Section Six - Roleplaying Etiquette

Q. What are some things to remember when Iím roleplaying here at the Vale. Can you give me a list of Doís and Doníts?

A. Sure! Everything we do in life requires a certain measure of etiquette, and role-playing is no exception. So, to help everyone improve their play and to give them some ideas of what is proper manners in a role-playing environment, we've written up a fairly short and simple Guide to RP Etiquette:

1. No auto-hitting or god-moding.

This has been covered before, but it bears repeating. ďAuto-hittingĒ means writing your character making an attack and hitting his or her target without the permission of the other player. But on the same token, donít always avoid someoneís attacks. This is commonly called "god-moding." God-moding also refers to a character having exaggerated powers, or powers that donít fit into the setting youíre in or the rules you play by. A Firebringer Trilogy unicorn, for example, couldnít have powers that would heal a wound with a touch, or call fire from the sky. It can also be several other things, but those are the biggies.

2. No one-liners.

Self-explanatory. One-liners are - frankly - boring. They do little but clog up the boards and bury other peopleís posts while doing little to actually further the plot.

3. Be aware the Vale is NOT a real-time RP.

Donít behave like you would in a chat and choke the boards with posts made every five minutes. The Vale is a message board, and itís polite to wait at least a little while between your posts to allow other members of the RP a chance to respond. Quick posting not only clogs the boards, but it can also cause an entire scene to change before one participant even has a change to take part. Not everyone can sit and watch the boards for hours waiting for their RP partners to post again, and then respond right away, so please be considerate of them.

4. Quality over quantity when posting: post well, not necessarily often.

This is important, and ties in with numbers 2 and 3. Here at the Vale we value quality over quantity when it comes to posting. We prefer longer, well-written posts that donít necessarily come in that often, as opposed to short, not so well-thought-out posts that are made every few hours or so. There is no maximum word count for posts.

5. The Vale is a Turn-Based Text RPG.

RP here is "turn-based." This means that you should have the courtesy to WAIT for the others involved in your scene to post before you post again. Everyone should get a turn, otherwise you risk leaving someone out. Some caveats to this rule: If you KNOW that you'll be unable to post for a while - and you KNOW that there are other people waiting on your character - let one of your fellow players know. You can allow someone else permission to take over your character for a time, or simply 'write yourself out.' Don't make people wait around weeks for you to post, and don't post out of turn if there's someone who is involved in your story that hasn't had a chance to post yet.

6. Alma's World is an OPEN board.

By "open board," that means that everyone who posts on any of the threads on the Alma's World Forum should be aware that anyone else can post a reply, within feasibility. Click here to read a tutorial about making your first post. No roleplay on that forum can be closed to anyone but a particular group of people - if you wish to do that, then you're welcome to bring the roleplay idea to a manager, to put on the "Closed RPG" Board, where you can dictate who is or is not involved in the roleplay.

7. Avoid being overly melodramatic.

Hey, dramatic roleplay isn't a bad thing! Sometimes it's fun to get a little drama going, explore emotions and stir up your current roleplay scene. But, as with all things in life, do it in moderation. Being overly melodramatic makes it seem like you're trying to draw attention to yourself. This is roleplay, NOT a Soap Opera, and NOT a one-man show.

8. Be considerate of plots going on around you and READ the posts.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to READ OTHER POSTS! A good rule of thumb: If you have a character playing on any of the Alma's World boards Ė then you should read ALL of the posts that happen there. I donít care if itís 1 or 50 - or if they're made by a person you're not currently roleplaying with - because itís incredibly rude to try to interact with someone who ignores you or just up and suddenly decides to do something else, only because they were to lazy to read the posts. So, just because your character isn't specifically mentioned in a post doesn't mean you should ignore it! Itís very irritating to be, say, holding a Moondance under a full moon and have someone come waltzing in talking about the blazing noonday sun.

9. Try to use proper spelling and punctuation.

Please, please, please try to follow this one. Yes, even the best of us makes mistakes with spelling, grammar, or punctuation sometimes Ė none of us is perfect Ė but thatís no excuse to simply ignore the rules of proper English altogether, which includes using capitals, proper punctuation, correct grammar, etc. And if you canít spell a word at least close to the correct spelling, use the spell checker on whatever word processing program your computer has, or you can use Dictionary.com. A post that has decent grammar, spelling, and all of that is vastly more enjoyable to read than one thatís riddled with misspellings, lack of punctuation, ĎNet jargon, and other such things Ė and itís easier to read too!

But on the other side of the coin, avoid using excessively extravagant language. Stuff like ďEbon spire Ďpon brow gleams as nares aflame and glistening oculi studiously ponderÖĒ etc, etc, is just as hard to read as stuff thatís written poorly. And if you donít want to use the same word over and over again, such as Ďhoovesí, make sure your synonyms mean the same thing as the word youíre replacing. For example, Ďtalonsí is not a synonym for Ďhoovesí.

10. If you're spending more time on your signature than your character writing, you're missing the point.

It doesn't matter to us if you have huge graphics in your signature, your favorite song lyrics, or an appropriate picture for each character. We'd much rather see you spend your time and energy on the characters you play than creating images to sign your posts.

10. Less is more when it comes to formatting.

Many people post in different colors for each of their characters, and thatís okay, but donít go overboard with formatting. Strange fonts and extremely bright font colors make your post hard to read, and it doesnít matter how well it may be written Ė if it canít be read because of strange fonts and colors, people will be less inclined to bother with it. At the very least, try to stick with darker colors that are easy to read against a white background.

Also, fonts that are too small or too large can get very annoying very quickly. Using the huge fonts tends to push posts off the page very fast which is irritating, and some of the smaller fonts are nearly impossible to read (particularly for those of us with our monitors set to a very high resolution).

11. Never assume Ė if youíre not sure about something, ask.

Another fairly self-explanatory one. If thereís something in the RP you arenít sure about Ė a unicornís color, for example, or the setting Ė a little bit of research will probably answer your question. Or, you can ask someone! This is the reason that we have both an OCC board, as well as the Managerís e-mail addressed available.

12. Never take control of another personís character, even for one tiny, itty-bitty action.

This is just rude. That character is theirs, and as such is theirs to control. They will choose how their character reacts to your actions. So unless someone specifically says you can control their character for something, play your own, and only your own.

13. As a player, be polite!

Just because your character might be a jerk, that gives you no right to be so as a player. Treat all other players with respect. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple as that. But on the same note, donít judge a person by their character. A personís character may be an absolute jackass, but the player may be quite nice and friendly.

14. Respect the Battleprince, Co-Regents and Staff

The Vale staff works very hard to maintain the website and forum. We're all real people, with real lives away from our computers. The fact that we're willing to devote so much of ourselves and our time deserves a modicum of respect. It doesnít matter if youíve been here longer than a member of the staff, it doesnít matter if you think youíre completely in the right and weíre a bunch of morons for not listening to you, it doesnít matter if you happen to be a staff member on some other group. You may not like some of the things we do, but the fact is, we do it all for the Vale and the majority of the members here.

Weíre perfectly willing to listen to peopleís concerns and weíll try to help as best we can, but only if itís done in a respectful, courteous manner. And if we warn you about something, it would be wise to listen and change your behavior. Weíre fairly forgiving, but even we can be pushed too far. Also, if we correct you on something, we are not singling you out or trying to be mean. We have a legitimate reason for bringing the subject up, and more than likely, it isnít you; itís that the subject in question has finally reached a point where we feel the matter needs to be resolved.

15. Keep OOC and IC separate.

Don't let your problems bleed over into IC play. Personal issues having nothing to do with your character or the roleplay surrounding your character need be kept off the boards. If you have a problem with someone, either take it up with them privately or contact a member of the staff if you feel the issue is relevant to the community. We don't ever want to have to delete posts or freeze threads because of silly fights, but we will do whatever is necessary to maintain order.

16. Donít just drop out an RP with no warning to those youíre playing with.

One of the most irritating things in roleplay is to be participating in a storyline, and one of your partners suddenly seems to drop out of existence. The plot can stall for days, weeks, or months while the other participants wait for the missing member to show up again, and itís really just very inconsiderate. So, if you have to leave a storyline, be courteous enough to give some warning to those youíre playing with (via e-mail or by using either the "RP Plotting & Discussion" board or the player's individual thread located on "The Players" board) to let them know that youíre leaving the RP, or going on vacation or what have you, so they know not to wait for you.

17. Try to remember how things work as far as travel and time are concerned.

Travel from board to board: This is explained in Section Two of the FAQ. If you do have questions about how this works, please either contact a Site Admin or bring it up on the "Vale Q & A" board.

Time of Day: Time of day is generally established by ongoing storylines. This is why it is suggested that you read up on a copious amount of previous posts to try to understand what is going on. However, this does not mean that ALL RP on the various Almaís World boards takes place at the same time. For example Ė not all of the action on the Far Plains is happening at the same time, nor in the same place. The Far Plains is very vastÖ So if you want to have your characters sleep for the night Ė while somewhere else on the Far Plains board, characters are just waking upÖ Thatís fine. BUT (and this is key) Ė once you have your character interact in another story or with other characters, you need to respect and pay attention to whatís going on.

18. Remember that Role-playing is about Interacting with others.

The whole purpose of participating in an RP is to interact with other characters. Even if itís just one or two, you should make an effort to get involved, as that is the reason for joining an RP! Posting by yourself defeats the purpose of communal play.

That's it for the FAQ! If you still have questions, or you can think of anything that needs to be added to this list - please e-mail DV-Skitz or one of the other managers. Thanks again!

This concludes Section Six of the Vale FAQ. To return to the FAQ index - Click Here.
Return to Section Five - Click Here.
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