1. the modifying of a person's behavior to accord with a desired personal image, as to impress others or conform to a particular environment.
verb (used with object)
1. to assume the attitudes, actions, and discourse of (another), especially in a make-believe situation in an effort to understand a differing point of view or social interaction.
2. to experiment with or experience (a situation or viewpoint) by playing a role.
Role-Playing (RP) has been defined as:
"The idea of using your character as if they were an actor in a play. There are varying degrees of role-playing and the game lends itself to it quite easily. There are entire websites about RP but the basic idea is that some folks totally immerse themselves as much as possible into their character much the same way that we play as a child. It can be quite fun even if done halfway. It's an interesting approach to gameplay and most do it on occasion rather than the entire time they are playing. We have no dedicated place for RP players in LOTRO so don't be surprised to see folks talking to you as if they are part of the game itself. Best suited for those with good typing skills and somewhat of a knowledge of Tolkien's books or movies."
- Source: http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Game_Terms
PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
For the purposes of the Lord of the Rings Online, role-playing is essentially to imbue your character with a personality and background to create a more immersive gaming experience. Role-playing quests and other in-game content can and should enhance the feel of LotRO. Role-play is an exercise in free-thinking, free-writing, and storytelling. It is based, at least in part, on the art of improvisation, and uses visual and written cues as source materials from which to expound and expand upon. The intermingling of various backgrounds, situations, and sub-plots, offers endless opportunities for further character development. There is no goal ultimately. Like life, it takes place in real time. Any player that has ever cosmetically equipped their character or altered the appearance of equipment through the use of dyes, used emotes, etc., has stepped into the world of role-playing.
Much of the role-play taking place is based within and around Bree-Town. Finally entering Bree-Town is a definite marking point for new players. It represents a certain freedom in the game in that characters are no longer beholden to their respective starter zones and have entered Middle-earth in earnest. There may be a certain sense of relief or excitement. Soon enough, we all make our way to The Prancing Pony which serves as a way-station or crossroads. The Prancing Pony remains one of the few places where characters of all levels and backgrounds can meet and interact. This setting is noteworthy for its consistency, but is by no means the only place for role-playing. You will find here an overabundance of new characters, each announcing themselves the new hero, ready and eager to show off their weaponry and talents. Add to this even a mild interest in role-playing and there will most certainly be conflict. This approach has been known to lead to actual feelings of resentment between real players. It can also be tiring to seasoned role-players who are more concerned with untapped potential in elements otherwise overlooked or dismissed as minor and trivial details. Role-playing can and should be fun, for everyone.
Some role-players’ understanding or memorization of Tolkien’s writings may be more extensive than others’. It is safest to stick with minute details or aspects with which one is familiar, so as not to infringe on others. If a player has not read Tolkien's writings, they might align their character's story with elements presented in the game itself. When all else fails keep it simple and be generous in presenting other role-players with material which they can respond to and participate in. The most engaging role-play is a natural result of a character's imagined personal struggles and story within the vast parameters of Tolkien's universe. Playing out these biographies and dramas can be thought provoking, while also continuing to inform your character with renewed life and commitment. Role-playing can and should enhance one's appreciation for all aspects of the game. The Lore itself should never compromise a positive role-playing experience, or make one feel overly-embarrassed resulting in non-participation.
One's enthusiasm for Middle-Earth, and ensuing role-play in LotRO, should never take on a dogmatic or religious nature. Those who take up a defensive standard of what is and is not appropriate or acceptable, tend to dismiss the very liberties Turbine itself has taken in presenting the game to us. These are likely the same players who will bait and even troll other role-players in a pseudo-sophisticated game of one-upmanship layered with nuance, create alternate characters as a way of spying on others’ characters while questioning their kinship loyalties, and form or participate in kinships that are little more than cultish followings of some charismatic rp personality. This is role-playing at its worst, and such behavior serves Tolkien's mythology a disservice. Taking an invested interest in Tolkien’s writings is encouraged. It should serve as a source of inspiration, however, not as a set of laws from which to launch fact-finding witch hunts.