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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Sabo's Guide to Effective Role-Playing

    The following article entitled "Sabo's Guide to Effective Role-Playing", was pulled from the Lotro Lorebook. In case it hasn't already been carried over, here it is..

    What is Role-Playing?

    Basically, RPing is simply another way of saying "acting". For a normal non-RP character, you use your character to navigate the game world. However, you interact with others as yourself. If someone asks you what your favorite meal is, you probably answer "beer and pizza". If they ask if you have any pets, you say "no, but my mom has a chihuahua".

    However, when you're role-playing your character, you're "acting" your character, just like a stage or television actor. If someone were to ask about your favorite meal, you might say "ale and roast suckling pig". Basically, RPing is simply speaking as your character instead of as yourself.

    Why Role-Play?

    For many people, RP adds an extra layer of depth and immersion to the game. It's a way to give your character personality, to flesh him (or her) out and make him more real. It also adds player-made content to the game, which helps keep the game fresh and interesting. For example, you might come up with a back story for your character in which her husband was killed by rampaging orcs. Whenever she sees an orc, she flies into a blind rage and begins slaughtering them, overcome with anger and grief. In doing so, you've added some extra depth to your character, and you can have a lot of fun RPing encounters with orcs.

    How to Get Started RPing

    RPing is surprisingly easy, though it takes practice to become good at it and to avoid cliches. The first step is to come up with a good name for your character. "Pwnswithbows" obviously isn't an RP name, since nobody would ACTUALLY name their child that. Luckily, Middle-Earth is rich with naming possibilities and the internet has lots of resources available to help you here. The following is one such tool; don't feel obligated to use it if you have a good name in mind, but if you have trouble coming up with anything it can be really helpful. You can also generate a name and use that as a base for your character's name, customizing it to make it sound better or more unique. For my name, I used the name generator below for an elf male name and came up with Lathriel. I liked it, but I also wanted to integrate the name I use for EVERY MMO, Saboruto. So I took the first part of Saboruto and the last part of Lathriel, combined the two and came up with Sabariel.

    A nifty name generator that can help you with names for each of the races.

    Once you have a name for your chosen character, begin thinking of a back story. Where in Middle-Earth was your character born? How old is she? What kinds of things does she like and dislike? Is she a serious person or a light-hearted jokester? Why is she adventuring? What are her goals?

    Using the rich lore of Middle-Earth, try to come up with a back story for your character. However, try to avoid directly connecting your character with the archetypical heroes. You don't have to be Legolas's brother or Gimli's ex-wife or Pippin's third-cousin-twice-removed to be an interesting person, and if you DO try to connect yourself to an archetypical hero people (especially the lore-junkies) are going to pick you apart. I myself am not related in any way to Nepoleon or Albert Einstein, and neither are most people out there, yet I still like to think of myself as an interesting person even though I'm not related to any celebrities. In a world as large as Middle-Earth, chances are very good that YOUR character won't have ever met any of the iconic characters either, so try to keep that in mind.

    Also, it's important to keep to your chosen race's lore. Meaning, if you're an elf you have to remember that elves tend to be distant and aloof and seldom involve themselves in the affairs of the mortal races. If you're a dwarf, you've probably spent the vast majority of your life underground. If you're a hobbit, you're probably rather simple and cautious and you appreciate the little things in life (bad pun, I know!). If you're a human, you're probably naturally inquisitive or quite possibly power-hungry. So, don't try to RP an elf who grew up underground with the dwarves; it's far-fetched and difficult to believe. You can certainly have interesting little things in your background that set you apart, but if you make your character TOO unique and unusual it tends to result in an unbelievable character.

    Interacting with Others

    As a general rule, in most MMORPGs there are certain standards that RPers tend to use. First of all, it's generally considered understood that in "public chat channels" you'll be speaking out of character (OOC). In these situations, it's perfectly fine to say that you like pizza or that you have a chihuahua. In most MMOs, the main times you'll be RPing your character are in your guild's chat channel and in local-area chat.

    If you join a RP guild, your guild may have specific rules on when you need to stay in character (IC) and when you can safely go OOC. Groups that classify themselves as "medium" or "heavy" RP generally expect their members to stay in character as much as possible, but "light" RP groups are usually much more flexible. In most games, it's considered polite to avoid interrupting others' ongoing RP chat with OOC stuff, though most people don't mind as long as you ((surround your out-of-character talk with double parentheses)). Double parentheses lets the readers know that you're speaking out of character, and makes it much easier to keep the IC and OOC talk separate, avoiding confusion.

    When you meet another RPer in person, it's usually considered polite to stay in character and to respect their RP. Even if the person is RPing that he's the True King reborn, be polite and respectful. But hopefully his RP will be a little more down-to-earth. =D

    When you're RPing, try to denote actions with *asterisks around the action part*. This lets the readers know that you're not actually saying that part but rather that your character is DOING it. For example:

    Ready your arms, the foe is upon us! *Sabariel lifts his bow swiftly, taking aim at the nearest monster* ((Get ready guys!))

    The first part is typed normally, and that's the IC speech part. My character just shouted that to his allies. The second part in asterisks is an action, so the readers picture my character raising his bow and pointing it at the closest nasty. The last part, in double parentheses, is the OOC part, where I (the player, not the character) am speaking to the people behind the keyboards instead of to the other characters.

    Also, please keep in mind that abusing a certain way of speaking is considered newbish. In other words, don't run around saying "Thou hast come unto these demesnes for what reasons, yon wayfarer?" And don't go around talking like a pirate, or trying to give your character a Cockney or Australian or Spanish or French accent, either. That's not actually RPing, and it makes it difficult to read what you're saying. Certainly it's fine to have an accent (especially if you're a dwarf!!), but try to keep what you're saying readable, and don't go outside of Middle-Earth for inspiration.

    Meta-Gaming and Meta-Playing

    Thanks to EveChaos for reminding me about this part. Meta-gaming and meta-playing are two common pitfalls you'll want to avoid at all costs. I'll explain what these two terms mean and why they're considered bad form by roleplayers.

    Meta-gaming is the act of presenting information YOU (the player) know as if your character knows it, when your character has no way of doing so. For example, say you're doing a quest and you have to slay some foul beast. You go online and look at one of the LOTRO fansites available (on that matter, Allakhazam is by far my favourite, so please be sure to check it out sometime!) to find out exactly what the quest entails, and you see that the beast always drops 55 silver. You alt-tab back into the game and rejoin your fellowship who's been waiting on you.

    "Let us be off to slay the beast and divide up its 55 silver as spoils of battle!" you cry. That's metagaming. YOU know that the creature drops 55 silver, but how would your character ever know something like that?

    Or suppose you're playing on an alt character and you're grouped with members of your kinship. You're doing a quest that you've done before on your main character. When RPing, it's important to remember that you know things your character doesn't. So in this case, even though you've DONE the quest before, you have to act as if it's the first time you've ever ventured into that dark, deep cavern to recover the lost relic. To do otherwise would bring outside information into the game.

    The best example I can give is this: pretend you're an actor on stage. YOU (the actor) have read the script cover to cover, but your character obviously hasn't. If you were to suddenly blurt out in the middle of a scene, "Check Mrs. MacDougal's purse, she has a handgun inside it!" you'd ruin the scene, because your CHARACTER doesn't know that information. It's an easy thing to slip up on, but after a while you'll get the hang of avoiding meta-gaming.

    Meta-playing is a similar pitfall, but it differs in that it only happens when you're interacting with others. Just as you have free control over what your character says and does, so too do other RPers. Never force another player's character into an action without talking to them OOC first to make sure it's ok. For example, this is fine:

    *Sabariel whips his dagger out of its sheath and takes a quick, thrusting stab at Tretheril.*

    There, I took an action at another player, but I left it open-ended so that Tretheril could decide what to do from there. However, this next example is NOT ok:

    *Sabariel whips out his dagger and stabs Tretheril in the stomach, smiling at the sight of his blade coated in Tretheril's blood.*

    In that example, not only did I act out MY character's action (taking out the knife and stabbing), but I also took control of Tretheril away from his player when I made HIS character take the stab in the stomach. I doubt very highly that Tretheril's player would much appreciate having his character RP-killed randomly, and I left him no room to RP after my statement except to collapse to the ground and moan in agony. ALWAYS leave the character's reaction up to the player who controls that character. In the first example, if Tretheril's player wanted him to take the stab, he could easily have emoted the stab landing. However, if he chose to sidestep it, he could. Or he could fall to his knees and cower and beg for mercy. Or he could deftly whip out his own weapon and block my attack. There's lots of options that leave the outcome (and the effect on Tretheril) up to the player himself. That's ALWAYS the better way of handling things.

    Lore and How to Use It

    The lore is a crucial part of RPing, because if you don't know much about Middle-Earth and its inhabitants, how are you going to pretend to be one? Thank God there's lots of resources all over the place for you to refer. Of course, the best source is Tolkien himself. If you haven't, read "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion" if possible, or at least read "The Hobbit" and watch Peter Jackson's movie trillogy. If you do so, you'll get a much better feel for the rich, detailed world of Middle-Earth. There's also lots and lots... and lots... of LotR websites out there that you can peruse.

    However, don't stress out too much if you bend the lore a bit without meaning to. Most RPers are very forgiving, and you'll probably even have someone let you know of your mistake. If you mention that you're one of the Rohirrim and that you grew up in Rohan to the south of Gondor, someone might point out that Rohan is actually NORTH of Gondor. Thank the person for catching your error, but don't stress over it. Your character isn't suddenly ruined and you're not a bad RPer just because you got a minor detail mixed up. Though there are certainly folks in the world who know Middle-Earth better than the real world (where is Luxembourg again?), not everyone is a lore-junkie and you aren't expected to be. As long as you're trying to stick to the precedents set in the books, nobody's going to hold anything against you.

    Secret Aliases

    At the urging of a few wise posters, I've decided to include information of creating aliases, "macro"-like commands you can use in LOTRO to enhance your RP experience. The following was posted by Adder, and he did so well explaining it that I decided to just copy and paste. Thanks Adder!

    Suppose you created an alias named 'back' which emotes "Back to the darkness from which you came vile creature!" (yeah I know it's cliche ) After you have created your /alias, type:


    where is the number of a corresponding quickslot space and is the name that you assigned to your previously created /alias.

    Using the example above and assigning it to the first slot on the fifth quickslot bar, you would type:

    /shortcut 61 back

    Your button will appear as a black button with the first few letters of the name you had given the alias in the designated slot. This button's name will begin with a semi-colon though, so to clean it up (again using the above example), take one more step and type:

    /shortcut 61 Back /back

    Your button's text will now read Back instead of ;back.

    Once you have your button, you can move it to any slot you wish and use it like any other quickslot by clicking on it.

    You can use this method of creating an alias and a quickslot button for standard emotes too, and by customizing the emotes with your own text (done by typing /emote ), you can add a valuable tool to your roleplaying.

    There and Back Again

    That's really all there is to RPing. The idea behind RPing is that your character is fully fleshed out and has his own back story, his own motivations, needs, desires, goals, characteristics, physical features, etc. Once you have all that, RPing can be a lot of fun. You can come up with your own story lines (My dying father has summoned me to Bree-Town to say his final farewell, then I must track down the assassin that poisoned him and exact my revenge!), and you can begin weaving your story into that of other RPers (I'll help you find this assassin, for I suspect that he is the same man who killed my wife all those years ago!) Just, don't be surprised if you become an RP addict and start thinking up story lines and plot twists in your sleep!

    Anyway, I hope this little guide has been useful, and I hope it's given you a better understanding of what role-playing is all about and how to go about doing it. You've learned about coming up with a back story, about integrating the lore into your character's personal history, about avoiding common cliches ("Oh come on, EVERYONE says they're Saruman's nephew-by-marriage!"), and you now understand why RPers do what they do. Sorry for the Wall o' Text, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible, and I hope you've been able to take something from this guide. Best wishes, and I hope to RP with you soon!


    *ADENDUM: "Mary Sue's Guide to Effective Role-Playing"

    - Source: https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...e-Role-Playing

    "The half-elf who was Gil-Galad's spear, and is an elven-king who is naturally rich, powerful and immortal. Don't forget him being Elrond's best friend and Arwen's secret mother! And maybe he has 7 wives and can't die, even by emotion? And let's not forget that he's 10 foot tall, and shoots lightning out of his eyes! And shall we not forget he has a hundred arms each that has a lightsaber or hammer in... Oh, and that he has the One Ring and is the most powerful person in Middle-Earth who can go around killing who he wants..."

    "That's an example of what you want to avoid during RP. They take all the fun away and just make people hate you, or at least that is a friendly way to put it. Never make your character too important, or include them where they wouldn't be. No elves at Helm's Deep, except Legolas... No extra folk joining the Fellowship of the Ring... Your character is much better as a more normal person, rather than someone who has everything... Try roleplaying a beggar, and then roleplaying a richer person. You'll find that the beggar is probably more than, due to the countless possibilities of WHY they are poor."
    Last edited by Breeon; Nov 18 2013 at 02:31 AM.



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