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<center>What Is Roleplaying?
It's difficult to define roleplaying in this sense to someone who's never tried it. It's not the same as a roleplaying video game, or even a RPG gaming system like Dungeons and Dragons. I've seen it described as writing a story with many authors, but I prefer relating it to improv games. You create a character, complete with a history and personality, and then write out his or her actions in a setting (and possibly plot) defined by the roleplay's creator.
One major misconception new roleplayers seem to have is that the more powerful and "speshul" their character is, the better. Some uniqueness is awesome, but there should be a reason for it beyond "I think a human who can turn into an umbreon would be soooo kewl!!1!!one!!" Try and avoid characters related to characters from the game or show ("canon" characters) unless you have a good reason for it, too. A major unique-ness should influence history and personality in interesting ways, not just give them fun sparkly powers.
Another thing newbies seem to do is try and "win" the roleplay, often by making their characters magically guess stuff the player knows OOC (out of character.) There's no such thing as "winning" a roleplay, just try and have fun and create an interesting story. Personally, I try my very best to make my character suffer- it's far more interesting that way.
<center>Common Roleplaying Terms
There are several definitions of these two terms, which seem to be used interchangeably, so I'll try and cover them all.
-Playing an invincible or immortal character; never taking damage from attacks
-Controlling someone else's character. This can be anything from "your character smiled at my character" through to "my character throws a big ball of fire at your character and your character is charred instantly, then your character falls to the ground, dead."
-Controlling the environment/setting in ways that are obviously against the creator's intentions. If the setting is described as "a bright and sunny field in spring", don't have it start snowing without warning.
-Having overly powerful characters (in pokemon's case, that usually means a trainer with one or more legendary pokemon, or playing a legendary pokemon yourself)
Essentially a "perfect" character- one without any real flaws. If you find yourself pretending you are/wishing you were your character, or if you're trying to "win" the roleplay, chances are you have a Sue on your hands. They can be fun to write for at first, but they're sure to annoy the others you're roleplaying with. Remember to incorporate realistic flaws when creating a character- not just "she's cutely clumsy" or "he has a fiery temper and defies authority figures". Naming yourself after your character online, or going by the same name, is considered a sure sign of a Mary Sue in many circles. There is such a thing as a benign Sue, but they are not to be attempted by new writers.
Often used interchangeably, these terms tend to indicate the roleplay is for more experienced players. Proper spelling and grammar are expected, one-line posts are frowned upon, and its assumed all players know enough not to godmode/powerplay or bring in Mary Sues.
A very short post, only one or two lines long. They're usually just actions, or maybe a line of dialogue.
A character in the roleplay, usually being played by someone specific. The character and the roleplayer should NOT be confused- they're two separate entities.
When you create a character to roleplay, you're expected to know a bit about where they came from: where were they born, what sort of childhood did they have, and how did they come to be where they are at the start of the roleplay?
While you don't need to know everything about your character before you begin, it's a good idea to know a bit about them. Remember, you need to write in the role of your character, so you need to know how they would react to a situation.
A set storyline for a roleplay, usually described in the first post. Not all roleplays have plots, but if one is predetermined by the creator it's best to stick to that.
<center>Character Profile Creation
When your coming up with a new character, it can be hard to get to know them well enough to roleplay them. It's a good idea to write out a character profile for each of your characters, even if you never show it to anyone it's a good writing exercise and it will help you get a feel for what they're like, and flesh them out a little. Here's a profile form you can use, or you can make up your own
(This one's geared towards human characters, but it could easily be modified for a pokemon character or any other sort of character.)
Hair and eye colours:
Other physical features:
How he/she sees himself:
Plans for the future:
Quirks: (This is completely optional, and you'll probably never post it anywhere, but filling it out might help you figure out some interesting details about your character. Don't just make up answers, figure out the reasons behind them.)
Least favorite season:
<center>Making the Game Fun
I've seen it time and time again with new-ish roleplayers: six people playing together, yet only one or two are actually interacting. The point of a roleplaying game is to have your character interact with others, so here's a few tips for starting and maintaining inter-character relations:
-If you've got an awesome plot idea that revolves around your character and his/her life, try turning it into a story before you make it a roleplay. It's a drag to have to shuffle your character through a plot where they can't really play an important role, because the other player has everything planned out already.
-If someone else, especially the board creator, suggests a plot direction, it's usually a good idea to go with it. If there's already a plot being started, it's rude to drag things off in a different direction altogether. For example, if two characters have already agreed to go find an ancient temple hidden nearby, don't have your character come in and ask them to go stop Team Rocket in another city.
-Don't start the game with your character set in stone. It's okay to bend them a little to fit around the other person(s) playing, and indeed it's to be encouraged. If two players have set-in-stone characters, they'll have a lot of trouble playing together.
-If there are more than four players, it's a good idea to try and group up and split up a little. Aside from getting confusing, time zones will probably prevent you from all being online at the same time, and the roleplay will be staggered.