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    Free Form Role Playing Guide for Beginners
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Info [Skyrim Freeform RP] A Comprehensive Guide to Free Form Role Play, for Beginners.

Discussion in 'Skyrim Roleplaying' started by Andante, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Andante

    Andante Roleplaying Moderator

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    A Comprehensive Guide to Free Form Role Play, for Beginners
    By: Andante

    Contents
    I. Introduction
    II. Glossary
    III. Getting Started​
    - Rules​
    - Character Creation​
    - Original Characters​
    - Canon Characters​
    - Creating or Joining a Story​
    IV. Writing for Role Play
    V. Role Play Etiquette

    I. Introduction

    Free form role playing is, essentially, multiple players coming together and creating a story by writing as different characters. The context can be original, or be set in a pre-existing world such as that from a movie, book, television series, or (in this case) a videogame. Players are free to use characters of their own creation (original), or control those already present in the world (canon), and are allowed to use their own imagination and creativity to shape and reshape the story as they see fit. Freeform role play is just that: free. Players are free to play any sort of character they so choose, and forge that character’s role in the story free of any major constraints. They are granted full artistic license to play their ideas in the world. It is a good opportunity for storytellers and franchise enthusiasts alike, to feel closer to, and like an active part of a story.

    This guide is to help those who are new to the world of free form role play, familiarize themselves with the terminology, rules, and procedures involved.

    II. Glossary

    An alphabetized list of some terms you may come across while playing.

    Canon - Characters, locations, events, and history considered to be true and factual due to their inclusion in the original work that is being emulated. As this is a Skyrim Role play, players are bound to keep their character and their skills and abilities consistent with the canon of the world (see "Original").

    For example:

    Canon characters would include: Members of the Companions faction (Aela, Farkas, Vilkas, Athis, etc.), Jarls of various holds (Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun, Jarl Elisif the Fair of Solitude, etc.), and any and all characters encountered throughout the world (Amren, Idolaf Battle-Born, Adrianne Avenicci and other villagers, etc.)

    Canon locations would include: Whiterun, Riften, Solitude, Helgen, Rorikstead, etc. Also, larger locations such as Hammerfell, Cyrodiil and Morrowind.

    These characters, locations and events are considered factual components of the world, and while canon characters may be player-controlled, their personas cannot be customized.

    For example, a player controlling the canon character Farkas (a warrior-type character) would not be free to play him as a Mage, or magic-wielding character. That is NOT to say those who play canon characters are restricted on the freedom and creativity they can wield with that character. However, canon characters must be played as they are, and all actions and dialogue should be consistent with their personas.

    Character - The fictional person/creature/entity you portray while role playing (see "player").

    FFRP - Acronym for Free Form Role play, which describes the format of role play here. Free form play means that characters are bound only by a set of general rules and/or guidelines, but are otherwise free to create and explore as they see fit. There are no "statistics" that determine a character's strength or skill, and play is directed by the imagination of the players.

    (General rules and guidelines can be found here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/guidelines-for-forum-rp.4863/, and here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/skyrim-freeform-rp-rules-character-template-story-ideas.4428/. Please keep in mind that individual story lines may have rules different than those listed in the general list. Make sure you're always familiar with the rules of your group.)

    Forced Actions – Forced actions occur when one player makes a decision about an action or reaction of a character that is not his or her own; essentially “forcing” another player’s character to act as they see fit (see “PowerGamer”).

    IC - An acronym meaning "In Character". This is used to describe all actions and dialogue posted that are strictly "in character" or being performed in and by the persona you are portraying. All posts are generally considered to be IC unless otherwise noted (see "OOC"), and it is not necessary to tag all IC posts as such.

    Informed Consent –Implies the two players have previously agreed upon the actions to take place between their characters. It gives one player the small freedom of partially predicting or dictating the actions of another. In free form role play there are no statistics or skill points that determine the strength of a character. As such, it is the duty of the players to make sure their fighting character is played fairly alongside others. When participating in a battle between two player characters, having informed consent would allow your character to “kill” or otherwise dictate the actions of another person’s character. Without informed consent you are NOT allowed to control the actions of a character that is not your own (see “PowerGamer”).

    NPC - Stands for "non-player character" or any other character present in the game world that is not controlled by another player. Examples include tavern barmaids and innkeepers, blacksmiths, shop owners, and villagers. You are free to interact with, and determine the dialogue and reactions for these characters as you see fit.

    For example: “Kenneth walks up to the bar and orders a drink; the barmaid, Meredith, smiles and winks as she sits down a mug for him.”

    As there is no player for "Meredith the Barmaid", the player is free to script her dialogue and reactions as they see fit while their character interacts with her.

    OOC - An acronym meaning "Out of Character". This tag can be used to denote that what you are saying is indeed being said "by you" and not your character. This is useful for directing questions and comments directly to other players. It is always important to make sure any Out of Character comments are properly marked, to avoid any confusion. Lengthy comments and out of character discussions should be posted in a strictly "OOC" thread (One of which may be found, here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/general-ooc-out-of-character-interactions-comments.4757/), to avoid unnecessary clutter in the story.

    Original - Characters, locations and events that are supplementary to the canon story line. They are created and used exclusively by the players for purposes of role playing only. These characters, locations, and events are used solely to enrich the experience of the role play and are in no way meant to be considered factual in the world of "Skyrim" (see "Canon").

    PC - Stands for "player character" or any and all characters controlled explicitly by another player. You are in no way allowed to control, or make decisions for player characters that are not your own. Feel free to interact with them though, as you see fit (See "NPC").

    Player - The person who controls a character and their actions in the role play. They're the one behind the scenes pulling all the strings for their character's portion of the story. This person is not considered to be their character, and all comments directed at them specifically should be marked as "out of character" (see "OOC").

    PowerGamer (Also, called God Modder) - A player who assumes unfair power and control of his or her character and others. This person may play an unrealistically, or unfairly overpowered character and may attempt to use this to control the actions of other characters without their player's express consent. They attempt to remove any "realistic" elements of constraint from their character, and play very unfairly.

    For example: "Jasper the Immortal Dragon Knight unsheathes his flaming great sword and kills everyone nearby with a mighty swing."

    Not only has the player created a character that is unfairly, and unrealistically overpowered by proclaiming him "immortal" and of an incredibly high status, but they have assumed control of any characters nearby by claiming they were "killed" by the attack. This is very much so frowned upon, and players that do this are generally ignored, or otherwise excluded from the role play.

    RP - Short for "Role play", or the situation of fictional context in which you portray your character.

    III. Getting Started

    Rules
    The first step to joining a free form role play is to familiarize yourself with the rules. As the title suggests “free form” implies freedom so there are few rules to adhere to. Any rules in place are there primarily to maintain order, and will not impose upon creative freedoms.

    Here, there is a general set of rules for all role players to follow. Role players are also bound by the general rules of conduct that apply to all other areas of the forum. Keep in mind, however that individual story lines may have rule sets of their own that differ slightly from the universal rule set. Always make sure you have read, and understand all that is expected of you before joining or creating a storyline. Never assume the rules are the same in all storylines!

    General rules and guidelines that apply to all players can be found here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/guidelines-for-forum-rp.4863/, and here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/skyrim-freeform-rp-rules-character-template-story-ideas.4428/.

    Character Creation
    Perhaps one of the most important things about joining a role play is creating a character for yourself. This is who you will be known as within the RP and how many other players will come to know and recognize you. Your character can be a reflection of you, or someone (or something) completely new and unique. You can either choose to play an original character, one of your own creation, or a canon character, one who already exists within the game.

    Creating and Playing an Original Character

    An original character is one of your own creation. As such, you are given free rein to design the looks, personality, class, race, and skills of your character. Since Skyrim focuses on an original character created by the player, it is a popular option. Spend a little time looking into your favorite races, builds, and weapon classes before you begin; it can make the character creation process run a lot more smoothly.

    Your character “profile” is a written list, or collection of information about your character. This is where you will put all relevant information about your character as it pertains to the role play. Anything you want to community to know about your character will be included here. Things to include are:

    Ø Your character’s name or what they prefer to be called.
    Be creative, and give your character a unique name. Try to avoid clichés, and anything that might be blatantly offensive.
    Ø Your character’s gender.
    Simple enough, is your character male or female? A male that identifies as a female, or vice versa?
    Ø Your character’s race.
    Available races include: Argonian, Breton, Imperial, Khajiit, Nord, High Elf (Altmer), Dark Elf (Dunmer), Orc (Orsimer), Wood Elf (Bosmer), and Redguard.
    Ø Your character’s class (Mage, Warrior, Rogue, Thief, etc.)
    Let us know what weapons your character uses, and how they prefer to conduct battle.
    Ø Your character’s physical description. (Include a picture or screenshot for clarity if you’d like!)
    Make sure we know what your character looks like. Include any details you see fit: hair colour, eye colour, skin/fur colour, etc. If your character has any distinguishing marks like scars, tattoos, or a special piece of jewelry or clothing, be sure to include it!
    Ø Your character’s history or biography.
    Don’t feel pressured to write a book. Just give us a basic run down of when and where your character grew up. What happened in their past to make them the person they are?
    Ø Your character’s personality.
    Is your character brash and outspoken, or shy and quiet? Let us know what kind of person your character is, and how they deal with others.
    Ø Anything else relevant about your character.
    Does your character have any strange or unique likes or dislikes? Is there something different about them that doesn’t quite fit in any other category? Place here anything else you want players to know about when encountering your character.

    Since this is your own unique and original character you’re free to play them however you see fit. Just remember to keep all rules of conduct in mind as you introduce your character to the story.

    Find a basic profile outline, and post your finished profile, here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/skyrim-freeform-rp-post-your-character-card.4020/page-4#post-43511

    Creating and Playing a Canon Character

    As per definition, a canon character is one that already exists within the game world. Some people may avoid choosing to play a canon character because they feel like their creativity will be limited, but that’s certainly not the case. When playing a canon character you are bound by the personality and build they already have, but when it comes to what they do and where they go, the choice is really yours. Others like this option because it gives them the opportunity to feel closer to their favorite characters by assuming their personas. Sometimes this is the best option for new players, as it gives them a set of guidelines to play by. When you know your character already, and aren’t pressured by the need to shape their personality as you play, things can run more smoothly.

    Before you begin creating a canon character profile, you’ll want to do a little bit of research on your character. Even if they’re your favorite and you already feel like you know everything there is to know, do a little bit of reading. Many sites offer lots of information on different characters, so take your time reading up about their history, personality, and skills to make sure you’re as familiar with them as possible.

    Keep in mind, not everything about a canon character may be available to you so when it comes down to it, don’t be afraid to take a little creative license with them. If there isn’t much information available on their history, feel free to “fill in the blanks”. If their likes and dislikes aren’t mentioned, use their personality as clues. So long as you keep the overall integrity of the character intact, there should be no issues.

    Remember, when playing a canon character it is your job to make sure you play them as true to their persona as possible. If your character is a quick-witted warrior, like Vilkas, don’t play them as a shy, soft spoken, Mage. Play your character true to themselves.

    Find a basic profile outline, and post your finished profile, here: http://skyrimforums.org/threads/skyrim-freeform-rp-post-your-character-card.4020/page-4#post-43511

    Joining or Creating a Story

    Once your character has been prepared, you’re ready to jump in and begin role playing. You’ll want to find a good starting place to introduce your character. The simplest option is to find a free and open thread, where others are beginning their play. Here, you can meet other characters, interact with them, and form groups. Make sure you’re mindful of the rules of that thread. Many stories will be marked “private” meaning they are not open to new participants. You should avoid posting in private threads unless you are invited to do so.

    Construct a creative and interesting introduction post for your character. Remember, this is the first time other characters will come into contact with yours; first impressions are the most lasting. Try to create something memorable, so everyone can get a feel of your character, and be able to properly respond to and interact with them.

    If you don’t find anything that interests you, or you have your own idea for an interesting storyline, feel free to begin your own adventure thread. Make sure to include a creative title, to attract new players, a clear and concise description of the plot, and any additional rules you’d like to be in place. Don’t forget to have an interesting first post to set up when and where you’d like your story to take place. You’re limited only by your own creativity.

    IV. Writing for Role Play

    Generally, free form role playing follows a “Prose” style posting system. This means you write your posts as you might write a story, in plain, clear text. Your posts can include what your character is doing, thinking, saying, feeling, or any combination of things.

    When writing, it is important to be clear about what your character is doing or saying, and to whom. Many players find it helpful to assign a colour to their character’s dialogue to distinguish it from the rest of the post. This avoids any confusion, especially when including the dialogue from another character in a post of your own.

    For example: Margot crossed the room to where three men sat around a table. “Good evening, gentlemen.” She said with a smile.
    ~
    Ivan looked up from his drink, and saw a woman walking toward the table where he and his friends were sitting.

    “Good evening, gentlemen.” She said with a smile.

    He looked her up and down and smiled in return, “How are you, aye?” He replied. “Wow, she’s really beautiful.” He thought to himself.

    Include as much or as little as you’d like to in your posts, but most of all be creative, and clear. Include anything and everything you want other players to know, or see about your character. Always make sure your character’s actions are easily distinguished from their dialogue, and thoughts. A lack of confusion always makes for a smoother, more interesting story.

    V. Role Play Etiquette

    Aside from general role playing rules, there are some basic rules of conduct and etiquette that all players should follow.​

    Vulgar Language
    Things such as profanity, racial slurs, and derogatory terms are considered vulgar, and are not looked highly upon. Please use your best judgment when choosing just what your character will be saying. Light use of coarse language may be tolerated, but any explicit profanity, hate speech, or derogatory terminology will NOT.

    Character Interaction
    Always be mindful and fair when having your character interact with others. Avoid forced actions and dialogue (see glossary). Be respectful of your fellow players and their right to fair and equal participation and fun. PowerPlaying will not be tolerated, and may result in you being excluded, or asked to leave a role play!

    Respect
    Keep in mind, all characters are being played by other real people. It is important to remember to be kind, fair, and respectful of your fellow players. Respect also, the forum, the rules, and each player’s right to have an equal share in the fun.

    Ask Questions
    Most importantly, if there is something you don’t understand, or are unsure of don’t be afraid to ask questions! Many players will not hesitate to explain something to you, or help you out in a pinch. Be patient and respectful of your fellow players and they will return the favor.

    I hope this guide will be helpful to all players new to the world of free form role playing, and even a refresher for those recently returning.
    I’ll be more than happy to answer questions or clarify anything mentioned above; simply ask.
    Good Luck and Happy Role Playing!
     
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  2. Rathalos_lord_of_the_sky

    Rathalos_lord_of_the_sky -Bnahabra King-

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    Good job on the guide.
     
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    JBar2531: 1 Point (great guide) Sep 10, 2012
  3. Obscure.Ref.Girl

    Obscure.Ref.Girl Carpe' Jugular

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    What a great idea Kudos for a GREAT guide.
     
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  4. J'Sabbah

    J'Sabbah Member

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    Andante, thank you so much for this. You wrote it so fast! I'm going to have a really good read of it and continue reading the other threads and I'll chat to you again soon no doubt. Thanks again
     
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  5. Renegader

    Renegader Administrator
    Staff Member

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    This is an amazing guide, many thanks for writing it. It's bound to help beginners like me and many others in becoming as good as you!
     
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  6. Obscure.Ref.Girl

    Obscure.Ref.Girl Carpe' Jugular

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    might wanna merge it like you did Dad's Book Thread
     
  7. Shew

    Shew Account closed (at sincere request).

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    Added to my Recommended guides
     
  8. FlickerWick

    FlickerWick El. Psy. Congroo.

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    Great guide, it's certainly helped me out a bit. :D
     
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  9. BeastNinja

    BeastNinja New Member

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    thanks for a good guide this will help me out a lot
     
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  10. Grimm_Moon

    Grimm_Moon Member

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    I would like to learn to RP! I am new to this but I kinda already made a character for myself. I would like to be picked up into a thread or something so I don't feel like I am just rushing into someone else's fun.

    Race: Argonian
    Class: Dual Wield/Restoration
    Gender: Male
    Looks: Dark green scales with horns covering his head. No scars or age signs.
    Personality: Brave, smart, loyal, and outgoing. Nice to his friends and watchful of people he doesn't know. Loves gold, gems, and sweet rolls. Afraid of taking an arrow to the knee. Hates thieves and two handed weapons. Doesn't see a point to the war in Skyrim.
    Misc: Uses two swords. Has lots of money. Likes light armor.
     
  11. Hermaeus_Mora

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    You should post that in the "Roleplay recruiting thread" actually, but never mind. You could join me at "the riftwood brotherhood" if you like. I could show you the ropes of it.
     
  12. Grimm_Moon

    Grimm_Moon Member

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    Awesome! See you there. Hopefully I will learn this fast.
     
  13. Seanu Reaves

    Seanu Reaves The Sexy Beast

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    Thank you this really helped.
    Also Weapon Masters 4 life lol
     
  14. Kittibear

    Kittibear Member

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    Are we allowed to use racial slurs and "profanity" from the games?
     
  15. Buffington Battle-Born

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    Thanks for the guide! I almost made a dragon RP character! :eek:
     
  16. SweetrollThief11

    SweetrollThief11 New Member

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    [/quote
    Ok I'm new to this and I don't understand this,so is it really DND but in skyrim.
    Someone please tell me. I understand it a little.
     
  17. Shew

    Shew Account closed (at sincere request).

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    no its a free form role play the character card idea is a D&D hold over but this is not D&D... it should be in TES lore if possible and fun to write.
     
  18. SweetrollThief11

    SweetrollThief11 New Member

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    Thanks
     
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  19. Shew

    Shew Account closed (at sincere request).

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    within reason sure as long as its respectful and in story.
     
  20. Marvin_Redpost

    Marvin_Redpost New Member

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    Love this!!!


    [​IMG]
     
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