OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Role-playing-games – are we playing a role, or writing a character?


The social aspect of play-by-post games can be a bit tricky. For as long as I’ve known, some roleplayers like to hide behind a character, and pretend to BE the character. I noticed this first a long time ago on a Star Trek game I was part of, where lots of the out-of-game chatter wasn’t necessarily out-of-character. People would still chat as if they were the characters. 

And that’s fine. Of course it’s fine. This is the internet and people can do what they want. In fact many games rely on people chatting in-character, and that’s fine.

But it can also be a bit misleading. If I chat to someone OOC, I’m very clear that I’m chatting out-of-character (that’s what OOC is after all). I’m David, I’m a guy who lives in Derbyshire and likes cheesecake. I’m not a Starfleet Ensign trained in piloting, or a super-posh Ambassador who lives in deep space, or whoever I’m writing about.

On OngoingWorlds there’s the distinction between a player, and a character. That’s deliberate. It allows you to log in to the website and join loads of different games and control different characters without having to keep logging in as someone else (something the Twitter roleplayers must have a nightmare with!).

I just wonder (and I’m not saying anything is right or wrong here) why I still see roleplaying websites where players are pretending to be a character even in OOC (I’m including Twitter in that too). Perhaps leave your opinion in the comments below, and we can get a discussion going about it. Is OngoingWorlds more progressive for doing things the way we do? Or is it better to pretend to be a character all the time?