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[Guide] Getting Started: A Beginners Guide to Reborn RP

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What's up, nerds. My name's Lexi, I'm your official unofficial community liaison for the Roleplay section. This guide is intended to help you navigate the often murky waters of how to join the roleplay section of a new site. I'm going to cover the basics of terminology and expected behavior, as well as providing steps you can take to get started on your first roleplay. There's going to be a large number of lists upcoming, so be prepared.

 

Terminology

 

The terminology you have to learn when joining a new site can often be confusing, and sometimes a term you know may have a totally different meaning. The following is a list of some commonly used terms that come into play around here.

 

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  • OOC: Out of character. Used with brackets to indicate that you're speaking outside of your main post. Used as a tag for threads to indicate that they are for discussion and posting sheets
  • IC: In character. The default for posts in an IC thread, which is the place where the actual roleplaying is performed.

  • GM: Game master, the person who started the game and runs it. They control the world and its NPCs. The exact relationship between the GM and players varies based on the RP.

  • Player: Someone participating in an RP but not running it.

  • PC: A character in an RP controlled by a player, they serve as the main characters of an RP. Sometimes the GM will have a PC as well if the RP has the right setup.

  • NPC: A character in an RP controlled by the GM. Sometimes the players will control NPCs in certain RPs where the GM is not micromanaging the entire world, it depends.

  • Mechanics: Specific rules for how actions, primarily combat, in an RP are carried out, often involving math and dice.

  • Mechanical RP: A roleplay with a heavy focus on mechanics.

  • Freeform: A roleplay without mechanics of any kind that focuses entirely on writing.

  • Guided Freeform: A roleplay without any actual mechanics, but with stats or skills listed for the sake of comparison.

  • Railroading: When a GM forces a player or players along a set path without giving them much choice to avoid it.

  • Bunnying: Causing another player's character to act during your post, usually minor and oftentimes used just to mean bringing them along when you move locations

  • Powerplaying: Like bunnying but more severe. Effectively playing another character from within your post, often in such a way that it benefits you.

  • Metagaming: Using knowledge learned OOC to effect your character's decisions and actions IC. You are not your character, they do not know everything you do

  • Mary Sue/Suism: A mary sue is a character who solves all conflict in a scene or even entire RP with little effort. Many traits that go into this are seen as bad on their own as well, such as self-inserts and unforeshadowed abilities. Having too many of these traits will get your character rejected or ejected from the RP.

  • Sandbox: A type of RP wherein the GM leaves the world open for the players to explore

 

 

Expectations

 

When participating in an RP, there are many expectations of you. Not following these expectations will make people not want to play with you and result in frustration for you, anyone GMing for you, and anyone you're playing with.

 

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  • Always try to be respectful of others around you, even if they're not returning the favor. Everyone here wants to have a good time roleplaying, even when we disagree on how that's best achieved.
  • Realize that roleplaying is a commitment. We realize you have a life beyond roleplay, but that doesn't mean we want you to only show up and interact with us once a month. If you can't reliably post a couple times a week, this isn't the medium for you. That isn't always feasible, and there is leniency, just make sure your letting people know why you aren't available.
  • Communicate with your GM. Do your best to make sure you and your GM are on the same page. Check things like backstory elements with them, inform them if you'll be absent for an extended period, and ask them questions when you're uncertain. Following from this...
  • Discord. Though this isn't a requirement that will prevent you from roleplaying, not using Discord is going to mean you miss out on a lot. Discord has effectively replaced the discussion portion of OOC threads for most RPs, and many GMs will communicate with their players almost entirely on their Discord.
  • Avoid arguing with GM. Disagreeing is fine, but remember that the GM is the one providing you a service by opening their world for you to play in. At the end of the day (so long as it doesn't break the forum rules) their word is law.
  • Don't break the taboos. I'll go over these in detail in a moment, but it basically means to avoid bad behavior in your writing itself.

 

The Taboos

 

I've already touched on this a couple times, but it's a big thing to expand upon. There's a few things that will earn you an instant bad sticker across the community if you do them.

 

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  • Powerplaying or metagaming repeatedly. The least severe of these, under certain circumstances these are acceptable. Taking control of another person's character without permission or using OOC knowledge IC will not go over well, but doing them once or twice will usually be an accepted mistake if you correct it. However, doing them frequently will quickly earn you a bad reputation.
  • Killing another character without permission. Always, always, discuss with a character's player and the GM before killing a character. If you don't, it will almost certainly be immediately retconned and you're likely to end up the one with a dead character. On this note, don't do character who want to kill other characters at all unless you have an airtight reason for them to not do so.
  • Breaking out of the RP. If you're unhappy with the mechanics of an RP, don't ignore them. If you don't like the way you're being railroaded, don't hop off the train. When the RP has rigid rules, trying to break them will just get people upset at you. The GM will sit you down and put you back on track, and you'll have made a scene for nothing. If you think the GM isn't giving you enough freedom, talk to them about it.
  • Short posts. While it depends on the RP, in general if you consistently do short posts with only a sentence or two, especially if they're only dialogue, it's going to leave very little for other players to react to and playing with you will become a challenge more than anything else. In general I would aim to have a minimum of 3 sentences, with dialogue chains counting as a single sentence.

 

 

Finding an RP to Join

 

Now that you know the dos and don't, you're ready to actually start playing. I'd recommend against GMing off the bat, even if you're a veteran from another site, until you know the RP community here better.

 

The first thing to do is figure out what kind of RP you want to join. Some RPs are focused on improving your writing skills and telling a story, some are just there to have fun playing your characters. Which isn't to say you can't have fun writing or write well when having fun, it's just a question of which things are a focus. There's no marking on the various RPs to indicate which way they fall, so ask the GM for clarification if you're uncertain. If you're new to roleplay, I suggest seeking out an RP focused on having fun.

 

With that settled, you should seek out an open RP. Skim through the open RPs to see if you can find any with themes you like, a lot of the RPs here have inspirations from anime and video games, but there's also plenty of original content as well. Though the community is fairly small right now, there's usually one or two RPs open at any given time. RPs are not always marked as open or closed, so ask the GM to confirm if you're not sure. If you really can't find anything, poke me and I'll run a short game for you to get you started.

 

Joining Said RP

 

Once you've found an RP you'd like to join, read through the OOC and some recent IC posts (if it's already started) carefully to make sure you have a full understanding of the setting, mechanics, and plot. If you're confused about anything, you guessed it, ask the GM to clarify. Once you're confident you understand the RP, start putting together a character sheet using the RP's template. Whatever you do, make sure you use the format provided, otherwise you might include unnecessary information or omit necessary information. To help you with construction a character, we'll go over some of the most commonly provided categories you'll have to fill out.

 

Name: Almost all characters need a name. You can use a meaningful name or just something randomly put together. Try to make sure it fits the setting. Don't use your own name, you are not your character. Self-inserts do exist and can be played, but you shouldn't do that as your first character because they're easy to mess up.

 

Personality: The heart of who your character is, a good starting point for designing them. You should look through already accepted characters before writing this, both to avoid overlapping too much with another PC and to get an idea of how much writing you need to do. Some RPs a list of traits is enough here, and for others you'll be expected to write a paragraph or two. You should pick a basic trait that you want to be the core of their personality and build around it, for example: being tired all the time. Try to include both positive traits and flaws in your character's personality, if they don't have any flaws they'll feel very flat and if they don't have any positives they'll be ineffectual and hard to RP with.

 

Backstory: Not every RP will ask for your backstory, but you should try to plan it out anyways. As the world is not yours, you should try to work with the GM on this to make sure your backstory is consistent with the world they've created. Use this to help explain why your character is who they are, but try to avoid putting too much into it, only focus on key events, and don't make too many that push a single personality trait. As with the personality, include positives and negatives to avoid being too flat.

 

Skillset: All mechanical roleplays and many that are not mechanical have some kind of skillset or powers for you to craft. This is another good place to start. As with personality, you should read other sheets to avoid overlap and get an idea of what level of power is acceptable. Then you should try to craft a unique skillset. It doesn't have to be completely original, just try to avoid doing the same exact thing as someone else in the RP. It's highly recommended that, when starting out, you try to relate your skillset to your personality, as this helps the character feel consistent with themselves and is less work than creating a cohesive character with incongruent skills/personality. So whichever you start with, try to relate nack to it when writing the other.

 

Once you've filled out your sheet, post it in the OOC (or send it to the GM privately if requested), and wait for a GM response. There are three possible responses you can get:

  1. Your sheet is accepted, you can begin roleplaying
  2. Your sheet needs revision, you need to work with the GM to fix any issues
  3. Your sheet is denied, you will not be accepted into the RP or you need to try again with a completely fresh sheet

 

Most likely you'll get one of the first two. If you do get the third response, try not to be too upset, it's unlikely it's personal. You can ask why they denied you, but do so privately, as causing a public disturbance over it is going to cast you in a poor light and make it less likely for pother GMs to accept you in the future.

 

In the most likely second scenario, simply work with the GM to revise your sheet until you get accepted. Some GMs will set a limit on how many revisions you can do before they deny you, so try to fix as much as possible on the first go.

 

Once you do get accepted, you're finally ready to start roleplaying.


Participating in the RP

 

Now that you've gotten your character accepted, it's time to start roleplaying. Perhaps the hardest part of an RP is starting out. If the RP is starting out, the GM will start you off in an interaction with a set group, if not they'll have to write you into the story and lead you to a group to interact with. Either way, follow along with the GM's posts and try to interact with the other characters to establish your character's personality and relationships with them. First impressions are key, they way your character interacts with others here will color their interactions for the rest of the RP. Make sure to remember the impression your character gets of the other PCs as well, and treat them accordingly in the future.

 

As the RP progresses you'll be met with various scenarios for your character to react to. In some you may be asked to use the game's mechanics, in other you may just have to interact with other characters. It should be easy enough to follow once you've gotten started, but if you're ever uncertain of how to move forward, talk to your GM to sort it out. As well, when interacting with other players, be certain to communicate with them OOC about what you all want to happen. One of the worst things you can do in an RP is leave everything up to someone else, it makes it hard to gauge what you want out of the interaction and makes your character feel more like a cardboard cutout than a person.

 

From here on you're officially a member of the RP section here on Reborn, you should be able to navigate well enough by yourself. Just remember to be respectful and communicate with everyone.

 

Having Fun

 

Regardless of the RP's focus, having fun is a core value of roleplaying. But it's not just your fun that needs to be had, it's everyone's. Do not be selfish with the fun. Your character is not the main character, all of the PCs are, give them chances to do things and try to give them opportunities to show their characters' personalities when they interact with you. I've repeatedly espoused communication as a primary solution throughout this guide, that's because roleplaying is a team effort, and you can't participate in the team if you don't communicate with the other members.

 

Let's all have fun and roleplay together!

 

Afterword

 

First of all, thank you for reading all the way through this guide, I put a good bit of time into it so giving your time in return is greatly appreciated. I hope it was helpful to you. If you need any more advice, here's the link to my Discord server, which I use to manage my various RPs. You'll be dumped into a channel where you can request various roles, ping @Lexi and request the Advice role. If you can't or won't use Discord, you may post in this topic or PM me on the forums, but be aware that I generally take longer to respond to the forums than Discord.

 

With Hope,

Lexi

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