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Author Topic: What does 'roleplaying' mean?  (Read 389 times)

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Offline ImaginedScenesTopic starter

What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« on: September 16, 2014, 03:18:06 PM »
Been thinking about what people mean when they say they want to roleplay. Usually I think they want to write like they're a character or they want to follow what happens to a character. Like those Gossebumps books from when I was a kid. Some roleplays here look more to me like stories written from one or another character's perspective.

What do you think of when you think of 'roleplaying'?

Offline deadmanshand

Re: What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 04:08:10 PM »
That's what roleplaying is. You playing a character. Influencing the story and seeing it from a particular perspective. Collaborative storytelling - with some differences based off the medium. In person it loses the writing aspect and takes on a lot of improvisational acting elements. LARP becomes a mix of acting, cosplay, and interpretive dance (especially if any of the native geeks see something with breasts that isn't a fat guy). Play by post is much closer to shared story writing in practice but the basic idea remains the same everywhere.

Offline Oniya

Re: What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2014, 04:22:44 PM »
Usually, roleplaying is very much like story-telling, only each 'author' has control and insight into a limited set of characters (sometimes NPCs might be shared, or one or more writers may control multiple characters.)  While the viewpoint switches back and forth as each writer posts, the story itself continues to be moved along as a coherent whole.  I have seen this done effectively in fiction as well - Andre Norton's 'Moon of Three Rings' follows two characters with each chapter switching between the viewpoints of a space-farer body-swapped into a rare beast, and the performer who helps him return to his original body.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 10:35:58 PM »
There are different flavors of role playing and quite often, they are not compatible, from my experience at least. I've found that not having clear, understandable house rules or game rules can lead to lots of misery, spoiled expectations and whatnot. Also, I've found that some types of role play are more conducive to certain types of expectations.

A few of the things that make a game different are:

Whether or not there will be competition among players.
Whether or not all players must be on the same side.
Guided(DM) versus Unguided RP
Collaborative writing versus Gaming

Also, the number of players makes a huge difference in how the game can be played. For unguided, freestyle rp where there is no turn taking mechanism, the faster/shorter posts may work better where there are large crowds of players, than longer, slower posts - which work better with small groups(2-4 players).

Also, the playing environment makes a difference. When I first learned to roleplay, it was in a 3d mmorpg or 3d virtual world. Interacting with other characters was very natural, and you could do a lot of spontaneous things. You could use the landscape to hide and stalk other characters. You could have meetings in alleyways - not knowing who might be eavesdropping on you and so on. when I moved to forum rp, I had to adapt - dropping the things you can do in a virtual world, and focusing more on the writing aspect of it.

Offline consortium11

Re: What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 11:13:03 PM »
Seeing as we're on E, it may be worth chucking E's semi-official definition in:

Many people find Elliquiy looking for "Sexual Forums", "Erotic Chat", "Adult Communities" or other such terms, not being familiar with role playing in general or even computer rpgs, much less tabletop rp. We are happy to introduce people to the activity, and so have decided to make an explanatory article.

Role playing - often abbreviated as RP - is usually compared to ad lib acting or cooperative storytelling. Each person involved in a roleplay takes control of one or more characters, portraying how they react to various situations as they develop. The medium and means for this vary wildly:
  • Some people dress the part and act things out physically, termed 'live action role playing' or LARP. These usually have pretty strict rules about physical contact - 'no touching' and 'no weapons' being common, though boffering is insanely fun, at least in this author's opinion.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, characters are notes on a sheet of paper or text document, perhaps with miniatures, avatars or other props to represent them. These can run from simple descriptions of personality and appearance ('freeform' roleplaying) to extensive details about a character's abilities ('system' roleplaying games).

For obvious reasons, Elliquiy focuses on the more traditional forms of role playing, rather than dressing up in costume - though that of course does get discussed from time to time. Preference for system versus freeform is often personal and varied. Freeform, as the term may suggest, is only limited by the imagination, while system games set limits on what a character can perform. The latter is often seen as 'geeky', but serves an important storytelling purpose, everyone being encouraged by the nature of the rules to take on a different role within a story, and, ideally, no one person being permitted to hog the spotlight. Ideally.

You are not required to completely understand roleplaying to join Elliquiy. You are not required even to role play - many simply lurk, write stories, create art or hang out and chat. While there are a number of universally recognized 'wrong ways', there are no real 'right ways'. Feel free to explore and find what suits you best, even simply enjoying the wonderful stories that are forged here.

Offline ImaginedScenesTopic starter

Re: What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 10:13:49 PM »
My thinking is more like creating a book and then becoming the characters in the book. It's fun for me to sit down with someone and plan what's going to happen like we're a god and goddess making a new world and deciding its history. Like authors. But instead of sitting back and watching it all happen without us we're like ghosts who possess the bodies of people and live their lives for some time.

I like the idea of setting out a course for where what we're doing. Because we're both the creators we can change things up in little bits here and there. We might not end up where the expected everything to end but we will know the little daily moments to expect and the big events that will happen.

Like two GMs who take over NPCs but don't force the game to go a certain direction.

Probably why I haven't done a lot of roleplaying. I asked because more people seem to do things more as they come. Not like a deity but like one person in a big world. As someone who writes long stories on my own, I'm more used to looking at the big picture.

Would that be considered roleplaying on this site? Maybe something else?

Offline Oniya

Re: What does 'roleplaying' mean?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 10:22:34 PM »
I'd say that's a decent way to go about roleplaying.  After the 'ghosts' are done with them, the people get left to go about their lives, and the ghosts go off to -erm- whatever ghosts do with their unlives.  ^^;