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The Blackwell Guide to Good Roleplay


The content of this guide has been plagiarised borrowed from the guide we had in the Baronship of Cove. As most of you are seasoned roleplayers or those who have been browbeaten into joining by friends who are guiding you in UO RP, the bulk of this guide is going to seem a little redundant, but I decided to copy the content to this wiki for posterity, and for any nuggets of good advice it contains.

Roleplaying, surprisingly, is the act of playing a role, and while you may manage to blend in by simply acting as you would in real life and using emotes rather than smilies, you may find that you don't enjoy it quite as much as possible. Therefore, this handy guide has been put together to help you make the most of your time on Project Brains.

What is Roleplaying? / IC and OOC

Roleplaying is a particular form of gaming that adds spice and intrigue to the simple pixels and mechanics of our world based in Ultima Online. As a player, you interact and perform the traits and personality of your chosen character; be it a tough and disciplined guardsman, or a cocky and resourceful rogue.

Separation of “in character” and “out of character” is an important part of enjoying roleplay. An important thing to remember while roleplaying is that your character is not you. Characters should not simply be self-insertions, they should be a creation of your own, and things that happen to them IC should not be taken personally, because they are not happening to you, they are happening to your character. This extends to if you are having a falling out with someone OOC. You should not let this affect how you treat their characters with your own.

It is important that when you are roleplaying your character, nothing affects you as a player, other than hopefully enjoying the scenario. It is a shame when players rush out into the world of RP, and take things that happen to their characters personally. You're not playing a role if you are taking it personally. It can be difficult when bad things happen to characters that you have grown attached to, but as long as everybody respects everybody else, remember that whoever you meet in this realm of adventure, we are all just friends gaming together.

Basic Conduct

As a player, you will at some point want your character to say something or display some form of emotion. If you are not familiar with roleplaying, you may be used to doing this with shorthand speech and smilies. In roleplay, we refer to this as “out of character” speech, and as such is to be avoided while playing your character. Presentation is important, and proper capitalisation and grammar can make your text that much more pleasing to read. It is more important to produce a good response than a fast one, so don't worry if you take longer than some to type.

There will be times when you want to say something OOC, such as someone being at the door, or the phone ringing. The best place for these kinds of messages is on ICQ, steam, or party chat. Some people like to use (brackets) for any OOC talk, but please reserve this for emergencies only. If you're standing at the market and need to ignore someone for 30 seconds while you let the cat out, the world will still be turning by the time you get back.

There are several things to take into account when you're speaking for your character. If they have an accent, how are you going to show that? If they're shouting, how will you convey that? Both of these things are up to you to decide.


On top of being easier to understand, good typing can help to create a better atmosphere for everyone, and in turn improve the standard of RP on the shard. Nothing is worse than waiting for a response that you cannot understand. While we understand that English isn't everyone's first language, it is always good to put that bit of effort into making your text presentable.

Change the default text and emote colour
Many UO players rely heavily on the journal to read and re-read things that other players around them have said and done. The default emote colour is nearly exactly the same colour as the journal, and so you'd be doing everyone a favour by changing it to something people can read.

As well as picking a colour that is easy to read, consider what would suit your character. An angry orc might have a different text colour to a reserved clerk.

A well typed sentence that took a little longer is better than a sentence that would make Einstein throw his hands up and go “I don't know, you tell me!” whacking a capital letter at the front of your sentences DOES improve everything immensely. Once you get into the habit, it's easy. Additionally, adding a comma here and there, or the odd apostrophe doesn't take much time, but it DOES make it look like you've thought about what you're typing, and make everything a darned sight easier to read. A sentence without any punctuation appears dull and lifeless, and sounds like people are speaking in monotone.

Don't use one word per line
approach gets very tiresome, very quickly. It is hard to incorporate any aspects of good typing if your only typing a line at a time here, not to mention that it can be quite annoying to be on the receiving end.

Always check what you're about to send
We could be saved so many “.brb gotta pee” moments if people simply checked what they are typing. These things are definite atmosphere ruiners, and it usually seems to be the more embarrassing messages that slip out of party chat!

Being Human

It is important to remember that while this is a game for you, for your character it is very real. The same things that affect you in day to day life affect your character. Your character will get tired, hungry, happy, sad, and when someone hits them around the head with something heavy, it HURTS.

Line of Sight
Your character cannot see through walls, nor behind him/herself. Be sure to only react to things that your character can see, regardless of whether you can see it. It may be useful to switch off “show approaching player names” though this is by no means necessary.

Tag Reading
Your character cannot see a player's name tag, and reacting to someone based on the name above their head is a good example of bad RP. You should pay close attention to what those you are interacting with are wearing. If you've never seen them before or they are wearing a disguise/face covering, you are not likely to instantly know who they are.

Power Emoting
Power Emoting is the use of emotes that do not allow the other player to react, for example *kicks in head* or *knocks out*. This stifles RP as it assumes (and to a degree, forces) success. It is extremely annoying to be on the receiving end of, and the only time in which power emoting is remotely acceptable is when the other players' character is in some way incapacitated such as being tied up or unconscious.

God Moding
God moding is when a player creates their character without weakness or fault. They are supremely strong, intelligent, and never lose. This shines through during conflict with others, as you will often see emotes such as *dodges slow punch* or *feels no pain from hit*. Refrain from playing this way, as nobody is perfect - nobody knows everything, and nobody can dodgy every hit. An extreme variation of this is using emotes to control someone else's character. This is something along the lines of *watches Joe Bloggs drool all over this chin* or *wrinkles nose at the foul stench of Joe Bloggs*. It is not up to you to decide these things about someone else's character.

As a player, you will gain access to a lot of knowledge about events and other people's characters. It is important to remember that just because you know something, it does not mean that your character does.

Your Character's Place
Whoever you are in this world, one thing is certain. Someone, somewhere, has more power than you. It is important to keep these things in mind when considering what line of work to go into with your character. A character who “takes orders from no one”, for example, would not enlist as a recruit in an army.

The same goes for physical prowess. A brute of a character will not necessarily have the in-game skill to back up their RP. Nobody is asking you to lose a fight, but when going toe to toe with someone who is your physical superior IC or a more experienced fighter, it is good to act as if you had some lucky hits or the sun must have been in his eye.

If your character breaks a rule or upsets someone, there chances are they will want to take some kind of action against you. Although your character may not wish to accept these punishments, it is important to realise when your character would have no escape from the punishment. Conversely, do not inflict something on somebody's character that you would not be willing to have inflicted on your own. They may have powerful friends.

Losing Gracefully
You were on patrol when a group of undead ambush you, and you are beaten to the ground. While it can be annoying to lose a fight, you should take it on the chin and react appropriately in character. Nobody wants to hear in party chat about how you totally would have won if you weren't lagging - your ego will survive. Nor should you boast or taunt from the safety of your death robe. You have been injured, and it is only by their grace that you still breathe. Now is the time to retreat and recover to fight another day. Stick around jeering, and they may decide to take you as their prize.

Fearful Foes
You are out on patrol and a powerful lich / band of goblins / troop of brigands surrounds and threatens you. Before you say they're pitiful and you will easily slay them, or laugh and claim you've fought worse before, evaluate the threat that they pose to your character. Regardless of whether you feel you could come out on top in PvP, being severely outnumbered or facing a powerful undead would invoke fear in all but the most resolute people. If you do win, it is suggested that you RP as if you have had a narrow escape.

Thoughts and Emotions
A good way to RP thoughts or emotion is to consider how it would be conveyed if someone was looking at you. A frustrated sigh, furrowed brow or sour grunt go further to describe your character than a declaration of feeling such as simply emoting *is angry*. Similarly, people cannot see your thoughts, so emoting them does little to add to the scenario, and at worst is used to insult people in a way to which they cannot retaliate.

Making it Interesting

Since the basics have been covered, here are a few ways to spice up your roleplaying and make it more interesting and immersive for yourself and those around you.

Likes / Dislikes / Fears
Your character is your own little person. They will have all the likes, dislikes, fears, habits and quirks that a person in the real world has, and adding these extra dimensions to your characters will spice up the roleplay significantly. Does your character have a strange obsession with beards? Are they terrified of earwigs? These things all add extra depth to your character, making them more believable. These things can be based in past events, tradition, the character's upbringing, or just a random quirk. Each and every person reacts to certain things differently.

When you encounter one of these things, act upon it, even with something as small as a glance, scoff, or smile.

Always keep an eye on your environment
Related to the above point, if you see a character doing something that your character might react to, do so! Asking what someone is looking at or what they find so funny can provoke RP and give the characters something to bond or argue over.

As well as reacting to other players, react to the environment itself. If it's too hot, take off some armour or clothes. If it's raining, seek shelter, and if it's dark, perhaps find a torch or a lantern. The more you interact, the more fun it is for other people to witness and the more “alive” your character looks and feels.

Emotes are an important part of roleplay. Even if your character is not talking, they will almost always be doing something, so show others by emoting your characters actions, even if they are not important. Finger drumming, humming, or looking at something laying about in the room are all worth mentioning.

Injuries can add a lot of depth to the RP experience, as well as meaningful IC consequence to different scenarios. If you just took part in a dust up that did not go well, consider the possibility of a rather nasty poisoning, broken bone, cuts, bruises or worse.

Emoting sounds
Emoting sounds can add nice atmosphere to your RP. A well timed clanking of metal, whistled tune or noisy mouthful of food can be a nice addition to your speech.

React when somebody looks at you
In game if someone *looks* or *glances* at you it makes sense to let him or her know what they are seeing. If you are occupied with some task, looking at something, or practising with a blade, people can use that as a basis to react and generate RP.

Don’t stop emoting
It's a shame to see people just standing about and not doing anything. You are never totally still in real life, so keep emoting. It makes RP happen.

A Little Imagination Goes A Long Way
Unfortunately, you can only repeat the same event format so many times before it starts to get stale. If you're performing a task that you've done many times before, try to mix things up a bit. Adding a secondary objective like gathering bear hides on a routine patrol can spice things up, as well as adding a competitive element, should the winner be rewarded.

Thank you to all who contribute to this guide, either directly or by having been one of those who contributed to the guide's many previous iterations.

rpguide.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/24 05:20 by egbert