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Author Topic: Lesson 1 - Introduction  (Read 5177 times)
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« on: August 14, 2001, 05:41:22 AM »

The door of the classroom swings open with a sudden bang. Through it comes waltzing Ormelor, carrying a pile of books that could make a librarian drool, stacked with paper scrolls in different places and a bag on his back with things probably better left unsaid. Without looking but with his right foot the Keeper closes the door.  Without looking… Turning his head would mean he has to remove his chin from the book on the top and this would not be possible without resulting in certain disasters.

With no noticeable effort, Ormelor makes his way to the desk in front of the class, avoiding a broom, bucket and fallen chair.

When the books lie safely on top of the desk and the bag is put away under it, Ormelor places both his hands on the desk and peers into the classroom.

“Well then…” he speaks calmly. “Class of 2001, you are all here to learn the basics of the art of Role-Playing… Then I have good news for you. You just received the basics of it…”

Answering the unasked questions in the baffled pupils’ eyes, he continues.

Edited by: Gnufruk the Trader at: 9/10/01 7:13:01 am
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2001, 05:43:22 AM »

“Yes, you did… The basics of Role-Playing would be a short description of what it is. But the words says it all… Play a role… Get into the personality of a character of your creation. Act as that character would in the circumstances created by you or others in the same story. Try to have a history, make up the present, and work towards a future for that persona.

But I’ll give you the brief history of Role-Playing. You can safely skip it if you’re not interested.”

Edited by: Artimidor Federkiel at: 8/13/01 8:44:21 pm
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2001, 05:47:22 AM »

I don’t know about you, but when I at first heard the word mentioned, I did not think of computers or the internet. I thought of games. It is often said, and not without reason I reckon, that J.R.R. Tolkien had a great impact on the creation of the genre of games. (If that name does not ring a bell, I suggest you rush to the library right now and get a copy of The Lord of the Rings. After you’ve read through all 1065 pages of it, you may return.)  His revolutionary work was one of the first to create a completely new world filled with the most fantastic creatures. After the book came out and gained lots of readers, the games followed. People would huddle together in a basement with a paper board in front of them, travelling through mysterious lands under the all knowing eye of a Game Master who told them what tasks lay ahead. A roll of the dice decided the weaknesses and strengths of a character, and everything happened in a rather organised way.

Whether you won or lost a fight, was decided by means of maths.

Online, however, I personally prefer a more liberal system.

For one thing, in all cases I’ve seen, the numeral aspect is dropped completely. When you have to mention your character post in every post, or your opponent has to look on a sheet before taking any actions, it’s rather discouraging for new people to join in. I myself have never ever played any RPG on boards. Numbers like “Vitality 25, Magic 14” and “Boots of Strength, HP +20%” or the likes, only scare me. They work in the games, but in my (humble as ever) opinion, they’re out of place in the Story RP’s.

GM’s… They are almighty on the board games. (Well, kinda, from what I know.) It is them who decide what obstacles the adventurers find on their way.

As I write this, the discussion on whether or not to have some sort of story tellers on the Santharian RP’board is as of yet undecided. My choice is not to have one… Sometimes people lose their interest in the RP itself and may choose to drop out of it. If you have someone asking them when they’re going to reply again, or telling them it’s their turn, or even suggesting perhaps they should write some sort of a goodbye-post, they may not enjoy that. I myself really don’t like being told to write. If I’m not in the mood, crap will come out; it’s as simple as that.

Anyway, I am kinda certain the GM will come here anyway, and all I can hope for then is that he / she won’t be too strict. I suppose someone who can carry along the story when it’s come to a halt is not a bad thing. Then again, sometimes it may look as if nothing is happened, while perhaps the writers are just taking time to flesh out their characters.

Tricky subject.

But not one that really matters.

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2001, 05:49:22 AM »

“You've just seen me assuming the part of a teacher… I am not that comfortable with this role just yet, but I will get into it… Yes, I am quite sure I could get used to this…”

With a smile on his face, Ormelor wants to take place on the chair he knows should be there, but happens to stand just a little bit further to the left. Ormelor falls almost, recovers from the stumbling, grabs the chair with one hand and manages to end up in it, more or less looking as if the whole thing was planned that way.

“OK, WHO THE F….” The Keeper managed to correct himself right in time. “THE HECK PUT THAT CHAIR OVER THERE?”

Of course, nobody answered.

Typical… the Keeper thought to himself.

“Ok, listen up, lesson 1 starts here.” Ormelor sighed, and stood up from the desk. From somewhere he produced a piece of chalk and wrote on the blackboard:

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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2001, 06:00:22 AM »

There are many ways to show the difference between these things.

As you probably have noticed already, my actions are in plain white text. When I say something, my words turn green. And for my thoughts in this example, I used italic white (White because with this font, the italic isn't all that clear. Just a short notice, when further on there is italic white, it does no longer represent my thoughts, but emphasises certain parts, or marks an example.).

But you are of course completely free to do whatever you like with this, and there is no rule to this at all.

You may prefer to write as you would write a book. Only indicating spoken words by "typing them like this". Many people also choose to only indicate their actions, by putting them between * or :: or anything else.

My guess, but don't quote me on this, is that this is a result from trying to do something else in chat-rooms than just chit-chat about boring things…

If you ever went into an ordinary chat-room, you will know what I mean by this.
People just let the lines of text fly over the screen, talking about what movie they saw, what they want to have for dinner, how things are going with the kids, the family, the dog… Whatever. However, there are also some people who aren't just satisfied with talking. After all, you can do that in any ordinary cafe, right? While here, anonymous as you are, you can let yourself go. So after a while, it may happen that in the middle of a conversation you get this:

Person1: Heya, Person2, what did you do last night?
Person2: Went to the cinema with a friend.
Person1: Oh, what movie?
Person2: Can't remember…
Person1: Blah blah blah
Acting Person3: *Acting Person3 comes running into the thread, slips, and speaks from down on the floor* Heya guys! How are you doing?

See what I meant?

To show emotions, you also have a few options.

One known all over the Internet, is USING CAPS, which is considered shouting, and rather rude. If you do this a lot, you will get frowned upon a lot, if you do it with no apparent reason of course.

I don't like reading posts with a lot of capital letters, no matter how mad your character gets. Around here on these boards however, there are a couple of codes, and you can do a lot with that, create more subtle effects, and IMHO it looks better.

These are some codes you can use to emphasize parts of your text.

Italic text
Bold text

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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2001, 06:07:22 AM »

You can also use HTML. To get that, you type  and  to close again. Please note that ezCode and HTML can't be used at the same posting! Well, HTML provides an easy way to add colour, something you can use as well:

Edited by: Artimidor Federkiel at: 8/13/01 9:08:18 pm
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2001, 06:16:22 AM »

I have been experimenting with a couple of colours in that html tag, and here have the results.

Red
Blue
Green
Darkblue
Lightblue
Black
Silver
Gray
Darkgray

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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2001, 06:19:22 AM »

The code for this (on the boards) is the following:
<font color="whatever colour you like but not all will work" > Text in that colour </font >


You can use them if you like. But don't abuse them. Or you can just start using the hex codes… if you like that sort of things.

You can combine them, but be careful you don't lose track of the brackets…

You can not combine two colours, so won't give you purple…

I prefer putting the colour tags first, and between those you can then fiddle away with the bold and Italics… I find it the least confusing way, and it keeps me from making mistakes. This is just a matter of personal taste though. Remember however that when you are still within the [html] tags, italic and bold need to be between these brackets < and >, else you must use [ and ].

Ormelor sits down again, putting his feet on the desk in front of them.

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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2001, 06:20:22 AM »

The truth is, that no one can give you an easy answer to this.

Some people play RPG’s on boards in dark mysterious basements, going the ways of a warrior or sorcerer in a world ruled by a GM (Game-Master). Others LARP (Life Action Role Playing), hacking and slashing their friends with plastic swords in woods nearby, being laughed at by ignorant spectators.

I can imagine that if one plays with a certain elven thief every week for a certain amount of time, that character may start to lead a life of its own. And when you need someone to write with/about, that may be an easy source of inspiration.

It is of course also very well possible that you have this great name in your head you really want to use, and the forming of a character behind it is just a matter of time. In the posts, the character lives and evolves. This may not always be the best way to start though. If you don't be careful, your warrior will become rather unbelievable when he does things one way one day, and completely differently the next day.

Another example? Let me try…

Ok, let's say that fabulous name you got was… Erm… Pinky. Pinky is a brute giant warrior, trying to RP for the very first time. Tavern threads provide a place one can easily enter the realm of RP'ing. So, Pinky's first post could be this:

The giant warrior Pinky enters the tavern, seeks an empty chair and sits himself down. He orders a beer.

No harm done… A short post, not much in it, no mistakes thus far. Pinky can become any kind of character.

He is a giant though… Most people associate giant with, well… Kinda big…

So if the next post would be this:

Pinky stands up, and trips over a kitten that wanders between his feet. Pinky falls flat on his face, unconscious.

Big hug enormous giants do not tend to trip over something as small as a kitten… If you start by saying that your character is a giant, try to act as one… Try to think what is possible and what isn't…

If Pinky then goes further on the wrong road token and continues:

He started crying because he hurt his knee.

Sorry Pinky… But apparently you are not a very good giant, and a terrible warrior too… In the next post some good soul will probably feel sorry for you and put you out of your misery…

Warning: Do not take that last sentence literally!!! I will say more about this later on!!!

I admit, this example isn't the best, but writing mistakes is hard…

I hope you get this though: Make it easy for others to believe in your character. If he kills a handful of goblins in one post, he isn't very likely to faint when seeing blood in the next post… A rogue who prefers being on his own, is not going to befriend every woman that pouts at him in a sensual way. Dwarves don't pass out after their first pint of ale. Amazon warriors don't take their knitting-work with them wherever they go…

I don't know who said it, I believe it was a writer, but someone said something like this that in fantasy you have to be even more realistic than in other literary genres… It means the difference between good reading material and rubbish… Realistic meaning of course that you don't contradict yourself, but contradictory as it may seem, everything is possible.

Thalydia Deya suggested that in the previous part I did emphasise the fact that you must watch out not to make your character contradictory, but she finds that it is even more important to watch out for making your character too generic.

Her words:

People are turned off by fantasy because so much of it is typecast dribble. The old man with a beard? Of course he's a wizard! This is fantasy! The Amazon, of course she doesn't bring her knitting with her, this is fantasy! She's going to be a tall, big-breasted woman in metal lingerie that someone with some sort of twisted ideas of medieval warfare thinks is armour. […] In my opinion, for characters to live and be believable, they must not be stereotypical. Let the Amazon take her knitting with her. People are idiosyncratic. Let your characters be idiosyncratic too. No one is completely consistent. Allow your characters to develop, even change, but make it real.

I agree with her wholeheartedly, of course. Stereotypes are an evil thing. Not always, but when the umpteenth warrior joins a story already crowded with dragon-slayers… You get my point.

Keep into mind, however, that the first reason for this whole tutorial on RP’ing was meant for a public of people who are completely new to it. People who for the very first time come into contact with writing RP’s, or haven’t even read anything fantasy-related before.

And when people do create their first character with a virtually non-existent background in fantasy, stereotypes are what they will make. Again, I agree there are exceptions to every rule.

The point I was trying to make is that if you do have a certain type of character, let it stay like that until you feel confident enough with it. Look at it this way. In medieval time, boys could grow up to be a knight, but before they became that, they had to pass through different stages. Before you try to dig into psychologics and entangled twisted subplots, make sure you can at least write two posts after one another that don’t come into conflict with each another. People change, but not directly. And if you’re going to break with stereotypes (like have an amazon who after the working hours knits socks), do so from the start, or work towards it slowly. If the giant Pinky is a wimp, I can live with that. But don’t let him take pleasure in killing dragons at first to then run from a human knight. And no matter how much of a coward he is, he stays a dragon and will have to duck before entering human rooms, will fall through his chairs and will stay upright when a kitten bumps into him.

Thus, characters can grow as you speak over a certain amount of time… But, this is something Thalydia herself also mentioned:

No, it's not believable for a character to change instantly for no reason. But, often in the course of a story there are reasons. A hardened warrior suddenly must take care of a child and finds that he has lost his taste for killing. Something like that gives a character such life. These games don't have to be just something to kill the time, they can be moving, they can be a way to reach other people and be filled with thought and beauty.

But there is another possible approach…

You might actually take the time to sit down for a while and think about who you are going to be. What will be your strengths? Your weaknesses? Does s/he have some special ability? Can you do magic? If so, what kind of magic? (You will soon find out that one who can do all, is rather boring… but, more about that later on.) Where do you come from? What happened in your past? Is your past a burden that effects your acts in the present? Do you speak in a different way?

If you don't know what I mean by this, let me give you an example of some fine ogrish speech. This was recorded in a tavern where I happened to pass by. The ogre in question went by the name of Nagrud. I did not write this, but use it as an example:

He starts to take a step towards them, then thinks better of it and instead tries to get the seemingly disappeared barmaid to serve him something.

"Oi! Anywun dere? Me wunz a ztrong wun!" [*grin* Translation: “Oi! Anyone there? I want a strong one!”]

His tusks obviously hinders him somewhat in his attempts at conversation, but that is of little importance since no-one seems willing to come anywhere near him.

There was a game of cards going on, which the ogre joined. Nice accent don’t you think?:

The deck of cards obviously caught the ogre’s attention. He gulps down the last of his first bottle of booze and walks over to the table where the man with the cards sits.
"Me nevva win eeda. Cudd be fun." [Translation: “I never win either. Could be fun.”]

I choked on that accent the first time, couldn’t get it to make sense. But it kinda grows on you. An easier dialect is that of the Elf Shayanna. She also came into this bar, and she’s someone who speaks like this -everywhere- online… Be in a Role-Play, in just a comments forum, on ICQ… You name it.

*Looks to Adrean smugly over hearing her*
I do nae have to flaunt me heritage because it be blindingly apparent.
I am proud to be Elven.
Nae ashamed.
I will nae hide me heritage.
*Annoyed at the wait*
Bartender.
Do this be a self-service joint or nae?

Deciding all these things about your character in advance, still gives you room enough to change your character as events happen, or to give him / her his / her definite form as time goes by…

Instead of

The giant warrior Pinky enters the tavern, seeks an empty chair and sits himself down. He orders a beer.

Your first post could be:

The giant Pinky entered the tavern, bending his head so he wouldn’t bump it on the ceiling. The light of the candles multiplied in one thousand shining stars on the brightly polished armour of the warrior. His sword rested in the sheath by his side, one hand ready by the hilt. His red hair waved in all directions, and together with his fierce beard it made the face of Pinky look like a dark island in a sea of fire.

The corners of his eyes were wrinkled… The warrior wasn't a child anymore, and the past had left more marks on him than just the wrinkles. As he sat down on one of the tables and placed both arms on the tabletop, all people present could clearly see that the left wrist did not have to support a hand anymore.

Pinky has a history, a rough one. And his handicap gives some nice RP-possibilities. He looks rough. He takes care of his armour and isn't one to trust people at first glance, else he wouldn't be ready to draw his sword at any time…



A bell rang…

Ormelor checked his watch and arched an eyebrow in surprise. He then looked at the class again.

“Ehrm… This is taking longer than I thought it would… Class dismissed for today. I want all of you to read chapter 1 and 2 in your text book by tomorrow, and to create a character with at least one strange feature…”

He sighed as all students had already left the classroom.  

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