How to RP on OngoingWorlds
This article was posted by Hosea Tuinakelo in the game New Mutants. I’m sharing here with permission because this article will be useful to all OngoingWorlds members, and people wanting to know more about play by post roleplaying. Over to Hosea:
I’m going to give a quick run-through on how to participate in PbP (Post by Post) roleplaying. My observations and suggestions are based off of roleplaying in Ongoing Worlds, and are not in any way professional or derived from a professional standpoint. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started!
Post by post roleplay to me is a story-builder. The cool thing about it is that there’s a chance that everyone can be a main character (depending on the story). It usually starts off with a given setting and some sort of premise or plot description. Players then create characters based on the character groups suggested by the moderator, and then introduce their characters into the appropriate setting.
Post by post roleplay offers a degree of freedom to players, and allows them to create their own scenes, develop their characters, and effectively participate in world-building. The traditional GM or game master isn’t necessarily a requirement, but again that all depends on the story.
So, how do you roleplay PbP style? Well, before you get started with posting, there are a few things you need to check out.
1) Game Summary
The summary usually gives a brief description of what the roleplay is about, where the story is set and what characters are needed to play. The game summary is a go-to for all new players, because it tells them whether they’re able to effectively participate in the story or not based on their interests and common knowledge on the genre.
2) Game Information
Interested members can read the game information for a more elaborate explanation of the game and how it is played. Rules are laid out in this section, as well as certain game details that might not have been explained in the summary. This might include a brief world history, playable settings and character groups. Also, the game information can act as a basic guideline to the roleplay. The moderator might outline their expectations from the members and their characters, so it’s really important to read through this section thoroughly.
3) Story Posts
If you’re still interested in playing and want to know how to effectively introduce your character into the scene, then I suggest you start reading the story posts. It’s best to start reading from the beginning so you can catch the few details that had been released earlier by the moderator, but don’t read every single post. Usually just narrow your reading options to OOC posts explaining the game mechanics and what-not, story posts from the moderator, and responsive posts from other members. Pay close attention to scenes and interactions that drive the plot forward, and these are usually put out by moderators (since it’s their story). Some moderators also update the members by summarizing what has happened so far, so be sure to look for these in the archives.
4) Character Profiles
If you want to know how to create a suitable character for the game, then I suggest reading through the character profiles. Most importantly, focus on the moderator’s characters and take note of the details they’ve added to their character because chances are they might be expecting the same details from you. Reading character profiles is also important because you get to pick out the details that all the characters have in common, so that gives you an idea of what the moderator wants from every character.
Great! Now that you’ve understood a little bit on how to join a game, the next step is posting style and techniques.
1) Posting Style
Before you create your first post, try and think of how you’d want your post to be read. Remember, you’re telling a story, so your posts should be narrative in nature. Your character has to think, feel, see, smell, hear, etc. (unless they have a certain disability). You need to describe the scenery around you to the best of your abilities. I’m not saying that you describe your surroundings in detail, but at least give the readers an idea of where you are in the story. It doesn’t have to sound fancy either. An example would be:
“I enter the mansion. It’s really big, and I’m so amazed by the details. Wow. This is pretty awesome. A bald man in a wheelchair comes up to me, and I wave at him. ‘Hey man, nice wheels,’ I say.”
“Andy enters the mansion. It’s really big, and he’s amazed by the details. Wow, he thinks. This is pretty awesome. A bald man in a wheelchair comes up to him, and Andy waves at the man. ‘Hey man, nice wheels,’ he says.”
You can even use past participle (my go-to narrative style), but the important thing is making sure it feels and sounds like a story. That is the essence of PbP roleplaying. It’s storytelling with a twist.
2) Choosing a Setting
When you start off in a roleplay, you’ll need to introduce your character into a particular setting related to the story. In New Mutants, we currently have two active settings: Genosha and Xavier’s Mansion/School. There’s also New York, but that’s a work in progress. If you want to know how best to introduce your character into a particular setting, you can email the moderators for help. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of reading the story and seeing where you could come in. Keep in mind that some settings are introduced later in the game, as a result of characters travelling around that world or verse, so be careful that you don’t end up introducing your character into a scene that’s not part of the original setting (it actually depends on where your character is according to their profile).
3) Interact, React and Respond
This is the best part about roleplaying. You get to interact with the other players, react to situations and respond accordingly. This is a story though, so you will have to narrate your reactions, responses and interactions as though you were writing a story. When there’s an explosion, you don’t just write ‘I ran and I hid in fear’. No. People don’t just run quietly to a certain safe spot and hide. They become overwhelmed with fear, their mind is frozen in panic, and it takes a while for them to react. Personalities also play an important part in interactions. You can’t respond to every conversation with a simple ‘Oh, okay’ or ‘that’s cool’. Unless your character is Alexa or Siri, or some non-sentient being, I highly suggest that you show your character’s personality in every post you write. A tip is to draft out a few responses that resemble your character’s personality, just to give you an idea of how they’d normally react to people and situations. Your backstory also plays a major role in your responses and reactions. No human or sentient being reacts and responds to people and situations without being influenced by their past experiences. If your character were part of a horrible experiment in the past, and have hated needles ever since, use that info when a doctor tries to stick a needle into their arm. Your character has dimensions, layers. You have to plan these things out in advance, otherwise you end up with a cardboard cutout that noone is really drawn to.
Well, that’s it from me. Other members may have other suggestions based on their experiences, and if you’re one of them, please do let me know on the comments below. Keep in mind that roleplaying in it’s entirety is a story written by many authors. It allows diversity and adds creative richness to the story, and that’s what makes it fun. And speaking of fun, that is also something you should be having when roleplaying. Otherwise, it’s not role-playing…it’s just a role. Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know in the comments below if there’s something you didn’t understand or something I didn’t do justice to in explaining.
Socially-awkward turtle brain, over and out.
Written by Hosea Tuinakelo. Link to the the original post.