Friday, May 18, 2007

Advice for roleplayers

One thing that seems to happen a lot on roleplay servers is that there comes a time when new people or people not affiliated with an RP guild think that all the roleplay has disappeared. "Where has all the RP gone?" they wonder. Cursedblood, on the LoTRO forums, offers some sage advice for those seeking roleplay and how to go about it to get others to join in (I'm posting the whole thing here because stuff tends to vanish from the game forums):

[OP quote] ~~ My point is, am I doing something wrong here? I thought RP could mean meeting people and sometimes even developing stories together. ~~

[Cursedblood] You are doing nothing wrong. RP comes in waves, and after a while, tends to coalesce into cliques and groups. People interpret this to be "elitism", and in some cases this is true, but what tends to happen in my experience is, you get so immersed in a few storylines, its very difficult at times to extend olive branches to other players - you are literally just so busy juggling what you are already involved in.

Give it time, it will come. I wish I was on your server, we could pal around together, and I'd be more than happy to get involved in your story. If I may, some unsolicited advice, that I found has helped me in the past:

Talk out loud - often, but keep it light and easy. Make random comments in character from time to time, especially if you suspect you are close to other characters that roleplay. Make these comments off-hand, something as simple as:

"What splendid Marigolds in front of that burrow. I never knew the Proudfoots had such a flare for color"

...or even...

"My goodness, I never knew the nights could be so chilly in this part of Bree-land..."

Simple, off-hand comments, will signal to other people you are open to RP, but you are also not forcing them to pay attention to you. Simple statements make it easy for people to reply to you in character. Even if people do not respond right away, good roleplayers will appreciate to the fact you are adding to the ambience of the overall roleplay. Here's an example of what would be a bad thing to blurt out, to strangers who have not roleplayed with you yet:

"Oh my lord! My brother has been captured! I need people to help me save him".

This kind of statement, immediately says the following:

"I have a story I want everyone to pay immediate attention to. I am going to ask a lot of your time to get involved in it"

Saying something as simple this is better to start with:

"For all the chatter about the Prancing Pony, I found their fare to be average at best"

This is just an offhand comment, something anyone might say in an absent-minded way. And its easy to respond to, and it doesn't require immediate comittment of time or energy. Later, as friendships develop, you can develop the RP to become more detailed and involved.

Another small piece of advice (if I may) is this: listen. Listen, listen, listen.

Too many roleplays talk - talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and almost always about themselves and their 'drama'. Skilled roleplayers LISTEN more than they talk and moreover they ask questions...they let other people talk and they just ask questions from time to time to stimulate the dialog. By passively roleplaying, you'll find people will gravitate to you like mice on a bag of grain. People WANT someone to listen to them, want people to ask them questions about themselves. Just like in real life, one of the best ways to get people to like you, is to let them talk about themselves. You'll find, its very entertaining.

In my experience, the best roleplayers aren't talking all the time, they are listening. They only talk when the conversation is lagging, or the topic needs ot be changed. They are not self-centered, they are community-centered, and enjoy listening to RP, as much as they do talking in-character. You probably know all these tricks, so my apologies if I am offering up advice you already know or don't need. These tricks help me out all the time though, so I thought I'd offer them up to you.

Good luck! And if you are really desperate, log in to Gladden with a newly-crafted alternate character and give old Gumgo Ciderbrew a \tell. I'll happily listen to any story you choose to tell me, I'm always happy to make a new friend.

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