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Mentoring - A guide to Roleplay (Part 1 & 2).

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I love this guide! it helped me refine some of my rather crude rp characteristics. However I have something to ask. Since level and gear are a mirror of things you have accomplished in game, requiring skill and effort, should they affect rping in a way? For example, I find it logical to assume that a lvl 3 Warrior attempting to fight against a lvl 45 ranger has 0 odds of survival ic wise since the 45 ranger is HIGHLY more experienced in combat and has aquired more refined and of better quality equipment. Also, should classes affect our rp in any way? For example, as a ranger is it normal to assume that I am more agile, swift and have hightened senses compared to other classes due to that fact?

Also is it normal to assume that the various classes have their own kinds and abilities ic? Ex. a thief can shadowstep ic wise to turn invisible, whereas a ranger can claim he has animalistic senses and an understanding of animal talk due to the beastmaster element of his proffession.

that said should it also be that the player puts his own limitation according to his own trait system, which can be seen as a sort of "what does my character specialise into ic wise as well"? For example a specced marksman can assume he has better aim then all rangers, but a specced nature magic ranger could claim he has an unnatural affinity to the spirits of nature and communes with the spirits of the wild even?
Posted Sep 18, 12
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Hi there!

Thanks for your kind words! Let me do my best to answer your questions. :)

In regards to what you are talking about, it's a bit of a grey area, and there will be differing opinions on it. In general, though, this is what I have found to be acceptable by and large:


-Yes, level does come into it, and if you want to be a really awesome fighter, you should be high level. That said, not everyone roleplays their character as being powerful, even if they are max level. So it's something that applies most of the time, but not all the time. What I have seen a lot of people do, if they want to roleplay a strong character at low-level, is give some sort of reason why they're weakened while they level up.

Maybe they had a major injury they are recovering from. Maybe they had a traumatic experience and have trouble focusing. Maybe they're trying something new and it's not going so well. For whatever reason, they're vulnerable right now, and it will be overcome through roleplay and leveling.

Even if someone is level 1, and someone is level 80, though, the level 80 should exercise respect when dealing with the other player. Perhaps an OOC talk needs to happen if a conflict arises to figure out something agreeable to both parties. No matter how awesomesauce you are, you should still be willing to work with others.


-The professions in the game can definitely come into play with the character, though, as always, you should never make a character have unbalanced traits (too many strengths and not enough weaknesses). As a ranger, you may have heightened senses, but you also may have trouble fighting without your animal companion around. I play a Mesmer, and while I have lots of cool illusions, my character is easy to drop if taken by surprise, or if she cannot focus her illusions are weak.

-Most people would agree that your basic character abilities are totally usable in roleplay. I would not necessarily use the elite talents, in interests of balance, but common abilities are completely fine in most cases.

-And I think limiting your character by the specialization they have in traits is a really cool idea, and something I know a lot of people like to do. For my Mesmer, she is big into clones for her spec, because ICly, she rarely if ever actually lifts a finger in a fight (unless she is in dire straits). I would never call your character "better than all the others" at something, but I would say he could be very, very good.

Hope that answers your question, and let me know if you have any more. :d
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Posted Sep 18, 12 · OP
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You cover my answers completelly. I agree with you, as always you should be respectfull to all other rpers, in the end whats the point of having an invinsible character. Might as well not rp at all
Posted Sep 19, 12
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Benefactor
Sorry if this has been touched on already - the "White Rabbit" title refers to my constantly being in a hurry due to a chaotic RL, so I can't read through all 4 pages, but I wanted to make one note here regarding one of the points in the OP.

Romantic RP is a tricky beast, and upsets over it do not always indicate an unhealthy IC/ooc bleedover. The fact is, a romantic storyline takes a lot of time to play out. If you are RPing a romantic relationship with another RPer (I'm not talking ERP here, just two characters being spouses/significant others ICly), it means you will likely be spending a lot of time together, and so for someone to choose your character as an IC partner, it indicates a certain degree of trust and ooc comfort.

If the person you are ICly married to "dumps" you or "cheats" on you, especially without an ooc discussion beforehand, it can hurt OOCly even if you have no ooc romantic feelings for that person. Essentially the person is removing a lot of their time from you and giving it to someone else. I don't care who you are, or how mature; if you've been RPing with someone daily and having a great time and suddenly they abandon you to spend every day RPing with another person, that is going to hurt.

Of course there are more and less mature ways to handle that hurt, but if you are the one doing the dumping, please don't leap to the conclusion that your IC ex-spouse harbors genuine romantic feelings for you just because they are hurt or angry at an unexpected termination of the IC romance. It could be that they just really liked your RP, and miss it, and are angry at the lack of ooc communication/consent. Now they unexpectedly have to play a character who has been jilted or cuckolded, and if it wasn't part of your plan it can be just as annoying as being stabbed without consent etc.
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Posted Sep 19, 12
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Hi there Verica, and thanks for taking the time to read my guide even though you have lots on the go! :)

Let's talk about your points, which I believe are definitely valid ones.

I think that you can even widen the scope of your points about upset feelings over things that happen in roleplay in general, up to and including romantic roleplay.

As roleplayers, we devote a tremendous amount of time into roleplay stories with other people, and a failure to communicate over a story, or a change in a story (where it affects someone else) that is not discussed between the two roleplayers can definitely lead to hurt feelings.

I have experienced that myself firsthand. It was not romantic roleplay, but a case where someone had been doing master/apprentice-style roleplay with a character of mine for two years very frequently suddenly, without letting me know at all, decided that they wanted to employ two different characters instead of mine for the missions being undertaken, because their characters were "more capable." My character went from having too much to do, and plot development daily, to being unable to get involved in the stories around her, and she never got the ending point of what her master had been molding and shaping her into for two years. And that basically derailed my whole character concept, making her a shadow of what she was before. I waited in anticipation for two years for the resolution of that story arc, and never even found out OOC the ending to it.

And, like you said, any player being would be upset by that.

I suppose I should be clearer in my points in my write-up. I was writing purely from a point of times when people use their characters to fulfill OOC desires, rather than playing the character separate from the player's desires.

Being upset over a romantic roleplay taking a shift without any talks previously is a different kind of upset than having someone not return the feelings you were trying to fulfill using roleplay. You are upset because of the story being changed and without communication from the other person. Trust was broken. And that is a perfectly valid reaction to have.

The case where blending would come into that is if you took those hurt feelings, and used your character to "get back at them", rather than communicating OOCly and explaining that you feel like your trust was broken and your feelings are hurt.

I believe I did mention communication with the other players as something important for all major changes in roleplay in a few areas of my write-up, but let me stress it again here: communication and respect for other people's characters is what enriches and creates awesome roleplay for everyone. And I believe the situation you outlined would be, as you said, under the category of inflicting permanent damage to someone's character, and should be discussed.

I hope that is a fair response to your comments. Trust me, I know exactly how that feels.
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Posted Sep 19, 12 · OP
Hi Amacynth,

Overall I'm very impressed with your guide and your graceful ability to answer everyone's questions. You mentioned in your original post that you're interested in feedback. Because this guide has been so useful to so many members of our community already, I'd like to offer you some insights from my own experiences in case you find them useful to your piece. It's your discretion of course if you'd like to implement them in any way. :) (I want to note that I switch between the literal "you" and the universal "you," just to avoid any misunderstanding.)
4. We are all in this together. When I visualize roleplay, I see it as a community of people, all with the common interest of driving a story, striving to create something engaging with deep characters and plots. That community is intertwined in many wrote:

Wonderfully put. I've found role play to be very similar to improv clubs. Oftentimes, the state of mind you encourage is forgotten. Whether it's due to attachment, a fierce (though perhaps subconscious) spirit of competition or envy, or a number of other causes, role players become too engrossed in their own characters. They can also become engrossed in their own ego or popularity. This is very easy to do. Our characters are the only piece of the puzzle we control, and the only piece we've invested so much of our creativity and time into. We can soon become so focused on it we forget there's a puzzle that fits together. Another common vice is being caught in a passive aggressive contest of who has the "best" character, whatever "best" may mean. Perhaps it means powerful, or just, or kind, or believable. The list goes on. Because this passive aggressive, or perhaps just aggressive behavior is OOCly driven, it could be considered a form of blending. It's important to realize that there is no "best" character, only diversity. And they look fantastic together when they're seen as a harmony of equal components telling a story.

Ultimately, we role play (or improv) to explore not only our own creativity, but to help other creative people flourish. That's what makes role play beautiful. We could write a fantasy novel alone, or we could twine our imaginations together to create something, and in doing so we learn from each other.

I learned a very important lesson in improv that I think can go beyond even role play: "Try to make the other person look good."

In the end, if you help another player and invest your thoughts and interests in their creation, they'll do the same for you. Besides, if you're really that worried about how you come across, that looks better than hogging limelight anyway. But it shouldn't be for that reason.
3. The backstory for the character is a springboard for the roleplay, and usually not much more than that. 4. It is important to make a backstory, to help shape the initial character and future encounters, but after months of roleplay the backstory e wrote:

Unless I did not understand you correctly, I only partially agree with this idea. It is an excellent way to make a background, and it is for the reason you gave: it can be a springboard. For example, many actors who improvise give simple backgrounds for the character they have planned, and simply roll with it. They do it for characters in plays or movies as well, to give reason to the actions in the script. It can be quite successful.

However, I have found long backgrounds equally successful so long as there is room for growth, and so long as the player feels it isn't too burdensome to remember and implement. It's good to flesh things out as much as you feel you need. I can attest for this because writing long backgrounds is a method I commonly use.

You said very eloquently that there is no wrong way to role play, and that is a wonderful point. I'd like to expand on that idea. We're here because we want to express our creative ideas, or our dreams, in the form of a character to use in a community-evolved story. This can mean an individual story in a controlled, set environment, and then continuing the story in an interactive, only partially controlled environment. Like us, characters can have rich backgrounds whose subtle facets have a profound impact on how we act and grow. And sometimes, something that happened months or even years ago can feel like much more than a distant memory, depending on how vivid it is in your character's head, the way they perceive time, or if the event had a big impact on them. Role players often pride themselves in writing stories about their characters, but I feel this can be said for both their present and their past.

When I wrote about my character Calpeia back when she was a WoW character, a good friend argued that her story was already over because I had written so much. I asked him, why? I could write just as much about my past, but I'm still a growing, learning, evolving human being. So long as there's room to grow and there's still a story for you to tell, there's still a future. Even a seasoned old man or woman still has room to evolve. Just like us, the only thing that can stop a character from growing is death. You just have to be able to think of ways that they can grow, by contemplating their place in life, their flaws, or perhaps their relationships. Sometimes this can be a challenge. Before you decide how much background you wish to create, or where you will place your character in his, her, or its life, it's wise to ascertain that your character can evolve like a real person.


It is so important to separate roleplay from reality because to confuse the two leads to miscommunication, drama, and unhappy people. One cannot objectively weave a fair and unbiased storyline if they cannot remove themselves from the equation. (...) wrote:

Yes. Absolutely. Blending is a slippery slope to unnecessary conflict and upset feelings, and is made even worse by lack of effective communication. Realizing that this is only story telling is essential.

I admire your ability to be objective and handle situations wisely. However, I don't believe being 100%, or even 90% objective, is possible. Shifting your goal towards telling a story with others and away from just your characters' needs is a great way of getting closer to achieving this ideal. But a character is effectively an extension of yourself, of your creativity and your mind. To truly understand the emotions and thoughts of another person, any actor will tell you that you must connect yourself with them to an extent. If you don't accomplish this connection, portraying an emotion may feel forced and inorganic. So it all boils down to these questions- how much do you connect and disconnect yourself? Where does the happy and accomplished actor stand apart from the emotionally confused ones you spoke of? Where do you draw the line?

The answer may come down to constant self-awareness. How do you feel as a player, and how does your character feel? If you notice your emotions becoming turbulent and uncomfortably similar by what is occurring to your character, I've found that the most harmful thing you can do is hide anything from yourself. Even the tiniest inkling can speak volumes. You may want to ask yourself these questions:
- What am I feeling? Be honest. You cannot help your feelings and there is no shame in owning up to them. The only shame that can come from them is how you react to your feelings. Your Tips on Separating Role Play From Reality is a great way to manage it. :)

- Do I feel this way because of what's happened to my character ICly by the player's character, or for a reason that has a direct impact on me OOCly? A good example may be the example given with the mentor/student story arc, where an action had an impact on the player. The most important thing to do here is not to over-rationalize your reaction so you can falsely reassure yourself you weren't blending. We are human, and we make mistakes. Blending can happen accidentally even to the most seasoned and level-headed role player. It's the commendable thing to come to terms with what your mind is doing, how you are reacting, and how you are feeling. More importantly, it's the most effective thing you can do to avoid conflict and self-denial. You can't be honest and forthright with other people if you aren't with yourself.

- How should I handle this situation? Should it handled alone with self-encouragement (talking to yourself never hurts if it works for you), communicating my feelings to the player, talking about it with a trusted friend, or should I do the former before I do the ladder? (The third choice is usually the best one in many situations. It may be best to remove yourself or talk about it to fully understand your feelings, before you can know how to properly address them.)

These are things that I have to ask myself plenty of times. I'm the first to admit that I have gotten connected to my character's emotions to the point where it had an affect on me. But so long as the distance you have is healthy and understood by you, and you understand this is storytelling and not something that should be personal, you should have minimal problems. It may also help to address these situations as, (I'll use my character as an example), "Calpeia and I had a long conversation about this. We had a few disagreements, but I told her..." This may come off as crazy, but it works for me. ;) Then again... ask any of my friends if I'm not crazy. They won't give you a straight answer. : D

4. Their character doesn’t react at all the way they should? The first way to address this is in-character. “Gabriel! Why are you attempting to save such vile trash as this demon! He is your enemy! Have you gone mad, my friend? Cast it back to he wrote:

Definitely! Sometimes the best way to deal with something that occurs IC is to react ICly. So long as it's done with respect for the player and as a gentle, thoughtful hint to help them, simply reacting to something the way your character would makes it feel more natural. I couldn't have said it better. :)
Unfortunately, a lot of people can become really attached to their characters, and they worry that losing a fight will wreck the character theyve worked so hard to make. They dont want something negative to happen to their character, and they do no wrote:

I admire the way you wrote this because you reasonably empathized with why a player may feel the need to be defensive. Then you reflected on why it's a big problem in a really comprehensive, almost textbook way. You have my props for this. :)


I have nothing but good things to say about everything else in Part 1. If I didn't know better I'd suspect you went into public relations with the way you wrote this piece. It's concise, thoughtful, and covers a lot of ground. It's also understanding to many behaviors and situations. The language is objective and fashioned in a cause-and-effect way of thinking, which I found easy to understand. I haven't read Part 2 yet, but if you're interested in a similar go-over I'd be more than happy to oblige to you.


Thank you so much for contributing this to us, and for answering questions so thoughtfully. It speaks a lot about your mastery of role play and your experience. I hope we can get to know each other better in the future and run into each other in game sometime. :)
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Posted Sep 27, 12 · Last edited Sep 28, 12
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Hello Willowgust, and thank you so much for your kind words and input. :)

I also used to be in stage acting and improv a few years ago, so I understand exactly what you're talking about. I have seen the common pitfalls you listed time and again, and I always hope that the player eventually grows to shift their focus outward and into the community.

I know that this is a game (and that it's a little idealistic), but if everyone made a sincere effort to contribute to the community and help support others' characters, we could build something even more wonderful than the roleplay community than we've already got. And ultimately, the health of the community is what provides vibrant roleplay.

I'll add some of your observations into my main post tomorrow. Thank you again for sharing.
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Posted Sep 27, 12 · OP
Hey, thank you! It's very nice of you to add my thoughts. I'm glad I could help. I also added some more stuff I meant to put in earlier before the enter key gave me the finger. (I kinda had to span it out over time because of work. XD) I hope you like it! Thanks again for such a well thought out guide!
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friendly but paranoid math geek, chipper insect robotics inventor, retired bird-flipping hag, lovably stupid fry cook
Posted Sep 28, 12
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Oh, excellent, you added more to the post you put in! I really really appreciate all of the feedback you've given, and will amend or add to some portions of my guide once I get a little time today. If you want to go over part 2 as well I would love feedback on that one too. :)
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Posted Sep 28, 12 · OP
Hey, thanks a lot for reading it and taking my suggestions so much to heart. :) As for Part 2, I did not find a single thing I could add. In fact, this is the part where I can gladly stroke your ego and fan it with peacock feathers.
2. You can use them sometimes right before or after a custom emote to provide a visual treat for the other roleplayers. wrote:

Yes! It's very effective and a great way to help immerse yourselves even further into what's going on.
Keep your tense consistent. wrote:

Oh man, definitely, and this can be hard to do if no one can decide on a tense to use. Sometimes when I RP with someone who uses a different tense than me, or they can't decide, it accidentally rubs off and I don't notice until after I press enter. XD So it's something worth keeping an eye on.
Avoid passive language wrote:

THIS. Times a thousand. I have very good RP friends who are great at what they do, but when they insert "would" where they really don't need it it drives me nuts. It weakened their language significantly, which was a shame. Their descriptions would have been vivid and colorful without it.
Find inspiration from other characters/people, but try not to make copies. (...) Use the lore to enhance your character, not limit it. wrote:

Also a good idea. A lot of times people can complain about how lore creates a low ceiling. It may also help to come up with a vague idea outside of that universe, then find a way to integrate it so it can help give more detail about an aspect of that universe- so long as it's a sensible fit.


Honestly, as I said before, you nailed it. I have nothing to add for Part 2. You have some excellent tips and pointers here that I was completely on the same page with. One of these days I'm gonna have to take you up on that offer and bug you in game. : D
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friendly but paranoid math geek, chipper insect robotics inventor, retired bird-flipping hag, lovably stupid fry cook
Posted Sep 30, 12
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