#402, "Zefarah's Comprehensive RP Help (Long)" Edited on Sun 08-Jun-14 11:12 AM
Moderator's note: This was originally written by Zefarah on April 9th, 2004. The original post can be found here.
You are absolutely correct: newbies are the lifeblood of CF. The IMMs are the brain, and the players are the heart and soul. All must work together, like a holy Trinity in order for the MUD to survive. There are some players that shun or abuse newbies, and for the most part, they do not have the best interests of the MUD in mind. In general, most CFers are willing to help. For one, I have some basic RP theories for you, as well as some sample character profiles to help get you started.
It seems that you just have a general problem finding a character model that you like, and getting it off the ground. You are not alone in that many new players utterly dread RP. They want to go straight to the action, and really, who doesn't at first?
DREAD It is easy to lose sight of the many aspects of RP. Some key RP components include your character's (D)escription, (R)ole, (E)motes, (A)ctions, and (D)ialogue. RP is challenging because it requires action in conformity with character role. I simplify RP in these terms, because other players will form perceptions about your character, based on these elements.
Descriptions. Descriptions do not need to be fancy or lengthy in the least. Just remember that a haphazardly written one will suggest that you are not serious about the character, and few will want to spend time with you. Your description should include observable characteristics that appeal to the five senses, and should not include specific actions. You can include visual clues that hint at your role, if you like: a sphere WAR felar may have patches of hairless skin, many scars or chipped claws and teeth. Descriptions can and should evolve over time.
Role. What do you want to accomplish with this character? By far, your character's Role is most important in the long term. However, it is not required. Roles in CF are similar to roles of characters in other stories. They involve universal themes such as love, hate, betrayal, victory, defeat, and more. (See HELP SPHERE for some good character themes supported by CF). Ideally, information in your role should encompass the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of your character. These questions can be addressed in a basic summary in the first chapter of your character's role. If you wish to go further, some successful role-writing styles that I have seen include narrative, short entries, and letters.
Long Narrative: Chapter 5 -- After having awakened on the morning of the Day of Deception , Englebert decided to strike single-handedly at the Fortress of Light. Few were prepared for the shocking outcome. Cardinal Sebastian of the Acolytes fell quickly, as Englebert leapt from the shadows and drove his envenomed dagger into the cleric's heart. The death of Cardinal Sebastian proved cataclysmic, as Therans ran screaming from their homes upon news of his death, their faith in the Light shattered. His appetite for blood satiated, Englebert headed to the Inn of the Eternal Star for Afternoon Tea ...
Short Narrative: Chapter 5 -- Englebert killed Sebastian. Then, he went to the inn, where he killed Jeff ...
Be careful about especially long narrative, since it may be difficult for IMMs to assess your character's performance, or work with you on quests. All the same, some CFers are novelists, and many IMMs enjoy reading lengthy roles when they have the time.
Diary or Journal Entries: Woke up this morning. Got chided yet again by Scion Lords for being unproductive. Assassinated Cardinal Sebastian. Had Tea. Assassinated Jeff, the High Herald Chef. Was banned from the Inn ...
Letters and Communications: Dear Mother,
I am sorry that I haven't written to you as much as I should, and no, I am not ignoring you. Life has been busy. I assassinated Cardinal Sebastian this morning and had tea at the Inn not long after. I then struck High Herald Jeff in the throat after he offered me biscuits. You know how much I dislike biscuits. Few understand me as well as you do. I know you didn't mean to abandon me as a child. When you get the chance, what was father's name again?
Actions. This concept simply means that your character does what her role dictates. They are the performance of steps necessary to reach the goal outlined in your role. I also generally agree with Romanul in that you need to 'walk the walk', and not merely 'talk the talk'. The 'walk' in CF mainly involves understanding game geography, as well as game mechanics, such as the ability to hold one's own in combat (PK skill). PK skill can also entail helping comrades successfully kill foes, or preventing comrades from falling. It does not necessarily mean you MUST kill other characters, or that you MUST kill others to be feared. For example, many players fear Imperial dark-elf healers because these characters CANNOT easily be killed, whereas they would fear a Scion Necromancer because the necromancer CAN kill them. Both classes can be feared or deadly in their own ways.
In short, a decent understanding of game mechanics is all you really need to have a successful character. If you wish to take the art of killing to a higher level, there are PK-oriented religions and IMMs. Even then, most of these IMMs prefer philosophically deep characters whose actions fit within a well-developed role.
Emotes and Dialogue. Emotes add a distinguishing flair to otherwise straightforward behavior. A dark-elf female might bat her eyes at you if she needs something. A dwarf might burp loudly and wipe his beard after drinking ale. Fanciness is not required, as there is beauty in simplicity.
Dialogue works in much the same way. Words convey your character's thoughts to others.
You can intentionally misspell words to create accents or unique styles. However, If you unintentionally use bad grammar, you will appear to be sloppy. This may seem like excessive theory, but believe me - words can mean the difference between life or death.
If your sentences are short or terse, you may seem cold or appear to be a "No-BS" type character. Be careful, as some may construe brevity as an unwillingness to RP. If your sentences are longer, you will seem more conversant. At the same time, you may appear imposing, overbearing, or risk rambling.
Example: You do not wish to travel, but Bob asks you, "Hello, do you want to form a group?"
Possible refusals: You decide for yourself which responses may get you killed, and which ones will probably not. (ignore) "No." "No!!!" "How about, No?" "Not now." "HAHAHA! I would never travel with you - no way, no where, no how!" "Hello. Perhaps another time." "I would love to, but I am occupied at the moment, friend." "#### off." "What is the opposite of 'Yes?' That's my answer, Genius."
Elven races are expected to show more verbal intelligence than orcs, but not always, depending on role. Sometimes, you can RP a race against convention and achieve an amusing effect. However, it normally pays to start with the basics. There is also a chamber in the Academy that illustrates basic psychology of the races, and styles of speech. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
Basic Dwarf Warrior Example
I'm sure you've seen or read of dwarves. If not, take some time to do so. In CF, I have seen them played as drunk Scotsmen, rednecks, and other rowdy hooligan types.
Description: Short & stout, telltale beard, hairy brow, covered in soot, battle scars, etc. Role: Kill enemies. Drink ale. Join Fortress. Become Captain of the Brigade. Emotes: grips his axe firmly, wipes ale from his beard, curses and swears profusely, etc. Actions: Fights bad guys with axes, hangs out at inn for drinks, curses and shouts when drunk. Performs Fortress duties. Dialogue: 'Aye, laddy. I be hatin' filthy orcs. I cannae stand 'm.' Or, 'Git ahtta ma sight, yer farkin' orcs!' Or,normal speech.
Other Character Illustrations
Human Mage: 'I do not like orcs.' (emote frowns quietly.) Possible role: Kill people. Drink tea. Study in the library.
Felar Herald: 'Hrrmm.. I rrreally hate cleaning up afterr orrcs.' (emote stares at the blood on the floor.) Possible Role: Serve tea and plan events. Chat with patrons.
Bob the Fire Giant: 'Bob not like orc.' (emote shakes his head slowly.) Possible Role: Kill people. Make friends, and kill them, too.
Dark-Elf Healer: 'I despise orcs, but they have their uses to me.' (emote laughs deviously.) Possible Role: Manipulate others. Get rich and powerful. Become the nastiest bitch possible. Dress nicely.
Orc: 'Dark elf healer strong. Help orc smash enemies. Healer make orc glow white?' (emote grovels pathetically.) Role: Seek chieftain position, behave cowardly when odds are against them, strike and betray others when the time is right.
Elf Paladin: 'I will rid this land of orcs.' (emote grips his blade with conviction.) Possible Role: Kill bad people. Protect and Heal the innocent. Pray and preach a lot.
Final Thoughts Keep your expectations low, and always remember this is a game. No one knows or loves your character more than you do. While roles can and should evolve, stay close to the role you developed in the first place, since it provides the backbone of your character.