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Author Topic: The concept of a good RPer.  (Read 7794 times)

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Offline Dallas

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Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2013, 09:27:28 PM »
This sort of goes against the popular writing phrase "Show , Don't Tell." Most people don't think about the world while making a simple sandwhich or putting their clothes on  in the morning. It's one thing to be introspective , it's another thing to make Sartre look like Dean Koontz.

^ This. Definitely. This is pretty much my feeling about it in a nutshell. :D

Offline Asa

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #76 on: November 30, 2013, 04:13:40 PM »
Personally, I imagine a good RPer as a combination of everything that people already wrote in here. Good RPers are naturally gifted with a certain empathy which I believe allows them to paint vivid landscapes with their words and evoke emotions through their characters. The higher the empathy, the wider the spectrum of characters they can become. When it comes to choosing words, I also believe there is a "golden middle" between simple and complex. Determining just the right amount of elaborate expressions without impairing the smoothness of the reading process is an admirable skill.

Just my two cents. :-)

Offline Chris Brady

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #77 on: December 01, 2013, 08:51:12 AM »
Consideration (of your partner(s), swings both ways), communications and acceptance that sometimes, it just may not work as intended.

Offline consortium11

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #78 on: December 03, 2013, 12:31:00 PM »
A thread that discusses post length and I missed it? Woe is me.

I'm fairly certain I still hold the record for the single longest post on Elliquiy (either in or out of a roleplay), which was so long it broke the character limit and had to be split over two replies. It is just under 15,000 words long and includes just under 82,000 characters.

I should stress that that's not the normal length of my posts and it came about largely because of OOC comments; the person I was writing with and I were exchanging PM's noticing that our posts were starting to get longer and longer and between us came up with the frankly pretty masochistic idea to try to see quite how big we could go (and for once that isn't a euphemism). That said, my posts are on the long side... here's a fairly recent 10,000 word one (with a 1,500 word part 2/flashback attached). Here's a 4,000+ word post... and another one... and another one. So yes, my posts are undoubtedly on the long side; these days even my short posts are likely to be at least a couple of paragraphs long and the shortest one I can recall was still over 300 words.

So, bigger is better right?

Of course not. Whenever this topic comes up I tend to think (and then immediately flush my brain with bleach because) of "Marienbad My Love", the supposed longest novel ever (17,800,000+ words, 109,000,000 characters including spaces, one 4,400,000 letter long made up word and a 3,000,000 word sentence). I can't in good conscious suggest to recommend to anyone that they even try to read an extract; suffice to say it's truly dire and can make your mind melt.

Good writing is good writing, whether it's 15, 150, 1,500 or 15,000 words long). But likewise bad writing is still bad whether it's 15, 150, 1,500 or 15,000 words long. Long writing can be disjointed, waffley, off-topic and unnecessary... but short writing can be basic, crude, lacking in nuisance, unsubtle and evocative. The length of what one writes does not in and of itself impact on the quality of what is written.

But that doesn't mean that the length of posts should be completely ignored either. One person may be able to write brilliantly despite never writing more than 300 words while another might write brilliantly despite never writing less than 1,500 words but that doesn't mean they're going to write brilliantly together. Both are likely to want and expect different things out their partners responses; as a general rule the shorter poster will want them to be more frequent and more focused and punchy while the longer poster is more forgiving of delays and wants more extra-curricular content and activity. To speak for myself, my longer posts tend to feature a lot of memories, flashbacks, tangents, streams of consciousness, NPC's that have as much detail put into them as PC's and various other aspects that aren't strictly relevant to the narrative but do add to a more well-rounded picture of my character. I don't require a partner to do the same... but if they don't enjoy reading that then it's unlikely the game is going to be a happy one.

I also think there's a difference between roleplaying and collaborative writing... and over the years I've been here I'm drifting more and more towards what I consider the collaborative writing aspect, especially in one-on-one games; I'll jump between characters, time-frames and situations fluidly, almost every detail will be discussed with the partner before hand (and posts often sent to them by PM for their opinions before being publicly posted), a more relaxed idea about what characters are "mine" and godmodding, rarely do anything IC without having discussed it OOC and generally treat it as far more of a writing exercise then a traditional roleplay. For me, this (hopefully) means I avoid most of the pitfalls that longer posts can stumble into; the worst long posts tend to be ones where there's very little going on in the narrative (two characters mid-conversation for example) and the writer feels the need to stretch the post out to 1,000 words regardless. In my case, with my collaborative writing hat on, I'd discuss with the partner how the conversation went over PM, draft a post covering the whole conversation, send it to them for their opinion, make any necessary changes and then put up one longer post which covers what would otherwise be 10+ "normal" posts. I'm less interested in where we go (that's been sorted out and arranged by PM's) during a post... I'm interested in how we get there; I favor the descriptive over the narrative.

But again, going back to the previous point, that's dependent on me having a partner who's happy to do that sort of game in that sort of style. Some will be, some won't be and it would be just as unfair for me to force that style of writing onto someone who doesn't want it as it would for someone to force another style onto me. It simply wouldn't be fun.

And I think that last point is the key one.

A lot of us can offer advice on what we think a good roleplayer is but that advice will tend to be either very specific to us or so vague as to be somewhat useless. To take the first point, I could give anyone my "to do list" with regards to being a good roleplayer for me to play with... but that applies only to me and someone else could have completely different ideas of what a good roleplayer is and what they want out of their partners and games. To take the second point, we can all list "good communication" as a key thing... but what do we mean by "good communication"? Some see good communication as multiple back and forth PM's every day, some talking about the roleplay, some just talking about general things. Others see it as fewer PM's and them focused entirely in on the game. Some like partners who communicate their likes and dislikes of posts and offer possible corrections, others find that intrusive, condescending and somewhat insulting. People have different approaches, likes and dislikes.

So I'll go back to that single word.


Whatever our approach to writing, however long our posts, regardless of how we like to communicate OOC, everyone came to E to have fun and the best roleplays will be those you and your partner have fun. So to be a good roleplayer all you need to be is to be someone where people playing with you have fun.

That said, there are still a few brief hints I think are general enough to apply to virtually everyone while also being specific enough to be actionable.

  • The basic rule; make sure in each post you describe what your character experiences (sees, hears, touches etc), what they think/feel about what they've experienced and what they then do. This can be multiple paragraphs or a single sentence ("Character A jumped back alarmed and gesticulated angrily as the car sped past him")
  • Respond to everything you can from your partners posts. There's little more dispiriting then describing something to occurs only to have the partner skip it completely. The standard mistake here is that one partner doesn't describe what their character felt during the period the other partner dealt with in their previous post but instead continues on from after it.
  • Take on some responsibility for driving the plot/narrative forward, either through PM's or in the story threads directly. While more common in D/S style roleplays it can crop up anywhere, where one partner is constantly forced to drive the story and narrative forward while coming up with new creative ideas. It's mentally exhausting so be willing to pick up the slack and puts your own ideas into place.

But again, the most important; have fun yourself and try to make sure your partner is also having fun.

Something that was mentioned here but is a little off the main topic is the "Literate Partner" requirement in either request threads or O&O's and it referring to post length.

Personally I hate it.

I have a note in my O&O's about post length which I think if fair enough; I write long posts as a rule and if someone isn't happy with that we're unlikely to be a good fit. But there's nothing about how long a post is that determines whether it's literate or not. Hemingway... a man considered a literary genius... wrote a story in six words and his brilliant "Old Man and the Sea" is only 27,000 words or so... not even twice as long as the post I linked to at the start of this reply. So to begin with it's the wrong use of the term; being literate is being able to read and write, not read and write in long prose. In fact, using it in that way is a display of illiteracy. Beyond that though, it's also insulting to those who are by implication being called illiterate because they post short replies.

Moreover, whenever I see such wording and then notice a typo or even simply something where I think a phrase it put together clumsily it always gets my hackles up in a sort of "how dare you say you only write with literate people and then make this basic mistake!" way. I admit that's not entirely fair of me, but when you see posts like that it's hard not to rise to it.

I also occasionally get a small chuckle when I see people put up that they do long posts and only want people who will do the same... and then I go through their post history and see that most of their posts are what I'd consider pretty short.

That said... and I'm thinking out loud here... that could be a worrying trend. Are people putting up things like that in their O&O's and request threads not because they actually write long posts but because they think they're expected to say that or that it makes them look like better roleplayers if they say it? I can't recall anywhere near as many people saying "My replies are generally a few sentences and occasionally a whole paragraph" as I can saying "My posts are normally a few paragraphs and occasionally 1,000+ words", even if they're not. I'd hate to think that people feel the need to pretend they favour long posts and replies when it reality they'd be happier with shorter ones.

Offline Aislinn

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Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #79 on: December 03, 2013, 09:18:58 PM »
I saw the topic of this thread and decided to jump in. I've read a couple of replies but mostly not because I don't want what others say to influence what I write.

Well that....and I'm just plain tired and don't want to read four pages of forgive me?  :'(

What makes someone a 'good' role play writer will be open to interpretation to each person. Each writer has criteria that they like to see in a partner. A lot of it is based on the type of skills that the original person possesses. I myself am a technical writer. I like details and I have to impart many of those in my writing in a logical manner to satisfy my wonderful OCD. I can write a battle scene easily with concepts and directions to boot. What I -can't- layer everything in overly flowery words. I can't spend an entire paragraph describing a sunset....or a lake.

However, I find I'm attracted to those people that -can-.

Communication is is the ability to give me something to work with. I think that this is where the conversation about post length comes in. I'm one of those types that like the longer, fuller posts....but if a writer can give me something to work with in a shorter piece, it's perfectly fine. I've also had partners (not E.....other sites) that have written huge posts but given me nothing to work with. You have to be able to give your writing partner something to work off of.

Creativity is always welcome...but I've noticed that it presents itself in different ways. I can't come up with main ideas for stories to save my life. It's very rare for me to be able to do that. But give me an idea and I can flesh it out all day long. Different people are creative in different ways.

I think that's it for the moment....or at least nothing else is springing to mind!


Offline TwoHundredTabs

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #80 on: May 25, 2014, 12:57:42 PM »
Not to be a horrible necromancer (the thread is still on the first page), but I want to add to these awesome responses, for anyone else who drops by the topic later on as I have.

The most fundamental thing, I think, is fitting with your partner - that you find a wavelength for the length, style, depth/descriptiveness, and content that both of you are excited about. That's probably also the most difficult thing, and the reason why so many partnerships die quickly.

Outside of that and what so many people have touched on, I'm thrilled when a partner is creative with the presentation of their ideas or the way our writing interacts. I've played with countless numbers of people who wrote (A) seven or more strong paragraphs with a good description-to-content balance, (B) two or three paragraph responses that and highlighted the key elements we were interested in, and (C) two to seven sentence replies that kept things moving quickly while striking the right notes. What I've seen little of are alternate forms of presentation - like dialogue-heavy posts 30 lines long but with less writing than a few paragraphs, that leave gaps of time between descriptions (leaving me free to construct my own timeline, or requesting that I describe certain things as happening during those gaps), posts that trail off mid-sentence to emphasize the nature of a shared 3rd person authorship of a story, or real-time requests or responses mid-writing via time-synced services like Google Docs or PiratePad.

If I were to score partners on a rating system (1 = Intolerable, 5 = Good, 10 = Mind-blowing), it would probably include the following at 1 point value each:

- Writes with spelling, word choice, and punctuation that is at least equivalent to what a professor would expect from an "A" student for the final exercise of a college's introductory creative writing class (The bar isn't that high, but many roleplay ads I've seen wouldn't measure up.)

- Reflects on both their and my desires and abilities before committing to an idea - so that we're both clear about what we want, how we'll interact, and what expectations (e.g. time) we have

- Stays in contact outside of the game, so that we're on the same page about interests, the creative process, motivation levels, and outside circumstances

- Writes in a way that doesn't rely on me to drive the roleplay forward (e.g. doesn't rephrase my post; gives me new content)

- Is writing from the perspective of a partner, not thinking only of their own enjoyment (such that I'm not essentially a video game that's supposed to learn their desires and craft the perfect NPC world for them)

- In each post, either (for long posts) has a good balance between description and pace [instead of describing unimportant things, spending so much text on description that almost nothing happens, or writing so many actions that time rushes along], or (for short posts) communicates things that are attention-grabbing (e.g. emotions, actions, key details) or inviting/informative (e.g. hinting at what they want to happen in my response) [instead of unimportant/filler details, dialogue, etc.]

- Either (for scene-driven writing) creates captivating scenes that seamlessly flow into each other, (for story-driven writing) creates compact arcs that move quickly enough to stimulate interest in what happens next or make it easy to recall the whole story, or (for character-driven writing) creates a character(s) that is either fleshed-out emotionally/psychologically or is entertaining/alluring

- Collaborates in more than just one writing style (e.g. sometimes doing trades of paragraph posts, sometimes doing dialogue-heavy posts, sometimes doing real-time collaboration, sometimes doing trades of flash fiction)

-  Collaborates on more than just one idea (e.g. occasionally writing flash fiction or doing chat-roleplay sessions about something other than our post-by-post scenario [or about an alternate path/universe our idea could have taken/been set in], concurrently writing two or more post-by-post scenarios together - which we add to when we feel inspired [instead of focusing on one scenario and wanting a steady time-to-posts ratio])

- Has nearly identical interests to my own (e.g. themes, character concepts, scene ideas, kinks)

Offline Parker

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #81 on: May 27, 2014, 11:17:20 AM »

A great thread, I thought I'd add my own two pennies as well.

I agree with much of the above - A good RPer is creative, skilled at showing not telling, has empathy for all participating in the story, engages the senses, has a similar idea of pacing and flow as their partner, communicates outside the story, and is matched ( either naturally or with effort ) in their partner's style of investment and intimacy.

That's a lot. Also, I'm not sure it's all "an opinion." I think the better the RPer, the more they're going to be aware and skilled at implementing all of that above. Maybe it's more a spectrum - if you are pretty proficient with most of the above, I can't imagine where you'd have a positive opinion of someone as an RPer if they were only skilled at a few; someone totally new could see a player who had only a few of the above skills but was great at one or two of them as the Best RPer Evar.

As to post size...   yea, I'm with the "it mostly doesn't matter" crowd. To think that you're going to enforce some sort of quality with length is like saying all high school essays over 10 pages are quality because they're 10 pages. I'm pretty sure this isn't true. You'll get crap in 10 pages, and gold in two paragraphs; it depends on where you look.

What hasn't been mentioned so far ( unless I missed it? Ugh ) are these two aspects of the Good RPer: Being a giving partner and having a sense of self.

In the willingness to communicate and write great stuff there also has to be an underlying desire to hold up your end, or more, to give. To adjust, to help, to suggest. If a player can do all the other stuff we've talked about amazingly well but is not giving, that is they simply show up and expect the other person to perform and don't share at all by way of compliments, help in creating, positive critiques, or just voicing an opinion... I'm not sure they're a good RPer.

And a sense of self is huge, for me. Have an idea of what you like and don't like. For me a few of the hallmarks of a good RPer are an eye catching avatar, a locatable O/O list, a story suggestion thread, and things like that. Sharing this stuff is a big deal and helps me tell more easily than if I interview everyone I ever meet here what they like. Bare bones or nonexistent markers like this are not helpful at all, and to me kind of suggest you don't know what you like or don't like, or don't care enough ( investment ) about all of this to write it out for people looking.

Offline TwoHundredTabs

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #82 on: May 27, 2014, 12:54:16 PM »
My personal experiences have been varied, but I've sometimes seen an avatar that referenced something I thought to be of particularly high quality and contacted said person with the thought that we'd have similar tastes. However, they'd taken the image from someone else's avatar space, or didn't know what it referenced. Other times, I'd thought an avatar showed a lot of creativity or thought, and hoped that it was an indication of the same for their writing. Again, that turned out not to be the case many times.

Given my experiences, I find it interesting and confusing that you added "eye catching avatar" to the list of important things, Parker. Could you explain what you mean by "eye catching", and why you feel it's a hallmark of a good roleplayer?

I wonder how many other people think that avatar choice is important.

(Edited for better wording.)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 07:43:37 PM by TwoHundredTabs »

Offline Parker

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #83 on: May 30, 2014, 01:53:32 PM »
For me it all seems to work in constellation - a person can be an amazing RPer with a boring or confusing or non-yummy avatar, but it seems for me that's not often the case. It's one thing among many, and not by itself definitive. But in some ways the av you pick is a little like the outfit you wear, or how you do up your space in a virtual sense. It's part of your presentation, and it seems to me that people who take care here are usually great role players.

I've seen exceptions, but not a lot. And I'm not really talking about "hotness" here, as that's pretty individual.

Offline TwoHundredTabs

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #84 on: May 30, 2014, 02:36:32 PM »
For me it all seems to work in constellation - a person can be an amazing RPer with a boring or confusing or non-yummy avatar, but it seems for me that's not often the case. It's one thing among many, and not by itself definitive. But in some ways the av you pick is a little like the outfit you wear, or how you do up your space in a virtual sense. It's part of your presentation, and it seems to me that people who take care here are usually great role players.

I've seen exceptions, but not a lot. And I'm not really talking about "hotness" here, as that's pretty individual.

So, I'm curious. I don't plan on using an avatar (and I have them turned off in my settings). Do you think that would lead you to suspect that I'm not as strong of a player as others?

Offline Monkeys Razor

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #85 on: July 01, 2014, 07:37:14 PM »
I'm new here but not to RP.

Anyway, what makes a good Role Player to me is;

* Commitment - You have agreed to RP with someone, don't make them go through the whole set up process and then after they have written a solid set up post - you never respond or bale out after a couple of posts. If you aren't sure about your availability, or if you are new to RP and aren't sure about doing a huge Plot heavy RP then let your partner know, maybe opt for a one shot quickie.

* Honesty - This ties in with Commitment above, if you are engaged in a RP and you are not sure about it, don't just drop out, ask some questions, make suggestions, talk about what the problem is, you might be able to overcome it.

* Read your partners posts and messages! - Sounds obvious right? I do also realize sometimes things get missed or misread that is fine. What I am talking about is a situation I had on another site, we set up this plot and scenario it was quite extreme, they were on board we start playing and then they say they want something different, they don't like this part even though they agreed to it, so did they read it, miss it during the set up stage?

I have also had posts misread to the point of my partner changing the whole era it was set in!

* Be Responsive - Respond a little to what your partner wrote, especially if their character is talking to YC, it is rather cold to read a post that has no reference at all to what I have just written.

* Direction, Pacing & Story - A pairing or situation isn't always enough, what is the story? I hate it when a RP gets bogged down in day to day stuff eg: Mary and Jim sat and ate dinner, they discussed the days events and what they would do on the weekend, then they washed up. Too much of that is just a brain drain on me, keep the story going, have a direction that the whole thing is headed in, when I see requests that are just a list of pairings I just think "and then what?"

* Motivation/Psychology/Depth - I get bored with anything where characters are doing something for no reason, this especially goes for smut, it's not enough for me that 2 people have sex, especially if it is taboo or different in some way. I want to know what has driven them to this point, what they feel and think etc

I like to know how YC feels about doing what they are doing, first time doing porn or stripping? Great tell me how it feels, how they prepare, what it feels like afterwards etc. 

* Creativity - I love taking ordinary scenarios and making them twisted or taking cliches and looking at them from different perspectives, it doesn't really matter what you want to explore just make it different in some way, be creative.

* Realism - If you are playing a 40 something housewife than don't show me a photo or describe a woman in her late 20's!! This goes the same for nerdy girls etc etc Don't show me the barbie bimbo if your character is not this. Also if we are doing a period piece don't bring in modern standards and morality, if we are going to act and speak like we are in 2014 and trapped in a theme park then what is the point. Also if your character is shy then perhaps it is unlikely she takes to stripping like a fish to water??? Just saying.

* Motivations - Understanding that people have a range of emotions and motivations therefore so do characters, they aren't just evil or good, they run the gamut and therefore if you want believable characters than they have depth and variation.

* Being adaptable - we could plan a RP all the way through but when we start writing depending on how MC responds to what YC character says (or what you write), MC could respond differently to how we spoke, or it might bring out various traits in him, the story might change a little.

* Versatility - Being open to new ideas, for me this means when someone contacts me or I contact them and have some suggestions or input to the RP they have, being open to other people's ideas and how they might bring new and different angles to your story. If you want to play it out precisely as you envision it than just write a story.

* Quality over Quantity - I have played RP's where my partner and I have written 7 plus paragraphs, to be honest a lot of it was filler, describing things that don't matter, repeating or rehashing things the previous poster have already written, creating sub plots or extra story just to fill space. It also felt like a lot of work!! I am happy with a couple of paragraphs, often shorter posts have an immediacy to them that longer ones don't have, so yes it matters what you write, not how much you write.

* Knowing when detail matters - For example, Does a room have to be described? If it matters for some reason then fine, but if it is just filler than why bother?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 08:13:08 PM by Monkeys Razor »

Offline Mosaic

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #86 on: August 31, 2014, 11:09:54 AM »
As someone new to RP I really enjoyed reading the advice here. Thanks.

Offline Elysian Radiance

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Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #87 on: September 01, 2014, 03:08:18 PM »
I'm sure all of this has been said before but what the hell.

Unless we've decided to do some cookie cutter RP, I want us to be able to create a world that we can immerse ourselves in.

Writing ability.
Whisk me away and make me swoon with your words. Take my breath away and make me sit on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

I know that it's just a garden, but I want to know what I see, what I smell, how the flowers feel in my hands.

Being able to keep everything in balance. Too much of anything is a bad thing; that can include sex, details, dialogue.

The ability to mesh.
To me, I feel like I write better with people that I mesh with, not just IC but OOC as well.

I know that we all have lives and shit happens. I get it, more than most people. But if something comes up, just drop a line.

When I write, I try to avoid using the same descriptor word twice in a paragraph; the thesaurus is my very best friend. It feel like it makes the post boring and lacking substance to use the same words repeatedly, and for that matter, the same actions.

Offline Golden Ink

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #88 on: September 11, 2014, 06:46:28 AM »
Someone who engages in the story rather then be just another reaction in it. Someone who takes it further along keeping it from being stale or ending too soon. Someone who knows how to throw in the drama, the horror, the sex, the pain, the excitement, the humor, and the point of a plot.

Offline Dallas

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Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #89 on: September 11, 2014, 06:08:00 PM »
Balance between detail and getting to the point. Painting imagery without making it seem so still with static description. It's nice to know that the wind is blowing. Is it necessarily important to know which direction? Sometimes it is... sometimes it isn't.

Oh, by the way... a happy birthday to the topic's original poster! Infinitiveangie, I remember when you helped ease the transition for me when I was new here. Hope you are doing well... where ever you might be lately. :-)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 06:12:50 PM by Twisted Crow »

Offline Euron Greyjoy

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #90 on: September 11, 2014, 08:25:47 PM »
Someone who challenges you making you want to improve your writing.

Offline Golden Ink

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #91 on: September 12, 2014, 04:25:25 PM »
Someone who challenges you making you want to improve your writing.
I agree with that.

Offline greenpolicebox

Re: The concept of a good RPer.
« Reply #92 on: July 30, 2015, 03:43:52 PM »
Very late to the party on this, having only just registered, but I enjoyed looking through some of the answers posted.

For me personally, the best RP relationships seem to come when the RPers go into things with a mindset to both explore and adapt.  It can often take a little bit of back and forth to find a groove, but a good RP partner will maintain their own writing identity within the feel of the world you are both building together.  Ideally, they should see what you respond to, and run with that in new and interesting ways.  The best feeling in the world is being so in step with an RP partner that your fingers can hardly keep pace as your mind sprints ahead with what happens next.

I also very much enjoy when they pay attention, and sprinkle in details and quirks that call back to the earlier days of the RP.  Inside jokes unique to our RP are always phenomenal. 

I guess I should add that most of my favorite RP experiences were more long term, so I'm a bit biased as to what I like in an RPer.