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 IGW's RP Guide (newbie and oldie friendly)

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ImaginationGoneWild
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#1PostSubject: IGW's RP Guide (newbie and oldie friendly)   Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:58 pm

Introduction



Hello Convergence!

I’m IGW(ImaginationGoneWild), both here and on Discord. This guide is not meant to judge anyone but to help you grow as a writer for both newbies and oldies who seek to improve themselves. There are no stupid questions here, we were all rookies once and made our own mistakes just like you did.

Please note that this is a writing guide only, for technical stuff like BB code or posting images and stuff you’ll have to go elsewhere because I’m the uber-noob of technology x-x

Feel free to ask me anything about RP or character design, plots, etc… I’m here to help! Very Happy




Terms used in Convergence RP


There are some terms in the world of writing that some of you may have heard of. I will try to explain them in case you don’t know the meaning of it.



  • OC = Original Character. A character that is unique and not found anywhere else. All characters in Convergence are OC’s.


  • Canon = Mostly seen in Fanfiction, these are pre-existing characters from franchises like movies, books, comics, cartoons, anime, etc… These characters play roles in a certain fandom and people sort of ‘borrow’ them to RP as them. (E.G = Harry Potter, Hermoine, Loki, etc…)

  • NPC = Non-playable character. These are usually disposable characters that play minor roles in someone’s story. Like the barkeeper of the hero’s fav. Tavern. Or that shopkeeper that shouts promotions for his wares in the background as the hero passes him by. Or soldier number 7 that the Hero is battling. These characters have very vague details about their appearance and personality.

  • Player-NPC = also an NPC but not disposable. These appear in RP stories and despite being minor characters they do hold some importance to the story. Most of the time they are the parents of your character, or another family member that won’t play a big role in the story. Or a pet. Or a villain to a quest, etc…

  • First Person Perspective = When you write sentences like; “I walked through the market.” A perspective written through the eyes of your character and his/her thoughts.

  • Second Person Perspective = When you write sentences like; “You walked through the market.” This isn’t recommended unless you are a Game master in a Tabletop Game or a thread that is narrating the story, because you are essentially telling other writers what to do with their characters. A big No-no that we will talk about later on.

  • Third Person Perspective = The most popular one. When you write sentences like; “She/He/They walked through the market.” It’s as if you were writing from the perspective of a bystander who was witnessing the entire story.

  • IC = In Character. This means that when you are pretending to be your character, then you are IC. So any action or dialogue you are having is done through the perspective of that character.

  • OOC = Out of Character. This means that you are being yourself, you are OOC. So any action or dialogue you are having is done through your own perspective.


Side Note: These areas on the Convergence Forum are designated as IC sections where you interact with each other IC.

Current Event: https://www.convergencerp.net/f4-current-event-the-helix-virus
The Galaxy: https://www.convergencerp.net/f5-the-galaxy
The Arena (not available yet): https://www.convergencerp.net/f48-the-arena
The Market Place (N/A yet): https://www.convergencerp.net/f49-the-marketplace

These two are semi-IC, meaning that some parts are IC while others are OOC. Just read carefully and follow the guide lines.

The Faction Hall: https://www.convergencerp.net/f28-faction-halls
The Bounty Board: https://www.convergencerp.net/f44-bounty-board


Convergence also has some Tags.

Private: RP threads with this tag mean that they are private and organized between writers. This usually means that others aren’t allowed to be part of this story BUT in some cases you can ask the writers to join if your character(s) fits. But always ask for permission first!

Public/Open: This tag means that anyone is welcome to join this thread and write with their character(s).

Faction: Unless stated otherwise on the first post or discussed in Discord or elsewhere, these threads are reserved for members of a certain faction only.

Duel: This tag will be used in the future Arena section but might also be used in the regular sections. This indicates that the story is about a battle between 2 people.

Skirmish: This indicates that the story will be about a battle between 2 groups of people. E.G: a band of marauders and a group of heroes. Or Pirates VS Imperium Soldiers. Or faction VS faction.

Dominion: This tag indicates that this story will be about large scale battles or invasions like taking over a planet. Or even defending your planet from someone else!


All in all, the Golden Rule before you hop in a thread is; Ask if you are unsure if your character would be welcome.

How to Roleplay on Convergence?

First of all, make a character that you think will fit in this world. The genre of Convergence is Science fiction AND Fantasy. So go nuts!

Then you can either search through the IC sections for a thread that’s tagged as ‘Public’ or ‘Open’(in the title) and just write from the perspective of your character.


RP Etiquette


There are some do’s and don’ts in the world of writing that people should be aware of in order to avoid drama and arguments.


Constructive criticism; When you see a creation of someone else’s that you feel is odd, or wrong, etc… Instead of criticising the writer for a bad creation why not help them by giving them some advice? We were all new at writing once and created characters or equipment or stories that we thought would be cool...but really weren’t *cough*. Stay polite and explain to them why their concept might be wrong for a place like Convergence? Or any other Forum they might use. Remember that our creations are our babies! Handle them with care!

It might be better sometimes to talk to them in private, through PM’s or a private chat on Discord so they don’t feel like they’re placed on the spot. People tend to be more comfortable that way when their mistakes are pointed out in person instead of an audience around them.

Keep OOC out of IC areas; That means when you’re busy writing a story with others, don’t have some random OOC chatter in between the stories. It breaks the flow of the story.

Imagine reading a Harry Potter book, or a Game of Thrones book and you are reading an exciting part or emotional part only to suddenly encounter chatter from the writer like; OMG I totally ship them! Harry is so sexy!

And vice versa, keep IC stuff out of OOC. It makes things look awkward most of the time. I remember a case back in the day where we are having some friendly OOC chatter when all of the sudden a guy joined but he stayed IC, pretending to be his character. It was weird because we didn’t get to see his real self, and we never knew if he was being serious or not. >.>

There’s a time for roleplay and there’s a time to be yourself. Keep yourself and your characters separate from each other. Reality from fantasy.

The only time where OOC is allowed in IC posts is if they are ‘spoilered’ (placed invisible in spoiler box). And only if it adds to the story, like pictures to reference a character or costume or ship, etc… Sometimes music to set the mood or to explain what song a character is playing/singing, etc… Most of the time it is done to clarify something about your post that you feel people might be confused about. Or to post a link to another thread on Convergence like a Lore article or species/planet submission, etc…

But don’t overdo it, it’s really annoying when there’s a bunch of pictures or links or a music video every other paragraph.

The Thread Starter; in it an unspoken rule that the person that starts a thread is usually the one that subtly guides the other writer(s) through the story. This doesn’t mean that you have no say in what happens in the story, but all in all the starter is the guide. So when -you- decide to start a thread with others, have a general idea of where you want the story to go. If you get stuck then talk to your other writers to help out, maybe they have ideas to keep the story moving.

Wait your turn; wait your turn before you post. Especially when you’re dealing with more than 2 writers. This is a system to prevent people from getting confused or left behind(for slow writers per example).

I’ve seen it happen before where multiple people write but there were 2 people that would constantly post without waiting for the responses of others, causing the characters to be completely overlooked and even ignored.

If a new writer(s) joins the story when it is already underway, then if the newcomer posted after writer number 2, then his position would be number 3 even if -you- were previously number 3.

Edit limits; you can always edit your posts to fix grammar or spelling mistakes. But warn the other writers if you are adding/removing/changing sentences in your post. Because those changes can affect the posts of the other writers. Meaning if yours changed too much then they have to change their post as well.

A really bad thing to do when editing, is when you have posted and received a response post of others. BUT for some reason you dislike the results and then decide to change your post to force the other writers to change theirs so that the result is more pleasing to you.

This trick is done by cheaters who can’t handle the fact that their character has per example lost a battle, or when other characters aren’t reacting to the cheater’s character like he thought they would. Here’s the thing, go with the flow. Your character is not always going to be the epic badass you want them to be. They will know sorrow, they will know defeat.

Mary Sue and Gary Stu; a reference to poorly created characters to the point of ridiculousness. Frankly this should be part of the 3 RP sins.


These characters tend to have a collection of the following features, all at once. If you have a character that may share 1 or 2 things with this concept then it doesn't mean they are a Mary sue. These features -individually- are really not that bad for character design. But it's when you are using -all of them- and smush them into a single character to the point where it creates inconsistencies and cringe-worthy moments. That's when you have a problem...


This female or male character is typically exotic in appearance and even in name, they have a 'unique beauty' that takes people's breath away, their names are almost always unusual with some kind of 'special' meaning that hints at either thier beauty or amazing personality or destiny.


In fandoms they always have a connection with leading roles or high ranking characters like; child of a king/queen, married to a royalty, or a love interest of the hero of the franchise, all other roles tend to have a family-bond with them. Even the people that are anti-social or less lovable are falling heads over heels for this person.


Appearance-wise they always have something unique, whether it's fashion or looks, or hairstyle, colors, etc... it's always 'different' and 'outside the box' compared to the rest of the setting/genre/universe. Some are hybrids or non-humans creatures in disguise as...you guessed it...a human without their surrounding even picking up on hints that this person may not be human.


These characters are exceptionally talented at a wide range of skills/abilities, and it's a long list with almost no flaws or weaknesses to counteract that. or when they do have them, it makes no sense or doesn't negate their strengths at all... They don't have any personality flaws, they are perfect human beings. But if they do have 'flaws' then it's usually something meant to be endearing like; clumsiness, or shyness, etc... Stuff that's cute and adorable.


They have an unusual and overly dramatic background story all in the name of either seeing the character as 'brave and courageous' or as to 'feel sorry for them'. Which in turn makes you want to love them even more...

In short these characters want to be the best of the best but have no flaws at all; not personality wise, not equipment wise, not power wise. They are gods stuck in teenage bodies...Please put some thought in your character.


Pestering for attention, please don't bug people constantly to post in a thread. It is very annoying and very stressful on top of that. People have lives outside roleplay, they also have families and jobs to tend to. Please respect that.




The Three Sins of Roleplay


Meta-Gaming, Godmodding, Powerplaying. Three of the biggest sins in the writing world, whether you play with partners or write a book.

Meta-Gaming; that is when you use information that you know as a -writer- but pretend that your -character- also knows this information. You have to remember that you and your character are 2 separate beings. They don’t know what you know, they need to figure this out themselves. And this information is gained through interacting with other characters.

Let’s say that per example -you- know that the character Kaiyan has a weakness against ‘Cold Temperatures’. But our -character- doesn’t. In order for them to find out they need to either chat with Kaiyan, or maybe spy on him. Or maybe bribe someone else to find out his weakness, or (since we’re in space) hack into the computers to see if that information is there to justify that your character knows this information.

This also counts towards having characters be skilled at something that they normally wouldn’t be skilled at. Per example, an Orc that is a somewhat primitive creature(this character is at least) wouldn’t know how to handle a star ship because he simply doesn’t have that knowledge.

Godmodding; this is when you are taking control of someone else’s character or Player-NPC without their permission.

Per example, by deciding that your partner’s character is wearing a red dress when normally she wouldn’t because she prefers pants. As was decided by her creator.

Another example; by deciding that your partner’s character is bleeding out on the floor because your character shot at her. You can’t decide what happens to the character, your partner could have their character simply dodge the bullet by jumping out of the line of fire.

In short, don’t decide for yourself what the actions or reactions/dialogues are by characters that aren’t created by you!

If you want a story to go a certain way or if you want characters to respond a certain way towards your character. Then the only characters allowed to control are NPC’s. The insignificant minor roles that can easily be replaced.

Player-NPC are semi controllable and need permission of their creator. Character’s (the people we pretend to be) are not allowed to be under control. In rare cases the creator might give permission to take brief control for the sake of the story but other than that, hands off!

Powerplaying; that’s when a character is so powerful that they can destroy anything, dodge anything, heal anything, rise from the dead, etc… Without having any weaknesses whatsoever or giving others the chance to defeat him. That’s another example of a bad character and bad RP. No one wants to write with a character where others won’t have a chance against.

This is why when you create a character, eventhough you are free to play them the staff will still take a peek at it to make sure that your character isn’t overpowered. And if he/she/it is then the staff will most likely ask you to edit the character to make it more fair for others.




Advanced Writing Tips


This part of the guide is mostly aimed for writers that are used to RP and wish to improve their writing or character design. What I’ll show here is based on my own 10+ years experience as not only a roleplayer but also a writer. Newbies are also welcome to read this section but don’t feel stressed about it. As a newbie I recommend that you feel your way around, get used to writing and to your character before you try to stress out over how ‘good’ a post or character design, etc...has to be.

If you feel you struggle making ‘good’ posts or feel like you don’t write enough info/details in your post then try writing with the 5 senses in mind; Sight, Smell, Hearing, Taste, Touch. There’s also the where, how and why questions that can help you out.

Start with -where- the character is, what’s their location? Then how did they get here? Did they have to travel here or is this their home, were they kidnapped and taken here, etc…? If they had to travel here, then why are they here? On a mission? Visiting a friend?

That’s a lot of information you can already write about.

When you don’t know how your character should act or respond towards something then try using the 5 senses technique.

Let’s pretend they are at the market on Omega Station!

What does your character see as they walk around the market? They could take notice of the many wares available by vendors, the colorful tents that the shopkeepers are selling from. The many different species that visit this station, the decrepit area that clearly shows that this is a ‘poor’ area and not rich.

What does your character hear when they walk around the market? The many vendors shouting promotions about their wares, the rumors of a serial killer being whispered about by 2 old hags as he walks by them. The animals stuck in cages about to be sold off for meat or as pets.

What does your character smell when they walk around? Probably the sweet scent of fruits or the sickening fishy smell of rotten fish that’s poorly prepared. Perhaps even their own body odor as they haven’t been able to take a shower for a while due to the missions they have been on. Or if they have advanced smell then perhaps they picked up the trace of a familiar face.

What does your character taste? A sense that isn’t used very often and really depends on what they are doing. So most likely whenever they eat something or if they are sick or tasting blood.

What does your character feel like at the moment? Or what does the object they are touching feel like? The sense ‘Touch’ is a wide spectrum. It doesn’t just refer to what you feel with your hands but also what your character is thinking right now, or how they feel about something. Per example, they are feeling tired, and uncomfortable of their own smell due to their recent mission. Or perhaps they are thrilled to be at Omega Station because eventhough it is a crime-filled disaster, your character can’t help but feel at home here.

So you see, using the 5 senses technique can give you a lot of info for your post if you’re stuck. The rest is just filler or based on the personality or background of your character.




Character Design


There are some aspects about a character that can make or break it. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me to make sure that my character isn’t just a good designed one, but also to make sure that they feel real and make sense.

Age; this is not just a number, my fellow writer. This determines the experience and type of mindset a person has. Obviously, the older a person is the more experience they have of not only life but of their own skills, line of job, and general knowledge. A 20 year old is not going to be as good at martial arts as a 40 year old. Because the older person has had more time to train and condition his body to excel at martial arts. 

A child is all about discovery and innocence. It’s when they learn what is good from evil. They are also fearless little things, while as an adult you might be scared to climb at the very top of a jungle gym because you know if you fall you might break a leg. From a kid’s point of view, they don’t care! They want to be on top of that thing and jump straight down from it. And if they do suffer a broken leg then that’s just awesome!

A teenager on the other hand has a different mindset, this is the age of self-discovery. They are trying to figure out what kind of person they want to be in life. That’s why they have soooo many ‘phases’. These people are also easily manipulated by the people they think they can trust, so for a villain the perfect bait would be a teenager. Tricking them into doing things for the villain like steal important files because they made the teenager believe it was the right thing to do and it will make them feel like they finally fit in somewhere. This example can be seen in the movie Narnia; lion, wardrobe, witch. Where the witch used one of the boy's insecurities to manipulate him to betray his siblings and the good Lion.

Young adults ranging from 20-30 are the kings of the world! Or so they feel like they are. They are out of school, the world is theirs to take. Whatever you want to do, you can do! At this stage we sort of feel like we are invincible and can handle anything coming at us because we finally figured out who we want to be. We are supposedly ‘da shit!’.

Middle aged people 30-45’s, they tend to have both feet on the ground. At this stage we have stopped ‘dreaming’ and do the things that we know how to do and that we feel ‘safe’ doing. It is an age of being more cautious and to teach our young about the mistakes we have done during our childhood. You’re more responsible also, you have a routine and system for almost everything in your life.

Seniors (50+) give or take, they tend to be more calm in life. They have experienced the world and have seen what life has to offer. Their kids are grown and having lives of their own. It is the age to look back at your accomplishments and to help others achieve the same ones. They are also often overlooked in life, the surrounding people think; “oh they had their fun, it’s our turn now!” or “your mistakes won’t be mine”, etc… people don’t appreciate the elderly as they’re one foot in the grave. But it’s the elderly that have a lot to teach.

Now, think about the character you’re making or have and keep their age in mind. Young people tend to be careless while the older ones are more prepared, etc… as for beings that get older than a human, just try to figure out in what stage they would be in if they had a human lifespan.

There is a catch though with ‘ancient’ beings or creatures with an unusual long lifespan in general. The brain has to keep up with the age. Meaning, you can be old as fuck but at some point you are going to start forgetting the skills or knowledge you once possessed unless you use and/or train them constantly to keep that information or skill fresh in your mind.

Background; Your character’s background will affect their personality, way of handling situations, interaction with people, and how they lead their lives in the future.

I often see stories where a character either had a very happy childhood/past or a very traumatic one. But then the writer completely ignores it by giving the character a personality that doesn't fit that background?

Let’s use an example with a character of mine, Maiko, that I used back in my Guild Wars 2 days.

Maiko grew up with pirates before she was orphaned due to a shipwreck that killed most people. Now as a child, she grew up homeless, she lived on the streets. Barely had any food and was thus forced to steal either food or valuable stuff in order to buy food. And as all people who are in desperate situations, they do desperate things like join a gang. The leader, Faozun, manipulated her to do terrible things for him in order to give her a roof over her head and food on the table. And she did, because she doesn’t want to go back on the streets. Later on, she managed to escape the gang after killing the leader. But now she’s back on the streets. She’s an adult now but again struggling, she does some odd jobs as a thief here and there and sometimes offering information or errands in exchange for money. In the end, she finally meets a man(let’s call him X cause I forgot his name) that she went on a mission with a couple of times. Eventually she wound up pregnant of his child and they ended up living together and leading a quiet life away from crime and war.

Okay, that was long but let’s analyze.

So when Maiko lost her family at a young age, the people she used to trust and were there to protect her are now dead. This caused some trust issues and slight paranoia for her character. Because now she’s all alone in the world, there’s no one there to watch over her anymore. She can’t tell who is friend or foe. So in a way she could only trust herself. So this event shaped her personality; has trust issues, doesn’t have a lot of friends, isn’t friendly towards others due to not trusting them. Keeps people at a distance because she doesn’t want to feel the same pain of losing someone again.

She’s homeless and lives on the streets; this event forces the character to develop skills in order to survive. Skills; be stealthy, be fast, learn to steal, learn to defend yourself (to fight off police or other criminals who want her stuff or worse). This event could also cause some health issues; bad teeth or skin from not having the nutrients needed, poor hygiene for not having access to clean water, etc...

The fact that Faozun managed to manipulate her so easily shows that deep down she is needy for love and help. Being enticed with a roof over her head and food in her belly, it was quite easy. Being able to have a bed to sleep on and have decent and fitting clothes, or a room all to herself. For a teenager, having all this in exchange of doing what you always do; Steal and do some errands. The decision was easy but that doesn’t mean she trusts the man. This event allowed her to have access to new equipment but also new sets of skills; Faozun gave her a basic education by becoming her tutor; teaching her how to write and read, some common knowledge and history about the world they live in and due to being criminals, teach her about the current laws and unspoken rules between criminals. And also teach her about notable other crime lords and territories, etc…

There, she’s a whole lot more powerful based on knowledge and skills.

After Faozun died, she used her skills to have a life of her own. Granted still as a criminal but that’s all she ever knew. Who would hire a girl that is a thief? Especially if she’s a familiar thief. Now because of her familiarity she is forced to travel a lot, preferable to places where she isn’t that known. This event causes people around her to trust her more because they didn’t know of her reputation or her past. This also gave her chances on earning more money so that she could at least spend her days in and out of local taverns or Inns.

Then working together with X caused her to make some serious decisions in her life. Motherhood. Having no clue what to do with the unborn child, she turned to the father for help. And that’s where she had to learn to trust him. And overcome the fear of being left behind again. But together with him she managed to leave behind her life as a criminal and become a person of simple living. He became a guard at a small remote town while she was a housewife. But the itch for adventure and missions are always there. Making Maiko a restless person with difficulty to adapt to her new life and also somewhat paranoid because 'what if she loses what she has again?'.

So you see, your character’s background can influence many things about them. So keep the past in mind and make sure it makes sense. A traumatized person would want to avoid situations that involved the trauma, not constantly revisit them unless they found a way to conquer their fear of it. A person with a ‘fixed’ lifestyle like Maiko (a life of crime) is more likely to stay within an environment like that because they are familiar with it. A species with certain traditional views is not just going to throw those traditions out the window due to guilt or possible punishments or reputation being dragged through mud.

Personality; your character’s personality will determine what kind of job they’ll have in the future, or what kind of people they hang out with. Or even the people they fall in love with and/or if they are going to stay with their family or leave them behind, etc... This should be easily to figure out as long as you stay realistic and true to your character.

I’ve had people who played a spoiled princess but she visits a tavern filled with criminals. Realistically, a princess wouldn’t want to be caught dead with thugs. She’s spoiled so she expects a certain level of classiness which a crime-filled tavern simply can’t offer. She’s a princess, ergo she’ll be guarded which won’t sit well with criminals.

However, a kidnapped princess that escaped and seeks help could very well end up in a tavern like this. But she’s not going to enjoy herself. See what i mean with realism?

Research; when using certain skills or knowledge. Try and at least do some research about them so that you know what you’re talking about. And to give your character the impression that they know what they are doing.

If you want your character to have magic powers, do some research about what kind of powers there are and how it would manifest itself or where it comes from and how they managed to receive/use those powers? Or if you want to run an army, have at least a basic idea on how an army works; what are the ranks, what’s the training required to be part of the army, what are the classes, etc…

It is my number one Golden Rule on writing in general. Always do your research before you dive into things, it will help you justify the actions of your character and have a better understanding of them as well. The same reason why I don’t just dive into any Open thread I see, my character needs to have a reason to be there. Or at least have their presence there make sense.

Plus you get to brag about all the random knowledge you have about various subjects. xD





Last edited by ImaginationGoneWild on Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:15 pm; edited 5 times in total
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#2PostSubject: Re: IGW's RP Guide (newbie and oldie friendly)   Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:48 am

Great guide, stickied it.
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IGW's RP Guide (newbie and oldie friendly)

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