Jun 072010
 June 7, 2010  Posted by at 9:36 am How To Role Play Tagged with: ,  Add comments

So now we all understand what an RP is. Well, I hope you do. If not, please see my previous blog Part 1 in the series, and if you still have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section (or email me if you’d rather not look like an eedjit!;-) )

The next step, now, is HOW one goes about starting and continuing a role play. Now, there are loads of topics on this all over the web. Google is your friend whenever you have a question (other search engines are available!). A lot of what is out there is far more advanced than I am since I’ve only been involved in RP for less than a year now. However, a lot of what’s out there is also for very specific to niche forums, genres, universes or fandoms. I hope to explain RP in general, not just for specific genres. Also, thus far I have role played exclusively on forums. This is something I find very easy and convenient, so a lot of my advice will be based on forum-based RPs in general.

There are a few things you’ll need before you can actually start an RP.
1) A Plot, Setting or Premise
2) A Character
3) A Partner (or several partners!)
4) A thread (assuming your RP is on a forum)

Remember, I can only speak from my own experience and those shared with me by others. I hope to answer your queries so please leave a comment or email me if you have any!

1) A Plot, Setting or Premise

When I say ‘plot’ I certainly do not mean a fully mapped out story. Remember, as mentioned in Part 1, with an RP the story often evolves organically, and could possibly take turns that you might not have expected. However, it’s usually a good idea to discuss the general premise with your partner before beginning, and then regularly as you go along, so that you are both on the same page as to the ultimate heading of the story. This can be an original plot or it could be based on something you’ve read or seen recently. If it’s based on someone else’s work, it’s called a ‘fandom’ RP. If it’s your own, it’s simply called an ‘original’ RP.

What you need, as a bare minimum, is at least a setting and a short introduction. This doesn’t need to be anything more than a reason for your character to be where he is, and perhaps how he meets your partner’s character. And then the two of you take it from there!

If you’re out of ideas, browse other players threads and pick up some inspiration.  Don’t steal plots (it’s rude and called plagerism), but you might see a few things you can use and put together for something original.  If you’re really interested in a plot someone is doing, don’t be shy to ask them if you can have their idea for your own RP, or if they’ll do another one of the same idea with you.  Most players borrowed ideas from somewhere else, so probably won’t mind being borrowed from.  There’s nothing new under the sun, after all.

2) A Character

Now that you kind of know what sort of plot you want to have you can make up a character for him. There’s nothing stopping you from having a character first, and creating a plot to use him in! This is just the way I would suggest you’d go about it.

Create a character that is realistic for his setting. Give him a name, a back story and a personality to match, and make him as real as possible to you. Remember, you’ll be taking on his persona during the RP, so you’ll need to know him quite well to start with. Although there’s nothing wrong with adding to him as you go along, just have a clue as to what sort of person he is.

3) A Partner

Some role plays involve several people (called group RPs for obvious reasons). ALL RPs, clearly, will involve at least two people, so you’ll need a partner. On most RP forums there is usually a section titled ‘search’ or ‘discussion’ or something along those lines where forum users can post their ideas. Make yourself a new thread and explain the basics of your plot. And then sit back and wait until someone comes to you.

Here’s a tip when starting a search thread. Don’t make it “I’m bored. I wanna RP?” That’s too vague. Have at least an idea or two so that people can see what you like, what your style is, and so that you don’t waste time with a hundred potential partners who don’t suit you. If you put a small amount of detail in this post, you’ll at least eliminate those who don’t like the same genre as yourself, or the same fandom, if that’s what you’re after. At the very least, put down some point form ideas of what you like. E.g. School based RP in a school for kids with special powers.  Looking for someone to play a shape-shifter of some sort.

At least this way you’ll know that people who contact you will also be interested in this fantasy world you’ll be creating together.

Similarly – if you have particular requirements in a partner, post them in this search thread as well. If you require a certain level of literacy, or a length of posts, or a frequency of posts, etc. Make sure you mention this at some point. There’s nothing worse than being a paragraph player and receiving one liners in reply. Or being a one-line player and being expected to match someone’s paragraph lengths. If you stipulate before hand, you’ll save you and your partner a lot of heart ache!

4) A Thread

Or at least a medium upon which you will RP. In my case it’s been on forums which use threads for each RP. But loads of people enjoy IM-based RPs, or even via email. Whatever medium you choose, make sure you can easily access the records so that you can read over old posts. You don’t want to loose track of a story, or make too many obvious continuity errors if you can help it.

In a forum, under each subsection (usually called boards) you’ll see a ‘create new topic’ or ‘new thread’ button. Give it a title for your RP. Common practice is to put your partner’s name in the title between brackets so that others who stumble across it will know it’s been taken. E.g. Super School {Partern’s Name}.  Just make sure if you’re using a forum to put it under the correct section!  If the forum has a category for supernatural RPs, put it there, if it’s historically based and there’s a section for it, put it there.


Of course, you could skip number 3 altogether, and just post an open thread with a character bio and opening post (we’ll discuss these in the next part). It’s potluck then if someone will take it and what their style will be. But this is an easy way to get an RP going especially if you’re going for a group. I call this a ‘Box of Chocolates’ RP, because you never know what you’re gonna get 🙂


The owner of this website and the associated forum. Yaoi fan and role play lover for my sins

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