it all written out before you ever set foot in the world with the character, can sometimes be very limiting. The last thing you want to do is restrict yourself and the character you play beyond your ability to have fun with them.

That being said, you should have a general idea about where they come from before you let them speak. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Know The Lore

You don’t have to be an absolute fiend about knowing the lore of the game to create a feasible background, however you should have a general idea of the history of the race you’re going to play and some idea of timeline.

Avoid The Eyeroll

There are some common backgrounds that I see from many new role players that leave me rolling my eyes. I’ve heard the same comment from other long time role players as well. While this is RP and you are more than welcome to play what you like, if you want to interact with others and avoid the eyeroll response, try to avoid some of these common background traps.

The Daughter/Son of (Insert Major Lore Character Here)

It's generally considered bad form to make your character be related to a known NPC. It simply feels like you're trying too hard to seem "special" or "distinguished". There are MANY other ways to go about this, make sure not to fall into this trap.

The Catgirl

Whether it is born to a druid in cat form or the product of a mating between a druid in cat form and a wild tiger, it’s overdone, and simply put – ridiculous. You may think you’re being so creative with your cat-tail hanging down and your furry ears and you’re pointed teeth peeking out of your mouth, but if you go around claiming you’re a catgirl (or boy) don’t be surprised if you’re not taken seriously.

(Zydrate's Note: The reason why people stopped respecting these on CO is because there has just been so many of them. That's how cliche's are born - When there's so many of something that it loses its original novelty.)

The Trauma Llama

Everything bad that could ever happen to a character has all happened to this character at least twice. Now while bad things are a part of everyone’s history, nobody enjoys a trauma llama that wallows in it, spouts it to every person they meet on the street, and tries to one-up everyone else’s traumatic events. If the trauma of the character’s life is the be-all, end-all of their background you’re going to have a difficult time getting anyone to take an interest. This is a game meant for fun. Trauma can, and does, help shape a character, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of their life and history. Where is the fun in that?

Think Creative Without Being Outrageous

It is possible to create a wonderful, interesting, and colorful background for your character without being a victim of the eyeroll. Your character doesn’t have to be the leader's illegitimate half-demon catgirl in disguise to be interesting or fun to interact with. Don’t try to force importance, validity, or take any aspect of the background to extremes. A good background is like a good personality; well-balanced and feasible.

Do not underestimate the power of the ordinary. The Background of your character does not have to be grand or outrageous or even noteworthy. It is merely a tool to help shape the personality of the character, to help guide their actions and reactions when you play them. It’s there to give you something to talk about on occasion.

What’s wrong with being a mere notekeeper? A mere Soldier or Apprentice? It isn’t the background that makes the character, it is how you play the character that makes them. It is how that character acts and reacts with others. It is their views, their loves, their dislikes, their mannerisms. Let the character make the character. If you’re creative and confident enough to do that, you’ll do just fine.

Part 3 - Appearance

Tips For Writing A Good Description
When writing a description for your character, remember that there are five senses; Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch and Smell. Now it is unlikely you’ll write what your character tastes like. I know I don’t usually walk up to someone I’ve just met and lick them. Touch might be a bit awkward, but there are some situations where this sense should not be written off entirely. Your most commonly used sense in descriptions is going to be sight, however sound and smell have their own validity.


This could cover the sound of their voice, the rattle of their armor, the beads on their shirt. There are many things that could be incorporated into the sound of a character. Remember to listen to your character’s appearance when writing about it.


The sense of smell is one of the most powerful we have. It can draw us to someone or repel us. There are many things that could stimulate our sense of smell. Does the character wear any scented oils? Are they consistently sweaty? Do they smell of grass? Herbs? Close your eyes a moment when writing about the character and think about how they would smell. If something stands out, then put it in the description.


This is going to be the sense most characters will touch first. What they see will be a key indicator in other’s first impression. Some of the basic descriptors are hair length, color (if it is different than the avatar), build, height, and weight. Some of the more detailed descriptors are eye shape, color, face shape, jewelry worn, or condition of clothing (neat, ragged, dirty, etc). Then there are outstanding features.

Outstanding features can cover a number of things; missing limbs, eye patches, limps, anything of that sort. Large ornamentation, visible body paint, oddly colored stripes in the hair. Something that would stand out. These outstanding features should most definitely be included in the description. Be creative on these. Don’t go for easy. Take some time and think about the character and what, if anything, might stand out.

And be sure to include at least something on how they dress. Loose fitting, ragged, neat, armored? Think about that as well. And while I realize this is, indeed, a fantasy game, understand before you write “this person wears armor, even while sleeping”, that you understand (from a person that has worn plate armor for several hours on end on numerous occasions) that armor is uncomfortable. It is bulky, difficult to move in, noisy, stiff, and pinches in places that a body was never meant to be pinched!

Mannerisms should be considered when writing a description as well. Does this person flinch when new people approach? Do they have a notebook they carry with them at all times? Is their hand constantly on their weapon? Do they have a teddy bear tucked under their arm? These sorts of observations in the description give a bit of insight into the character’s personality. Something that can be seen to support their actions and reactions when we encounter them in actual contact.

Keep It Simple

Now that I have told you all the wonderful things you should think about when describing your character, I’m going to confuse you by telling you to keep it short and simple. I can hear your cries of “Foul!” from all over, but honestly, especially when it comes to an in-game addon description, few people will read one that is overly long and complicated. We don’t really need great details about how many buttons are on the character's shirt or which direction he laces his boots. Give us the most obvious in the most succinct manner possible. Having a novel for a description will actually hinder people reading it.

Avoid God-Moding

When writing a description, god-moding involves describing a trait and how the reader feels about that trait. Avoid writing things such as “Your jaw drops when you see her enormous bosom.” Honestly I couldn’t care less about her bosom. I’m not in the habit of looking at them. I have one of my very own that I have to look at every day.

That is an extreme example but they are out there. However there are others that are more subtle, but just as incorrect. For example if you were to write “He is the most handsome man you have ever seen.” How do you know? Whether a person is handsome or not is a matter of opinion. You should never try to force an opinion on someone else. Let them judge whether they find that character handsome or not. Instead of telling us he’s handsome, tell us about the traits that YOU think makes him handsome. Describe the dark skin, black hair, golden eyes – whatever! But don’t tell us we think he’s handsome.

Description Only Please

When writing a description, especially for in-game addons, do not include information such as the background of the character or what kind of personality traits they have. We can’t see that, hear it, smell it, the first time we encounter that person. A description is just that; a description. Do not include information that is not apparent to the senses of other players. By putting in that information you’re expanding the length of the description unnecessarily and making it less likely anyone will read it. If they want to know that, they’ll find out when talking to the character!

(Zydrate's note: This is actually more viable in the CO universe considering that ingame descriptions can be seen as a PRIMUS scan, which can probably include various background information.
However it is of my opinion that even then it should be written more like a report - not like a short story.)

Avoid The /eyeroll

Now I’m not going to try to tell you what your character should look like; only you can decide that. What I am going to offer are some tips on what will elicit the /yawn or /eyeroll response.

Many role players when first starting out want a character that is particularly handsome or beautiful. There are probably a number of psychological reasons behind this and I won’t attempt to delve into them, however I can point out a few of the most common appearance traps.

The Scar

This is a harsh world our characters live in. Some scarring might to happen. If that is the focus of your character’s description, then it is not a very interesting character. Where extreme scarring is rare IRL and shocking when you see it, it is so common in role play descriptions that it seldom elicits more than /yawn. If your character has scars and there is a reason for them, by all means, write about them, but don’t just use them to make the character “cool”. Chicks don’t dig scars.

There are literally hundreds of ridiculous description traps that I could write about here, but that would make this article far too long. I’ll try to summarize and make this all fit together in a final bit of advice.

  • Keep it simple
  • Think with your senses
  • Avoid description opinions
  • If it sounds even slightly ridiculous to you, it probably is.

(Zydrate's Note: I've omitted a couple others that were noted on the source, such as "The Buxom" and "The Cyber-Bait". Probably to avoid controversy. Basically, if the focus of your character creation is the fact that your character is so sexy that both genders should just be fawning over them - It's not a good way to become integrated with the community.)

And one final bit of advice, especially if you are new to role play; if you have a friend who also role plays, get them to read your description and give an honest evaluation. Tell them they MUST be honest. Having others read it and tell you what works and what doesn’t work is a great way to learn.

Part 4 - Weaknesses

Throughout these articles I have discussed the need for balance. One of the features that make a character well balanced is weaknesses. Their weaknesses will contribute to their personality, behaviors, responses to others and different situations. Weaknesses are woven deeply into everything about the character and provide a more well-rounded personality. After all, nobody is perfect. Weaknesses contribute greatly to who a character – or person – is.

Well-crafted weaknesses are just as important and interesting as any other element of your character. It would be impossible to determine a character’s strengths without weaknesses to offset them. Weaknesses can also provide something to work towards. If, for example, the character is scared of dogs, that provides a goal to work toward; overcoming that fear of dogs.

Types of Weaknesses

There are certainly many types of weaknesses, but they can be most easily broken down into two; Psychological and Physical.

Psychological weaknesses are those that spring from the character’s own mind. Whether it is a fear of heights or narcississtic tendencies, they are self-defeating weaknesses. Psychological weaknesses are, in essence, controlled by the character’s own mind, which makes them especially difficult to overcome. They may have been created by some severe trauma in the character’s past or perhaps some other event that brought it on. However it came to be, it is part of the character and may or may not be something that can be overcome.

Physical weaknesses are of the sort that affect the character’s physical appearance or abilities. Physical weaknesses can also cause psychological ones that are closely intertwined. A physical weakness might include a missing limb, sensory loss (blindness, deafness), vertigo, or some sort of disease or condition such as allergies. Physical weaknesses can be caused by injury, disease, birth defect or any number of other factors that can affect physical appearance or ability.


Not all weaknesses are of the debilitating variety. Some are small, just little quirks of a sort. Some are humorous, some are sad, some are so outrageous we find ourselves trying to fix the person we encounter with it simply to have it gone. Sometimes we give our characters weaknesses without even realizing we’ve done so. Is your character bigoted toward another race? Do they drink to excess? Are they lazy, dishonest, scared of the dark? Do they have a teddy bear that must be with them at all times? Are they promiscuous? These are all weaknesses that help to round out the character.

When deciding the severity of your weaknesses, however, be sure that you don’t write yourself into a role play corner and leave yourself with a character that is unplayable. I have a friend that wrote a character that has issues with his foot. Severe enough to keep him from adventuring. He recently realized that this made it very difficult to get anything done with the character and is working on a role play reason to make the character viable again. My friend is an excellent and creative RPer so I have faith he will have no problem coming up with a creative and believable way to make this happen, but it helps to illustrate the point here. All things in moderation. Don’t defeat yourself and your character before you’ve even started playing it.


If you are going to build a weakness into your character, be sure there is a believable reason behind it. Do they dislike the Strangers because one of them stole his prized shield? Are they repulsed by the smell of the clockworks? Did they lose their left pinky toe in the fight with Vanaduke? Be creative but be believable. The weaknesses must fit the persona, not just be tacked on because you think they are “cool”.

In-Play Happenings

Sometimes weaknesses can come from happenings in current RP. These can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the situation. Whatever the case, again, make sure they are believable. When coming up with other happenings that influence your character, make sure it is not something you’ve already done to death. If your character is possessed by demons every Tuesday, others are not likely to give the reaction you’re looking for. They are more likely to roll their eyes and relegate you to a forgotten corner of obscurity.

Avoid The Most Common Trap

The single most common weakness trap is “Sir Buford is afraid of failure.” Now, if played properly, this can be a valid weakness, however quite often it is seen as a cop-out for someone trying to run Mr. Perfect who never has failures, and has no weakness. Remember, weaknesses can be fun! They don’t have to be huge and traumatic. Be creative and go with what fits the character.

Part 5 - Believability & Summary

Over the course of these articles I’ve tried to give some basic tips on creating a believable character. Most role players want a character that is fun to play and fun for others to interact with. After all, if we don’t have others to interact with then we have no true role play. It is like writing a story with nobody to read it. Vastly unfulfilling.

One thing holds true for all creative endeavors; if your audience, or in this case those you interact with, do not enjoy your story/character, they will find someone else to play with. You will find your sandbox sadly empty. Believability is an important factor for any character you create and hope to play. If other players do not find the character believable, then this dampens their enjoyment and they will gravitate elsewhere.

What makes a character believable? Many things actually, but most importantly are the traits that we can identify with. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing an undead mage, bi-pedal cow, or cloven-hoofed warrior of the Light. If your character has traits we can identify with, and if they are presented in a reasonable and logical way, the character can be believable… and likeable.

Watch out for extremes. If our character is always emo, flogging themselves about how horrid they are, that gets old real fast. If the character is perfection itself, can do no harm or wrong, that also gets old real fast. You don’t have to push the character over the edge to be interesting.

I can’t say it enough; Do Not Underestimate The Power Of The Ordinary. So many people out there are trying to build RP heroes and gods and whathaveyous. Trying to capture fame by forcing “importance” on their character. Trying to steal respect without earning it. In all things; looks, personality, background; the ordinary can be the most fascinating and extraordinary thing to others. What you may see as ordinary, may be the most incredibly fascinating trait to the next person you interact with. Give it a try.

RP 101: Romance in RP - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Now before you start to point and snicker, muttering about “cyborz”, notice the title is ROMANCE, not ERP. That is a topic for a private conversation, not for a public wiki.
Romance can cover a wide range of emotional depth from the friends that exchange flowers on occasion to full fledged lovers or marrieds. Role playing romance DOES NOT mean cyber just like reading a book that has romantic elements does not mean reading porn.

The Good

If you choose to involve your character in romantic relationships it can bring in another level of role play that is interesting and a good development tool for the character. It can also bring pleasant interaction and memories for both the character and the player to counteract the war-stricken and depressing world they live in. It’s a way to see that even in such terrible times, life does go on. There is hope and there are things to take joy in.

Emotional beings need that. If a mind is constantly bombarded with the awful with no respite, eventually it will break down.

The Bad

Sometimes RP romance can be taken too far; too seriously. Always always always remember IT IS RP. IT IS NOT REAL. I have seen people who’s characters are involved in romantic RP begin to believe that it is an actual relationship and when one of those involved plays another character or spends time with other friends, the other gets jealous or angry. These are pixilated images inside a box of computer parts. They are not real flesh, bone or emotion. They are story characters that we play with and read about but do not really exist. Do not fall into the trap of thinking they do.

The Ugly

I have seen RP romances turn sour and because one party or both have taken it too seriously, when the RP romance fails, it destroys the friendship between the players. I have also seen it go so far as to fracture guilds. Bands of friends choosing sides because one or two people pushed it too far. Truly a sad affair and one that should NEVER be allowed to happen in RP.

Rules For Romance In RP

While this list may not be all inclusive, I will try to provide at least a beginner’s guide for those looking to involve their character in RP romance. Much of this may seem like common sense but perhaps, for some, reading it will drive it home and give pause before the ugly rears its head.

  • 1 – The most important! If you forget everything else, do not forget this! – RP Romance is not real. It is an interactive story development. Nothing more.
  • 2 – The character your character is involved with has a player behind it too. This player usually has other obligations such as real life, other friends, guild members, other characters that they want to play as well. Don’t try to monopolize their time.
  • 3 – Don’t let your time be monopolized either. If you have other things you wish to do, be sure the other player understands this as well.
  • 4 – “Intimate” role play should be decided on in advance by both parties. Set your boundaries and stick to them, or be respectful of the other person’s boundaries as well. Romantic RP can be just as rewarding without ERP.
  • 5 – Make sure all boundaries and limitations are clear and understood. Do you only have time once a week to dedicate to RP? Do you have another character that you want to spend time on as well? Do you want to be able to spend time leveling as well as role playing? Make sure it is all clear.
  • 6 – If something comes up that is going to keep you away from contact for a while, let the other person know. Heck, let all your friends that you play with know! They’re your friends. If you just disappear without a word they worry about you.
  • 7 – The other player likely has other characters that they want to play too. These other characters may become, or already be involved, romantically with characters that are not yours. This is acceptable. Do not get jealous or snippy because the player wants to spend time with other friends too. This comes back to both #1 and #2.

Making It Work
Now there are many factors that play into whether romance can be feasible. First off, it is not likely the characters are going to be able to spend as much actual time together as a couple might in real life and trying to do that will cause issues of its own. However there are still ways to have the characters “be together” in down times that will fit with the RP and won’t leave anyone feeling pressured.

The Power of Assumption

“It can be assumed…” That statement can lead to any number of useful RP short cuts. In this case it can be used to establish time spent together doing more mundane things. Sharing meals, sleeping together, fishing, etc. If you have characters that are regular lovers, for example, just because the players are not in game at the same time every day or are even out for several days at a time, doesn’t mean the characters are not spending time together. Likely they would find a way to at least spend the night together more than once a week, if that is their inclination. Discuss this with the other player so that it can be established for the characters and help ease the burden of feeling obligated to spend every available moment in game together.

Combining Objectives

Are you questing in similar areas? Level ranges? Have the same instances you need to hit? So make them into a RP session. Grab a group of like-minded individuals for that instance and RP as you go. Run around the countryside with your RP muffin and complete quests while engaging in conversation and the occasional stolen kiss. Be creative. RP doesn’t always have to be just sitting in a bar in Stormwind. You can RP and accomplish other tasks as well.

Schedule It

Set up a time or day that you and your RP partner are scheduled to hang out together in game. That way neither of you gets lost in the shuffle. Maybe every Wednesday you meet for RP dinner at the Blue Recluse. Perhaps Friday is the night that you both have set aside to kill monsters. Be creative and keep it interesting. Maybe all you want to do is sit in a chair and talk all night. That’s good too. By scheduling a day/time to do it then you avoid the hit or miss of scheduling differences.

Write It

A great deal of story can be created and told through written RP. Most guilds associated with RP have a place for storytelling. By creating a written story coinciding with the in-game RP, there is a great deal more information and development of character that can be accomplished. So you’re not the greatest writer in the world. How will you get better if you don’t practice? Use your spellchecker and your grammar checker and then learn as you go. Share the story as it grows and give it the details that we cannot see or experience in game. It’s a great way to tie everything together when actual play time is limited.

As with anything, communication and respect are very important when involving your character in RP Romance. Have fun with it. Be creative. But always remember, it is just RP.

RP 101: Drama In RP: How Much is Too Much?

Every story must have some conflict or drama to be interesting. When it involves RP, how much is too much?

Every player has their own tolerance threshold for character drama. Some are going to have a fairly high tolerance, some are going to have a fairly low one, and some it will depend on what they have recently been involved in, how believable the drama is, and how original it is. Personally, I only rarely create major dramatic threads for my characters. Why? Because they get real old, real fast. I rarely get involved in other people’s major plot lines. Why? Same reason.

Part of the problem with major RP threads is the time commitment. Most major drama threads require a commitment of time either in game or in written RP that many folks have trouble making. This is a busy world, things happen and the larger the storyline, the more people involved, the greater the chance that someone will have trouble meeting the time obligations due to real life.

There is also the interest factor. I can attest to the fact that after waiting for days on end for the next person to do their part, interest wanes. You want to move on, do other things, spend your time on something that is moving rather than wasting it waiting.

RP Is For Fun

The one point I cannot stress enough is that RP is for fun. It is not supposed to feel like work. It is not supposed to create stress. It should leave all participants with the feeling that they enjoyed themselves. It should not leave anyone feeling bruised, angry, or in any other way stressed out.

I realize that many people find the long, drawn out, dramatic role plays fun but I ask you, for how long? For whom? Please stay tuned as I explain.

At one point in the rp community on my (old) server there was a chick, we’ll call her Chiclet to protect her identity, that wasn’t content unless she was surrounded by huge dramatic rp. If there wasn’t huge drama going on that she could somehow switch the spotlight to her, she would create it. She became a bit of a joke among role players with her “weekly demon possession” and people quickly learned to avoid her.

Now there are many reasons why Chiclet became a joke. First off there was the overuse of old plots. She had been possessed by demons no less than four times that I am aware of. One possession well played (which I have never seen done) can be an interesting plot. More than that and people yawn and walk away. It’s too much! It is not believable and if it was poorly done the first time, the second and third won’t be any better.

Chiclet never allowed for down time either. It would be wave upon wave of huge dramatic RP. She was possessed, she was dying, she was pregnant, she was pregnant with a dying possessed catgirl… You get the idea. After a while, others get tired of expending their time and energy.

Finding The Line

There is a definite line in dramatic RP and some people are very good at not crossing it. Others, not so good. The difficult part is finding that line in the first place.

RP is meant to mirror reality in many ways. Even though we're in a fantasy setting, the aspects of life, of believability are what draw people back. They want a glimpse of people, situations, places, creatures they will otherwise never see. They want a story to entertain them for a few hours here and there. They want to interact with that story and influence it and have it affect their characters in return.

Because this is a fantasy setting, we’re pushing the line of believability every day. However, you can push the setting believability line a lot further than you can push the character believability line. Characters should mirror life much closer than any other aspect of your story. Their life path and how they deal with it are the elements that will draw others back or repel them.

Life is full of ups and downs. I know for a fact that there are times when it feels like it is nothing but downs, but truly there are ups too. When looking at a character as portrayed in RP there are a few things to consider when planning their plot. First off, if you only give the character down moments, never any up moments, you’re going to turn others off really fast.

The character that is the perpetual downer that ONLY has bad things happen, has them happen three times a day, and is so traumatized by every single one of them that they can never be happy is not very interesting. People reading, or participating in, a story like for things to get better. Like for the character to have ups as well as downs. After all, if nothing ever gets better, what is the point in trying? People don’t like to have hope killed. Hope keeps us, as human beings, plugging along through our lives even when things are bad. If the characters in our entertainment have no hope, it creates a sense of fear that we have none either.

How the character deals with it is another point that can draw people in or repel them. Time to talk honestly here. Overall, tragedy makes people uncomfortable. We feel helpless in our lack of ability to fix it. Sometimes we can do something to help ease it, but overall, we’re not truly comfortable again until it is gone. If we can watch that character actually work towards improving their situation, we can follow the story with pleasure because it builds up that sense of hope. The “mud puddle” character is not going to accomplish that. What is the “mud puddle” character you ask? That is the character that falls into the mud puddle and instead of trying to climb out, just sits there, splashing around in the dirty water, saying, “Oh no! Oh no! I’ve fallen into a mud puddle!”

Because we only see the characters for such a small amount of time, every moment that we do see them that is influenced by the downs is going to be magnified. Because we don’t see the flashes through the day of them just staring at the sun daydreaming, or sleeping peacefully at night. What we do see is intensified by the short amount of time that we see it. Some drama is great for a story. But give your “readers” breathing space or you may find yourself RPing alone.

Now if you are sitting there insisting that your character is defined only by tragedy, then I have nothing further to say to you. You’re stuck in the mud puddle, you don’t want to get out, and nothing anyone says is going to convince you otherwise. However if you’re the one reading this that wants there to be more to your character that a string of cheap misery tricks, read on!

No Firm Numbers

Nobody can give you firm numbers on how long you should wait between dramatic events. RP, like life, should be fluid. It should not be forced. Let it flow and take it’s own path. If it feels too soon for something else to happen, likely it is WAY too soon. The owner of the character is always the last one to recognize this.

While many role players will say their character “talks” to them, we all do have some control over the path they take. And you should exert that control on occasion to make sure the character is not only fun to play but fun to interact with. Role playing alone isn’t nearly so much fun!

If you’ve played out a major dramatic storyline, give your character some time off. Let them run around doing mundane things for a while. Take them fishing, to an evening out in a pub, for an afternoon walk in the park with their pet worg. Let them live a normal life for a while.

If your character has a tendency towards depression, give them a few moments of “uptime” here and there. Let them enjoy themselves while questing with others or find something they do enjoy for a while. If it is something they’ve done alone, let them talk to others about it. Eeyore is cute, but after a while his bummer attitude gets a little old.

Be Creative

As with anything involved in rp, be creative. Down time doesn’t have to mean dull time. With a bit of creativity you could even make sitting on a curb eating cheese interesting. Be imaginative! Is there something simple that you don’t often play out with your character? Well, try it! Something totally off the wall that they’ve never done? Do it! The really fun part is the “why” behind it. Give it a shot! Try walking through a city, but don’t just walk! Interact! Set up a macro that has the character nod at those they pass or bump into them or something else.

Nothing is going to be perfect every time. Nothing is going to be audience captivating every time. But if you keep trying, keep testing new things, keep the audience entertained without forcing depression down their throats, you’ll have more fun than you could imagine. Gloom, despair and agony are not the only path to interesting role play.

I have said it before in other articles; Never underestimate the power of the ordinary. Make it a challenge for yourself to take something ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. So you’re standing at the mailbox reading a letter. What can you do to make it fun? Interesting? To draw others in? Giggle at the letter? Start talking back to it as if the author could hear you? If walking through town, what can you make happen by tripping over that warpstalker’s tail? Make it a challenge to yourself. Take an ordinary situation and challenge yourself to make it something else. If you like, come back here and tell me about it. I would love to hear your story and I’m sure others would too!

RP 101: The Difference Between "Looking for Contact" and "Waiting for Contact"

The single most common complaint I hear from role players is either “nobody RPs anymore!” or “I can’t find anyone to RP with!” My first instinct is to ask, “Does that include you?” You see, there are lots of profile's running around out there that say “In Character, Looking For Contact” but are you *looking* for contact, or *waiting* for contact. There is a distinct difference.

Looking for contact is the act of putting out effort to find, create, or otherwise engage others in RP. Waiting for contact is sitting on a bridge, saying nothing, waiting for others to engage you. Do you see the difference here?

In a perfect world, we would all have RP dropped into our lap whenever we wanted. This is far from a perfect world, however, and in order to find RP, you also have to be willing to put out some effort. If everyone just sits around waiting for RP, when is it ever going to happen? Someone has to take the initiative.

How can you tell if you are looking or waiting? Through a simple analysis of your own in-game behaviors. Do you approach others with their looking for contact tag up? If someone you don’t know comes up while you are engaged in conversation do you try to include them? Do you walk while in town instead of run? Do you put on RP clothes? If you answered no to these questions, you are waiting.

Looking for contact does involve some effort but is not as difficult or scary as you might believe. I’ll try to provide some tips and hints to set you on the right path to finding the RP you crave.

Clues To Finding The Role Players

Now just a name is not always enough to pick out who role plays and who does not. Watch behaviors too. Walking in town is always a good indicator. Wearing “street clothes” rather than armor is one too. Are they a member of a well known RP guild? If you see them talk in /say, is it IC? There are lots of subtle indicators, and some not-so-subtle, that can lead you closer to someone who would be more receptive to role play.

Making IC Contact

Lots of people have difficulty making first contact IC. Called “first contact fear”, hopefully I will be able to provide some tips here that will help others to overcome this. Don’t worry! You are not alone. Everyone has felt that first contact anxiety at some point. It can be overcome.

The most common question is “Why would my character talk to that person?” Why indeed? This is where you have to be creative! It doesn’t have to be something profound. Find an excuse. If you wanted to strike up a conversation with someone in real life, what would you do? It could be as simple as complimenting their clothing or if they have a pet, comment on that. Comment on the weather or ask for directions. Use your imagination. All it has to be is something to get the conversation started.

Making OOC Contact

When you simply cannot come up with an idea to start a conversation IC, resort to OOC. Send the person a whisper OOC. Something along the lines of /tell Person (( Hey! I notice you have you're speaking IC. Would you like to RP? )) Don’t let fear keep you from at least trying. Most people are either going to be receptive or tell you if they are about to log or leave to go to a raid or whatever.

Sometimes you may not get a response at all. Don’t assume this is a snub. The person may be on a stealth afk. Or they may be wrapped up in drama over other channels. Or they may simply miss it in the spam. Because this is a typed medium, be sure you give plenty of time to respond before you move on. But don’t let one failed attempt keep you from trying again. It is only through trying that we ever succeed.


Another way to find RP is to attend events. Small weekly gatherings or larger events thrown open to the public are a great way to make contact with others. Yes, this may mean giving up an evening of Vanaduke runs, but if you want to find RP, you have to make the effort.

Check your forum for events. Also check any guild forums you frequent or other forums tied to your interests. Ask around among people who are well known on the server. Likely they will know of any upcoming events or where to find information on them.

When you attend events, be sure you don’t just sit on the side and wait for others to talk to you. RP is a two-way street. It takes effort from both sides to make it happen. If you attend a ball, mingle! Talk with others, compliment their clothes, comment on something you hear in passing. Once again, be creative. You are looking, not waiting, remember?

If there are no events coming up, consider organizing one. That isn’t as complicated as it may seem either. See my previous article on Hosting A Role Play Event for ideas and information on this fun and rewarding process.

Don’t Be A Wallflower

Apathy kills RP. I cannot say that enough. If we all sit around and wait for RP to happen then who is going to initiate it? We must all put forth effort to make it happen and keep it alive. Don’t expect others to bring RP to you. Step out of the safety of silence and look for it. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out every time. That’s normal! The more you try, the more success you will have! If you sit around like the wallflower at the prom, don’t be upset if nobody asks you to dance.

The next time you find yourself complaining about there not being any role play, ask yourself what are you doing to get some going. With a little bit of effort, we can make more RP happen for everyone!

RP 101: The Other Side of the Pixels

(Zydrate's Note: The first part of this was personalized for the actual writer of all these articles, but it all leads up a very specific point so I'll simply replace her bio with, well, mine.)

I’m going to touch on a subject that all players, not just role-players, should keep in mind. It may seem like it has nothing to do with RP and therefore has no place in this series of articles, but I assure you it does. It has a very firm place in all interactions we have online and I hope people will read it and take it to heart.

Who Am I? Who Are You?

Hi. I'm Zydrate. I like to write stories and play video games. My home life is not terribly impressive; I'm 23 and having trouble finding a job. As a result this puts a strain on my home life. I live with my brother, mother who in turn also lives with her mother. My brother has mental issues which prevent him from getting a job as well. My entire family has various forms of depression of varying severity.
I have dreams and daydreams, I think every day about what I'm going to do the next. I have wishes and goals and theories.

In other words, I am a human being on the other side of that computer; a real person with real feelings that can be damaged by carelessness. Just as I am sure you are too.

It’s a tragedy that so often that fact is forgotten or blatantly disregarded in a world that conducts so much of its business, communication and social interaction online. We may be utilizing a heartless machine to communicate, but the being doing the communication is still human and should be treated as such.

Sometimes it’s far too easy to forget that person on the other side. Many times it is incredibly easy to misinterpret something that was typed or to type something that seems fine at the moment but might act like a fiery brand on the temper of the person on the other side. Other times it is far too easy to hide behind the Great Wall of Internet Anonymity and be an ass.

Verbal vs. Electronic

While a study in human nature determining what the exact percentage of our communication is nonverbal is nigh impossible, fair estimates put it firmly somewhere between 85-95% with 93% being the most common approximation. So that means that approximately 93% of the meaning of our message is conveyed through nonverbal cues; tone, volume, inflection of voice, facial expression, body language and eye contact. Literally hundreds of messages can be conveyed through half a dozen spoken words by the nonverbal signals we send.

Our world is moving deeper and deeper into the digital age. The average person conducts somewhere between 40-60% of their daily communication electronically, either by email, text, chat programs, social networking sites, etc. Each year that amount increases as electronic communication becomes faster, cheaper, easier. Our youth grow up in a world where instant, anonymous communication is the norm. Yet none of those forms allow for nonverbal cues.

Now considering the message conveyed in the two previous paragraphs, is it any wonder that it is so easy for drama, cruelty, depression, anger and frustration to explode so fast and so painfully over the internet?

The Great Wall of Internet Anonymity

It really is easy to hide behind internet anonymity. That dark little voice in the back of your head that reminds you that person doesn’t know you. You don’t know them. You don’t have to look them in the eye, you don’t have to acknowledge their feelings, you don’t have to witness the pain you cause. We are empowered by being anonymous.

This freedom from having to acknowledge others as sentient beings with viable feelings and emotions that should be respected leads to hordes of people across the cyberverse that display little or no regard for others. They don’t know that elf/troll/dwarf/noob/pug personally so they feel no responsibility to treat them with common courtesy.

I’m sure there are a number of people that have stopped reading by now or will stop shortly but think really hard. Examine your behaviors and really look at them. Consider them from the other side of the computer.

“Noob.” “WTF! Idiot!” “You suck!” “OMG you can’t heal/tank/dps!”

It’s so easy to type. It is so easy to picture the fingers typing the message. But when the same messages are directed back, they don’t feel very good, do they? You feel angry, hurt, confused. It’s even easier to lash back because we feel justified in our anger. “They started it! I’m going to finish it!” syndrome.

Sometimes the messages are more subtle. How we type a phrase always has the chance of being misinterpreted. Wording is a very tricky matter if you don’t pay attention.

Study the three following sentences and see if you can pick out which one is the best and why the others might cause problems even though they all say the same thing.

  1. “If you don’t pick up your dps you’re going to get kicked out.”
  2. “You even going to try getting your dps up, noob?”
  3. “Your dps seems a little low. Do you need some help figuring out why?”

  1. The other person has just been threatened. It might have been meant as a warning or advisement, but the more common interpretation is going to be seeing it as a threat. Being threatened causes a person to become defensive; feeling the need to defend/protect themself. The most common reaction is going to be to strike back.
  2. The other person has just been insulted. When typed it might have been meant in a joking way however there are no nonverbal cues to communicate that so the more common interpretation is going to be as a deliberate and cruel insult. Once again, the person has been put on the defensive. Most common response is likely to be the same as the threat.
  3. It should be obvious that number 3 is a more correct path to prevent hurt feelings and explosive drama. I hope to many it is, but it’s also easy to forget. In number three it has been communicated that there may be a perception that something is wrong and there is an offer to figure out why this is so. There is no accusation, no insult, no threats.

Nobody responds well to threats, insults, accusations in any form. Always think about what you are going to type before you hit that enter key, sending it into someone’s face.

One should never feel justified in cruelty. You may be stuck in that group of idiot puggers. Sure, someone may be acting like an ass. Does imitating that behavior make us so much better?

In-Character Is Not an Excuse

What does any of this have to do with Role Play? It has quite a bit actually. You see I can’t tell you the number of times I have witnessed someone using role play as another wall to be cruel. One more excuse to hide behind. Not only are you anonymous behind a computer, you have yet a second face to use as a shield. One that is imaginary.

I have seen “characters” mob another one with hate filled comments carrying on for days to the point where the receiving player is so hurt and upset they lash out, hide, quit or engage in defensive behavior. Then the phrase “Oh it was IC hate” is flippantly tossed out as if that makes it all better.

I, myself, have been the target of in-game hate mail thinly disguised as role-play from not only an anonymous player but character as well. Insults bordering on OOC or some of them blatantly OOC meant precisely to be cruel and cause damage. Hidden behind an excuse of “but it’s in character”.

IC anger/hate/maliciousness/cruelty should be understood and explained before ever beginning. If it happens spontaneously out of the blue, communicate with the other person and make sure it’s okay. Discuss it and maybe come up with a fun plot, rather than one person feeling abused. If IC hate/anger/drama starts to hurt the player, they need to speak up reasonably about it and the other party needs to be willing to drop it and move on to something else. Period.

(Zydrate's Note: I actually like to chime in after a heated IC argument. I like whispering the person with something along the lines of "That was fun! lol" to make sure that the other player knows that there is no ill will. This usually opens up a bridge, "Oh, okay. They're civil, I can arrange something with them at a later time". Because there is part of our brains that if there's absolutely no OOC contact, we will attribute the character with the player. It's wrong, but it's a natural occurrence.)

The moment a player expresses that a role play behavior directed at them is bothering them out of character, the other person needs to stop and the players need to consult. Maybe a compromise can be found, maybe the characters just need to not be in the same stories or they need to pretend the other doesn’t exist. Either way, it cannot be allowed to continue. The player’s needs always outweigh the role-play.

Don’t think that someone is being too sensitive because one character abusing their character bothers them. Our characters are extensions of some part of ourselves. Whether the character is the law abiding paladin, the pocket-picking rogue, the puppy-sacrificing cultist, they are the creations of the player. They are that player’s work. When creating a character for role play or writing we always put a bit of our heart, our soul into that character. Without it we could not make that character seem real.

However even that tiny little piece of ourselves that we build into each character can cause pain and we need to be aware of that. Courtesy is not so difficult. If you want to interact with someone’s character, especially in a negative way, it is basic courtesy to communicate with them. Especially if it seems feelings might be getting hurt in the interaction.

Whether in role play, in groups, on the forums or in chat, it is important to break down that wall. Don’t use the Great Wall of Anonymity as an excuse to be an ass. Courtesy is not so difficult. Kindness goes a very very long way. One tiny bit of kindness could improve a person’s day one hundred fold, prevent weeks of drama, and does it really cost so much to spare?

It doesn’t take very long to examine what you type before you do so. Let’s put faces back on the person we communicate with.

Hi. I’m Zydrate. It’s a pleasure to meet you and I hope we can be friends. I will be kind to you even if I feel you are not kind to me because I know on the other side of that screen, we are not so different.