Monday, 18 April 2011

OOC: RP Guide #3: How do I RP?

Part 3 of the increasingly less-occasional RP Guide. Thanks for the comments on the last one!

I have a character, with a background. Now what do I do?
"Life in the movie business is like the... is like the beginning of a new love affair: it's full of surprises, and you're constantly getting f*cked." - Fox, Speed-The-Plow
 The simple answer is to start Roleplaying. You may find it best to join a corp that is an "RP corp" - which usually means that all in game channels such as corp and alliance are "In character", often with a secondary "out of character" channel where you can discuss your dog. Another thing to do is to find a channel in which Roleplay takes place, and go there - there are quite a lot, representing bars, clubs, restaurants and other such locations.

Roleplay in EVE essentially breaks down into three types.
  1. Channel Roleplay
  2. Forum Roleplay
  3. Blog Roleplay
In reverse order, with very sketchy details for two of them.

Blog Roleplay
This is a blog. My IC posts represent Blog roleplay. You'll note that it's largely a solo affair, though people do occasionally interact on blogs. It's perhaps best regarded as a complement to other sorts of RP, a way to extend your own character's narrative and something to do at work when you can't RP any of the other ways. 

Using someone else's character in your Blog without their permission is a big no no (though it's obviously OK to mention them, either directly or indirectly. Most people like reading other characters' thoughts about theirs. It's kind of like being in the popular crowd.)

Forum Roleplay
Roleplaying on Forums, natch. Either just making posts that are In Character (this could be regarded as "light" RP) which would be posts that you would make if you weren't an RPer, just omitting all references to your dog (unless you have an IC Slaver dog thing, in which case, knock yourself out), through to expressing opinions that your character has but that you may not share, or using language in an IC way.

Some forum RP is interactive storytelling, with the forum being set in a particular location, and the characters involved taking turns to make posts. This can be fun, but it can also get a bit silly, as it often feels like (or in some cases, there are rules that mandate) there is a minimum acceptable post length. This results in the following style of post:
Laria's brow creases in thought, as she remembers all the previous situations that this issue had presented itself in. She turns and looks out of the window, out onto the blackness of space lit only with the pinpricks of distant stars - at this time of day this side of the station was turned away from both sun and planet, leaving it in shadow and looking out over an empty vista. Still, a decision had to be made, a decision that had ramifications beyond the immediate. With an angry shake of her head, she made it. "No, just a regular portion of fries," she says.
It can also take forever to do anything.

Channel Roleplay

I'm going to write more about this. There are two sorts of RP channels in EVE. There's the sort that is just a communications channel used by the characters. Most people in RP corps use their corp and fleet channels like this. And then there's the sort that represents a particular place.

EVE is not well endowed with facilities for the RPer. There's channels and the character bio, and really that's about it. And both of those have limitations.

Let's talk about RP in a place-bound channel. We'll invent one, called "The Better 'Ole". It's a bar, and not a particularly good one. If it's an open channel, anyone can RP there, though it's worth checking what the setting is to see if it's appropriate for us, and to get a feel for what it's like.

Most people set a MOTD describing the general ambience and environment, so let's invent one.

The Better 'Ole, a bar that has a carefully cultivated atmosphere of seediness, on the back side of an otherwise abandoned station in Hagilur. From the distressed state of the furniture to the surly look on the face of the barman, it's a place for the tough-skinned and tough-livered.
Hey! That sounds like the kind of place that I'd like to RP in! So, how do I get started? Rather than simply type "Hi" into space, I'm going to describe what my character does. With the use of /me, mostly. This is called a "pose".

/me walks into the bar, a look like thunder on her face, her hands gripping the front of her stylishly-tailored leather jacket. She strides up to the counter. "Pator Number One," she orders. "And get a second ready, because I'm going to need it."

We pose in the present tense. A bit weird, but the convention. If there's anyone else in channel and up for RP, they'll probably pose in response, and you can get going.

Here are some tips:
  1. Enter scenes with something to do, or something that you were just doing, or something on your mind. Remember about short-term drivers. Coming into scenes flat leads to the following sorts of RP.
    Me: "Hi"
    Them: "Hi. How're you doing?"
    Me: "Fine. You?"
    Them: "Fine too."
    Me: "Can I have a beer?"
    Them: "Yes. Here is your beer."
    Me: "Do you want a beer too?"

    Neither character has brought anything to the scene, and as a result, it's... well. A little dull. Difficult to get life into it. Something interesting might happen, but it's not a great start. Be aware of what your character is preoccupied with, thinking of, worrying about. Remember previous conversations they've had with the characters involved. Be doing stuff, because even small stuff makes scenes more interesting, and energy at the start of scenes translates into liveliness throughout. Hobbies, projects, shopping trips, all are good for this if you don't have a more strategic short term driver.
  2. One technique that works quite well is to split your poses into three sections. React -> Act -> Prompt. What this means is that the early part of your pose should be responding to what other characters have done (React), doing something new (Act) and then giving other characters something to respond to (Prompt). Let's look at an example.
    Steve The Disposable NPC looks up. "Do you come here often?" he asks.
    Laria Raven smiles wanly. "Oh, I come here quite a lot," she says. She looks over her shoulder at the door, then back to Steve. "Do you attempt to pick up girls here often?" 
    I've colour-coded the sections, though often you combine them. This is a good way to think about poses, because it avoids a) the other players thinking you're ignoring them b) giving them nothing to respond to and c) the scene becoming very static, because there's always progress.
  3. Be careful about shutting down RP. (This is different from having to leave, this is killing a scene). It's difficult, if you've decided that your character is going to be mean to someone and isn't interested in them, but it's really best to try and interact, as a default. And that means giving them something to respond to, something to do. Be a generous roleplayer - RP widely, and with energy and character agendas, and you'll reap the benefits;

No comments:

Post a Comment