So you've discovered this thing called Role Playing. It's not quite as geeky as you always thought, or maybe you'd never heard of it before at all. You're all ready to get started, but.. what to do first? People are throwing these strange terms at you like OOC, IC, GM, mun, character sheets, and all you want to do is play! A character sheet? Points, skills, plots, Dice!? Help! Not to worry! Zee professor is here to guide you through what is really a fairly straightforward process.
The first question is.. Do you have what it takes to be a Role Player? You mean you didn't know there were requirements? Well, ok, no there aren't, but there ARE qualities that will help you enjoy the game, and help others enjoy playing the game with. If you possess the following aspects in your cute little personality, you'll be the Game Master's pet in no time!
1. Commitment: Unless you plan on running thru an entire game by yourself, you're going to be playing with other people. Your character will be part of plotlines and have an important part to play. This can only happen if you are THERE to do it. When you start a game, keep in mind, that even though its "only online" there are other real people involved who are relying on you to help things move along. Don't make more of a time commitment to a game you can't contribute to. If your time will be scarce, make sure others know ahead of time so they can work around your absences.
2. Patience & Flexibility: Learning a new system, new rules, or making those slow skill advances for your character all take time. That trap door you couldn't open, the pickpocket that robbed you, or the unfortunate accident with the guillotine could all be unexpected things that YOU certainly didn't plan on happening. Relax, this is all part of the game. Real life doesn't always go your way, don't expect your character's life to be all roses either. From the time you make your character sheet, it's going to be about compromise & being able to adjust to new situations.
3. Creativity: Well it isn't really a requirement, but it surely does help, especially if you have any aspirations to become a GM someday. It will also come in handy when your GM starts grinning like a maniac. That's usually a sign you're about to be put in mortal peril. But like every good thing, creativity should be used in moderation. No one likes a grandstander, or somone playing wild, outrageous scenarios.
4. Communication Skills: When you are bereft of the ability to use voice tones, facial expressions or body language, your language and communication skills will REALLY come in handy in online gaming. From expressing your character's goals to portraying their innermost emotions, it all comes down to being able to express yourself well with words. Yes, this DOES include spelling and grammar. The first time a newbie uses the phrase "U suxxor i kill u now" will probably be his last in that game.
5. Attitude: I have to say, this is probably the MOST important aspect of a good role player. Attitude, or lack of it, can make or break a player's reputation online. You'd be amazed at how quickly word can spread between games about problem players. Being confident, patient, helpful and using your talents in the above four points will go a long way towards ensuring that not only do YOU have fun, but others enjoy themselves around you. The number one rule of Role Play is that "It's only a game. If you can't remember that, walk away." Not many GM's out there will say otherwise. Don't RP when you are angry or upset. Check real life problems at the door, and remember you are there to have fun!
If you think you've got what it takes to be a good role player, Congratulations! Let's learn how to role play!