A Beginner’s Guide to RP’s

Hi everyone! This is 16luongl1, better (and more easily) known as 16 or MicroWolf. I’ve been seeing that there’s many people who either don’t know how to RP, or do it badly. And most annoyingly, I couldn’t find any RPing guides out there (any ones that are easy to find, anyway). That’s why I made this one. I hope it helps.

Introduction to RP’s

The first question one might ask is: what are RP’s? A logical question, and the one I’ll answer first in this guide.

RP stands for Role-play(ing), which is where members act as a character and make choices regarding their character’s actions and dialogue, interacting with other people in a form of story. Characters are normally fictional and original, which means they’re completely made up. RPing is like acting – you just pretend to be someone else, and try to make choices by thinking as your character, not as yourself.

The next question is: why RP? And why on Scratch?

The biggest answer is just because it’s fun. People who RP all have different reasons for doing so, but whether it’s to pretend to be someone you’re not, or to talk to or meet other people, or even because there’s nothing better to do, the ultimate reason is because RPing is fun. Scratch’s already amazing online community is more than active in the RPing area.

Just give it a try!

RP’s on Scratch

On Scratch, you can only RP in studios. Most RP’s happen in the comments – this can be accessed by going to a studio and clicking the Comments tab! When one person starts an RP thread, people reply to it in order to initiate the event.

Some RP’s also double as collaborations in that members work together to create projects relating to the RP. Super Hero RP, one of the examples I will discuss later in this guide, is a good example of this.

Most RP’s will require new members to fill out a form with their character details, although whether this takes place in the studio or in a forum topic is up to the owner of the RP. However, don’t just join in an RP without doing this – it’s considered rude, and chances are you’ll just be ignored. Make sure you’re accepted first!

Making Characters

When you RP, you act as a character. Most of the time these will be completely original – sometimes called an OC, or Original Character. It is important to make an original, detailed and realistic character when RPing. Most RP’s will have a template or form that you can fill in when joining, with details on what is needed. The following are often, if not always included, so try to include them in your character application/bio:

  • Name – try to pick an original name! In other words, don’t copy it from somewhere else.
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Backstory – this is one of the most fun parts of creating a character! Essentially, a backstory is the story of your character’s past. Go wild with ideas.
  • Personality – you can choose to use some aspect of your own character, or try to make the character completely different from yourself. However, when you RP, make sure you’re following the personality you’ve stated.
  • Appearance
  • Talents/Skills
  • Strengths/Weaknesses – a good rule is one weakness per strength. You don’t want to make your character OP (over-powered) – that just ruins the fun both for yourself and for others. Listen to the Admins of the RP you’re joining if they say it’s too OP.

When you’ve applied, wait until it’s accepted before you start RPing.

A note on multiple characters: in many RP’s, you can have multiple characters. This was designed so that you can participate in multiple story threads at once, not so you can have them team up and become a super powerful group. This is why I suggest preventing your characters from interacting with each other, or having any relation at all.

Originality and Overpoweredness

A main issue with many RP’s are the lack of originality and OP characters.
This is especially important in RP’s such as Super Hero RP, where characters can have special powers.

You should aim to create a balanced, realistic and unique character. Trying to find a power? Flight is too boring. Plus, five other characters in the RP already have it. Honestly, think of something new. There’s thousands of possible powers out there – google a list or something.

Another tip: concentrate on a single area of strength, or in the case of a power, a single main power. Don’t try to have a character who’s super versatile, has three different powers and is good at just about everything. If it’s not rejected for being OP, RPing won’t be fun when your character has few or even no weaknesses.

Weaknesses are key! For every strength, talent, skill or power, you should have a weakness that is just as powerful. This shouldn’t just be limitations to your character’s talents or powers.

How to RP

This is the important part! RP’s generally follow certain rules and conventions that it is important to follow, as it makes it easier and more fun to understand what each other’s characters are doing, and respond with your own.

When you RP, post only one major action and/or dialogue at once. There’s no point in having your character go through a whole bank heist without giving anyone else a chance to reply! Then again, it’s also not fun if you count taking one step as a single action either. My point is: use your common sense and judgement. The admins of the RP will probably tell you if you’re mis-judging things. Once someone replies, it’s generally okay to continue.

Also, use third person. Most people use present tense, although past is also acceptable. Make sure you specify your character’s name and action, and most importantly, use proper grammar and spelling! It’s a nightmare when trying to read a post which has horrible sentence structure, sometimes even incomplete sentences. Just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean other people do.

How much detail should you put into your RP? There’s really no limit – you can add as much as you want as long as other people can understand what you’re trying to say. However, the recommended amount is just basic information about actions and dialogue.

Most importantly, do not RP by saying what other people’s characters do. Chances are, that’s not what’s happening. You can’t say what your action accomplishes either, especially in combat. Saying “Tom fired at Lucy” is okay, but not “Tom shot Lucy in the arm, and she ran away.”

Lastly, make sure you’re using the correct conventions. Just type normally for actions: walking, fighting, jumping, stuff like that.
For OOC talk (Out of Character, that is, talking as yourself and not as your character), put it between (brackets).
For dialogue, make sure you use “quotes”.

These are examples of how not to RP:

Angus flew into outer space, hacked into the government satellite and shot a giant missile at America. The missile exploded and destroyed the White House.

This attempt has multiple problems:

  • It’s unreasonable. Unless the RP is one with superpowers, and it specifically states in the character bio (application form) that Angus can both fly and survive in space, and is a good hacker, he wouldn’t be able to do this. And even if he was a good hacker, would it be likely that he can easily get past government security?
  • No time was given for people to respond. There was no chance given to anyone else to stop Angus from firing the missile, or stopping the missile before it hit.

Walked out of the house. I’m going to be late for school, I said to myself. Got in car and drove across the road. I didn’t see Mary and ran over her and killed her. I have to go now for dinner I’ll be back in 10 minutes!

Again, there are multiple problems:

  • Make sure you use complete sentences. In this case, put the character’s name in front. This is especially important if you control multiple characters. This allows other people to know who you’re playing.
  • Don’t kill other people’s characters without their permission. It’s no fun. Also, make sure they have a chance to respond – don’t just do something to their characters out of the blue.
  • Use third person. It’s convention, and it allows people to know who you’re RPing as.
  • Put dialogue in between quotes (that is, “like so”). It’s convention, and clearer for other people so they know what is speech and what isn’t.
  • Put OOC stuff in brackets (like this!).

I’ll push u out f the windwo ur so stupid

This is frankly the worst, and for obvious reasons:

  • Firstly, respect everyone! Be polite and courteous. Insulting people is mean, ruins the fun of RPing, and will probably get you kicked from the RP.
  • Spell things correctly. It makes life easier for everyone.
  • Use third person, and past or present tense (unless this is dialogue, in which case quotes should be used).

This is an example of good RP:

“I’ll show you!” Matthew slashes his sword at Ben, aiming for his throat. (I need to go, I’ll respond later.)

Why?

  • Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Stated the character’s name, as well as his target’s, so the other person knows and can respond.
  • It’s only one action, and I’ve only stated what my character has done, not what it’s effects are. Ben has a chance to block or dodge the attack and respond, or perhaps let the blow through and see what happens next.
  • It’s specific, so other people know exactly what is happening.
  • Dialogue is between quotes, and OOC talk is between brackets.

Overall though, you can always ask for help from more experienced RPer’s, or just look at other RP studios (see Examples below) to see how other people RP, and learn from them. It’s okay to make mistakes!

Starting an RP

It’s fun to start an RP, so feel free to give it a go! Try to think of a fun, original and imaginative idea as the basis behind your RP’s story.

The Concept
The main thing to think of beforehand is the concept behind your RP. All RP’s are based on something, so what about yours? It could be high school, or outer space, or something completely different! It’s all up to you! Try to make it creative – this will be the main reason why people join your RP – because it’s interesting! Focus on the theme, and also decide on the technology or time period it’s set in. Make sure you write this in your RP – otherwise you’ll have laser rifles around your medieval story.

Story and Description
Make sure people know what your RP is about! It’s all very well to have an awesome idea, but if no one understands what it’s about, there’s no use. A recommended way to describe it is to write a short story about what has already happened in the RP, or a backstory for the entire RP.

Character Application Form
It’s definitely useful to have a character application form. This way, characters will have the same level of detail. This is particularly useful when the characters in your RP are special – whether they have superpowers, or are part of a specific faction, or are all aliens, etc. Remember, too much is better than too little.

Admins
Once your RP gets bigger, you should appoint trusted, responsible and active members of your RP as Admins (short for Administrators). These people can negate RP actions if they’re unfair, accept or reject characters, and do other stuff for your RP when you’re offline.

Expansion and Advertising
How can you make your RP known? Try some of these tips:

  • Advertise in your signature, and give other people in your RP signatures as well!
  • Tell your friends, and get them to join.
  • Just RP! Eventually people will join.

Special Note: NPC’s
At certain times you will come to a point where what happens next is based on the decisions of someone who is not actively controlled by a real person. These are called Non-Player Characters. What happens next is really dependent on the RP. Some will allow another player to take over that character for a short, temporary period. Other times you just decide in order to make the RP more interesting. It’s really up to the owner of the RP.

Try to minimize the use of NPC’s though.


original source: https://scratch.mit.edu/discuss/topic/184350/

last edited by IORP