Role Playing FAQ: How to Participate

How To Participate in Role Play

So you've decided to give Role Playing a shot. Congratulations and welcome to The North Pacific's Role Playing FAQ. What exactly is Role Playing though? Role Playing in the North Pacific does not usually use dice and written notes. A lot of Role Playing in the North Pacific focuses on diplomatic relations between other nations in the region and interactions between its governments. Many of these Role Plays center around a few specific people and their interactions. So how then, do you take part in Role Playing and the negotiations and Conferences?

First off, it's a matter of creating the characters you plan to use. Will they be serious or somewhat silly? Will they be crafty or open and honest? Are they trying to be deceptive or trying to be sincere? Once you've worked out the personalities, you can head over to the Drafting Plane to look for an open Conference or Role Play. Keep in mind, the application process varies per Role Play. In some, you can simply discuss your intention of joining the Role Play and then you'll be considered in. Other times, you will need to fill out an application and wait for the person in charge to accept you. There will be a few times where the Role Play will be considered "closed" to other people. In that case, you will most likely be unable to join.

Once you are accepted into a Role Play, now you need to make a post. What kind of post should you make though, and how should it look? Thankfully, we have answers to some of those questions. Let's first look at the definitions involved in Role Playing.

Definition of Terms

Thread - The overall topic/conversation/story. That is the whole shebang, all posts included.

OP - Opening Post- The first post of a thread. Usually, the person who posts first is known as the Opening Poster (OP). They are usually the person who runs the thread unless stated otherwise.

Co-OP - Co-Opening Poster- A person who is employed by the Opening Poster.

Post - An individual reply made by one person to a thread. Good threads are made up of lots of these. Threads where people get flamed also have lots of these as well.

Character - When you make your first post in a RP thread that is where you will name your character. You DO NOT need to create a new sign in for each character that you use in the forum. You can use a different character in each thread if needed, but no new sign in is needed! If you are using more than one character, there are some suggestions for posting as more than one character:
  • If in third person, mention the character's name at the end of a quote.
  • If only using two characters, mark the dialogue of one in bold.
  • If only using two characters, you can Role Play in first person. This allows you to switch from the Point of View of one character to another
  • Use color to distinguish different characters. It is suggested that this is used as a last resort.

OOC - Out Of Character - Out of Character posts are often posted in the Drafting Plane in the respective Out of Character thread.
This is used to tell other role-players things that you want to get across. Things such as 'I'm going away for a few days, so I won't be able to post for a while' or 'Hey a***hole, edit your previous post. I think we've spent too long in the inn, so I'm moving my character outside. I hope some of you follow. Just a question, how are we supposed to kill this monster that we're supposed to be fighting?' or anything else that you might want to ask or tell the other role-players in the thread.

PM - Private Message - This is a method where you send a particular person a message. See the forum FAQ on how to use it. It is useful if you want to ask someone a direct question and you don't want to post an 'OOC' message in any particular thread. It is suggested that if you plan on having a plot twist, you use this method if you want to let as few people as possible know.

Colored Post - The use of colors, bold, and italics is also applied in many threads. When used correctly, this makes seeing the speech and thought of each PC (player character) much easier to tell apart from the rest of the post. It is suggested that colors be used as a last resort.

NPC - Non-Player Character- A character that is only used for a minor detail or for a small bit of dialogue. These characters are generally flat and will only be involved in a Role Play for a short amount of time.

Time-skip - A moment where the story will advance upon an agreed amount of time. This is used for when intimate moments start approaching too explicit or when there is no way to advance the plot anymore unless time passes quickly.

Godmod - As defined by NationStates:
1) Saying what happens to other people's stuff.
2) Refusing to take any losses. Or lose. Ever.
3) Having ubertech armies that are too large, etc.
4) Having your nation's geography to your extreme advantage.

Rules and Guidelines for the Role-Playing Forum

1) Who's in Charge?

The person or people in charge vary based on the thread. In many cases, the Opening Poster (see above) is the person who is in charge of the thread. In a Conference, they usually will conduct the flow of the Conference and guide it along. There are times when the Opening Poster will call upon one or two people called Co-OPs to help run the thread. Other times, the Opening Poster will relinquish control and no one will be "in charge."
In a Role Play, no one person governs the story. Often times, it is a collective effort by all the participants of the Role Play. The direction of the story will often change as the players see fit. When an OP is in control, they will sometimes act as an "invisible hand" and guide the story the way they would like. Often times, if someone "steps out of line," then one or more other players will let them know. At that point, the person out of line may edit their post or could work with another player to change the direction of the story entirely.

2) What would be good Role Playing?

Good Role Playing is sometimes tricky as the definition is often times open ended. It is generally agreed that the following is good Role Playing:
  • Be constant with your character. If you designed them to act a certain way, then that's how they should act.
  • Allow the story to develop in interesting ways. For example, if you're involved in a Role Play where you are the Prosecutor in a court case, consider creating a sub plot in which you and the Defendant's Attorney have an affair.
  • Don't be too short or too long. It's difficult to find a middle ground in this case as the parameters vary from person to person. Generally, you should have six or seven sentences if possible as a minimum. NEVER post one-liners. People absolutely hate them and they add little. Don't go writing a three page report either though. A few paragraphs at most and six to seven sentences at least are generally good for a post.
  • If you have trouble with making a post that isn't too short, create a pun or describe the scene. There are many ways to expand your post without making it look too short. It also gives a better sense of the environment.
  • Finally, don't do dumb posts. What do we mean by that? In the words of Magicality:
There is nothing worse than dumb posts. NOTHING. Ultimately, don't post senseless, ill-fitting crap in the thread. If you're playing a dim-witted character, make sure he does dim-witted things. A stupid Ogre isn't likely to solve a complex murder mystery with any kind of sudden revelation. If you want to do that, why did you decide to play a dumb Ogre in the first place? Remember, you are ROLE PLAYING. If you're a clumsy, bumbling idiot, stealthily sneaking up behind a Master Thief isn't going to happen. Also, if you're the Captain of the City Guards, make sure you act like it. Don't go running off doing things that a Captain of the City Guards wouldn't do.

3) What is godmodding and why is it bad?

From NationStates:
1) Saying what happens to other people's stuff.
2) Refusing to take any losses. Or lose. Ever.
3) Having ubertech armies that are too large, etc.
4) Having your nation's geography to your extreme advantage.

Godmodding is definitely improper etiquette and looks very bad in terms of posting. It breaks certain limits that are set by the technological standard of the Role Play. In the North Pacific, this standard is usually Modern Technology (MT) and it defines all technology up to the Modern Day plus three to five years more. Going beyond this limit is considered Post Modern Technology and is rarely touched upon in the North Pacific.

Why is Godmodding bad though? Magicality answers that quite clearly:
Okay, we ALL want to be the Master of Firearms and the Master Melee and the Master Dodge character. But how much fun is it going to be if everyone in the thread is some kind of super hero? Not much at all I'm afraid. Instead, give your character(s) weaknesses. Don't go and make him/her/it THE ultimate thief. Sometimes, Master can be excessive and Expert will do just fine. Of course, All Mighty and Powerful characters are fine, as long as they are mainly used as plot devices. So there's likely to be at LEAST one all-powerful character in the thread.

In a Role Play, a super powerful character may be used to advance the story. For example, a Master of Martial Arts may be introduced to train the characters in the way of martial arts and improve their skills. They serve only that function and are not considered a main character. Main characters should be flawed and should be somewhat balanced in Role Playing.

There will sometimes be exceptions to the rule of godmodding. When there is, the Opening Poster will inform you of what they will consider godmodding.

4) What is considered explicit?

There will be times when your imagination (if you use it during posting) may go a tad bit too far. For example, a romantic moment may become a bit too explicit or a fight scene may become a bit too gory. Please note that the North Pacific has a PG-13 policy on posts. That means:
  • Don't type out an excessive number of curses (since that's also bad etiquette). A character will say the "F word." Hell, they may even say Hell. It's when you string together a number of curses in one post that becomes a problem. Instead, replace it with something that implies that your character is angry.
  • Don't turn up the gore too much. No one wants to know what happened to internal body parts, and even if they do, it still breaks PG-13. If someone's arm gets cut off, don't describe the scene that may occur. The major point is the arm got cut off. Let's keep to that point and not the scenery at that moment.
  • Don't get too explicit with intimate moments. Intimate moments will happen. It is a fact that many Role Plays will have intimate moments. When it seems to approach being explicit, the best thing to do is a time-skip. A time-skip is often a moment where the story will skip to a certain amount of time in the future AFTER the intimate moment has completed.

5) What is character hijacking and why is it bad?

Character hijacking is when one player makes another player's character do something without being given permission or without giving the other player a chance to respond. Character hijacking is VERY dangerous, and it will often time anger the other player. If you post the action of their character, it is considered bad etiquette, you will be responsible for editing your post, you run the possibility of grinding the entire storyline to a halt, and it will put you on bad terms with other players. Repeated character hijacking is grounds for ejection from the thread by the OP or by a collective consensus.

Character hijacking is only allowed if you are given explicit permission by the player to post as their character as well. Often times, the player has to go away for a certain amount of time and will be unable to post. Accepting a request by another player to act as their character can lead to interesting opportunities, if they allow it. However, keep in mind that it may not be easy Role Playing as another player's character if they have a different writing style from your own.


Remember... it's about having fun.

Role Playing is a place to explore possibilities, engage in new ideas, and weave together a story with a number of other players. As you Role Play with other players, you will make connections and form ties with players. These guidelines are to help you along your path of Role Playing.
Don't be discouraged if someone points out a mistake in your Role Playing. Take pride that they have taken the time to point out a mistake and learn from those mistakes. There will be a lot of fairly good Role Players when you start out and that shouldn't discourage you at all. Remember, everyone started out where you start out today. It takes time and practice to get where they are today.

In conclusion, Magicality sums up Role Playing and its enjoyment in two simple sentences:
Ultimately, at the end of the day, this forum will only last as long as the people using it are enjoying themselves. That is what this forum exists for after all...

Good luck, and welcome to the North Pacific!

Originally written by Magicality on March 7, 2004. Revised and updated by Alvino Castillon on December 4, 2012