I am Lodhreth Arodhel, of the Laurelin Server, and today I am going to be sharing with you a guide of how to roleplay. It is no simple art, but your mind is both your paintbrush and your easel. There are many preliminary stages that we have to pass through before we can even reach the main game, but we can go through them all together, right?
Stage I: Character Development.
Developing your character is probably THE MOST important part of creating your roleplay, and making it enjoyable. Are you the Hobbit of Michel Delving? The Elf of Lindon? The Man of the Mark? A lost Dwarf of Erebor? An explorer? A blacksmith? A nobleman? There are so many possibilities, but you have to stay within reason, and follow some rules (Which you will see soon, should you continue reading). Below is a template very useful for creating your character. There are 100 questions. I've seen it around the internet, grabbed it for my kin site, and so on. It'd good to share, and while it may take a long time, it will both entertain you, and guide you.
Part 1: The Basics
1. What is your full name?
2. Where and when were you born?
3. Who are/were your parents? (Know their names, occupations, personalities, etc.)
4. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like?
5. Where do you live now, and with whom? Describe the place and the person/people.
6. What is your occupation?
7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye colour, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.
8. To which social class do you belong?
9. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?
10. Are you right- or left-handed?
11. What does your voice sound like?
12. What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?
13. What do you have in your pockets?
14. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?
Part 2: Growing Up
15. How would you describe your childhood in general?
16. What is your earliest memory?
17. How much schooling have you had?
18. Did you enjoy school?
19. Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?
20. While growing up, did you have any role models? If so, describe them.
21. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family?
22. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
23. As a child, what were your favourite activities?
24. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?
25. As a child, were you popular? Who were your friends, and what were they like?
26. When and with whom was your first kiss?
27. Are you a virgin? If not, when and with whom did you lose your virginity?
28. Do you have any special abilities from your childhood? Were you trained at your father's forge, or with your mother's loom?
Part 3: Past Influences
29. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?
30. Who has had the most influence on you?
31. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
32. What is your greatest regret?
33. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?
34. Do you have a criminal record of any kind?
35. When was the time you were the most frightened?
36. What is the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to you?
37. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?
38. What is your best memory?
39. What is your worst memory?
Part 4: Beliefs And Opinions
40. Are you basically optimistic or pessimistic?
41. What is your greatest fear?
42. What are your religious views?
43. What are your political views?
44. What are your views on sex?
45. Are you able to kill? Under what circumstances do you find killing to be acceptable or unacceptable?
46. In your opinion, what is the most evil thing that a sentient being could do?
47. Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?
48. What do you believe makes a successful life?
49. How honest are you about your thoughts and feelings (i.e. do you hide your true self from others, and in what way)?
50. Do you have any biases or prejudices?
51. Is there anything you absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances? Why do you refuse to do it?
52. Who or what, if anything, would you die for (or otherwise go to extremes for)?
Part 5: Relationships With Others
53. In general, how do you treat others (politely, rudely, by keeping them at a distance, etc.)? Does your treatment of them change depending on how well you know them, and if so, how?
54. Who is the most important person in your life, and why?
55. Who is the person you respect the most, and why?
56. Who are your friends? Do you have a best friend? Describe these people.
57. Do you have a spouse or significant other? If so, describe this person.
58. Have you ever been in love? If so, describe what happened.
59. What do you look for in a potential lover?
60. How close are you to your family?
61. Have you started your own family? If so, describe them. If not, do you want to? Why or why not?
62. Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?
63. Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who, and why?
64. If you died or went missing, who would miss you?
65. Who is the person you despise the most, and why?
66. Do you tend to argue with people, or avoid conflict?
67. Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations?
68. Do you like interacting with large groups of people? Why or why not?
69. Do you care what others think of you?
Part 6: Likes And Dislikes
70. What is/are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
71. What is your most treasured possession?
72. What is your favourite colour?
73. What is your favourite food?
74. What, if anything, do you like to read?
75. What is your idea of good entertainment (consider music, movies, art, etc.)?
76. Do you smoke, drink, or use drugs? If so, why? Do you want to quit?
77. How do you spend a typical Saturday night?
78. What makes you laugh?
79. What, if anything, shocks or offends you?
80. What would you do if you had insomnia and had to find something to do to amuse yourself?
81. How do you deal with stress?
82. Are you spontaneous, or do you always need to have a plan?
83. What are your pet peeves?
Part 7: Self Images And Etc.
84. Describe the routine of a normal day for you. How do you feel when this routine is disrupted?
85. What is your greatest strength as a person?
86. What is your greatest weakness?
87. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
88. Are you generally introverted or extroverted?
89. Are you generally organized or messy?
90. Name three things you consider yourself to be very good at, and three things you consider yourself to be very bad at.
91. Do you like yourself?
92. What are your reasons for being an adventurer (or doing the strange and heroic things that RPG characters do)? Are your real reasons for doing this different than the ones you tell people in public? (If so, detail both sets of reasons…)
93. What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?
94. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
95. If you could choose, how would you want to die?
96. If you knew you were going to die in 24 hours, name three things you would do in the time you had left.
97. What is the one thing for which you would most like to be remembered after your death?
98. What three words best describe your personality?
99. What three words would others probably use to describe you?
100. If you could, what advice would you, the player, give to your character? (You might even want to speak as if he or she were sitting right here in front of you, and use proper tone so he or she might heed your advice…)
Stage II: Character Appearance
I chose not to include the appearance and development together for the reason that it has a more social role, than anything else. Should it be the eyes she inherited from his mother... The scar he got with those orcs and goblins... The hair as gold as sunlight... The weight gained from living in Bree, and becoming inebriated every night... Everything. The appearance builds your character a lot and shows WHO they are, rather than WHAT they are. If you want to discover what your character looks like, either go in to the Create-a-Character straight away, or take your time and use a template, such as the one below...
Hair Colour -
Hair Length -
Eye Colour -
Skin Colour -
Beard Colour -
Body Build -
Just a simple way. You could also describe why they have that beard, or how they got their scars, in that very same area. I personally ignore the height and body build, and just let my character's be 'average height', mostly due to the fact that in LOTRO, we do not have a height slider.
Stage III: Characteristics and Traits
The characteristics and traits define your character even further. Are they hydrophobic? They will then not swim. Does she have Ornithophobia? She runs for shelter every time she sees birds. Is he claustrophobic? He refuses to go in caves. Perhaps, other than the 'flaws' ((Which add a lot of entertainment to roleplay)), they have a 'lighter' side. Are they very generous? They give their leftovers to the homeless and poor. Is she brave? She will fight to save the lives of others. Is he too intelligent for his own good? He will do whatever it takes to get knowledge, no matter what.
Now, accents is another thing, and what they know. Are they a Bree-Lander, naive of dragons and the oncoming force that may potentially kill them all? Is she of the Mark ((Rohan)) and will kill all orcs, and warn others of them? Is he a young Hobbit of the Shire, who's only fear is the wolves that come out at night? Are they an elf of Imladris ((Rivendell)), who has been there as a refugee for a long time? Where they are from, and what they have experienced, and even the race, all dictates what they know. For example, a Hobbit and Man would probably only speak Westron, whereas an Elf could add Sindarin to that.
Stage IV: Preparing Yourself
Your character is ready, and you now need to familiarise yourself with roleplaying terms. We are nearly ready to send you in to the world of Middle-Earth ((Or any other roleplaying game, for that matter)) and let you write your destiny! Below are some terms you must know... Well, should know. I think that if we all know them, we can only get better. Just remember that sometimes the names for terms vary, and I am going by how I know them.
IC - In Character... The opposite to OOC. In roleplay.
OOC - Out of Character... The opposite to IC. Out of roleplay.
Poweremoting - Using your emotes ((/me)) to control a different character without their permission. If it was discussed OOC beforehand that you could control them to say... Have their hand cut off, then you would be able to do so, so long as you make everyone else in attendance aware of this.
Mary Sue - Is your character Elrond's wife, Gimli's adopted father, Frodo's father or whatever? If so, change it. It is both lorebreaking ((A term we will get to)) and awful for roleplay, and will make people stop roleplaying with you.
Lorebreaking - Breaking lore... For example, knowing of the Fellowship of the Ring. Only those in attendance of the meeting would know, not every single person in Middle-Earth. Just remember that when you play LOTRO, you are playing Turbine's Middle-Earth, NOT Tolkien's.
((+))'s - Using brackets in IC chats allows you to show those around you that what you are saying is OOC.
Metagaming - Knowing OOC information IC. E.G Knowing of the Fellowship, knowing that your friend's character will be in the Pony when you join their Fellowship, and so on.
Godemoting - Having your emotes be God-like. E.G Lodhreth uses his blade, Kalitiri, to summon the power of Light in this dark night, bringing daylight to all, and beams of light burning his foes. This also seem very Mary Sue'ish.
And finally, some more important notes that you should, or where I would say must, read!
- Be literate in roleplay. Speak properly. Even if your character is a farmer, say "Aye. I be a farmer. It ain't none of ya business though, is it? If y'all needs crops, then ya know where to find me, aye?" and if they are a noble... "Hmm? Thy love for thee compares to none. Woe strikes my heart when time dictates that we depart!" I see them speaking properly in and Old English way, at least. Oh, and they would not say "isn't", they would say "is not". So long as they pronounce their words properly for WHO and WHAT they are, it's great.
- Relate not only to this guide, but to others, as well as the Turbine Roleplaying Rules, ESPECIALLY if you are on a roleplaying server, such as Laurelin. But if you want to be a good roleplayer, you will prepare yourself far beforehand.
- Kins make all the difference. They help define your character's purpose on a more global scale. For example, my character, Lodhreth, is in charge of I' Hosse, a military Elf kin. We don't call it a kin IC, though, and we are all a 'family' of sorts, in character, and not by blood. Should it be a noble house, a military organisation, or just some band or mercenaries, assassins or cut-throats. So long as YOUR character fits in there.
Anyway, I believe I should be ending this guide here. I will quite likely add to this in the near future, and I hope you have learned a lot.
- Lodhreth Arodhel, Laurelin Server.
*Extension 1* Being Lore Appropriate
Being lore appropriate is considered very important. I may, or may not, have stated that there are several very important things for each race. Hobbits tend to stick to their homes, and so you won't find them out being heroes. Frodo, Sam, Peregrin and Meredoc are a very rare exception... Bilbo, too. This doesn't stop your Hobbit from being a hero, but I will tell you from personal experience, hobbits are much more fun to roleplay with when at 'home'. Of course, don't let me tell you how to roleplay. Another thing with elves, is that their names will be in their language, as will numerous things they say. Knowing phrases such as "Mae Govannen", "Well Met," "Aaye, Mellyn", "Hail Friends" are fair and decent to know, but don't feel as if you have to learn the entire language. Just use [Sindarin] at the start of what you are saying, and you should be fine. E.G "[Sindarin] That Man is a fool. He will lead us to his death. Why would he, as a Rohirrim, trust two elves? Especially considering the fact we hail from the land governed by the great Thranduil!" There are only about a dozen or two things you really 'need' to know, but if you want to learn all your lore, I recommend being a Bree-Lander in the Prancing Pony, who questions everyone about things. That, or just researching and ensuring with other sites that this is accurate. Also, the place that you roleplay at is very important. An Elf in Bree, or Erebor, or even the Shire, is likely to be very unwelcomed, especially the first two, but I doubt this would stop the elf from staying there, depending on how significant the reason is. A Dwarf will not be so welcome in Imladris (Rivendell) either, nor will a Hobbit in say... The Mark (Rohan), or in Gondor, or in any place at war, really. But as I said, I won't tell you how to roleplay, just advise to help you get the best experience... That I would consider best, at least, as even others can join in and share the memories.
Lore Breaking and Lore Bending
While many confuse the two, they are very different. Lore Breaking, (For now, we will refer to it as LBR) is inappropriate and is not right. However, Lore Bending, (Or as we are going to refer to it, LBE), is very much welcomed. A Dunedan (Not Dunedain, as that is plural), or as it is more commonly known as, a 'Ranger', or 'Man of The West', would not go telling everyone of his heritage, as being honest, many, especially the Bree-Landers, would not believe him. A dwarven Elf-Friend, while not necessarily being loved by all elves, is not one with a special title, but the admiration of several elves, who gave him the title, by simply calling him "Mellon", or if there are a group of them "Mellyn," the plural. Also, a Hobbit would not choose to run away forever, but they may think that and say that. They would miss their great meals, such as second breakfast, and supper, but alas... The fate of YOUR character is in YOUR hands, right?