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Role-Playing Etiquette Compendium, Part I: Terminology By Elza

Ban Caomhnoir de na Ulchabhan Gorm
Ban Caomhnoir de na Ulchabhan Gorm
Posted On: 12/08/2012 at 01:49 PM

Disclaimer: I, Dae, by no means adhere to all of these rules. My playstyle is more "go with the flow", but for those who are curious and don't mind a long read...I found this for you! *edited a little to be more PG*


This is the first installment of a four part Role-Playing Compendium for beginners! The portion below begins with the basic terminologies that all Role-Players should know, at least for reference sake.

First of all, if you are new to RP, welcome! And if you're an old pro, perhaps you'll see something here that you did not know prior to reading this article. I'll be going through a few tips, tricks, techniques and etiquette for the newer RP'ers, to let them get used to it and not blunder through on their own! Let's get started with the basics!

I. Terminology

1. Role-playing / RP

Role-playing or R, is the term used when a person changes one's behavior to assume a role and acts that way in a social setting or when it is adapted to gaming. For this compendium, we're going to use role-playing as it has become adapted to video games.

2. IC / OOC

IC stands for in-character. In-character means just what it says; you are presently acting and responding to those around you as if you are your character.

OOC stands for out of character. It is another give-me type phrase, as it means that you are presently acting as yourself, and not your character.

3. Meta-gaming

Meta-gaming is the term used when someone uses OOC information to solve or create IC problems or issues. Not sure what I mean? Let me give you an example.

Ralph and Jane are at work, on lunch, having a conversation about gaming later on that night. Ralph tells Jane that another friend of theirs, Bob, that his character is currently going to ask Betty's character to marry him in-game. Ralph continues on, telling Jane that Betty's character is having issues with the way Bob's character is acting toward her. Ralph states that Bob's character's advances are too forward and rushed, and she wishes he would back off.

Later on that evening, the four of them are in-game chatting away IC. Bob's character makes a smart mouthed comment to Jane's character, and Jane's character becomes upset. In turn, Jane's character responds to him with: "Oh yea? Well, [Betty's character] doesn't like you and she wants you to leave her alone."

As far as Jane's character knows, everything between Bob's character and Betty's character is just fine, but Jane herself meta-gamed and exploited information she had learned while being out of character.

This is highly frowned upon, so just do not do it.


4. God-moding

In role-play, it means trying to exert too much control over the plot and other characters, usually because the player has no concept of in-character or out of character, and is there to "win" and satisfy their ego rather than be creative and collaborative. Examples:

a) Invincibility

Creating a character so powerful and invulnerable that it cannot take any damage, be incapacitated or hindered, lose a fight, or feel pain.


b) Dictating other players' responses

Swinging a punch and telling the other player that they are down, that they are unconscious, cut, or dead.


c) Impossibility

Drawing a knife when your hands are tied. Pulling a bow out of your rectum when you're on the ground and hogtied (I wish I were making this up), or drawing a bow out of your rectum at all. Being held by the hair and with a knife at your throat but whizzing round and slapping your captor and disarming them.


d) Just plain silliness

Taking the plot to asinine turns purely to avoid your character having to suffer a misfortune too weak for your manly fictitious self. Being shot at and deflecting the bullet with a penny on a string so that it flies back up the gun nozzle. Again, I wish I were making this up.


e) Anything that is used to let one character force the plot and does not enable the story to be a properly collaborative effort with plausibility.

It's annoying, anti-social, counter-productive, and makes you look silly. Nobody thinks the godmoder is strong, hard, cool or intelligent. We think you have no consideration, no understanding of role-play, and no intelligence whatsoever. Don't do it.

Your character can die, can get beat up, and can be subdued. IC does not immediately mean you're invincible. Using creative yet realistic ways to overcome these situations is best. Think of God moding this way: in Matchmaking games on Xbox, such as Call of Duty, or Gears of War, the Host is usually the top of the charts, with 50+ kills and all the other great stats. You may feel like a god, but the rest of the team thinks you're a jerk. (Even though host is determined by the system, it's still a very good example).

4. Retcon

Short for 'retroactive continuity'. This refers to a player (or players) OOCly backtracking and erasing plots from the IC continuity as if they had never happened.

5. Canon

The original source material, e.g. the book, manga, cartoon, TV show, video game, etc. where the characters came from. In our case it would be any certified materials, i.e. the books, movies, encyclopaedias, comics, and cartoons. Fanon may also be applicable here as well. Fanon is source material widely accepted by the fan community.

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Saighdiuir de na Faolchu
Saighdiuir de na Faolchu
Replied On: 12/28/2012 at 02:52 AM PST

I had no idea. Sounds like play acting a scene into a larger novel, lived in realtime. Wow! Do you guys use Raidcall at all? I would like to listen in sometime to see how it works. Sounds neat.

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Seaimpin de na Aracos
Seaimpin de na Aracos
Replied On: 12/28/2012 at 06:26 AM PST

Yep it`s a bit odd with all the little rules , i`ve been playing rpg since late 80`s but I can`t ever remember actualy roleplaying . normaly we set 1 night a week aside for games wether it be rpg or board games like axis allies etc . and the rest of the week was for work and hitting bars chasing cats . I `m more like in the back ground controlling my characters . ie mt character does this etc but never got into the talking like my toon would talk , being in character with any character i`ve ever played . But i`ve had a couple friends over the years that did so.

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Ban Fili de na Griobhta Dearg
Ban Fili de na Griobhta Dearg
  • GW2: Briseadh.7386
Replied On: 12/28/2012 at 08:30 AM PST
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Yes, it is like improv acting. I like messing with Dae because she is fun to RP with. For instance, during an event I brought my little elementalist to, Dae comments about how cute my floppy ears are. My elementist, an Asuran, quips, "I breathe fire, too." And commences to do the fire breathing spell to prove her point. Thus making Dae back up with a short exclamation. I have not done full blown RP in awhile, but have had fun with random encounters and a couple scheduled things. My online RP actually started way back on AOL in their Red Dragon Inn chat room. All the above rules were pretty standard and they even work in Live Action RP though there some of them were really not an issue due to the physical nature rather than the freedom of typing what you want. I think my biggest issue with Rift and now with GW2 is that I get playing the game, but have not set up time for actual RP with people to run stories, etc. As for the one asking to listen in Raidcall, you won't hear much RP. It's pretty much in say and emotes and other actions taken in the game.

Don't mess with Mama Bear, I might hug you too tight. =D
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Ban Lorgaire
Ban Lorgaire
Replied On: 12/28/2012 at 08:27 PM PST
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I've never RP'd in a game before, but I have been role playing for the majority of my life. I start on the Harry Potter WB forums (lord, so embarrassing) when I was 13? and I just went from private board to private board since. I dabbled in many fandoms, but I stuck to Harry Potter and real-life ones. I've always wanted to try RPing in a game. I feel like I would be bad at it for a long time and I'd break all sorts of rules.

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Ban Curadh de na Capall Donn
Ban Curadh de na Capall Donn
  • GW2: chade.9235
Replied On: 01/16/2013 at 07:45 AM PST
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Hrm. I was quite into roleplay in Warhammer and WoW, but left off it after a truly horrifying bout of psychodrama in WoW. This thread makes me consider revisiting. I'll have to figure out which of my characters I want to develop and get origins, backstory, etc together. Look for it in this forum soon. :)

If it ain't fixed, break it until it is.
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Seaimpin de na Aracos Buí
Seaimpin de na Aracos Buí
  • GW2: isredel.4302
Replied On: 01/16/2013 at 12:08 PM PST
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b) Dictating other players' responses Swinging a punch and telling the other player that they are down, that they are unconscious, cut, or dead. Another word for this is a, "closed emote" by the way. *THE MORE YOU KNOW* 4. Retcon Short for 'retroactive continuity'. This refers to a player (or players) OOCly backtracking and erasing plots from the IC continuity as if they had never happened. People who do this make me wish I had more than two middle fingers.

» Edited on: 2013-01-16 12:10:55

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