How to initiate RP – a guide for beginners and veterans

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bluebell noel


-this is the result of our meeting "how to initiate RP" and will be used for future workshops and meet and greets. Comments, additions and critique are very welcome!
And thanks to everyone who participated - I totally copy/pasted some of your contributions: Valmont Marseille, Buffy Aura, Su Pointe, Kalyptika Fallen, Martin J.G. Cai, JillAbel, Iouve, Talisa, Raquel Amora Cortez, John Morland, Gemma Morland, Evie Serenity, Dannika Dryke, Roxie Smith, Takahiro Ugimachi and Clio Clary

How to initiate roleplay

If you are new to Hathian and/or roleplay

- make yourself familiar with the sim rules and common practices. Observe, but don’t be shy. Some of us might seem a bit intimidating, be it IC or be it because they throw out long, carefully constructed flowery emotes, or because they have been around forever – but we all once were new and we all want CD to grow. Learn the basics about post order and emoting, and you are good to go – you don’t have to write long paragraphs to be accepted. There is nothing better than learning by doing.

- Once you are approved – find a job. It helps a lot with establishing contacts and making yourself known.. Your boss, your colleagues, your customers – even little interactions like selling someone a cupcake can turn into an interesting or funny scene.

- remember that not all things are going to come to you… you have to do work to enhance your character and get involved in things in order to have things happen. Such as in life. If you stay in your house, nothing happens. If you go out in the world, stuff happens.

- consider teaming up with another new RPer. We are offering meet and greets and several workshops where you can pick up a potential RP partner, or maybe you just find someone on the streets. Having an IC sibling/partner/cousin/friend/stalker/jealous ex can help a lot. You can explore together, have your own RP dynamic, exchange experiences and tips and introduce the other one to new contacts.

How to approach a single RPer

Let’s start with some possible scenarios. It’s a difference if you are approaching a single person or if you are trying to join an ongoing scene. So, let’s assume you are walking up to a character who stands around alone.

The easiest way to engage anyone is at their workplace – usually they are happy to have customers and you both already have a topic to talk about. Of course this applies for dealers or hookers, too! Also – don’t forget the kid RPers. Most are very grateful for interaction with adults, and it’s very likely that you will get a great scene in return.

If it makes you more comfortable, you -can- IM beforehand and ask if people are available for RP – but you don’t have to. Everyone on sim is supposed to be available, unless they wear an OOC-, AFK- or observer-tag.

If they don’t reply:
- Did you wait long enough for their reply? New RPers are often surprised -how- long it can take to type a paragraph. 10 minutes is not unusual. Some need longer (though if so, it’s polite to tell your counterpart in IM that you are still typing).
- Are they afk? People on sim are not supposed to do that for an extended period of time. But sometimes RL happens.
- Maybe they were distracted and didn’t see your post? If in doubt, IM them and ask if they are up for RP.
And please, don’t feel discouraged when they aren’t. Sometimes people -are- busy OOC. Or they are about to log in a bit. You will find someone else.

- How to post

There is one really crucial aspect you should keep in mind: If you want interaction, offer something to work with. It doesn’t have to be absolutely original or exciting, but -do- something that draws the other one’s attention. Often new ones try to ‘introduce’ themselves with a thought-emote, and then they wait for their counterpart to engage -them-. Don’t do that. Nobody can read your thoughts. Be proactive. Focus on something the other character can see or hear, something they will have to react to.

This can be totally random. Of course you can go the traditional route. Ask for a lighter, ask for directions, ask for a job. Drop some information and they might ask for more. If you have a job – what about handing out flyers for your business. If you’re hurting for ideas, think of interactions you’ve had with strangers in real life. Not necessarily stranger-danger scenarios (though, hey, this IS Hathian), but random ways you’ve started talking to people. Emote finding a five-dollar bill lying in the street and ask people nearby if it’s theirs. If there’s something happening between other players, ask another bystander what’s going on. You’ll find more often than not that they may have been trying to come up with a way to RP themselves.

Even better: do something unexpected. These are the scenes people will remember. Maybe make them laugh? Or annoy them (IC of course). Be an arrogant asshole (and expect an according reaction). Or – do something clumsy. Be drunk or drugged and stumble into them. No matter if your character is aggressive, or more timid and shy – be creative.

Example: тaĸ υgιмacнι (takahiro.ugimachi) BUMPS into Liz as he’s looking down at his tarnished shoes and his folder flies open and the paperwork flies all over the street, “Oh for fuck sake… watch where you’re going you idiot.”

Bar RP – how to RP in a crowd

Don’t underestimate smalltalk and bar conversations. Yes, sometimes it seems as if it’s just random chit chat. But you can get a lot of information at the bar. Bartenders usually know their town and their clientele. And you can introduce yourself to staff and patrons alike – even if it’s just a simple chat. Again, don’t be shy. You can use the bar to observe and learn more about people, but it will be more productive if you engage them in a conversation. You don’t have to tell your entire background story with the first post – let people interact to find out more about you, and ask them questions. Or… DO something. Get drunk. Dance on the table. Hit on the bartender. Find out that you lost your wallet and that you can’t pay.

(At bars the post order rules are weakened. You don’t necessarily have to wait for the entire room to post. Unless it’s a combat scene – focus on your direct counterparts, and pay attention to the rest of the crowd to see if somebody else joins into your conversation)

How to join a scene

There are a couple of guidelines for joining an ongoing scene. While every scene at a public place is considered, well, public – be considerate before you decide if or how you join in.

First of all: Anything behind closed doors, and anything at a secluded place (back alley, somewhere at the beach etc.) is considered a private scene. Don’t join these scenes without getting explicit consent in IM first.

If it’s a public scene: Always wait one full postround before you post in. Make sure you understand what’s going on. Be aware that we often don’t use the proper animations or RP props to visualize our actions. If in doubt (for example, you are not sure if someone is armed or on the ground) – ask in IM.

Next step: Decide if you can contribute to the scene.
- Is it already a clusterfuck of posts because there are too many people taking part? You probably should stay out unless you have a real good IC reason to join in.
- Maybe it’s the end of a long scene and people seem to be eager to round it up, they might want to log/move on? Use common sense if your contribution would help with that or if you just would force people to stay when they are already exhausted from some hours of RP.
- Is it a highly emotional scene? And/or a sex scene? A rape scene? Something very intense between two people and your intervention would likely force them to end it? Yes, it’s still a public scene and it -is- allowed to join in. If people absolutely don’t want to be interrupted they should take it to a secluded/private place. But ask yourself if your interruption will add to their scene, or just take away from it. Maybe you have a strong IC reason to intervene. Then go for it. If in doubt – ask.

Practical advice: Wait one post round. Then post to make your presence known – without noticing what’s going on and/or without interfering: “Me stops as her mobile starts to vibrate, frowning at the incoming message – too distracted to notice the commotion around the corner.” Or : “/me enters the room and stops abruptly as she notices the couple making out on the counter. For some moments she just stares in disbelief, torn between amusement and anger – not sure if or how to react.”

Then wait for their reaction to your post. Often their response will tell you if your intervention is welcome or not. If somebody screams for help, or if they explicitly acknowledge your presence – feel free to join in. If it looks as if they would deliberately ignore you, or if they post that they are actively trying not to be noticed – better move on. IF IN DOUBT: asking in IM doesn’t hurt.

- How to get into danger

Eager to risk your health? Your life? Your sanity?

Hathian is a violent place, and people come here to live out dark fantasies. But – it is not so much a place for random forced fantasy scenes (though, they happen, too, and that’s fine!). Most of us focus on immersion – dark things happen, but they are part of longterm stories, with according consequences for victim and attacker alike. And not everybody is into sex and violence anyway.

A lot of new RPers come here looking for one of those exciting dark scenes, and there is nothing wrong with that.
But don’t expect it to happen on your first day.

If you are a potential victim – don’t expect everyone to be an attacker, don’t expect that our criminals have nothing else in mind but attacking you. Thought emoting how alone, attractive and helpless you are often won’t be enough to draw their attention (there are always more potential victims than potential attackers on sim – and even a psychopath has a life 🙂 ). Offer them more. Be creative. Be more than ‘just a victim’. Engage them in a conversation, do something – see above. Be assured, it might take some time, but you -will- get into serious trouble.

If you are a potential attacker – please, no random attacks without prior interaction. Give your potential victim time to respond – and don’t force them into something they might not enjoy. You don’t need explicit consent before you attack anyone, but it’s bad form not to leave them an IC-way out. Sometimes people don’t want to be victimized for good reasons (limited time, just having spent weeks in hospital etc.).
Don’t expect anyone to be a willing victim who can be easily dragged off. By attacking a CDer you will most likely have to deal with consequences. Some will fiercely fight back, get you arrested or retaliate. Advice: Take some time to make yourself known. Many potential victims will shy away from you if they think that you just came here for a random rape scene – they won’t agree to it unless they know that you are going to stick around for possible consequences. Accepting serious damage to body or mind is for most of us only fun if it’s part of a longterm story. Be more than “just a random attacker”. You don’t have to be nice. But you should be creative.

Last but not least: If you are a ‘normal’, potentially good and helpful citizen! (Yes, they exist, too). Of course it can be tempting to build up a reputation and to make friends by rescuing people. But please, don’t become a white knight. See above – ask yourself if your intervention will add to a scene or just interrupt and end it. Some victims have worked hard to get into trouble – and they won’t appreciate being rescued before their scene even started. Again – you can join a public scene, but be considerate. Most scenes start at a public area and maybe they just couldn’t move to a secluded place yet. Sometimes it’s better “not to see” certain things. If in doubt – ask in IM. Also – there are often opportunities to be helpful -after- bad things happened. Be the one who notices those ugly bruises. Maybe you’ll be asked to help with retaliation? Stop and call an ambulance when you find a bleeding victim. Also, consider joining the HGH or the FDH.

On the other hand: If you are having a public scene and someone jumps in to save the victim – don’t get all upset and rude. Of course you can ask them politely not to disturb your scene (if possible -before- they post in). But the better way is to go with it. The default is: if you are at a public place, anyone can walk in and anything can happen. If you really don’t want to risk being interrupted – move to a private place.

Hathian is a dangerous town. Everywhere. And some places are more dangerous than others. If you walk into gang territory, be aware that you might get into trouble (and that can be a lot of fun). Nobody needs explicit consent to attack you – all it needs is interaction.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t approach dangerous people to have non-combative RP with them. Even our most dangerous gang-members might interact without hospitalizing you – if you give them a chance and reason to do so. Again – creativity is the key. Maybe they want you as customer – gangs usually have a business front, or they are dealing. Maybe you have information to offer. Maybe you are a potential prospect. Maybe they are up for a flirt.

But – if your character ignores the risk, is aggressive and mouthy and doesn’t back down when threatened, don’t expect anyone to bend -their- character just because you don’t want to fight. Also – don’t be too afraid of taking a beating! People will respect your limits. And hospital and RPing out injuries can be fun. Conflict is good for storylines, and bad experiences are good for character development.

Advice for established RPers:

Be aware, if you are standing around in CD without OOC or AFK tag – you are game!

No matter if you know the person who walks up or not, no matter if it’s a beginner or a veteran. Please don’t just ignore their attempts to RP with you. We want an atmosphere where anyone can come up to anyone, where people aren’t afraid to initiate RP. If you really aren’t available at the moment – explain politely in IM, maybe offer that they can come back later. Don’t discourage new members by ignoring them. Don’t expect them to ask first before they dare to approach you. Nobody needs allowance for RP!
Also – if they are obviously new, maybe don’t react with a 20 lines-paragraph, or at least warn them that they will have to wait a bit for your reply.

Even for established RPers it’s sometimes difficult to reach out to people your character would usually avoid – or to reach out to people who’s character naturally would never get near you cause they know who you are or what you are capable of.

That’s why we sometimes bend realism a bit – for example CD’s businesses won’t ban anyone for their gang affiliation, at least not for longer. And while longterm vendettas can be fun – sometimes it’s better when your character forgives and forgets after a while. Especially when your enemy gives you a reason – maybe they do something for you, or it’s good for your business to cooperate. Maybe there are family connections – do your kids play with theirs? Did they hit on your brother/sister? That could give your conflict an entirely new dimension.

Also, it can happen that your own character stifles your RP. Maybe you find that you are too cautious, too reasonable, too morally correct. Or – you are too insane, egocentric, too psychotic, and your interactions only revolve around violence without any deeper interaction. Then you should consider tweaking your character. People change. If you are too ‘normal’ and too careful to get into real trouble – an important life event could change that. If your character somehow became too fucked up for human relationships – try a therapy. Let things happen to your character and add layers of complexity.

March 21, 2014 at 8:13 am
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March 20, 2016 at 8:34 am
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March 20, 2016 at 10:26 pm
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January 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm
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