role_playing [Pony Town Wiki]

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This page is very much a work in progress.

Intro and Contents

On this page we're going to talk about some of the basics of role-playing, some of our thoughts on what makes good characters and good stories, and a few do's and don'ts for players to bear in mind. RP theory is a wide-open topic - some things are fairly well accepted by most RP communities, and other things are matters of opinion. Further good-natured discussion is always welcome.

RP Basics and Terminology

For those who haven't taken part in role-play before, either on SL, or in a tabletop game, there are a few common terms that it really helps to understand.

  • Player: The word “player” in this context means the human player at the keyboard. The player creates the character and the story, they decide how their own character acts in general and reacts to situations in which they find themselves. In the simplest terms: the player is you.
  • Character: The character is the fictional being the player portrays. Fluttershy is a character. Your OC (original character), if you have one, could be a character rather than a “ponysona,” it depends on if they have their own distinct personality separate from the player. We'll talk more about the divergence between players and characters later.
  • PC: A PC, or “player character” is a character controlled by a player. In our sim, nearly every character is a PC.
  • NPC: An NPC, or “non-player character” is a character controlled by a Storyteller or staff member (more on that later) who's largely present just to enable or conflict with the PCs. If a group of characters wanted to buy climbing supplies for a mountain expedition, someone might play a shopkeeper NPC for them to buy things from. NPCs are relatively infrequent in PTR.
  • In-Character (IC): Being “in-character” means that interaction is performed as characters. This would be something like Fluttershy talking to Rarity about a sick animal, as opposed to their writers or voice actors talking to each other about going to work. While IC, there would be no talking of Second Life, or Earth and its countries, or McDonald's, or anything else from the “real world,” as a pony character would have no idea what any of those are!
  • Out-of-Character (OOC): Out-of-character is basically the opposite of in-character or IC. If you were on SL in your pony avatar, but talking to someone about League of Legends, you'd be “speaking out of character.” In PTR, we generally indicate OOC chat with double parenthesis ((like this)), or we wear OOC indicators on our avatars to show we're out of character. IMs are also usually considered OOC, though they can occasionally be used to represent IC whispering that other nearby characters wouldn't hear.
  • Scene: Think of this as a scene from a movie. It's a set period of time where a set of related actions happen. An RP “scene” could be an argument between two ponies, or a cheer squad practice, or dealing with putting out a locker room fire after a dragon sneeze.
  • Setting: The setting is basically the world and its story as they are represented in the MLP:FiM show and movie. We handle the comics separately, more on that later. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the worlds they are part of, are different settings (and characters and stories from those worlds don't exist in ours.)
  • Canon: Canon events and stories are basically well-known events that officially happened because someone in a position of authority (aka, the show writers/runners) said so. It is “canon” in our setting that several years ago, the stars aligned and Nightmare Moon returned from her banishment to once again menace Equestria, and was defeated by the Mane Six. A fan-fiction about someone's OC helping them would be considered non-canon; it's not official, and no one should reasonably be expected to consider it part of history. Our canon includes everything from all nine seasons of the MLP:FiM show, though events depicted in the prologue at the very end have not yet come to pass, and may not be guaranteed to come to pass as depicted!

As a general rule, it's best to “stay in character” as much as possible. That's where the fun is, after all. Use OOC as needed for clarifying things (Uh, is your tail actually on fire or did you attach the wrong attachment?) or setting up RP (Hey, did you want to have our characters meet at Sugarcube Corner and squabble over the last Lemon Surprise cupcake?)

Types of RP

There are many, many different types of roleplay. At PTR, most RP tends to fall into two types.

“Slice of Life” RP is roleplay about ponies and other creatures going about their day to day lives. Anything that might happen in Ponyville or around Equestria could fall into this, from something as mundane as a chat between two ponies about the weather, to some pegasus ponies flying up and dealing with the weather, to helping build a new building in town, etc. Our Market Days and Cafe RPs are this sort of roleplay. This RP is also called “free-form” in that characters can do whatever they like within reason - there aren't die rolls required or anything like that. Note that we do say “within reason” - please see our Role-Playing page for what qualifies.

Sometimes, a player or staff member will take on the role of Storyteller and “lead” a scene or set of scenes for a group of characters. This is akin to a Dungeons & Dragons “adventure,” for those familiar with tabletop RPing. In these sorts of roleplays, each player represents their own character, and the Storyteller takes on the role of everything else. This includes all other characters such as enemies, townsfolk, NPCs and such, and also the world itself. The Storyteller, for example, can say that there's a horrible storm making it difficult to fly, or something like that. The Storyteller's mission is to create an interesting scenario for the players to live through via their characters. They do this by setting up challenges, puzzles, and other interactions for the players. A simple example would be something like somepony's friend has gone missing after a camping trip, and they ask some ponies for help tracking them down. The search for the missing pony would be the scene or story, and the Storyteller would present clues and answer questions to help the group (the PCs) find the lost character (the NPC).

How Does it Work?

Usually, someone will initiate an RP with a post briefly describing the setting and whatever their character is up to at that moment. Any other participant is then free to write their own post describing how their character enters the scene and respond to what's happening through actions, dialog, or a combination of both! The easiest way to learn how it works is by observing a few RP sessions between others to get the gist of it.

(WIP from here on out)

Making a Character Feel Real

  • Goals: what do they want?
  • Quirks: what makes them a little different?
  • “Who are they”: Describe the character without defining them by their job. Can you?

RP Dos and Don'ts

  • Do make things better for those around you, don't just fixate on your own character. Ask questions of others that you'd want to be asked, etc. Ask yourself at the end of a scene if you made it better somehow.
  • Don't god-mod. Pose attempts, not results, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Don't lol or owo in text, do use emotes to describe what your character is doing
  • Do watch and learn from others, but don't be afraid to get involved.
  • Do try to take criticism and feedback well, do try to be constructive with others.
  • Don't make your character cool by being superpowered or complete departures from the setting; do make them fun to be around, and interesting.
role_playing.txt · Last modified: 2020/05/24 00:39 by radem