"If you played mu like you wrote him, you’d have a trail of roleplayers following you…" This is what a friend told me one night, observing how in fact Sashi Mu reads much better than he is. or, to quote someone in-game, "You know, you guys are less funny in person…" I take all criticisms to heart, and these comments initiated a long period of self-examination. Was I, in fact, a roleplayer, or just someone who pretended I was through the time-insensitive medium of the printed word? I could not honestly say. And so, Sashi Mu the faux roleplayer was set aside for a new incarnation, a purer avatar of my roleplaying abilities. He does not powergame. He does not hunt monsters. He stays in character, interacting with other players in such a way as to encourage "pure roleplaying" on their parts. And so, it seems apropos to present this tale in the form of an instructional guide, pointing out how you too can transform your online persona into a representation of pure roleplaying ability. Prithee, please give a hearty hail and well-met to…
Meeting other Players. When you meet other players, it’s important to make an initial impression that tells everyone immediately about your character. Is he strong? Kind? Cruel? Sad? Does he have any relationship with someone else they might know about? A good initial meeting can pave the way for a good amount of roleplaying later on, while establishing your character in their eyes.
Finding out about other characters. Encourage roleplaying in your friends and people you meet by asking them about themselves, and talking about what they seem to like. It gives them a feeling of importance, and may even show someone who does not normally roleplay how much fun it can be.
Patience and Timing. Timing is the key to all great acting. To encourage a longer storyline between yourself and other players, make sure to pace the action naturally. It is unreasonable to expect that a group of adventurers would go out and undertake a serious life-threatening quest within 5 minutes of meeting each other! Therefore, spend some time getting to know each other before doing anything drastic.
Integrating Walk-In players. During your roleplay, it is to be expected that other players may walk in on you, with requests for assistance, offers of services, etc. Stay in character, and integrate the interruption in a manner that makes sense. Who knows, you might find a new roleplaying partner by doing so!
Using Emotes. The emote system is well-known to everyone, but you can go beyond the normal uses of *laugh* *cry* etc. Through creative use of postures and positions, you can evoke a response in your fellow players that even you might not have been able to predict.
Integrating Out-of-Character References. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer to something that’s out of the game context, in order to more easily get a point across. By treating out of game elements as legendary or magical, you can talk about such phenomena as ICQ and the World Wide Web without getting too far out of character.
Dealing with Player Killers. Contrary to popular belief, not all Player Killers are bad roleplayers. Still, the anti-PK paranoia of most "roleplayers" often leads them to break character when talking about them (usually derisively). Do not fall into this trap! By dealing with the presence of PK’s in a mature, in-character manner, you may encourage them to also roleplay their parts, and before you know it, a whole new world of roleplaying possibilities has opened for you!
Disruptive Players. Some players are quite firmly anti-roleplaying. They will often simply start berating roleplayers who are conversing, or sometimes even train horrible monsters upon them! Do NOT be tempted into breaking character around them. This can be great fun for you, and discouraging to your destractors, who will usually move on.
Saying Goodbye. While roleplay can easily consume hours of our game time, it is true that sometimes we have to log out for one reason or another. Stay in character and find a reason for your character to leave at that point, one which is realistic and understandable, and sets up a point to start your next conversation. Make a good last impression as well as a first, and your reputation as an excellent roleplayer is assured!
Many thanks to Penelope at Betabites for wasting her time transcribing the log, up until the point that it was obvious that straight text logs are boring as all hell, convincing me to try this format, which is still boring as hell, but at least doesn’t require anyone to type.