I know I'm still new here and have attended but two kin roleplay activities. But also seeing the many questions of other newcomers about roleplay, I figured a basic guide to roleplay wouldn't hurt. And instead of forwarding to or simply copy-pasting some other site, I prefer to have one on these forums, easy to access and to ready to read right here.
I know that the standards range widely between 'just do as you see fit' to 'going hardcore all the way'. And this guide is in no way ment as a 'this is the rules you have to play by, or you're out'. It is ment for those that are completely new to this aspect of the game and who wonder where and how to start.
It is likely I'll add some more in the future, that's why I'll reserve a post below.
In the mean time, feel free to add your tips and tricks, point at my flaws in this guide, and I wish you a good read.
#11888987 Dec 23, 2015 at 10:27 AM · Edited over 3 years ago
So, you have decided to join the illustrous band of roleplayers? A merry welcome to you! Are you to be our next female thief? That young bard who's voice in still in transition from adolecense to adulthood? Or that dwarf with a huge chip on his shoulder? The possibilities are endless.
The first step in creating a roleplay character is to write a backgroundstory. You can write it anywhere you like. On some clad of paper, a post on the forums, in Word or printed by some huge wordpress from the 16th century. But wherever you write it, this is a very important step to take and it is best done early.
A background is the foundation you build your character on and it defines where it will lead him/her over the seasons to come. It gives you some direction and is something you can fall back on when the need arrives.
So ask yourself some of the following questions:
Where does my character come from?
How did he/she end up in this place?
What are the fysical attributes of my character that others can notice easily and recognize it by? Eg that scar on his face or those burnmarks on her hands, or that odd limp when he walks?
Are there any other notable appearances about my character, like a distinct smell, a hoarse voice, a slurr in speech, clothes that have seen their best days, a stick he always carries with him?
What kind of profession or hobby does my character have that fills his time?
What does my character like? And why?
What does my character dislike? And why?
What motivates my character and what sets him off? What makes her happy and what kind of things make her sad?
You can add more questions to the list above as you go on. Such as how you want your character to come across when introduced to others. Do you prefer the talkative guy that drops a huge bombshell about his past when asked for a name? Or is your character more of the quiet and grumpy type, giving short answers when asked a question? What is his/her overal demeanor? Does your character have a secret that others can find out about? Or is your char ashamed of something?
One thing I like to stress out is to keep things simple and have it believable. There are already plenty of offsprings from Legolas, Aragorn, Beorn, Bilbo's and Gimli's around. Actually, nearly half of all the roleplayers claim to be some distant - or not so distant - relative of one of the known characters from the movies/books. Or they are one of those unbeatable lordlings who have no fear for whatever Balrog, Black Rider or other monstrous demon crosses their path. In my eyes that is poor roleplay, as even the biggest of warriors in Tolkien's stories had their share of doubts, fears and personal demons to overcome, not to mention the many flaws each one of them had.
I am not saying your character can't be a heroic elf or a battle hardened warrior. But keep your character believable and remember that roleplay is all about writing a story together. Narcisism and placing oneself above others for the sole purpose of gaining the most attention, should not have a part in it. It is the concept of writing and playing out a story together, not some one-man's show.
This background is to help you understand your character and why it behaves the way it does. It also helps you to get by those first roleplaying moments when your character is being introduced and gets questions thrown at him about where he comes from, why he prefers apple cider over ale or when someone remarks his tattered clothing. And it gives you something to do to attract roleplay, eg by letting your char walk around with a stick due to his injured leg, having it read a book or play a lute in the corner of the Pony. So, all in all, please take your time to write up a background and do not worry if you have not figured everything out yet. You will do so along the way.
Now that you have a background ready and know what to answer when asked about your past, you are ready to roleplay. This step can be very daunting and it is easy to make mistakes. Here are some pointers as to how to start roleplaying and how to avoid those pitfalls.
You could use the standard emotes, but for creating your own ones, type the following: /e <type what you want>. Don't forget that the emote will always start with the name of your character. For instance if I type: "/e sips from her mug." the following would show: "Aedree sips from her mug." And if I type: "/e 's face shows a glimmer of understanding." it would show: "Aedree's face shows a glimmer of understanding.".
Some proper writing is considered fair roleplay. So make sure to start each sentence with a capital when your character says something, and have it end with a . (period). This goes for using /say. When you are writing up an emote, you don't have to start with a capital as it will already start the emote with the name of your character. But do remind to add the period at the end of the written emotion, as they aren't automatically inserted by the game. Please keep in mind to refrain from shortenings such as AFK or BRB. And to speed up the roleplay: instead of typing one wall of text, post several emotes/says after one another.
You could turn on the Chat Bubbles in the Options Menu. They will let you see which character is saying what. But then again, if it is very crowded and there is a lot of roleplay going on, you could end up with a screen full of chat bubbles and missing out lots of the conversation. So it's up to your own preferences.
In the chat you can also alter the colors of emotes and /say to your own liking, making them stand out more. I prefer to have an extra tab just for roleplay, which only shows /say, /emote, /tells, /kinship and world wide announcements. That way It won't be clouded with other stuff like trade, world chat and sortlike.
Walking around instead of running constantly is also a plus when you want to roleplay. Almost nobody runs through an inn unless they have urgent business. To make your character walk instead of running, hit the default key (Insert). To run again, hit the default key once more. You can attach a different key if you prefer through the Options Menu.
If you want to roleplay discretely with only two or three other players, or when you are roleplaying with a group and need to discuss what is going to happen next, it can be handy to form a fellowship and use that chat channel. It keeps the /emote and /say clean from none rp chat.
It can be interesting to read someone's bio (you can find it when inspecting a player and set one up yourself if you enter your character's panel). Roleplayers like to add some notes here that others can use when roleplaying with their character. For instance with Aedree you can learn that when she passes closeby, you can get a whiff of the forest clinging onto her. It also points out her scar that might not be noticable on screen when you're zoomed out to the max.
When looking for roleplay, one of your best choices is to visit The Prancing Pony in Bree. Don't expect to be drawn into roleplay immediately, as that almost never is the case. See it as if you are arriving at a party. There are already people who are talking with each other. For you to just jump in there and join the conversation without knowing who they are or what the conversation is about, would be considered rude. This too goes for roleplay.
The best thing you can do is to look around for a while. See what others do. Settle your char at a table, have it take a drink or something to eat, and just watch. If you spot something you find yourself attracted to, then you make your way. Eg you overhear a conversation about which horse breed is consider the best, and since your char is a horse lover, he could walk up and join in, giving his point of view. Or your char dislikes dwarves and one sits down next to you, you could make your character show its distaste. Another possibility is when there is a band/musician playing. Just stand amongst the crowd and at some point speak to the person next to you telling if you like or hate it. All in all, it is nothing else than starting up a conversation you would do in real life when you're at a socal event.
Also, look at the color of the names of the other players. If they are white instead of yellow, they have tagged their roleplay on option. To set yours on type: /rpon . To turn it off, type: /rpoff.
Other opportunities to find roleplay is to attend events that are announced either throught the world/rp chat or those announced at the Laurelin Archives. Or you could poke someone in the kinship or say your are looking for roleplay in the rp channel.
Last but not least, you can start your own roleplay. Just walk around instead of running. To walk hit the Insert-key. To run again, hit it once more. You could roleplay certain quests, like dropping off a package or the walkthrough of Bree quest. When you walk around and are seen by others, they will notice what you are doing and might be encouraged to join you.
When you approach someone for roleplay, you ofcourse already see the name and the class. However, as your character has not met this person yet, your character should be unaware of these. Also, keep in mind that even though someone's class is for instance a 'burglar', that doesn't mean that the character in fact is a notorious thief. If we would be stricted in our roleplay to only the 10 classes Lotro provides, that would leave no room for fishermen, drudges, farmers, midwifes, beggars, musicians, horse breeders or other types that create the endless list of possible roles to play. The player could have chosen for that class because it gives some attributes that he likes to use in his roleplay. Or it was the class he prefered doing raids with and in his off-time he uses the toon to roleplay with. Just because someone wears white doesn't mean he is a doctor. For all you know, he could be a butcher ;).
How lovely it would be to see thoughts or hear them. People throughout the centuries have tried to find ways to read minds. Even though our characters life in the magical realms provided by Tolkien, mindreading was not one of the abilities the characters had, apart from Galadriel who could foresee the future and was able to send tells over great distances (but her powers were derived from her ring Nenya, one of the three rings given to the Elves, and it is believed she learned a great deal from one of the Maiar (sort of angels), who were spirits sent by the Valar (God) to help shape the planet).
So how do you express something your character thinks about, without actually typing that your character thinks of it? There are several ways. One of them - and this I use the most myself - is to show it through body language. We all use it - and use it a lot! - in real life. So why not ingame? A quick example: Aedree was present at the kinshiphouse yesterday. She first met a lady elf clad in red with a black eyepatch, and moments later was introduced to a male elf, also clad in red, and he too wore an eyepatch. Thus, instead of typing: "Aedree thinks how strange it is to meet two elves with eyepatches" I went with the following:
"Aedree glances at the lady in red, then directs her gaze to the male elf standing next to her. She peers at his eyepatch, then swiftly turns her head back to the female and stares at her eyepatch as well, a curious look crossing her face."
With body language, facial expressions and the way your voice sounds you sometimes tell more than actual words can describe. The flaring of nostrils, a voice that hardens, rubbing sweaty palms, stammering, eyes widening due to surprise or fear, eyes glimmering with mischief, jaws set in stone, tapping a foot impatiently, the list goes on and on. So do make use of such a handy tool and let that do the talking for you.
Another way of actually expressing thoughts is by letting your character murmer them out loud by accident. And then of course you can apologize if those were inappropriate.
As writers amongst each other would say: "Show, don't tell." In our case it would be "Show, don't think".
The last way to show thoughts is by keeping a diary. You can either start one at the forums here or have one at the Laurelin Archives. In it you can write down all that has crossed your character's mind. Even though those notes should not be used ingame by other roleplayers - since a diary is a private thing, thus others can't have read it unless you left it behind on purpose - it still gives us insights into what keeps your character occupied. It can also serve as an extra guidance for you as a player, when you add notes about who your character met, what his impressions where, if anything about that other person stood out, and so on. After some time, when you encounter that person again, you can withdraw that information and remember the events that earlier took place, making it easier to start a conversation.
Sight and hearing are our two greatest senses and those are used the most when roleplaying. But don't forget the others as well! We have five in total (hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting) and they are great tools to use during roleplay. For instance, smelling something bad that causes to wrinkle one's nose or tasting something so terrible that your character would feel the need to throw up.
Outfits play an important part in roleplay. They tell stories of their own. If you enter the Pony all dressed in silverlined robes, it shows your wealth. And if you enter all dressed in shabby stockings, those too will be noted. Make sure during questing/raiding/pvp'ing, to check out the rewards and have a special storage available for roleplay. Often you are rewarded with great clothing and other attributes.
Attending events, such as the current Yule Festival, are great places to find new resources as well. By claiming deeds and earning special coins you can purchase other clothings and attributes. Some that are currently sold are a mug, a wineskin, a bundle of flowers, balls of snow and the-like. And if you've done the following-up quest and chosen the 'Poor' direction, you've gained a complete shabby outfit. If you've chosen 'Rich' you will now be the proud owner of a wealthy outfit. So you could already be a poor farmer or a very rich dwarvenlord!
Often at the Auction House or through crafting you too can gather outfits and handy attributes that you can use for roleplay. The same goes for purchasing outfits and attributes through the Lotro Store.
Keep in mind that your outfit should match your character's current state of affairs. It is very unlikely for a beggar to walk around in all goldenstitched clothes. Just as it is very unlikely for a farmer to enter the Pony completely clad in battlegear. Or for hobbits to walk around wearing shoes - unless they have a good reason. When your character sits down in a chair and still wears a shield behind his back, it will surely leave bruises, not to mention your character would sit very uncomfortable. The same goes for when you are in a cold area walking around in nothing but a tunic and knee high summer trousers. Your character would be prone to get sick and if not saved or found a shelter, frostbite and even death are the possible outcome. So for clothing too goes: keep it believable and keep in mind that every action has a reaction.
When roleplaying it is all about giving and receiving. You say or emote something, than you wait for the other roleplayer to respond. You allow the others to say or do something that fits their character and when they have done that, it is your turn again. Mind to be patient here, as not everyone is a skilled quick typer. There are also a lot of non-native English players, and they might need the extra time to process what is being said, then translate it, think of a response and then translate that one and type it out. So be patient when roleplaying with others and give them decent time to react. If it takes a while, you could sent a tell to them, or let your character show that it getting impatient and awaits a response.
When you throw a stone into a body of water, it will cause ripples. This too goes for roleplay. Every action causes a reaction. If I let my character do one thing, it will inevitable cause something else. For instance, if I let Aedree walk around in summer clothings when it is snowing heavily and the temperature is below zero, it will affect her health. She could get a drippy nose, starts coughing, begin to shiver and end up with the flu or pneumonia. If I would continue to let her walk through those icy surroundings and give her no shelter for hours, she would get hyperthermia, her toes/nose/fingers might suffer from frostbite and if not provided shelter soon, she could die.
If I would let Aedree get caught in a quarrel with some obnoxious dwarf, the next time they would meet, they wouldn't react friendly towards one another, sharing drinks and tell their life stories. Instead they would either avoid each other or It might even come to blows should something spark.
Actions make up what is going to happen next to our characters. Thus we should consider what would happen prior to taking that action. Else you might end up in a situation you can't get out of anymore.
One thing I like to stress out is to refrain from Godmodding (also known as God Emoting or God RP'ing). It is the type of roleplay where you prevent others from allowing their input, only giving them one option to do. It is seen mostly during fights that are roleplayed out. An example:
Aedree gets angry at a dwarf over a comment he made. She lashes out and I - the player - type the following:
"Aedree's fist flies through the air, hitting the arrogant dwarf full in stomach, making him collapse and gasp for air."
The other player and his poor dwarf are now forced by me to abide my will. I've given the player of the dwarf no room to come up with a reply. I've already done it for him. That is considered to be Godmodding, and it is considered poor (or bad) roleplay. I've given the other player no room to let his dwarf dodge the fist, to meet the fist with a block of his arm, to neatly step aside, or to indeed get hit by the fist.
What I should have done is the following:
"Aedree's fist flies through the air in an attempt to hit the arrogant dwarf full in the stomach, making him collapse and gasp for air."
It is only through this way that I give the other player time to respond and to make up his mind whether he wants to comply with my suggested move or if he has something else in mind to twart Aedree's fist.
Another thing that is considered Godmodding is to kill off another character without the explicit approval of the other player beforehand. This is an absolute no go. You have by no means any right to do that and killing off a character is considered the worst crime you can commit in roleplay. Killing off a character means they will never ever be able to return and continue their story. Just as in real life: dead means dead. They cannot come back to life. Therefore it is not something done lightly and it should only be done by the player of that character after considerable thinking. Only that player can make the decision, no one else can. So please, don't make this mistake, as it will brand you amongst the other roleplayers as someone who's the destroyer of roleplay. Once you have that mark on you, it will be very hard to find roleplay ever again.
If you want to give up on roleplay, but are not sure if you will return at some future, I suggest to send it off to some place where it can't be found, instead of killing it off. That way when you do return after months/years, you still have the character and it's belongings and can continue the roleplay from there.
None of us are perfect in real life. So our characters should have some flaws as well. Whether it is a chip on the shoulder, a bad drinker, the notorious lazy hobbit, the jealous elf or a bard playing on a badly tuned lute. Instead of being the generous do-good'er all the time. This too goes for when playing the bad guy. Even the most baddest of baddest cary soft spots, whether it's their mother or some stray puppy they rescued.
Some players are non-native English speakers and they have trouble with the language. Make use of this for your character! Make him deaf to one ear if you have trouble understanding what is being said. Or have an elf who has trouble speaking the common tongue when he's around humans.
Accidents are always bound to happen and no one is immune. So from time to time you could let your character stumble and fall flat on his face, break a glass, have a string snap during performing on a lute or tell a secret that shouldn't be told. It adds the extra flavour to the roleplay and more often than not it provides a great opportunity for others to jump in with their roleplay.
It is wise to set goals for your character that you want to let him/her reach. And be prepared to have that goal not reached on the same evening, but take your time with it. It gives you some forward direction, so that you don't have to wonder constantly what you want to roleplay next. It also gives others the opportunity to hop along and roleplay with you over the course of days/weeks/months.
A few ideas for goals are:
in search of a family heirloom
looking for a long lost nephew
wanting to study medicine to become a healer so you can heal a sick relative
get accepted by a school/learning group to hone your specific skills
participate in contests to win prices and be known as the best (local) fisherman/cook/whatever
become a better swordsman/hunter/miner/and so on
start up your own business as a trader
join a cult to worship a higher power
find the love of your life
Just think of what your character wishes to become/obtain in life and let its passion guide you.
I like to specifically address roleplaying relationships, as these too often can cause major drama both ingame and out. Having your character in a relationship can be great and you are bound to end up in some very romantic scenes. But be aware of its risks.
When you and the other player want your characters to be romantically involved, make sure to set up rules and boundaries prior to roleplaying it out. The first thing you should know is the age of the other player. It is illegal to roleplay erotic scenes when under age, thus threat it with the upmost caution. Secondly, you should ask yourself to what extend you are comfortable to roleplay. Do you want it to be explicit or would you rather use fade-out moments when the scene gets passionate and continue the roleplay after the deed is done?
Erotic Roleplay (or ERP) is something that can attract the wrong kind of roleplayers (erpers). Those type of players want to do nothing else but to still their hunger and the moment you suggest a non-sexual scene, they are off to their next victim. These can be hormone driven kids, but they can also be sexual predators who use the game to find their next prey. You can easily get caught in their webs (regardless if you're male or female in real life), and what seems like innocent gaming can end up causing tremendous damage to you, mentally and in some cases even physically. Never place yourself in a position where others can get the upperhand. Obviously you should never give out your contact information. But also keep in mind that one could start to blackmail you using the erotic scenes you earlier roleplayed. You wouldn't be the first, nor will you be the last.
Another note: romantic roleplay can easily turn into claiming a player, wanting them to give up all their gametime just for the sake of playing out the relation. You should always give each other room to play as you see fit. The moment the partner of your character comes online, don't jump on that person demanding to continue your story. Let them enjoy the other aspects of the game as well. You could agree to roleplay the relation during certain moments of the week, while the other moments you are both online you use for different things.
As a final note on this subject: remember that it is a story you are writing together. It is fiction. It is NOT real life. Though your characters might be romantically involved, you as players are not. Therefore you have no right what so ever to lay any kind of claim onto that player, surprise them with gifts, send them love letters or stalk them through social media or other platforms. The moment either one of you cannot make that distinction anymore, you should quit the story.
Roleplay can be very exciting, fun and an overall joy to do and be part of. But always keep in mind that behind the character is a real person with real feelings. The moment either one of you loses the joy, it is time to call it quits. As a wise man once said: "Words can create. And words can destroy. Choose yours well." So keep your roleplay fair, respect the ways other roleplay (even if they are not up to your 'standard') and make sure that every player involved has a nice time playing the game.
Also bare in mind that whatever a character might do to your character, it is not a copy of what the player behind the character thinks or feels towards you. My Aedree might have a grudge with a dwarf, but that does not mean that I - the player - hold that same grudge towards the player of the dwarf. Keep this firm in your mind and don't make the mistake of mixing roleplay up with real life. Remember that it is just a story you both are creating together and that by no means it is ment to make you - the player - get upset, angry, sad or uncomfortable over. The moment it does, hit the brakes, take a step back and realize that you were just playing a game. Don't let emotions get the better of you. It is not worth it.
I know this guide is quite a long read and can be overwhelming or daunting to go through, given that there is so much to it. Just give it another read if you are unsure or scout the internet for other guides. There are plenty to be found and they can provide other insights into roleplay than I've given you with this one.
As mentioned at the beginning: this is by no means a set of rules that you must follow. It is a guide showing you the basics of roleplay and you are by all means allowed to stray from it as you see fit.
I've tried to keep things general and to give pointers as to what to watch out for and how to improve roleplay, not just for Lotro but for other mmorpg's as well. But I'm as flawed as the next person. So if you have any additions, criticism or suggestions (even if it concerns typing errors), please do post them below.
If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to poke me ingame (you can find me on Aedree or Aerd) or leave a note here.
What a verry useful post this is!. I myself am still learning,I actualy made my first real RP characther just recently. Thinking about his background,his goals and where I *would* like to go to. This post is verry usefull and has verry nice tips on how to focus on things!
I also like to add that you can turn on chat bubbles. Also it may be prefered to write two shorter sentences with less waiting, instead of giving everyone the feeling that nothing happens during the long waiting until the writer releases a terrible long wall of text in the chat. Just keep the flow into it.
#11896598 Dec 26, 2015 at 10:11 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
I've finished the entire post. I hope you all like it and find it useful. If things need to be added I'll do so in the future and give this thread a bump.
@Nanteana: I'm glad you like the post so far. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to poke me ingame or leave a note here.
@Theogorn: thank you for adding the traits list. It's a great tool to come up with characteristics for a character! I've also added your advice of turning chat bubbles on and to refrain from walls of text.