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How to Start to Roleplay

Figure 1: region LooseCannon (Pirates)

Have you been thinking you would like to try roleplaying? Have you always wanted to be a Tolkien style elf or perhaps a mischievous fae? Or would you rather walk the streets of a post apocalyptic ruin, man the bridge of the Starship Enterprise or face down the sheriff in a western town? There are countless themes of roleplay for you to investigate. Perhaps you have visited some roleplay (RP) groups and felt intimidated by the experienced roleplayers? We will cover all the types of roleplay later, but there are some universal easy steps you can try to get you off on the right foot.

First, visit several different roleplay groups to see where you feel comfortable. Some groups have rigidly scripted RP, some do para roleplay where they write long descriptions, some do unscripted spontaneous RP that may be easier to join in; think street theater. There are also soft roleplay groups that are more for conversation and storytelling than active roleplaying. Most groups have observer or OOC (Out of Character) tags that let everyone know you are just there to visit. Some have OOC or open events that will help you get a good feel of the group and its interaction. Look for an open activity, such as a market or ball, if there are any listed in events.

Figure 2: Group Roleplay Event

However, wherever you start out, don’t try to join the action on your first visit. Hang around the fringes of any activity and listen to the RP style; make sure you are comfortable with it. Collect any notecards the group has on rules and character choices. If people are not actively involved in a roleplay, IM them and ask some questions. The answers will tell you a lot about the atmosphere of the group. If they are curt and condescending it will be hard to learn from them and you will need to learn how to roleplay. There are always rules in any group about how characters are developed and what they can do. If they are patient and willing to explain things, you might have found a good fit. If you are shy and hesitant to ask anyone, check to see if they have classes for beginners; some groups even require class completion before joining.

Figure 3: region Daur Anarie (Elf Dream)

Make sure the type of character you want is approved. In a later article, we will cover different roleplay races (elves, humans, vampires and werewolves for example) and classes (mages, druids, paladins, rangers, etc.). If you want to be a mage and they do not allow anything but clerics and druids to do magic, you will have to fit into one of those paths. Study the rules, some groups have a long list of them, and some have few; it can be a source of conflict. Take an online alignment test and discover what your personality will be. This really helps both you and the rest of the group determine how to interact.

Figure 4: region Wheatcliffe

Realize you will be starting at the bottom; you cannot walk into an established group and be a master healer or a seasoned warrior unless you have done it before. Most groups will make you work your way up the ranks, accomplishing certain tasks or quests. And do not expect to be any member of royalty unless you can fit it into your backstory somehow. You will need to develop a basic history of how you came to be the character you want to represent. Most groups will want at least a summary historic backstory of who you are. Again, many groups offer classes to help you learn. The key is to go try and not to get discouraged if the first or second group does not work out for you. Just go check out another one. And have fun!!!!

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