Yo yo yo; Kami here! Given that roleplaying is a major component of our fandom and I have several years of experience doing it, I thought I'd make a blog to help guide new users in the art of roleplaying. Keep in mind that these are simply my beliefs when it comes to roleplaying and you don't necessarily have to follow them. But hopefully my years of experience can help newbies be better from the get-go.
Before I begin I'd like to state that I don't think I'm a great role-player; I don't even I'm a good one. However, I've been roleplaying for about six years now and I've definitely seen my writing improve throughout that timeframe. I've participated in more battle and story role-plays than I can count, organized events/arcs, and collaborated with dozens of users. Thus, this is just me relaying what I've learned over the years to the masses.
Note: I copy/pasted a lot of these points from other blogs on how to roleplay. All credit goes to the respective writers and will be cited at the end.
I guess I'll start with a brief explanation of what I think roleplaying is exactly; although it's pretty self-explanatory. As suggested by the name, you're essentially playing a role of a character you created or are managing. You want to play that character to the best of your abilities. Essentially, think of roleplaying as acting but one paper - on keyboard in our case. Because we can't visually portrait emotions, expressions, settings, environments, actions etc. you should do your best to detail these things in your writing.
Roleplaying changes when you work with others. When writing your own story independently, you have full control of everything and get to determine outcomes without considering others. This changes considerably when you agree to roleplay with someone else and especially when you participate in a site-wide storyline like we have here. You need to consider that your actions affect other characters and the storyline as a whole. Therefore, communication with the other author(s) consistently, kindly and effectively is paramount.
Roleplaying is essentially an advance for of story-telling. It needs to be coherent, fluid, detailed and enjoyable. Don't let others dictate how you roleplay, however you should also be considerate of those you are working with and make an effort to see eye-to-eye with those you continuously plan on collaborating with.
I'll first start off with some general rules regarding roleplaying with others.
- Respect Fellow Collaborators: This is the most important and first step that should be followed before you ever begin a roleplay. You need to respect the other people you roleplay with, and respect their contributions and writing. Believe it or not, it is very easy to show disrespect to other writers unintentionally. There's dozens of way you could do this and I could honestly write an entire section highlighting them, however I'll just list a few: Don't ignore other's writing, don't excessively glorify your character while insulting or belittling the other, don't railroad from the pre-determined plot without discussing with your collaborator and put in the same level of commitment as the others author.
- Never Godmod: Ok so this is somewhat tricky given our overall storyline rules. We don't require users to fill out their pages before roleplaying, so you are blessed with some liberties to add and come up with things on the spot. However, it's important discuss with your collaborators what abilities, skills, and habits a character may have before starting a roleplay, especially in a battle roleplay. Imagine if your roleplaying with a sniper like Ussop and finally manage to break into close range combat and then suddenly your opponent suddenly has the swordsmanship skill of Zoro. There is an unwritten rule, which I am now writing, that the character you roleplay with, should be the one that the other writer agreed to interact with. To avoid godmodding, be transparent in your plans or desires to allow your character to gain a new ability during a roleplay, and respect it when the other writers do not give you permission to do so, especially if you're proposing the idea mid-way through.
- Do not Metagame: Metagaming is the misuse of knowledge. It usually refers to when a writer endows a character with knowledge or information the character cannot or should not have, in order to allow the character to gain an undue advantage or benefit. It can also refer to when a user changes his character's actions in such as way that, they expose or take advantage of another character's vulnerabilities on "accident". Metagaming is rightfully seen as cheating, and shows great disrespect for other writers. To avoid being meta, maintain the fourth wall. You are not your character, your character has a separate and discrete pool of knowledge from you as the writer, which is governed by his occupation, character history, and what you can reasonably expect him to know.
- Do not Retcon: Retconning is changing the established facts. Usually this means, changing the substance or details of a previous post in order to gain favorable circumstances in a roleplay, but it can also mean, changing the assumptions about the world or setting. This is somewhat tougher to do in a one piece fanon but still possible nonetheless. If your character has taken some damage, don't have them miraculously heal or say it was some illusion or something like that. Be willing to see your character take some damage but also don't go trying to kill other people's character(s) without discussing with them.
- Do not autohit: Autohitting is saying an action has occurred that affects the another author's character without their ability to react or counter. You don't get to determine the actions taken by another author's character. You should leave your attacking posts with ambiguous results (I'll explain what I mean in a later section). In some battle roleplays it might be warranted to have "some" autohitiing, like in a hand-to-hand combat fight, however the degree should be discussed with the other author before hand. Additionally, don't make assumption for another character. They get to assess information provided to them in the manner in which they please. However, you should always be respectful of other's actions.
Guide to Roleplaying
- Titles: What is the first purpose of a title? To engage readers. Titles such as "X Description: Y versus Z" in my opinion sound clumsy and can deter people from reading a certain roleplay, as the premise has already been set out to appear cliche. In order to remedy this, you could consider a title that focuses on a specific metaphor or symbol? I would try to title the roleplay to integrate symbolic aspects from both characters in the roleplay or the highlighting the plot or setting in order to create an intriguing title that will capture the attention of any passing readers. Because, who doesn't like a good title?
- Roleplay Introductions: Introductions within a roleplay are quite important, for obvious reasons that some people seem to overlook. Introductions are meant to, as the name might suggest, introduce things. The introduction gives insight into a variety of things that are essential within a roleplay:
- Setting: The setting of a roleplay is exceedingly important. It determines a wide variety of "external" factors, including how you are able to manipulate the environment in order to damage your opponent, among other things. Ensure that your environment is properly defined for your opponent to read. Whether they choose to read it or not is completely their choice.
- Characters: Obviously, the characters are the central part of the roleplay. Roleplays are based on character interactions. Having a good introduction of your character is vital to making a good first impressions. Indulge yourself into their character, make it so that you make it clear that you know how your character acts in almost any situation.
- Conflict/Plot Development: In the same way you should introduce your characters and setting before progressing into the story, you should ease into the plot of the roleplay. If your plot is about raiding an island kingdom, maybe you should provide some background as to why your characters are going to said kingdom and why they have interest in raiding it. Additionally, you may wanna provide some color/context of the kingdom itself. Establishing background is very important as you work you way to the conflict because it won't feel like characters are just suddenly thrown into situations.
- Plot: While we incorporate battle roleplays into our stories, you shouldn't have the general plot be "my character is fighting another". Instead, you could come up with a more intriguing plot the eventually ties a battle into it. Every roleplay should have some over-arching goal in mind; roleplays with several parties may have more than one. It's important to not only work towards achieving the plot but also allowing it to occur naturally and not just have it spontaneously emerge. The more interesting/captivating your conflict/plot is, the better your roleplay will be.
- Conclusions: A conclusion of a roleplay should demonstrate a reasonable resolution to the conflict that you have developed previously. Perhaps it's the victory of a certain individual or perhaps it is a stalemate, or an interference for one character who is suddenly summoned to be somewhere else? Whatever it may be, you should make it as reasonable and fluid as you can. Try to make it so the roleplay doesn't end anti-climatically following an intense conflict. Gradually let it subside until the roleplay itself gives you the opportunity to close it completely. And if the roleplay is designed to end abruptly, leaving one a cliff hanger to start another, then make sure you describe why its ending in such a manner.
- After the Roleplay: Your actions in a roleplay here are canon and therefore anything that happens in one should be properly reflected in the next. If you end up dirt poor at the end of one roleplay, and then you start another that occur chronologically after that, then said character should still be poor unless something's seemingly changed "off-screen" in which you should describe it in your introduction. Additionally after concluding a roleplay you should update your character page to properly reflect what has occurred in the roleplay; adding references to your page is one component we recommend here.
Tips and Tricks
- Beginning the Role Play: Begin the roleplay in motion; the characters are actors, they should be acting, not accumulating dust in their houses. Give them a purpose to act upon: they have an in-character reason to be where they are. This momentum can guide the direction of the roleplay, kickstarting both players to action. Align the motivations of your character so that they will end up in situations that achieve your goals for the roleplay. You want the character to show flashy break-dance fighting moves? He's been tasked with preventing the assassination of the prime minister of Malaysia. You want him to develop a romance? A princess is in mortal peril.
- Creating Exchanges: An exchange is any time one player character interacts with another. In simple terms, this could be an "attack". All exchanges must be written open-ended; you cannot dictate how your character's attack will effect his opponent, because anything that happens to a character falls under the narrative control of that character's player. It's easy to simply say, "my character dodges the attack with ease", but this way of responding just as easily falls into a pitfall of role playing- disrespect. A better way is to acknowledge the other character's actions and incorporation them into your response. For example, you would instead say "My character narrowly avoids the sword as it cuts through the fabric of his shirt, slicing a fine line through the flimsy cloth- but miraculously leaves the skin untouched.
- Narrative Emphasis: Narrative emphasis is using the organization of a sentence or paragraph to instill an increased sense of focus on a particular aspect of the writing. For example, "My character deflects the attack." emphasizes the character. "The attack barely misses my character." emphasizes the attack. In this way, certain parts of what you write can be seen as essential- this tips the other role player off, that what you are emphasizing is important. So, when you notice this, you can know that responding to what they are emphasizing is what they want you to do. In simple words, when you say "My attack roars with an awesome power.", you are emphasizing that the power is roaring awesomely. A response that takes your emphasis into consideration would be "My character clutches his ears in pain and stares in terror as the attack barrels down upon him."
- Plot Emphasis: Plot emphasis basically means, making parts of a story relevant by describing them in detail. So, including information about your character's sword, such as what it's made of or where it came from, tells the reader that it is important to you and the future of the story. For example, "My character has a symbol on his back" vs. "My character has a spiral symbol on his back, instantly recognizable as the ancient coat of arms of his clan."
- Be Yourself: Be yourself. Don't let other people dictate how you write. There is no set format in writing RPs. You just write how you write. Bring your own flavor into everything. Make sure that you're expressing your own identity in the way you write. THAT's how you make something successful...(of course with other kinks).
- Fluidity: Fluidity, grammar and spelling, all the else. This simple aspect is quite important in RPs. You want to make sure that your opponent, comrade, and everyone else knows what you're talking about. To help you with this, it's recommended that - if grammar and spelling aren't your strongest suit - you use a spellcheck or something similar. Neat writing is one important step to good writing.
- Details Do you really think someone appreciates when you have a one-sentence post when they're putting in effort to make a nice, fluid, coherent paragraph(s)? No, they don't. You're putting your character in a situation that is "going with the flow." (Unless you have a set outcome from the RP) Therefore, you need to describe things. Emotions of the characters, thoughts, and if you're opening or referring to the environment - describe it! More description doesn't detract, unless it has no relevance to anything at all. Then don't put it in.
- Response Formula: In case you're ever stuck on a post and can't come up with anything to respond you can use this formula. Step one, give the character's thought process in response to the opponent's action. Step Two, the actual reaction your character makes based on the opponent's action. Step three, detailing/build-up to your action. Step 4, executing your action. Step 5, describing an expected/hopeful result. With these five steps you can easily develop at least one paragraph to adequately respond to your target. As you get more experience you can obviously stray away from this.
That about concludes this blog. If you're new to roleplaying the best way to learn and get better is to participate in as many roleplays as you can and read other's roleplays. Hope this helped and let me know you think there's anything I should add or if you don't agree with the points I've made.
Once again I want to reiterate that a lot of points and were simply taken from the sources listed below. All credit goes to the respective authors and you can find the links below here!
https://narutofanon.fandom.com/wiki/User_blog:Ash9876/Jutsu_Selection_%26_Roleplaying_Tips https://narutofanon.fandom.com/wiki/User_blog:Ash9876/Roleplaying_Guide_by_the_Mizukage https://narutofanon.fandom.com/wiki/User_blog:Chrono_Nexus/Role_Playing_101 https://narutofanon.fandom.com/wiki/User_blog:AbysmalShadows/Abysmal%27s_Guide_to_Combat