General Roleplaying Tips

While there is plenty of room for a variety of on Lament, there are certain things that are best left out of in character interactions.

Things to Consider

  • Interact with your surroundings (let's make snow angels!). Wherever you may be, there's guaranteed to be a description that someone put effort into writing, complete with detailed sights, sounds, and smells, so use these to your advantage. Working these into your roleplaying can be a lot of fun: if you're resting by a lake you might skip rocks across the water, while if you're on a busy street you could describe trying to avoid being run over by the crowds.
  • Have a reason for your actions (oh, I know why I did that). It doesn't have to be terribly deep or complicated, but knowing why your character is doing something that you, the player, have commanded them to helps. A lot of the time the answer will even be identical to your own: "I was hungry." "I'm practicing to make a basket." "I'm trying to avoid the wolves!"
  • Use your notebook (that's right, I was an only child). One good way to organize character information for easy reference is to use the notebook command: you can keep a different notebook for every character, and check on details about past characters in a snap. This is a good place to write down facts as you think of them, such as a character's full name, any family they might have, interesting things that have happened to them, etc. Naturally, in-game notebooks are also handy for organizing notes for yourself as a player, too!
  • Employ your abilities (I don't know, it looks too heavy to me…). Your character's coded skills and stats are there both to tell the game what your character can do and also to let you, the player, know what they're capable of doing. While you shouldn't feel trapped in a given concept because of imaginary numbers, sometimes figuring out why you're good at some tasks but lacking in other skills can help develop your character. Were they recently sick? Perhaps they're overconfident, or alternately have no faith in themselves? Filling in perceived "gaps" can give you a great idea for where your character's story should go next.
  • Allow personal details to change (hey, that's a much better idea!). Sometimes things don't always work out as they planned. Maybe you had your character's backstory laid out down to the day they were potty-trained, when all of a sudden something happens in-game that makes you reconsider everything. That's okay! Part of the joy of online roleplaying is being surprised by changes as they occur and rolling with the punches. Plan ahead, but expect for things to get a lot more interesting when even one other person is added to the mix.

Things to Avoid

  • Pseudo-Elizabethan English (thee, thou, thine…). There aren't any cultures that scale well to the courtly high medieval lifestyle most often associated with this dialect. Suggestion: You can still sound genteel by using extremely proper grammar, elaborate sentences, and any appropriate titles others might possess. Avoiding contractions can also emphasize how your character speaks noticeably formally.
  • Caveman-speak (me strong like club). Unless your character has a history of severe head trauma or atypical mental development, they can probably use complete sentences and the pronoun "I" in conversation. Even Sea of Grass nomads know what grammar is within their own language. Suggestion: Simple sentence construction while using plain-English words (and possibly plain-English redefinitions of more complex words, such as "make go faster" in place of "expedite") and regional slang can make a character sound earthy without being completely stupid.
  • Overly-phonetic dialects (hyoo sez vee isz tawkink kainna faah-nee?). Simulating an accent is best done with a less-is-more approach. Dropping a G or consistently lisping sibilants is one thing, but rewriting an entire sentence like Krazy Kat is another. Remember, people need to understand and react to you in real time! Suggestion: Pick a small number of vocal tics that can be easily understood (again, maybe you lisp, or drop your Gs, or pronounce certain vowels in an unusual way), with three being a suggested upper limit. You can also mention that your character has a strong accent in emotes. Mangling your grammar can also be useful for portraying a character unfamiliar with a language ("I am to be seeing you this day?").
  • Excessive metaroleplaying (you can't remember the last time you saw something so wonderful…). This is a tricky one, but it's best to assume that your audience won't know what your character is thinking, and that you cannot directly state what they know or what their reaction to something would be. Note that "mind the metaroleplay" is not the same as "you aren't allowed to be funny." Suggestion: A bit of leeway is allowed for referring to past events if your audience would logically know about them (i.e. "So-and-so shambles in, looking tired and miserable. He's stepped in a bucket of plaster yet again."). Using descriptive terms to imply how the average Joe would react to something (similes and metaphors are allowed) is generally better than simply stating that "So-and-so's appearance would frighten the strongest man." Note that this does not apply to interacting with virtual NPCs; you may very well be successfully flirting with passers-by, it's the physical actors in the room who have a choice in the matter.
  • Inter-species romance (I love zis dhaja!). Gross. Gross. Most cultures are composed of multiple species, and the majority of these have no problem with befriending or aiding someone with a different genetic code than your own. Becoming romantically involved, however, is generally considered disgusting and wrong, as the parties involved aren't related in the slightest; such unions are not interfertile and cannot produce children. Suggestion: If you absolutely must do this, you'll want to keep it a secret from others, which may mean behaving awkwardly around your beau in public. You won't have much luck trying to create any sort of movement for tolerance of your xenophilia.
  • Mindless player-killing (but I'm a psychopath!). There is nothing wrong with playing a murderous villain; well-portrayed antagonists can make the game more interesting and exciting. There is, however, a problem with simply wandering up to someone (PC or NPC) and shoving a sword in them without so much as a how-do-you do. The threat of death is fun, the guarantee of death less so. Suggestion: Try to make things fun for the other player, even if you're focused on stabbing them in the stomach in the end. Have build-up to an attack, and consider being willing to "lose" or let your target get away. OOC courtesy can go a long way here.


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