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Role-Playing Etiquette Compendium; Part IV: Getting Deeper - By Elza

Ban Caomhnoir de na Ulchabhan Gorm
Ban Caomhnoir de na Ulchabhan Gorm
Posted On: 12/08/2012 at 02:06 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*

IV. Even Deeper

1. Targeting

This is not a drastically big deal, but some of the more strict RPers would rather see it done than not, so I will go over it quickly.

Boomer seems to be an arrogant guy, so Joe, keeping in line with the Fourth Wall Technique (I'll get into this more in a bit), has Boomer himself constantly targeted unless he is speaking to someone else directly. Targeting your own character with the marker, often times in RP shows that your character is stuck on themselves, arrogant, self-centered, etc.

Targeting no one during a conversation shows that your character is uninterested in what the other person or people are saying (rr often times, it is forgotten, which is okay too). The character could be seen by others as careless, a liar, nonchalant, uninterested, or even shy. As it is in real life, if you do not look someone in the eye while you're speaking with them, it usually shows a lack of confidence, or the person may be lying.

Targeting others during an active conversation with another person is frowned upon. I'll give an example:

Boomer and Sela are chatting in a tavern over drinks and the dancer happens to trot by carrying a tray of drinks. Boomer's handler, Joe, untargets Sela and targets the dancer.

Think of this as you would in real life. You and your girlfriend are sitting in a restaurant and the waitress happens to have a really nice backside. You turn from your girlfriend's riveting conversation of her shopping excursion with the girls to stare at that taut...... heart-shaped......... perfect........ backside.... and *SLAP!* Your girlfriend is instantly mad and walking out of the restaurant, leaving you stunned. I can see that this would be plausible if someone came up to you and your RP partner or partners in a "Walk-up RP" scenario. If they speak to you and you wish to regard what they have said, target them and respond. Otherwise, keep your eyes on the person you're speaking with presently.

2. Fourth Wall Technique

This way of RP tends to be very strict, and those who follow it tend to be strict on all of the above-mentioned techniques as well. If you hear this phrase used, know you're in for a rough ride through the fantasy land of RP.

First, an explanation of what Fourth Wall is.

The fourth wall is the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theater through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. The idea of the fourth wall was made explicit by philosopher and critic Denis Diderot and spread in nineteenth-century theater with the advent of theatrical realism; it extended the idea to the imaginary boundary between any fictional work and its audience. Speaking directly to or otherwise acknowledging the audience through the camera in a film or television program, or through this imaginary wall in a play, is referred to as "breaking the fourth wall."

Basically, if you're standing on the stage, everything in front of you is considered "off-limits." You are in-character, and therefore the rest of the world / audience does not exist. If you are RPing with someone who follows the strict Fourth Wall Techniques, OOC chat or accidentally breaking that fourth wall may end up leading you down a rough path in the future, if there is one with that other character.

However crazy this sounds, I will mention it because it brought about several long moments of nerd rage. Early on in my learning how to RP, I met another character who used this Fourth Wall Technique and he explained to me how it worked. Thinking it was interesting enough I continued to RP with him. After some time, things grew hot and heavy between the two characters, and they discussed entering into a relationship.

Meanwhile, OOC, this fellow told me he was 16 (it is against Terms of Service to disclose your age to other players, if those reading this did not already know). This drastically hindered my feelings on RP with his character. Being of more than legal age, I didn't think that it was right to continue down the path with the characters starting into a relationship (can you blame me?). I stopped him one day, during RP, and OOC, said to him that I couldn't do it. It was wrong, and he was going to have to deal with that reality. After which, he screamed at me for breaking the Fourth Wall rules.


His character was 26 years old, well of age to be with my character who was 24 years old. That meant nothing to me in real life; the kid was just that, a 16 year old kid. We never spoke again after that, but I honestly think I learned more of a lesson through him than I did from his teachings. Be careful when it comes to those who run with the strict rules of Fourth Wall Techniques (in reiterating that he was 16, I am not meaning to offend or upset those younger RPers out there. This is a personal story I thought I would share).

In saying the above, not all who use Fourth Wall are or will be crazy teenagers. Take each RP as it comes, regardless of what techniques or rules of etiquette they use. You never know, you may find someone to be of your liking!

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