It’s about time we carry on with our how to guide for beginner’s role playing. I know I’ve left this alone for a while, but I was reading over the last few posts and realised – I never did get around to doing the ‘character bio’ and ‘opening post’ idea that I promised at the end of part 2.
So here it is 😉
Not everyone likes to post a character bio straight away. Some role players like to just jump right into the opening post. This is fine. In my own role plays, I usually start of with a bio. I guess that analogy of role play being like adlib acting has carried this through for me, because I like to be able to ‘see’ the action too.
This means having a picture and a name at the very least. When you watch a movie, you immediately know what the character looks like, and I like this for my rp too. Further more, since I role play Yaoi, it really helps for variety in my sentences and vocabulary if I know what my partner’s character looks like – there are only so many ways you can say ‘him’ or ‘the boy’ before it gets confusing and monotonous. If I know what he looks like, I can say ‘the blond man’ or ‘the taller man’ or ‘the smaller man’ e.g. ‘He looked into the blue eyes of the smaller man and winked.’ It’s more descriptive and leaves no doubt as to who is the subject and object of the sentence.
Now, a character bio is a lot more than a picture, although choosing the picture is usually the fun part. I love scrolling through Google images and picking out hot bishounen to play with. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just describing him too, although they don’t say ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words’ for nothing.
Characters are meant to be real. Keep it as real as possible for your scenario. Nobody wants to RP with a partner whose characters are so flawed as to be impossible to relate to, or so perfect as to be irritating. This is not a competition – just make him realistic and ‘normal’ in so far as he fits into your scene.
Often a character bio is laid out like this:
Appearance: (you can put your pic here)
Under the bio section, you introduce your character. A short history, maybe how he finds himself where he is now. His role or occupation, his family situation, etc. Don’t reveal everything about his personality at this stage. If you want, you can talk about his main traits (e.g. confident and bubbly or shy and quiet personality) but it’s fun for your partner to discover his personality through interaction too. Plus, whatever you write here you have to stick to and shouldn’t change. Don’t commit to something you can’t carry through. Like in yaoi there is usually a seme and an uke (not always, but most times!) if you commit to being a strong, confident seme, don’t have your character weeping at every turn and offering his ass for sex! Or if you say your uke has tons of experience and is pretty baddass, but he ends up blushing and running away at the mention of holding hands, well, you can see that the other player would become a bit confused.
This will leave your partner with no recourse but to take up a role he potentially doesn’t want – like becoming the seme or uke instead – or they may even drop the RP in disappointment.
The Opening Post!
I guess it’s obvious that this is the first post and introduces the story. Usually if the plot was your idea, you own it and should do the opening post. To the real sticklers, this makes you ‘game master’, and you’re in charge of what happens in the game – either by dint of describing the universe you’re playing in, or by actually leading the plot to some extent – your partner should help with plot, though.
If you’re doing the opening post, it’s entirely up to you to set the scene and tone of the role play, as well as to introduce your character’s personality. Yes, you’ll have to make him real in the text, more so than in the Bio. It’s all very well to say he has a bubbly personality but if he doesn’t demonstrate this in the course of the rp then people won’t treat him as if he’s bubbly.
To the same end, if you’re up for comedy, make your prose funny! If you’re up for drama, use dramatic turn of phrase to set the mood. Your partner takes his cues from you, remember. The opening post is, therefore, very important.
On a side note:
Whatever you do, though, even if it’s just one line, ALWAYS give you partner something to react to. This is a role play, that means you have to interact with each other. I have been in the unfortunate situation with a noob RP partner who started bringing in her own characters and interacting with them more than my own. This is fine, if you want to show your character’s back story – but FINISH that bit, and bring your character back to the RP by putting them in a scene that can be used by your partner.
A bad idea:
|You: “Bill went home and spent the afternoon with his mum and dad playing tiddlywinks”Your Partner: “Bob didn’t know wtf to do with himself so he left the rp.”|
A good idea:
|You: “Bill went home and spent the afternoon with his mum and dad playing tiddlywinks. The next morning he turned up at school and told Bob all about it.”Your partner: “Bob listened intently to Bill’s description of a game he’d never played and asked his friend to demonstrate.”|
Get the difference? This is something that matters in every post so don’t forget!
Most likely I’ll write this up as a pet peeve one day. Don’t subscribe to this blog and let me catch you NOT interacting with your partner!