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Ary the Grey

Advanced Roleplaying Guidelines

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Advanced Roleplaying Guidelines

A note: these are not rules, but should you choose to follow them, they should be treated as such. They rely heavily on the universal concept of respect, that is, respect for your fellow RPers, respect for yourself, and respect for the craft of writing and storytelling. Whereas some may play the game with a goal in mind, the spirit of these guidelines is to play the game with the only goals being a sense of fulfillment and improving one’s own creative abilities.

1.       First and foremost, you will always avoid structured duels as laid out in the rules. Duels are meant to be a framework for the lowest common denominator of cooperation (or lack thereof). Instead, you will force yourself to roleplay out any situation, rolling with punches as is appropriate.

2.       Secondly, to play off the first rule, you will roll with the punches harder than you think is appropriate. This doesn’t mean to fall over dead when someone greets you, it merely references a well-known improv rule: never say no. True storytelling is not competitive. While competition is fine, you should let go of any notion of where you want the story to go. The end of combat should be a surprise, hopefully a pleasant one. Your next post should be a surprise, hopefully a pleasant one. They won’t all be pleasant, but that is okay, there is always another story to tell, there are always more words to write. The joy of writing comes from discovering what those words are, in finding out what story the character is trying to tell, rather than merely seeing the story you have in your head playing out before you over a series of months. That is boring, these guidelines are not for those who want a boring story.

3.       Permadeath characters are encouraged, but optional. To truly let go, you must allow yourself to let go of your fondness for the known and embrace the concept of what could be. This is an infinite universe filled with infinite possibility. Some may grief you. You will likely write many, many character sheets and play many more faces than you thought you ever would. You may become annoyed with writing so many character sheets. They may start to blend together. The point of this is not annoyance or frustration, and if you find yourself in those shoes then I strongly encourage you to take a break from these guidelines for a bit. But, eventually you will get a much clearer, better sense for what your voice is, and you will be able to begin to experiment with your own style.

4.       Experimentation is highly encouraged. Novices at this will try to create a unique or never-before-seen type of character. Masters of this will take a vanilla John Doe character and make them interesting. Do not force this, simply allow yourself to play with things that interest you. Write in the first person for a character. Play an alien race and focus on often overlooked aspects and culture (do Wookiees sweat badly?). Experiment with format and structure. Try and have one thing about each character that makes them different, even if only to you.

5.       Under no circumstances will you disrupt a storyline that has no legitimate reason to involve your character. Go with the flow of things. An anime schoolgirl character typically does not belong in a war room. A prostitute would not solicit Jedi in the council chambers. Realism is paramount, and you operate primarily off of the reality of those you interact with, so be mindful and respectful of that.

6.       Before introducing your character into someone else’s plotline (usually applies to new characters, this does not apply for ongoing interactions if another character drags you with them), or engaging in combat, reach out to those RPers. Discuss why you want to engage in these activities and what you both would like to see from the outcome. If able for combat, negotiate a roleplayed scenario as described above. The takeaway from this guideline is to communicate openly and often with those you interact with. Don’t necessarily make concrete plans but get on the same page as far as your thoughts for the upcoming scenario.

7.       If it is appropriate, die. A new character is a character sheet away and a new opportunity to hone your skills. Be grateful for the opportunity; accept the end of the story (or chapter) for what it is, an ending, and move on. There are more stories to tell. Not all stories end well, and not all go the way we want them to. A common idea these days is that these stories are uninteresting, that is a lie. They might not be particularly gripping but understand that that character’s story is important to them. Your own story might not be particularly interesting, but does that mean it does not deserve to be told? Likewise, these characters are extensions of you. Tell their stories. Tell your stories. Respect yourself enough to find pleasure in the act of writing itself, the mere composition, and you will never ever be bored again.

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