Guide to Attracting Role Play
Players can have an idea of what they want to do, or just be excited to play a new character, this requires finding someone to play with. Depending on the character this can be fairly easy - an outgoing character (it also helps to be an outgoing player in any case) will be easier to bring into situations. A character that has trouble interacting with others or would prefer not to interact with others is going to be more difficult to start a role play with.
There are a few different ways, however, to attract a role play. Since most traditional role playing games involve a quest of some kind, players may be used to a Storyteller (Game Master, Dungeon Master, or Moderator) introducing a character for them or arranging for a way for characters to meet. While that is possible in this setting, it isn't the most common way of things here. Most of the time players have to both introduce their own characters and arrange for meeting other characters.
If a player is friends with another player on the server they can arrange to have their character be somehow already entrenched with the other players characters. This can be very helpful for opportunities to role play but can also be isolating if other players don't feel they can approach about new opportunities. This makes it a double edged sword but if a new player isn't sure how to begin it can be helpful to arrange an encounter expressly designed to give them an inside connection to a role playing group. This is especially useful if two players are already friends but one isn't familiar with the setting.
The PSL (Personal Storyline)
A PSL is a compact storyline, usually involving a very small subset (most often two) of characters. This storyline rarely effects the overall plot of the game and serves as a way to further develop a character or a relationship between characters. Two players, most often, decide that they want to do something with two or more characters and come up with some kind of direction to go with it. A lot of inter-character romantic relationships develop this way.
Those used to the video-game genre of role playing can be used to the random encounter model. This is a perfectly acceptable model for getting role plays together, but still requires some amount of player communication. On our servers we have a channel set aside for requests, but posting a request isn't just saying that you'd like something to happen. It requires some amount of thought into the request. That includes thinking if you want to leave it as open as possible (i.e. asking if anyone wants to bring a character into a particular area to interact with) or be more specific (i.e. I'm thinking I want to have someone for my character to interact with since they just lost their dog).
The other side of the random encounter is reciprocating the attention. When requesting the encounter it is usually the person requesting the play's job to provide the backbone of interaction. This means that they must be an active participant. It's bad form to ask for a role playing scene and then force the other person to do all the work of the role play.
Opportunity / Personality
Most of the time in the real world people keep to themselves in daily life. The more common way things work is that people are brought together through some circumstance, friends introductions, coworkers, the only people in the bar at 3am, someone looses their keys and someone else offers to help. During role play this isn't always possible to construct, most characters exist in a unique kind of vacuum where in real life they would have other friends who are not important in the context of an overarching plot who would normally be NPC's in a game setting. People have a hard time playing NPC's though, especially when starting out, and thus characters can become isolated from the normal social bridges.
Being an Asshole
Who wants to be an asshole right? Well, that's a bit extreme of a term but most people have that side to their personality. A lot of new players have an issue with their own inner asshole. The person inside that doesn't overly care about social constructs of being nice and really is only concerned with themselves. This too leaves characters isolated because the everlasting moderate character who is always reasonable and just nice enough but not too nice never gets any role play opportunities. It is just plain hard to pull them into a scenario.
Role plays run on clash and strife, when everything is going amazing and awesome there is just no reason for the interaction to be interesting. Everyone knows that in real life it is impossible to find someone who has nothing negative going on. Everyone has someone in their life that is being an asshole to them and making things interesting (from a role playing perspective). A common personality trait to consider is the sweetest son of a bitch in the world, or rather a person who is happy to help others, even in the extreme, but if they don't do what is expected of them turns unforgiving or even mean and nasty as a result.
Being a Good Guy
There is a place in any role play for the savior or hero type, but this can be limiting. Not everyone needs or wants to be saved, what does Superman do when there is no one to save? Characters who love to be the hero can be their own worst enemy and this can provide a good basis for play as well. Not only that but an all around good person can be a hotbed of internal strife and misunderstandings with other characters. Does a genuine, honest, and hardworking person understand or even have a concept of the rogue who takes advantage of people, or the screw-up who means well? Do they have an understanding of the genuine person who always returns library books on time?
If opportunities for play are not coming easy or one is not sure where to begin, it can be helpful to answer three questions:
- What does the character think they want?
- What does the character actually want?
- What is stopping them?
These can be incredibly complex questions! So one should never be concerned if they don't know those answers or intimidated by asking them since motivations change. Motivations are also situational, and don't have to be concrete things that motivate them forever. Of course answering questions about overall motivations is incredibly handy for an overall image of a character but they are also a lot harder to answer. In a singular situation, where one isn't sure how a character would react, the answers to these questions can be very helpful.
By far one of the most valuable ways to join in role play is to be proactive. Here, we have many public scenes (Finnegan's Tavern, the Promenade, or Nysa Facility are good examples of where public scenes take place). If a bunch of character are in the bar, see about joining in. If you're not sure what to have a character do, ask the players about it. Most of the time the other players are pretty happy to help out get the ball rolling. Remember, everyone who role plays started somewhere and so we all know how it feels to not know how to get into an existing group.
Tips for Joining
- The role play is not about you or your character.
- Expect to have a smaller part when starting out, this doesn't mean the other players don't like you this just means that they have to get to know your playing style and your character as well. The other players have to form some kind of idea of how not only your character fits into the scene or the setting but also how your play style fits in.
- Play it cool.
- Many characters have extensive combat or other special abilities. It is always tempting to start off by trying them out in game, the character might be a natural show-off but keep in mind that you want others to want to role play with you. The best way to do this is to play with some amount of moderation and let the opportunities for you to demonstrate your characters abilities come naturally even if it takes a long time to find one such situation.
- Read and listen more than you post / emote.
- Get a feel for how a scene flows and the kind of dynamic that is there. Most of the time, the real world provides us with such information readily by way of non-verbal communication and vocal tones that are going to be missing in a text-based role play setting such as this, and thus it is helpful to get the lay of the land first. In addition, it is going to be easier to role play in a given situation when you're not taking to dominate the situation.
- Wait for people to post.
- People have lives and shit happens. We all know this, so don't leave someone out if you can avoid it. If you're character is in a conversation with 3 other characters and one of them goes to do something else, have an idea of slowing the role play down a bit, wait longer between posts or pause it entirely. This allows the missing player(s) to not lose the thread of the scene and pick up where they left off.
- Be attentive to what is going on.
- Even if you get bored quickly, writing takes time to do well. Leaving a scene half done after 3-4 minutes of play because it isn't moving fast enough or you saw a new shiny thing to do is extremely rude and will drive people from wanting to role play with you. If you need to leave or some such, or will be slow, it is polite to say to the other play exactly that; telling another player that you'll be slow because you've got some other things going on or that you might have to drop off suddenly because of some reason is the polite way to handle things. When people engage with you and play with your characters they expect that you want to put the effort into it.