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Guides to Roleplaying in Ultima Online

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Babbling Loonie
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
Lady Kat's Guide to Roleplaying

Roleplaying is essentially you - the person sitting at your computer - shaping a life for the character you have created, your character being a living, breathing person that dwells in the lands of Sosaria.

Although you created this person - that really just appeared in a city one day as a grown adult - in the world of role-play that character would have an extensive history of their childhood and exploits of what led them to this point.

Where were they born? Who were there parents? Do they having siblings? Do they love? What do they fear?

In other words, give your character an existence and a story to tell. Create personality traits and then play your character according to those qualities.
Choosing an alignment for your character can be helpful, are they primarily good? Evil? Neutral? Willing to switch sides for the right amount of coin? Some of your own personality is bound to come through in your character and this is only natural, you are the one controlling the character after all.

Once you have given your character a personality, how do you make that personality show through to other players? Well, actions speak louder than words. The most common way to show your actions in a clear manner is to use *Emotes*.

Emoting certainly makes sitting in a tavern more interesting than just idle chit chat. It is best to start with basic emotes (*Draws sword* *Sips ale* etc.) but when you are feeling more confident a whole story can be told with your emotes (*her pallid fingers curl around the goblet of wine, raising the vessel to her lips*). The more descriptive you are, the more vivid the picture is in the readers mind. Take full advantage of the emoting whenever possible to create an atmosphere around your character.

Now, there will be times in role-play when you (The person controlling your character) know tons of pieces of information that your character could not possibly know… here are some examples.

1) Seeing through walls – Even though the client allows us to see what is happening outside of the structure we are in, your character cannot see the same thing. Take note of windows and doors, but remember you are playing your character through their eyes, not yours.

2) Friends and Acquaintances – Even though one of your characters may be friends with another player, when you meet a person on an alternate character you would not know the details of their life. You certainly should avoid walking up to someone and proclaiming “Hi, I’m George the Swift on another character!” This is considered Out of Character (OOC).

3) Reading Thoughts – Roleplayers often emote their thoughts instead of actions. It is important to remember that your character cannot read minds, so it someone emotes *She wonders why he wears that unsightly hat…* your character should not respond to that emote at all.

4) Skills & Stats – Although you can see the skill list and stats bar your character does not live according to numbers anymore than you do. Referring to skills as percentages, as listed in the skill list is considered OOC. Instead try saying something along the lines of “I am very gifted with a bow, but I think I still have more to learn.” Or “My sharp wit makes up for what I lack in brawn!”

5) Names Above Heads – This is the most important common mistake people make. It is very easy to walk up to someone and call them by name since it is plastered above their heads. However, in the real world people do not behave like that, you should avoid calling people by name until you have been properly introduced.

6) ICQ & Email – ICQ is often referred to as “Pigeons” and Email as “Messages” very straight forward names which have a more medieval feel.

7) Health Bars – Another game feature that your character cannot see, if you notice a players is missing some hit points, remember to stay in character and comment accordingly *Notices the blood staining his robes* “You appear to be wounded, Robert.”

8) God-Mode – It is important to be considerate of other role-players and their histories, we all want our characters to be special but you really need to be realistic. If you enter a town proclaiming that you are the long lost son of Lord British and the Goddess Shar, demanding all worship your or perish… this may not be received too well.

In summary, to be a good roleplayer you need to treat your character as a separate person from yourself. Think of yourself as playing a role as an actor would in a movie. All of us at one time or another wanted to be someone or something else; role-play gives us the opportunity to explore the world through the eyes of another.

A background history is essential as it helps shape the way your character carries them self and the way they interact with people and different races, your paperdoll Character Profile is a great place to jot down a brief history.

Lady Kat.​

The Republic of Vesper Roleplay Guide [Europa]

The following is a guide providing pointers and tips to help people understand and improve their roleplay.

-Character names.
A character must have a good roleplay name; this name will depend on that characters race and origin. For example a human character would have a human name such as Adam Davidson or he/she may have a slightly foreign name if they hail from an exotic region such as Radok Sirvani. An orc character would have an orcish name such as Grukthar, a drow character would have a drowish name such as Quar G'eld. An undead character would have a undead name such as Sarkoth and so forth.

First and last names are promoted but single names are accepted.
Although inspiration for names can be found from films, books and various other sources, stolen names such as Brad Pitt are frowned upon.

Unrealistic and non roleplay names such as The Real Slim Shady, Can't touch this, God of War etc are not accepted among the RP community. (Although there may be leeway for certain names depending on what that name is).

-Character skills and background.
Each character should have a history and background to him/her;this can be added to and built upon as the character experiences more in game. The background should be created before selecting which skills the character has as the background will link in greatly with what skills that character would have and these could change along the way with the character unlocking new experiences in his/her life in game. So for example:
Greg Ratchet grew up at a lumber mill in the lush forests of Yew, working with his father running the family business of woodcutting. When he reached age 18 he decided to take up a new profession by joining the local guardforce and serve the king.
Now Greg's character template could be a simple swordsmanship/lumber axer warrior because as you can see it links directly with his past.

A characters background, history, skills and ongoing experiences will determine the attitude and personality of that character and will effect how he/she acts or makes decisions in game. All characters should have unique personalities and principles.

The previous points will effect the language of a character and the way he or she talks. As a human character you may speak just plain english or you might speak with an accent. For example:
A noble paladin: "Greetings my friend, how are ye on this fine day?"
A Gang Boss: "Rioght lads get yer arms an armor strapped, wer' off ter show 'em scum ah g'd beatin'!"
As a different race character yer would speak their language(some very hard to learn) or speak how they would in english, for example:
An orc: "Ug, Gruk'Thar no kno' wha' yub on aboot! Stoopid oomie! gib tribuut!"
An undead: "Yesssssssss...foolissshhh humanssssss"
Deeper research should be taken into playing different races.

The language spoken by roleplay characters should be plain/old english (Or your native tounge) or should be relevant to your character such as races and accents.
Language not allowed is abbreviations, faces and various other modern day sayings. So for example:
"lol, rofl, : D, : P, lmao, wtf, omg, brb" etc are not allowed. This is fantasy and old times roleplay not modern day technology and speech etc.

Role play characters express facial expressions, body language and in game actions via the emote button. On an english keyboard this is done by holding shift, colon and then pressing spacebar. I guess this could be the roleplay equivalent of using smiley faces. The emote command is used ALOT in role play and some examples of emotes are as follows:
*Smiles*, *laughs*, *waves*, *trys to push him over*, *raises eyebrow*, *aims a punch to the face*.
As you can see in emotes that physically effect another player, the option should be given for them to counter the emote or go along with it; by not doing this it is known as power emoting which is again frowned upon by other roleplayers. Here is an example of a power emote:
*Knee's in the stomach then elbows in the face and finishes with a stone cold stunner*
This forces the action upon another character giving them no choice in the matter. The right way to do this type of emote is as follows:
*Attempts to knee in the stomach*
By doing this it gives the charater effected a choice to respond to the emote such as:
*Jumps out the way dodging the blow* or *falls to the floor winded*

-Line of sight
Line of sight is basically what your character can see if it were actually you in real life. So you cannot see through walls, you cannot see whats going on outside of a building unless your looking out of a window, you don't have eyes in the back of your head so you can't see behind you unless you turn around and so forth. For example if an enemy is hiding behind a wall and you didn't see him/her go there and he/she isn't in your line of sight; you shouldnt go running round the corner and attack as that would be using Out of Character information.

-Tag reading and knowledge
You should not read someones tag and automatically know their name and what guild they are from. You do not know someones name or anything about them unless you have been told in game by themselves or through others.

-Kill on Sight
You should never kill or attack another character on sight unless it has been agreed out of character. There should always be some form of interaction or warning before the fight commenses. For example the local blacksmith is walking down a road surrounded by forest on either side, suddenly a bandit jumps out from behind a bush.
Bandit: "Yer gold or yer life!"
Blacksmith: "Please don't hurt me, just take the gold!"
This way the bandit gives the blacksmith the option, he/she can hand over his/her gold, stand and fight or try to run away.

Magic equipment is not allowed in roleplay unless in certain circumstances in certain guilds. Only GM made weapons and armor with no magical modifications are allowed to be used. That includes no magic jewelry.

-Other important points
Always stay in character, keep out of character discussions to guildchat/alliance chat/party chat or third party messengers such as ICQ or MSN.

Abide by the Rules of Engagement and guild rules.
Rules of engagement: http://www.uoforums.com/f1411/new-rules-engagement-23045/

Be prepared to suffer consequences of your characters actions in game. An example being your character assaults the Duke of Trinsic, a high official position of the city; be expected to be arrested/fined/tortured and so forth.

Don't make your character super human with super powers that no one stands a chance against, it will most likely result in other roleplayers ignoring you and holding you in low regards. An example being a character playing the god of fire who has a feiry aura surrounding him/her where no one can touch him/her but he/she can harm them.

When injuries or wounds occur to your character in game then you should roleplay them out until they are healed etc. Major injuries inflicted by other characters to yours must be agreed on out of character; these injuries could include branding, burning, loss of limbs, broken bones etc. An example being that your character received a nasty deep slice wound in his/her last battle, you could role play having it bandaged reguarly and being in pain or bleeding on often occasions.

Some Role play terms used Out of Character:
RP = Roleplay
RoE = Rules of engagement (A set of rules agreed by warring oppenents for when they battle such as skill limitations)
RPPVP = Roleplay Player vs Player
KoS = Kill on Sight
IC = In Character (how you roleplay your character in game)
OOC = Out of Character (How you talk and act out of game)
LoS = Line of sight

I hope this has or will help people.​


Babbling Loonie
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
Atlantic Roleplaying Community [ARPC] - Roleplaying 101 by Kujabis

Foreword -

This roleplaying guide is indeed an opinion written in guide form, as it is extremely difficult to write down exactly what is good roleplay. The opinion is, however, backed up by several years of experience as well as many other roleplay guides, so you can probably get a very good idea, or at least grasp enough to formulate your own take on roleplay. Please also note that I use a loose organization, and there isn't much of a set order. Also note that there are many excellent roleplay guides and FAQs thathave been around for ages; give them a read too, as multiple opinions can usually give you insight on good roleplay and bad roleplay.

The Basics -

Dictionary Definition

What is roleplaying? Let us start with the dictionary definition and elaborate:

Roleplay -
1. to assume the attitudes, actions, and discourse of (another), esp. in a make-believe situation in an effort to understand a differing point of view or social interaction: Management trainees were given a chance to role-play labor negotiators.
2. to experiment with or experience (a situation or viewpoint) by playing a role: trainees role-playing management positions.
3. to engage in role-playing.

Looking at other roleplay mediums to see where we fit in

The first term you will likely hear in tandem with roleplay is Dungeons & Dragons, the pen and paper roleplaying game. More recently, roleplaying has become very popular in MUDs, MMORPGs, and other CRPGs with multiplayer function, generally those with the ability to host persistent roleplaying worlds.

What is roleplaying?

So, what is roleplaying? With that history in mind, roleplaying on Atlantic can best be defined as: Assuming the attitudes, actions, and discourse of your character on Atlantic, and interacting with other roleplayers that may be friend, neutral, or foe. Create your character, and play it to the fullest. While this may seem like an alien concept to non-roleplayers, millions of roleplayers worldwide do enjoy roleplaying in PnP (Pen and Paper), LARP, MMORPGs, and RP PWs (roleplay persistent worlds, generally using emulators for MMORPGs, or CRPGs like Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights 2, and even some that do not have good persistent server capability such as Diablo 2).

Another term you will hear a lot in regards to roleplay is immersion. Roleplay is all about immersion; the best roleplay experiences are when you are really 'connected with' or 'into' your character, and all else around you helps you really get into character and get into the world. This is very hard in a low graphics game like Ultima Online, but very possible with good roleplay and good roleplayers.

Where to begin -

Character setup

So, where does one begin if interested in roleplay on Atlantic? While many will convert characters not made specifically for roleplay, I will cover that later. Lets start at the very start.

Firstly, your character must have a race. In UO, we are given the races Human, and Elven. Now remember the tool of roleplayers: creativity. We can indeed play races besides those two, but be VERY careful what you decide to roleplay. The ratio of humans and elves to non-humans/non-elves should be no worse than 25:1. I'll list the more commonly used non-standard races under specialized roleplay.

Humans: Now, you are well versed in humans. Standard real world human names work just fine. There really isn't much special to have in mind when making a human character. One of the core five races of Ultima lore.

Elves: Elves have a unique history and mentality. Elves are use in plenty of roleplay worlds; go watch Lord of the Rings, you'll get the idea. Haughty, arrogant, condescending, you name it. One of the core five races of Ultima lore. Here is a handy guide to elven names.

There are many others that roleplay being the creatures found under the polymorph and animal form list, as well as other undead and races. Ask around for advice if you have an idea that has no precedent.

Now, once you've decided the race, name, and appearance for your character, it is time to decide what your roleplay will be about. You might as well come up with skills you want, as they can sometimes lead to an interesting roleplay concept. So, on to...

Personality, history, edges, flaws, alignment

Really, everything that makes up your character besides what race and class they are. Is your character paranoid? A jerk? Is your character kind, forgetful, lazy, determined? About the only things you have to remember here are, be creative, have fun, but also be careful not to take every edge and roleplay bonus imaginable without any negatives. For every edge you have, pick a flaw; this will make for a very interesting character. Remember that edges and flaws do not have to be extremely obvious; I know of a few -HUGE- secrets that old roleplayers have that are STILL not discovered, but the hints are there in underlying roleplay. Characters that have deep, dark secrets that they don't want discovered often make the most interesting people to roleplay with. Every character is a book that lasts years, with twists and turns; make sure that your story is interesting, unique, and not overly 'out there'. You don't have to be a demi-god or have an extraordinary history to be interesting; sometimes the plainest characters make the most interesting ones.

A word on alignments... Atlantic generally goes with 'good, neutral and evil', but many adhere to or have adopted the D&D alignment system. I will not bother re-explaining, simply check my alignment guide here.

So, you have your character. History, race, class, personality, edges and flaws, alignment... You are ready to begin.

Also a quick word on converting non-roleplay characters to roleplay ones. Not everyone has the time to start a brand new character, but remember a few key things when using a non-roleplay character as a roleplay character: Non-roleplay named characters are somewhat immersion breaking, and some will be less tolerant of others. It would be a solid investment, down the road, to buy a character name change token. Until then, simply put in your profile your 'roleplay name', and introduce yourself as that name. Other roleplayers will understand and adopt it; your name floating above your head is not nessicarily 'your name'. I will elaborate on this later under metagaming.

Do's and Don'ts -

Or mostly, just don'ts...

Let us start with godmoding and metagaming. I am simply going to copy/paste from another post of mine where I think I sufficiently covered them:

Godmoding - The name is homage to the old Doom and Hexen and Wolfenstein games' "God Mode" cheat, where you can do whatever you like and have every weapon in the game because, simply, you are a god. In Ultima Online and a roleplay setting, godmoding is the act of doing something (99% of the time via emotes) that the game mechanics cannot represent; A.K.A. something you -simply can't do-. However some 'godmoding', A.K.A. "*he laughs, as dark energies swirl around his hand*" or other such harmless emotes are generally fine. "Godmoding" is used, 90% of the time, on players that do an action/emote to another player without allowing them to resist. It could be as small as "*hits him in the head with a thrown rock*" or as large as "*picks him up and eats him in one bite*" or "*shoots an arrow through your neck, killing you instantly*" or "*banishes you from space and time*" or perhaps claiming to control an invisible army of 100 soldiers that nobody can hurt whatsoever. Remember there are alternatives. Instead of dictating what happens with the rock, just emote *throws a rock at him*. Mostly try -attempting- things. *attempts to push the man over*.

Likewise, if someone is attempting something on you, think of your stats. You aern't Neo, don't dodge everything if you have 25 dex, and if you are wearing full platemail armor (haha yeah right) then you wouldn't be very good at balancing if someone pushes you over. Likewise, note that some emotes, even if not affecting another player, might be viewed as godmoding as per the 'not represented by gameplay mechanics' thing. I have seen rituals done well like this, but I have also seen some *points at a mountain and it explodes* kind've stuff. If it seems outrageous, don't do it. And remember that we are all here to have fun... Don't godmode another player without their permission, don't ruin anyone elses day.

Metagaming - This is when your character learns something that they could not possibly have learned, but they know it because you, their player, knows it. This is huge. Anything from OOC contact with other players, to IC posts that your character was not present at (don't do the 'I was outside standing under the window, I heard the whole thing!' unless the author gives you explicit permission), knowing things that you learned on another character, or it can be small things nobody would even think about. Say you are deep inside your castle and all the sudden you see a fight outside. Oh no! Rush and help! NO.

Your character sees with two eyes, directly in front of them. You do not have eyes in the back of your head, and you do not see from a 3/4 overhead view. You do not have X-ray vision, you do not see through walls. If there is a window, or its a thin house ( a.k.a. not in a big keep with 2 huge stone walls blocking the sound) you might hear the sounds of battle and investigate. If you think it is metagaming, just think, 'did my character learn about it? or did i?'.

Communication - When communicating in an In Character fashon, several internet shortcuts are not to be used. Shortened words such as 'lol' and 'imho' and such have to go, as well as smileys. While you don't need perfect punctuation, capitalization and spelling to roleplay, try to type as if you were writing a book for others to read. Nobody wants to read a book along the lines of "lol but liek ur such a noob necormancer, wud u liek 2 duel? ". This is also extremely immersion breaking, and is not acceptable. So, at worst, don't use internet acronyms, smileys, symbols, etc. Everything should be spoken, or emoted.

OOC chat comes in the form of parenthesis, I.E., (Must go AFK, brb!!). OOC chat in game is to be used only in extreme, emergency circumstances, where you literally have only seconds to type and MUST convey the message as quickly as possible. If you have more than a few seconds, you can denote AFK roleplaywise, I.E., *closes eyes in meditation* and use *awakens from his/her meditation* when you return. There are many forms of OOC communication and parenthesis are to be used as an extreme last resort.

Also note that many game mechanics are OOC, but can easily be roleplayed. You wouldn't tell someone, "My sword is excellent; It boasts 32% hit lightning, and 25% swing speed increase!". You would probably say something along the lines of, "My sword is excellent; It boasts a magical enhancement to how quickly I can swing it, and is charged with electricity and can often reinforce my strike with a bolt of lightning." Skills are another one; A suggetion is to use the built in game levels; If you want to tell someone IC'ly that you have 110 necro, 110 spirit speak, 100 magery, 100 evalint, 90 med and 90 poisoning, you could say "I am an elder in the necromantic arts, an elder medium as well... I have grandmastered magery, and am also a grandmaster in the ways of evaluating intelligence. I have mastered meditation and am also a master in the use of poisons."

Here is the chart:

Legendary 120 Elder 110+ Grandmaster 100+ Master 90+ Adept 80+
Expert 70+ Journeyman 60+ Apprentice 50+ Novice 40+ Neophyte 30+

Rules -

Uh oh! Rules!

ARPC's Rules - You will find many rules and RP guides on this "Our Community Standards" forum. Skim em all, at least.

I think the community will agree with the following common sense rules:

1. Stay IC at all times.
2. Be respectful to other roleplayers. While you can roleplay conflict, negativity, even hatred for others IC'ly, do not be rude to other roleplayers on an OOC level. They are here to have fun just like you.
3. Do not Kill on Sight. Each community has rules for PVP. Know them.
4. Do not loot other players without permission beforehand.
5. Even though this is the 'quick common sense' section of the rules, I am going to tell you again to know the ARPC rules inside out. Seriously! Being informed is far superior to being ignorant. Read up, it doesn't take long.


*Walks up to you on an armored swamp dragon* "Dual me?"

Player versus Player, or PVP, is a large part of roleplay. Roleplay generally includes conflict, and the direct embodiment and representation of conflict in Ultima Online is PvP. It will happen; roleplay accordingly. If you are being challenged to a fight, and you do not back down clearly (no need to grovel, just express the fact that you do not wish to fight) then they have every right to kill you, provided the encounter and conflict was roleplayed out at least somewhat beforehand, long enough to give you a chance to back down. There may be some circumstances where it may be in someones character to attack you even if you do not back down; remember that if you roleplay a character someone might want to attack (annoying, obnoxious, you are evil and they are good, you are good and they are evil, etc) there may be some roleplay instances where someone will attack you whether or not you back down; these are not common, however. If there was no roleplay before a fight (and a kill on sight status was not agreed upon OOC beforehand), that person has broken rules. Contact their guildmaster immediately and let them know. If you were roleplayed with briefly, a'la "I don't like you. Prepare to die!" and you are killed, or other such rushed, poor roleplay, it is a good idea to take a screenshot of your journal and send it off to that persons guildmaster to explain. Remember a key thing here: Do not get upset if you die, even if you were attacked withou reason. It is just a game. Also, all is fair in love, war and roleplay, so if you try your best and lose, roleplay with it, don't get upset OOC.

Specialized Roleplay -


Here I will list some of the uncommonly roleplayed, but accepted races and roleplay styles.

Orcs: Noted for strength and an amazing knack for group battle tactics (and not noted for their intelligence), orcs are one of the core five races of Ultima lore. They follow the Bloodgod, of which I know little; I'd reccomend asking an Orc or reading their website. All orcs to my knowledge are all in the Stormreaver Orc guild.

Drow: Dark elves from the Forgotten Realms books. I suggest reading some Drow books (such as war of the spider queen) to better understand them before roleplaying one. They do not exist in Ultima lore but are an accepted race to roleplay. Drow are elves with charcoal or dark, dark grey skin, and pure white to platinum blonde-ish colored hair, generally with red eyes. Drow with blue eyes usually have surface elf traces in their bloodline. Followers of Lolth, the spider queen, drow consider spiders sacred. They are almost ALWAYS chaotic evil; Lolth also only has female priestesses, as the entire race is female run. Really, read the books, they will explain 1,000,000x better than I can ever hope to.

Dwarves: Despite being one of the five core Ultima races (also know as mountain men) these are rarely roleplayed. (There is some speculation that this race will be playable with Kingdom Reborn; we will have to wait and see.) Watch LOTR for more on dwarves.

Gargoyles: The last of the core five ultima races, Gargoyles are also extremely rarely roleplayed by players. Deserves its own section, won't go into detail. If you are very interested in gargoyles, look up info on the old Ultima games, or play one.

Vampires: Atlantic generally uses Vampire: The Masquerade lore and clans for its vampire roleplay. This deserves its own section and I won't get into detail over vampire roleplay here. I believe there is a guide to them on ARPC somewhere.

Werewolves (Lycanthropes): Generally unroleplayed, but not unheardof. Follows the World of Darkness lore (of which Vampire: The Masquerade is a part of) from what I remember, but we haven't had a werewolf roleplayer in ages.

Liches and other undead: Liches and vampires are (generally, there are exceptions) the only sentient undead out there. Some undead are still roleplayed today, and this is considered a prestigeous roleplay style. Don't attempt unless you are well versed in undead roleplay and necromancy.

Other: Remember, creativity is the name of the game. If not human, elf, one of the above listed races, an elven/dwarven subrace of some kind, your best bet is posting in the general forum and ask what everyone thinks of your idea.

OOC 'Problems'

Since this is rarely covered...

Lets face it: There is a lot of drama that revolves around roleplay. I will be up front and say this: Ignore those that give you a hard time, get back in game and roleplay. I highly suggest not having voice chat, ICQ, etc open while roleplaying, as constant OOC chatter during roleplay really kills immersion. Don't ever get wrapped up in drama; if you aern't breaking a rule, just ignore the person OOC'ly. Also, most problems will be handled by your guildmaster, so try to keep out of it as much as possible. I can honestly say that the more OOC'ly involved you get in problems, the less fun you will have in game. So, summarized: Follow the rules, be respectful of others in game and out, and if anyone gives you a hard time OOCly, just ignore them OOC'ly. Seriously, years of experience talking: Don't get too wrapped up in the OOC politics that shouldn't even -exist- in a roleplay community. Just go and have fun roleplaying and all is well.


I'd like to thank those roleplayers that try their hardest to keep drama out of everything, that really strive to keep OOC and IC seperate. Kudos to you. I'd like to thank those guildmasters that spend a lot of time and effort keeping Atlantic drama-free, and dealing with problems in a timely manner. You guys really dedicate a lot of your sanity and your own enjoyment keeping it enjoyable for others; seriously, good job. I'd like to thank the admins and mods of both forums, as they spend a lot of time keeping things in order (and again, drama-free!). As much as I disagree with many things, I agree to disagree, and that doesn't mean I don't respect or dislike any of the mods or admins of either board, contrary to rumor. I'd also like to thank the writers of the guides under Our Community Standards, as I skimmed guides from these locations for inspiration when I felt like I was getting off track. I hope this guide is useful to new roleplayers interested in learning, and becomes a substitute for the roleplay classes I no longer have time to hold. And lastly thanks to Isk for the quote at the start of the PVP section. #Humanis days, gotta love em


While the disclaimer did mention this is my opinion, that doesn't mean my opinion can't be wrong. If you feel that I am completely off base about something, please contact me and let me know and discuss it with me so I can update the post. Roleplay is ever-changing and ever-improving (can't go anywhere but up sometimes) and thus learning how to roleplay should be the same. Also if you want a link added under my rules thing, PM me.

Edit History

First edit: Had to remove a link and replace it with a tinyurl link because the link contained parenthesis that broke the URL tag. It will point you to the proper resource now, and not be broken.​


Babbling Loonie
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
Society of Ancestral Guardian Elders [Sage] - Roleplaying Information.

If found this on another site and although I do not agree with all of his ideas, there is some very good roleplay information here.

**Length Warning!** It is incredibly long so if you do not want to read all of it, just skim through it and pick out what you do.

I. What is Roleplay?

In my opinion, roleplay is where the player acts out his character on a more interactive level. He or she engages in the world around them and formulate decisions based on what the character wishes to do, or not to do. It is taking the out of player's personal feelings out of the character's decision making process. Of course, with varying degrees for various types of roleplayers. I feel that the best types of roleplayers are the ones that act out their character's lives, yet are still able to distinguish the actions occurring on their avatars on an impersonal out of character level. Again, there are various degrees of roleplayer types that exist that do need addressing.

II. Types of Roleplayers

i) Serious / hardcore roleplayers
These players take the actions of their characters on a serious level. I don't mean on an out of character level, but from a purely in character perspective. They understand the consequences surrounding certain decisions, as well as the rewards open to them if they succeed with such acts.

These types of players will generally know how to distinguish between in character conflicts from out of character dramas. They understand that what happens in the virtual world does not necessarily affect them on an out of character or personal player level, but purely on the avatars whom they control.

In my books, these are the true roleplayers, the ones who will play out the scenario based on what judgments they think their characters will take but not adding the personal emotions into the equation. They'll accept that they hate a certain character on an in character basis, but would not hold a grudge on that player on an out of character manner.

While I understand that it may be difficult to watch certain players doing certain actions towards your character, the distinction on the player's mind will truly matter. If your character was a murderer all his life, would he suddenly have a change of heart to save a man from a man-eating crocodile? Or would he sit back, enjoy the slaughter and try to fish whatever remains he can from the croc. Likewise, if your character was a captured slave and was lashed for disobeying his master. Would you act out his choice by having him attempt to break free from the chains or verbally insult the taskmaster knowing full well the consequence are further punishment or perhaps even death?

It has always been my firm belief that serious / hardcore roleplayers are the ones that take the consequences to heart and would not act out of accordance to their characters limitations. While one may feel anger for an increase in taxes, a shy law-abiding citizen would not start killing guards and hitting back at the authorities without some greater cause pushing him towards this action. People in reality, like characters, make rational decisions based on their history and certain events affecting them in the past. It's this rational behaviour which would not turn a simple, subsistence farmer into a destroyer of worlds.

ii) Casual / light roleplayers
These type of roleplayers are not as serious as the other category listed above but are still eager to adopt the roleplaying doctrine. They may not calculate and dissect the consequences of their character's actions with close precision but would still happily engage in conduct with others.

In my opinion, these are the types that would go to taverns and locally chat with others but would not take the consequences of say, a bar fight on the same degree as a more serious roleplayer. They may shrug it off, and forget about it until someone else mentions the ruckus, only to remember they were present and tell their part of the event.

There is nothing wrong with casual / light roleplayers. These type of roleplayers may not hold the same level of seriousness that the more hardcore ones are, but their respect for the roleplaying community is still evident. Time constraints, inexperience can all be reasons why casual roleplayers exist, and it is one's ability to learn and improve their skills which is most important in roleplaying. Casual roleplayers can still be worthy of making a roleplaying session fun and eventful for all parties involved. One often doesn't start out by being a serious roleplayer, but evolves into one after realising the depth involved from a casual perspective.

III. Postulates of Roleplay

These are certain beliefs that I feel constitutes good roleplay. They are certainly not an absolute guide that everyone should follow, but in my opinion accentuates in fostering great roleplay.

i) Respecting each other
I think this is an important point to make in that players should respect one another, even on a non-roleplaying scene. People who generally respect one another will have better time interacting together. If you dislike the person on an out of character level, then don't take your own personal feelings into the roleplaying scenario.

It will generally end in a bad situation because you wish to bring your strong feelings of that particular player onto his or her character. Remember that the characters they control are not genuinely representing 100% of the player, and while their actions may constitute certain reactions, it can escalate to an area where both players are no longer roleplaying but instead trying to rip each others throats out on an OOC level.

Remember that respecting each other can go a long way. They will be more attentive to what your character is doing and also more responsive in a constructive manner. If you blatantly or repeatedly ignore another player's actions when they are roleplaying, then they in turn will give you the silent treatment. Also note that hate and respect can occur at the same time. A general can despise their adversary but they can also show great respect towards them.

ii) Distinguishing from IC and OOC
Great roleplaying is where separation between one and the other occurs. Whether it is through own player / character feelings, or through certain knowledge held by one or the other. A lot of drama that occurs through roleplaying that I have experienced is where one person metagames. This is where they take the out of character information and apply it to an in character scenario. Metagaming is arguably a killjoy for serious roleplayers and will often cause plenty of grief.

Since I feel this is an important and often devious occurrence in the roleplaying scene, I'll dedicate a more detailed section towards it.

iii) Making other people look cool
This is something that I discovered from my recent days on Age of Conan and the guild D&D. It was posted by a very respectable roleplayer I knew named Indrajit. Anyway, it is a simple doctrine that I feel adds to good roleplay.

The purpose of your character is not to make yourself look cool, but rather to make the other person look cool. In turn, it is his or her job to make you look cool. This will of course go both ways, and I firmly believe that it is tied to the point I made on respect.

If I choose to brag about myself as the greatest warrior in the lands, but everyone surrounding me sees me as a little coward, then my attempt at being cool is not very uplifting. If instead I choose to promote someone else, admire his skills and proclaim it to others, then they will perceive him or her with more respect. He or she in turn will do the same for me. You could even consider this on a real life context. If you go up to a complete stranger and start claiming yourself as the most virile of your gender, then that person might look at you strangely. If however a friend goes out and begins to disperse this information, the likelihood of someone believing it is much higher. You can in turn promote your friend and thus the both of you become more respected without looking like egomaniacs in the process.

The point here is that by making others look cool then you are trusting them to do the same for you. Nobody likes a bragger, even in an RP setting. You would generally have more respect for a boxer if his manager promoted him as oppose to him promoting himself. Similarly, if Brutus the Barbarian came into the bar and started jumping up and down claiming he's slayed a giant bear with his bear hands, people will either look at him with admiration, exaggeration or shrug it off completely. But if Nikos the Ranger was present and told others that he saw Brutus rip to shreds a wolf with his hands, then Brutus would probably garner more respect, even if the animal was a lesser one than the one claimed.

With that being said, there needs to be something to tie the cool factor to. You simply cannot be the shyest person in town who rarely lifts a hand to speak and expect people to treat you like the Fonz. You as the player need to make your character interesting so that others can flaunt your coolness. You in turn do the same for them. It's a forward payment thing where I pass it on to person A, that person passes it on to person B, and person B passes it onto person C. This way everyone can reap the rewards associated with it.

iv) Ordinary breeds extraordinary
Something that I feel strongly about is that players who roleplay out believable characters are the ones that are most realistic. While that being said, I understand that your creativity is your own limit, but what constitute roleplay is the act and not the end. You as a player are the ultimate decider of your character's fate. No one truly knows the motive and action better than you, but roleplaying within a believable norm allows for more realistic scenarios.

Remember that being an omnipotent being that simply cannot die is good and all, but what are your characters motivations for being in a local tavern? It is far more believable to be a simple bar maid working within the tavern than an all powerful being who could leap to the top of a mountain in a single jump.

Besides, who is to say that the bar maid, a seemingly ordinary character isn't acting on extraordinary means? Perhaps she is an intelligence broker acting for the local thieves guild, whose purpose is to broker snippets of information gathered from tavern patrons. The purpose is not clear to everyone else, it is only up to you as the player. But I would certainly like to interact with the bar maid more than the omnipotent being.

v) Work your way from the bottom to the top
This can certainly be linked back to number iv. Similar to being ordinary, the social ladder is also one of importance. To roleplay a character from the top is difficult, simply because there is no more goals to achieve. Climbing the social ladder and working your way up is like a journey in itself.

By beginning your journey at the bottom, you have certain goals to achieve. These goals essentially build upon each other and can become more complex over the course. For example you could be a street urchin wishing to get out of poverty initially. Your goal could also be to seek shelter and have a stable income. Once you have achieved these, you would turn your attention towards perhaps making a fortune. This could be through merchant trading, opening a shop or picking up a certain craft. Once more, you can build upon these skills. You could aim to be the best weaponsmith in the lands, but to achieve this you must first learn the skill, become reputable and work to achieve towards this goal.

By climbing the ladder in its entirety, you can achieve more outcomes through setting more goals. Each step up the ladder is achieving goals in itself, and by beginning from the lowest possible point, you can achieve more for your character. Each step would also be a vital one. Leap frogging from being a street urchin with a diet of left over scraps into becoming the wealthiest noble isa near impossible and very rare case. Climbing over each step also creates more depth for your character. By leap frogging or starting from a higher point, one must make up the events which preceded rather taking the journey to discover it.

By starting at the top of the ladder, the only thing you can accomplish is to descend. Sure if being the King of a castle and having servants is your forte, but what else is there to achieve after this? Your reputation is undoubtedly wide-spread, but where do your enemies lie? Are assassins after you, do opposing armies wish to invade? Simply because you are at the top, others will wish to seek your downfall, so that they can attain your lofty position.

Ranking breeds jealousy, and while the urchin I outlined earlier will encounter it along the way as well, the fact is that less people will want his status in life than that of the King's.

IV. Character choices and consequences.

I described in my section of serious / hardcore roleplaying that character consequences usually matter. The types of consequences though will also depend on the type of player. If your character is a thief whose job is to steal from others, would he risk it if the odds of getting caught are astronomical? Or if the punishment in place was severe enough (ie death)? If he got caught, would he play out the scenario with true conviction or shrug if off as simply something minor that happened in the past.

Here I feel is where serious / hardcore roleplayers will be divided from the casual / light roleplayers. While both categories may undertake the consequences of getting caught, the level of severity will be very different. Let's say the crime was pickpocketing and that the player was caught by a constable. The fitting crime in this case may be imprisonment, a fine or even one more physical such as beatings. With this scenario I'll use the latter to distinguish between the two categories of roleplayers. If the thief is treated with a punishment of breaking the fingers in their right hand, how might different types of roleplayers act out the scenario differently?

i) Injuries
If we remove the aspect of instant healing or fixes associated with practically all the MMOs these days. Simply take the health factor out of the equation and pretend that there are no miracle cures that befits a low magic world setting.

A serious / hardcore roleplayer would probably take the punishment imposed seriously. They will act out their character as if the punishment was real and lasted more than a single day. They may even stop equipping weapons with their right hand and instead choose to use either their left or avoid combat at all costs. They may even wear a bandage around their fingers trying to mend the wounds, or consult a healer to set the bones in alignment. It could take days, weeks until that character is fit for ambidextrous combat again.

On the other side, you are the light / casual roleplayer. These players would probably not take the injury with the same degree of severity. They may claim that there is pain and such but would probably not go to the same lengths as a more serious roleplayer would. After a day, they may perceive the injury as healed and ready to fight freely again.

Also, what if the punishment was a broken leg? Would the casual / light roleplayer have their character bedridden for days or weeks, or have them make a clicking noise each time they walk even after full recovery.

What if we took this further...

ii) Permadeath - but as the last possible avenue
This is probably another subject up for debate. I'm not here to post support for a permadeath system (I personally dislike it in an MMO arena), but simply on an individual, roleplayers choice. I think a permadeath system can work, but it is something that has to be regulated and moderated by the roleplaying community or strictly within guilds. It doesn't have to mean that you delete your character, it just simply means that your character is dead from an in character point of view. He or she can still be available for OOC things such as mini games pvp or dungeon style raiding (but since MO won't have these it is something that has to be modified).

I think the concern about permadeath though is that one, players feel it can be abused or two, that they have invested so much time and effort into their characters that they do not wish to see it dead... permanently. I think if a more clear approach on the subject can be viewed, it would certainly uplift various doubts plaguing some.

In the guild that I was a part of in Age of Conan, a permadeath system existed but it was not something that was regularly given out. It was only for the greatest severity that the guild master would issue it, and certainly only after full player consent. I feel that for this system to work it really needs to be the last avenue of punishment from a roleplaying perspective. Permadeath was the final resort, it meant that either the player no longer wanted to play their characters in an in character basis or that their crimes were so outstanding, that nothing else was warrantable.

What is most important though was that the players themselves gave the final consent and allow for the dissolution of their creation. Remember that the postulates above should hold, and that others cannot decide the final outcome of your character. It is up to the players themselves, through knowledge of consequences and risk vs. reward that whether pursuing the path would be beneficial or not. And it was only through a very high level of severity that such a punishment was given out, and not something dont trivially without a clear conscious and with prior thought.

An example that I'll give to what constituted permadeath within our guild ranged from various things. Most often though it was sedition against the ruling Lord of the city (the guild is formulated around a guild / player run city) but even at times, it was not the final outcome. Various characters in the guild I have known to try and assassinate the Lord, and not once was the initial order given to kill them off. Instead there are other things one can do such as enslavement or physical punishment. Things such as these open new avenues of roleplay rather than closing it.

You may support my ideas on permadeath or not, but I personally feel it can work but only from a serious / hardcore roleplayers perspective. Casual / light roleplayers tend to have short memories on certain in character matters, and there is a high degree of trust as well as respect that must be attained for it to work. Once again, I implore that I do not support a permadeath system in the game mechanics, but instead leave it up to the roleplaying community or guilds to decide for itself. Remember that there are other consequences that befit certain crimes better than death, such as humiliation.

iii) Risk vs. reward
I'd just like to build up on the two points of consequences that I outlined above. The idea of risk vs. reward is a concept I feel is linked towards them. While players may wish to pertain a certain rank of position, what are the means of reaching them? Perhaps it is through nefarious means but one thing that I feel is highly important in serious / hardcore roleplaying are the consequences associated.

If you do not feel that there are risks involved with attaining a certain rank or position then you would try to achieve it without hesitation. But once you add the equation of risks, then things get more interesting. Even in the case of the thief, is the benefit from pickpocketing greater than the possible punishment of broken fingers?

The idea of risk vs. reward therefore is closely tied to those of consequences. I feel that all ranks on an in character basis are contestable, even that of a Lord within a city. However one must also be aware of metagaming and absolutely avoid this at all cost. It is all well and good that you know the person playing the Lord is in the toilet, vulnerable for an assassin kill, but how does your character, a lowly street urchin become aware of this information? Moreover, how does one beat down the guards and get through to the Lord when urchins are not known for their fighting prowess or even let into the residence easily.

V. Metaming - the don't of roleplay

i) What is metagaming?
This is the act of taking out of character information onto an in character level. A prime example of this is looking at the world map on the forums and constituting it onto a character who has never left the borders surrounding his village. Sure perhaps he has seen the map from some source within, but the degree of accuracy will probably be contestable. It's not limited to this alone either, there are other forms of metagaming that exists.

ii) Acting out someone else's character without their permission
This is another prime example of metagaming. It is where whilst interacting with other people, you are performing an action of another player without their prior permission. Acts of this generally evolve around violence or acting out the other person's emotion. It's essentially forcing the other player to respond in a way that they may not originally wish to.

This would be metagaming: ::Rosy surveys the room, batting her eyelashes as all the patrons lock their gaze at her. Drool drops from their mouths and sounds of wolf-whistles erupt from all the corners of the bar, cheering her on::

This would not:

::Rosy surveys the room, batting her eyelashes. She smiles and waves her hair around in a fluid motion, weaving it delicately through the air::

So the distinction between the examples given is that one undertakes only the actions dictated to the given character and does not represent those around. Surely a motion such as that would produce a raucous response but it is not Rosy who decides HOW they respond, it is whether they have REASON to.

iii) Acting out the environment
Another form of metagaming could be if someone roleplayed changes to the environment which cannot be evidently seen. Environments are usually limited to the game mechanics and players usually do not have a direct control over these factors. If you were within a large crowd of people and suddenly started typing,

::Blood begins to drip from the adjacent wall::

then everyone else in the same room as you would look at you strangely. This act is simply metagaming because the wall is outside of your control. You as a player have absolute control over your character's own actions, but it cannot perform for someone else or the environment. These are beyond the player's control.

iv) Emoting mental thoughts
By not emoting out mental thoughts, the risk of metagaming would be minimised. Emotes should be left to actions which the other party can view rather than based what your character is thinking. By stating your character's thought process, the other player cannot do anything with it and it acts more as unwanted information. For example,

::Victor sees a child run past, remembering his own childhood and the joyous day at the fair many years ago::

Now, to a roleplayer, this can seem like pointless information. Characters are not mind readers so the other player reading this cannot express anything for his or her character. The character cannot know what occurs within Victor's thought and thus cannot act on it with roleplaying. If Victor was to rephrase it however, others can also join in interacting with the scenario.

::Victor looks to the child running past and dodges out of the way. He crosses his arms, bearing a small smile across his face::

Now someone next to Victor can see these reactions occuring and think, what is this guy smiling about. This allows for these other characters to ask Victor as to why he is suddenly smiling after seeing the child run past. Victor could then explain how when he was young, he attended a fair and that the child simply reminded him of his past. The distinction between this and the one above, is that these allows the other characters to read the expression and not their thought process.​


Babbling Loonie
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
All the World's a Stage: Roleplaying 101

By Michael Grey

When it comes to various high-brow roleplaying concepts, it's amazing how difficult it can be to find some basic common gaming ground. I've spent time roleplaying in MMOs, MUDs, tabletop games and Live Action Roleplaying environments. I've played elves, vampires, cyborgs, angels and robots. I've had the honor of being the game master for massive LARPs and the immense pleasure of being the dungeon master for a small D&D pen-and-paper game.

The thing that I've had constantly reinforced between all of these experiences is how radically differently the diverse groups can approach the idea of roleplaying. For large network games, for example, roleplaying is about existing in a sort of pervasive sim. Their games run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week -- whenever a player has the ability to answer email, their characters are assumed available for roleplay. By comparison, in a tabletop game like Dungeons and Dragons or Rifts, you only have the option of running your character during game sessions.

So let's have a short discussion about World of Warcraft roleplaying and help introduce players to the basic ideas. The natural caveat here is that Blizzard doesn't mandate much about roleplay, so there's a lot of variance from group to group and server to server. My guide is just some general rules of thumb I've seen over the years.

Taking the role

The basic idea of roleplaying is something with which every kid is familiar. Remember pretending to be a knight on your way to slay the dragon? Playing cowboys and cattle rustlers? Every time you imagined yourself in the role of a hero or other character, you were roleplaying.

There are a wide variety of schools of thought concerning exactly how deeply you immerse yourself in the role. Some people only roleplay when the opportunity comes up in groups and raids. They wait until the mood strikes and simply take part in a little light immersion. They speak in guild chat or party chat as if they were the character and don't give it much thought beyond that.

Of course, other folks get very deep into their roles. They are completely in character whenever they log into the game, and they constantly view every quest and experience through the eyes of their character. This level of immersion isn't incredibly common but is incredibly rewarding for this style of roleplayer.

Define your character

Of course, if you're going to roleplay a character, you should spend a little time defining that character. While this information usually doesn't become public, it's still a vital part of your experience. You want to boil in some character history and probably some personal flaws. There are a few different tricks to help you find this definition; we talked about the "Sin" method of fleshing out a character just a few weeks ago.

Some advice for new roleplayers: don't spend a lot of time telling anyone and everyone all about your character. While most people will be happy to help you out and will have genuine interest in roleplaying with you, it's a little too easy to become "that guy." It's a running joke at roleplaying conventions, for example, to wear a button that says, "Yes, tell me more about your character." It's a tough line to walk -- the whole point of writing a character is to tell the story, but you don't want to end up boring everyone. Let the details come out in bits and pieces: a tidbit of information here, a slice of back story there.

Ultimately, the better the job you've done defining your character, the more rewarding your roleplay experience will be. Things like character history give you story hooks for later in your roleplaying life, as well as natural reasons for you to interact with other characters.

Avoid a few important pitfalls

There are a few pitfalls new roleplayers should attempt to avoid. These traps will make your starting roleplaying life more difficult.

First, don't be a loner. I know everyone wants to be that hardcore lone wolf, wandering Azeroth as a masterless warrior searching out adventure or revenge. The problem with a loner concept, though, is that it leaves you without much reason to interact with other players. If you can't interact with other player characters, you won't have much chance to roleplay.

Second, avoid "unique" and "interesting" concepts. This is going to seem like odd advice, but mostly I'm talking about character concepts like "I'm the son of Illidan" or "I'm a vampire." The problem with these character concepts isn't that they're necessarily bad in and of themselves but that they've been done to death. And when someone's introducing themselves as the fiftieth unique snowflake, it starts to get a little frustrating. There's just a lot of bad associations with stuff like vampires, demons, half-demons, related-to-famous-characters and so on.

Start considering storylines

A "storyline" is a simple roleplaying plot; they tend to have beginnings, middles and ends, just like any other story would have. A character arc tends to have a series of storylines put together, usually with the sense of an overall progression. This single article's a little short to talk about the archetypical Campbellian Hero Cycle, but the idea in a more general sense is that your want your character to experience, grow and change over time.

Storylines should not be focused solely on your character, though. Again, a lot of the point of roleplaying is interacting with other players, so you want to avoid writing storylines like "My character is so awesome, he totally just got done singlehandedly killing Arthas." Good storylines aren't really about action or the simple climax; instead, a roleplaying storyline sets up conflict between characters. The characters then interact and move towards the resolution of that conflict at the end of the story.

The conflict isn't necessarily violent. Two single characters being introduced to one another and starting to fall in love counts as a romantic conflict. The inexorable movement of those characters towards pairing up -- or losing the entire relationship -- is an example of resolution.

Communicate the story

When you've wrapped up a storyline, many players then take the time to post about that story to official forums or other roleplay medium. They usually write up the story in a narrative format, but there's not really any rule of thumb about whether it's more common in first or third person.

There's a couple different reasons for doing a roleplay writeup. First and foremost, it's fun. It lets you relive the roleplay and put it together as a bit of fiction. Second, it totally lets you show off. People are proud of the stories they've created, and one of the best parts is getting to tell people how cool it was. Remember my saying you have to be careful about "tell me about your character?" While that can be rough, it's almost always fine to tell people about the story. The focus isn't just on your character but on the overall experience and interaction. That makes it "okay." Even more importantly, though, posting the resulting story to a public forum lets the audience decide whether or not they want to read it. They opt in to the experience, which tends to make everyone a lot more interested.


Yup, those are the three foundations of roleplay. Define your character, assume that role, and progress with storylines. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? At a high level, roleplaying really is fairly simple. Of course, pursuing game theory and advanced roleplaying complicates matters in a dozen different ways, but anyone can get started fairly quickly by just doing these three things.​
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