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General RP Tips
Master Houndoom
post Feb 1 2010, 02:21 PM
Post #1

Team Rogue: Houndoom
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Joined: 8-January 08
From: Austin, Texas
Member No.: 804

Uprising Mod

As a person, and a writer, I see myself as mediocre. I forget details, I leave out entire descriptions, I misspell, and some of my ideas are just so far off the wall they're a Michael Jackson album. But my mental monkeys have been at my mental typewriters for a long time, and I feel, at times, there are still some things I have to offer, and so here are some things I've noticed that are wrong, and some ways to fix it.

Item 1: Extremely Short Posts.

In truth, it's hard to critique an extremely short post. We (the mods) are not asking for the complete works of Shakespeare in every post, but at the same time, this is not an IM. We need detail. We need description. We need something to move the plot, not simply reacting to someone else.

This can be resolved in a number of ways: Your character is always feeling something: Describe it. Your character is going to react to what's happened in the past: Describe it. In detail! Your character will, likely, have some action that he or she wants to take in the future. Don't be afraid to have your character initiate (as long as you don't speak for other characters without permission). Expand your ideas as much as you can, and, when in doubt, talk to your RP partners.

Here and the post directly after it is a brilliant example of two people reacting to the same stimulus differently. If you can/want to, read the entire post to see examples of people playing off of each other well without bunnying.))

Item 2: Cater to the Audience.

I have recently read a post with an entry that consisted of the following:
This is Mel," he said, pointing to Mel, "this is Johnny Bravo," he said, pointing to Johnny Bravo, "and this is Joker," he said, pointing to Joker.
So what is the problem with the above? Well, for one thing, we have no idea who or what Mel, Johnny Bravo, or Joker are. Considering that we are playing a pokemon based RPG, we can assume that they might be pokemon, but beyond that we have no clue.

"But, MH," you may say, "I have a profile! That will explain who Mel, Johnny Bravo, and Joker are!" This is true. But the crux of the RP, and what we, as mods, grade on, is your skill at telling a story. You need to write these posts as if people who cannot read your profile are reading the story, because, I guarantee you, if they are not grading your RP, they likely aren't going to look up your profile (and shouldn't have to).

The above can be fixed in one of three ways, in order, from the simplest to the most complex. Please bear in mind: Simple does not mean Bad.

"This is Mel," he said, pointing to the shinx, "This is Johnny Bravo," he said, pointing to the Ursaring, "and this is Joker" he said, pointing to the Mr. Mime.

This is Mel, Johnny Bravo, and Joker," he said, pointing to the Shinx, Ursaring, and Mr. Mime standing in front of him, all of whom waved (the ursaring running a comb through the fur on his head first).

A tiny shinx bounded from between his trainer's legs, sniffing the newcomer curiously. "This is Mel," the trainer said with a smile. Next lumbered up a fierce looking ursaring, which, upon seeing the female talking to his trainer, put on a pair of shades and pointed at her with two foreclaws. The trainer shook his head. "This is Johnny Bravo." Lastly, a Mr. Mime teleported into view, turning a creepy, smiling face on the girl. "This is Joker," the trainer said, leaning close to his new companion. "I think he's a little crazy," he whispered.

Don't be afraid to be as descriptive as you are comfortable with.

Item 3: Rules of the Virtual Road.

In this particular case, it's not the rules of the RP that we are worried about, but the rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. Yes, these factor into the score on RP grading, and yes, we are getting more and more strict about it. Bear in mind, if English is not your first language, we keep that in mind, but we also expect to see some improvement, as we would expect to improve should we, say, post on a French Language board. Here are some ground rules:
  • The first word of every sentence must be capitalized.
  • Proper Names must be capitalized.
  • There must be at least one space after each period, comma, exclamation point, question mark, colon, semicolon, and quotation mark used to end a quoted line or piece of dialogue.
  • You should put at least two line returns (hit the enter key twice) between each paragraph. It makes the flow easier on the eyes.
  • You must (some say should) start a new paragraph every time a new person is speaking in your post (for example:)
    Johnny smiled. "Bet you can't beat me in a game of Pokemon Football!"
    "You're on!" cried Jimmy. "And when I win, you have to buy me a soda!"
    "And when I win, you have to buy me candy!"
  • A new paragraph should also be in place when a new idea is being presented. That is ambiguous, and there are people who can help you better than I.
This list may be added to later.

Now, we don't take off points for each and every mistake. We look more for consistency.

Item 4: Imagination is your friend (so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else!)

It's true: Imagination is a wonderful thing. The problem is in a multi-player RPG that some of what you imagine steps on the toes of what someoen else might be imagining. For example, if someone destroys Petropolis, anyone who would have been IN Petropolis at the time is either injured, dead, or affected in some way. This is an example of one person doing something that affects everyone. It will likely be retconned out at grading.

Item 5: Who are you, Superman?!

Everyone in this RP is human. Everyone has a weakness. In fact, characters who don't have a weakness are boring. You must keep in mind physical limitations, pokemon limitations, level differences, type advantages, and, sometimes, abilities. If your level 50 gardevoir is battling a level two machop, OK, godmode. Chances are, the Gardevoir can pretty much ignore the machop. But if it's vice versa, or if it's even two level 25 pokemon, your machop vs. a gardevoir, more than likely you're going to take a bit of damage, or even lose.

Losing in this game is not a bad thing. It can show conflict, and serve to make the participant stronger.

Item 6: There is NOOOOOOOO Item 6!

Item 7: Use different words to describe similar actions!

There is a trend to say that the person spoke warmly. The problem arises when the person has a warm smile, speaks warmly, and warmly caresses her pokemon's head in warm affection due to the warm feelings that the pokemon brings out in the trainer.

... That's burning by now.

Instead, do one of two things: Find a thesaurus, or let the audience assume that if an action is continued, it is continued in the same fashion as the action before it. (In my above example, "The Trainer smiled warmly, caressing her pokemon's head.")

As an added suggestion, if you do choose to use a thesaurus, do NOT (and I cannot emphasize this enough) pick a word at random and use it. Here is an example of why not to do this; say you have a pokemon who continues to "smile suavely" at another pokemon. He's trying to mimic James Bond or something. You want to replace your repetitive use of the word "suave," and so you open up a thesaurus and pick a fancy looking word.

"James Bond gave her a suave smile" is replaced with "James Bond gave her a unctuous smile."

It looks great; you used a big word and it makes you feel smart. It doesn't matter that you don't know what the word means, right?

Wrong. If you looked it up, you would realize that "unctuous" means "oily." So James Bond has given his girl a fatty, greasy smile. I'm sure she enjoyed that.

If you're going to use a word, know what it means, not just what is synonymous to it. - Puck

Similarly, if a person is, say, hurt, having them say "Ow" or "Ugh" multiple times, even in separate RPs, is beating a dead horse.

That's all for now. This topic can (and will) be added to by the mods. Enjoy!

[align=center]Uprising Mod

Jaima Kuonji and Meiko Omura||Branwys Muphenz
[spoiler=Jaima's Gym Badges][/spoiler]

Jay Lange||Olivia Prewitt

As of January 29, 2010, at approximately 7:50am CST, 2gamers helped me complete my pokedex!

:houndoom: I claim Houndoom! :houndoom: [/align]
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