Lesson One: FINDING A GAME
10 Easy Steps to Finding an Online Game:
1. Decide which genre game appeals most to you. (See Chapter 2)
2. Decide which platform game you want to play on. Keep in mind your time commitments, and the pace of game which you'd like to participate in when choosing. (See Chapter 2)
3. Search for a game using major Role Playing sites, or a search engine. Many can be found in Appendix A. Many sites have web rings or banner exchanges to help you find a game as well.
4. Once you have found a game that looks like it appeals, do your research. Find out all you can about its setting, rules, character creation guidelines, and any restrictions they may have. Don't be afraid to contact someone and ask questions. Most online games have a message board, email address or chat room where you can get some help.
5. By now, you should have a pretty good idea if you want to stick with this game or not. Go ahead and work up a character sheet, according to that game's requirements & restrictions.
6. Create your character, and submit it for approval if need be.
7. Once you have your approval, go ahead and do your first "post", introducing your character into the world you've made them for.
8. Give a game at least two weeks to a month, depending on its pace, to make sure it's for you. There's always a period of adjustment, and you may make mistakes, but most GM's are quite helpful and understanding about that probation time.
9. If you decide the game is NOT for you, or just don't seem to get the hang of things, contact a GM, and see if anything can be done. If not, gracefully fade out, with a thank you for their time, and begin the search again. Don't be afraid to ask players or game owners if they have suggestions of a game that would suit you.
10. You WILL find a game for yourself. Not all games appeal to all types. You just need some of that patience, and a real desire to find the game that makes YOU happy.
Lesson Two: CREATING A CHARACTER
The basic ingredient of any RPG is the characters. A GM can have the most intense, creative setting and plots laid out, but without characters its nothing but pretty words.
Most Online RPGs have character creation guidelines and requirements. They tell you what kind of info they want from you, and any restrictions that may be placed on character types and skills. You usually have a wide range of choices. It's always best to try and meet the requirements of the individual game, as most GM's create those guidelines to help characters fit into the game's setting.
No matter what the individual game requires or allows, its a good idea for you to create your own personal detailed character sheet. This one can be fairly detailed. Even if no one sees it but you, it serves as conduit for you to get inside your character's head and play them as you meant them to be. To do this, you should write down the basic facts about your character. See the end of this chapter for a more detailed explanation and example of a character sheet.
Yes, this seems like a lot of work. This is one of those things you'll have to trust me on. A detailed character sheet not only helps you develop your character, but is also a good exercise in submerging yourself in your character's mind. It's also just good practice for future games. It will reflect in your role play as well. Do not ask someone else to write your sheet for you. The only person who can get in your character's head, is you.
Keep in mind that being flexible about the character sheet you submit is always appreciated. Few GM's will completely scrap a newbie's character sheet, but always expect to have to make some adjustments, especially if you are just starting. These are ultimately to your benefit and allow your character to fit better into the game setting.