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Your thoughts on my guide....
Very helpful. All roleplayers, new and old, should read this. 57%  57%  [ 12 ]
This will be very helpful to new roleplayers. 29%  29%  [ 6 ]
It's kind of helpful, maybe. 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
I don't see it as being helpful at all. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
I disagree with your points and find it not helpful for anyone. 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 21
Author Message
 Post subject: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:25 pm 
Animation Source is my home!
Animation Source is my home!
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Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:11 pm
Posts: 7489
Location: running with my fellow werewolves
Gender: Female


If you don't read this entire guide, please read this: roleplaying is not a game. It is a story written by many authors and should be treated as such.

What is this? This is a new guide to roleplaying on the Animation Source Forums that will address the most recent issues of this site. I would really like to see an improvement in the roleplaying sections of AS. If you do not understand what I am talking about, please take the time to read this guide and understand the problems it is attempting to remedy. There is a problem with the roleplaying on this site. There are certain expectations that all members are encouraged to meet. This guide should only be used in regards to this site, and not other roleplaying sites because the way roleplaying is done differs from site to site.

Yes, I do realize there are three other roleplaying guides in a single, stickied topic that is easy for everyone to read. I love those guides and read through them often to improve my own roleplaying. The problem is that I do not think members read these guides anymore, and as much help as these guides are for older members of AS, there are new problems that these guides didn't have to deal with at the times they were written. Please do not think that I am bashing the other guides by taking this project on.

Please take the time to read this. I would really appreciate it if even one person could take away just one improvement from this guide.

An Idea

The first start to every roleplay is a simple idea in a member's head. If you find yourself to be this member and have an idea you think will just blow everyone away, stop! Pause your creative brain for just a moment and read over the RP rules just one more time. If you think your idea fits into those guidelines, then you can start thinking about your idea again.

Before you even create a new topic, there are some questions you need to ask yourself, the main one being "Why do I want to create this roleplay?" Ignoring the obvious one of "I think it's a good idea and would be really fun," there is always another motive for someone. Is it to create a story and exercise your writing skills? Is it simply to just meet other people who enjoy roleplaying? Is it going to be just a topic for you and your friends to have fun? Is it to increase your popularity? If you answer 'yes' to the first two questions, then those are good reasons. Go make your topic! But if you answered 'yes' to either of the latter questions, then your roleplay is already off to a bad start.

Next question: "Will other people join?" Honestly, what is the point of a roleplay if no one joins? Also, in addition to this question, you have to think about who will join. If you think only your friends will join, then you have a big problem right there. Roleplays need to be open for everyone to join and not be catered to a select few.

You also have to consider this: "Can I handle another roleplay?" If you are already involved in so many roleplays that you can't keep up, don't make another roleplay. You will either just let it die or you will abandon all your other roleplays for this one. Either way, you lose and so do many other people. If you are unsure if you can keep up with another roleplay, wait a few days or weeks until you can be sure.

A big question is "Is there already a similar roleplay out there?" Even if it is only by coincidence, if two roleplays look alike, the one made last will be accused of stealing. There is no avoiding it and there really is no way to prove you're innocent. If there is an active roleplay with a plot like yours, I would recommend not making your topic until that rp is well on its way and there is enough time between your rp and the other rp that members will not think you are stealing.

Something that you may come across is a dead roleplay whose plot you are really inspired by. If this is one of those times, think about whether you need to credit the original creator. This can be a little tricky, so here is an example:

Let's say I come across This Dead Roleplay and really liked the plot and created a roleplay of my own.

If I make a roleplay with a shipwreck where one life boat makes it to a deserted island, then I would credit the original owner.

If I make a roleplay with a shipwreck but more than one life boat makes it to the island, then I would still credit the owner.

If I make a roleplay with a shipwreck, some survive, and most of the story takes place back home, then I would at least mention the original rp that inspired me.

Never just take an idea and use it without at least mentioning that another roleplay inspired you. RP creators love to hear that they inspired someone, and it's just plain nice to say that the idea isn't completely your own.

After you have discussed all that with your rp idea, you can move on to some technical questions.

What type of roleplay should this be?
Beginner ~ Recommended only for a person who has never created a roleplay before. Mentioning that you are new to AS roleplaying will allow members to help point some little things out to you and also not to flare older members' tempers if you are not following every single rule. IE. War Of Destiny
Normal ~ Recommended for most members. This allows for a flexible amount of sentences per post and perfect for roleplays with simple, straightforward plots. IE. Beauty In The Country
Semi-Advanced ~ Recommended for members who are comfortable roleplaying and seek a more complex plot line. The minimum sentences for this type of rp should be five or six. In other words, one paragraph per post. This rp also implies that all members involved have nearly perfect grammar and spelling, can handle more than one character, and can respond within two or three days. IE. Cops And Convicts
Advanced ~ Recommended only for members who are very comfortable in roleplays and have participated in many other roleplays before. This plot can be very complex and even confusing. The minimum post is several paragraphs long. Members involved should be able to handle many characters, check their grammar and spelling with a spell check, and can respond within a week. IE. Hide And Seek
Invite Only ~ Recommended for semi-advanced and advanced members who do not want any beginners to join their roleplay. The creator will have to PM invitations to members who they would like to join. No one can join who is not invited and those invited can decline the offer. IE. Power

What rating should this be?
Even though all roleplays cannot contain strong language or sexual content, there is still a rating system in place.
G ~ Just like with the movies. Everything is completely innocent. No violence and only very light romance. No innuendos or hinting jokes.
PG ~ This can contain some violence and some romance, just like the movies. No actual cussing, but some hinting remarks or jokes are okay.
PG13 ~ The only one not like the movies. Only *ed cussing, mild romance, and a little violence and gore. More mature topics can be discussed, but no detail when it comes to sexual content.

Now that you have considered all of these elements, are you still ready to post that roleplay topic? Because now it's time to work out the kinks of the plot idea...

The Plot

This is the most important part of your roleplay, so take your time! If you start out with a poorly thought-out plot, the entire roleplay will be uninteresting and boring. Even if it takes you a whole day, take all the time you need to write out your plot to the best of your abilities.

For these examples, I will be using this roleplay: The Wolfdog's Wish

When you do write your plot, make sure every element is clear. If you reread it and find something that might be confusing, clear it up and rewrite it right away! If it's a little confusing to you, it will be very confusing to other members who might want to join. To make sure your plot is well-organized and not confusing, split it into three parts.

The Past ~ the back-story of the entire plot, but not necessarily the history of the main character. IE. Marie is a wolfdog on the streets, who has the fur of a wolf but the heart of a sled dog. All she wants is the chance to race and prove herself. She has heard that a team recently had to retire they're lead dog, and are now in need of a team dog, since their previous one took the position of lead dog. Unfortunately, the team doesn't like wolfdogs and chases her out of town.

The Present ~ where the character(s) find themselves at the start of the roleplay and the planned out part of the story. This is where you can mention some characters that other members can join as. IE. Out in the snow by herself, Marie heads to a frozen lake. She wishes to her reflection that she looked like the dog she was in her heart. Instantly, an angel disguised as a doe finds her and grants her wish. Marie transforms into a beautiful Mackenzie River Husky. She returns to the sled team and gives her new breed as her name; Mackenzie. She is given the spot of team dog after only one run. But Marie soon finds out that the old lead dog of the team was her father, but he was the one who taught his team mates the horrors of wolves and their offspring. She is devastated to watch the team pick on a wolfdog puppy and his/her older brother and sister. In times like these, she turns back into her old, wolfdog self.

The Future ~ hope for a resolution to the conflict or the possibility for a conflict. You can end with a question or an ominous sentence. EI. Soon, Marie finds herself living two lives where Marie is falling for the brother wolfdog and Mackenzie is falling for the new lead dog. And in all this, Marie tries to uncover the past of her parents through her father. What she finds is not what she expects....

If you aren't sure if you have a good plot on your hands, use this checklist.

1. There is a solid reason for the conflict, and not something random or silly.
Example Of Plot Without Reason: Marie the wolfdog joins a sled team desperate for a new team dog, but these huskies hate wolves. (Notice how a wolfdog randomly gets on a dog sled team. It makes no sense and will cause confusion later.)

2. There is a general direction for the story. It is not completely planned out but it is also no totally open ended. Ideal is a basic story with some "wiggle room."
Example Of Plot Without Direction: Marie the husky joins a new sled dog team. Will they like her or will they kick her off? (Way to open ended and there is basically no story there.)

3. A relationship is NOT the center of the story. Romance is fine and progresses a story, but a plot just about finding love is boring and predictable.
Example Of Plot With Relationship As The Main Story: Marie the husky joins a sled dog team who hates wolves. She falls for a street dog that is part wolf but also really likes the lead dog of the sled team. Who will she choose? (Notice how this element was in the original plot, but the story itself wasn't just about a love triangle. It was also about Marie finding out who she is and who she wants to be)

Here is a plot with no checks on the checklist: Marie is a beautiful husky who just moved to a new town. She has spent her life traveling the world and just wants to settle down and find a nice male husky to fall in love with. Who will the lucky male be? (This is just a plot fail and should be discarded from your brain to make room for some actual story ideas.)


Now that your plot is complete, you have to make a decision on your biography format. This has many different names. I have seen Character Form, Character Application, Skeleton, Skelly, and many more. It really doesn't matter what you call it as long as everyone else knows what you mean. For my purposes, I will call it a Bio Form.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to only add the sections you would want to fill out yourself. Considering you will have to fill it out for your characters, this shouldn't be too hard to keep in mind. Also, the amount of details a bio form has should reflect the type of roleplay you are creating. For example, advanced roleplays will have a more detailed bio form than semi-advanced, and so on. Here are two examples.

The Minimum


The Maximum (a combination of everything that I have seen, but I am sure there is always more you could add)

Full Name:
Preferred Name:
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Hair Type:
Skin Type:
Childhood History:
Recent History:

As you can see, there are a lot of different sections that you can include, but you don't have to include all of them. Just keep in mind that the longer of a bio form that you have, the less amount of people who will want to fill it out, and vice versa.

List Of Characters

Including a list of characters and the members who play them is extremely helpful to you and to all the members involved. It allows member to quickly look up how to spell other people's characters' names. It is an easy way to see if someone is being left behind. Also, if someone wants to see which member is playing a character, for whatever reason, the information is right there at all times.

This is also an area where you can write out all the characters you need to start the roleplay. As mentioned before when we were talking about the plot, there are always some characters in mind that people might forget about, so you can just put them here. This list of potential characters might inspire someone to join who would have otherwise just moved on to another topic.

Also, something small but important, don't forget to put your own characters in this list before submitting your topic!

Joining A Roleplay

Every roleplay you are a part of isn't always going to be made by you. To be considered a truly Advanced Roleplayer, you must join other people's roleplays and learn how to create a good roleplay with someone else's plot ideas and direction for the story.

Just like when creating a roleplay, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before joining a roleplay.

"Can I handle another roleplay?" Basically, the same thing as when creating a roleplay. You don't want to be involved in so many roleplays that you can't keep up. Also, you never want to get the reputation for joining and abandoning roleplays.

"Is this roleplay still accepting members?" You should always read through all the posts that the creator of the roleplay makes just to make sure that the creator did not say that he/she will no longer be accepting members. This is especially important if a roleplay already has a few pages done. If you are unsure, you can always ask the member through a Private Message. Do not spam the roleplay with a post asking if you can join. It is much more considerate to PM the creator.

"Do your reasons for joining the roleplay coincide with the creator's reasons for making the roleplay?" If you join a roleplay just to play around with your character while the creator desires a well-thought out story, then there will be issues. Of course, it is the same in vice versa. If you are looking to write a good story and join a roleplay with a one sentence plot and poorly created characters, you will be greatly disappointed.

If you have a character in mind right after you read the plot, make sure there isn't another character already accepted that is similar to yours. Also, if you notice there are a lot of female characters, try to be different and join as a guy and vice versa. A story always moves better when there are about the same amount of both genders.

Here a few tips in roleplay etiquette:
Never start a roleplay that is not created by you.
Give the creator a warning if you will not be able to post for over a week do to vacation, exams, ect...
Read every single post that every member makes. Even if you are joining in the middle of a roleplay, read all the posts that the others have already made even if it is a couple of pages long. Believe me, it'll be worth taking the time to do so in the end. Besides, you wouldn't start reading a book at the halfway point; you want to start at the beginning so you have a full understanding of the plot so far.

The most important tip I can give you is this: the creator is the owner. Therefore, you must always respect their vision for their story. If they ask you to do/ not to do something, you should comply. Do not get defensive and accuse them of "squashing your creativity." In most cases, the creator has a good reason for their request, so take the critique to heart and consider it.

The Character

Remember when I said the most important part of a roleplay is the plot? Well, I am taking that back. The most important part of ANY story is its characters. No matter how good of a story you have, if your characters are flat or cliché or contradictory, then your roleplay will be just plain bad.

When making your character, you must keep in mind that in order for them to be interesting, they must have flaws. Everyone does. Perfect characters are boring and no one enjoys reading a story about a girl or a boy who is always right and never makes mistakes and always wins.

I think the best way to help with this issue is to create some examples. I will compare three different cliché characters with three unique characters.

Mary Sue VS Marie Sweet

Mary Sue is a good friend to everyone and everyone wants to be her friend. It is no wonder why! She is very pretty and all the boys she meets want to impress her. She is out going and never afraid to say her opinion. She is brave and selfless and would easily sacrifice herself for a perfect stranger. She is also very smart but also a wonderful athlete. Not everyone knows it, but Mary is also a very talented singer and artist. Not to mention that she also plays five instruments! She picks up on new things very easily. She is always in a good mood and never gets angry.

Marie Sweet is quite confident in herself and the decisions she makes, which is why she is a very loyal friend. She is kind to strangers and only a little wary of them because she is entirely too trusting and always sees the good in people. She is a wonderful listener and gives good, though naive, advice. She can be brave when pushed to be, especially if her friends are in danger. She doesn't care much for her wellbeing and would give up her life to save a friend. She is very easily hurt, mostly when she trusts someone who later betrays her. Although she is forgiving most of the time, if someone completely loses her trust, they will probably never gain it back. She can be rather clever and figures things out more easily than her friends // She is very artsy and is often caught sketching scenery on the corners of desks // She is a talented athlete and doesn't physically tire easily.

I really hope that everyone can see the difference between these two and I don't have to explain to much. As you can see, Mary is unrealistic and boring while Marie is interesting and could be an actual person. Also, at the end of Marie's bio, those are three different endings. You should never have your character be smart, artistic, and athletic. Pick one to focus on or have them okay at two of them. Never pull a Mary Sue and say they are amazing at all three.

Gary Stu VS Larry Chill

Gary Stu is incredibly good-looking and unknowingly breaks hearts wherever her goes. However, he isn't a flirt. Well, maybe a little, but mostly he is just a gentlemen doing the chivalrous thing. He is a very sweet and caring guy, and when he falls in love, he only has eyes for that one special girl. He is very funny and his charm makes him very popular, though he doesn't really notice his admirers or care about his status. He is very protective of his friends and family and would sacrifice himself for any of them. He is amazingly brave, but he isn't all brawn. He is, in fact, rather smart and clever. He can usually think himself out of a situation if he needs to. He is also secretly a poet and often writes poems, which he makes into love songs with the help of his guitar.

Larry Chill is a laid back guy who often lets the daily dramas of life just roll off his shoulders. He is fiercely loyal to his friends and is a good listener. He can make anyone cheer up with his clever jokes and crooked grin. He acts like a gentleman, opening doors and letting the lady go first, but he can be trouble. He is flirty and mischievous, but his friends know how to deal with him. Despite his careless nature, Larry is very untrusting of the world and always holds a stranger at an arm's length. He doesn't like taking risks and isn't the bravest unless his friends are in immediate danger. He doesn't take a chance on love either and can seem rather stone cold when it comes to serious romance. He is also an athlete and uses more muscle than brain most of the time // He is also very smart but he lacks common sense and often gets caught in bad situations// He is also very artsy and clever, often using his drawing skills to riddle out a problem.

Again, this shouldn't need to much explanation. Gary Stu is a poorly made character and Larry Chill is a thought out character. See the difference?

The Psycho Villain VS The Real Villain

Psycho is never friendly to anyone and is always mean and violent, even to his cohorts. He enjoys other's pain and often inflicts it whenever he has the chance. He dominates his victims and his minions. He hates feeling inferior. He is fearless because he knows no one can best him in brain or brawn. He is ruthless and merciless, unafraid to end a life at a whim.

Real is ambitious and will do what she must to gain what she desires. She is unafraid to use violence and threats against not only her enemies but also her friends. Although she is merciless towards her enemies, she trusts her friends almost to the point of recklessness. Her greatest fear is that she will meet someone stronger and wiser then her that will be able to defeat her.

This should be the clearest example of all. Psycho should not exist while Real is a good villain who is actually believable.

The biggest thing you must keep in mind when writing a personality is that history affects personality. If someone is an only child who always got what they wanted, they are not going to cope well with rejection and will most likely be a spoiled brat. If someone grew up with a big family, they are not going to be antisocial and will probably fight for what is theirs. If someone comes from an abusive home, they are not going to be bubbly and happy and will have some trust issues.

Bringing this into focus, I would also like to point out that there is an over-abundance of abused characters on AS. I mean, honestly, just because a character is abused does not make them interesting. And to add to that, even if a character has a pretty normal past, that does not mean they are boring. We all need to keep this in mind.

This point goes along well with this statement: While history affects personality, personality affects the reaction. Again, the best way to get this point across is some examples using Marie and Larry.

The Bad Past

Marie would probably be much more quiet. She would be trusting of others because she believes they will save her and take care of her. She will no longer be naive since she has seen the evils of the world, but she would cling to the hope that things will always get better. She would choose to overlook the bad truths of the world and focus on the good. She would also be less confident and tend to let other people make decisions and often keep her mouth shut.

Larry would be a very selfless guy who doesn't think his problems at home are has bad as they are. He would avoid talking about them at all costs. He would also be even less trusting of the world than before and would be very protective of his friends if someone hurt them. He would feel the need to protect his friends from harm and would blame himself if they got hurt.

Notice that their core personalities would stay the same, but a few things would definitely be different. Some parts of their personality would be amplified while other would be minimized. As you can see, these characters were interesting before I turned them into abuse victims.

Another big problem you want to always avoid is a contradicting personality. What I mean by this is things in a personality like these:
~ Is mostly quiet, but outgoing at times too.
~ Doesn't trust anyone but a few certain people for unknown reasons.
~ Is kind for the most part, but suddenly becomes angry because it's in his/her blood.
~ Doesn’t get involved in drama but talks to everyone.
~ Is sweet but can also be mean.
~ Is wild and crazy but can easily be calmed down.

These are just a few examples of a growing issue. If your personality reads like this at any point in time (he/she can be _______ but can also be _________) than you most likely have a problem with your character. Decide which trait your character is and stick to it. You character can't be patient and short-tempered or sweet and mean. It's just not right to make your character every personality trait you can think of.

Your character should also always have a purpose - something to add to the story. Don't just add a character to be the future boyfriend/girlfriend of another character. Your character could be the best friend with a different opinion on the conflict or any enemy who might change sides. Whatever it is, make sure it is interesting!

If you are joining as two characters and want them to have an established relation, here are some tips:
Siblings/Cousin/Family? Yes! Playing two members of a family is always fun and it will help establish similar histories through two different perspectives.
Past Romance? Depending on how it is done, that could either be interesting or boring. Be careful with this!
Future Romance? No! That’s boring! There is nothing worse than creating a romance between two of your characters. That leads to random side-stories, that I will talk more about later.

The last part of any character is the appearance. There are three options for this, and here are some pros and cons to each.
Picture ~ The easiest solution. This gives all members the same visual, but you will also lose some details such as height and sometimes exact eye/hair color.
Description ~ This is a lot harder to do, but it gives all members a detailed look at your character. At the same time, though, every member will probably envision them a little differently.
Picture With Description Notes ~ This is ideal. It will clear up any details the picture cannot show and keep the same visual for all members.

If you have trouble finding pics, here are some good websites:
Google Images (best used when looking for specific actor or celebrity)\
IMDb (use only if looking for an actor's picture)
Do not use:
Or any other site where the general public posts pictures to share with only their friends.

The First Post

The first post is always the hardest because you have nothing to really build on except for the plot. Before you even start writing, there are three things you have to do:
1. Reread your plot: Even though you wrote it, there might be a little detail you forgot that would fit in perfectly with your first post. Never over-estimate yourself and think you will remember everything you write, because, believe me, you won't.
2. Reread your characters' bio(s). This will help you keep to your characters' personalities during their introduction post.
3. Have a relationship in mind between your characters and other members' characters. It doesn't have to be completely detailed, just think about whether they would be strangers, acquaintances, friends, close friends, love interest, enemies, or some kind of awkward or differing relationship such as he has a crush on her but she doesn't like him.

After you have done all this, you may write your first post. But before you submit it, make sure it checks out with everything on this list:
~ The story has begun.
~ The relationship between your related characters is defined.
~ Your post ends with encouragement for other members/characters to interact with you.

Progressing The Story

Before every post you make, make sure you do the following:
~ Reread your last post: this will help you connect all your posts.
~ Reread all the posts after yours: this will help you not miss any details the others have added and will lessen confusion.
~ Reread your characters' personality and history: this will help you keep to your characters' personality in every post and will keep you from adding a detail about their history that is not true or would contradict your established history.
~ Reread the personality, history, and appearance of the characters you are interacting with: this will help you define the relationship between the characters and also help you not add a detail about their appearance that is not true.
~ Think at least two minutes before typing: take the time to plan out what you want to write and if it will add to the story or leave it at a lull.

Reread your post one more time before submitting to make sure you have proper grammar and spelling. You should also use a spell check to catch any mistakes you missed. You can either use the spell check on your browser (most have them), copy it into a word document, or use this website- Just pretend that you English teacher will be reading and grading this and will take a point off for every mistake!

The Correct Style

The style used on this site is third person, past tense, in paragraph form. No other forms are accepted on these forums. If you use a different style and will not use AS style, please go to another site.

The following examples are all from this roleplay: The Witching Hour. Note: this roleplay is about spirits coming to earth on Halloween night. Felicity is a ghost from the eighteen hundreds.


The Script

Felicity: If you wish.
She smiles at Dragomir and then jumps and lands on a taller building. She stares at a group of people dressed in Halloween costumes.
Felicity: These people wear very strange clothes.
She sees a cat and possesses it. Then she looks up at Dragomir, waiting for him.

The Game

If you wish.
*jumps to a tall building and looks at people in Halloween costumes*
These people wear strange things.
*sees a cat and possesses it*
*waits for Dragomir*

The Recent Style

She nodded at Dragomir. If you wish. She smiled at him then jumped to a taller building. She watched people pass by in Halloween costumes. These people are dressed rather strangely. She saw a white cat and possessed it. She looked up at Dragomir and waited for him to catch up.


Good Post

Felicity nodded in agreement. "If you wish," she said to Dragomir before jumping to a taller building. She looked down at a group of people dressed in Halloween costumes. "These people are all dressed very oddly. I wonder why," she muttered. Then, her eyes spotted a white cat. Fee rushed down from the building and possessed the cat. She looked up at Dragomir through the cat's eyes, waiting for him to catch up.

Even Better Post

Felicity glanced at Dragomir, thinking about his offer. She normally worked alone, but she was happy to be finally free. "If you wish," she said with a tiny smile. A second later, she landed on a high building with a good view of the town. A couple of people were walking home in weird costumes that resembled the ones the people in the woods had been wearing. "This generation is very strange," she said to Dragomir. A meow caught her attention, and Fee looked at a white cat outside of a nearby house. "But the pets haven't changed much," she said with a grin. In under a second, she flew down to the cat and possessed it. She looked up at Dragomir with large eyes, waiting for him to catch up.

Best Post

Felicity coyly glanced at Dragomir, considering the offer for a short while. Fee was one to work alone, but the euphoria of freedom had her in oddly high spirits. "If you wish," she replied, a hint of a smile visible on the corners of her mouth. A moment later, she landed on top of a high building that gave her a great view of the silent town below. A few lone people hurried back to their homes, dressed in strange garments, some that resembled animals and medieval fashions while others were just plan odd. Fee remembered that the other humans gathered in the forest were dressed in much the same way. "This generation is very strange," she muttered to Dragomir. "They are all dressed as players. Perhaps it’s a new fashion of some sort." (note: players = actors) A soft mew caught her ear and her attention turned to a small, agile white cat grooming itself on a rug outside a house's door. "Though, through the years, the pets have hardly changed," she added with a grin. In a flash, she rushed towards the cat, taking over the young feline's body with ease. She blinked up at the rooftop with large blue eyes, waiting for her companion to catch up.

Post Length

There should never be any one line posts. The actual rules reads: Posts need to be a minimum of 4 sentences or at least 2 lines of text on the normal forum window. This is reasonable enough, especially as this is not the rp shout box. Members not following this rule has become been an issue for the forums. If such activity is going on, a Mod will lock the topic on sight. If your topic gets locked, the creator can PM the mods and ask for their topic to be unlocked in the exchange that every future post made in the topic follows this rule. If the topic is locked for a second time because of this same issue, a Mod will lock on sight and there will not be any way to have it unlocked again.*

This rule isn't followed very often or enforced, but you should take it upon yourself to write a good post every time.

There are fewer expectations for private roleplays and most do have one line posts. Even though no one expects amazing posts, you should expect it from yourself. Make it your personal goal to never write one line for any roleplay ever again. It's amazing how after you do this for a while how easy it gets to write paragraphs for every post.

Also, and this is very important, do no post a certain way just because the creator does. If the creator of a roleplay is using an incorrect style or only posts a sentence, do not do the same! Tell this person they are breaking a rule and even quit the roleplay if they do not change. Make these people follow the rules and don't just let it slide.

For more on post length, let’s look at the last three examples of mine. Even though all of them follow the rules, they get better and better. Here is why:

The Good Post only contains the action and has no details. The Better Post has a few more details. The Best Post has lots of details that pertain to the story and also reflects more on the society Fee grew up by her referring to the costume-clad people as "players." Also, while the Better Post tells of the action, the best post shows it to you.

Lengthening A Post Correctly

Some people will ramble on in their posts to make it look advanced. Do not become one of these people! There is a difference between rambling and detail.

Also, on a slightly different note, a roleplay full of dialogue is also not a good thing. Conversations are important, but that should not be the only thing in your story.

The following examples are also from this roleplay: The Witching Hour. Note: this roleplay is about spirits coming to earth on Halloween night. This example is of the very first post in the roleplay.

No Detail

Dezzera was sitting on a log with Emma and Kaden at a Halloween party. She was looking at the costumes her school mates were wearing. The three friends did not wear costumes because they were considered the outcasts of the school. "Why are we here again?" she asked.

Rambling Detail

Dezzera sat on a rough log with her friends, Emma and Kaden, on the outskirts of a Halloween party. She looked at the ridiculous costumes her school mates were wearing. There was a blond girl dressed as a white cat, and next to her was a brunette boy in a caveman costume and wearing no shoes. Near the drink table was a black haired boy in a wrestling suit and a red-headed girl piled with make-up for her zombie bride appearance. Dezz wasn't wearing a costume because she didn't want to fit in with these people. "Why are we here again?" she whined to Emma and Kaden.

Good Detail

The sounds of the rowdy student body of Crescent High echoed through the thin trees of Hallow Wood. Dezzera toyed with the silver pentacle hanging around her neck as she studied the array of costumes bustling around the tree log she and her friends had taken residence on. So far, she counted over twenty black cats and even more witches. Well, there had been one white cat. (Wow, how creative...) Among the sparkly whiskers, jangling collar tags, pointy hats, and colorful broomsticks, there were also dead cheerleaders, dead brides, and dead... well, she wasn't sure what that girl was supposed to be. A dead nerd? Or just herself with some white powder?

In the center of a group of shirtless cavemen and wrestlers stood a bleach blond girl all dressed up in some lacey black dress that obviously came from an over-priced Halloween store. Her fishnets had spiders woven in and she even had a pentagram drawn in Sharpie across her wrist. The girl finally noticed Dezzera's judging stare and raised an eyebrow at her. Catching her gaze, Dezz finally laughed at the sad display of a Wicca costume and rolled her eyes as the girl muttered something, probably along the lines of "Freak."

Dezz turned her attention back to her two friends, and asked, with a smirk still across her blood red lips, "Why are we here again?"

Your Character In The Story

Make sure you keep your character involved in the main story. Make sure you don't wander off too far from the plot. There is a big difference between a side story and a subplot. If you are in a roleplay about dog sledding, a good subplot would be a strained, competitive relationship between two brothers on the team or a romance between two dogs on rival sides or a dog trying to sabotage the team for his/her own reasons. A side-story would be two dogs on that team going on dates and creating a relationship and having pups and never interacting with the other dogs on the team. See the difference?

Also, throughout the roleplay, make sure to stick to your character's personality. You character should be doing realistic actions and reacting to things according to their personality. For example, if you have a quiet girl, she wouldn't interrupt a person or go wild at a party. The only reason for a character to do something outside of their personality is if their personality is changing and developing. This often happens as your character discovers new things, but it should never be too drastic or happen too fast.

Important Inequalities

long post =/= descriptive post
creative =/= random
members =/= characters
relationship =/= main goal
many pages =/= good story
dialogue =/= progress
rp game =/= rp story

Take your time with your roleplay. Your goal is not to reach ten pages in a day. A good roleplay takes time and patience. Success is not measured in pages but in the quality of the story you are creating.

Fan Roleplaying

Fan roleplaying is what I personally call roleplaying with characters from a movie, book, play, ect... It's the same concept as Fanart and Fanfiction, but with Fan Roleplaying, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

~ Even though you are roleplaying in an already created universe, you still need to have a plot. I have seen numerous roleplays that just say, "This takes place right after the last movie/book." Just because it is not your original idea, you still need to put some thought into it and have the same basic storyline that you would for a normal roleplay.

~ Once you have a plot, make sure that it makes sense. If Steele suddenly comes back to Nome and is somehow nice and friendly, and he and Balto go off on a flowery adventure, than you have a bad Fan Roleplay. Keeping that in mind, if you have a Balto roleplay where Steele comes back, than you can work with it. Just keep in mind that you do have to stay true to the original story.

~ The hardest part about a Fan Roleplay is keeping the canon characters in character. Authors who write fanfictions have the same difficulty, but I personally think it is harder to do in a roleplay because there are multiple members trying to play canon characters. If someone in your roleplay has a character doing something they would never do, like having Steele sacrifice himself for Balto without any character development or Balto telling Jenna he would rather her be with Steele, than let that member know that their character is out of character and to edit their post.

~ The best Fan Roleplays usually contain more than just the canon characters. Bringing in fan characters is a great way to expand the story. That does not mean that you should be using your fan characters from the main site, but you can use them in a slightly round about way by creating a roleplay character with the same personality and appearance but changing the history to fit in with the story.

~ For some reason, it seems that Fan Roleplays tend to have shorter posts than other roleplays. Remember that just because your roleplay is in the Balto Open Roleplay section does not mean that all the rules go down the drain, same for the private roleplays. Always keep in mind that all the roleplay rules apply everywhere, not on just a few rp threads.

Dealing With Writer's Block

If you find yourself struggling to post more than one line for a roleplay, and no matter how much you think and rewrite, you just can't form the right words and the frustration is starting to build, don't worry! Every writer goes through this, even the great ones like J.K. Rowling. I like to say that my muse is on vacation and will be back in a couple of day. Most other people just call this writer's block.

When you find yourself stuck, the best thing to do is just walk away or, in this case, log off of AS for a little while. Go do something else for a couple of hours, and enjoy one of your hobbies that will take your mind of writing like reading a book, playing a video or computer game, watching a TV show or movie, knitting some socks, baking a cake, whatever it is that you enjoy doing! After an hour or so, come back to AS and reread that last couple of posts made. You'll be surprised to find that inspiration might just hit you!

What if this doesn't work? Well, go back to playing Angry Birds or icing those cupcakes. Try just keeping the story in your mind and play around with ideas. If something just strikes you as amazing, go go go! Get writing! If not, just sleep on it and try again tomorrow.

So what do you do if it's been a week and you still have nothing? Well, at this point, you do have to get something posted to keep the story going. Just write, and hopefully it will just come to you. If not, at least you have something half-decent written for the others to play around with and hopefully their posts will give you more inspiration next time.

Leaving A Roleplay

If there is a serious reason why you must leave a roleplay, do not simply stop posting. You should always PM the creator first to let them know that you can no longer continue. Next, you have two options.

1. Give your characters away to other members of the roleplay so they can easily continue on without you.

2. Write a final post killing off your characters or having them disappear forever. This can happen all sorts of different ways depending on the story, but always make sure that it is somewhat realistic. I know suddenly killing off a character or two can be random, but make it as real as you can for the story's sake. Here is an example: my final post in Running Against the Odds


Finishing is not when you reach over 100 pages and are bored with the roleplay. Chances are, if this happens, you did not follow all the steps listed above.

A roleplay is finished when the main story ends and lose ends are tied up. If you do a roleplay right, you will know when that time is and so will everyone involved. It should end just like a movie or a book or a play. Do not continue a roleplay just because you feel you need to keep it going. This happens a lot in roleplays because the plot was done poorly with no ending point and the characters are just wondering this boring world and randomly bumping in to each other. Also, do not just keeping going because the people are active. If you really want to keep roleplaying with these people, ask them if they'd like to do another roleplay together and come up with a plot and make an invite only roleplay.

Remember, you can always make a sequel! But do not make a lame one. If the main story is all tied up with the first roleplay, add a new conflict to the sequel, keep some of the old characters, and add some new ones! I will use an example from this very old roleplay: Wandering Through The Mountains and Wandering Through The Mountains 2: On The Run

During the first roleplay, we established the basic story of Wanderer who can't remember who he is. Throughout the roleplay, there were some relationships and one wolf left his mate and pup. It was around this time that we decided the story was losing its interest. In the sequel, we added a pack that hates the main character and wants to kill him and also a pool of water that might help Wanderer get his memory back. Notice that all these elements were added to keep the story going and make it more interesting for the sequel.

Some Last Words

I hope that everyone who reads this can at least take one good piece of advice away with them. If you feel criticized by any part of this or have been criticized in the past or are criticized later on, please take into consideration what I and other members are trying to say. Don't get so defensive that you don't take the advice. Everyone here just wants to help others, I promise!

As you can see, roleplaying isn't as easy as you think, but it is also not very difficult either. Don't over think the process of roleplaying, but don't take it for granted either.

Thank you to everyone and anyone who has read this entire thing! I know it was long, but I hope it helped you!

P.S. All examples I have used are all my own. I used my own posts and my own roleplays as examples (except Wandering Through The Mountains, which I had permission to use from the creator, WolfCall). Any similarities to your own work or someone else's is completely by coincidence and not purposeful. If you were a member in one of my roleplays that I have placed links here of and you do not wish for your posts to be publicly seen, shoot me a PM and I will change it to another roleplay. If you feel like I mentioned you specifically, that is also just by coincidence. I did not mean to attack any specific person or group of people in my words. Thank you.

(Note to the Mods: You can combine this will the other three Guides if you want or leave it as it's own topic. It really doesn't matter to me, so whatever you think is best.)

* The bold part of this paragraph is taken from the RP Rules and written by Steet himself.

Last edited by Black Rose on Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:05 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:12 pm 
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I would like some feed back on this guide. If you could, take a moment and visit this topic and at least vote on the poll, that would be great. Also, I would really appreciate any comments you have. Even if you disagree with every point I make, I would like to know. So, please, take just a second to tell me your thoughts on the other topic!

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:59 am 
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I added a new section titled Fan Roleplaying where I discuss roleplaying with canon characters in more depth. Also, decided to give this topic a poll to see what people think.

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:16 am 
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I know it's only been two days, but I added another section on dealing with writer's block. Hopefully, this will be my last up-date.

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Excellent guide, Rose! I hope more people read this. ^^

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Just a little bump to keep this topic on the first page.

P.S. Just a reminder that I'd like some feedback, even if it's negative! Always up for some discussion!

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Thanks for bumping this, Black Rose -I lost track of it (or just didn't see it) in the recent pages, but I'll make sure to bookmark it. I'm going to post this as a link on my role plays for others to take a look at. So far, my RP members post pretty decent replies, but there have been times in the past when a new person joins and they post, let's say for example, two short sentences where no one could actually reply to. Thanks again for this topic!


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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:18 pm 
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Excellent guide! Didn't have time to read it all yet, but still. Where was this when I first started RPing! There are a LOT of members who seriously need to give this a read.

"Oh, dark deed, that love hates, beyond cure, beyond hope, --and help stands far away."
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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:12 pm 
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Acrylic Paint wrote:
Thanks for bumping this, Black Rose -I lost track of it (or just didn't see it) in the recent pages, but I'll make sure to bookmark it. I'm going to post this as a link on my role plays for others to take a look at. So far, my RP members post pretty decent replies, but there have been times in the past when a new person joins and they post, let's say for example, two short sentences where no one could actually reply to. Thanks again for this topic!

Awesome! I know exactly what you mean about new members joining a roleplay and posting such little replies that they don't really help move the story along. Then again, you've got to start somewhere. My first roleplay was completely filled with such posts, but I learned quickly to post better replies. I am happy to see more roleplays popping up and that it's not such a wasteland over on this board anymore. I may even have to venture back over here and join some... Thanks again for reading!

Roiffalo wrote:
Excellent guide! Didn't have time to read it all yet, but still. Where was this when I first started RPing! There are a LOT of members who seriously need to give this a read.

Thank you! And take all the time you need to read through; I know it's quite a feat to get through it all. Hopefully some of the new members will give this a read and we can make the roleplays here even better!

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 Post subject: Re: Rose's Roleplaying Guide
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:37 am 
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Awesome! It got stickied! Now more people can read it easily.

Congrates, Black Rose! xD

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