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What is Roleplaying?

on Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:24 am
What is Roleplaying?

You might remember when you were a child playing games where you pretended to be a different person. Maybe a police officer, an astronaut or... a super-hero! 
Roleplaying is similar, but when undertaken on a forum (called "play by post rp") we use writing to describe what our characters do, and we have standards of behaviour to keep everything running smoothly.

Standards of Behaviour

Each roleplay forum you visit will have its own house rules. However, there are some rules or standards of behaviour that are universal across almost all play by post roleplays. As you read, you will see how these standards ensure that everyone playing on the site is treated fairly.
The three following behaviours are discouraged on most play by post rps you will come across.

1) Godmodding (godmoding, godmode, etc)

This is when you control another player's character without their permission. By doing this, you gain godlike powers over the other character, which is where the word comes from.  

NB: Sometimes godmodding is used as an overarching term for anything people don't like in roleplay.

The Joker took his knife and killed the Batman. 
The Joker took his knife, hoping to kill the Batman. 

No one dares to attack Darkseid. 
Darkseid was certain that no one would dare attack him.

In character opinions are not godmodding. For example, Harley Quinn can write in her post about how much she cares for the Joker and how much she does for him. It is not godmodding for Joker to write in his post that Harely does nothing for him and that she is useless. That is Joker's in character opinion, and he is not controlling Harley.

Why is Godmodding bad?

Godmodding makes the story fun for the person doing it, because it forces everything to go the way they want. Unfortunately, roleplaying is a cooperative hobby and is supposed to be fun for everyone taking part, and godmodding undermines that.

2) Powerplaying

This is when you try to make your character invincible.

There are many ways that powerplaying can come about. It could be through loading up a character with as many powerful skills and abilities as possible. It could be through the character having lots of unique items that they use whenever they get into trouble. It can also be as simple as creating a character who is the best at everything.

Why is Powerplaying bad?

Powerplaying often seems like a good idea at the time.  In reality, it usually leads to one character monopolising interesting plots and in many cases their powers cause plots and threads to come to a premature end.

3) Metagaming

Metagaming is when you use knowledge from outside your character's experience to influence their actions.

On many boards, metagaming is banned completely, but there is both good and bad metagaming. If you use general knowledge from another thread to make your own thread more interesting, there's nothing wrong with that. It's when your behaviour starts upsetting others that we have a problem.

Why is Metagaming bad?

Usually metagaming becomes bad when a character starts to mysteriously know what other characters are thinking and feeling, or knows everything about their private lives without being told. Obviously, this kind of thing can be quite annoying for other players.

Other Standards

1) Sensitive Issues

These issues should not be glorified to make your character seem more tragic or dramatic. This kind of behaviour is not only offensive, but also unrealistic.

2) Self Insertion

This is when you try to live vicariously through your characters. There is nothing wrong with making your characters a little bit like yourself, but when your characters are exactly like you it can cause you to become too attached to them, leading to powerplaying and unnecessary out of character conflict.

3) In Character Consequences for In Character Actions

If there are no consequences for what your character does, you may as well not roleplay at all. And remember, consequences may be positive or negative for your character.

4) Roleplaying is Cooperative

Both in threads and out, in order to be successful you need to give in order to get. You can post in roleplay requests and make your own open threads, but that won't work unless you also answer other people's requests and open therads.

Likewise, in threads it's great to have the attention on your character, but you should also allow other characters to take the spotlight sometimes.

(taken and edited from ©Potter's
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